What does it mean to be ‘Underemployed’?

The National Unemployment rate is at a 17-year low according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, but this doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many employed workers have jobs that offer less than full-time hours or a job that doesn’t adequately meet the qualifications the employee possesses such as training and education.

This is referred to as “underemployment” and many people across a variety of demographics are affected. College grads, highly skilled foreign workers whose credentials don’t translate, trade workers, and the disabled are a few examples of the underemployed and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there isn’t yet a way to quantify its effect on the economy directly. So we don’t really know how many people, though employed, aren’t meeting their professional potential.

What do you do when you’re underworked and undervalued?

Tip 1: Apply for Jobs Within ±2 Years of Your Experience

Don’t be intimidated by the job description. If you’re within ±2 years of required experience, hiring managers will often consider you “close enough.” Be flexible and remember that you don’t necessarily have to fit the job post 100%.

Tip 2: Tough it out while you look elsewhere

We found that people who weren’t currently employed took a hit — they were 149% less hireable. Keep your current job regardless of your hours or the type of work while you look for something more fitting. Take advantage of having a position right now and look while you work.

Our data also shows that toughing it out for at least 18 months improves your hireability by 18%!

how-long-should-you-stay-before-you-quit

Tip 3: Start Freelancing!

Regardless of why you’re underemployed, freelancing can help bring you to the next level. Not only does freelancing provide flexibility in hours and style of work but freelancing jobs and gigs provide the experience you many need to attain your ideal job. For example, if you’re working a part-time in a different industry, freelancing on the side keeps your foot in the door of where you want to be while maintaining your skills and community presence.

Are you currently working a less than ideal job or gig? For $10/month we can automatically find the best jobs and pre-fill job applications for you based on your desired role, location and years of experience. In addition, you’ll get our Interview Guarantee — if we can’t get you an interview within 60 days, we’ll refund everything back to you, guaranteed. (90% of job-seekers using TalentWorks get an interview in 60 days or less).

Unemployment is at a record low. Where’s my job?

Dear Sarah,

Apparently, unemployment is at 3.9%…but, I’m still looking for a job. How do I reconcile this and, you know, find one?

Thanks,

Feeling Alone Right Now

Hey FARN,

Jobless rates are at a five-decade low having just recently dipped from 4% (2/10 of a percentage point lower than it’s record low in The 60s). Significant!

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 6.02.01 PM
US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Understandably, this is frustrating to read if you’re an active job seeker. Job hunting sucks and there are a variety of factors that are stacked against you of which you have no control.

‘What are you not doing’, you ask?

Here are a few data-backed tips that may help:

The Job Search… just go for it!

If you meet more than 60% of the job qualifications, you should apply! Many people, in particular women, will avoid applying if they’re not 100% qualified. Apply to as many jobs as you can to make up for the fact that any single job you apply for online is nearly zero.

Your Resume

Not only should you have a simple machine-parsable resume format but you should include as many keywords as possible in your resume AND cover letter from the original job posting.

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 6.06.05 PM.png

Also, describe your job achievements with different action verbs. This one resume tip is is associated with +139.6% boost in getting more interviews. Literally, all you have to do is change the first word in your resume skill set to an action word and it increases your chances of an interview over competition by +140%! Also, if you describe the different things that you did at that company with different action verbs, you’ll have finished strong.

In Person

If you’ve made it to the interview stage of your job search journey you have a solid chance of getting the job. Be your charming self and relax knowing that you’ve made it this far.

Oh, and be sure to get the earliest appointment you can in the day when interviewing. Interviewers get hangry.

All the best!

 

ask-sarah-1

ask-sarah.png

Will Robots Take Your Job? Sort of.

At TalentWorks there’s no secret that we’re big fans of AI and automation, in fact, “automating your search” is at the core of what we do. We promise advanced resume optimization that is guaranteed to improve your chances as a jobseeker and increase your hireability by 5.8x.

With automation comes an inevitable disruption of the workforce, and that’s understandably scary. The McKinsey Global institute’s new research suggests that by the year 2030 approx. 15% of the global workforce could be displaced…BUT, the jobs created from this shift will make up for those lost. In the past, large-scale sector employment declines have been countered by the expansion of other sectors that have absorbed workers. (This chart shows the total employment by sector in the US 1850-2015, courtesy of McKinsey Global institute).

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 12.57.13 PM

So in a time of automation, how is the workforce transitioning in the near future and should we be afraid?

Robot + Human

Jobs susceptible to automation include processors and assemblers and are anticipated to drop by 25,000 (word processors) and 45,200 respectively by 2026.

The thing is, the same factory that eliminates human jobs still requires a convergence of both robot and human intelligence. Sure a robot can assemble faster than any human could, but the domain of expertise lies within the human worker who has valuable knowledge and has been on the assembly floor for 10+ years.

Automation in your workplace

The same McKinsey Global institute study found that even a CEO’s job can be automated (25% of it to be exact). An implementation of AI means the time they spent analyzing reports can be better used to manage people.

So how will embracing workplace automation in the near future help, you, the employee? 

  • The elimination or reduction in human error
  • Higher productivity
  • Convenience

Repetitive tasks that would otherwise take a toll on employee satisfaction would be completed much more efficiently freeing you up to focus on the more creative side of your job. Live chat widgets, grocery store self-checkouts, and marketing data platforms are just a few examples of automation that exists in the workplace today.

Working with automation and AI harmoniously means setting yourself up for success. In a world where workforce dynamics are ever evolving, being adaptable is key.

For $10/month we can automatically find the best jobs and pre-fill job applications for you based on your desired role, location and years of experience. In addition, you’ll get our Interview Guarantee — if we can’t get you an interview within 60 days, we’ll refund everything back to you, guaranteed. (90% of job-seekers using TalentWorks get an interview in 60 days or less).

 

Public, Private, Non-profit: What sector works for you?

Are you looking for a job environment where you’re provided on the job training?

Do you prefer a ‘scrappy’ business setting?

Does working for your city or town interest you? 

Job seekers have many decisions to make. Along with overthinking if you should update your social profiles again or if you should wear a suit, your preference and adaptability regarding different job sectors will inevitably be another decision. The public, private and non-profit sectors all have their own rewards, opportunities, and challenges and it’s up to you to decide what best represents your style of work.

“I enjoy stability, an unambiguous pay-scale, and good benefits”

The public sector constitutes public goods and government services such as public education or law enforcement. Employees who work within this sector enjoy a level of job security that is not offered in private or non-profit organizations. For instance, you wouldn’t have to worry about a possible merger or being sold off to a private company. If you’re interested in making a difference, there are many types of public sector jobs you can explore.

Although a government job offers steady raises and good health benefits/retirement plans there are of course challenges such as slow growth and lack of control. Bureaucracy frustrates both citizens and governmental workers where formal processes are the name of the game.

“I’m looking for significant advancement opportunities, cutting-edge projects, and a high earning potential”

Private sector jobs in the US offer an incredible opportunity for personal and professional advancement with a nice salary to match. According to the National Treasury Employees Union, employees working the private sector received up to a 26% higher salary than federal employees with similar roles. Private sector companies, or ‘for profit’ organizations, offer less bureaucratic protocols which equates to new project approvals and faster iteration in general.

Private sector opportunities also have its challenges. More job instability and less of a guarantee that you’ll be provided with a good healthcare package is a reality that some jobseekers can’t afford to face.

“I’m seeking meaningful work, flexibility, and a highly motivated group of coworkers”

Non-profit organizations consist of both public charities and private foundations and in many ways represents a hybrid of both sectors (i.e.: non-profits/NGOs receive better treatment by the government and are viewed charitably by citizens).

A non-profit organization allows for a great deal of opportunity, as the average employee may find themselves wearing many hats given that their workforce is often understaffed. You will have opportunities to learn what every level of management does (including your boss’ boss) and quickly grow far beyond “your” role. For example, you could be a financial analyst helping to organize the annual gala or the office administrator doing grant research. If you want experience working across various departments and a way to change careers easily, the non-profit sector represents a great way for ambitious people to find on the job training.

Cons? The nonprofit sector faces unique stresses and daily challenges. For one, working environments may consist of antiquated technology and fewer resources. Many well-intentioned people get easily burned out being stretched too thin especially when the stakes are higher.

Conclusion

Whether you decide to start applying to a city job, local start-up or charity there are varying pros and cons you must weigh. Depending on your individual career goals you may find something that either frustrates you or takes your career to new heights.

Need help navigating a job interview within a particular sector? For $10/month we can automatically find the best jobs and pre-fill job applications for you based on your desired role, location and years of experience. In addition, you’ll get our Interview Guarantee — if we can’t get you an interview within 60 days, we’ll refund everything back to you, guaranteed. (90% of job-seekers using TalentWorks get an interview in 60 days or less).

Get A Job Fast By Automating Your Job Search

There are plenty of things about the job hunt that can catch an applicant flat-footed. Getting fired unexpectedly or suddenly being asked to navigate confusing benefits systems can rattle even the most hardened of workers. It’s disheartening and that’s before we even get to the truth of the matter: the job search requires you to be an expert in a skill you probably didn’t learn because you hoped to never use it.

While you were out specializing in your field and getting better at what you actually do to earn a living, the rules of the job search were solidifying. Now, recruiters expect you to be versed in their codes before they’ll even give you a call back.

It’s a lot to ask and it’s why we’re here. We know the search and how to cater your application to make sure that it ticks all the right boxes. We can use our troves of data and our AI to remove the hassle from your search and get you back into what you really know how to do.

Here’s just a few reasons why you should consider automating your job search.

Reduce Mistakes

Chances are, you probably don’t work in data entry. (If you do, we can help you, too!) But anyone who does knows that manually entering data only provides more opportunities for mistakes. Introducing the human element into any situation ups the odds of typos and blunders dramatically and that holds true for your application.

If we can optimize your resume and apply to the jobs you want on your behalf, we can eliminate the likelihood of prospect-killing mistakes.

Lean On Experts

We know the job search. We’ve been collecting data on the who, what, why, when and how of hiring for years, scanning millions of  want ads and figuring out what works and what doesn’t for recruiters. Unlike you, we have specialized in the field of getting people hired and we want to share our knowledge with as many people as possible.

Save Time

If you’re scrambling after losing a job (or just looking for something new outside of your already demanding schedule), time can be hard to come by. Trawling through countless job boards and reading untold amounts of postings to figure out which jobs are actually looking for someone like you is more than just a pain, it’s probably costing you money.

That’s time that could be better spent working on something you care about or taking the time to catch up with your family and friends. Let us automate your search to take the searching part out of your daily routine, only offering you the best jobs for your specific skillset.

The best part of all of this? It’s only $5-$10 a week and we guarantee that we’ll get you in the room with the people you need to talk to. Check it out and lose the hassle of self-searching.

 

How Do I Negotiate My Salary?

Sarah,

I’ll start this letter by highlighting the positive: I got a job! But every step in the job-hunting seems to create a new hurdle to clear. And this one is no different.

The time has come to go against all my natural instincts and talk about money. I’m as uncomfortable as the average bear about asking for the amount I think I’m worth, but I don’t want to talk myself out of money I would otherwise earn.

Do you have any tips for someone who has to dig in their heels and ask to be paid?

Sincerely,
Broke And Nervous

Hey BAN,

The first thing you should know is that most people are wary of fighting over money. After all, they’ve been hunting for a job for a while and they don’t want to scare anyone off by insisting on a salary higher than what they’re potential new bosses might be willing to pay.

That’s before we get to the unique disadvantage of salary negotiations at a new job: they know how much money they have to spend and you don’t. But negotiating is crucial for any employee. In fact, people who don’t negotiate can lose as much as $500,000 over the course of a career.

Here are a few tips that will help you when you find yourself having to pull honey from a stone:

Be Brave

We know it sucks. We know you’re nervous. But the absolute worst thing that anybody can do in a salary negotiation is say “no.” Don’t talk yourself down from the salary you want before the negotiation even starts because you’re worried about a bad reaction.

Be Ready

Do your research on the company and do an honest evaluation of yourself. Knowing what you can bring to the company and how much they typically pay will help you argue for the exact amount you believe yourself to be worth.

Stand Strong

Don’t let a “no” throw you off. Before you abandon a request entirely, try and see if you can convince them to see things your way using the facts you know about yourself and the position in question.

Give A Little

Sometimes you aren’t going to get exactly what you want. But if they aren’t able to pay the full salary you expected, seek out other perks and benefits that can add to the overall value of the job for you.

Keeping these in mind will help you avoid starting off your latest gig on a grumpy foot, knowing that your paycheck is going to be exactly what you need it to be.

Best of luck!

ask-sarah

Ace Your Phone Interview With These Tips

You finally did it. You managed to climb your way up out of the abyss of hundreds of resumes to land an interview with a real, live person. Well, a real live person’s voice, at least. The job you’re looking for is ready to do their first interview of you and they want to talk to you over the phone

To a generation of text-based communicators who only call when someone’s dead or in jail, this can be nerve-wracking. When was the last time you had to react immediately to what was being said? But there’s plenty of ways to work around that fear and not just get through a phone interview, but make it work for you. Here’s a few quick tips that will help you ace your next job-searching convo:

Be Ready

The job interview process is a slog on all sides. While you might feel discouraged when you don’t land the responses you want, the person on the other end has to sort through mountains of underqualified applicants just to get to the interview.

To combat fatigue and speed things along, the interview process has built up a few core questions that almost every recruiter is going to ask. An open-ended directive to “tell me about yourself” is the starting gambit of just about every chat and you can also expect to discuss strengths and weaknesses. If you need a few tips on how to handle those, we got your back.

Be Enthusiastic

The interviewer needs to leave the conversation thinking you want the job. Try and be a little chipper about the idea that they might be giving you steady work. It helps if you only apply for the jobs you want, which is definitely something our AI can do for you.

Do Enough Research To Make Your Questions Smart

You should know quite a bit about the company you are looking to join, but don’t be afraid to ask questions during the interview. Most interviewers are expecting you to have questions for them and will knock you down a few notches if you don’t ask any. Feel free to ask questions you know the answer to to flex your knowledge about the company’s practices and day-to-day operations.

Find A Quiet Place

We’re not saying that John Krasinski-style boogins will come for you if you try and hold an interview somewhere noisy. But it will irritate the interviewer if they can’t hear you over the sound of your environment.

Breathe

You don’t want to sound shaky on the phone. Relax and remind yourself that the person on the other end is just that, a person. Keep calm and steady yourself to avoid putting the interviewer off by audibly sweating.

To use these tips, however, you have to land an interview. That’s what we do best. We can optimize your resume using our wealth of experience (as well as mountains of data) and send it out for you in an automated process that we guarantee will land you a phone call. Check it out if you don’t believe us.

Resume Tips from Hiring Managers: Pros Tell How To Get Noticed

The job search internet is rife with articles telling you all the many ways that you can get ahead in the job search process. Frequently, these are written by journalists and bloggers, the occupations that most readily come to mind when someone says the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none.” While it might be true that in the land of the unemployed and desperate, the semi-knowledgeable contract worker is king, we want you to live under a somewhat more justifiable monarchy.

That’s why we went straight to the source, pulling our job search tips directly from hiring managers — the true experts in this situation — to find out what advice they would give to people who most need it.

Don’t Lie

While it might be tempting to juice your resume a bit with half-truths, too frequently these become whole lies. Sell yourself as you actually are and avoid an awkward conversation at an interview that is wasting everyone’s time. As USA Today put it, “don’t end up embarrassed or out of your depth because you stretched the truth on your resume.”

Share Your Actual Weaknesses

Nothing irks a hiring manager more than asking for a weakness and getting an eye-rolling answer like “being a perfectionist.” Ask A Manager’s Allison Green says that “candidates who won’t come up with a realistic assessment…make me think they lack insight and self-awareness.”

Use Task/Result Speech

Write actively. List your accomplishments in a way that lets the hiring manager know exactly what you did and what the outcome was. Another tip: quantifiable data is amazing. If you have numbers that can demonstrate your impact, don’t hesitate to use them.

If You’re Overqualified, Address It

Don’t be afraid to mention that a job is below what you’ve typically done. Explain to the hiring manager why you’re willing to take on this role to avoid them thinking you might get bored.

Don’t Use An Objective (Unless It Helps)

Unless you belong to a specific subset of careers (writers, teachers and mission-driven jobs like non-profit work), ditch the objective. While there are plenty of hiring managers willing to tell you outright that they don’t help, we put hard data behind it and found that it greatly reduces your chances of landing a job. If you aren’t a recent grad,  a writer or entering a profession that will get you called “a saint” leave it off.

For even more do’s and don’ts check out our in-depth rundown of all the things to avoid in an application. And if you’re tired of digesting tips, just let us handle it.

For just $10, we can optimize your resume, bulking it up or cutting it down to its leanest, meanest possible self and sending it out to the exact people who want to hire you. And this isn’t some wishy-washy soft science service, we use a trove of data and our own AI to ensure that your resume is the best it can possibly be and is only going to the hiring managers who want to hear from you.

How Long Does The Average Job Search Take?

Sarah –

I’ve been hunting for a 2 months and I’m starting to get discouraged. It’s been hard to keep my enthusiasm level high while working on a seemingly unending stream of cover letters and resumes. I just need to know there’s a light at the end of this tunnel of black ink on obsessed-over .pdfs.

My question is: how long does the average job search take? And how close am I to that point?

Thanks,
Impatient Applicant.

 

Hey Impatient,

If anyone understands how frustrating the job search can be, it’s us. I mean, we cared so much about the ways that the job search sucks that we started  a whole company just to make it better.

On paper, the wait time doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. We want the hunt to be quick and painless and the folks doing the hiring want talented candidates. You think this would make the hiring process quick, but unfortunately, people are still people and there are only so many hours for applying and reviewing in the day.

But don’t let it get you down. According to stats (our fave!) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the  average job search takes around 13 weeks. You’re almost there!

And if it doesn’t come in exactly that amount of time, know that it doesn’t mean anything is off about you or your work history. The tight labor market and low unemployment rate means that there are less jobs coming available. And the type of work your looking for can greatly effect the length of your job search.  We found that it could take mechanical engineers well over three months to find a spot and the average administrative assistant has to send over 200 job applications before being offered a job.

If you won’t believe me, take it from our CEO Kushal Chakrabarti:

There isn’t anything wrong with you. There are good, reasonable, scientific explanations for why it’s so hard to get a job right now. And even though people don’t talk about it, it’s hard for everyone.

Stay strong, folks.”

Hope this helps!

P.S. If you want to give your search a bit of gas, we can increase your chances of landing the job by 5x for just $10. Give our plans the once-over if you’re ready to let us do the hard work.

How Many Applications Do I Have To Send Out Before Getting A Job?

The job search can occasionally feel as effective as chucking a stack of resumes off of a seaside cliff. No doubt there’s more than one discouraged applicant out there feeling that they’re as likely to hear a response from a hiring manager as they would be to get a “do you mind?” from the ocean down below.

Job seekers can’t help but ask “how many applications does it take, on average, to land a job?” Unfortunately, we don’t have the hard science right now to give you a straight answer on that topic. But we can tell you why you’re having so much trouble. There are plenty of factors that are contributing to your applications disappearing into the void.

Our recent research found that only 13% of job applicants were given a job interview. And of those that managed to make it to the interview process, only a few people were offered a position. That puts your chances of landing the average job you apply for at less than 2%.

First, let us explain why most resumes end up in a black hole.

What Gives?

The average HR manager spends less than 7 seconds looking at the average resume. And they’re looking at your application with “no” on their minds, trying to find any reason to disqualify you. This is only after the hundreds of resumes have likely been picked over by a bot that scrapes resumes for appropriate keywords and chucks the ones it finds unsatisfactory.

The odds aren’t in your favor. But they aren’t in anyone’s favor, if we’re being honest. Does that help?

What To Do About It

We’re not here to help applicants wallow, we’re here to give them hope. After all, finding the right jobs for the right people is what we do. You need to bump up your application anyway that you can. Here’s a few quick ways that you can game the system to make sure that your resume lands in the lap of an HR manager and might even catch their eye.

 

 

Still not getting it?

We have your back. For just $10 a month, we can optimize your resume for you. We use AI to determine what it is that recruiters are looking for, scanning thousands of job openings and optimizing your resume to garner the biggest response. Then, we send that resume out for you to openings that match your particular skills. It’s a system that works, we guarantee it.