Working with HR

Whether you’re looking for a new job or you’re in a company with an HR department, knowing about the HR operations can give you a big edge. A recent article on Yahoo! Finance explains some of the current dynamics in the HR world. One issue is that HR departments are shrinking, so they also have fewer resources and rely on outside help.

One issue involves catching their attention at a time when HR departments are getting flooded with resumes. Your cover letter and your resume need to be targeted to the desired position.

With unemployment hovering around 10 percent, HR managers are inundated with responses for every job posting. In fact, some companies are hiring outside firms to post jobs and sort through resumes, presenting only a dozen or so qualified candidates for consideration. How to make the cut? Be sure your resume and cover letter highlight the skills asked for in the job posting; HR tosses applications that don’t meet all the basic criteria. And ask yourself what in your background fits the company’s needs, says Mike Wright, senior vice president of outsourcing sales with Hewitt Associates.

Another angle: Approach an in-house recruiter or hiring manager before they post a position. Try using business-oriented social-media sites like LinkedIn.com to meet contacts, says O’Donnell. Judi Perkins, founder of FindThePerfectJob.com, says she found most of her clients jobs this way. When you score an interview with HR reps, take it seriously — you never know how much say they have in the process. And ask them what qualities they look for in employees. “You really need to sell them on your abilities,” says O’Donnell.

There’s also all sorts of privacy issues in the workplace today as well. Just assume that HR is watching you, and that your actions in and out of the workplace can impact your career.

With profits rebounding Wall Street starts hiring again

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The economy seems to be rebounding, banks are reporting huge profits, and now we’re hearing that Wall Street is hiring again.

Will this trend continue and result in significant numbers of new hires? Nobody knows, but this is still a good sign. Wall Street firms will start with high end jobs like traders and risk managers, but it can be expected that support staff and entry-level positions will follow. As the economy ramps up, lean firms will want to make sure they don’t leave money on the table.

If you’re out of work, now is the time to get really aggressive. Go back to many of the contacts that said no several months ago. Chances are they might be rethinking their approach.

Job market showing signs of life

We’ve been hearing anecdotal evidence that hiring has been picking up, and today’s job numbers confirm the trend with some good news on the jobs front.

Employment in the U.S. increased in March by the most in three years and the unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent as companies gained confidence the economic recovery will be sustained.

Payrolls rose by 162,000 last month, less than anticipated, figures from the Labor Department in Washington showed today. The March increase included 48,000 temporary workers hired by the government to conduct the 2010 census, as well as job gains in manufacturing and health services.

The government revised January and February payroll figures up by a combined 62,000, putting the March gain at 224,000 after including the updated data. Caterpillar Inc. is among companies adding staff, indicating the recovery that began in the second half of 2009 is starting to foster the jobs needed to lift consumer spending and sustain the expansion.

Let’s see if this can be sustained. Much of the stimulus money is still in the pipeline, so we can expect more hiring resulting from those federal dollars and they work their way through the economy. Also, manufacturing seems to be picking up, so that could also have a very positive effect.

Land an internship to start a career in sports

Many people love sports, and many also would love a career in sports. Of course, few have the physical skills plus necessary dedication to become a pro athlete, but a career in sports business or as a sports agent appeals to many people.

Jack Bechta is a respected sports agent and he’s written an article about how you can use an internship to start a possible career in sports. It’s not easy, however, as these internships are in high demand.

If you want to work in sports, the best way to start is by landing an internship. It’s a productive path: Six interns who worked for me went on to careers in sports.

The problem is that there are too many people chasing too few internships, so it’s tough to get your foot in the door. Like many agents, I get several unsolicited inquiries per week about the possibility of interning at JB Sports. NFL teams, and other pro sports teams, receive hundreds per month. However, I only use about two interns per year, and they’re usually selected a year in advance.

Bechta goes on to suggest seven tips to help you land that internship. Check out the entire article and you may be on your way to a lucrative and fun career in sports.

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