Thursday, December 31, 2009


It's traditional to think about a new job at this time of year. Sometime toward the end of the first quarter the job outlook is really going to improve, so my headhunter friends tell me. Then, I expect that a lot of people will make a lot of new moves. That's going to free up more jobs and encourage more movement in the job market. More job opportunities!

But a career is based on more than just a succession of jobs. So make a point of adding to your skills and your professional network in 2010. Here's an interesting article  from the Wall Street Journal on jobs of the future; it might give you some ideas on what skills you may want to learn:

HAPPPY NEW YEAR! 2010 is going to be great.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Take the Time to Volunteer...

...not just this time of year, but all year round. There is a reason why more and more companies are sponsoring volunteering programs for their employees. Choosing to volunteer not only helps the people and organizations you are serving, but can help you a lot, too, in very practical ways.

If you are working and you volunteer for a company-sponsored activity, you can meet and work with people from other parts or levels of your own organization, a real exposure bonus. One of our clients made a very successful proposal to a senior manager a month after she had painted a day care center with him. He knew her, and she knew him, which made the presentation much easier to do and much easier to receive.

If you are working and you volunteer on your own, you will get to know a whole new organization with a new cast of characters. That can broaden your own skills and abilities and even show you a new career direction. One of our clients ended up a leader in every organization she volunteered for. She used that experience to move into a very successful management career.

If you are NOT working, volunteering can make a huge difference to you. It will get you out of the house. It will give you some recent accomplishments to put on your resume. It will give you something new to talk about in an interview. It will broaden your personal network. The important thing to remember is to volunteer your professional skills when you can. Several of our clients who are looking for work in this recession have added impressive volunteer activity to their resumes. If you can't find such an opportunity, ask your professional association. Many sponsor volunteer activities for their members.

You may seem to be doing something for someone else when you are volunteering, but you are also doing something important for yourself! Add volunteering to your New Year's resolutions!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays,


Monday, December 14, 2009

New Jobs Now

Usually, this time of year is very quiet. New jobs rarely come on the market between now and January. Not only have our job-seeking clients at Career Strategies remained active in the job market, but they are finding new jobs to interview for.

Two traditional post-recession trends have reappeared. First, there is an increase in temporary jobs. This is a great opportunity in Massachusetts where we have health care available. Here, people can afford to take a temporary job and hope it will become permanent. The second is that the hiring process is very slow. Organizations don't want to make a mistake, so they are very careful, requiring multiple references, many interviews, and a lot of time to pass between first meeting and final offer. That can now take as much as six weeks.

But the big news is that the Federal Government has decided to make some of its contract jobs into permanent jobs. At Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts, there will be 800 people hired between now and June. Here is their website:

And there will be more investigative accountants hired by the IRS next year. Don't overlook Federal Government jobs in 2010. They have great benefits and good training.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Post-Recession Reputations: Winners and Losers

Many reputations have been battered by this recession. Wall Street, AIG, Bank of America, General Motors - all those companies that received a bailout are losers. They will have to work hard - and it will take a while - before they are trusted again.

Small companies, universities, hospitals have become winners. Now,  it  looks as if it is safer to work for yourself than to work for a big company.

Even my own profession of Human Resources has taken a hit, both for laying people off and for being insensitive to those looking for work. The latest George Clooney movie is about someone whose job is to fire people - and he's not a hero.

Why does reputation  matter? Reputations create career decisions. People working for bailed-out companies tell me they are ashamed to say where they work. Those people will move on when the economic outlook changes and won't speak well of their company or its products. Hot-shot MBA graduates aren't going to look at investment banking or even financial services the way they did two years ago. The brightest and the best are going to look to start their own organizations or join their friends in much smaller enterprises or purpose-driven companies.

All these changes are a good thing. They will create energy and opportunity in the job market. 2010 is going to be a great year!