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  • Writer's pictureJames Johnson

April Candidate Newsletter: Never a better time for a job search

There has never been a better time to be a job seeker than the current market, where hiring managers in nearly every field are fighting a relentless war for talent. If you’ve had any inkling of a hunch that you might want a new job, I encourage you to reach out.

In the meantime, in this month’s newsletter, how to answer the most nerve-wracking question of any job interview, why you should definitely take advantage of your PTO, and how to handle job gaps on your LinkedIn profile. Read on.

How to Answer This Nerve-Wracking Question Confidently

The hairy part of the interview has arrived, and you’re verklempt:

“What is your salary expectation?”

This question is a notoriously hard one for interviewees, because it can feel like a trick. But it’s really an opportunity for you to ask for what you need and deserve.

Some people would recommend that you “flip the script” and ask the interviewer, “Well, what’s the salary range for this position?” I don’t think that’s a terrible idea, but they may not give you a straightforward answer. This is the beginning of a negotiation, after all.

The reality is that you probably have a number in mind. If you underbid, you’re selling yourself short. If you overbid, you risk losing the chance — but on the other hand, would you really want to bring your number down? By the way, when you work with a recruiter, the process is often a little easier, because we will often have the salary conversation with you in advance.

It’s Your PTO. Take It.

“Regularly take your PTO. There’s no medal for not using it.”

—Advice by author Selena Rezvani

This, in response to the very American ethos of taking as little time off as possible, which she says is, well, not smart. Here are just a few of the reasons you should be taking advantage of your PTO:

  • By taking it regularly, you train your manager and HR department that taking time off is “normal” for you

  • Taking breaks from work and time out to recharge makes you better at your job

  • Since PTO is typically considered the second-biggest benefit for employees (after insurance), not taking it makes no sense

You don’t have to come up with an elaborate justification, and you don’t necessarily have to have “a good excuse.” It’s your right to use your PTO.

Of course, it’s also your responsibility to be respectful of your organization and its leadership, so depending on your company culture, you may want to pick and choose when you take PTO and how much advance notice you give.

But the bottom line is this: It’s your PTO. Take it.

Unless You’ve Worked at The Gap…

You know what they say: Unless you’ve worked at the Gap, you don’t ever want a gap on your resume.

That’s changing, though, as two years of complete uncertainty in almost every area of life has normalized job gaps for a lot of people. In fact, LinkedIn found that there was a 39% jump in career gaps in the first year of the pandemic (2020).

In response, LinkedIn introduced a feature that lets people explain their career gap with a variety of “sanctioned” options such as:

  • Caregiving

  • Bereavement

  • Layoff

  • Personal goal pursuit

  • A well-being break

Helping normalize the idea of #jobgaps is working, since now, 79% of hiring managers say they’d hire a candidate with a gap on their LinkedIn profile. Job gaps can mean a lot of different things, and very rarely are they due to laziness or incompetence. It’s nice to see people being given a chance.

Recommended Reading

Some of the best stuff I came across this month:

Until next month, be well!

James Johnson

Johnson Recruiting Group

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