Ask Albert’s List: Should I Leave a Contract Early?

In recent years, contract jobs have become the norm, especially in the Bay Area. Without the promise of full-time and the benefits that come with it, employees are sometimes faced with a question of leaving a contract early or waiting until it expires. Albert’s List community member Theresa asks:

Would like to get the group’s thoughts on leaving a contract role early to take an amazing opportunity. Contract came through a recruiter, it’s fairly long term (6 mos) covering a personal absence of a team member. Is it considered rude to back out of a contract role? Would especially like to hear from recruiters.

A few members offered their opinions.

One focused on the future:

I’ve been in that situation. I have two weeks notice, although the recruiter said could leave sooner. It seems like it’s early enough in the contract that you can leave in a decent spot, but I’m sure it’s stressful for the employer. Ultimately, what matters is your future.

Another looked at the job from a pure contract:

It’s not rude to back out of a contract job. It’s not permanent by definition. Contracting is finite with no job security. If you have a full time job, by all means, take it. Look out for yourself first.

And a recruiter focused on the positive:

I’m a recruiter and I’m always really happy for any contract candidates that find an amazing permanent opportunity – I just always ask for two week notice so that we can backfill the role and everyone is happy. 

The Albert’s List Take

We tend to agree with the thoughts above. When it comes to your career, what you want to do comes first. Ultimately, a better opportunity is just that, and we encourage the erasure of any doubt. Take the job and go!

For more questions, join our Facebook community today.

Video: How to Stay Present In Your Career

Staying present in our lives is always a difficult challenge, especially with so many things to do. In our careers, the pressure of promotions, getting stuff done, and nagging co-workers can also get in the way.

In this video, Tatum Cohen of Uniquely Tatum discusses some simple tips and tricks for how any professional can maximize their self-awareness. Just hit play on the video to start watching.

Conscious Of Your Career? Take the Next Step

If you know what’s next for your career, join Albert’s List today and gain access to new resources. We look forward to helping you!

Ask Albert’s List: Am I Committing Career Suicide?

Sometimes life takes us off the beaten path, causing us to consider whether we are making the right decision. Consider the following question from an Albert’s List HR professional, named Jane, who took an administrative assistant job to make ends meet:

I am currently on a contract on my 4th week to keep busy that is not in the realm of my career while I look for full-time work in Recruiting Coordinator, HR Admin, HR Coordinator roles. The company is interested in converting me into full-time. I am not sure if I accept the role, my question is will I be committing career suicide? I have been interviewing on the side and I have not received an offer as of yet. The company would like to know an answer if I wish to stay with them and accept the opportunity by this week.

A few members decided to offer their opinion, with the prevailing thought being that the poster should take the job. After all, she still has bills to pay to survive.

The Albert’s List Take

There are two ways to look at this:

  1. Silicon Valley is Expensive: In cost-heavy Silicon Valley, any work is a blessing. While going off the beaten path is a risk, having a job is always better than not being able to pay rent. Additionally, the modern work life means that employees more than ever are able to continue pursuit of their intended career path on the side while building wealth.
  2. A Job is a Job: In a world where work is hard to come by, work of any sort is work nonetheless. Even if you go off the beaten path, it presents some adventurous intentions. After all, if Steve Jobs wasn’t fired from Apple in the ’80s, Pixar would never have come to fruition.

What do you think?

Video: How to Network Your Way to a Job

Networking is something a lot of us are afraid of. After all, going up to strangers to ask for things is something our parents warned us against.

Fear as we might, it doesn’t have to be that way. In this video, Albert’s List founder Albert Qian speaks with Tam Pham, author of How to Network on what mindsets, strategies, and approaches one needs to have to succeed.

Just hit play above and let us know what you think in the comments above.

Learn More

Are you looking to gain more in your career? Join Albert’s List today and gain access to numerous career tips and resources to help you along.

15 Things to Do This Summer to Accelerate Your Job Search

Summer is now here and in full swing. While the living might be easy, you still need to have your foot on the gas pedal heading into fall. Here are some great ways new grads and experienced professionals can make the most of their career this summer.

  1. Re-discover your career personality interests. This includes taking personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Depending on what you have done with your career or academic life, your type may have changed. If you don’t know what the MBTI is, take a quick spin on Wikipedia.
  2. Discover your strengths. Many of us take jobs for functional and practical reasons but do not understand how these jobs fit within our strengths. The book StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a great one for discovering what parts of you can be amplified so you knock your job prospects out of the park.
  3. Find a job. The end of June is sometimes the beginning of a new fiscal year for many companies, so hiring is on the rise again.
  4. Take a vacation. Not taking one costs the United States $344 billion dollars a year, not to mention the cost of mental health. By the way, airline tickets have also been the lowest in years.
  5. Pick up a new skill. With longer days ahead and slower days at work, you can do much online for free on platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, Codeacademy, and many more.
  6. Mentor someone. It’s good for the soul, and with work being much more temporary these days, a missing ingredient at work.
  7. Find ways to expand your footprint at work. In marketing, for example, look at ways to take your content further by sharing what blogs you may have written to other places like LinkedIn Pulse or Medium.
  8. Build your professional brand. Start an email list, build your own website, build a following on Twitter, and discover your voice.
  9. Exercise more with the longer hours. It’s good for creativity and your brainpower.SPractice your networking in a more casual environment. Instead of speaking about you, ask about the person at the other end of the table. You’ll discover a lot more than you imagined.
  10. Get into the mood of entrepreneurship, even if it’s selling your old junk on eBay. See how much money you can spend.
  11. Pick up a fiction book. With so much non-fiction already coming in via work and the news lately, this will help you get away for a bit and build your creative juices.
  12. Visit a museum and learn about something new.
  13. Take your intern out to lunch. See what they are learning in school and pick something up from them — Snapchat, anyone?
  14. Relax — it’s summer!

What do you have planned?

Join us on Albert’s List for more tips, tricks, and articles like this. Learn more at www.bit.ly/findyournextjob

How to Master Any Networking Event

As the week begins, many of you are looking for a networking event to attend.

Some of you know exactly what you want – and that’s great!

Others of you have no idea what to expect – and that’s great too!

Many of you however, will walk out empty-handed – and that’s the worst part of it all.

YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU WILL MEET
Networking is an interesting experience. Lots of us hate it because it feels like a business card meat market. Some of these events are because they literally are about networking without any sense of familiarity. Folks bring their business cards, toss them at you thinking you want to buy something, and then move on.

It’s enough to leave you feeling violated.

Truth be told networking is all about context. The vast majority of people you meet may never in fact offer you what you need right then and there, but there are two contextual statements and a human quality that always hold true:

1) You never know where the relationship will develop to
2) You have no idea who the other person knows
3) Being curious will always take you further

The first two are really up to you. Sometimes people are really off, but most of the time they are there just like you, wondering what they will get out of it. You can choose to continue their interpretation or you can change the context:

1) What brings you here tonight?
2) How can I help you?
3) Is there anyone you’d like to meet? (Great especially once you’ve met some people already)

People want to know that you care about them. They want to know that you are paying attention about them too. The default context of networking is already one of ambivalence. Showing genuine (and I cannot emphasize that enough) interest is a real game changer in a super noisy world where everyone is stuck in their cell phones.

The last piece is entirely up to you and is all about the open-ended questions. Your obligation is to be present in the conversation, offering them the opportunity to share AND you the opportunity to think how you can help them. Remember – “You can have anything you want – you just have to help others get what they want too” (Zig Ziglar).

1) Tell me more about (their career field)…
2) Interesting – and what challenges exist in (this particular industry)…
3) Tell more about why (something concerns you)…

…and so on.

Remember, it’s all about context and paying attention. Everything, EVERYTHING that manifests in your life is a result of you paying attention to the context of your conversations.

THE CALL TO ACTION
At some point in the conversation, things will simmer down. Just because you’re done talking, don’t just walk away. It’s time to move on with class.

1) The Simple Thank You: “I enjoyed speaking with you and have some others I’d like to meet before the end of the night…”
– “Can I get your business card so we can stay connected?” (Consider the context of the conversation)
– “Have a great rest of the night” (If there really isn’t anything at all in common – and by the way, you’re all meeting off this list. None of the event folks should be hearing this line)
– “Let me know what else I can do for you” (If they stated a challenge)
– “I’ll see you on Albert’s List!” (The easiest)

2) The Invitation: “I heard everything you said tonight and think there are some great resources out there…”
– “Have you joined Albert’s List?” (Explain and show the group, then thank them in #1 or move to #3)
– “I’m a part of <some group> and you should check it out” (Explain and show them, then move onto #1 or #3)
– “I’m going to another event <in that area> and you should come along” (Explain, show, and exchange information. Now you’ve made a friend and helped ease someone)

3) The Call to Action: “I really enjoyed speaking with you and think there might be something here…”
– “Can we connect and follow up with a phone call some time this week or next?” (Then give your card or connect on LinkedIn)
“Are you available for coffee some time this week? I’d like to discuss this in greater detail” (Same as above)

IN THE END, IT’S ALL CONTEXT
If you’re a good listener, networking is natural. If not, networking is a tad bit more frazzling especially in a loud environment. If you feel overwhelmed, the easiest way to continue a conversation is to practice active listening.

1) “If I heard you correctly, did you say…”
2) “Just to reiterate, I understand you…”
3) “Interesting, so what you mean is…”

Ultimately if you need guidance, speak to one of the event organizers. None of you will be wallflowers tomorrow night and every one of you will meet at least several people.

Learn More 

For other growth hacks, join Albert’s List and see what other tips and tricks you can execute to get your next job. Share any of your thoughts in the comments section below.

How to Write the Right LinkedIn Message

So you’ve found your LinkedIn connection. They hold the keys to a role you’re interested in. You’re ecstatic. It’s perfect.

…and then you write a message about yourself.

One of the first errors anyone makes about their job search is that they think it’s about them.

Especially new graduates.

Unfortunately, it’s not.

You see, a company doesn’t care that you want to work. It only cares if it knows that you fill a need that they have because you have the skills and the background. Anyone who took 10 minutes of Business 101 will remind you:

1) The purpose of going into business is to make money
2) The purpose of going into business is to turn a profit

Anything else and you are running a hobby.

TASK #1: DO YOUR RESEARCH
The secret to getting that reply is to first do your research. Now that you know it’s not about yourself, but the person you’re reaching out to, it’s time to discover what exactly you need to do to make about them.

You find points of relation. These can include:

1) Going to the same university or even a rival university (I hope you followed college sports!)
2) Relating with common connections (I hope you remember some intricate details!)
3) Working at similar past companies (Remember the positives)
4) Commenting on their LinkedIn Pulse posts and finding common ground (Pay attention!)
5) Similar interests (If you’re willing to dig through their Twitter)

Anything else that you discover must be around relating to them. In fact, this is how a lot of sales and account representatives get to know their prospective customers so they can write customized emails.

TASK #2: LIVE THE GIVE
“Giving” as a verb here does not mean that you are offering something as much as it means to pay attention to who they are. In essence, you are giving them your presence as opposed to giving them your need. Remember, like dating, job hunting comes from a place of mutual benefit. You wouldn’t want your date to be desperate for love. Recruiters, hiring managers, and executives don’t want candidates desperate for work.

So what is giving here? Glad you asked.

1) Providing kudos for an article well written.
2) Paying attention to where a company has been lately – IPO? Great quarterly earnings? Fantastic product launch? Great press? Funding? Know where to go.
3) Respecting a level of authority. If they are C-Level, their time is limited. If they are senior, life is busy. Understand that and message accordingly. If they are a recruiter, minutes matter – don’t waste them.
4) Advance anticipation – You don’t have to offer it now, but you can offer it later. One thing I give recruiters who call me who offer jobs I don’t end up taking is this group. That’s why so many hang out here.

Remember, everything that you do when writing in the message lies in context and your ability to pay attention to those contexts. Spraying and praying works to a certain effect, but does not work if you are looking for something specific.

Learn More 

For the rest of this growth hack and for pre-written messaging templates, join Albert’s List and see what other tips and tricks you can execute to get your next job. Share any of your thoughts in the comments section below.

How to Find the Right LinkedIn Recruiter

There comes a point when your existing network goes cold. You’ve emailed everyone, you’ve applied for everything, and you’ve networked with everyone.

Thankfully, there are a lot of people on this planet!

Something I’ve noticed about a few of you in this community — publicly, through private messages, and on Li Lin‘s fabulous webinars is that you aren’t bold enough.

Today, we’re going to teach you how to be bold through cold LinkedIn reach-outs.

GETTING MORE OUT OF LINKEDIN
To get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to use not only your cold network, but your warmer connections as well. Obviously you don’t know more than 200+ people at a time, so we’re going to introduce you to your new best friend.

Meet the LinkedIn search function.

LinkedIn’s search function has always been a gold mine if you’re willing to go beyond 1st degree connections. In fact, your 2nd degree connections may be even more powerful.

If you’re on LinkedIn now, search for anything. I just typed in “marketing recruiter” and hit 482,000+ results. You can go up to executive level if you’d like.

Learn More 

For the rest of this growth hack, join Albert’s List and see what other tips and tricks you can execute to get your next job. Share any of your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ask Albert’s List: How Do I Address A History of Contracting

In Silicon Valley, contract jobs can be considered par for the course. For many employees, this brings a lot of unique frustrations not seen in other regions around the country. As Albert’s List member Lillian asks:

I joined a company in Feb., and they mentioned it was a long term deal. I found out right after I joined that the contract with the account I was assigned to work on ends June 30, so they were not upfront with me. Had I known this was a 4 month deal, I would have reconsidered.

They’re still in negotiation to extend this contract, so my company wants me to wait around for it, since I make really difficult hires for them and I’m doing really well in terms of relationships with executives, hiring managers, and directors (pretty much everyone all around).

The issue is I can’t afford to risk not having a paycheck since I support others besides myself, and if the contract isn’t renewed, I may be terminated.

I was looking for a long term gig, and now my resume looks “flighty.”

Most companies won’t even look at a resume that has less than 6 months in the current role. What should I do to maintain a competitive edge? Should I take a risk and wait, or start considering opportunities?

I’m a tech recruiter with prior hiring and management experience in academia/medicine and research.

A variety of members chimed in on the discussion. Among some of the nuggets of wisdom included:

  1. Simply listing it as a contract — this is Silicon Valley after all.
  2. Explaining the length of time as-is. With the vast majority of non-startups seeking contractors to be a part of their staff, this is a normal situation for most in the area.
  3. Indicating the direction of the market in particular with the company. Technology evolves so quickly and sometimes individuals are not shielded from the impacts of such change.
  4. Discuss in further job opportunities what ought to be set as an expectation.

The Albert’s List Take

Obviously contracts lead to a lot of self-doubt and discouragement. For those who have been contracting for years, it brings about the interview carousel. You keep your skills sharp, but on the other hand, you’re never at one place for very long. Like the many group members who offered their advice, we also believe that it’s simply a formality in conversation. So long as you can maintain a level of skill that remains in demand in the market, nothing else really matters.

What do you think?