What You Should Know Before Signing a Severance Agreement

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More than 2 million Americans voluntarily leave their jobs every month in the US, with millions more leaving involuntarily through termination. Rare is the case of an employee collecting a cushy severance package when exiting of their own volition. Unless, of course, it pays for a company to help transition an employee who resigns and, for example, may be a holder of critical company information. A nice monetary send-off may help tighten potential loose lips or ensure continued good relationships.

Of the millions and millions of other employees who are off boarded involuntarily, most generally walk away with very little or nothing, unless they hold upper-middle or senior-level positions with significant years of service to warrant a severance pay out or they are part of a larger layoff or downsizing and a company wants to prevent bad press that could result form sending off employees without assistance. In the latter instance, assistance may not be monetary in nature, but rather career counseling, resume writing or cover letter preparation.

In the devastating moment of job loss, a monetary severance can help ease the pain and provide a cushion while finding new employment. It can be a great benefit, making you eager to sign on the dotted line, but it’s also not without risks.

Most severance agreements include terms legally binding you to abide by them after you’ve signed the agreement, and most of those terms favor the employer, not you. For instance, you may be forbidden to take legal action against the employer or defame the company in any way. If you are fired for age discrimination or retaliation, you can’t bring suit against the company after you sign a severance agreement. Think twice and take your time before signing. Most agreements have a deadline and provide time for you to fully consider the terms.

If you also signed a non-compete agreement at the onset of your employment, you will most likely be unable to immediately find work in the same field. Signing a severance agreement may make it impossible to legally appeal the non-compete agreement even in cases of hardship in which you can’t find employment outside of your field.

If you are offered a severance package, heed the following advice:

  • Don’t sign a severance agreement unless you have to. If you have a nest egg, as most people should, to protect you in the event of losing a job, rely on that instead. You won’t be legally bound to the stringent restrictions built into most agreements and will be able to walk away with a greater degree of freedom.
  • Find a reputable labor attorney who can review the agreement and advise you before signing. A legal professional can walk you through all of the terms and make sure you understand the extent of the restrictions.
  • If you do need to sign an agreement, you may also be able to negotiate the terms before signing. You could secure more compensation or benefits for a greater period of time, instead of what is originally stated in the agreement.
  • Understand the consequences of what could happen if you do sign and then break your agreement. The penalties could be severe.

Whether or not you accept a severance agreement and the terms, walk away, move forward and commit to not disparaging the company. You want to heal from the experience. Speak favorably about the positives of your work experience and those you worked with. Protect yourself from potential libel and from having any negativity backfire on you with the company speaking unfavorably about you and your work.

Beware of Online Job Search Scammers

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Should You Provide Your Social Security Number on a Job Application?

It’s rare, but occasionally a job seeker may be asked to provide a social security number on a job application for background checks that could occur if a job offer is extended. Should you provide it?

No. Never. Definitely not.

An employer shouldn’t be conducting any background screening until the formal job offer stage, at which time references are contacted and credit checks sand criminal reports are conducted.

Giving out your social security number in advance of an offer may result in discrimination on the part of the employer, giving them the ability to gather data on everything from financial information, divorce records, traffic violations, etc.

Recent news reports also indicate that giving out personal information, a social security number or bank account data may also put you at significant risk with online job search scammers preying on job seekers in order to commit identity theft.

Protect yourself. Follow a few safety guidelines:

  • Be leery of any offers for interviews that happen quickly after posting or submitting a resume.
  • Check out the interviewee in advance on LinkedIn and company websites.
  • Make sure the company is legit.
  • Don’t participate in a text message interview.
  • Never provide your personal details, such as social security number or bank account information until a bona fide offer from a reputable company is in hand.

Trick Your Brain to Get Started on a Dreaded Job or Project

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Humans procrastinate tasks and projects for a variety of reasons. Most people have conditioned themselves to postpone or ignore any number of activities because they:

  • have become conditioned to heightened arousal stemming from completing a task at the last minute,
  • have issues with fear, perceived failure, or
  • they avoid decision-making because they don’t want to make a mistake or take responsibility for their outcomes.

Whichever is the case, you can recondition yourself to tackle work without delay.

When it comes to work you are paid to perform, it doesn’t pay to put it off. It can cost you your productivity, your sense of accomplishment, your reputation and even your continued employment. Top talent employees are admired not only for their expertise, but also for their ability to get things done in a timely manner.

Recognizing your tendency to procrastinate is a first step to changing the maladaptive behavior. See it and admit it. Understanding why you do it – arousal response, fear/failure reaction or decision immobilization – gets you to the root cause. Finally, realizing the fallacy behind each can help deflate the power they have over you.

Deferring work until the last minute because you think you work better under pressure is an untruth. You may have more incentive to get busy because you are under the gun to meet a deadline, but it doesn’t result in improved work product. In fact, more errors are made under stress and little time is left for adequate review and correction. And procrastinating to the last minute never wins you team praise. Coworkers are more apt to be irritated by eleventh-hour deliverables.

Fear of not knowing how to tackle a job or worry about potential failure isn’t cause to hold off starting a project. The fear is a result of the story you tell yourself about a future event. Anxiety subsides once you dive in. And, it’s true; you learn by doing. Trust that you’ll have what you need, including knowledge, as you begin and progress through an assignment.

Postponement because of indecision creates approach-avoidance angst. The best way to beat it is to decide and move forward full speed ahead. Yes, you might make a wrong choice; no one gets it right 100 percent of the time. You’re human. Plus, once you take a stab in one direction, you can autocorrect and go in the opposite direction with time to spare. Just do it.

If procrastination is your Achilles’ heel, you can employee some techniques to kick your habit and shift into high gear.

  1. Disregard how you “feel.” Use your rational, intellectual barometer instead and get started anyway. Once you start a project, it’s never as bad as preconceived notions you had about it. Actually, it usually is far easier and brings great satisfaction to get on top of and complete. As far as feelings go, you’ll feel far better working on a job than shelving it. Using depression as an example, depressed individuals often state that they don’t feel like partaking in activities, but the very activities make them feel less depressed.
  2. Break your project into mini bits. It’s easier to tackle a smaller task than one gigantic one. You’ll feel better and better with each completed step. Even an outline of what you need to do is a small action that you can complete and celebrate. Schedule time on your calendar for each little stage of the project.
  3. Challenge your assumptions. You’ll find that you can disprove most of them when it comes to procrastination. Oddly enough, creativity begets more creativity. Magically, it’s as if just jumping in gets the wheels turning.

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Break Free From The Job Search Grind This Independence Day

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Take your life back, have more time and free yourself from the monotonous work of trying to land your dream job.

Let it go. We’ve got this.

Fridayd will not only find the most relevant job opportunities for you. We’ll complete and submit applications on your behalf, discover networking connections for targeted companies, track all of your processes and keep your job search moving.

No one wants to be shackled with the tedium of finding a new job. And you don’t have to be.

Register now to let Fridayd manage your search and take advantage of our Independence Day special rate of $39 for our standard plan or $69 for our premium plan.

And, hey, you’re not bound to stay with us. If you don’t like the results you get with Fridayd, you are free to cancel at any time.

*Offer ends Saturday, July 8.

 

Tips on Sidestepping the Salary History Question: New Legislation Helps

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In the recent past, some cities and states have already passed legislation to prevent employers from asking job candidates their salary history. It’s a great move for a couple of reasons.

Originally designed to promote equal pay for equal work, such legal measures go beyond attempts to narrow the pay gap for women in the workplace. All job seekers, regardless of gender, should understand how unfair the salary question is and know how to avoid it, especially in cities and states yet to prohibit it.

Your current or past salary has no bearing on what you should be paid in a new position. Period.

What should determine your salary?

The scope of responsibilities in the new position combined with the fair market value for the geographical region in which you will work should be the first factors in deciding salary. Next, levels of experience and expertise weigh in to setting compensation for a role.

Don’t go into an interview without knowing your worth based on market research. There are plenty of online tools, such as PayScale and Glassdoor, to help you calculate your value. But better yet, if your region doesn’t have legislation banning salary history questions, employ some sidestepping strategies.

Many companies request current and past salaries in their online applications. Leave that section blank if it is not a required field. If it is mandatory, you won’t be able to leave that field incomplete, but you can try using all zeros to bypass the system, leaving that question for later in the interview stage.

It’s true that some companies like to have your salary history to make sure your salary expectations don’t exceed their set range for a position and that time isn’t wasted interviewing non-viable candidates. The assumption is that a candidate with a higher salary won’t be satisfied receiving less. That’s not always accurate, however. Many employees find job satisfaction in the work that they do, not just the compensation they receive. An employer can avoid this altogether by being upfront about the salary range for the position. You can then indicate if that range is acceptable to you.

Your first interview with a company will most likely be a screening call with a recruiter, who in most cases will inquire about your salary. You’re in the hot seat. How do you respond without angering the recruiter by withholding information? You can kindly answer the question with some variation of the following:

  • Don’t provide your current salary, but rather provide the recruiter with your salary requirements. What you require and what the hiring company is willing to pay are the only aspects that need to be considered in ascertaining if your salary expectations are a fit for moving forward.
  • Ask for the salary range, or provide a range in which you are willing to consider for the role.
  • Provide a range for your current salary just like the hiring company does for the position they are trying to fill. There is nothing wrong with stating that your existing salary is in the fair market value range for the scope of your responsibilities and that your salary expectations are based on the job requirements and your level of experience. A company worth joining will compensate its employees accordingly.

No one likes the salary question or the salary negotiation stages of job searching. Companies in the know and those that compensate fairly will avoid asking for salary history and instead pay for the value of the job and the experience of the person filling it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The No-nonsense Guide to Networking Anyone Can Follow

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Networking is tops in business – and especially in searching for a new job. Yet, the very thought of cold introductions and engaging with a crowd of strangers isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. For all but the most extroverted professional, assertive initiatives, shaking hands and striking up conversations feels like work, especially when there is an agenda attached.

Networking doesn’t have to be so hard, though, advises Carlos Paz, CEO of Fridayd. For most people, one-on-one interactions are easier and more gratifying. To that end, think of your connections as individual touch points to start and nurture relationships because relationship-building is what networking in all about.

“Most people view networking as attending large-scale or formal events designed just for that purpose. Those events are great, but you may be able to make more headway with a more targeted approach when it comes to searching for a new job,” said Paz.

You can network anytime and anywhere with people you connect with in your daily life. Just mentioning your interest in landing a new position in casual conversations can be a great opener to discover new opportunities. Everyone knows someone who knows someone. You can be more deliberate in your approach, though, by connecting with people you think may have greater insights into available jobs.

Follow these easy steps to build targeted networking into your daily job search activities:

  • Reach out to one existing contact everyday by phone or email to stay in touch and ask about job openings they may be aware of. Ask if you can share your resume and if the connection will forward it on if he/she learns of a suitable opening. Email is a less-threating way to connect that even the most introverted job seeker can undertake. However, nothing beats an actual conversation by phone or in person. Continually rotate through your list of contacts so you stay top of mind with your friends, former colleagues and business associates.
  • Schedule lunch or coffee two times a week with existing contacts to nurture the relationships and discuss your search.
  • Find one activity of interest a week to get you out and mingling. It doesn’t have to be a business networking event. You can meet people pursuing any passion or interest. What’s key is weaving in the right job search questions in your conversations.
  • Strike up conversations with neighbors about positions you are seeking.
  • Directly email a recruiter at companies you apply to. Don’t just apply and think you’ve done all that you can do. Get your foot in the door, introduce yourself and start a relationship through email or even by phone. Note, however, that most recruiters may screen incoming calls. You may have a better chance grabbing attention with email.
  • Work your LinkedIn contacts like a honey badger. Don’t just reach out once. Check back often to see if your contacts know of any emerging positions. Ask for introductions to second and third connections who may be helpful in your search. Most professionals are willing to help, and you may get a chance to return the favor down the road. Don’t be shy about asking for assistance.
  • Research and discover recruiters at targeted companies that don’t currently have an open position. Introduce yourself and share your resume. Many positions don’t make it to the job posting stage. You can raise awareness of your interest and credentials in the event that a position does become available.

Face-to-face encounters are superior for connecting and creating new relationships in your job search, but you can still make an impression, form new alliances and nurture your contacts in other ways. “The most important thing,” said Paz, “is that you make networking a primary part of your job search activities and that you don’t slack in this area. There are so many communications channels to take advantage of; even super socially inhibited professionals can network easily.”

 

 

 

6 Tips to Prevent Burning Bridges When You Leave a Job

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The best way to leave a job that’s not working out is a voluntary exit. You resign, serve out your final weeks and gracefully walk away with relationships intact and in good standing. That’s the ideal, but it frequently doesn’t work out that way.

Companies let employees go for myriad of reasons: poor performance, personality differences, incompatible work styles or goals, decreased budgets, downsizing, mergers and acquisitions, etc. Employees exiting a company for these reasons can still leave with poise and dignity while preserving relationships.

Understandably, losing a job for any reason causes hurt, anger and grief, but feelings can be put aside for your greater long-term good. The following tips will help you if you find yourself in the position of losing a job.

  1. Regardless of whether you think you deserve to lose your job or not, accept the company’s decision; don’t fight it. Ask questions to clarify the reasons for the decision and to determine if there is something you could have done differently, but don’t let anger lead your ego into a caustic exchange of words that you can never take back. By the time your manager or the company gives you notice, the decision is already set in stone.
  2. Keep negativity at bay. Just as if you were leaving by choice, thank the manager or human resources representative for the opportunity you had to contribute and work together.
  3. Ask if there are any options to continue working on a contract basis. Even when a company lets an employee go because of team fit or personality conflicts, the employee’s talent may still be valued. If you can negotiate such a deal, it enables you to state on your resume that you are still employed in some capacity.
  4. Companies don’t like to fire employees. Those who conduct the termination may experience their own guilt and bad feelings. Ask if they have any referrals that can help you in your job search. You could be surprised by their willingness to help.
  5. Say only good things about the company and the people you no longer will work with. Refrain from writing a damaging Glassdoor review or making any destructive comments on social media. You may feel better in the moment that you are venting, but such airing of emotions only hurts you in the long run.
  6. Once you leave, have a cooling-off period before you engage with people who were former employees. It’s tempting to speak poorly of the company or those who let you go. And it keeps you immersed in the event rather than focused on moving forward, learning from the experience and being better for it.

Vow to find the lessons and the good in losing your job. Business relationships don’t always work out, but you can retain the connections you made and leave a position on a more positive note than you might imagine possible.

 

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The Secret to Finding Meaningful Work

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For some job seekers, finding work or a career that is meaningful is a job search objective. However, gratifying work may have multiple meanings from person to person.

Doing work that helps others, improves the world or aids in a human-interest cause is purposeful for many. Saving the planet, healing the sick, or fighting for justice are such altruistic pursuits. Yet others find meaning in being highly challenged to grow a company or generate more wealth.

An artist, musician, actor or writer may find meaning in the creative process, akin to how many feel using their dominant traits or skills, e.g., math, science, construction, mechanical, communication skills, etc.

Work seems to be most meaningful when you can combine top interests, skills and natural talents. Time flies and there is a sense of “flow” in the activities of work. It’s an almost magical experience in which work doesn’t feel like work.

But not everyone has that experience of work, nor the opportunity to spend their days immersed in what interests them most and to collect a paycheck for it. As it turns out, though, all work can have meaning with the right approach to it.

What’s the secret to making all work purposeful?

Just doing good work can create a sense of meaning and increased gratification. Likewise, viewing interactions with coworkers, customers and business partners as acts of service and kindness can bring joy and purpose to any job. Knowing that your work is contributing to building a company that provides for the livelihood of all its employees has worth, and doing the job before you, whatever it is, to support loved ones can have great import.

Oddly enough, trying to discover true interests or passions as they relate to work can also cause added pressure when searching for a new job. It’s a luxury that wasn’t always afforded to past generations.

Everyone wants to find their dream job, but almost everyone will at times do work that is not their ideal gig. Meaningful work, like many things, often depends on the attitude and gusto brought to it.

 

 

 

 

 

Take a Load Off Your Job Search

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What? You can have more fun and free time while finding your next career adventure? Yes, you can!

Vacations are so refreshing. You take a break from work, have fun and spend more time with the ones you love.

Fridayd for job search is just like that!

You leave all the work and worry behind and have more time for what matters most in your life.

  • Professional job search is done for you; Fridayd delivers the most relevant job postings from across the web and targeted company websites
  • With your approval, applications are submitted on your behalf
  • Networking connections are researched and provided to you
  • All job search activities are organized on one easy-to-access dashboard

On a mobile device, it’s just tap, touch and done. You can manage your job search processes in 30 minutes or less per week.

Get started now for a more carefree life and summer while your job search stays on track.

 

 

No Matter How You Slice It, Here Is the Most Important Piece of the Job Search Pie

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A job search is made up of multiple processes, and some can really soak up more time than they should. What are the most important job search activities and how much time should you spend on each for the most streamlined and effective job search?

Surprisingly, many job seekers have the time allocations backwards and spend a significant amount of time online in their quest for the right job opportunities, with considerably more time apportioned to completing and submitting applications. Those are, unequivocally, the most time-consuming activities, and they have to be done; however, no more than 10 percent of job search time should be spent on them.

Yikes! Where should one allot the remaining 90 percent of time?

Take a look:

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Today’s savvy job seekers know that the majority of their time – at least 60 percent – should be spent networking: reaching out to existing contacts, making new ones and uncovering personnel at hiring companies of interest in order to stand out from other applicants and get a foot in the door.

Those on a quest for new employment should spend about 20 percent of their time researching and preparing for interviews and another 10 percent on actual interviews.

The truth is, most job seekers struggle with whittling down their online activities to a manageable degree in order to fit in the more differentiating actions. Why? Because even if you use job search boards with alerts to bring attention to new postings, job search boards don’t catch all of the opportunities and there are a lot of irrelevant postings to sift through to find the needle in the haystack. Job seekers will still find themselves frequently visiting multiple job search boards and company websites to find ideal opportunities, plus allotting more time for filling out applications. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It’s exhausting.

As more and more job seekers are learning about the extreme benefits of upping their networking game, they are seeking new and better ways to cut online activity. Fridayd was founded for the sole purpose of freeing job seekers from tedious online activities so they can focus on what matters most and what will give them the most advantages in their search. And it works! Using Fridayd, job seekers can cut online processes to 30 minutes or less a week and save on average 40 hours per month.

That’s a tasty time-cutting treat worth trying!

Dig in and check it out.