Job Seeker Blog
The latest U.S. census data revealed that a whopping 92% of our nation’s businesses are small businesses (less than 20 employees). As an HR or payroll professional, it is probably inevitable that you will have an option to work in one for a small business at some point in your career. The one caveat being that many of these small businesses don’t carry HR and/or payroll professionals.
The key question is – does working for a small business suit you, your temperament, and where you are in your career. Let’s take a look at some factors to consider.
Experience – A job at a small business can teach you HR and payroll skills at a rapid pace as you will likely be put in a position to do it all. A year in a small business may be (like dog years) worth multiple years in a corporate HR or payroll position. However, if you are fresh out of school or have little or no experience – entering a situation with limited or no mentorship could be setting yourself up for failure. Even if you do succeed, you may develop some bad habits and be ill equipped to advance into corporate life.
You’ve completed your four (five or six) years of college, attended your ceremony, moved your tassel from one side of your mortarboard to another, and now the real work starts – finding your first job. If you are reading this, most likely you’ll be looking in your chosen field of HR or payroll.
Studies show that less than one in five have a job lined up as they approach graduation. If you are still looking there is both good and bad news. First the good news – you are not alone. The bad news is there is a lot of competition for HR and payroll jobs. As a recent, 2012 OSU Business School grad, I wanted to offer a few pieces of advice that have worked for friends, colleagues, and myself.
Never Stop Learning
This is cliché and no matter whom your commencement speaker was I am sure you heard a version of this. But clichés are clichés because they are backed by truth. That being said, if you are offered a position that you feel is “beneath” your education and training, consider taking it… strongly. Entry-level jobs are often scarce and even harder to land with limited or no experience. It is not a “forever” job; it is called an “entry-level” job. Perform and learn and you may find yourself in the job you want a lot faster than you would if you hold out for the perfect offer.
In part two of our HR/Payroll resume spring cleaning series we are focusing on both what your resume should include and how it should be crafted. Your content can probably use an overhaul as its not uncommon for candidates to focus on simply describing what happened (what they did) without connecting the dots to how good you are at your job.
It is inevitable. Over the next month and until January 1st you will find yourself at numerous events where you can and should be networking. And yes, that includes gatherings with family and friends as well as those corporate holiday events.
Many jobs are never posted or posted only after an individual who has networked their way in has solidified his/her place as the candidate to beat. Don’t let that happen to you. You have to socialize anyway – you might as well make it productive towards your career goals and aspirations. That simple conversation with Uncle so-and-so’s second cousin may get you the inside track to your next opportunity.
Referrals are the key to get your application noticed and get you in the door for an interview. So as you go to these events, network.
Count to six. One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand… and when you get to six, that’s it. Six seconds is how long, on average, a recruiter will look at your resume. This is not according to some sort of sick tracking system we at Willory have on our computers, but rather a national study among recruiters conducted by The Ladders.
Six seconds is how long you have to make an impression to get to the next step. Because make no mistake, your resume exists to not only serve as an overview of your background, but serve as a tool to land the interview.
Often in a job hunt you may find that – as hard as you try – interviews are not rolling in and the number of jobs to apply for is lacking. How do you remain productive and continue to get your name out there as a top candidate when opportunities arise? One of the best networking techniques is setting up informational interviews.
First of all, an informational interview is NOT to be used as anything other than what it is intended to be – an opportunity to grow your network. Leverage people you know or connections of people you know to sit down with people in companies you would be interested in or in positions that mirror the next logical step in your career path. Pull these from friends, friends-of-friends, friends-of-relatives’ friends, etc.
An informational interview helps you better understand what skills you will need to land that next opportunity, expand your network, and will help hone your interview skills for the real thing.
Here are a few things you should remember with every informational interview:
It’s easy to settle in to a position and put it on cruise control. You have a great job, you are happy, and/or life circumstances dictate you are sticking with this position for the foreseeable future. Well just because you haven’t started looking or even placed a stake in the ground for when you will start looking doesn’t mean you should be complacent. Here are a few things that you, as an HR/payroll professional, should be doing to keep you and your skills sharp for when the time comes.
You’ve applied, passed the first interview process and have been invited back for a second interview for your next payroll or HR job. Since you’re on such a roll you should keep doing what works, right? Don’t change a thing and you’ll land the payroll or HR opportunity, right? Wrong!
You’re being invited back to uncover more about yourself – to examine your skills and qualifications both more deeply and in a variety of ways. You are going to need to up your game and bring something new to the table to land your HR or payroll job.
You’ve applied, interviewed, maybe even interviewed a second time and you haven’t heard back. Why? Is this some sort of tone deaf or sociopathic behavior designed to make you nuts… left to wonder why you haven’t heard anything? The radio silence can be frustrating and off-putting and it is understandable that if you’re put in a position waiting to hear back (one way or the other) and you never do, or you have to wait an inordinate amount of time that the company in question could be burning a bridge with you.
The job interview isn’t over when the interviewer looks at you and asks “Do you have any questions?” You may find yourself taking a deep breath, thinking… “Wow, I did pretty well – I’m glad that’s over.”
Think again. Often this phase of the interview is the most revealing in terms of your critical thinking, enthusiasm, job, fit, etc. When you’re working with Willory for an HR or payroll position, we’ll help prepare you to be ready to ask some tough, insightful questions – but here are a few to consider the next time you’re asked…