Employer Curiosity vs. Personal Privacy – Who Wins?

OK, folks, it's time for me to rant again. Sometimes a bubble rises to the top and just has to burst! I'd love your comments on this topic that I'm raising today.

In order to get a job, should you have to surrender your personal privacy? Where is the line drawn between what a potential employer wants to know and what you, the candidate, must tell them?

Certain rights are protected (supposedly) under current equal employment laws – such as those related to race, sex, marital status, and disability. However, we all know of the exceptions when those "rights" weren't respected. For example, the young woman wearing a wedding ring being drawn into a conversation about childcare. Or the man with a limp asked to explain the reasons why he left his last employer so long ago – due to a workman's compensation injury.

Most recently, unemployment status and personal credit checks have been exposed as common barriers to new employment. Help wanted postings have been seen blatantly stating, "Unemployed need not apply," while candidates lucky enough to get job offers must agree to credit checks before starting work. Of course, credit problems due to no job/no money situations have had adverse effects on credit reports that can lower the axe on job offers.

An article I read today ("Officer forced to reveal Facebook page") really takes the cake! As part of the jobFacebook_favicon_large_2_bigger application process, an individual was asked to provide his Facebook page along with login and password! Are you kidding me? Why not ask for all his emails, text messages, and birthday cards from grandma? What this tells me is that employers who do this are unwilling to assume any risk in hiring employees. They want ironclad guarantees that they have control over the actions of those who work for them. If this doesn't tell workers that there is no loyalty left from employers, I don't know what will. (In the interest of full disclosure, this employer did back down on its request.)

Sure, not all employers have gone this far, but actions like these fuel the feelings of workers who are ready to jump ship as soon as the economy shapes up. But why wait? If you are a skilled and talented worker with a solid career history, there are employers who want you now. I urge you to take charge of your own career and not wait on the economy; and especially, don't wait for any employer to make your decision for you.

Wishing you career success in 2011! (And continue your vigilance over digital dirt!)

Meg

Your Photo on LinkedIn – Breaking a Cardinal Job Search Rule?

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? I certainly hope so since this is the first place recruiters go to find their ideal candidates. SilhouetteDo you have your photo on that LinkedIn profile? Again, I hope so – as today it is expected that you should. If you don't, get a professional pic up there now! What you don't have on LinkedIn says more about you than what you include.

But did you know that only three-plus years ago a big debate broke out over whether or not it was appropriate for LinkedIn to let its users have a photo anywhere close to their career qualifications?

Today most professional resumes still don't include photos, exceptions being professional bios in the entertainment and public speaking fields, maybe a high-level executive resume. This job search "rule" is due to the Human Resources concern over liability regarding interviewing a candidate based on appearance, race or age.

(Maybe it's time to change this rule, too? Please share your comments below.)

In doing research for this post, I found an interesting article, "A Photo Is Worth a Thousand Words" by Adam Nash on the LinkedIn blog. In this article the following announcement was made: "We’re excited to announce that starting tomorrow LinkedIn members will have a new option available: the ability to add a professional photo to their profile." (9/27/2007)

Business publications raced to cover this revolutionary change in how HR and recruiters might be swayed on whom they would choose to interview. In fact, Bloomberg BusinessWeek printed the following: "As recently as an August interview, LinkedIn's co-founder and president, Reid Hoffman, said 'photos and business don't go together,' partly because images could unduly influence recruiters. To lessen that threat, LinkedIn is letting HR reps turn off the feature so they can screen candidates without regard to age, race, and appearance."  (9/27/2007)  — Turn it off? Hmmm…. Does that ever happen?

ZNet conducted an informal survey asking the public if adding a photo was a good or bad idea. Results: 70% said it was good, 30% said bad.

The Wall Street Journal published an article about recruiters using social networking sites (e.g., LinkedIn and Facebook) to check job references on candidates before getting their permission, before even referring them to an interview with an employer. (I believe this topic warrants another post.) They went on to say, "LinkedIn, which already has a similar recommendation feature, plans to announce today that it will allow users to add photos to their profiles – a feature that could help make job seekers more recognizable to industry recruiters who may know them." (9/27/2007)

What a lot of hoopla! What do you think – can having your photo on LinkedIn enhance your chance for illegal discrimination? There was concern about this in 2007 – has that concern faded away in 2011? Or maybe everyone has just come to terms with the fact that there is no privacy anywhere since the Internet has become everyday SOP – notably where job search is concerned.

I would particularly like to hear from HR professionals and recruiters on this topic: How do LinkedIn photos on candidates' profiles affect your decision to conduct interviews? Pros and cons, please!

Wishing you career success in 2011!

Meg

Career-Collective-original-small

SPECIAL NOTE: I am honored to be a member of the Career Collective, a group of careers experts who each month share their advice and tips to enhance the management of your career. Please link to their blog posts below. Your comments are invited and much appreciated. Please follow our hash-tag on Twitter – #careercollective - as well as follow each expert's individual tweet on this month's topic of "Job Hunting Rules to Break." You'll be amazed at all the free career advice and knowledge that is available to you from these professionals in the careers field!

Juice Up Your Job Search, @debrawheatman

It's not your age, it's old thinking, @GayleHoward

Want a Job? Ignore these outdated job search beliefs, @erinkennedycprw

Job Search Then and Now, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

Break the Rules or Change the Game?, @WalterAkana

The New: From The Employer's-Eye View, @ResumeService

Job Search: Breakable Rules and Outdated Beliefs, @KatCareerGal

Job Hunting Rules to Break (Or Why and How to Crowd Your Shadow), @chandlee @StartWire,

Shades of Gray, @DawnBugni

3 Rules That Are Worth Your Push-Back, @WorkWithIllness

Your Photo on LinkedIn – Breaking a Cardinal Job Search Rule?, @KCCareerCoach

How to find a job: stop competing and start excelling, @Keppie_Careers

Be You-Nique: Resume Writing Rules to Break, @ValueIntoWords

Modernizing Your Job Search, @LaurieBerenson

Don't Get Caught With an Old School Resume, @barbarasafani

How Breaking the Rules Will Help You in Your Job Search, @expatcoachmegan

Beat the Job-Search-Is-a-Numbers-Game Myth, @JobHuntOrg

25 Habits to Break if You Want a Job, @CareerSherpa

2011 Employment Trends Supercharged with Twitter

One thing I always advise my career coaching clients:

"Don't assume a hiring authority will understand your company-speak. Use generic words to spell out your skills and experience. On your resume and in your job interview, demonstrate your job hisory with terms that are easily translated into how you can meet an employer's needs."

Even though I espouse "don't assume" in my professional career coaching advice, I sometimes catch myself doing just what I advise against. Let me explain.

Active on Twitter for two years, I tend to assume everyone else knows all about Twitter and its far-reaching capabilities. Wrong! Some career coaching clients have never heard of it, and many don't see its value in helping them with their careers. Last year "The Twitter Job Search Guide" by Susan Britton Whitcomb et al was published. It offers to help you "find a job and advance your career in just 15 minutes a day." If you don't have this book, get it! You won't be sorry! (A few of my tweets even made it into the final draft!)

My 2011 career coaching prediction:

***Twitter will become one of 2011's most-used job search tools – online or off.***

Not only can you find tweets that offer a wide-range of information on job search strategies from careersTwitter1gif  experts, it has many users who post quality job openings in a wide range of fields. Recruiters tweet, as do career coaches and consultants, job board owners, and job seekers themselves. The key to Twitter success for a career changer or job seeker entering this new online world is to quickly determine the best "experts" to follow. Then, create specialized lists for each group of experts that you can easily track. And when you start to post your own tweets (which I know you will want to do – it's contagious!), make sure you act as a true professional to keep all that digital dirt at bay.

I spent this morning reviewing my December 2010 tweets with the intention of sharing some predicted 2011 trends with you. But I've come to the conclusion that the real story here isn't the list of employment trends below, but the online technology that enables me to quickly produce this list! (Follow me on Twitter @KCCareerCoach.)

Here are 15+ of my tweeted career-related trends moving into 2011:Happy.new.year

1) 84% of working individuals plan to find a new job in 2011. http://bit.ly/gjKo8l
1a) Almost half of British workers are fed up in their jobs. http://bit.ly/ejIgwa

2) Companies may lose top talent as economy recovers. http://bit.ly/gMVsNi

3) 86% of Recruiters Use Social Media. http://bit.ly/9l2BhC

4) One third of U.S. workforce now composed of non-traditional contract workers. http://bit.ly/eMomtr

5) Baby boomers drive change to career services. http://bit.ly/h60bGf

6) Why U.S. companies are reluctant to start hiring. http://bit.ly/dXycOs

7) Survey results: Of workers laid off earlier in 2010 & found new jobs, 61% took pay cuts. http://bit.ly/e06Opt

8) Prediction & hot IT jobs: "In 2011 expect (digital resumes) to become standard for hiring short or long-term employees" http://bit.ly/hnxAB9

9) Companies hire detectives to check out employees playing "hooky." http://yhoo.it/gaSiPz

10) Digital Dirt continues to strike! "Happy about getting laid off? Don't tell Facebook" http://on.msnbc.com/f3X9lx

11) 72% Americans expect to work through retirement, 39% because they have to & 33% because they want to. http://bit.ly/ictjAS

12) Detailed 2011 professional trends report: "Robert Half Professional Employment Report" http://bit.ly/ff2PFh

13) Rising unemployment among less-educated U.S. men part of longer-term trend. http://bit.ly/fmBLW3

14) Fewer people insured by employers. http://on.today.com/dFoHFI

15) Employers Won't Hire The Jobless Because Of The "Desperate Vibe." http://huff.to/e7Fl8t

What you do with this employment and career information is up to you. Please just keep in mind that it is all based on generalities. You are a very unique individual. As such, you have the power to defy all odds when you work from a carefully constructed career plan. Just take the first step and make that plan!

Wishing you ultimate career success in 2011!

Meg

Career-Collective-original-small SPECIAL NOTE: I am honored to be a member of the Career Collective, a group of careers experts who each month share their advice and tips to enhance the management of your career. Please link to their blog posts below. Your comments are invited and much appreciated. Please follow our hash-tag on Twitter – #careercollective  as well as follow each expert's individual tweet on this month's topic of "Things job seekers should keep an eye on in 2011 (trends/tools/hiring practices). You'll be amazed at all the free career advice and knowledge that is available to you from these professionals in the careers field!

Social Media Recruiting to Grow Further in 2011, @debrawheatman

Another Year, Another Job Search Begins, @GayleHoward

In 2011, Increase Your Prospects With Better Differentiation, @WalterAkana

4 Lessons Learned From Job Search in 2010, @Careersherpa

Your Career Action Plan for the New Year, @KatCareerGal

Trends Job Seekers Should Look For in 2011, @erinkennedycprw

Things Every Job Seeker Should be Thinking About in 2011, @expatcoachmegan

Let your presence be known or send out a red flag, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

How to find a job in 2011: Pay attention to emotional intelligence, @Keppie_Careers

2011 Employment Trends Supercharged with Twitter, @KCCareerCoach

3 Traits for Facing Weather, Employment and Chronic Illness, @WorkWithIllness

Everything old is new again @DawnBugni

Career Trend 2011: Accountability + Possibility = Sustainability, @ValueIntoWords

Career Tools to Check Out in 2011, @barbarasafani

What Was in 2010, What To Expect in 2011, @chandlee

The Future of Job Search: 3 Predictions and 2 Wishes, @JobHuntOrg

The Five Oldest Careers that Have Survived to Today

With a constantly evolving workplace, new careers are constantly being created. In other instances, professions that may have once been a mainstay of civilization, such as being a blacksmith, have fallen by the wayside. Still, there are many different careers that have stood the test of time and are still extremely relevant to modern life. Here are five of the oldest careers that are still around today.

The Musician

One of everyone’s favorite activities is enjoying music. What you may not know is that being a musician is one of the oldest professions on Earth. In fact, archaeologists have found ancient animal bones that were chiseled with holes so they could be used as flutes. These instruments were created over two million years ago at the onset of human civilization and technology. Music has gone on to survive biblical times and the middle ages to flourish during the Renaissance. Today, being in a band or a symphony orchestra seems like common place. However, many may not know that music has been with human beings for nearly as long as they have walked the planet. Music certainly isn't going to disappear anytime soon, and with new business opportunities and new ways to build a fan following online, it's still a profitable career for many talented people.

The Artist

Another career that is almost as old as the human race is being an artist. As most of us know, the first paintings appeared on cave dwellings. These paintings were created more than 32,000 years ago. Since that time, creating art has evolved into a profession in nearly every civilization. This included the ancient Egyptians, the Mayans, the Romans, and the ancient Chinese. Art was further refined due to the work of famous Renaissance painters like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo that was paid for by royalty, the church, and noblemen. Being an artist, however, isn't as profitable as it has been in the past. Many artists can still find very decent pay in the fields of advertising and art design, and with new graphics programs, there are ample opportunities to create sellable works of art.

The Accountant

One of the most popular professions sought by college students is that of the accountant. Accountants are also indispensible to all decent sized businesses and nearly everyone around tax time. This career field is certainly here to stay. What you may not know is that the profession of accounting has been around for thousands of years. The earliest records of accounting in fact were discovered in places like Babylon and Syria and date back seven thousand years. Accounting even predates money, and was originally used to keep track of a person’s possessions including crops and animals.

The Architect

Designing buildings is another career that has lasted through much of human history. Since the first time that human beings came up with the idea of creating their own living quarters, architecture needed to be designed. This craft evolved through history from the work of the ancient Egyptians, who built the gigantic engineering marvels of the pyramids, to the thousands of architects employed in every country in the world. This is one career field certain to never vanish.

The Tailor

Lastly, another career that has stood the test of time is that of the tailor. The need for covering oneself emerged as soon as human beings confronted cold weather. However, the career became a mainstay of civilized life sometime during the Renaissance when creating garments developed into a refined profession. The traditional career field has unfortunately declined in recent history due to the development of large clothing stores, but with the rise of haute couture fashion and crafting sites like Etsy.com, it's certainly possible to make a good living.

About our Guest Blogger:

Louise Baker is a freelance writer and blogger who usually does car insurance comparisons over at CarinsuranceComparison.Org. She recently wrote about finding cheap car insurance quotes.

CEO Pay: Out of Control?

From the 2006 Career Chaos archives comes this post on CEO pay. Hmm, as much as we all talk about "change," I can't help but wonder how much this issue has changed in the past four years.

Coaching executives on managing their careers, I hear from those who pledge their lives to their companies, working long hours for barely a six-figure income. I ask them, "Is it worth it?" And they reply," What else can I do?"

I couldn't believe my eyes when I recently read an article in Business 2.0, "Ending CEO Pay Envy."I had no idea that CEOs in the U.S. earn "more than 170 times the average worker's pay."In Great Britain, the article continued, "that multiplier is just 22." So what's up with that? (BTW, CEOs earned only 40 times more in the 1970s – only…)

More stats from the article:

  • The median salary for CEOs of the 100 largest U.S. companies hit $17.9 million in 2005 – a 25% jump over 2004
  • U.S. workers got a 3% raise in 2005

What's the author's solution to the problem? He advocates that everyone stops writing about it as it just fuels the fires. If not discussed, the CEO pay pendulum will stop swinging and move back to its balanced state. Really? No, seriously, really?

So, think about this picture as you fire up your laptop at your son's next Little League game. Do you think you can become one of the CEOs in the out-of-this-world income levels? How many times have you won the lottery lately?

Who would like to comment on what the CEO pay rate is today in 2010 compared to the average worker's?

Wishing you career success in 2010!

Meg

2010 Workforce/Workplace Forecast

Seldom, if ever, do I print anyone else's material in my blog. However, the following article hit my email box this morning and I feel its value needs to be shared with all job seekers, employed workers and employers. Please share your comments on this blog.

Thank you, Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist, of the Herman Group (full attribution follows at the end of the article):

Each year at this time, The Herman Group issues its annual forecast. Once more, this year, we offer you our full forecast (longer than our usual alert) for the coming year:

1. Cutbacks and Re-Engineering will continue into 2010

Expect ongoing reductions in force as some employers continue to optimize their workforces and eliminate "redundancy". We caution these employers to be very careful, because we know that 54 percent of today's employees are ready to jump, as soon as the economy improves. They are currently "Corporate Cocooning".

2. Shortages of Certain Skill Sets will become More Acute

As the economy begins to recover, certain skill sets will be more critical and difficult to find. These high-demand workers will be more demanding about their work schedules, environment, etc. The wisest employers will embrace not only flex-time, but flex-place as well.

3. Employers will embrace Innovative Ideas to Reward their Valued Workers

This innovation will include non-financial ways and even non-reward (recognition only) ways to add value for their top talent; these innovative ideas will come from the employees themselves. Employers that do not mine the collective intelligence of their workers will find themselves unable to optimize profits.

4. Fear and Apprehension continue to reduce Productivity

A significant percentage of employees continue to worry about the future. These negative feelings will persist, unless addressed. Transparency, besides being one of those elements employees seek, will be imperative.

5. More Employers will invest in a Variety of Healthcare Cost-Cutting Strategies

Besides wellness programs to address expensive unproductive behaviors (like smoking and over-eating), more large employers will embrace ideas like onsite clinics and health coaches. For some candidates, the cost of not complying with the prospective companies' wellness programs will change their employee value propositions so drastically that they will choose to work elsewhere.

6. Focus on Engagement will replace the Focus on Retention

Recognizing that with engagement comes not only retention, but greater productivity and profitability, too, employers will change their focus. We will see Directors of Retention morph into Directors of Employee Engagement. The next step (coming much later than 2010) will be to recognize the importance of the total "Internal and External Customer Experience".

7. Increasing Attention to Succession Planning

Around the globe, we see an increasing attention to succession planning and management. However, the issue of succession preparation continues to take a backseat to succession planning. This big mistake will begin to be felt in 2010, when Baby Boomer retirements combine with the lack of trained people becomes a critical problem. Succession management continues to be critical to long-term success.

8. Employers that did not build Bench Strength will pay More to hire Experience

Organizations that did not take the opportunity presented by this business slowdown to send their people for more training, will have to pay more to hire trained, experienced people.

9. Some Employers will eliminate Reward Programs

Misunderstanding Dan Pink's new book, "Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us", some employers will abolish their reward programs altogether. This ill-advised shift will cause significant, negative, unintended consequences.

10. Burned out Employees will begin Leaving Employers

Over 80 percent of today's employees feel overworked and under-appreciated. Too many organizations have survived and maintained some level of profitability by over-loading their long-term employees. Once we begin to see positive job growth in the second half of 2010, some employees will feel confident enough to leave their companies.

11. Employers will accommodate Older Workers like Never Before

The exodus of their long-term employees will challenge some employers to get the work done, without resorting to hiring expensive contract help or paying high fees to recruiters. Enlightened employers will mine the rolls of their retired workers and hire them back on a part-time, temporary, or seasonal basis. These seasoned professionals will be welcomed back, in spite of the fact that they will dictate their own terms.

—-

From 'The Herman Trend Alert,' by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. (800) 227-3566 or

http://www.hermangroup.com. The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group of Companies, Inc. © Copyright 1998-2009 by The Herman Group of Companies, Inc., all rights reserved.

RE-DEFINING JOB SECURITY

After 35 years of dedicated service to a job he could count on everyday, my father retired from his company in 1985 with a good pension. Today, that reality is gone for all but just a very few. Most of us will not see such a reward for the years we put into our careers. In fact, most of us won't spend our entire lives working for the same employer. It's no secret that the American dream of retiring from a company after working there for a lifetime no longer exists. Instead, thousands of workers who entered the workforce believing in retirement benefits have fallen victim to company downsizing, restructuring, outsourcing, and even bankruptcy.

How can we survive in a work world where there is no job security? Today's job security must come from within each of us. We must ensure it by becoming so competent and so self-confident in whatever we do that we can do it or transition it anywhere. We accomplish this by adopting an assertive learning style, by earning that college degree or finishing advanced training. We do it by attending professional training and development opportunities – on our own initiative. We network with colleagues. We become experts in our fields. We ask our companies for cross-training and we volunteer our services for special projects. We constantly seek out ways to update our skills, knowing that change is the only constant in the workplance. Acknowledging that no one is indispensable, we don't take our jobs for granted. Instead, we accept the fact that every day we must continue to earn the right to keep our jobs.

Build your job security by taking risks. Submit that application for a new and challenging position, even if you are comfortable and satisfied with your present job. Always be ready for the unexpected. Did you know that the best time to write your resume is immediately after starting a new job? That way you always have your resume up-to-date and ready to go on short notice.

Have you ever seen that perfect job opportunity, but didn't have the time to update your resume and submit it before the application deadline?

The worst time to write your resume is when you are hit with an unexpected layoff or termination. Emotions will take their toll when this happens making it next to impossible to organize your thoughts into a sharp, professional resume.

Become friends with the unknown. Embrace change as an opportunity for career growth. "Fortune favors the bold," observed Virgil, a wise poet of long ago. That holds true today. Are you bold enough to create your own job security? You will need to do just that to survive in this rapidly changing work world of the 21st century.

We will probably see more layoffs this year, maybe even next, before our economy begins to swing back. Don't wait for the layoff bug to bite you. Take charge of your own career so that you can design for yourself a happy, productive life.

LAYOFF LEFTOVERS AFFECT ALL WORKERS

Even those who are left behind following a layoff have "stuff" to deal with. "The psychological fallout of surviving a layoff lasts six years, according to the study published by the Institute of Behavioral Science," as published by Los Angeles Times. "Layoffs clearly have emotional and practical consequences for companies and workers."

Looks like no one wins today except maybe the CEOs who got big bonuses when they used taxpayer dollars from their federal bailouts. I wonder when the last time was that these guys ate macaroni and cheese for dinner.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm a business owner – I'm all for making a profit. But if I had to borrow money from strangers to keep my "boat" afloat, I wouldn't go out and buy a new car with the money.

Why don't these guys get it? The taxpayer money they got is not an entitlement.

NO JOBS? IT JUST AIN’T SO

If you listen to the news and read most of the newspapers, you'll come away believing there's no hope for anyone in today's job market. Yes, layoffs are happening, but good jobs still exist for workers with the right skills and attitudes.

That's right – attitude. Improve yours accordingly to improve your job opportunities:

  1. It's not just about you. Sure, you have needs to meet like paying bills, but you work to meet a need of your employer. Don't forget where you paycheck comes from.
  2. Become proactive. Ask for more responsibility. Assume a high profile on your job. Get noticed by getting real about what you can do for others.
  3. Be flexible. Bounce back quickly if you do get caught in a layoff. Your job is NOT who you are – it is NOT your identity in this world. It's only a job – and you CAN replace it.

So where are the jobs? According to CNN, Fortune has announced 20 employers that are looking to fill at least 350 jobs each. And if you want to retrain yourself or advise your college-aged son or daughter, the need for registered nurses is growing. Do your research to unearth all possibilities. Work with a career coach to determine what's best for you.

Finally, don't get me wrong. Your work IS important. I firmly believe that everyone has the right to work his/her passion. You spend way too many hours each day doing your job to do one that doesn't make you happy. But make your job your CHOICE, not a knee-jerk reaction to fear.