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Author: John Wedl

Surprising data on new job postings during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Earlier this week, a recruiter friend of mine encouraged me to look at the number of new jobs being posted online.  After doing some searching on LinkedIn.com in the Minneapolis, / St. Paul market, I was surprised and encouraged at the number of new job postings for mid-level jobs and above jobs. With unemployment numbers increasing each day, it would seem natural to assume that companies are not hiring or are taking a wait and see approach.

To my surprise, I found there were 5,600 new jobs posted in the last 24 hours in the Twin Cities!  40% of these new jobs had wages paying $45,000 or more and were in a variety of industries and roles, not just healthcare, delivery, and distribution.

Take Away:

This is good news!  I believe this shows that smart recruiters and companies are realizing that this is a hiring opportunity that has not presented itself for many years.  Although start dates may vary from company to company, strong candidates are still in demand, just like they were 2 weeks ago.

If you find yourself in a job search, don’t let the unemployment numbers lead you to assume there are no jobs out there, or that you should pause your search.  Job seekers that stay active during this transition by increasing their visibility on social media and job boards, continuing to network, and proactively following up with opportunities will find themselves well ahead of those that do nothing and wait.

Let’s Get Working!

5 tips on how to conduct a diligent job search during the coronavirus (COVID19) slowdown?

These are unprecedented times we are living in.   People conducting a job search might be wondering what is going to happen to the job market.  We don’t know the definitive answer to that, but we do know that the best thing to do right now is to stay active in your search process.  Use this time to research target companies, build your LinkedIn network and improve your job search skills.   Video interviewing is one skill that will be necessary during, and after, this crisis.  Having patience, building a game plan and focusing on what you can control, your activity, will be helpful in the long run.

  • Treat this time of uncertainty as a temporary slowdown in hiring. Simply because fewer job postings are active today than normal doesn’t mean that companies don’t have the need.  When they are ready to hire again, they will need people immediately.  Be ready!



  • Increase your exposure! Try using keywords like “Work from Home” on your resume will help you be noticed by Bots and Applicant Tracking Systems identifying qualified candidates.


  • Update your online profiles every 2-3 weeks. Make sure your resumes on job board resume databases are updated on a regular basis.  Recruiters and Bots don’t search for resumes older than 30 days.


  • Follow your target companies on their social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Companies will be communicating via these resources more often during this unique time.

That’s the Ticket!


Have you ever missed an opportunity to go to see your favorite band live because you couldn’t get your hands on tickets once they went on sale? You knew they would go on sale on a certain date, but when you went to purchase them online, they were gone! Unless you were on a special mailing list or “knew someone who knew someone,” you were going to have to wait for hours in long lines, hoping to get lucky.  Job search can be the exactly same way.  Reactive job seekers wait for the jobs to “go on sale” before they apply, then deal with long lines and tons of competition, often missing the best job opportunities. Everyone knows you can’t wait until tickets go on sale if you hope to get the good concert seats. But, how do you apply this knowledge to a job search?

With the current employment climate, there are more job opportunities out there than people realize.  Unfortunately, most job seekers still think all available job are posted on job boards.  When in reality, fewer than 20% of all jobs available are posted on job boards.  So where do job seekers go to find the other 80%?  How do you get on a special groupie mailing list, get “presale” tickets, or find someone who knows someone?

Here are a few hints:

Special groupie mailing lists = Social Media: Many companies would much prefer not to use large online job boards because of the hundreds, sometimes thousands, of unqualified resumes they get through that resource. Social media tools allow companies to communicate directly with an already interested and loyal group of followers on Twitter, Facebook and their own company webpage.  Social Media is one great way to access the hidden job market!

Presale tickets = Cold Calling Target Companies:  Today, companies are having a very difficult time finding qualified candidates and many of these companies don’t have recruiters, so the hiring managers are on their own to find good candidates.  Since most managers don’t have extra time to do a lot of recruiting themselves, they would jump at the opportunity to talk to someone that contacted them directly simply to tell them their background and that they were available. This is a great time of year to introduce yourself and the value you can bring to their company, while, at the same time,  gain some inside information on when appropriate jobs might be coming available. If you do this well enough, perhaps you will get the opportunity to interview for the job before it is even posted. Talk about front row seats!

Knowing Someone Who Knows Someone = Networking: Of course the oldest job search strategy in the book is still the best way to get into your most desired companies. First, rather than asking your network for current job openings (most likely none), inquire about people they know in the industry or companies you are targeting. This will get you closer to people that actually might know about upcoming jobs. Second, use LinkedIn proactively vs. reactively. Don’t simply post a profile and wait for people to find you. Use the power of electronic networking and go find the contacts that need to know who you are, and what type of job you are looking for.

Follow these simple tips and you will start getting your hands on more tickets (interviews!) and  find yourself getting closer to the job you really want every day!


Don’t Try–DO your best in 2018!

Recently, I was talking with my 9th grade son about a mountain bike race he had completed earlier in the weekend.   We briefly talked about the course and the race and I asked if he was happy with his result. He answered, “Well, I tried my best.”  Down deep, I knew he didn’t get the results he had wanted, but gave me the old “I tried my best” because it sounded good.

I asked him “Did you TRY your best or DO your best?”  He looked confused, so I continued stating “you said you tried your best—how did you try?”  Puzzled, he said, “I don’t know, I showed up and raced.”  I asked him about what he had done to prepare for the race.  He said “nothing.”  Earlier in the year, he had learned from his coaches that race prep could really help maximize your results.  Things like making sure your tires are inflated for the type of course, making sure your chain is properly tight and gears are oiled and shifting well so you don’t have mechanical issues on the course, and making sure you have proper tools to fix a flat tire.

During the race he had just finished, his chain fell of 4 times, tires were inflated to a lower pressure which matched the type of course he had raced the previous weekend but slowed him down on this particular course, and he caught a flat heading into the last quarter mile.  Since he did not have the extra tube he was supposed to have with him, he had to walk his bike across the finish line.

I said, “There is a big difference between trying your best and doing your best.  The only way you can DO your best is if you have done everything within your power to prepare for a successful completion of what you are trying to accomplish.”  Usually that takes preparation, forethought, and planning. The same thing applies to the work world. Most people can’t expect to do well at work if they don’t prepare and plan every day.  They will get to work late if they stay up watching movies and snooze their alarm too many times. They won’t successfully be able to accomplish key office tasks if they don’t pay attention to new memos and department process and procedure, and if they fall behind and don’t put in the extra time to get things done on time, they will lose customers—or their job.

DOING your best takes a lot of effort, planning, and follow through.  If you do your best, there still is no guarantee of success. But, if you can say to yourself “I did everything I could to prepare for this,” then you have DONE your best.

I think after our talk, my son understood that even though he showed up, there were a lot of other things he could have done differently to maximize his chances of achieving the results he desired.

In 2018, don’t try your best or hope for the best….DO your best and good things will happen!

“I’m just the Receptionist” How Voc Rehab Professionals can improve one of the most important parts of their claimants’ job search—their CONFIDENCE!

23 years ago I worked for a staffing and recruiting firm in Minneapolis and helped place a front desk receptionist at a large law firm downtown. I was excited for this sharp candidate because what she lacked in experience, she made up for it with an amazing attitude that I knew was going to take her places in the future! One day, a few months after she started, I dropped by the firm for an appointment with another hiring manager and I overheard her talking to someone in the lobby. She said four words that shocked me, “I am just the Receptionist!”
I was shocked because of the lack of confidence she was showing; I had ever seen that side of her before. After the front lobby cleared, I took the opportunity to tell her that I hoped she’d never say those four words again. She looked surprised, so I explained, “I understand there are a lot of high powered people around you every day, but you are not JUST the receptionist.” I asked her “Ann, what happens when you need to step away from the front desk for a few minutes and an important client is not greeted in the proper way, or when you are at lunch and a lawyer needs something that the backup receptionist can’t provide, or when you are sick and there is an important meeting that needs a lot of extra TLC?” She smiled and said, “It’s not pretty!” I told her to remember that, and to never consider herself anything less than the leader of that front desk and the law firm’s very important first impression. Our conversation gave her new confidence about the value she really offered that law firm, regardless of the size of her paycheck.
Lack of confidence is an anchor that can weigh you down when you are starting a job search or changing a career, especially when you are forced to do so because of a disability. Lack of confidence is one of the leading causes for RTW claimant failures. Here are three of the biggest confidence drainers when it comes to conducting a job search– and how to help your claimants get their confidence soaring again!
1) Claimants don’t know where to start.
In their past, many of our claimants have been able to find work without much of a problem because they were doing the same job in the same industry. They knew exactly where to look and who to talk to, and had confidence doing so. But, now they are in new territory, looking for jobs in industries where they have little to no experience. Where do they start?
A great way to help increase confidence (and update a resume at the same time) is to write down all past accomplishments. It is critical to not forget to write down those that you were not formally recognized for. For example, many times companies will recognize the top sales person, but fail to acknowledge the person that reorganized the shipping and receiving department that resulted in lowering of stock inaccuracies, increased speed of filling orders, and cut inventory time in half!
Since high levels of confidence are associated with past successes and a lack of confidence is connected with past failures, it is critical to start making a list of the positive things people have accomplished to help their past employers, customers, or co-workers. Help them identify their value and watch the confidence meter start to tick upwards.

2) Many claimants don’t believe anyone would want them.
If true, this certainly would be a drain on my confidence as well. But, it is usually not true. Once you have had your claimant write down the list of their accomplishments, you need to determine which are the most transferable skills, capabilities you can use to build a resume given their new work abilities. For example, if a truck driver’s biggest accomplishment was quickly loading and unloading their truck and they now have physical restrictions, they might not be able to use that as a core competency. Instead, focus on the accomplishments that they can use, such as when they were given an opportunity to work in logistics re-routing trucks and daily delivery schedules due to a large road construction project saving the company thousands of dollars a year in drive time, delivery time and even finding faster permanent delivery routes!
Given the fact that so many disability claimants have never changed careers, it is no surprise that they don’t know the first thing about how to determine what they have to offer an employer or how to communicate those offerings. Help them figure it out and their confidence will rise.

3) Claimants fail to put on their sales hat and conduct their job search in a proactive way

Once your claimant understands they DO have something to offer, they need to learn to sell themselves! A job search is a proactive sales process; not a reactive, post a resume on a job board and hope the phone starts to ring process. This is what you can do to help:
First, discuss past successes, determine how they helped previous employers save time or money, or how they improved a process or procedure. Finding their value helps them identify their new product that they can then sell to new employers. Then, help them develop a 30 second introduction pitch focused on the value they can bring to those companies. Finally, using a business directory, help them identify companies in their area of job search that are within 20 miles of their home and encourage them to pick up the phone and call those companies.

Once your claimants know the direction they are going to take their job search and how to sell themselves with newfound confidence– they will be well on their way to returning to work!

COACHING CLAIMANTS: In job search “NO” simply means “not today.”

When I listen to my disability and work comp claimants use the phrase “rejection letter” to describe an email they received explaining that they were not chosen for a job, I often have the following conversation with them.

First, I tell them to understand that they were not “rejected”.

I explain to them that:

·        “NO” doesn’t mean the employer isn’t hiring you because they secretly know you have a disability.

·        “NO” doesn’t mean that you are bad candidate and should not have applied for the job in the first place.

·        “NO” doesn’t mean “NO” forever, and it might really mean “not today.”

I further explain that:

·        All “NO” means is that someone else had better qualifications than you this time around.

·        All “NO” means is that perhaps you might have been # 3 or #4 out of a list of MANY applicants, not 97th out of 98 applicants.

·        All “NO” means is that, for TODAY, the employer is moving in another direction.

Recently, the word ”NO” allowed a claimant of mine the opportunity to prove to the employer that he was, in fact, the right choice for the job. Upon receiving his “rejection” letter, he called the highest level contact that he had made during the interview process and re-sold his qualifications, told them that he still believed he was the right person for the job and asked them to reconsider his qualifications. The employer then called him back stating, “Calling us back and not taking “NO” for an answer took confidence and guts. Personally, I thought you could do the job but there was one person on our team that didn’t—your call changed his mind.” Two days later my claimant was offered that same job because of his proactive approach to not taking “NO” personally.

Remember: No really means “not today” and might even help you turn a rejection into a job offer.

What is your Work Comp Or Disability Claims Administrator’s sense of urgency to RTW?

In the corporate hiring world, “speed-to-hire” is a phrase that refers the time it takes to post a job, source candidates, interview, hire and onboard a new employee. Speed-to-hire is critical for companies that want to compete for the best talent available and hire them before a better offer comes their way. The most successful companies today will awareness of and a commitment to their speed-to-hire.  Only companies that have complete corporate buy in from all levels of the organization starting with the receptionist and flowing through to recruiters, line mangers, human resources and, finally, senior management can achieve top speed-to-hire rates and, ultimately, hire the best employees!

I believe the same sense of urgency, commitment and thought process needs to happen when it comes to returning claimants to work (with a new employer). The moment a disability or work comp claimant is released to work, an excitement and energy surrounding speed-to-hire needs to be recognized by all players involved with the claimant’s file.

A lot of data exists regarding the importance of how early intervention with claimants is critical to maximizing their potential of returning to work. The longer a claimant is allowed to not be working, the easier it will be for them to get used to that concept-and even like it.

What can you do as a Claims Analyst involved with a claimant eligible to return to work in a new job? For LTD claims, don’t wait until the any-occupation stage to begin aggressive return to work training and strategies. Many times, insurers assume that since the claimant can go back to doing what they did before that they’ll be able to find another job sometime inside two years. TWO YEARS! Generally, it takes about 30 days per every $10,000 in salary to find a new job (non-claimants).   Will it take disability claimants longer?  Perhaps, but it doesn’t need to!

Today, the best job seekers “promote” themselves well! Help your disability claimants be proactive with their job search strategy by increase their visibility on social media and working with recruiters that specialize in their industry. Help the hidden job market find them!

In Work Comp the same thought holds true. If it seems likely that an injured worker will not be returning to their date of injury employer, don’t wait 2-4-6 months to find out for sure. Think “speed-to-hire!” Utilize those months of uncertainty to spend time building their network and reaching out to employers. Reactive job search activities, like searching job boards, don’t work well anymore. Recruiters don’t post jobs anymore because they don’t need to! They search LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles to find the candidates they need. Just because some claimants come from a blue-collar worker doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a online presence. Remember, recruiters now use social media as their number one tool for finding qualified candidates on all levels.

Start to build a “speed-to-hire” mentality within your entire organization in 2017 and you will save time, money and get your claimants back to new work opportunities faster!

How to turn rejection into opportunity!

When you are in a job search, it is important to remember that most companies’ hiring timelines won’t match your timeline exactly.  As a result, it is important to not fall into the trap of focusing only on jobs that are open today.  Instead, put on your sales hat and focus on jobs that will be open tomorrow as well!

When a job seeker gets a letter or email that tells them that they were not selected for a particular job, most people view this communication as a “Rejection” letter.  I see it as an “Opportunity” letter.  Because one thing that successful sales people understand very well is that “No” only means “No” today.

When people are told they are not getting hired or invited to interview for the ONE job they applied for, most make the mistake of assuming the company is saying that they are not welcome to apply to that company again. The reality is that often companies have simply found a few other candidates that they want to talk to at this time.  As a recruiter for over 20 years, I witnessed multiple times when a candidate that didn’t get invited into the initial interview process or was not offered the job originally ended up getting called back and hired at a later date.

These job seekers earn this call back due to hard work, follow up and not taking “No” for an answer.

I recommend that whenever a job seeker gets an “opportunity” letter that they actually send a letter back including the following:

  1. Thank the company for their consideration, especially if you had an interview.
  2. Resell your background and why you feel it would be a good match for their company, regardless if the job you applied for is seemingly filled or not.
  3. Express continued interest in their company and tell them you will be following up with them again in 30 days–and then do it!

This tells the company that you have strong communication and follow up skills, and a REAL interest in working for them.  Remember, companies rarely have all their jobs posted online and they certainly don’t have future jobs posted.  So just because you aren’t a match for one job doesn’t mean you aren’t a match for a job that they will begin searching for in a week or two.  Your follow up might be perfectly timed with their next opportunity!

What will you do the next time you are rejected?

Where did all the job seekers go?

For many job seekers, the holiday season is a time for… resting and taking some time off.  WHAT!?

Unfortunately, what many job seekers don’t understand is that simply because there are fewer jobs OPEN and posted in December doesn’t mean that employers aren’t thinking about their hiring needs for next year—and where they are going to find candidates for those jobs!

Most job seekers look online to find jobs, and see a large drop in job posting over the holidays.  This is mainly due to the fact that most companies have completed their hiring plans and have no additional budget until next year.  That doesn’t mean, however, that managers are not thinking about the future and the possible fact that they are currently short 3 people and have a large project starting in March.  These mangers are  planning NOW for hiring after the first of the year.  What a great time to introduce yourself.

While your out-of-work cohorts are sleeping in, you should be introducing yourself to as many hiring managers in your area of interest as you can!  If you can make even 3-4 good introductions/connections each week over the holidays that will give you 12-16 new WARM relationships that you can follow up with in January.  On January 2nd, your competition will frantically be back online looking and searching for jobs that you now know won’t be posted because you already proactively contacted the hiring manager.

DON’T take the holidays off from your job search!  It’s an amazing time of year for networking with people you rarely see and you may find that you have open access to interested (and stressed out) hiring managers regarding soon-to-be open jobs.

Happy Holidays and start making some calls!

COACHING CLAIMANTS-Effective Holiday Networking.


Your next job might be standing right next to you!

Holiday parties and gatherings give you the chance to cross paths with people that you don’t see on a regular basis during the year. If you are in a job search, this is a golden opportunity to establish contacts that could help you find your next job.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you network more effectively at social gatherings:

1)      Remember, networking is NOT about asking people if they know of job openings. Networking is about communicating with people you know and asking them for the names of people who they know that might work for companies that have the types of jobs you are looking for.

For example, instead of saying: “Hi Tom, I’m in a job search and I was wondering if you know of any Warehouse Manager jobs available?”  Try, “Hi Tom, I am in a job search, and I was wondering if you know of anyone that works for a company that might have a warehouse or shipping/receiving department—such as a manufacturing company, hospital, or a large retailer like Target or Walmart?”

The answer to the first question 99% of the time is NO; however, if you use a true networking approach and restate the question like the second example, you increase your chances of getting a YES… and the names of people who will be able to direct you to people within their company that have information about upcoming jobs.

2)      If the people you are networking with have names for you but no contact information on the spot, be respectful of their time and don’t make them dig through their cell phone or call someone on the spot. Instead, tell them that you will follow up with them during the next business day and return to enjoying yourself at your holiday gathering. But, be diligent and actually follow up on Monday. You could also take it a step further and invite them to be a LinkedIn connection!

3)      Remember to return the favor—ask them if you can introduce them to anyone at the function or maybe even offer to refill their drink.

4)      Bring business cards!  This way if someone thinks of someone that could help you—they can simply call or email you.

If you follow these tips, I think you will you find that you will have success networking at social functions and, hopefully, will be able to turn those networking contacts into interviews—and A NEW JOB!