Avoid Becoming a “Cubicle Crawler” at Your New Job

We’ve all seen them in the workplace… the co-workers who just have to flit from one cubicle to another to have their audience for whatever it is they need to interrupt you and others for, because what they have to say is always more important than any work you may be involved with. You unknowingly may be one or have been the victim of one.

Such on-the-job social butterflies rarely consider their sudden presence at your cube as an “interruption”—unless you specifically tell them that it is.

I am a morning person, and when I worked as a manager, I needed the quiet of early morning hours to write, edit, or plan out meetings and “to do” lists for myself and my team.  I do my best work from early in the morning to about 2pm, and then I hit the doldrums.

Early in my career when cube crawlers interrupted my work, that’s time I didn’t get back, which sometimes forced me to work through lunch, work late, or take work home. I later learned the only way to prevent such occurrences is to politely nip it in the bud early before it becomes a habit. Once it’s a habit with such people, it becomes part of their—and your—routine.

Most people realize intuitively the opportunities for socializing during work hours: getting coffee at the community pot, in the lunchroom getting a snack or having lunch, at the networked printer or copier—wherever people naturally gather in “common” areas. Your cubicle/office should not be one of those places on a regular basis.

Once you allow a so-called cubicle crawler to establish a presence, don’t be surprised if it turns into an infestation. Other cubicle crawlers have this uncanny knack for discovering new feeding grounds and pretty soon you have a crowd gathering.

It’s not as though these folks don’t have work to do; it’s just that their daily need for social interaction early in the morning (or any other time during the day) seems to outweigh your need for arriving at work early—to get work done. While such inconsiderate behavior may be oblivious to the offending party, others may notice it for what it is. Your submitting to these interruptions could be perceived as willful cooperation by others, so the best approach is to tactfully explain your reasons for coming to work early or for just not being open to interruptions when you are at work in your cubicle or office.

If you think you may have such tendencies, please respect the work habits of others; their presence at work is not for your indulgence. If you are being bothered by such behavior, the sooner you initiate the request to stop the interruptions, the quicker the situation becomes a non-issue for everyone involved.

My first experience with a cube crawler was a former supervisor of mine when I worked in the oil business. He walked the hallways with a mouthful of chewing tobacco and spit cup in one hand, looking for an opportunity to park himself in someone’s office and become an unwelcome addition to the existing office furniture. His topic of conversation typically focused on off-color subjects. I discovered that the quickest way to have him to leave my office was to ask a geology- or geophysics-related question, or to spread out my geologic maps on the work table and show him what I’d been working on. You could almost feel the breeze from the wake he created while exiting my office. Too bad he rarely took his spit cup with him on the way out. Eventually, everyone in the group developed coping mechanisms to keep this supervisor out of their offices.

My last experience was with a hiring consultant who was the first one in the office every morning at 6 am; my mistake was being the second person in the office right after him. You’d think this person would know better or have caught on early through my polite hints that I was busy from the moment I sat down at my desk. But no, he barely gave me time to turn on the computer and check email before he was at my cube with “Whatcha got goin’ on today?”

If I simply acknowledged him without turning around at my desk, he would stand there looking out the office window and tell me what the weather was going to do for the next few days, putting the Weather Channel forecasts to shame.  I either had to tell him I was too busy to chat or eventually he would get the message himself that I was in fact focusing on my work.

He got the nickname “coffee room troll” because as soon as anyone walked in the small coffee room near his cube, he was out of it in a flash trying to chat up another victim who only wanted some caffeine to kick-start his or her morning in solitude. He did cause some concern once when he would note when people arrived at work. He would corner them in the coffee room or hallway and say, “Looks like you got a late start this morning…you didn’t get your first cup of coffee until 8:35 when you usually get it at 8:17…” or “Are you keeping banker’s hours? You didn’t flip on the lights until 6:45 when you usually turn them on at 6:37…” That kind of attention was enough to warrant a conversation with upper management about that type of behavior. Soon after, his contract was terminated on the spot.

For the first few weeks, you’ll be under the microscope to see how well you fit into the team dynamic and the office or corporate culture. Focus on the criteria that helps you strengthen your personal brand and your place on the team.

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Rise of the Machines! “Job Bots” and Résumé Screening

Not all résumés get an initial screening by hiring managers or recruiters. Once the dumping ground for solicited and unsolicited résumés and job applications, many big company HR departments have been forced lately to devote more resources to employment law and related legislation, implementing the Affordable Care Act, and employee benefit packages. As a result, many HR departments are turning to résumé- and job application-screening software, thanks to the overwhelming number of such documents they receive. It’s a good idea to know how these systems (called Applicant Tracking System or ATS) work so you can make your résumé more relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Most of these systems incorporate a specific software application called a “bot.” A bot (Internet-speak for “robot”) is an automated application used to perform simple and repetitive tasks that would be time-consuming, mundane, or impossible for a human to perform. Bots can be used for productive tasks, but they are also frequently used for malicious purposes, such as identity theft or to launch denial of service attacks.

“Job bots” are software applications embedded in applicant tracking systems used by human resource departments or third-party providers since the late 1990s to screen pools of online applications and online résumé submissions. As far back as 2001, some job bots were able to search 300,000 résumés in 10 seconds. The Resumix system is used by the Federal Government to screen online applications and résumés. Resumix and other such job bots filter these documents through tens or hundreds of thousands of “Knowledge-Skill-Ability” terms (called KSAs) to determine whether an application or résumé meets the essential and preferable skills for a  particular job vacancy.

The automated application-résumé screening process is designed to reject as many unqualified applications as possible. If you’ve ever been surprised (or angry) when you received a rejection letter stating that you “did not have the required minimum experience,” even though you may have worked in an identical position for years, it’s likely you were the victim of a job bot. The job bot in the application tracking system is programmed to look for specific information (job title, functional skills, years of experience) and if your experience is not formatted in the expected manner, it doesn’t exist as far as the job bot is concerned.

How Job Bots Work

Here’s a brief overview of how the job bot software analyzes your résumé.

  1. HR receives your résumé (along with hundreds of others)
  2. Your résumé is run through a computer program called a parser, which removes styling and formatting (bold typeface, underlining, bullets, etc.), and separates text into recognizable strings of characters for additional analysis
  3. The parser assigns meaning and context to résumé content, separating phrases into information types, such as contact information, functional skills, experience, education, language skills, etc.
  4. Employer uses keywords to search candidates, matching terms are searched from the results collected in Step 3.
  5. Your résumé is scored based on relevancy, which is the semantic matching of employer search terms and your experience.
  6. (Optional): If it makes it this far, your résumé may be further “filtered” by persons who may or may not be familiar with your specific, unique knowledge or expertise. In such cases, they are instructed to forward to a higher-level reviewer  to determine whether it should be forwarded to a hiring manager. I don’t know about you, but leaving that decision in their hands makes me just a bit nervous.

Structuring your résumé really does require some forethought, the right experience, a distinctive writing style to overcome the barriers presented by these job bots. A résumé not optimized for these ATSs and job bots risks never being viewed by human eyes.

(More) Bad News About Job Bots

According to a 2012 CIO magazine article, job bots are error-prone apps that eliminate “75 percent of job-seekers’ chances of landing an interview as soon as they submit their résumés, no matter how qualified they may be.”  Peter Cappelli, author of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs states that job bots are inexpensive but “not very effective in finding the people companies want.”

Job bot accuracy depends on the decision rules used in parsing applications and résumés, which in turn depends on the quality and extent of research performed to determine appropriate KSAs for a particular function or position.

While the “scrubbing” of applications and résumés by many ATSs can remove potential bias (age, gender, ethnicity for example), it’s possible that information linked to these factors may not be ignored.

Another problem is that humans can spot talent better than any software algorithm, and this is especially true as more fields become technology driven where the types and degrees of specialization require a trained eye to spot.  According to an HR acquaintance, “A great résumé gets noticed, but at most companies it’s about who referred you.”

Getting Past the Job Bots

The goal is to get your résumé past the job-bot gatekeepers and low-level human screeners, and into the hands of a hiring manager. Here are some suggestions for getting your résumé past ATS and job bots:

  1. Don’t just focus on words in the job description. Read it carefully to identify themes, repeated phrases, and jargon, but key words are not always obvious. Without the right key words (or enough of them), your résumé will likely be rejected. Also important: proper key word placement and frequency to maximize their value, proper hierarchy arrangement of paragraphs.
  2. As I consistently counsel ACFE members, stay focused on what’s important to the person reviewing the résumé or the job bot scanning it–avoid additional irrelevant information that can distract from the position requirements as it could result in a rejection.
  3. Prioritize the words on résumé. The Résumé Help blog recommends auditing the job description to build a list of priority and secondary words. Priority résumé key words are those used in the job title, description headlines, or used more than twice. Secondary résumé key words make mention of competitor companies or brand name experience, keyword phrases, and notable industry qualifications (special certifications, designations).
  4. Consult an insider for help finding relevant words for a position of interest. Use your LinkedIn network to find (or connect) with someone in an industry group forum who can help with this.
  5. Pepper all job-related words across your résumé. Screeners factor in depth of expertise (years experience); use the same job-related words for all job positions. Order bullets in descending order of relevancy to the job description (same advice applies for human screeners, such as hiring managers).
  6. Create a relevant category expertise section, near the top 1/3 of the first page of the résumé. Similar to a functional skills table, populate this table with relevant generic category expertise, such as Finance, Accounting, Operations, Audit, Investigation, etc. Specific category expertise would include Risk Management, Financial transactions and fraud schemes, Fraud Prevention and deterrence, Construction Fraud, Medicare/Medicaid Fraud, Data Analytics.

One Last Tip

So, what are the chances your résumé will be evaluated by a job bot? That depends on the size of the company with the open position, whether that company is using a third-party agency to screen résumés, and the specific position for which you are applying. It’s important to understand that making it past the job-bot gauntlet only gets you to the next step in the hiring process: The job interview. That’s it. The skill needed for the job interview, and ultimately receiving a job offer, is what I call the “Likeability Factor,” which is beyond the scope of this post.

If you receive an email response immediately after submitting your résumé, then it’s likely it’s already been rejected. Continue tweaking your résumé and resubmitting until the autoresponses stop. When that happens, there’s a good chance that your résumé made it past the first hurdle and may be in the hands a human being and not a software “Terminator.”

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What American Idol Can Teach You About Job Interviews and Networking

I’ve seen so many parallels between how people audition on American Idol for a chance to continue their quest toward fame and fortune for a trip to Hollywood, and how people approach interviewing for a job. On American Idol, the people who are really talented rise above those less gifted, but even among the very talented, there are significant differences.

You can almost spot the “Top 10″ contestants by how they handle the audition. The ones who find the most favor in the eyes of the judges understand what the judges are looking for. They are looking for not only “the look” and great vocal chops, but how a contestant gets lost in the moment of the audition. Or, better, yet: how that contestant is on his or her game when they deliver what the judges are looking for.

Do the beggars and pleaders ever make it through to the Hollywood round? Rarely, if ever. If they do, they usually are gone by the end of Hollywood week. They just don’t understand the nature of the audition. They are controlled by the emotion of the moment—perhaps overwhelmed by the celebrity status of the judges—but then they rely on the beneficence of the judges, hoping they will respond to their tearful pleas to get them to the next round. They have allowed their immediate surroundings, the presence of the judges, or other external factors to exert more control of the audition instead of being in control of it themselves. Such behavior quickly and clearly labels these hopefuls as amateurs, and usually disqualifies them for further consideration in the competition.

Your job interview is your audition. When your game is on, you focus on what the hiring manager wants and needs, and you own the audition—the interview—and the space in which you find yourself, rather than feel sucked into it like a semihelpless victim.

Beware of Feckless Schmoozing Disguised as Networking

I empathize with the American Idol judges when contestants subject them to the tearful drama for some special consideration after a poor audition because I have experienced it in the hiring process and with individuals who abuse the idea of networking. There’s nothing worse than getting an email or phone call from a former colleague—perhaps someone I hardly knew to say “hello” to in the halls—who wants to meet with me over lunch for undisclosed reasons. Being reluctant to offend, I used to agree with a modicum of enthusiasm because I knew what was coming: feckless schmoozing, or an outright plea for a job, or a good lead to one—or all three. So now, I don’t accept the invitation unless I first know why. If the person is favor shopping, it’s OK to tell me up front; but to disguise it will always result in losing my respect and assistance in the future.

I call this approach “noxious networking” because it always leaves a bad smell behind. It’s a sign of desperation, whereby professional decorum takes flight before I’ve ordered an appetizer. Such people are interested only in what they can get out of the relationship, and not in how they may be able to help others. It’s a surefire way to ruin a potentially great networking contact.

Networking works best when it’s about building and maintaining mutual relationships—with a focus on the word, mutual. Those relationships are best nurtured well before you need to use them; otherwise, it is simply a selfish, selfabsorbed, oneway strategy others will detect quickly, and you’ve likely just burned what could have been a key contact for your job or career search.

Nurturing professional networks requires time and energy. You want to ensure you are creating mutual professional relationships with someone you feel you can help and who can help you. Sometimes, the perceived benefits of such contacts are greater than the actual ones.

Be Honest with Network Leads

Back in the mid1990s, the division manager to whom I reported wanted to bring in several of his friends and former employees to interview for a vacant technical writer position that was available on my team. We reviewed the résumés of the three individuals who had extensive experience in the aerospace industry with writing and illustrating technical specifications. They were actually more engineering draftsmen than technical writers, but the boss insisted we interview them. Members of my team knew before the interviews that none of them qualified as microprocessor technical writers and editors, and we would very likely pass on recommending them for hire. All the candidates worked in DOS-based environments and didn’t have any experience with the Windowsbased applications we used.

The interviews lasted about four hours and, as expected, we didn’t recommend any of the candidates for hire. The division manager thought he was helping his friends and former coworkers by scheduling interviews with my team, but the ultimate effect for these folks was just another disappointment that was becoming evident in their faces as the interviews wore on. My team felt uncomfortable going through the interview motions knowing we wouldn’t be making job offers, and I disliked being put in that position with people’s livelihood.

Just as it’s wrong to pass no-talents through to the next level in American Idol, so is granting interviews to candidates you have no intention of hiring.

Are You a Job Applicant or a Job Supplicant?

The overt nature of begging and pleading for a job smacks of misdirected energies as well. The very term “applicant” has synonyms such as “aspirant,” “contender,” and “claimant” that imply some degree of intent, concerted effort, or purpose. People apply for vacant positions, or they fill out job applications. The individual who must resort to pleading is known as a “supplicant,” which has as synonyms, “requester” and “petitioner.” People who resort to supplication when seeking a job either are not considered seriously for the position or may have to work harder to earn the respect of co-workers, if they are hired.

So, if supplication is your preferred approach, just remember how so few American Idol pleaders have heard one of the American Idol judges say…

“You’re Going to Hollywood!”

Shortsightedness is often the reason American Idol hopefuls fail in their auditions. Many of the finalists put “being the next American Idol” ahead of the love of music and making music for the enjoyment of others as so many first-round wanna-be’s confidently proclaim to the viewing audience and the judges. Sometimes in the hiring process, shortsightedness comes across in candidates embracing the “I need a job” mindset rather than seeing themselves as the hiring manager’s problem solver. It’s a matter of focus that makes all the difference in the approach to an audition/job interview.

A Final Word

Whether you are seeking a job within your industry or are considering a complete career change, heed the advice from American Idol finalists:

  1.  Play to your strengths and know your limitations
  2.  Maintain an approachable, likeable personal style
  3.  Show some personality
  4.  Understand what the judges are looking for and need
  5.  Above all, it’s talent

As with American Idol finalists, the person who outperforms the competition, who brings to the open position the skills, knowledge, and expertise the hiring manager needs for the position—and promotes that expertise throughout the hiring process—is ultimately the person who carries the day.

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Tips for Creating an Achievement-Focused Résumé

One of the topics that generates the most interest at my seminar and workshops is how to create a résumé that emphasizes key accomplishments and achievements instead of one that reads like a career obituary. When a résumé overflows with duties and responsibilities, it’s a snoozer for hiring managers because EVERY candidate has duties and responsibilities. Make a hiring manager go on a fishing expedition for information he or she needs, and your chances for further consideration are greatly reduced.

I suggest creating a small table with 5 rows and 2 columns like the example below.

Situation What were the circumstances leading up to the accomplishment?
Task What task were you assigned for this situation?
Action What action(s) did you take to fulfill the task assigned?
Results Where were the results of the actions you took to fulfill the assigned task?
Restated for résumé How would you state this accomplishment in one short sentence for your résumé?

Here’s an example that I worked up an accomplishment from my last résumé:

Situation Technical publications function considering going from print to digital.
Task Create task force to evaluate costs, organizational impact, timetable, cost-savings
Action Obtain buy-in from all functional groups affected by shift to digital.
Results Reduced company printing costs by $2.3 million in two years.
Restated for résumé Reduced documentation printing/distribution costs by $2.3M in two years with minimal impact to participating organizations.

Breaking down your involvement with various company initiatives and projects using this table format helps you extract an accomplishment that contributes to the strategic objectives of the organization.

 

 

 

 
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Knowing when to bring up salary during job interviews

I have written about it, I have said in workshops and presentations: the first person to utter a salary number loses. Now, a recent survey of 300 senior managers by Robert Half reveals the best times for hiring managers to bring up the subject of salary:

  • Phone interview: 9%
  • First interview: 31%
  • Second interview: 38%
  • Third interview or later: 8%
  • Once you make the job offer: 14%

Regardless of when a hiring manager discusses salary requirements, never be the first one to toss out a number. If the job ad doesn’t list it, (“competitive salary” means different things to different people), keep asking questions until you have enough information to ask for more than you want so you can settle for what you need. But you’d better have that number firmly in mind when the conversation starts.

For more details on salary negotiation, see the Salary Negotiation chapter in my award-winning book, Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (Second Edition).

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One Item on your Résumé that Cuts Your Job Prospects by Nearly 25% (and other job news)

I’m always cautioning candidates to mention only those things on a résumé that highlight their complete and total brand as a professional. Leave the personal stuff, the hobbies, the social causes, the kids, etc. to the coffee pot conversations after you’re hired because some information can be detrimental to your career or job aspirations no matter how socially conscious you think they may be.

A study from the Equal Rights Center and Freedom to Work found that job candidates who listed LGBT-related interests, such as gay rights activism, on their résumés were 23 percent less likely to get a callback from potential employers than their non-LGBT counterparts, even when the LGBT applicants had a better skill set. (Jezebal.com)
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While 58 percent of employers offer pay for maternity leave, one in four mothers who work during pregnancy either quit their jobs or are let go soon after a new child arrives. (Los Angeles Times)

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In its annual time use survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that on average Americans spend 8.74 hours per day sleeping, 5.26 hours per day engaging in leisure activities, and just 3.46 hours per day doing “work and work-related activities.” (USAToday.com)

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In a recent Gallup poll, more than half of Americans said the economy, particularly unemployment, is the country’s top challenge today. (Forbes.com)

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The price of a college education keeps climbing, but it still may be worth the cost for most people. According to a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the average U.S. college graduate can expect to earn some $800,000 more over a lifetime than the average high school graduate. (Slate.com)

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In 2013, Americans with four-year college degrees earned 98 percent more per hour than workers without degrees. That figure has been climbing sharply since the 1980s, when college graduates earned an average of 64 percent more per hour than non-college workers. (The New York Times)

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According to numbers released by Uber, full-time drivers of the smartphone-summoned UberX taxis in New York City earn a median annual income of $90,766. That’s three times the estimated yearly wage of a traditional cabbie. (WashingtonPost.com)

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Align Your Expertise with What Hiring Managers are Looking For

As I’ve said repeatedly on this blog, hiring managers are more interested in what you accomplished than what your duties and responsibilities were in your career. Too many folks still confuse task completion with accomplishments; a task completion is part of your duties and responsibilities. An accomplishment yields results that impact the higher strategic vision or objective of the organization beyond the normal day-to-day duties and responsibilities.

The graphic below summarizes how hiring managers view expertise in a job candidate, and how candidates can express that expertise to better align with what hiring managers are looking for. Such methods help promote your professional brand in the job marketplace.

Common ground graphic

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Job Seekers: When Are You Going to See the Bigger Picture of Your Expertise?

When are job seekers going to stop seeing their expertise as merely the bait for the next job? When will people start looking at how their expertise contributes to something far bigger than their own self interests?

In my Career and Job Strategy Workshops, I show participants how position their expertise beyond the nose on their face. I still see far too many résumés full of bullet lists containing “duties and responsibilities” that only tell me what you did (or had a part in doing)–what I as a hiring manager what to know specifically is what was it that you accomplished in the normal performance of your “duties and responsibilities”? How did what you did contribute to the higher strategic objective of the organization? Did it generate revenue? Did it reduce costs? Did it avoid costs? Did it result in some kind of efficiency improvement?

Figure 1 graphically represents how core competencies are created–by a series of related duties and responsibilities. Unfortunately, most candidate résumés are loaded with duties and responsibilities. When you have more than a few related core competencies, they contribute to a “functional expertise” and that’s what hiring managers want to see (accomplishments speak to functional expertise too).

functional expertise 1

FIGURE 1. Show hiring managers your core competencies, not just your duties and responsibilities, which do not separate you from the competition who also have duties and responsibilities. (© 2014 Donn LeVie Jr. from The Career and Job Strategy Workshop)

Candidates need to realize that a company is on the road to having a competitive advantage in the marketplace when they hire people who know how to showcase their core competencies and NOT just everyday duties and responsibilities. Companies that enjoy market dominance tend to employ people who know how to showcase their talent through related areas of functional expertise, as Figure 2 shows.

FIGURE 2. How core competencies contribute to a company's competitive advantage and how functional expertise contributes to a company's market dominance.

FIGURE 2. How core competencies contribute to a company’s competitive advantage and how functional expertise contributes to a company’s market dominance. (© 2014 Donn LeVie Jr. From the Career and Job Strategy Workshop)

Demonstrate to hiring managers that you understand the business, the issues, and the challenges by listing achievements/ accomplishments, core competencies, and functional expertise on your résumé–more than likely, you’ll be on that hiring manager’s short list for a job offer.
 

 

 

 

 

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Job and Career News

Almost half of small business owners surveyed said they don’t support raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, while 44 percent said they endorse the idea. More than a quarter said hiking the minimum wage to $10.10 would force them to cut back on employees or hours, but 95 percent agreed that the current rate is not a living wage (CNN.com)

Nearly three-fourths of job seekers say they would relocate for new work, according to data from Monster.com. But managers are still less likely to hire out-of-towners whom they’ve never met in person. (CSMonitor.com)

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, students who worked as unpaid interns last year received full-time job offers at almost the same rate as those who had no internships at all–about 37 percent, compared with 62 percent for students with paid internships. (The Wall Street Journal)

When adjusted for inflation, the average graduate student’s debt load rose 43 percent between 2004 and 2012 to a median of $57,600. Debt for students pursuing advanced degrees in the humanities and social sciences grew more sharply compared with professional degrees–in, say, business or medicine–which also yield greater long-term returns. (The Wall Street Journal)

U.S. employers are giving workers more flexibility, with two thirds now allowing staffers to occasionally work from home, up from 50 percent in 2008 and 38 percent allowing employees to work from home regularly, up from 23 percent just six years ago. (WSJ.com)

According to a new Gallup poll, workers who remain unemployed for a year or longer suffer from higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, and excessive cholesterol. While workers who have been unemployed for two weeks or less have an obesity rate around 23 percent, some 33 percent of long-term unemployed people are considered obese. (MarketWatch.com)

Job and Career News of Note

Your High School GPA May be an Indicator of Earnings Potential

Your high school GPA is strongly correlated with how much you’ll earn as a worker, a new study found. For a one-point increase in a person’s high school GPA, average annual earnings in adulthood increased by about 12 percent for men and about 14 percent for women. Men who were born between 1960 and 1964 and graduated from college earned a median of $802,000 in cumulative earnings by the time they were in their mid 40s. Meanwhile, median earnings for high school graduates fell from $435,000 to $243,000 over that same time period.  (WashingtonPost.com)

Best Apps for Job Hunting

Jobr: is trying to be the Tinder for job hunting. Fill out a résumé and job openings that match your profile will pop up one by one. You swipe to the right to register interest, and if the hiring party likes you too, Jobr sets up a phone chat (Free, iOS only).

Job Interview Q&A: offers just what the name says. It poses common interview questions to which you respond. It also explains in each case what managers are hoping to learn (Free, Android only).

Job Compass: lists jobs by ZIP code and covers dozens of countries–in case your up for a big change (Free, iOS only).

Job Search: from JobandTalent, improves on the average job-search engine with a beautifully designed interface that helps you sort through and stay up on the openings that interest you. (Free, Android or iOS)

Best Companies to Work For

When it comes to attracting workers, tech companies are tops. A new report from Glassdoor used employee feedback to rank the top 25 employers, with firms like Google, Facebook, and Adobe leading the way thanks to pay and perks (FastCompany.com).

Why College Degrees Are Losing Value

Congratulations, graduates–your diploma may be worthless, said Richard K. Vedder in BloombergView.com. “American institutions will confer about 1.8 million bachelor’s degrees this year,” and while many of those grads will land solid, well-paying jobs, many more “face an uncertain future.”  In fact, “many will end up taking jobs historically done by those with high school diplomas or even less.” Surely, the financial crisis, enduring recession, and sluggish recovery are partly to blame. But there is a longer-term problem at work: “There are simply more college graduates than jobs requiring college degrees.” And it’s getting worse. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a gain of more than 15 million jobs by 2022, but less than a third of them will require a college education. Of course, “as word spreads that college degrees do not guarantee vocational success,” many students may choose to skip college–and student debt–altogether. But “solving the problem will be very difficult so long as politicians find it expedient to dole out aid and cheap loans” to students who won’t benefit from college at all. The bottom line is that unless we overhaul how we finance higher education, we will continue to have “a lot of graduates with low paying jobs, big debts, and unfulfilled expectations.”

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