Edward Lai, currently the Vice President of Business Development at Bensonhurst Rehabilitation Center, Hopkins Center and Fairview Rehab discusses the types of job opportunities that are trending in today’s healthcare industry, shares his own career insights and how candidates can best prepare for those career prospects.
Audience: Job Seekers — those looking to pivot their careers into healthcare or even just considering to begin their career in healthcare.
What is the Trend?
America is aging. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Population Projections, in the next few decades, 1 in every 5 residents will be older than age 65, a number that’s projected to outpace those younger than 18 for the first time in history. By 2050, the senior population will have doubled to 90 million. More specifically, the number of adults ages 85 and older will nearly quadruple.
According to a study by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, as the population ages, 8% will have cognitive impairments, 60% will have mobility limitations and 20% will have high needs.
According to Edward, “Cognitive impairments means that mental status will be down, they may not know what they may be doing at times and it happens a lot. We see a lot of these kinds of patients in nursing homes. Mobility limitations are from strokes, from surgery, and a lot of different types of effects on the patient’s well-being as they get older. I suspect the high needs are bed down patients which we will be caring for. So this is the trend in America which is why healthcare is blooming.
Ten Reasons To Consider a Healthcare Career
This is the reason why Edward ended up with this career path.
- You’ll enjoy job security. “During Covid lockdown, there have been unfortunate events that happened like being laid off and companies going out of business — but I have not missed a day of work. I was here everyday serving the patients.”
- You will do work that interests you. “You will get to pick the field that you find most interesting to you to pursue your work in.”
- You can live and work anywhere you want. “Once you have that profession, like a nurse, nurse practitioner, physical therapist — you name it, technically you can work in all states and everyone needs your service.”
- You can find a health career that fits your educational plans. “What that means is that if you don’t want credentials that require a lot of schooling. For example, you don’t want to do 4 years of nursing school but you only want to do 2 years, then studying to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) would be the best option for you. You are still a nurse, but a lower grade nurse — in this case that fit your needs.”
- You can learn by reading and doing. “Healthcare is pretty straightforward.”
- You can get help to pay for school. “Definitely true. My sister went to nursing school. There’s a lot of scholarships and grants. You want to pay for your schooling so you can hurry up and get into position to serve the population in the hospital — so there are actually a lot of opportunities.”
- You’ll have a clear path to advancement. “You go in as entry-level and in several years, you may be offered a higher level position, whether it is a nurse manager, a rehab director, you name it.”
- You will earn a good salary. “Definitely true, but it depends on what you consider a good salary though because most of us won’t earn $1 million a year. In general, it is a pretty good income for many folks.
- You can work with people, or you can choose not to work with people, “because once you have the credentials, you can do a lot of things in your liking.”
- You can make a difference in people’s lives. “This is my favorite part because this is what I do on a daily basis.”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections
Employment is projected to grow from 162.8 million to 168.8 million over the 2019–29 decade, an increase of 6.0 million jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. This reflects an annual growth rate of 0.4 percent, slower than the 2009-19 annual growth rate of 1.3 percent, which was bolstered by recovery from the 2007-09 Great Recession. The healthcare and social assistance sector is projected to add the most new jobs, and 6 of the 10 fastest growing occupations are related to healthcare.
Fastest Growing Occupations
Listed at #2 in job outlook growth rate 52%, a Nurse practitioner-requires a Master’s degree and extensive nursing experiences, its 2020 median pay is $111,680! These medical professionals are highly sought after because they are working in every medical settings and although they can only work under MDs and DOs; they are practitioners and can perform like a doctor rather independently.
On your #4, the OTA has a growth rate of 35% with a median pay of $62,940. The job requires an OTA license. They work with the occupational therapist.
A very familiar job to many of us, the HHA/PCA is coming in at #6 in job growth at 34%, this is due to population is getting older and the need for home care is in the raise. HHA is averaging a little over 27K in 2020. It is based by the State.
The PTA (#7) is also highly sought after by hospitals and nursing home at a growth of 33% and a median pay of 59K. PTA requires a PTA license and works closely with the physical therapist.
Edward’s profession — and folks in management positions like #8 Medical and Health Services Managers earns an average of just over 6 figures. These are folks like me in management positions, like medical site managers, facility administrators, office managers, marketing executives etc.
Rounding the top 20 growing jobs according to BLS are #9 PA which makes 6 figures and the Speech-Language Pathologist making on an average 80K.
U.S. News Ranked #3 Out of 100 Best Jobs
Nurse Practioner (NP)
“They are seen in hospitals, nursing homes and normal medical practice. They examine and treat patients independently. They don’t need the doctor to stand next to them. They make those determinations on their own. They can ensure proper illness and injured care and disease prevention. They can do treatment and recovery. They can also provide medications. Nurse Practitioners are something I know a lot about because that is what my younger sister wants to become, so she is starting as a Registered Nurse. After a few years of becoming an RN, then you can become a NP once you have all that experience, expertise and higher educations, etc. It is a very good career to have and the salary is also high.”
U.S. News Ranked #70 Out of 100 Best Jobs
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)
“They work very closely with the rehab team in nursing homes. They can also work in hospitals. Very good pay. This job does not require a 4 year degree. basically you just need to get the license. It’s roughly about over 1 year. A lot of people get an Associate’s Degree within 2 years. It is a very easy occupation to enter. The salary range is $55K-$67K annually. Based on this compensation and work environment, this is a very rewarding profession. You basically work in a rehab gym — it is very safe, quiet and this position typically has its own schedule. It is very flexible and spaced out. You normally would work with each patient for about 45 minutes to 1 hour at a time. The COTA helps patients perform activities of daily living as they recover from their illness and injury. The COTA basically works under the Care Plan.
In case you are not aware, Occupational Therapy is not like Physical Therapy. OT focuses more on the upper body like using your hand movements, getting up from your bed, etc. PT focuses more on the lower body.”
U.S. News Ranked #28 Out of 100 Best Jobs
Home Health Aide (HHA)
“It is pretty surprising that the HHA position is ranked so high in the BLS Projections and U.S. News 100 Best Jobs. You may think working as an HHA is so simple since there is no specific educational requirements. You can just obtain a license from many places fairly easily. Many HHA agencies do not require you to pay. You just go to school, they pay for your license or they reimburse you, and you get the job.
HHAs spend a lot of time with their clients in their own home and assist them with their daily living and activities such as cooking for them, cleaning up the house and accompany them to medical appointments, etc. This job is very high in demand right now and it doesn’t seem to stop anytime soon. They have fringe benefits as well and typically in NYC I would say the salary is about $35K to begin with.”
U.S. News Ranked #13 Out of 100 Best Jobs
Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)
“The national average salary for this role is $63K. The PTA prepares the patient and equipment for therapy and implements the treatment plans. They do exercivses, stretching, maneuvers, and they help the patient to increase their mobility. Being a PTA requires an Associate Degree. It’s a pretty satisfying job.
In senior year of high school, I went to a rehab hospital in Texas and this hospital basically opened my eyes up. I was volunteering for about 3 weeks. Everyday I was there and I saw how they worked and performed; the way PTAs assisted patients with walking them to see them get better.”
U.S. News Ranked #4 Out of 100 Best Jobs
Medical and Health Services Managers
“Including me, these are administrators, executives, directors, planners, coordinators that works behind the scenes to keep hospitals, nursing homes, group therapies and other healthcare facilities running. We are pretty organized individuals. We are administrators, we work with Department of Health, we hire the staff to provide the care to our patients.
The unemployment rate for this group is just 1.1% and the average salary is about six figures. The average number of jobs in this field are about 133K. In order for you to work in a hospital or nursing home, the minimum requirement would be a Bachelor’s Degree. If you are highly experienced in a certain area like Marketing or Healthcare Management, they can always look at other options. There is no certification per se, basically a lot of us are just providing opportunities somehow because we have been doing this for a while.
For example, I have been working in this field for 9 years in home care setting. After a while if your boss trusts you, you get more responsibilities and from there — you just grow. I am very fortunate that I was provided that opportunity.”
U.S. News Ranked #1 Out of 100 Best Jobs
“This profession is needed for medical practitioners to see patients — diagnose and treat. Normally when a doctor comes in the room to see patients, they are not really MDs (allopathic doctor) or DOs (osteopathic doctor). Those are the big doctors. In most cases, it would be the Physician Assistant that would come in to see you. The average for a Physician Assistant — they earn well over six figures and they are very important in the hospital settings because when the patient discharges, they have to be approved by the physician, but most of the time — the Physician is not available so the PA would approve most of those discharges. They would go in to talk to the patients and families to explain different procedures that they have to do and care plans, etc.
Very valuable profession, highly respected in the industry. And one of the reasons why this job is so popular is because the Physician Assistant completes their education in a short amount of time. On the other hand like in medical school, you have to go through 4 years of undergrad, and you have to have 4 years of medical school — after the 4 years, you have residency, internships… it’s just a ton of time that you have to put in and I know many people that went to medical school that failed and it’s just not too pretty.
But for Physician Assistant, some schools offer a Bachelor’s program and the most would be a Master’s program that most schools now require. In New York, I think there’s 1 or 2 schools that allows a Bachelor’s program for the Physician Assistant. So if anyone is interested in this #1 job in the U.S., you guys should take a look since there is a lot of opportunities out there for this profession.”
U.S. News Ranked #7 Out of 100 Best Jobs
Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)
“Basically for this position, they work in schools. They work for non-profits. They are also in nursing homes as well as hospitals. The average pay is $84K.
They basically access and treat speech and language disorders. They use a lot of cards and games to help people use their speech accordingly. They are wonderful people. A lot of them have their own practice so they can help people regain their speech.
Normally, they would have a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree. And most of these SLPs that I know have some Science Degree. But the ones who work in nursing homes, normally have a certification that allows them to do the swallow test as well — because a lot of times after the patient get a stroke, they would request a test so that we know that they can swallow. It is very important because if they can’t swallow, they can’t eat. If they can’t eat, then we might have some intensive procedures to do the feeding, etc.
A Speech-Language Pathologist does more than just speech. They would help us with these swallow tests. They do need to have a certification — that is required.”
Jobs Not Ranked But Highly In Demand
Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) are a few of the many highly demanded jobs. Edward mentions that “these are not ranked by the BLS, but it is ranked as one of the 100 Best Jobs as you can see.”
Registered Nurse (RN)
“The RN position is ranked #37. Why is the RN position so popular? This is actually my recommendation to everyone. I actually missed that opportunity when I was young. I was working as a CNA in college just X amount of years ago. I was working in a nursing home and that was one of my very first jobs, actually.
When I went to college, I went to visit this nursing home in Abilene, Texas and I just feel drawn. So I started working for them as a CNA — the nursing home offered me the opportunity to go to nursing school for free and I turned it down. I was young and pretty naive and I didn’t want to get tied down because they wanted me to sign a 3 year contract.
Now if someone offers you a nursing school education, an opportunity to be and you just spent 3 years of commitment, just take it. I did not.”
So Edward answers WHY? for RN. His personal recommendation is “if you really do have the time, the investment to do this, go for the RN. Basically RNs are the first ones to access the patients. They record the patients’ medical history, symptoms. They work in hospitals and nursing homes — and they basically set up plans for patient care. They operate more into medical equipment. They have to run a lot of tests. They provide a certain comfort in a medical setting because doctors don’t really have times to explain that many things. But when the nurses are treating you, that is the frontline of care. So I believe that nursing is the most important especially since I work in a nursing home — and who’s the most important? Of course it’s the nurses.”
“The opportunity for nursing is tremendous. You start off as an entry-level RN and you start to move towards a different capacity like a Unit Manager, a Floor Manager, you know, like.. very specific units. Like the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), they pay more critical care nurses. Then you can become the Director of Nursing.”
Edward provides a personal touch to this story.. “Recently, I helped this lady from Beijing. She worked at another nursing home. She worked so hard and I can see it. She has such passion for patients so I spoke with the Fairview administrator and we were able to offer her a position as an Assistant Director of Nursing. These are great examples that if you put some hard work into things, you get rewarded. It just happened yesterday that she was able to get this position and she was very happy about it.”
“So what is the earning potential for an RN? You start off as around national average $70K? If you move up to let’s say, an Assistant Director of Nursing over here in my group, then it would be around $140K-$150K. For Director of Nursing, it would be around $180K (this is for nursing homes). If you work in a hospital setting, you are talking about high-level nurse administrators — and those would be over $200K.”
“I think that as a nurse you obviously, especially with COVID — a lot of people say that it is a very dangerous occupation and it is no fun, but that is not the case. A lot of times, you have your PPE; it’s a pretty safe environment to work in. They don’t just throw you in a dangerous (position) for no reason; you will have your protection — and as you move up, it’s pretty much going to be an office job setting. For example, I see a lot of Nurse Managers in an office setting. They are no longer on the floor. As you move up, you are more like a manager, sort of speak.”
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
“The LPN won’t have that much opportunities, but as an LPN — it takes fairly little time for you to complete your education and start working so potentially you can start working for hospitals, nursing homes… Nursing homes mostly, because you will be doing medication and some treatment. Not a lot though, because a lot of the assessment is done by the RN.
However, as an LPN — you have an opportunity as a lower level manager that supervises all the CNAs on the floors as well.”
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
“A CNA is what I started off as and in this position — it is very frontline. You care for the patients, you bathe them, etc.”
Edward emphasizes the importance that “all in all, these 3 positions are highly in demand. After you get out of school, get your license, you will get a job right away — and get a job in my group.”
Top “Entry Level” Healthcare Openings
Edward asserts that, “a lot of 2 year colleges, career schools, Allied Health schools have programs for you to complete your education and be onto a career.”
Allied Health professionals are involved with the delivery of health or related services pertaining to the identification, evaluation and prevention of diseases and disorders; dietary and nutrition services; rehabilitation and health systems management, among others. Allied health professionals, to name a few, include dental hygienists, diagnostic medical sonographers, dietitians, medical technologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, radiographers, respiratory therapists, and speech language pathologists. Many of these professions are ranked by US News, including dental hygienist at #32, medical sonographer at #33 and respiratory therapist at #57.
Think Outside The Box
What Edward wants everyone to do is to think outside the box.
“A lot of times, people will think that all you have are doctors and nurses as healthcare jobs. But that’s not the case with a lot of stuff going on. I want everyone to put some thinking caps on to see what’s out there for them.. really. Do some research and find something that is to your liking.”
Healthcare Jobs That Typically Do Not Require a 4 Year Degree
EMT: No degree or even high school diploma required!
“I have so much respect for them. Just imagine our world without EMTs. What are we going to do? They are usually the first ones there if we need help. They perform CPR, they stop the bleeding, things like that.
To become an EMT, you just go to EMT school. Its about 3-4 months of night school or full-time day hours and you can get the license to start practicing. The average salary is around $36K. Although not a lot of money, they are highly respected.”
LPN: No degree required!
“Most LPNs already have Associate Degrees although no degree is required at this point. Certifications are necessary though.”
Pharmacy Technician: No degree required!
“When you go into Walgreens for example, they all have their license. If you go to your local Chinese pharmacies, many of them do not have their license because you don’t need that to become a Pharmacy Technician.
Medical Coding and Billing: No degree required!
“You have schools to study for medical coding and billing, and there are certificate programs for it but it is not required. Basically after Physicians treat their patients, they don’t bill them. Physicians would just hand over to the medical billers, and the billers according to what procedure is being done — they would submit those coding for payment — to the insurance companies
Medical Assistant: No degree required!
“They have a certificate program and they would have to go for an internship. Most of them are seen at medical clinics. They assist the doctor with a ton of responsibilities from the paper work to medications, to finding he right equipment, etc.”
Surgical Technician: Obtainable within 2 years, AOS degree
“You don’t really hear people talk much about surgical technologists. They basically prep the surgery room, the operation room and they prep it based on what the Physician directs them to do.. For example, if they are performing heart surgery — they will tell them it’s for heart surgery, to prepare equipment like knives, scalpels, cotton balls, etc.”
Licensed Health Insurance/Benefits Advisor: no degree required!
“Typically, you see these types of workers assisting clients with their Medicare applications/enrolling into Medicare programs or other health insurance programs. You actually need a license in order to be able to do that. Medicare programs. They have a base salary and comes with a very nice commission. You can make around $90K.”
CNA: No degree required!
Dental Assistant: No degree required!
“Certification required though.”
How To Prepare for a Career in Healthcare
- What specific role within the healthcare industry is most suited for you? As Edward suggests, “Just because it is suitable for me, doesn’t mean it is most suitable for you. So you need to find that passion and know what you want to do.”
- Figure out the time and money investment aspect because as Edward asserts, “some people are willing to spend 6 years of their time to pursue their dreams/goals, while some don’t have the means or patience to do so since they have to provide for their family, etc. We are all in different situations.”
- Know your own strengths and weaknesses. “I’m bad with science, I’m bad with math so I didn’t pursue being a PA, MP, all those medical professionals. I know I’m very good with selling stuff so I did marketing and I carved out my own path based on that. Slowly but surely, I moved to this level” (now as a Senior Vice President for Business Development at Bensonhurst Nursing Home).
- Volunteer to get a feel of the industry. “A lot of hospitals, nursing homes and social sectors allow you to volunteer. Get a feel of people. Get a feel of healthcare professionals.”
- Have commitment towards the credential/degree requirements. “You have to be committed to be able to succeed at a high level. I truly believe that. Once you are committed into something, then you can do it.”
Q&A from Interested Job Seekers to Edward
- Q: If I want to be a Chinese interpreter, do I have to get licence or certificate? Where can I take them?
- A: Being an interpreter is an excellent career choice. Being certified definitely gives you a leg up. You should look into being certified as a court interpreter and/or becoming a medical interpreter, I have enclosed the website: https://www.certifiedmedicalinterpreters.org/
- Q: I am currently in my gap year after a 16-month post-pandemic. I am an administration, office, community support, and data entry specialist. Can you advise what is the benefit as per diem basis administration position for a hospital for someone like me moving from the retail sector into healthcare/hospital? My passion is learning and helping people in the communities. I’ve left NYC for good and now living in the capital state region exploring this much-needed job market.
- A: Don’t stay away too long from action. Basic administrative role at hospitals are highly competitive. You seem to have a lot of experience from previous jobs, but you are not standing out… so my approach would be to build some relationship via volunteering in the hospital settings and then use those relationships to help you gain entrance. Benefits for working in hospital administrative roles are great benefits and longevity.
- Q: How long will it take to study LPN? How much is the salary range? Is it possible to take that course even if I am not a nursing student? I am an Engineer from the Philippines. Which is better to study health care aide, LPN or business management? My age is 61 but I look younger than my age and am strong. Which path would you think best suits me with a good salary and demand?
- A: Good choice! LPN vacancy is expected to grow 11% through 2028. National median pay is 65K, but do not expect that amount especially as a fresh grad. 45K-56K in NY, with nursing home nursing supervisor also as potentials. Great job prospects. NYC schools also hires a fair share of LPN. You do not require any previous nursing school education, but you should have a high school diploma and be able to pass the NCLEX-PN to practice in New York. I would suggest you working as a HHA to start while you attend LPN school, that way you can have some income for the time-being, and that course is super short you can complete with breeze. LPN school takes about 14 months or less. It’s never too old to pursue a dream. My father earned his doctorate at age 60. Here’s a link to one of the nursing schools: https://www.amg.edu/lpn-program/
- Q: Can I take a LPN course even as an engineering grad? How long will it take?
- A: Yes you can take LPN course as a engineering grad, any grad, as long as you have a high school diploma and is proficient in English and math.
On Wednesday, May 26th — there was an panel conversation between business and community leaders about how conversion to employee ownership can help NYC restaurant and hospitality businesses survive and thrive in our post-pandemic future.
“There is no question that this past year has been one of the hardest in recent history for small businesses and workers alike, particularly NYC’s nightlife and hospitality sectors who typically thrive — and residents and tourists can be out and about in all five boroughs and can engage in close quarters together.”
“We also know when there is an economic recession in tending the labor market, not to mention a lingering public health crisis that often small business owners are the first to contract. They are no longer able to support their talent, and they are no longer able to contribute their valuable goods and services that they typically have to their communities.”
“In New York City, according to the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development report — there are 220,000 small businesses in New York and 98% of them has less than 100 employees and 89% of them has less than 20 staff. Moreover, half of the private sector of the workforce is with small businesses. That means when small businesses falter, so do our workers. Over the course of the last year, we have seen 600,000 jobs loss. We’ve seen thousands of businesses temporarily or permanently shutter. This disproportionately impact low-income workers, communities of color and young adults.”
“It is important for workforce development professionals to support those who lost jobs (laid off or furloughed) during the pandemic by connecting them to benefits, essential jobs if possible, and continue to do so as the City opens up.
During this time, it is very important to offer as much resources and tools as possible to small businesses and workers – as this is imperative in our economic recovery as well as an equitable recovery.”
According to Senior Executive Director Ariel Palitz —
“Before the pandemic, the Office of Nightlife was dedicated to making sure we were supporting nightlife businesses, helping to elevate nightlife culture, promote safety, harm reduction, equity, as well as improve quality of its life. And while those are still our priorities, the pandemic really did obviously shift our energy into crisis management mode to ensure that this industry not only survives this, but comes out stronger than ever before. What the Office of Nightlife is hearing and learning from the industry is that this is still a very dark time, even though we are so grateful to see the light coming and the opening, and the return to sociability.
There is going to be a struggle coming back. This virus hit the heart of social gathering, the heart of this industry and so the recovery — the financial recovery is going to be a long road ahead. We know that we’re hearing that it’s very difficult to find employees, trained employees to lure them back into the workplace — and we know that is a real struggle that we’re working with.”
Ariel Palitz also highlights the importance of mental health — that “the mental health issues are underlying not only for the owners and workers but for patrons — and these are all the things that we are going to have to address, continue to address in a very thoughtful manner. But I bring all of this up because it’s also a real opportunity for creative solutions and to see what was a near collapse, and perhaps, even a not guaranteed return that we have an opportunity now to really look and see how can we do things that are not like before but better.”
“And so what the Office of Nightlife has done in the past 12 months was to see where are those opportunities where we can make those types of improvements — one of which was an initiative that we created called, MEND NYC. It is a five-borough initiative. It stands for Mediating Establishment and Neighborhood Disputes. Everyone in the hospitality industry knows that much of their enforcement is complaint driven. At times it could just be one person upstairs calling 311 anonymously and you don’t know who that person is or what the complaint is until you have a visit at the door.
What we created was an opportunity to mend relationships between the residents and the owners through free mediation and to find compromise through communication, and to establish direct contact — and so next time when it is a little louder they call you, and not necessarily an enforcement.
That is one creative solution I encourage everyone to check out as we start to get more and more vibe through both indoors and outdoors.
We help to launch curtains up with our partners at SBS (NYC Small Business Services) to help you through your application processes through the federal grant programs so you don’t have to figure this out all on your own.”
“We also are starting a new mental health initiative with the mental health community — new mental health community office called ELEVATE for the nightlife industry to preserve and protect venues that foster connection, creativity, and personal expression through programs to support cultural spaces and the New Yorkers who work and perform in them.
The real question: How do we innovate?
There is a willingness in small businesses to innovate all the time. And the pandemic brought on a need to innovate and to think what’s next and what’s different. Restaurants and many other businesses in the hospitality industry had to rethink about how to continue doing their business in the city. So how do we leverage that and go into more change in a way that can really help?
With small businesses and restaurants, people will always need to eat and will always need to have these establishments. How do we have them in a way that strengthens our community’s wealth and each other’s livelihood? How can we make it an experience that everybody can enjoy?
According to Rafael Espinal, the Executive Director of a non-profit called Freelancers Union mentions that — “the challenges that the hospitality industry and nightlife faced during the pandemic were rising rents, real estate playing a role in shaping which small businesses would survive or continue to exist in our communities. There was a lack of sensitivity from our neighbors on these establishments, which led to over enforcement — posed another challenge. For decades, when we talk about New York City and the overall ecosystem, night life which helped create our city’s identity/brand, was never really part of that conversation.
If we look at the numbers, there are over 300,000 jobs and over 25,000 businesses across the city. They have a huge economic impact, not only financially but also culturally.”
“Housing, infrastructure, roads fits into the overall equation — nightlife has to be part of that conversation in order to ensure that NYC continues to succeed. The pandemic has created a whole different challenge — a lot of employees have lost their jobs because of the fact that businesses had to operate at one point — at zero capacity, then at half capacity and now everything is opening up. A lot of folks are out of work, a lot of businesses had to close completely because they couldn’t make the economics to work in this time.”
“We can all agree that having a conversation around the work-cooperative model — where the employees have a stake in the business where the employees become owners of the business, it really will create a stronger foundation moving forward.
When you have more than one person who has an interest in the viability of that business, you’ll have more resources to pull from.
When there is a common goal as they open, when there is a common goal to ensure that you are producing the services to the community, when there is common goal in ensuring that all of the workers are being treated equally, there is a lot of energy there that will create a strong foundation.”
“Real estate will continue to be a question in the background. It is a little tougher to control — but we can control what the business model is going to look like moving forward. We can also control the laws/impacts that are coming out from City Hall. There is a lot to unpack here and I am excited to know what the future of nightlife and hospitality will look like.”
While the job market is changing overtime, and will continue to change due to the pandemic, people will most likely have to pick up jobs that will lead to disappointment — as a result of the job shortages.
So the question is if you were offered a job that wouldn’t necessary fit what you are looking for, should you take it?
If you are starting your career as a recent college grad or transitioning to a new field but aren’t quite sure on a path, here are some advice that will hopefully point you to a direction:
- For what is worth, look for what satisfies you. The better you like it, the better you will perform in the field/role. If it feels good, you excel at it and you should do it. You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes you didn’t like, that didn’t fit or were not fit for purpose.. would you?
- The perfect job is not about what it is, but rather how it makes you feel and drives you to make things better. That is called your passion. Your passion is something that you enjoy doing everyday, where it doesn’t feel like a job; never phased you or felt like a chore. Instead, you let it motivate and drive you.
- Check out some online psychometric tests or career personality tests (like a Myers Briggs Personality Test) to work out suitability, style, character, leadership, ideal career, etc.
- If you like your role, you should also pay attention to the work environment around you. Stay away from negatively charged people, atmospheres where they can be unproductive, infectious and lead down the path to nowhere.
- In any job/internship/volunteer that you have had, what part of each of them did you enjoy the most? Write that down as a job description somewhere.
- Imagine a person like yourself doing that job and try to morph one to five of them that may exist into a job that exists and even more or less, take your best qualities and apply for jobs that you know you can excel at. Learn more of their internal work flow. Apply that to your thinking cap. It doesn’t hurt to give it a try.
- Weigh the pros and cons of any new job. If you find a job that you think will challenge you and the pros outweigh the cons, consider the new job instead. However, you will need to be passionate about what you do, so then it will feel like you’re getting the work done.
- The most important step is to simply apply. This is often overlooked because job seekers get discouraged when they do not hear back after submitting 100+ applications and that networking is the only avenue to take. However, often these days, people do not apply and are collecting pandemic unemployment assistance — which means they are not even entered into the race to land a new opportunity.
- Most times, you do not know if a role is actually perfect for you until you have gone through the interview process and have been able to gather more in-depth information about the responsibilities, team, culture and company. But the key is to at least apply. That is step one.
- A lot of job seekers have not been applying because they are afraid of rejection. Do not be afraid to apply for a job because there is nothing to lose while going through the process. Up until there is an offer on the table, there is no reaction required — it’s all information-gathering until a final decision needs to be made.
- If you apply for as much opportunities as possible (of course, opportunities that pique your interest), and if you land an interview, that is a bonus. You will still gain valuable skills from going through another interview process. You will learn what to expect and what skills employers are looking for. This is still a win-win.
- We only really get to know how warm the water is by putting our foot in it. Apart from when it seems so obvious that the job is not right, accepting an “imperfect” job is not always as bad as we always think. How many of us can put our hands on our hearts and say without any doubt for the jobs we really enjoyed, we knew that they would be like that before we accepted them?
- Any acceptance should be capable of challenging your abilities. That’s needed for the drive we all have.
- Expectation is the root of disappointment so keeping a realistic perspective is the key to finding the balance in a new job. Maybe not “perfect” but more like “ideal”.
Now if the actual position, company culture or benefits are wildly misrepresented by a potential employer, then that is a different story.
Transparency is paramount on both sides to achieve the best outcomes because it is absolutely possible to have a job you love at a company worth your time and your efforts.
- Live by the “Don’t expect, but settle for just good enough” mindset.
- This isn’t often spoken about but I am sure a number of us can relate to below:
- Finding a balance is more important than setting unrealistic expectations of what you expect and want from a job.
- Sometimes when you say you found the best/ideal job you ever wanted, but things are not the way you expected internally (i.e. employee conflict), you will still end up leaving your so-called “best job”.
- There is no best job, best boss, best colleagues. But you can always work on the best version of yourself. Do not aim for the job to be the best. Rather, aim for yourself to be the best. This is a more realistic approach, perhaps.
- As mentioned previously, there is no such thing as the perfect job. Only a multitude of jobs that offer opportunity and possibility.
- That doesn’t mean one should accept any job. Definitely, one should spend time in self reflection and introspection to try to determine what a good fit may look like: a job that plays to your strengths, skills, character and passion.
- Once that is determined, make every effort to go about the business of seeking opportunities that provide a good fit.
- Once you are in that job/position, do your best work and be the best you possibly can be. Create success for yourself.
- Success brings passion, not passion brings success.
- Rarely is anything truly “perfect”. It is important to know your “must haves” and what is negotiable, all while keeping in mind your present circumstances.
After that, you should also consider whether this position could act as a stepping stone to an ultimate goal.
Ask yourself if what you will learn on this job and the job’s responsibilities will be positive additions to your resume and skill set.
Finally, you need to trust your feelings when it comes to the “vibe” you get from the company and the people you have met.
If you have been honest with yourself during this assessment and you decide to take the job, you may find that it ends up to be much more “perfect” than you originally thought.
- That being said, the keyword is trust your gut. Sometimes, we all jump into something for the fear of not having something “more stable” especially for those working on a contractual basis.
However, the beauty of contracting is, you are not sucked into the underlying dysfunctional dynamics that may or may not be going on within the company with the Full-Time employees.
That in and of itself is a liberating feeling. You get a chance to see what the company would be like to work for if you were a permanent employee and the company gets to see if you are a good fit for them in the long-term as well.
Sometimes, it’s not the perfect job, but there is beauty to it.
- That being said, the keyword is trust your gut. Sometimes, we all jump into something for the fear of not having something “more stable” especially for those working on a contractual basis.
Here is an advice from a Certified Career Management Coach:
My advice would be don’t allow perfection to get in the way of progress. Yes, it’s important to think carefully before making a decision, but sometimes over analysis can lead to paralysis.
There is some degree of trepidation when someone accepts a job offer because they don’t know what they are getting into. That’s the reason it’s important to ‘Know your non-negotiables’ as Lindsey Pollak suggests.
Have a baseline of what tradeoffs might be, then use a T-Chart to help you weigh the pros and cons. Make your decision according to where the balance is heavily tilting.
The candidate may also want to consider the following:
> Is this ‘not-so-perfect-job’ coming after an extensive, unproductive job search, dwindling funds and increasing debt?
> Will the job provide an opportunity for growth? Sometimes taking a side-way step can lead to climbing the career ladder.
> Are there new skills I could learn in this role that could benefit me in the long term?
> What’s the worst that could happen if I accept (or don’t accept) it?
Hope those pointers will help those who are sitting on the fence of indecision.
While no job is perfect, we should enjoy the ride and build up our experience to get a next better job which we aim to achieve. Rome isn’t built in just one day. The employee and employer would have to be compatible to make a good team and relationship to build up the business.
While you take your chance and shoot your best shot at whatever life throws at you, you may find the job enjoyable and can find ways to expand to your dream job. Take a job and improve it!
|Dear Career Tips: More Salary Negotiation|
|I’m in-between jobs. Recruiters are asking salary per hour. Some jobs are asking for salary range – this is OK. Some are contract. This means they pay per hour. How do you set a price per hour that would include benefits – medical, vacation, etc. – if these are not included?|
There are so many aspects to negotiation, and they are so situation-specific, that it’s hard to give you a meaningful answer to such a general question. You might want to pick up “Never Split The Difference” by Chris Voss: it’s all about the psychology of negotiation, and filled with real-life examples of applying those techniques, including salary / job offer negotiations. And the techniques are pretty straightforward.
The general thought I was advised on and followed for determining the hourly rate I wanted was to take my desired annual salary (for a full-time job), add 25%-35% to cover benefits, and then divide by the expected days per year (times 40 hours) as if the contract was for a full year. I would subtract the vacation time I would plan on and holidays in the expected days, so as to cover that. In other words, if I expected to take 5 weeks off per year, I would consider the full year to be 47 weeks.
Then I would consider the length of the contract. If it’s a short, guaranteed contract (say, less than 6 months), then I’m going to add another 25% to account for the time I need to spend marketing to get my next assignment. If it’s longer, then I’m willing to compromise on that factor.
|Dear Career Tips: Networking & Searching After a Break|
|I’m a Compliance professional with 5 years of experience in Banking and I quit my previous position several years ago. I moved to the US some time back and am in a job search. Here are my challenges: |
– I reach out to people on LinkedIn sending inmails or messages trying to network, but either get no response or just a standard response.
– How do I approach hiring managers about my career break, which I took for family medical reasons?
What message are you sending those people on LinkedIn?
Are they ‘random’ people, or do you have some connection to them – some way in which you are ‘members of the same club’ that would warm up the request? I would look for any way you can warm it up – a connection, school, employer, job area or interest you might have in common. Make reference to that commonality in your message.
Next think about whether your messages and profile are results-oriented. I hire because I need someone to produce certain results, NOT because they happen to have experience in an area. Having experience is a low bar, that just puts you in a very large pool of candidates who have experience.
Right now, your resume basically speaks to experience and not results, so that makes me wonder about your communications in general. If the one you sent me is what you are sending others, it may also inadvertently suggest to them that your work on the job may be a bit sloppy: the font sizes and indentations are inconsistent among the bullets, and even the bullet symbols are not completely consistent.
The career break may make a case for you to use a functional resume instead of a chronological format. Have you been doing anything in terms of part time work, volunteer initiatives or continuing education during that break? And you will need to be prepared to explain the prior gaps as well, since you were only at your most recent job for a relatively short time.
Your biggest issue isn’t really with the hiring managers, as the break and prior gaps will make it very difficult for you to get through any screening process. Most will simply pass on to the next resume in the pile. That means you need to put almost all of your energy into building a powerful network that can speak on your behalf, and ultimately recommend you to a hiring manager directly.
In networking, the break also isn’t a core issue. Yes, you need to have your HERO story that you are going to use in actual networking 1-on-1 meetings to engage people, but the break is a very small piece of that.
You will need to be prepared to discuss the gap when you meet with a hiring manager, and the key there is to keep it simple, and then focus on the future. Here’s something I wrote about that in a prior issue of Career Tips:
Talking About Gaps
I left a lucrative job in early 2016 mainly to pause and have more time with family. I am ready to return to the workforce and look forward to working full time again. How I can frame my response when asked to explain my work gap?
First, read this article.
Basically, your story needs to be about the future, and what you can do for your prospective employer. Yes, you had a gap, and you had a good reason for it. End of story.
I had a good friend in a similar situation, though his pause was precipitated by a reorganization / layoff. He stayed home for the next several years to raise his 3 sons, something he had always wanted to do, letting his wife be the primary breadwinner. He did some odd jobs, such as window dresser, insurance salesman, and grocery store stock boy, that he could fit around his parental duties, but those duties were his primary concern.
When his kids were older, he called me, concerned no one would take him seriously for the manager level role he deserved.
We talked through what he had done, constructed a simple (true) story about taking advantage of this time to do something important to him and his family. We focused on how excited he was to now get back to work and what he could do for a prospective employer. Within a few months, he landed as the customer service manager for a bank.
|Dear Career Tips: Interview Follow-up|
|I applied for a lower position than what I have had in the past. I am looking for work and level doesn’t matter to me; I’m older and really need a job. |
Towards the end of the interview I asked if there were any concerns he had about me. He replied that he knew I could do the job but was worried that I would be bored. I tried to quell his fears and stated that I enjoy this type of work and would want to do it. I am not sure if he believed me.
He stated that he thought he would make a decision within one month. On a side note, he did ask me if I would be also interested in a manager job. He is getting promoted to take over his boss’s position as he retires, and he has one employee also retiring.
Do you have any suggestions on what I should have said and if I should send him another email to discuss this? I have already sent him a thank you email for the interview to let him know that I am very interested in this position.
It sounds like he was exploring you as a candidate for the manager job that would open up when he moves up. What did you say to that?
If it were me, I would have said something like:“While I would be quite happy with the role we have been discussing, of course I would be interested in the manager role, were that to open up.”
Now back to the issue of the ‘bored’ question.
Telling him you enjoy this work deals with part of the issue, but there can be a lot going on in the hiring manager’s head around this, and your best bet is to try to explore that, rather than simply answer the question.
For example, you could have said: “This is the type of work I really enjoy, and I wouldn’t see myself getting bored. Can I ask what you are worried might happen?”
This would get the hiring manager to go deeper, perhaps revealing an underlying concern he isn’t verbalizing.
I’m not sure how trying to set up another meeting would be received at this point. And you would need to decide which role you really want, the non-manager or the manager.
If the latter, perhaps you could try something along the lines of:“I was caught off-guard at the end of the interview when you indicated there was a possibility of a manager role. If you have a few minutes, I’d love to discuss this with you further.”
If the former, then something along the lines of:“You seemed to have some concern about whether I might find the role boring. Let me assure you that this is the type of work I love to do, and would be prepared to dive into whole-heartedly. If you still have any concerns about this, I would be happy to have a further discussion with you.”
You might also think about some past experience that shows how you dive deeply into technical work, and how you happily take on what others might consider ‘boring’ work. You could even add that example into the 2nd note above.
Q&A for John
John: “Help keep me supplied for future issues: Send me your questions about your career search, obstacles you are encountering at work, issues that get in the way of your networking efforts, etc. I’ll respond to you directly, and if there are insights of value to other readers, I’ll include them (edited to ensure your anonymity) in a Dear Career Tips column.”
The most important thing/word I’ve learned in the workplace this week – Evolve.
Evolve immediately. You may have committed meetings/webinars/workshops to attend but if sometimes important internal meetings can occur last minute. Evolve, you get it done – then you flip back to where you need to be.
Many employees stay at a company where the company believes in their people. Employee retention matters to the company as well. Be at a company where you can grow from within and allows you to continue growing as a person. Be at a company where it feels like you found yourself in, where they can see that your values are aligned with their values/mission. Be at a company that stands for everything that you believe in as well.
For example – your favorite part of your role in the workplace could be engaging with consumers and that can help you develop to who you are today.
When you consider applying for jobs, think about “What does this employer look for in talent?” If you are looking to work directly with consumers – you may want to do more research on that specific company that you want to work for. That company may list their ideal characteristics on the description – to name a few: someone who is friendly, a team player, someone who cares about their customers by delivering the best experience, and being influential to others.
We all know that there is so much going on in the world today, let alone a pandemic that we are still going through. Ask yourself when applying to jobs or the current role you are in (whether you are entry-level, mid-level, management or executive level – “Can I be someone who can bring a positive light to someone else?” Now this question can only be answered by yourself. An employer can coach/train you on the responsibilities for the role, but something that cannot be taught is how you show up. Your punctuality/attendance is always on you. Once you get into work, there can be perks such as employee discounts – and this depends on your performance – which can be a competitive process.
If you are looking to go into leadership roles when it comes to moving up within the brand, knowing what you want – each sector/employer has so many different critical experiences that you get an opportunity and exposure to. For example, let’s say for the retail sector. You could be a sales associate but the merch team or visual team may come in and ask you some questions about, “Hey, what are consumers saying about this product? What is it that they want?”
Sometimes, you get those opportunities to have a conversation – and those are the opportunities that are the meaningful ones because once you share what you know and your insights, that team would not want you – but they NEED you.
Eighty percent of your development and your growth is on you and twenty percent is on your leader because there is a plethora of opportunities within the brand. When you share what you want to do with your manager/supervisor, you get to sit down and have that conversation with them. You need to own your career development, share with your leader what you want and what you are looking for, know where you want to go. Then based on what you want to do, your leader will try to help you get there however, the number one driver of that is going to be YOU.
Always latch onto a mentor at work – someone who is there that is doing the job that you want.
An NYC recruiter from a global retail brand that I work close with once told me, “When someone tells you that you want to be in a role, don’t see that as a threat. But see it as a great thing that someone wants to have the job that you have. As a leader, you do your job well so you can train someone else to do that job well. So when someone tells me that they want to be a recruiter, I say ‘Great, let me show you the basics – this is what we do – obviously we need to get approval from your leadership team/employer.’ We can spend some time to chat and once there is that opportunity to stretch or get that experience, I will share with them possible openings that they can apply to and if they get the job – then they can get that experience and grow from there.”
It can’t just be you knowing what you want, but your leadership team and those mentors that you surround yourself with should know as well.
Please note this data applies to the Greater New York City Metropolitan area and the United States only.
For many workforce development agencies, there are many factors that prevent job seekers from pursuing their dream jobs/careers.
One of the top factors would be the lack of specialized training/certifications in the field that they are looking for. Workforce practitioners have also mentioned that there are young people who need to work and cannot afford the classes, the program hours are increased, they have language barriers, not work ready or do not meet specific qualifications of the training programs.
What can the workforce development agencies do to remove this barrier for job seekers? Part of it comes to strengthening partnerships with other workforce agencies and employers versus building new training programs that are relevant for job seekers. For example to be specific, organizations may want to look into building long-term and patient partnerships (ideally in retail or hospitality) if that is what their demographics are looking for.
The second top factor would be the lack of job specific work experience – and this applies to both what job seekers can offer to the employer, and what employers are looking for in the ideal candidate. Some candidates that workforce agencies work with, may have narrow goals and expectations but not having a plan B. On the other hand, employers want what they want and are not so interested/engaged in what the referral has to say about the candidate. This means the agencies need to have those conversations with the employers up front more, especially when initiating a relationship. It is not a product that workforce agencies are pushing — but more so a relationship and partnership that they want to build. Not all employers see it that way, they see it more as a product. The transactional product versus quality partnership experience problems definitely supplement and overlap.
Also, because of changes caused by this pandemic, we can see retail and hospitality declining (as data is indicated in the later part of the labor market review). For those from the world of NO, it is important to educate employers on what is reality – the unemployment rate.
The third top factor would be educational requirements. This is often the case as certain employers are looking for — let’s say someone in their Accounting department to do some bookkeeping, processing invoices, etc. If your organization offers a training/certification program that caters to job seekers that are looking to land an Accountant/Bookkeeper job right out of completion, chances are 50/50. There are employers that do not consider graduates who do not hold a degree in Accounting, so it can prevent job seekers from obtaining employment with just the certification.
The fourth top factor would be life circumstances — which all of us go through in our lifetime. We are humans. Health concerns (with COVID still around), lack of consistent support system (energy, engagement, inspiration, motivation, stability) and childcare concerns (child remote learning, and taking care of child while parent is working from home) all play a role in this factor.
What changes should be considered when re-envisioning the workforce development sector?
(Suggested from workforce development professionals)
- More workforce agencies working collaboratively when approaching employers for sustainable business partnerships.
- Sector-specific training and upskilling programs in deep partnership with businesses.
- Improve funder relationships and expectations, inaccurate or unrealistic requirements and metrics based on the populations served/sectoral needs.
- Increase the focus in career exploration with job seekers; training program development and re-programming to meet the future of workforce.
- Deeper, structural partnerships and consistency between businesses, government, social service and educational institutions.
- Build house account with employers on a daily basis to better track interviews/screenings while using that tool to evaluate candidates (Deliverables make it difficult to build what we really need for participants).
- Quantifying the need for bridge programs for jobs that are in high-growth fields.
- Improve business trust in workforce development providers’ participants.
- Adjust business expectations for labor market.
- Reduce organizational competition.
Labor Market Updates/Review
As of March 2021 — the overall NYC Labor Market indicates that in 2019, there were about 4.5 million jobs and by 2025, there will be an uptick to about 4.6 million jobs; which will result in about a 125,000+ gain.
NYC projected growth sectors by occupation, Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)
- Community and Social Service Occupations
- Overall 94,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 106,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 12,000+ jobs gain
- Social and Human Service Assistants: 19,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 21,000+ jobs by 2025
- Child, Family and School Social Workers: 15,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 13,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in > 1,000+ jobs gain
- Educational, Guidance and Career Counselors: 11,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 12,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in > 1,000+ jobs gain
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselors, Community Health Workers, etc.
- Construction (growth sector by business classification)
- Overall: 138,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 133,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 5,000+ jobs decline
- Healthcare Support
- Overall: 446,000+ to 363,000+ jobs
- Home Health and Personal Care: 287,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 363,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 124,000+ jobs gain
- Computer and Mathematical Occupations, including technology
- Overall: 146,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 170,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 24,000+ jobs gain
- Software Developers, Analysts and Testers: About 45,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 56,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 11,000+ jobs gain
NYC projected loss sectors by occupation, SOC
- Food Services
- Overall: 243,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 300,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 43,000+ jobs decline
- Fast Food and Counter Workers: 85,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 82,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 3,000+ jobs decline
- Waiters: 77,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 61,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 16,000+ jobs decline
- Cooks: 43,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 39,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 4,000+ jobs decline
- Food Prep Workers: 28,000+ jobs as of 2019 to about 25,000+ jobs; resulting in 3,000+ jobs decline
- Attendants and Helpers: 21,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 17,000+ jobs; resulting in 4,000+ jobs decline
- Dishwashers: 15,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 12,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 3,000+ jobs decline
- Office and Administrative Support (SOC 43)
- Overall: 638,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 629,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 9,000+ jobs decline
- Administrative Assistants and Secretaries: 134,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 125,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 9,000+ jobs decline
- Others: Clerks, Human Resources Administrators, Payroll Assistants, Processors, Typists, etc.
- Cashiers: 75,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 68,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 6,000+ jobs decline
- Salespersons: 117,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 103,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 14,000+ jobs decline
During the interview process, there are many ideal competencies and traits that Spectrum is looking for. Spectrum likes their employees to be great communicators, problem solvers, adaptable, detail-oriented among others, enthusiastic efficient and don’t forget – technologically savvy! These are what make a successful employee at Spectrum.
Spectrum’s Talent Acquisition Senior Recruiter of 15 years in the Greater NYC area speaks and shares his 9 tips in this article to job seekers.
When preparing for that interview, a hiring manager typically reaches out to Talent Acquisition and asks to schedule an interview. In most cases nowadays since 2020, that interview will most likely be virtual instead of being in person. This scenario is becoming increasingly more common. Nearly 75% of executives use real time video to interview their leading candidates and 50% of them leverage it to narrow down their applicants. The process enables employers to open up their talent pool to interview candidates who live all around the globe, and not just the ones who live down the street. It also cuts down on traveling expenses.
So with that virtual interview or video interview, well it’s a normal job interview that leverages video technology where a lot of conversations take place remotely. So rather than meeting face to face, the manager and the candidate are going to connect with each other online using video softwares. The tools typically required for these types of meetings involves a computer, a built-in external/internal video/camera and a microphone, a reliable internet connection (try not to do it wirelessly because most of the time that won’t work very well), and headphones if desired.
So generally a video interview follows the style of a traditional in-person interview. Here’s going to be a few key considerations to keep in mind:
- For perspective employee, try to make that pitch by a video conferencing software such as Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout. It may be a bit daunting, especially if you are not accustomed to it.
I will give you 9 virtual interviewing tips to reduce the stress, aid in helping you stand out of the crowd, and in the end hopefully help you land a job – whether that is with Spectrum or with another company, these tips still work.
1. Test your technology. The minute you agree to a virtual interview, you need to ensure that you test your technology and ensure that you are set up for success. You want to also check your internet connectivity, you’re going to confirm that your camera and microphone is working. If the picture is blurry or you’re experiencing an echo, you might need to buy a different webcam, you might need to not use the computer’s built-in microphone – but use the speaker phone instead or a separate phone. So this is going to be hard to do 5 minutes before so you don’t want to wait until the day of the interview to figure it out. Most computers these days will allow you to use the audio and video connection. Some of them, will have a choice of using just one single device for this video and the audio. But when you have the option to use separate devices, that is the option you ought to take (one phone for the video portion and one phone for the audio portion – like a phone, laptop or tablet).
Of course in some instances, you are able to just only use that one single device but that’s only going to work if everybody is on the same network – for example, if you are doing internal interviews. But when everyone is on separate networks, the best practice is ensuring you don’t lose the connection altogether – if you prefer to use separate devices.
Here’s a note to keep in mind. On the day of your virtual interview, you will also want to test your internet connection again even though you tested it a few days before. Make sure you do it on the morning of.
Being technologically savvy is one of the 10 traits that employers are going to look for. If you come onto the virtual interview fumbling around with your audio or your lighting during the call, you’re giving the hiring manager a reason to question if you’re the right candidate for the job. Make sure you do not only test it beforehand, but on the day of, you’re going to test it again.
2. Be aware of the surroundings. You’re going to set the scene, minimize the amount of distractions while testing your technology, determines where the interview is going to take place. You want to find a room with optimal lighting, preferably near a window or a wall. Somehow, you’ll be able to guarantee that you are the focal point of the conversation. So the best practice in relation to lighting is to simply set up a bright light that is focused on your face. This should at least as bright as or be brighter than the background behind you. Therefore, this will help you and your personality stand out. It will minimize the background. Also, if you are using window lights as the light changes, because sometimes it gets very bright and sometimes it gets very dark – where in some cases it will cause your camera to start struggling and it will become a distraction to the interviewer instead of the help you thought it might be. Choose the lamp effectively.
Whether you sit on your living room couch or home office, be sure to tidy up your surroundings. It is hard to convince the employers that you are detail-oriented or you are organized, when they are looking behind you and they visibly see papers all over your desk. This might sound remedial, but trust me – as a recruiter, we see this all the time. You need to think, sit in front of your computer and look at yourself and behind you – what the hiring manager will be seeing in the background.
Once you have all of that settled, you are going to want to limit your distractions. This means turning off the TV, turning off the stereo, closing any nearby windows just so you can muffle traffic and neighborhood noise.
3. Sit down and be prepared to engage. Just because you’re in front of a computer, doesn’t mean you can search the web for answers in a middle of an interview OR avoid to start clicking around when a hiring manager asks you a question. So you want to appear focused and ready to answer the question without the help of the internet. No one wants to think that you are cheating on your answers. Trust me, it happens.
You want to do your research on the company ahead of time before you sit down. Print out a copy of your resume and have it near by so you don’t get the key talking points that you want to bring up. However, as with any interview, you’re going to come prepared with answers to any coming questions. This isn’t particularly an interviewing conference call, but there are some that you are going to know how to answer. For example, “why are you interested in the role?”, “what do you know about the company that you are interviewing with?”, “what do you consider your greatest weakness?”, “what do you consider your greatest professional achievement?”, “tell me about some of your challenges and how you dealt with them”, “what are you looking for in a new role and why are leaving your current role?”
The key here is, you want to avoid memorizing each response. That’s not engaging. You don’t want to over rehearse. Instead, write some high level thoughts down on a post-it and stick it to your computer. So being aware of how far your eyes are moving from the screen, because if your notes are far away, it will appear that you are searching for your answers and reading them instead of engaging in that dialogue.Note that you don’t want your notes resting on your lap or from a place where you want to look far away from the screen. In that case, it is going to come quite apparent that every time you are answering a question, you are looking away from your interviewer for an answer. Of course, that is not a good plan.
You want to come prepared and engaged. And how do you engage? You will do that by practicing our next tip below.
4. You have to come mentally thinking about this being a “dialog”, not something that is memorized. So you are going to have to practice. Practice on your dialog that you will have with your interviewer. Don’t focus on trying to memorize all of your anticipated responses. You’re not going to get all of your questions asked anyway. When you have an interview, you want to have a good conversation. Not rehearsing the points that you memorized, because you are going to sound like a robot throughout the interview, whether you are answering, asking or even giving your quick elevator pitch. It is easy to tell that you do not sound genuine.
It is a good practice to run through a practice with your friend. Pull your family members in and have that conversation. This is going to give you a chance to rehearse with different personalities since each person will be asking you a question or answering you a bit differently and it will throw you off so that you will be more ready when you begin to interview with your employer.
So while you are practicing your interview with your friends and family, it might seem a little awkward. But one of the keys that will benefit you from doing that though is you will have a safe atmosphere where it is okay to make mistakes. You can learn from them. You may not have answered the way you thought you should have or you didn’t come across the way you anticipated. That’s where you can hone in your interview skills so that you are better prepared for the real thing.
It is really important that when you are interviewing, you’ve got to keep it really simple. You don’t want to feel like you have to give a long-winded answer if a short answer will do. You won’t know that until you practice some of those answers. So being able to be clear and concise is the most important thing that you are going to need to do in a job interview. So a great answer will always tell your interviewer at least 3 things. Every one of those answers put it on the back of your mind. That answer ought to say what you did on the job. You don’t want to say how well you did what you did on the job. And the very important one you ought not to leave out, because most people do, is your answer ought to tell what was the impact of the action you had on the business or project. So what you did, how well you did it, and the impact it had.
When you prepare those types of answers and you are able to give them freely without memorizing them, or at least not sounding like you memorized them, now you are ready to have a dialogue with your interviewer – and not just a rehearsed, memorized set of answers.
Well that in fact, brings us to our next point. First impressions still count, even in a virtual environment. In with that in mind, there will be 2 tips that I’m going to mention.
5. Monitor your body language. Obviously, you can’t firmly shake a hiring manager’s hand or easily exude enthusiasm through the video, but what you can do is monitor your body language. The main way to communicate confidence during these interviews; well, you’re going to sit up straight, you’re going to smile, you’re going to keep your camera at eye level. You want to avoid the tendency to look at yourself on the computer monitor while you talk. I would suggest you put your computer/laptop on a box so that your eyes are right on the center of the screen and you’re not looking down on yourself, or having to look far up because research shows that employers are more likely to remember what you say if you are maintaining eye contact. So you want to keep your focus on your camera when you’re talking – not looking at the hiring manager. The time when you look at the hiring manager is when he/she is talking.
This brings us to the 6th tip here. You gotta make those first impressions count.
6. Dress for success. So you might be sitting on your bed, but you shouldn’t look like you just rolled out of the bed. You want to dress like you’re going for an in-person interview. Just because a person can’t see what you are wearing from waist level, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best to dress. For men, you’re going to wear a button up shirt and dress pants. For women, you might want to consider a dress, skirt and/or a blouse. Besides not knowing if for some reason you’re going to have to suddenly stand up in the middle of an interview, well professional clothing will show that you are serious about the job.
Well, there are personal benefits as well. Studies show that people feel the most authoritative, trustworthy and confident when they are wearing formal business attire. So when you feel good about yourself, it is easier to execute a lot of these tips especially our next one.
7. Connect on a Personal Level. You never know how many interviews a company may conduct for a position. You may be at a long list of people that the hiring manager or recruiter spoke to that day. That’s why it is important to make that small connection. So don’t be afraid to have a short aside about a common interest when you’re in an interview. The recruiter or hiring manager might enjoy the break from the routine questions that they have gone through that day.
You and I know that it is not easy to connect with everyone, but it is a crucial part of the interview. Don’t be afraid to share about yourself or connect about that one thing you discovered that you both like. Take a moment and touch on it, because you want the interviewer to be able to remember a story you told or a common interest that you both share. That is one of the best ways to prevent you from simply blending in with everyone else who came in and interviewed for the same spot.
Trust me, these little tips are what we as recruiters go through each and everyday. We trust that that investment in your time and you will be able to remember these. Use them on yourself and you will see the difference in your own interviewer.
Now, making that connection will really come from a predetermined mindset to employ this next to last tip.
8. Be Yourself. The hiring team is essentially looking for the interviewee to answer 2 major questions. The whole point of the interview: 1) Can you do the work that they need? But guess what, there’s another side. 2) Will you be able to fit into the company culture and department that the hiring manager has as well?
A key task for the recruiting and hiring team is in determining whether in fact, yes – you can do the work, but how will you fit in the team/company’s culture? This can be challenging during your virtual interview because there’s this physical disconnect. We don’t get to see your whole body and we don’t see how you reply to every question, or are your feet moving around a lot, or are you twirling your fingers. We don’t get to see a lot of those verbal or visual cues that helps to go along with your comfort level. So it’s more difficult for your interviewer to understand your enthusiasm or screen them, so make sure that you are more expressive when you are answering the questions.
If you want to use your hands, you may want to do that freely. Let your expressions be bold. If you are a more of a straightforward kind of person, be sure that you’re using those active listing techniques so that your dialogue is free and flowing between you and the interviewer.
Some people are great interviewers. They’re going to be able to tell your vibe. They’re going to be able to tell if you’re going to fit the company culture right off the bat. With that being said, you want to be able to walk away and give your interviewer a reason to push you to the second round of the interview, by shining a light on how you can help the organization grow.
This begins with not just with can you just do the work, but can you fit into the company culture. They are not looking for a robot. They are looking for you. So be sure that you are being yourself on these interviews.
This is going to lead us to our last point.
9. Don’t forget the Professional Graces. As soon as that interview is done, you’re going to do some immediate follow up within at least 24 hours of the interview. You’re going to send an individual Thank You Email to everyone you met. Sometimes they don’t provide you with that information so you should send that Thank You Note to your recruiter and they will forward it to the leadership team. But, make sure you’re taking that extra step.
Put it in a Word Document so you can upload it to your profile so the next recruiter can see that you’re communicative and that you possess those professional graces. It’s not only going to show that you valued your interviewer’s time, but it’s going to give you the opportunity to resell yourself and express your unique traits that you can bring to the role, or share any talking points that you forgot to address.
If there was something specific that you have bonded over during the interview, you want to mention it briefly and follow up in the Thank You Email so you can keep it on the top of your mind.
Or, if the interviewer brought up a particular business challenge, you’re going to use that to follow up; as a way to propose that potential solution – saying something to the affect of: “It was fantastic to have met you today and I remembered one of the challenges that the business had was ITEM A and here’s what I have done in the past that I can do to help.”
You want to keep the email concise of course. It is not a paragraph. You want to just leave a short note and leave a lasting impression, not one that will immediately end up in the circular file because it was too large or too long.
These are the key tips that we as recruiters have seen either in people that are not employed OR employed effectively. It helps them stand out and be remembered. They bring the right successful profile, but if they’re not able to get the hiring manager to remember it, then that becomes a challenge.
Job searching in the middle of a pandemic has been the most challenging for job seekers. Job seekers have been blindly applying for 10 months or more and building their network. Some have been plugging away and applying to jobs since March and have had little success with interviews and no offers with no feedback. And some have been forced (by the pandemic) into starting their own businesses/side hustles to pay off student loans, rent, debt, etc.
Whatever the case may be, job searching has always been challenging. However, the best way for it to be a success is to remain positive, and to not give up. Giving up is not an option. Show employers that you are willing, wanting and able to work!
Here are some New Year’s resolutions to help jump start your motivation and pave way to a successful job search.
- Connections can help a great deal. Spend more time talking to people than submitting your application to posted job ads.
- The quickest way to get back into the job market will be your network and your referrals. Who knows that a 30 minute coffee chat could turn into an opportunity of a lifetime.
- You would be surprised that you will have connections in your circle who know about the existing job vacancies that aren’t posted on job boards. In other words, the hidden job market.
- When reaching out to your connections, you may want to follow the email template below:
- “Hi [Connection’s Name],
I hope this email finds you well. How was your holiday season and New Year’s? It is shocking how 2020 flew by.
I wanted to reach out because things have changed at [Current Company] and am specifically looking to transition to [Job Title] at [Industry/Sector/Company] where I can utilize my [Insert Relevant Skills] to be able to do [Insert Desired Activities].
I wanted to reach out to see if you know of anyone who could connect me to such an opportunity. I understand that this is a big ask and your time is valuable. If it is too much right now, don’t feel any pressure as I totally understand.
Either way, I hope you are staying healthy and safe. I look forward to catching up with you soon!
- “Hi [Connection’s Name],
- Update your resume.
- Your resume should always be different and tailored based on the job description. Study the job description carefully and proofread your resume before uploading it on the job board because you want to get past the Applicant Tracking System.
- Education: Don’t just focus on the schools and institutions that you have attended. Include organizations that you were involved with as well! If you had a GPA that is higher than a 3.0, showcase it and be proud of that achievement!
- Work Experience: I mention this all the time but make sure your duties are not only duties, however make it into an accomplishment by incorporating quantifiable metrics using numbers and percentages. Also, tailor it towards the field that you are interested in.
- Leadership Experience: This is important whether you are looking for a job or internship. If you were active in many organizations and clubs, list it and highlight that leadership because that is always going to be a plus.
- Skills and Projects: Again, just like your work experience, tailor your relevant skills towards the field of interest. If you have worked on special projects that were tailored towards the specific field of interest, include that as well.
- Have your peer, mentor, career coach or a professional critique your resume.
- Your resume should always be different and tailored based on the job description. Study the job description carefully and proofread your resume before uploading it on the job board because you want to get past the Applicant Tracking System.
- Hone your interview skills.
- Have a friend or family member interview you and provide feedback.
- Participate in mock interviews. Especially during this pandemic, many virtual platforms are partnering with big companies (such as Moody’s, Google, McKinsey & Company, Credit Suisse) to connect with nonprofit organizations and social ventures to give back and provide these free services to job seekers.
- Sharpen your skills.
- If there is a specific field you are looking to go into or a job that you want to apply for, study the job description closely and discover if your educations and skills are going to be a good match.
- If you do not have the skills that the employers are looking for, you should look into taking online classes that will help you move forward in your intended field.
- Map out what you are looking for.
- Don’t just randomly apply for jobs because you need a job. Seek purpose in the kind of job you want. Make sure your job search has a path. What is it that you really want in your job? Do you want to work entirely remote? Do you want to work on-site? Do you want to work flexible or set hours?
- Follow the SMART goal outline via FlexJobs.
- (S)pecific: What industry or sector do you want to work in? Do you want to stay local, or are you willing to move? How much do you need to earn?
- (M)easurable: To meet your goal, how many resumes will you send out per week? How many networking events will you attend each month?
- (A)ttainable: Do you understand the difference between your dreams and your goals? Keep in mind that some things are beyond your sphere of influence. You cannot control how many interviews or offers you get, but you can set a goal for the number of business connections you’ll make each month.
- (R)ealistic: What can you achieve in this moment? If you have little experience, it’s unlikely you can move directly into a C-level job. Be honest with yourself about what you can achieve right now, but also plan for bigger and better goals in the future.
- (T)imely: When is your deadline? This aspect of goal setting is often overlooked, but deadlines—even arbitrary ones—are important motivators. Since you can’t control when you’ll get hired, you may find that a resolution such as “I will find a job within the next six months” is less effective than “I will apply to at least five vacancies this week.”
- Target specific companies that you are interested in working for.
- Make a list of your top target companies
- Research, research, research them!!! Anything you can find such as articles, interviews with executives, surveys, podcasts, etc.
- LinkedIn is a valuable platform for you to use in landing your dream job at your target company. From there, you may want to locate contacts who can refer you into your target role such as a hiring manager, team lead, recruiter or a friend who was hired there.
- Reach out and cold email them.