Career Calling

June 30, 2014

A Big Step Back for Working People?


Ian Millhiser, Supreme Court writer for Think Progress, examines the case of Quinn v. Harris, which will have a major impact on worker’s rights. This case could affect the future of labor unions and possibly the legality of the minimum wage. Millhiser’s analysis is rich in detail and explanation that I don’t want to try to summarize. I urge you to read this article.

I will post commentary on the decision tomorrow.

When Workers Really Take Ownership


Yes magazine explores the ways people work together to enhance the common good. It reports that there is good news out of New York City, where the City Council has appropriate $1.2 million to support worker-owned cooperatives. Though the fund is small and is predicted to create fewer than 250 jobs, it helps set a model for other cities. In 2013, Yes outlined the ways worker-owned and other co-ops are changing the economy. In a time when Wall Street is booming and large corporations are merging, it’s refreshing to see that some people are building an alternative economy, one where workers can have some say in how a business is run. If you’re looking to start a business, see if co-ops are legal in your state. They might be a good way to have a successful business in which all workers will “take ownership.”

June 28, 2014

Three Cheers for IKEA

Retailer IKEA has shown leadership in raising its minimum wage to $10.76 per hour. Better still, the company will adjust that wage in areas where the cost of living is higher. The company only has 38 stores in the U.S. But, hopefully, it is setting a model for its larger competitors in the retail world. America needs a raise, and IKEA is helping lead the way.

June 25, 2014

Contact Information

Filed under: Resume Writing — claycerny @ 7:49 pm
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What is the most important element on your resume?  Contact information.

If an employer cannot reach you because your phone number or email are incorrect, it will probably move on to the nest resume.  Take an extra minute to review your contact information.  Make sure it is correct and easy to read.  This is especially true of email addresses.  I recently had trouble sending email to a client because she used zero after a letter.  I assumed it was the letter O.  If need be, change the font or font size so it is easy for someone to read your email address.  After you check your phone number, test your voice mail or answering machine.  If an employer calls and finds that your message box is full or that you have not set up you message box, you might be losing an opportunity.

Finding a job is never easy.  Don’t make it even harder by making it hard for employers to reach you.  Check your contact information, and make sure that your voice mail works.

June 24, 2014

Words an Employer Wants to See on a Resume

I recently read an article that listed 10 words employers don’t want to see on a resume.  After each word, the article listed a percentage of employers that did not like a given word.  None of the words had more than 20% rating, which means that most respondents didn’t care about a given word.  Worse still, many of the words listed in the article are often featured in job posts.  My take away from this article is that we should worry much more about showing why we are qualified to do a job than worry about one word a hiring manager or HR manager might not like.  Anyone who rejects a resume based on one word must have a great pool of talent.  My advice is to find words that show your strengths and qualifications.  That is what employers want to see.

June 22, 2014

Accepting Change and Enjoying It


One of my favorite websites Big Think featured a quotation from the great Zen teacher Alan Watts: “The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

We often resist change and hang on to what we can no longer have, or – worse still – cling to that which is not good for us. Watts’ advice is very relevant to anyone thinking about changing jobs or careers. Don’t dread the change. Dance with it.

June 19, 2014

Small Mistakes Can Have Big Consequences

Filed under: Career Management — claycerny @ 11:13 pm
Tags: , , ,


A prospective client called yesterday.  I took the person’s number and repeated to make sure I had it right.  When I called the number, there was a message saying that the mail box was full.  I called the next morning and got the same message.  What if I was an employer trying to schedule an interview?  Small, sloppy mistakes can have big consequences.

Expanding Overtime


Huffington Post reports that 9 Senate Democrats are proposing to expand the guidelines for what workers will receive overtime for working more than 40 hours in a week. A bill proposed by retiring Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa would raise the very low threshold used to make employees exempt (not eligible for overtime). The current limit is $455 per week (about $22,000 annual). The Democrats would phase in increases that would raise the limit to $1,090 per week (about $54,000 annual).


This is a great proposal because it would be an immediate improvement for those making more than the minimum wage, and it would eventually even help the middle class. Critics will say that employers will just cut hours and make more positions part-time. The problem with that claim is that many companies who have tried to do this are getting what they pay for: bad work from employees who will leave the first chance they get. Given the current political climate, this bill – like the minimum wage – has almost no chance of passing. What it does do is change the conversation. Democrats are trying to find ways to help the middle class. Hopefully, some Republicans will join with them and do the right thing for hard working Americans.

June 17, 2014

Good News Out of New York


First Seattle – now the Big Apple. Huffington Post reports that the New York state legislature is debating a measure that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 and enable New York City to set its own minimum wage. According to the article, the income of a minimum wage worker would increase by $100 a week. Low wage workers would spend that money, which would help improve the economy.

Will some jobs be lost if the minimum wage is increased. Probably. But other jobs will be created because of that extra $100 a week in people’s pockets. An increased minimum wage will also spur employers to increase the pay of other hourly workers. President Obama put it best: “America needs a raise.”

June 13, 2014

New Graduates Are Not Students

I was helping a recent graduate today, and she made the mistake many of her peers make by saying, “I have no experience.”  It is important to treat professional skills and knowledge learned in school as something an employer needs.  Avoid referring to classes or teacher, which only underscores that you were a student.  Instead, in both your resume and during interviews, present skills and knowledge as qualities that you can apply on the job.  If you’re stuck on what you have taken from your degree, get together with some friends and talk about how you can apply what you did in school to what you will do on the job.  Another good source of information is job postings.  Collect 5-10 job posts for the kind of job you will be seeking.  Highlight what the employer is looking for and match it to what you have learned.  Don’t look back.  Look forward.  Practice showing an employer how you are ready to go to work.  That’s your first job.

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