Seeking Jobs for Too Long

With unemployment of over 10% and the decrease in new job offers, candidates are finding it harder and harder to secure new posts quickly. More often than ever, we are seeing professionals seek new work for 6, 7, 8 months and even over a year. What are the disadvantages of a long job search process and how to combat them?

Job search processes can take longer than expected for several reasons. One is when seeking senior executive positions. In a stable economy, an executive position can take from 6 months to a year to source. This means that in a difficult job market, we would have to add six months to this equation.

Often times, candidates realize much later in their job search process that they have been working with a resume which was not professionally developed, thus, does not express their uniqueness and differentiation. Sending an ineffective resume out can burn bridges and close doors much too early in a job search process. Realizing that you need to enhance your resume and taking the steps to do so will help you achieve better response when presenting yourself to hiring parties.

Other factors that contribute to a lengthy job search process are not being as proactive as needed in connecting with people and getting the word out about our status. Often times, job seekers feel they will find a position soon and resolve their unemployment status quickly. We can think that not communicating our status will save us from “loosing face” in front of colleagues. This move can have the opposite effect. Allowing all surrounding us know that we are actively seeking a job could provide an opportunity for colleagues that have admired us to consider us for available positions. It will help us connect sooner than later with decision-makers and professionals that can open doors.

Job seekers can sometimes be slow in sending resumes out. We take this new time gain as an opportunity to do things we did not have the chance of getting done before. Instead of taking our job search as a full-time job, we work on finding jobs sporadically, not devoting the time and resources really needed to succeed in the process.

A job search process for a mid-level candidate working with a professional resume that truly makes them stand out, sending out customized cover letters, and applying to 10+ daily opportunities, an average job search process can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months. In a market with high unemployment, add six months to that process. Then, add another 6 months if we are talking about a senior position within a corporation.

When the job search process has taken longer than usual, interviewers might question why the candidate has not been hired yet. They might ask: “Am I missing something that other employers noticed, as to why not to hire this candidate?” This is a disadvantage as job seekers will confront a set of questions that can be avoided if the job search process is short or conducted while still holding a position.

Another disadvantage of a long job search process is that, as time passes, we can become demoralized from negative employer responses. We can start showing a “looser” attitude, caused by the lack of positive response from recruiters. We must continue to keep our hopes up, not loose faith, and know that soon, a door will open for us.

We can become more and more anxious to continue with our careers and compromise our job interests, salary needs and work environment preference, when looking for a job for too long. When not sticking to what we considered would work for us in terms of job offer, we might end up accepting a position that we could forfeit in the short term, thus taking us back to the job market.

They have to answer to recruiters questions not posed to candidates working or very recently unemployed. These questions might be asked out loud, providing an opportunity for a candidate to answer, or not inquired at all, offering a chance for the employer to speculate. This speculation certainly puts the job seeker at a disadvantage to other candidates. Recruiters might ask a long-time job seeker what they have been doing in the past year, why they have been unsuccessful at finding a job. However, they might not ask and create suppositions on what others have seen wrong in the candidate’s profile, why others did not choose this candidate. Instead of approaching a candidate with a positive attitude regarding what they can bring to the organization, they adopt a more scrutinizing attitude to ensure that there is no reason why not to extend an offer.

Another disadvantage for people seeking jobs for more than a year is a possible hike in the level of desperation and anxiety when trying to find an open door. As time passes, the clock ticks for the job seeker. He/she becomes increasingly anxious to find an opportunity, while at the same time, his/her self-esteem decreases from the negative feedback from “dings” (rejection letters). This can prevent professionals from portraying themselves positively, as they would in a regular situation, when they have job security. Job seekers need to be aware of this and maintain their cool and high energy, demonstrating who they really in good times.

A final disadvantage is lack of practice in their field of work. Being out of your profession for an entire year can mean, for some careers more than others, loss of skill, speed, and just being out-of-the-loop in your field of work. In medicine, example, not keeping in tune with a year of advancements can seriously harm a career. Same goes for IT and systems engineers, and even writers. If you don’t use it, you can loose it! The way to counteract this deficiency is by continuing to follow the news in your field of work, contemplating internships, part-time and subcontracting opportunities. Have something to say when recruiters ask “what have you been doing to stay current in your field of work?”

Candidate desirability is negatively affected as time passes and a position is not secured. When recruiting, often times companies ask for “passive candidates” or candidates that are currently working and not seeking jobs. These are the most desirable candidates and one of the reasons why recruiting companies (headhunters) exist, to seek passive candidates. Down the line, a candidate that has been looking for a job for three months is less desirable than a passive candidate and yet more desirable than a candidate seeking a job for one year. Why? Companies can consider that as time passes, the job seeker gets more and more disconnected with his/her industry, duties, and loose valuable career growth time. Recruiters might also sense that if the seeker is ineffective in finding a job and marketing themselves, they might not be effective in other tasks. Questions arise as to why this candidate has not been recruited yet and if the company is missing out on some important data that could skew the hiring decision south. There could also be a sense of the candidate not being proactive enough in their careers, resulting in a projected image of lack of motivation and even a “loosing” attitude. Job seekers who are looking for work for more than a year will benefit from showcasing character strength and dynamism when interviewing.

However, there are also some advantages to a long job search process, believe it or not… Some of them are becoming an expert interviewee and maybe even interviewer, finally achieving an outstanding resume, learning how to write cover letters, becoming a more efficient job seeker, learning a lot about companies from researching them for the job search process. You might end up making a career change and becoming a Human Resources professional without asking for it, after gaining months of expertise in recruiting.

Here are some tips to enhance your job search process, when you have been looking for a while…

1-            Do not loose faith, keep your hopes up and your chin up high. Show strength and perseverance, optimism and work ethics. A “winner” attitude will take you to high places.

2-            Look for jobs more intensively through relationship-building than through any other source. Find ways to connect to professionals and develop your network.

3-            Seek part-time and project-based opportunities. Keep working in your field even if it is a few hours every day and not full time. Part-time and temporary work can lead to a full-time job if you perform very well and impress decision-makers and co-workers. Sometimes, it even leads to a new career path as an entrepreneur.

4-            Have your resume critiqued by a professional. If this is something you have been avoiding, or you have been 100% sure that your resume is well constructed but have not found a job for a while, you might be missing something regarding your resume. Research on the internet for Certified Professionals in the industry and find someone to talk with about your current version.

5-            If you are getting interviews but then missing out on opportunities, consult with a professional career and interview coach. Understanding how to tackle hard questions to answer is an art that can be mastered.

6-            Start selling and not informing, showcase your skills and how you bring added value to the company. Do your research on the employer and go the extra mile to prove to them with facts how you can be an asset to their team.

By Claudine Vainrub, Principal of EduPlan


A New Year Radio Show

Our radio show with Eli Bravo on Actualidad 1020 AM, on developing a new resume in the new year.

Nuestro show radial con Eli Bravo en Actualidad 1020 AM acerca de desarrollo de resumes en el nuevo ano.

Nuevo Ano, Nuevo Resume

A New Year, A New Resume

By Claudine Vainrub, Principal of EduPlan

With the beginning of a new year, we make resolutions, think of our goals towards the future and hope for great things to come. One of the tools to make all things happen is a resume. It is a professional way to present ourselves and help others understand our added value to a company, an organization or any entity. It allows us to portray our assets and provide an account of our achievements. A good time to update this resume is in the new year.

Why should we update our resume? If it seems gruesome at this moment to work on remembering all our achievements for the year, imagine six months later, or a year later. Unless you have an outstanding memory, I don’t encourage you to have to remember details a year from now, when you will be recounting what you did in the last two-three years. Finding time to do this will also ensure that the work you will need to complete is just an update, or a facelift of what you used to have. When not keeping an updated resume, you risk having to redo the entire document, at a much higher time and effort cost.

Thinking on your resume also can provide perspective on what you need to accomplish this year to achieve your goals. Understanding yourself professionally seems easier when the information is written, thus, we get a better picture of where we stand currently and where we are going. Sometimes, we see how our career transgression has been not as stable as we would like it to be, and we develop new goals from this thought process.

Having something to look forward to is also important when considering to update our resume. We are ready on the go, as opposed to having to ask someone to wait until we produce the resume. During the year, you might find opportunities and will be readily available to apply if you have updated your resume.

Be prepared for positive change, be proactive and take charge of your situation, to achieve the goals this year. All this can start with an updated resume.


Temping is Tempting

Why Temporary Work May Be Good for You

With unemployment at more than 10%, the job market for traditional careers has become very challenging. According to, goods producing payrolls declined in 129,000 posts, the construction and manufacturing sectors lost 123,000 jobs combined, and the service sector lost 61,000 jobs as of November, 2009.

However, all is not lost; the professional and business service sector gained 18,000 jobs while the education and health industries increased their workforce by 45,000 thanks to temporary workers.

Advantages of Temporary Work:

  1. Getting hired is easy: Candidates meeting technical requirements are often guaranteed a job without a complicated selection process.
  2. Flexible hours: Making someone work 12 hour days is an expensive proposition at an hourly salary. By tempting the employee might be free to choose to choose his own hours, not work on a weekend, take a holiday, go on vacation, when to take off weekends, holidays, vacations, or actually work more for additional pay.
  3. More Money: Pay rates are often higher than the typical wages at a similar permanent position.
  4. Temp to Perm: Sometimes a temp job turns into a position that needs to be filled permanently which is why they should be taken as seriously as a perm job.
  5. Networking: Who meets anyone staying at home? By going to work the temp has a chance to meet potential recruiters or get excellent recommendations.
  6. Career Tasting: By gaining knowledge on a wide array of jobs the candidate might develop new talents or even find a new career.
  7. Gain new skills: According to the American Staffing Association, 90% of staffing companies train their temp workers and 70% of temps say they have gained new skills.

Disadvantages of Temporary Work:

  1. Making mistakes can cost you: While permanent workers enjoy the traditional 3-months probation when starting a new job, temp workers can get fired for minor infractions.
  2. No benefits: Temp agencies don’t generally offer a benefit package like health insurance and when they do it can cost you 30 to 40% of the base income of a permanent worker.
  3. Turnover: Many jobs are likely to end as soon as the project is completed.
  4. Liability Insurance: Independent contractors might be required to carry this insurance or they might be held liable in a negligence lawsuit when an error results in damage.
  5. No Reference: Sometimes employers don’t consider temporary work resume-worthy.

Tempt to Perm:

40% of Manpower’s two million workers find permanent employment through their temporary placements every yea. Just like internships can become full-time careers, this is one “internship” where the candidate makes more money, works less time and enjoys more flexibility… Not to mention the joy and pride of earning a paycheck once again. 

Useful Websites:

The American Staffing Association


Office Team


Careers for 2010

What you did not consider before could turn out to be your next career move…

Everyone knows that registered nurses and computer engineers make a lot of money, but did you know a postsecondary teacher can earn $51,800? Or that general and operations managers earn an average of $77,420?

No matter who you are or what you want, there’s a job for you! For example, if you’re all about the money consider becoming a computer hardware engineer ($91,860), a post secondary health specialties professor or business teacher ($98,000 median salary), or get a Ph.D. in physics and make an average salary of $96,850. If spending more than 4 years in college isn’t your cup of tea, consider becoming a marketing manager ($95,320 median salary) or a petroleum engineer ($94,330).

If you want be green and make green, you’re in luck. President Obama promises to create 5 million green jobs in everything from sales, government, nonprofits and more. There are exciting fields like energy generation, transportation, agriculture, waste management, wastewater treatment, research and advocacy that are good for the planet and help you make money. For example, construction managers and industrial engineers make more than $70,000 a year. Environmental scientists and specialists make $58,380 in a field projected to grow 25.1%. Construction and building inspectors as well as plumbers, electricians, pipefitters and steamfitters make more than $44,000. Geoscientists make a $75,800 in a field projected to grow 21.9%.

If you hate dressing up and commuting to work, why not work from home? You can be a consultant in a wide variety of areas such as engineering, finance, HR, IT or science, do customer service, creative services, field sales, professional services like accounting, tax or legal; research, telemarketing, translation, writing and editing, web design and development.

If you fear being bored in cubicle city, you’re not alone. 25% of all Americans come to work just to get a paycheck while only 50% of workers say they’re satisfied with their current jobs according to The Conference Board Survey on job satisfaction. So why not do something fun like Emergency Medical Technician, Flight Attendant, Buyer, Event Planner, Futurist ($98,603 a year for consultants), Nonprofit Fundraiser, or even a casino worker (casinos are open 24/7 so there’s plenty of work to be done).

Want even more fun? A Food Stylist can make anywhere from $150 a day to $850 if the person has the creative ability to make food look attractive and delicious. Makeup artists can make $400 to $600 a day, an experienced sommelier (wine expert) makes $80k to $160k, park naturalists develop programs that inform the public of wonderful places like Yellowstone and they make $45,000 to $56,000 a year.  Want to sail the seven seas without joining the Navy? Become a yacht captain ($45,000 to $135,000 depending on the size of the ship). If flying is more your style, consider that pilots can make up to $100,000 a year.  If you have a chemistry background but don’t like traditional chemistry jobs, consider becoming a flavorist and the food industry will pay you $55,000+.  Are people always accusing you of being a clown? They won’t be laughing when they hear you’re making $40 to $150 an hour.

Worried about the future? Consider emerging fields like home stager, health informatics technician (18% job growth), emergency management in the anti-terrorism field, career counselor, and patient advocate (24% potential job growth for medical and public health social workers).

If you’re worried about our current recession or any future recessions, there are recession-proof jobs to consider. Society will always need police officers ($49,288, 11% growth through 2016), insurance sales agents (13% growth), pharmacy technicians (32% growth), and if you like helping people in their moments of grief, become a Funeral Director (12% growth, $87,383 average salary).

If you have the Peter Pan syndrome and don’t want to grow up, you don’t have to go to Never Never Land to make money. Jobs like Toy Tester pay an average of $63,999. If you love going to concerts consider becoming a security guard, ticket taker or food vendor. Like children but don’t want to become a teacher? Camp counselors and directors work with young people in pristine natural environments. If you love the nightline and hate waking up in the morning, becoming a Bartender can be lucrative and fun. If you were the high school quarterback or simply love sports, why not become a coach and get $49,024 a year teaching the art of touchdowns?

Are you a social butterfly? Spread your wings becoming a public relations specialist ($41,549), school counselor, mediator, school administration ($74,092), employee training director ($84,145), demonstrator, recruiter/headhunter ($48,657), or an employee interviewer ($48,657). Some emerging fields like Life Coach don’t even require a college education and can pay as much as $64,523.

Last but not least, check out CareerBuilder’s Top-10 Position for 2010: Tax accountant, compliance director, credit manager or supervisor, senior financial analyst, network administrator, information systems security manager, systems engineer, medical records clerk, customer service representative, executive assistant.

There are many more careers this article does not cover, that is why is important to hire an experienced career and educational consultant that can provide ideas of the right fit with your skills and interests. This is not an expense but an investment that can save you time, make you money and provide happiness in the long run.


America’s 50 Top Jobs

Jobs that pay $90,000+

10 Careers to Avoid Boredom

10 Stressful Jobs that Are Worth it

How to Deal with a Boring Job

Fun Jobs that Pay More than you Think

7 Emerging Jobs

12 Work-at-Home Jobs

10 Recession-Proof Jobs

Jobs for People who don’t want to Grow Up

Top 10 Jobs in Green Technologies

10 Jobs for Boisterous Persons (outgoing and social people)

Top 10 Positions for 2010


Types of Interview Questions

What are the Types of Interview Questions and how to prepare to tackle them?

The word “interview” comes from the French “entre” (between) and “voir” (to see). The role of the interview is to get a glimpse of a candidate beyond his or her physical appearance and resume. That’s why the interviewer asks all kinds of questions… Fictitious questions that test your ability to think on your feet, inquiries that verify your credentials and even math questions that test your mental dexterity are just some of the few surprises an interviewer could throw your way.

The best way to ace an interview is to prepare yourself mentally for the questions they might throw your way. Most common situations where interviews take place are for employment and/or graduate school admissions. Knowing the type of questions an interviewer will ask allows us to prepare ourselves better for the unexpected, ensuring a great personal image, and thus, a good interview outcome.

Here are some common question types:

A. Resume Verification Questions: A concern employers carry is how truthful a resume is, if it overstates the candidate’s accomplishments or if it carries any misconceptions. Verification questions will ask specific things like what was your GPA, where you went to college, what was your major, etc. You might be asked to walk the interviewer through your resume, thereby explaining what you did at each job. The purpose of this is to measure your abilities objectively and try to keep subjective areas such as personality and physical appearance from skewing the interviewer’s judgment.

B. Experience Questions: Employers want to know not just where you used to work but what actual duties you performed, what did you learn, what where your responsibilities, etc. These questions assess the types of duties you have performed and if your prior responsibilities match the job/education program requirements.

C. Case Questions: Interviewers are interested in seeing how you would react in different situations and thus they will present you with cases or scenarios. Example: You and a co-worker are assigned to work on a project, your partner keeps postponing the meetings required to accomplish this task. What do you do? They can also ask you problem-solving questions such as “How many fish restaurants are in Miami?” or “How do you handle collections from a client you can’t afford to offend?”

D. Fictitious Questions: Companies know that some candidates over-prepare for interviews and memorize their answers. That is why they will try to throw you off balance with questions about unrealistic situations, such as “If you where a musical instrument, which one would you be?” or “Which mountain best describes your personality?”

E. Quantitative/Scientific Questions: Jobs that require particular abilities in math and other sciences will feature questions like “What is the square root of 400?,” “How many dimes are in $10?,” or “What is the chemical composition of hydrochloric acid?” among others.  The purpose of such questions is to test your brain power without the aid of paper, calculators or time to think things through.

F. Behavioral questions: These questions assess your stance in a specific situation. These are questions that you could prepare for by thinking of experiences you have had and then answering with a PAR (Problem/Situation – Action – Result) methodology. They assess how you would respond in different situations. Examples of such questions are “Provide a specific example of how you avoided a crisis”, “Explain how you increased revenues for a product”, “Tell me about a situation when you confronted an ethical dilemma and what was the outcome”.

G. Judgment questions: Employers and universities seek to understand personality types. They assess this by asking opinion questions which illustrate how you react in different scenarios. Some of these questions include “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”, “What would you do if…?”, “What would you do if you would have a co-worker who did not act rightfully towards others?”

While some questions are common in any type of interview, i.e. “tell me about yourself?” employment interview questions are designed to isolate the best talent, weed out potential problems and minimize the risk in time and money that the hiring of a new employee represents.  Be ready to know about the company in full. Some employers like to use behavioral questions more than any others as they find that these help the company assess more accurately if an employee will perform up to expectations. To prepare for these, think of several scenarios that could be inquired and decide upon a response for each scenario. For example, plan ahead what you will response when asking you for a teamwork situation, or a failure, or an ethical dilemma. This is data that when thought ahead, can be structured into a well developed answer that provides outstanding feedback to the interviewer.

Unlike employment interview questions, institutions of higher learning do not risk financial loss when they admit a student. However, admitting the wrong student to the wrong major or university can have poor results reflected in lack of student satisfaction, which directly hurts any academic institution. That is why colleges use questions that will help them determine if A. The student understands the program and what is expected of him/her. B. The student has the right personality/outlook for the program sough after. D. The student’s resume reflects a commitment to his field of study or community service.  Some types of questions also included in admissions interviews are:

H. Program Questions: Colleges want to get the right person for the right major, they want to ensure that the candidate knows what the program is like and what is expected from him or her. Questions such as “What impresses you about our program,” “why do you want to be x-profession?,” “why should we give you a chance?,” will test the candidates commitment to their education goals. Expect other popular questions like “how will this experience help you achieve your professional and personal goals?” and “what objectives do you plan to achieve and how do they fit with our program?”, “what are your short term goals?”, and “where do you see yourself in 10 years?”

I. Personality Questions: Some professions are sedentary while others demand working in teams, some jobs are full of constant change and require new learning and adaptability while others rely on repetition, routine and inflexibility. That is why colleges will try to find out if you have the right outlook for the profession. Questions may include: “Have you ever lead a team and if so what results did you accomplish?”, “how do you deal with rejection?,”  or “how many hours to you practice a particular skill everyday?”

J. Theory vs. Practice Questions: These inquiries are designed to test your ability to identify problems and opportunities, demonstrate leadership in creating solutions, show your enthusiasm about applying new knowledge/skills at work (Evening/Weekend MBA), and other questions that help the program see if you have book-smarts and street-smarts. Prepare yourself for questions like:  How did you sell your idea to your supervisors? How did you execute a strategy your team developed? Describe an incident where you took the lead?

K. Contribution Questions: Universities want to know “what is in for me?” Will you be an active participant in the classroom and broader university community? What unique aspects and experience do you bring to the class? How do you handle conflict? What type of learning environment do you thrive in? What was your favorite class in college? What activities will you pursue outside of academics? These and other questions will help the school know not only what you’re getting out of their curriculum but what they’re getting out of you as well.

In effectively interviewing, there are few secrets. Practice does make perfect, or at least, almost perfect… The more times you interview for a job or for admissions, the better you will become at expressing yourself accurately and effectively to the decision maker. This is the one part of the job search process where it pays to be prepared. Learn about the company, the school and whomever you are interviewing with. Be ready to put your best foot forward with a positive attitude, knowing that you will make the connection and earn the opportunity.

By Claudine Vainrub, Principal of EduPlan


The Value of an Elevator Pitch

By Claudine Vainrub, Principal of EduPlan

What we call today “Elevator Pitch” is what once was a simple introduction. The term refers specifically to what you would say to someone about you and your added value if you were in an elevator with them for a minute, before getting to your floor. In today’s competitive job market, having an outstanding elevator pitch can make all the difference in the world. It can attract parties that otherwise might not be compelled to connect with you. Elevator Pitches can help you create personal brand recall, supporting you to position yourself favorably in the mind of a decision maker.

Let’s start by defining the term: an Elevator Pitch is a brief – 30-second statement that defines who you are, what is your profession or business, and the benefit of your services. In other words, it is a positioning statement that informs others of your stance and added value.

The essence of an Elevator Pitch, however, also involves the context in which we deliver it. When communicating our pitch, we need to understand who is our target audience and if they are ready to receive it. We might be distracted trying to get a business card out, or focusing on ourselves, when the other party might be providing a message. We also must develop several elevator pitches, one for each type of audience, and one that will prove compelling specifically for each receiver.

It seems not so hard to do, however, keep in mind that Elevator Pitches are not necessarily directed to a friend of your grandmother, they are to be delivered to people that could open doors for you in your job search or to enhance your business development process.

Here are some guidelines on how to prepare a compelling elevator pitch:

1-      Learn what differentiates you from the crowd. This is the first step in creating a good elevator pitch. Understand your uniqueness, traits, passions and values. For this, personal branding is a great tool which will support you in developing a vision, mission and unique promise of value, which should be essential parts of your pitch.

2-      Use the added value you bring any company through your services in the beginning of the pitch. Instead of saying: “I have been developing marketing strategies for 20 years”, say “I have generated seven figures in revenues through marketing strategies developed in the last 20 years”. Bring focus to the achievement, which is what differentiates you from other job seekers and business people.

3-      Make it exciting for you to say. Once determining your passions and values, add them to your pitch to ensure that when you communicate it, it increases your blood rate and visibly rises your energy level. Show your enthusiasm when giving your elevator pitch, an easier task to master if it truly is compelling to you.

4-      Be specific about your achievements and goals. Create different pitches for different industries and occupations, if you have several. Keep it as simple as possible, while communicating enough information to create the need of more.

5-      Practice saying it out loud – practice often. This is one case where practice can make perfect.

6-      Make sure to have business cards to accompany the elevator pitch. If you have delivered the pitch and do not have supporting materials to make the next move, you will no longer look as professional as you did when delivering the pitch (or could loose the opportunity to connect).

EduPlan, LLC