Career and Job-Hunting Blog
Career and job-search news, trends, and scoops for job-seekers, compiled by the staff of Quintessential Careers.
|July 28, 2007|
The federal minimum wage went up for the first time in more than a decade last week.
While many states have taken charge of this issue and raised the minimum wages for their specific state, the U.S. Congress finally got its act together to pass a bill that raises the minimum wage foe the next three years.
As of last Tuesday, the minimum wage is now $5.85 an hour, going to $6.85 in July 2008, and up to $7.25 in July 2009.
About half of the 50 states already have a minimum wage higher — in some cases, much higher — than the federal wage. The state of Washington leads the way with a minimum wage of $7.93.
Sadly, the minimum wage is no where near the amount it needs to be for the millions of Americans who only work jobs that pay the minimum wage — which is well below what experts consider to be a livable wage, a wage that puts people safely out of poverty. While that wage amount varies by community (because housing costs and other living expenses are calculated), in most cases that wage is $10 an hour or higher.
Learn more in this section of Quintessential Careers: Low Wage Jobs: Tools, Statistics, Resources.
|July 23, 2007|
Sometimes you simply have to move to get the better job. Here are four questions to ask before you decide to relocate.
In a recent MarketWatch column, Marshall Loeb provided readers with these four questions to ask yourself when considering relocation:
- Will you face a significant cost-of-living increase? For example, if you live in Florida and are considering relocating to California, you’ll face a very steep change in your cost of living expenses.
- How will moving affect your quality of life? For example, by relocating you’ll move closer to your — or your significant other’s — family.
- How will the move impact your family? For example, will there be opportunities for your significant other to find a new job in your new location?
- Do you like your new job? For example, are you considering this new job in a new location just to escape problems with your current job — or are you considering it because it truly is a good career opportunity?
Changing jobs or careers is always a bit stressful, but when you add relocating into the mix, it becomes a major life decision.
For (free) professional guidance on a number of these issue, visit this section of Quintessential Careers: Job-Seeker Relocation Resources.
|July 19, 2007|
The number of applicants filing for unemployment benefits in the U.S. last week dropped to their lowest level in two months, further signs that the job market may be holding steady in a weaker economy.
The Labor Department reported that jobless claims fell to 301,000 last week, a decline of 8,000 from the previous week — the second straight weekly improvement and pushing total claims down to the lowest point since mid-May.
While the weekly figures were better, the total number of persons receiving jobless benefits for the week ending July 7 was 2.57 million, up from 2.49 million a year ago, reflecting a broader “soft” employment arena.
If you are still struggling with finding employment, be sure you have read this article published on Quintessential Careers: 15 Myths and Misconceptions About Job-Hunting.
|July 12, 2007|
Miss New Jersey saved her job today, but if it happens to you, will you be able to save yours?
If you have not been following this story, Amy Polumbo, recently crowned Miss New Jersey, announced an alleged blackmail attempt by someone hoping to make her resign by threatening to release embarrassing photos of her — photos that she said were meant to be “private.”
“This was meant to be private,” the 22-year-old told NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday. “It was supposed to be between my friends and I.”
But guess what? These were not photos in a traditional photo album passed among friends, nor were the photos taken by some sleazy photographer trying to make a quick buck. No, these were photos taken right from her Facebook.com profile…. ones that anyone with a Facebook account could view at any time — and hardly private.
And Polumbo’s story, while bizarrely public, is hardly unique. Employers are conducting deeper background checks of applicants, which means they not only conduct Internet searches on Google and other search engines, but they also go into Web properties such as Facebook and MySpace.
All job-seekers need to learn this lesson quickly. If you post something on the Net — whether photos or ranting writings — there’s a good chance they will surface at the wrong time… and possibly cost you that dream job you were seeking.
Are you incensed over this “invasion of your privacy,” as some call it? You shouldn’t be. Put yourself in the eyes of the employer. Do you want to hire someone who says in an interview that he is an extremely hard-worker only to learn from his own account — or perhaps the accounts of his social network friends — that he is a slacker who loves to party?
The solution? Do not post anything on the Internet that you would not want your family, religious leader, or prospective employer to see.
|July 6, 2007|
U.S. job growth was a bit stronger in June than expected, raising hopes that the job-seekers searching for new jobs this summer will have good prospects.
The Department of Labor reported today that employers added 132,000 new jobs last month — stronger than the 125,000 that economists were forecasting.
Leading the pack in hiring were organizations in the areas of education, health services, leisure and hospitality, and government . Construction companies also expanded employment — even as they adjusted to the fallout from the housing slump.
Those employment gains covered job cuts at factories, retailers, and certain professional and business services.
The government also published revised job-growth numbers for April and May — showing stronger growth than originally reported. Revised figures released showed that payrolls grew by a strong 190,000 in May — much stronger than the 157,000 reported last month. In April, 122,000 positions were added, which was better than the 80,000 previously reported.
|July 4, 2007|
For those folks in the U.S., celebrate your job-search independence by preparing for your next job move — whether one you want to make or one you are forced to make.
In a recent “Dear Abby” column, a reader chastised a young job-seeker for listing the person as a reference without asking — a big job-seeking no-no. Whether being honest or out of spite, this reader said he gave the job-seeker a bad reference… Certainly it’s a critical job-seeking lesson: choose the best people in your network to be your references, ask them if they are willing to be so, and then keep in close touch with them as you proceed in your job-search. And remember, a reference does not have to be a former boss; you can use a co-worker, the boss of your boss, a mentor, or someone else within the organization who knows the quality of your work and is willing to speak on your behalf.
Read more critical rules of using references in our article, The Keys to Choosing and Using the Best Job References in Your Job Search.
Look for more tips in the days to come in July to help you celebrate your job-seeking independence!
|The Career and Job-Hunting Blog|
Career Blog Previous Issues:
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|Other Career/Job-Hunting Blogs|
- Quintessential Resume & Cover Letter Tips, a blog from our sister site, with new resume and cover letter tips daily. A must-see for any active job-seeker.
- Job Stuff, A Blog for Your Career, from Stephen Harris. Stephen’s blog is a great resource for those job-seekers who find yourselves in transition, searching for guidance and reassurance.
- The Occupational Adventure Blog, from Curt Rosengren, a Passion Catalyst. Curt’s blog is great for finding encouraging ideas (and resources) for moving forward with your career… a career that lights your fire.
- Blue Sky Resumes Blog, from career expert Louise Fletcher, a general career and job-search blog that covers all aspects of the job-hunt.
- Career Transition Discussion, a blog that deals with the issue of mid-career change… for job-seekers 40+.
- LifeWork Design — a conversation about topics related to career counseling and coaching.
And for our entire list of favorites, go here: Career-Related Blogs for Job-Seekers.
|Quintessential Career and Job Resources|
Other topical resources for job-seekers:
- QuintZine: A Career and Job-Hunting Newsletter
- Q-Tips: Quick and Q intessential Career & Job Tips
- Q&A with Career & College Experts
- The Career Doctor Career Advice Column
- College, Career, and Job-Related Articles
- Career and Job-Related Tutorials