Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Labor Day - Time for a Career Analysis

By Noel Rozny

Job Vacancies, Employment Jobs, Employment

It's almost Labor Day, which means we're right on the cusp of a three-day weekend (and for some, possibly a four- or five-day weekend). The little ones are back in school, recent high schools graduates have headed off to college, and it's time to go back to work after summer vacation.

As Labor Day approaches, the U.S. economy is still recovering and many workers are struggling to find jobs. Although the question about who exactly started Labor Day remains unanswered, one thing is clear: Labor Day was founded to celebrate the achievements of American workers. So it makes sense that as you head back to work this fall, you may want to reflect on your achievements and career: where you are, where you're headed, and how to get what you want, even in a tough economy.

Labor Day is also a great opportunity to remember your co-workers, colleagues, and contacts, and how you can help those who are unemployed and struggling to find work. Here's how.

Take Stock of Your Career
No matter how old you are or how far along you are in your career path, it's always good to pause and take stock of where you are in your career and where you want to be next.

  • Are you a college student working two jobs so that you can get valuable experience as an unpaid intern at your local newspaper?
  • Are you a recent graduate who took an entry-level job in sales, so that you can work towards your dream of being a CEO?
  • Are you an experienced professional looking to leave the corporate world, start your own consulting firm, and become your own boss?
  • Wherever you are, take a minute to think about how fulfilled you are in your current role, where you want to go next, and how you're going to get there. Figure out what you need to do in regards to education, training, and finances to get where you want to be.

    Evaluate Your Job Search
    At the beginning of August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 9.5 percent of the population, or 14.6 million people, were unemployed. If you're one of the 14.6 million people looking for a job, and if you've been searching for awhile, it can be easy to get discouraged.

    Evaluate your job search, and figure out what's working and what isn't. Are you sending resumes out like crazy, but can't get anyone to call you back? Perhaps you need to reformat your resume, or incorporate social media into your job search strategy.

    Are you getting called in for interviews, but haven't had an offer? Maybe it's time to re-evaluate your pitch and personal presentation. Think about how you can make yourself marketable while you're unemployed.

    Take Stock of Your Budget
    Whether you're employed or unemployed, chances are that you're making do with a smaller budget. If you're struggling to make ends meet, re-evaluate your budget to see if there's any more fat you can trim. Do you really need two cars? Can you save money by taking public transportation? Can you re-bid your auto or health insurance, bundle your utility bills, or put your family all on one cell phone provider to save money?

    Take Stock of Those Around You
    If you're one of the lucky ones who's employed, think about how your current position can help those you know (or even those you don't) who are out of work. Is there an open position at your company, or at the company of a client or vendor you work with? Who do you know that's looking for a job that you could help connect to these open positions?

    Even if you don't have a job lead to offer, think about your other skills and how they can help those in the job hunt. Offer to proofread someone's resume, hear their elevator pitch, or show them how to set up a LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook account. Offering this kind of support may not seem like much, but the support and encouragement can make a huge difference.

    Reward Yourself
    Whether you are an office manager, an electrical engineer, or a certified nursing aid, we are all part of the U.S. Labor force, and we have all been affected in one way or another by the economic turmoil of the past few years. You may have been laid off, or you may have been the one doing the lay-offs. You may have had to take a new position, a lower salary, or a second job. If you were a stay-at-home caregiver, you may have had to go back to work, and if you were a student, you may have had to move back home to help out.

    Whatever sacrifices you and your family made to survive, it has undoubtedly been a challenge. And for all of that, you definitely deserve a hot dog or two this Labor Day weekend.

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