First, if you haven’t yet voted for Ask a Manager in the Bloggie Awards, would you please take a second to do it now? (I’m nominated in the Best Topical Blog category). Thank you!
Now that we’re done with that … it’s wee answer Wednesday, with seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go.
1. Being transferred to a location without public transportation
Recently there has been talk about my colleague and me being re-located to another office on the other side of town. This would be problematic for me, as I don’t have a car and public transport between my house and the new office is near nonexistent. I currently walk to the current location from home. Is there a reasonable way I can approach this when it becomes a reality?
Why not talk to your boss about this now, before any decisions have been made? Tell her that you’re concerned by what you’ve heard, because you don’t have a way to get to the other location. A reasonable employer will try to work with you on that, unless they don’t have options and your position absolutely has to move.
2. Required to submit photo and personal info for company directory
My company wants me to submit a photo and some info about myself for the company handbook. Is this an invasion of privacy? They say they want it for the new employees to get to know how you are. There are 3 separate buildings and we don’t have a lot of interaction going on between us. We don’t even get to see each other. I don’t want my picture taken an posted for an employee directory. To me, it is an invasion of privacy, as I am not well liked and it would open doors for me to get further picked on. Or if a job was to come open, people tend to be discriminatory about how you look. They have the nerve to make it mandatory. What can I do ?
Sorry, but nothing. This is very, very common for companies to do. You need to provide the info, although it certainly doesn’t need to be particularly personal.
3. Applying for multiple openings at one organization
Can you say anything about applying to multiple positions at one organization? I do not mean indicating, “I would also like to be considered for the [position 2] and [position 3] … positions” line in the cover letter for position 1, but applying separately to new open positions that are advertised after you’ve applied to position 1. In some cases I assume I should not send additional applications because the listings say they will review the application and match it against open positions. So sending multiple applications would be pestering, right? But what about situations where this is not stated? Is it safe to assume that if I’m not what they’re want for position 1, they will keep me in mind for future openings? If it’s not safe to assume this, should I just go ahead and apply to multiple jobs at the same org, as though I have not applied for an earlier opening?
You can’t always assume that. In some organizations, hiring managers won’t see candidates who applied for jobs outside their department.
People always ask this question, and there’s no good answer. You can go ahead and submit multiple applications on the assumption that they have different hiring managers who may not see your other application(s), but if they do, then you risk looking scattered and unfocused — that you’re not targeting what you’re really interested in or good at. So there’s no perfect answer.
Because of that, though, what I can tell you is that you’re better off if the positions you’re applying for are all similar to each other — in job substance and in level — so that you don’t look like you’re taking a scattershot approach.
4. Creating a contract for an unpaid internship
I am back in college earning an associates degree in a technical field. I will have to do an internship for one of my classes. I have only done them before with nonprofits. This will be different. I thought I heard once that you can’t do an unpaid internship with a for-profit company. Is this true? According to my instructor, we could set up a contract between me and the company that says I am working for them for educational purposes only and that I won’t collect unemployment from them after I leave and that they don’t have to pay me minimum wage.
It’s not illegal to do an unpaid internship with a for-profit company if the internship meets a set of criteria laid out by the Department of Labor, including that the internship must be similar to training which would be given in an educational environment; the internship must be for for the benefit of the intern and the employer must derive no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and the intern cannot displace regular employees and must work under close supervision of existing staff. (Of course, this law is broken all the time, but that’s what the law says.)
If your internship doesn’t meet these criteria, then there’s no legal way to waive your right to be paid at least minimum wage for your work. And any employer who would let you sign such an agreement is foolish, since it wouldn’t have any legal weight.
5. Does the file name of your resume matter?
Do hiring staff care too much about the file name of your resume? Most of my resumes are titled something like “Jane M – November 2010,” and I began to wonder if that would make them think that I’ve just been sending out this outdated file en masse since then. (The date indicates to me the date of creation or redesign rather than a “last updated.”)
Yeah, it’s going to look like an old resume. Document titles don’t matter much as long as there’s not something directly problematic about them, but in this case, yours is mildly problematic. Drop the date altogether or update it to the current year.
6. Should I get a masters in English?
I have an MBA from a top 25 business school. Over the years, I think I have made great use of it, starting as a financial analyst in a large corporation, rising to a recruiter role, etc. In my current role, I’m an assistant director and I oversee three senior staff and five junior staff. I’ve gotten glowing reviews though I’ve only been in the role about a year and a half. My question is whether I should pursue a master’s in English. I know it won’t help my career trajectory in my current role and will cost money and time, but I truly love writing and English. I can get the degree at a university that is about 20 minutes away in the evenings and it will take 3 years. Everything I have searched on the internet says a degree like this is a waste of time and money, but I have to say this is the field I’d always wanted to be in. Thoughts?
There’s a reason you’re hearing that everywhere. You don’t need a graduate degree to write professionally. If you want to write, start writing. What will get you writing jobs is having well-written published clips, not a degree. So start working on getting clips.
7. When should I start job searching?
I’m a recent grad and so far I’ve only got a minimum wage retail job, which pays the bills but is obviously not my dream position! Thanks to your blog, I also volunteer in my area of interest and have redone my CV and cover letters.
My other half is currently studying, but where we live is too expensive so we are aiming to leave once his course ends in June. At the moment, I am keeping my eye on relevant jobs around the country, but I can’t really apply to any that state they are interviewing soon, as I am tied to my flat here for the next few months. If we are looking to move from June onwards, when would be the best time to step up my job search? I worry that something great will slip through my fingers because I left my job hunt too late.
Start now. If you’re contacted about a job that needs you to start earlier than you’re available, then you can simply explain that and withdraw from the process. But lots of others will move much more slowly, and if you wait to start, you’ll miss out on those.