Jobs – Using the Gig Economy to Your Advantage

February 11th, 2016 No comments

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Antonio_DiazThe gig economy is defining jobs today.

The gig economy–if you’ve had your ear to the ground s at any point in the past few years, you may have heard the term bandied about. Those in consulting or creative fields may be nodding your heads, but the concept is still new to many.

“Now,” say the non-musicians among you, “why would I be interested in gigs?”

In many cases, the gig economy is mediated by mobile technology, especially smartphone apps and intelligent websites that match you to gigs based on your preferences. Freelancing is the name of the game–for example, an Uber driver is an independent contractor using the app.

What Does it Mean for You?

Freelancers are nothing new, but the gig economy makes it easier than ever to be one yourself. The gig economy allows you to be flexible. Whether you want to supplement your income or tide yourself over while continuing your search for more stable employment, there’s something for everyone. A key feature of a gig job is the ability to define your own hours. An Uber driver picks up fares until they’re satisfied, which allows them to slot it in to any busy schedule.

Some people take so well to the gig economy that it ends up becoming their primary source of income. For self-starters and independent spirits, it’s a godsend. These people have diverse streams of income and have wide skill sets. Some apps, like the Bay Area-based Josephine, are for those with a passion about the gig. Josephine is for your inner chef, allowing you to share your passion with others.

For those who are between traditional employment, the gig economy presents a safety cushion that has not been available in the past. With the overall higher quality of the gigs, and the flexibility described above, it can make the time between jobs a little less stressful.

Still others add to their existing income with gigs, keeping their streams of income flowing from many different rivers. Even if you’re employed already, the opt-in nature of gigs can add to income from traditional sources. There’s no wrong way to take advantage of the gig economy!

Some noteworthy examples of the gig economy:

AirBnb

Caviar

Fiverr

Luxe

Lyft

Swifto

Uber

Upwork

How to Stand Tall & Get Out Of Your Job Search Shadow

February 5th, 2013 No comments

Good news! Over the weekend, visionary groundhog Punxsutawney Phil emerged from the ground and saw his shadow predicting an earlyPhoto from Twin Cities Natural Site, shows groundhog in winter with shadow spring…and six fewer weeks of winter.

Despite the good news, February can still feel like a cold and dark month — especially if you’re in the midst of a job search and waiting to hear back from employers. Here at StartWire’s headquarters, we’re still short on daylight. Today, our sun rose at 7:01 am and will set at 5:05. We’ll gain an average of 4 minutes of daylight every day — and see sunsets at 5:30 by month’s end. Still it’s a long time in the dark. (You can chart your own daylight here.)

Groundhog or no groundhog, one of the biggest challenges you may face in your own job search is getting out from your own shadow. The psychological process of applying and not hearing back promptly can be exhausting and can take an emotional toll on you. Just as many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder when there is a smaller amount of light, it’s not unusual for job seekers to experience depression or feel sad.  (Here are some of our suggestions on action steps you can take to deal with the blues.)

People often associate the blues with inaction — sleeping a lot or not being proactive. But, there can also be another side of it in the job search process: Do you find yourself feeling less sure of yourself?  Do you ever sit with your shoulders hunched over? Cross your arms when approached by strangers? Cover your mouth when you talk?

Are you hiding in your own shadow?

Don’t. It could cost you your next job offer.

Your non-verbal communication skills are as important — if not more important — than your words. In fact, it is estimated that up to 93% of communication effectiveness is determined by non-verbal cues… How you stand, speak, and gesture can make a tremendous difference in how your actions and words are interpreted by other people.

Fortunately, you can use a few simple techniques to stand taller, feel more confident, and make a stronger impression in person.

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard Business School, has developed a two-minute routine you can use to stand taller, feel more confident — and get out of your own shadow. If you’ve got 20 minutes, watch her video here:

If you want the highlights, here are a few tips:

  1. Anything that you do to make you smaller, takes away your power in the eyes of others. This includes crossing your arms or legs and touching your face or neck.
  2. When you stand “wide,” make sweeping gestures with your arms — you appear more powerful.
  3. If you don’t feel powerful, one way to get there and increase your confidence is to fake it till you make it. One way to do this is to make yourself smile. To try this, put a pen lengthwise between your teeth and hold on to it for a minute. Feel better?
  4. Striking a powerful pose for as little as two minutes, can improve your confidence — and your performance. You can try it anytime — including before your next job interview.

Try it out and let us know how it works for you!

 

Choices & Your Job Search (5 Reasons to Go For Less Instead of More)

November 6th, 2012 No comments

Election Day — it’s finally here. Today, we get to decide who we want to serve as our President and who we want to represent us in Congress and our local and state government positions. If you’re like many Americans, you’ve spent hours selecting the choices you’ll make in the voting booth.

Would it surprise you to learn that the average CEO handles 139 tasks (each representing an individual topic) a week — and that they make 50% of their decisions in nine minutes or less. In fact, they only spend an hour or more on 12% of their decisions. Columbia Business School professor Sheena Iyengar, author of The Art of Choosing, cites this research — and other studies on decision-making in her TED video on How to make choosing easier.

In surveying 2,000 Americans on decisions they make every day, Iyengar found that individuals typically make 70 different decisions over the course of an individual day. That’s 490 over the course of a week!

What are the takeaways from this research in terms of how we can make choosing easier? Iyengar says less is more — the fewer choices we have, the more likely we are to make a decision. Here are three ways you can make this work for you in your job search — so you’ll have more time!

  1. Avoid “choice overload.” Instead of looking for jobs to apply to on ten different websites, use a site that has a job aggregator — and pulls in positions from different sites so you can see them in one place. StartWire presents jobs in this format and only lists opportunities that have been posted in the last two weeks — so you can keep your options fresh!
  2. Get focused — don’t apply for “any job.” Apply for opportunities that you are qualified for — and that interest you. If you’re open to working in several different job types, focus on applying for only one type of job on a day that you are searching — it make it easier for you to focus and speed up your efficiency.
  3. Create a routine and stick to it. One successful job seeker we know made a habit of only researching and applying for jobs between 6 and 9 am. Every morning she checked for new position advertisements and applied directly.* One day she applied to a just-listed position in Corporate Communications for a Fortune 100 technology company. The company received over 100 applications in the first two days — and took the listing down. Because she checked early, she was one of the first in line. And she got the job!(*We have Job Alerts that notify you on new openings and a unique feature that sends you updates when your job application status changes).
  4. Research the company and prepare for interviews. Whether you are applying for jobs or have already been invited to interview for a position, research the employer and show that you’ve done your homework. Remember: Just as you don’t know how many applicants are in line to serve as your competition, the employer can’t tell how interested you are in their organization until you tell them. Providing proof that you understand the job and the organization not only shows your strong interest, it also may get you on the shortlist for the job!
  5. Go basic with your dress. Many executives conserve their energy by limiting their choices — for example, President Obama only wears blue or grey suits. A recent Career Builder survey found over 50% of female executives stick to black suits.

These tips should help you streamline your choices — and lessen the time it takes for you to explore your career options. Once you start interviewing and receive an offer, remember that it’s also your choice to decide whether or not you want to take the job!

 

 

 

Categories: Job Search Advice Tags:

Birth of an Opportunity: On How Jobs Are Created & Awkwardness

August 14th, 2012 No comments

While big openings and companies hiring in volume make for good press, there are many great opportunities posted or available which get little or no airtime at all, even on corporate career sites. The number and frequency of hidden job opportunities is a topic of great debate. Today, we’re focusing on the back story of how these individual jobs get created. (This is the first post in a series of six designed to take you behind the scenes as employers advertise for positions and make hiring decisions.)

As we’ve mentioned before, searching for a job can be very much like looking for the right life partner: To create a sustainable long-term relationship, you both have to be open and willing to make a commitment to one another!

The first step in the hiring process at most organizations is deciding to hire: There must be a current opening, and a recognized need to fill the job. Just as companies don’t hire a recruiter unless they need to make enough hires to have a recruiter, there has to be enough work to do for the job to exist.

Here are some of the reasons employers create jobs:

  1. To fill vacancies created by employees who leave for new opportunities or get promoted
  2. They have enough work that they need to hire more people,
  3. The organization is re-structuring and/or in growth mode to achieve new or aggressive company goals

The second step in the hiring process is nailing down the specifics of the job description.
What will the new hire do? Who will they report to? And what skills are most important?

The third step in the hiring process — what happens after you’ve applied and while you are waiting to hear back — is largely unknown to all but a select few inside the organization.

One of the biggest challenges in the hiring process is the chaos of the hiring process during the actual search. As Tom Brokaw once quipped in a commencement address to new college graduates,

Real life is junior high…filled with adolescent pettiness, pubescent rivalries, the insecurities of 13-year-olds and the false bravado of 14-year-olds.  Forty years from now, I guarantee it, you’ll still be making silly mistakes, you’ll have a temper tantrum, you’ll have your feelings hurt for some trivial slight, you’ll say something dumb and at least once a week you’ll wonder, “Will I ever grow up?”

Inside companies, it’s not uncommon for an employer to re-advertise a job weeks after it has been posted because they thought of additional “must-have” skills for candidates — after they’ve listed the position. It’s not unusual for employers to move a long-time employee into a job he isn’t trained for — simply to keep him on staff if his old job has been eliminated. Employers frequently extend their own hiring timelines — or downgrade their position requirements — when the money doesn’t come in as fast as they expected it to.

Bottom line: If you’re on the candidate side of the hiring equation, it can feel like it did in middle school when your date for the dance bailed on you…But it doesn’t have to feel that way.

Brokaw says you can counter the petty problems of the real world, if you are “always a grown-up” in your relationships with others. Next week, we’ll show you what employers look for, how to get noticed, and how to follow-up gracefully when you see signs of adolescence in your job search. Until then, share what’s feeling awkward to you in your job search: What makes you feel most in the dark when you apply for jobs?

4 Steps to a Smarter Job Search

July 9th, 2012 No comments

 

Stepping into the job search zone can in some ways find unwanted similarity to walking around blindfolded.  They both evoke similar feelings of uncertainty, instability, and…you really just want it to be over with!

There are proactive steps you can take to remove yourself from this grind.  You can take that blindfold off and unveil a clearer view of the job search process.

 

1)      Adapt to Change

If you’ve served your time and energy—applied to many jobs, sent out your resume and cover letter—but you still aren’t getting any responses to your application, take these as signs that you need to change what you’ve been doing.

 

2)      Find job openings before they’re posted

Though we don’t have the ability to be psychic, you can get a few steps ahead by utilizing resources that will alert you to who’s hiring.

Create Google News alerts for companies you are interested in working for.

  • Scan the local news regularly for employers you may not have considered. Positive announcements (like moving to a bigger space) generally mean companies are hiring. When you see the signs, be ready to apply!
  • LinkedIn allows you to follow employers you’re interested in.  Get information on events they’ll host or even a name to contact.  Remember: Unlike those automated email responses, if you reach out to an employer through social media, there’s actually a person maintaining and responding from their social media channels.  Take advantage of this.

 Note: 75% of new hires applied to a job within the first 2 weeks of it being posted.  If you apply later, you’ll have decreased your chances significantly.

 

3) Learn about the company from the INSIDE

 

4) Read the hiring manager’s mind.

 

Utilize the resources you have.  Find your connection to the hiring manager’s mind through the resource he’s freely given you: the job posting!  Use the job posting to glean important insights.   Use the employer’s own words from the job postings to describe your skills (as long as you really have those skills!). This will increase your chances of being picked out by a computer as a potential candidate, and move you on to the oh-so-important interview stage.

So there you have it—nifty little tips you can utilize to get a few steps ahead—and as always, if you have any specific comments or thoughts, feel free to send them along!

 

About StartWire™

StartWire™, a game-changing Internet job search organizer that launched in early 2011. StartWire closes the “résumé black hole” by providing job seekers with automatic application status updates from thousands of employers. Over the past 12 months, StartWire has received rave reviews and write-ups in US News & World Report, About.com, AOL Jobs, CNN, ERE, and HR Executive Magazine.  Glassdoor.com, is a StartWire Advertising partner.

 

Categories: Job Search Advice Tags:

In a Job Search? Get Found by an Employer!

April 3rd, 2012 No comments

This week, we’re on tip #4 of our 5 Habits of Effective Job Seekers: They get found.

There’s a lot of talk right now about social media and how many employers use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to find and connect with job seekers. While social media is a great place to meet employers, it’s important not to neglect other places employers go to seek out great talent. And one of the places employers go to look is job boards that have resume databases. So today, we’re spotlighting job boards and the reason why so many companies still use them to find talent.

Why? When a company needs to hire an employee “right now,” they may not take the time to advertise widely. They may also be looking for a specific skill that isn’t easy to find.

And one of the best tried and true places to find those skills is a database of resumes. When you stop by a job board, you may search for jobs. But when employers login to job boards, they search for resumes. And when they find the resume they want, they follow up directly with the candidate.
They don’t have to jump through hoops, they just get in touch. Bottom line: Resume databases help employers make hires.

Want to get found this way? Yesterday we shared some basic tips for formatting your resume. Here are three additional things you can do to increase the likelihood of getting found.

  1. Get out there.  Don’t just visit job boards; upload your resume. It takes less than five minutes — and you can’t get found otherwise. As my wise friend Anna says, “you can’t meet anybody if you don’t put yourself out there.” Or to look at it another way: The only way to win the lottery is to buy a ticket!Worried about privacy? Leave off your address — and maybe even the name of your current employer (instead: you can give a descriptor — e.g. Consumer packaging company with 250 employees.
  2. Make sure you can be found in a search. Use the right keywords for your field in your resume and begin your resume with a summary that provides an overview of your experience. Here’s a five-minute trickyou can use to do this — just apply it for your field instead of a specific job.True story: In a past life I was a recruiter working inside a company. I hired a candidate on Friday who listed his resume on a Tuesday. I found him on Wednesday. Another recruiter contacted me about him on Thursday. Why? He had a unique, hard-to-find skill that employers search databases for all the time. He later called it, “the easiest job search I ever had.”
  3. Set your watch and update your resume — at least every 30 days.When employers look at resumes, the ones that were submitted most recently come up first. (Generally, employers have the option to view resumes that have been submitted within 7 days, 30 days, and 30 – 90 days. Since they want to focus on candidates they know are still available for work, they tend to focus most only on the resumes submitted within the last week first — and then on the pile that’s come in over the last 30 days.Want to stay at the top of the search results? All you need to do is go in and change one word in your resume, then repost this. Keep track of your resumes, update your listings every 28 days or so — and your information will stay current so you can be found.

That’s all there is to it. Try it out, and let us know how this works for you!

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