3 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Counteroffer

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While most career advice professionals will adamantly advise you against ever accepting a counteroffer from your current employer, the honest truth is accepting one can sometimes be a good career decision. It all depends on a few factors.

The sad fate of those who do accept counteroffers is often referenced in recruiting circles: 90 percent of them leave or are let go from their company within a year. I’m not sure about the origin of this widely referenced stat, but here’s the thinking behind it: When you accept a counteroffer, the issues that initially drove you to search for a new job are likely to remain unresolved. So while you may get a nice raise and a title bump in a counteroffer, you’re likely to end up back on the market as soon as the novelty wears off.

If you’re wondering whether or not to accept a counteroffer, you need to do two things:

  1. Be very honest with yourself about what you want and need to be happy at work.
  2. Trust what your gut is telling you.

Here are some things to think about the next time you have to decide between a new job and a counteroffer:

1. Are You After the Money, or Something More?

For one reason or another, you were tempted to explore other opportunities. Whether you initiated the process or were courted by a recruiter, the end result is the same: You have a new job offer on the table, as well as a counteroffer from your employer.

If the only reason you contemplated leaving is the money, then accepting a counteroffer that puts your compensation where you want it to be could be a perfectly fine course of action. However, money is rarely the main motivating factor behind a job search.

Think about the new opportunities you’ve been considering. What excites you about them? Do you want a new set of responsibilities? Will you have more room for growth and the opportunity to learn new skills? Assuming those are the reasons, it’s best to decline the counteroffer. A higher salary isn’t going to bring the same satisfaction. Move forward and don’t look back.

Taking a counteroffer to stay in the same role you currently have is putting a band-aid on a bad situation at work. It will only protect you from your professional dissatisfaction for a while. That dissatisfaction is bound to return again soon.

2. Will Your Role Change?

Sometimes, a counteroffer is your bosses’ way of expressing an earnest desire to have an open conversation with you about your role. If your boss seems to be after such a chat, it’s definitely advisable to engage in one.

Your boss may have no idea you’re unhappy or that you feel underutilized. They may be willing to shift your role to accommodate your professional desires. We all make mistakes. Maybe your boss made the mistake of not being as attuned to your needs as they should have been. Perhaps you made the mistake of avoiding a difficult conversationwith your boss regarding your professional frustrations. Whatever the case, if you feel the counteroffer is based on a sincere desire to retain you as a valued member of the organization and genuinely addresses your career frustrations, then maybe taking it isn’t a bad idea after all.

3. Is It Worth the Risk?

A counteroffer allows an employer to avoid the time-intensive, productivity-draining, and expensive process of finding a replacement for you. Hence, it is in your employer’s best interest to get you to accept their offer.

But let’s say you’ve already declined the counteroffer and accepted your new job. After embarking on a search for your replacement, your employer may come up empty. This may lead them to realize how invaluable you are — which means they may be willing to make yet another counteroffer.

This situation isn’t common, but it does happen. If you find yourself in this scenario, then you have a chance to negotiate a very special deal for yourself. You may want to take it.

As with most things in life, it’s best to stay away from a philosophy of always and never. There is no doubt that accepting an offer to return to a company you just left comes with some risk — but so does taking a new role. Sometimes you have to take a big risk to gain a big reward.

In the end, you need to trust your gut. Go with what feels right — but only after evaluating the situation from all points of view and considering all possible outcomes. When it comes deciding whether or not you should accept a counteroffer, the only right answer is yours.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Atrium Staffing blog.

Michele Mavi is Atrium Staffing‘s resident career expert.

Where Does Your Resume End and Your LinkedIn Profile Begin?

I am a recruiter with recruiter.com and have access to these articles, so I thought I would share the information.

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In today’s digital world, it is easy to think platforms like LinkedIn have completely diminished the importance of traditional resumes. However, they both have their purpose.

Recruiters and hiring managers will look at both your LinkedIn profile and your resume. There will be some differences and some similarities between these two documents, but used effectively, they can be complementary and highly powerful tools.

Here is some advice on the important differences and overlap between your LinkedIn profile and your resume:

1. Summary Section

Don’t make the mistake of simply copying and pasting the text from your resume to your LinkedIn profile. A hiring manager may think you aren’t taking your job search seriously, or they may view you as lazy or uncreative, or they may assume you don’t understand the purpose of LinkedIn.

On Your Resume

Job seekers — especially executives — tend to write extensive summaries, thinking they need to include everything they’ve ever done. However, your resume summary should really be short and to the point. You want to add a little personality so it doesn’t come across as dull and generic, and you want to put just enough information in your summary to make a recruiter or potential employer curious to know more about you.

Include in your summary some quantifiable results that are relevant to the position for which you are applying. That way, the potential employer will see that your past accomplishments are transferable to this new role. Incorporate an award or recognition you’ve received to further set yourself apart from other candidates.

On LinkedIn

Here is where it gets fun. You can do a lot with your LinkedIn summary. Make it interesting and conversational, preferably written in the first person. The reader should feel like they are getting to know you as they read your summary.

Think of your LinkedIn summary as a way to pull back the curtain and give a recruiter or hiring manager a glimpse of who you are outside of your resume. It is a place to talk in more detail about your specific strengths, what you bring to the table, and your career history up to this point. You can also include an accomplishment or anything else that makes you stand out.

Keep in mind that you have 2,000 characters for your summary, and start out strong to grab people’s attention. The first two sentences are especially critical, as they will either motivate a person to keep reading or convince them to close the window and check out another profile instead. At the end of the summary, reiterate how your passion and expertise help people succeed and how your success has translated into success for your company. Making the last sentence or two impactful will make your profile summary more memorable.

2. Communication Style

Each platform has its own unique style, and as such, each document should be written differently.

On Your Resume

When you write a resume, you need to use a formal tone. Your resume should speak to business details and keep things succinct.

On LinkedIn

Recruiters and hiring managers will look at your LinkedIn profile to learn more about you as a person, so your profile should be more informal and personable than your resume. In other words, when a person reads your LinkedIn summary and then hears you speak, they should be able to easily identify you as the same person across both interactions. Of course, you don’t want to mistake an informal voice for being unprofessional. There are creative ways to make your LinkedIn profile both professional and informal.

3. Work Experience, Skills, and Accomplishments

This is one of the rare instances in which both your resume and your LinkedIn profile should follow roughly the same rules. Both documents need to highlight your skills, past jobs, projects, and accomplishments in a way that highlights your value as a professional. You also need to be sure you are incorporating the right keywords into both your resume and your profile so that you will show up in search results and pass applicant tracking system screens.

There is a fine line between your resume and your LinkedIn profile, but both documents are necessary for a successful job hunt.

Generally, a resume should focus on business details, while a LinkedIn profile should be more conversational and place more emphasis on how you accomplish things. LinkedIn also allows for a bigger picture of your previous achievements and work experiences, whereas your resume must be concise.

Ideally, your executive resume and LinkedIn profile should combine to give an employer a clear picture of who you are both professionally and personally.

Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a certified professional resume writer, career consultant, and the president of Professional Resume Services.

Job Search Rejection: It’s Not Personal, But It Sure Feels Like It Is

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The job search is perhaps the most personal impersonal experience there is.

As a job seeker, you pour your heart into your cover letter. You customize your resume. You agonize your way through every step of the process, which can drag out for many months. Along the way, you may encounter many tests of your abilities: phone screens, in-person interviews, panel interviews — and perhaps even more. You may be asked to take a personality test to assess your cultural fit. You may need to take an IQ test to evaluate your intellect. You might be tasked with delivering a presentation or crafting a 90-day plan for your first few months on the job. Sample assignments, background checks, reference checks, and drug tests are also common.

As if that weren’t enough, you’ll be doing all of these things just under the radar of your current boss. You know you could be putting your entire career on the line if your boss were to notice what you were up to, but you do it anyway because it’s the only way to truly advance your career and grow as a professional.

After all of this work and all of this risk, the potential employer may very well decide you’re not the right candidate. Even though you brought your whole self to the table, the company may not return the favor. They may not even call to let you know you’ve been rejected. If you hear anything at all, it may come in the form of an automated email light on details and devoid of any personal touch.

It’s not personal, right? It’s not supposed to be, but it definitely burns. Still, you need to maintain the right attitude and outlook. You need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going. That may include keeping an eye out to see if the company has any additional job openings for which you could be a fit.

The job search is a massive personal investment for you, but you can’t let the impersonal nature of the process get to you. Job searching is, at its core, a numbers game. If you really want to score something new, you have to apply in bulk. You have to interview at more than one company and not put all your eggs in one basket.

This is how you turn the tables. Imagine it: Instead of giving your all to one job, you invest yourself in a number of openings. You find success at two or three of them, and you receive multiple job offers at once. Suddenly, you’re calling the shots.

Interestingly, companies can take rejection just as personally as job seekers do. It’s not uncommon for hiring managers to feel they’ve invested all their time in a candidate only to have that candidate walk away from them. The hiring manager or HR rep may even respond to your decision to decline the offer to let you know they’re disappointed.

Just remember: It’s not personal. Both sides are investing their time in the process. Both sides can walk away at any point. The employer expects you not to take their rejection so personally, so why should they take yours so personally?

A version of this article originally appeared on Copeland Coaching.

Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at Copeland Coaching.

3 Ways to Make Your Professional Reference’s Job Easier

3 Ways to Make Your Professional Reference’s Job Easier

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I recently received a phone call asking if I would provide a professional reference for someone named Margaret. I racked my brain, trying to remember a student, client, or someone I worked with in the Marine Corps by that name — but I came up empty. I even tried thinking of a Marge or a Maggie or some other variation of the name, but I had no luck.

Therefore, I did not call back.

However, after receiving two more calls asking for a reference, I decided to return the call — but only to let the employer know I didn’t know anyone by that name.

Don’t be like Margaret. Don’t jeopardize your job search by failing to have enthusiastic and reliable references on your side. Make it easy for your references to speak highly about you, your employment, and your accomplishments by providing them with as much information as possible before they are called.

Here is some practical advice to follow the next time you’re asked for references:

1. Ask Permission First

Contact your potential references and ask if you have their permission to use them as references. If they say yes, ask for their preferred email address and phone number by which to be contacted.

If you are not sure if the person will remember you, prepare to provide some brief background on your relationship. Maybe you worked together on a committee or the person was your college professor. Whatever the case, provide a few details to jog their memory.

If a person does not respond promptly to your request, I recommend finding another reference. Do not beg someone to be a reference. If they seem uninterested, they are unlikely to sell you to your new employer.

2. Keep Them Updated

After you have applied for a position, alert your references. Tell them a little about the job and organization. I recommend providing them with a copy of the job ad, as this will help them anticipate questions and formulate answers in advance.

If the job or industry you are pursuing has its own specific set of buzzwords and jargon — and your reference doesn’t work in the field — I also recommend supplying your reference with a list of relevant keywords. This will help them understand the job better while also tailoring their answers to the industry.

Finally, you should also give an up-to-date copy of your resume to your references so they can speak knowledgeably about your key accomplishments as a professional.

3. Prepare a List of Questions

In addition to giving your reference information about the job and your career to date, you may also want to help them prepare for the reference check itself. Consider giving them a list of questions they can rehearse in advance. Some of the most common questions your references are likely to be asked include:

  1. When did [name] work for your company? Can you provide a start and end date?
  2. What was their salary when they left?
  3. What was their position?
  4. Did this person miss a lot of work?
  5. Did they get along well with others?
  6. What was their biggest accomplishment while working at your company?
  7. How do you know this person?
  8. How long did this person work for you?
  9. What are their strengths?
  10. What is their main weakness?
  11. Would you hire this person again?
  12. Do you think this person can perform the duties outlined in the job description?
  13. Is there anything else you would like to add that may help us with our hiring decision?

Your references matter — perhaps even more than you realize. According to an OfficeTeam survey of hiring managers, about 21 percent of candidates are removed from consideration after their references are checked. My advice: Only use enthusiastic references who will speak positively about you. Don’t make Margaret’s mistake.

Jaynine Howard is a military veteran whose work as a career strategist and reinvention specialist has been recognized by professional organizations throughout the nation.

The Right Answer to ’Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?’

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“So, where do you see yourself in five years?”

It’s one of the most dreaded interview questions, and it’s one you’re likely to come across at some point in your job search. No one really knows where they will be in five years, and even if you do have a plan, there’s no way to know for sure it will pan out. Still, interviewers will keep asking the question, so it’s your job to learn how to answer it.

What Not to Say

Delivering a strong answer to this question depends on not only saying the right things, but also avoiding the wrong things.

1. Avoid Titles

Don’t get too ambitious or unrealistic. Saying you want to be a director or executive is an instant red flag. Since there is no way for a hiring manager to know what title you’ll actually hold in five years, it is best to avoid using specific titles in your answer. Instead, you want to emphasize the things you’ll be doing for the organization.

2. Never Say You Don’t Know

“I don’t know” may be a completely honest answer, but total honesty isn’t the best policy in this case. Hiring managers know you can’t answer the question in great detail, but they do want to see you have a desire to grow and add value to their organization. If you convey that you plan to simply go with the flow, you’ve basically sunk your ship before you even set sail. Just as you shouldn’t inflexibly aim for a specific destination from which you refuse to change course, you can’t give the impression you are at the mercy of whichever way the wind blows. Such an answer inspires little confidence that you’ll actually be invested in the role if you get it.

3. Don’t Share Your Big Dreams

You may plan to open your own company one day, or you may have your heart set on working in a completely different field. In either case, that makes this particular job just a means to an end.

You may think that sharing big goals like these makes you look like a hard worker, but what it really tells the hiring manager is you have no intention of sticking around for the long haul. Companies make investments in their employees through training and development programs. They don’t want to hire someone who will walk out the door before they’ve gotten a return on that investment.

How to Craft a Great Answer

Now that you know what not to do, here are the three things your answer should convey:

1. Show Interest in the Role

Let the interviewer know you’re excited about this position because it will allow you to utilize your natural skills and talents. Your hiring manager wants to know you are truly interested in the position and not just using it as a stepping stone to another job down the road.

2. Stress Your Ability to Grow

Explain that the role offers you great opportunities to both learn more about the industry and grow within your own career path. Hiring managers are looking for high-potential candidates. You don’t need to know everything before you start the job, but you should express an interest in learning, growing, and developing your skills and expertise through the job. This shows hiring managers you are a candidate capable of growth and offering long-term value.

3. Commit to the Company

Conclude by communicating that you’re looking to refine your expertise in this role and increase your value to the organization along the way. Hiring managers aren’t looking for you to take on the world; they just want to know you are growth-minded, can add long-term value to the company, and have an interest in doing exactly that at their organization, not somewhere else.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Atrium Staffing blog.

Michele Mavi is Atrium Staffing‘s resident career expert.

 

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Remote Companies Hiring in 2019

Remote Companies Hiring in 2019

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A list of remote-first and remote-friendly companies. Find the right fit for you from our library of amazing remote companies.

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3 Reasons Why You Haven’t Heard Back From the Remote Job You Applied For

While it can be frustrating not hearing back from employers, it doesn’t have to be the case when you follow the tips in this guide.

 

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Did you know 98% of job seekers are eliminated at the initial resume screening phase?

That means just the top 2% of job applicants actually land an interview.

So if you’ve been feeling like the odds of scoring a remote position aren’t in your favor, there may be something you can do to change your luck.

In fact, today we’ll be covering not one, but three of the most common reasons applications don’t move forward to the interview stage.

When you avoid or fix these issues, you’ll instantly increase your chances of employers reading your resume and touching base with you ASAP.

So let’s start with the first and arguably biggest mistake: giving a potential employer a negative first impression.

 

#1: You Never Bothered to Create a Unique Cover Letter (Or One At All)

Cover letters can be a pain to create. After all, it’s just another step in what can be an already lengthy application process with most of the same information.

But skipping one or putting in half the effort just because they’re not fun isn’t the answer.

Here’s why: a cover letter can be your golden ticket to getting your resume read.

Cover letters help potential employers see how you think and write — and they give a peek at your personality.

A solid cover letter also shows potential employers how much effort you’re willing to put in. It also indicates just how much you want the position and are invested in chasing it.

Just the opposite happens with a poor cover letter or none at all.

Do this and you’ll give employers a reason to weed you out and choose someone who went the extra mile.

 

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Since cover letters require serious thought, create a template you can adjust for each position to save yourself some time.

A cover letter template should:

  • • Start out with where you found the remote job.
  • • Discuss how your skills fit the job description and make the connection between your past experience and the job you’re applying for. It’s especially important to highlight previous remote work experience here.
  • • Close with a simple salutation and thank you.

Your cover letter should be just a few short paragraphs containing two or three sentences each, at most. Don’t create a robust cover letter that’s too long for employers to sift through.

Most importantly, generate a unique cover letter for each position you apply for.

This shows employers you’ve done your homework and you’re not taking a lazy approach by reusing a cover letter from another position.

You should only create cover letters for jobs that really interest you. This will give you plenty of time to invest in making yours stand out.

Do this and you’ll hear back from employers sooner rather than later, which also happens when you avoid this next mistake.

 

#2: Your Resume Is Too Generic

Just like your cover letter should be customized for the position you’re applying for, so should your resume.

This doesn’t mean you have to reinvent your resume each time from scratch, rather, we’re suggesting you create a resume template and tailor it to highlight what the employer is looking for in their specific job description.

So if you’re applying for a graphic design job requiring experience with digital ads, don’t put your billboard ad creation experience at the top.

 

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Think of your resume like real estate:

The primetime spots are at the top of the page so use this important space to show off the exact skills the job description is looking for.

This is also where you’ll want to point out your remote skills so employers know you can easily adapt without requiring much training.

It’s also a good idea to use the same keywords in your resume as in the job post, just in case your resume is being scanned through an applicant tracking system.

And no, that doesn’t mean you should stuff your resume unnaturally with keywords. Simply make sure they’re in there and relate to your experience.

Keep in mind, the number of keywords you use in your resume won’t matter if you’re guilty of this final mistake.

 

#3: You Don’t Have Enough Experience

You can create a solid cover letter and a standout resume to match, but you may not hear back from employers if you lack the experience they’re seeking.

All hope is not lost, but you should take a closer look at whether you were really qualified for the position before applying for others like it.

Far too often job candidates stretch their experience on their resume. Others don’t bother to read how many years of experience are required thinking employers don’t really mean X+ years are needed.

Don’t make this mistake.

Only apply for jobs you’re really qualified for and save everyone’s time.

If you sidestep these three mistakes, your resume should have a fighting chance of connecting with your potential employers.

 

Prove You’re Invested in the Position and Employers Will Invest in You

By spending time on your cover letter and resume, you’ll show potential employers you’re really willing to put in the work it takes to land the job.

And they’ll assume you’ll do the same once hired.

These tips are especially important for remote positions where employers have hundreds of qualified applicants from all over the world competing for opportunities.

So make sure your cover letter and resume stand out and show you’re the most qualified candidate (because you’re bursting with all the necessary experience).

This simple recipe will help you secure more interviews and hopefully land the remote job of your dreams in less time.