Monday, January 30, 2012

Great Meal Planning Resource

Regular blog readers know I've solved the weeknight what's-for-dinner question with a neighborhood meal swap and I'm making chicken taco bowls for tomorrow's dinner. I found this recipe from a terrific resource called Budget Bytes which of course I found on Pinterest (the website that allows me to be much more creative and fabulous than I actually am!).

This website has a whole host of recipes with reviews and the cost per serving. It's really well-organized (including 181 vegetarian recipes and 18 gluten-free meals!) and really demonstrates that with a little planning, healthy, delicious meals are much less expensive than anything from a package or out of the freezer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Now... Be Focused But Flexible

Now for the follow up! Just because you have set parameters for your job search like this candidate doesn't mean you should rule out a great opportunity because it is not exactly what you are looking for. Instead, try an acceptable range for roles, hours and compensation.

Although hiring is steady-to-brisk and the labor market is tightening, it's still a very tricky market. Compensation ranges vary widely and job titles are changing in response to dynamic market conditions. Stay open-minded.

This doesn’t mean throw caution to the wind and accept a project management role when you are really looking for a communications gig. It means be focused on and search for jobs within your parameters, but be flexible enough to see when something outside of that scope is a great fit. Project coordinator vs. project manager, 30 hours a week instead of 25. $20 per hour instead of being set on $22 per hour. Be open to what comes your way and you will find a great opportunity.

Monday, January 16, 2012

You Need to Tell Me What You Want

Want to know the least helpful response to the question "what kind of work are you looking for?"

I'll do anything.

Because it's not true, that's why. Because if you're a seasoned marketing professional and I say terrific, I've got a fantastic opportunity for you digging ditches for $10/hr, you're going to tell me no, actually, what I'm looking for is .......

If you're a job-seeker, you need to be able to tell any- and everybody (including the good folks here at Momentum Resources!) what role you're seeking, how much you'd like to work, what you think is fair compensation for that work and bonus points if you can list a few organizations on your target list.

I recently had a conversation with a new candidate who gave me a terrific set of job search parameters that really helped me help her focus her job search. She said, "I am open to any marketing, writing, communications, project management or executive admin position in the Northern VA area (Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria). My ultimate goal is to find a permanent role working 20-25 hours per week virtually or onsite 3-4 days a week between the hours of 9:30 am - 3:00 pm. My salary range is $30-35 per hour, negotiable."

Now THAT we can work with.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

3 Great Ideas for 2012

Although we're not even two weeks into 2012, I'm willing to bet more than half of you have given up on your New Year's Resolutions. Know how I know? My gym parking lot now has a few empty spaces, the composition of my shared office fridge now has less than 99% salads at lunch and the noon time traffic at Tysons Corner has once again spiked. Resolutions are worthless. Instead, I like good ideas for the new year.

Here are a few ideas borrowed from some of Momentum Resources's super-smart candidates that really worked in 2011 and that you should try this year:
  1. Form Your Own Group. In most cities, and Washington, D.C., for sure, you could attend a different networking event each day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails. I bet you'd have a lot of business cards and an expanded waistline (see: New Year's Resolutions, above) but no real solid relationships. While it's important to be out there, deeper two-way relationships will bring you the kind of support you're looking for in your job search and career path. One Development Director we know gets together monthly for an informal lunch with about a half-dozen other area Development Directors to share frustrations, solutions, fundraising strategies in a tough economy and most importantly, job opportunities.
  2. Book Regular Daycare (Even if you're not working) I know it seems like an unreasonable expense, but if you're a job-seeking parent, you need some regular, predictable time to dedicate to reconnecting with your professional network, researching and interviewing. If you apply for a job through us and I call you today to ask for interview availability, I need a reasonable, solid answer. One of the smartest solutions we saw was a mom returning to work after a 2 year hiatus. This clever job-seeker set up a "play date swap" with another mom so she spent every Tuesday and Thursday, 9am-11:30am, dedicated to her job search. That uninterrupted and predictable block of time allowed her to do networking coffees, develop a solid "target" list and go on interviews without last-minute babysitter drama.
  3. LinkedIn Profile Makeover. First of all, you need a LinkedIn Profile, and it needs to be good. It should also be current, have recommendations for your past work and include keywords for the jobs you are seeking. Not sure where to begin? Check out this article on the Profile Makeover.