The Best Ways to Save Time During Your Job Search

Fitting a successfully effective job search into an already busy schedule can be a challenging, if not arduous, task. Luckily, there are a few pointers that can help streamline and reduce extra time spent on details while job hunting.

According to career coach, Alyson Garrido, identifying a few key factors can assist you in targeting your efforts in the right direction, helping you quickly land a quality job.

Using smart watch

Recognize your top strengths.  If you’re able to identify your strongest suits in the workplace, you will be more likely to recognize which opportunities are most congruous to your skills and needs.  Be sure to highlight these strengths, not only on your resume, but as talking points during interviews.  Garrido adds, “Consider making a list of the things you do that give you energy or record the details of your proudest accomplishments to start to see what strengths appear.”

Know what work environment suits you best.  “Company culture” has become a common buzz term, which in this case, holds a considerable amount of clout. Reflect upon your own personality-type: Are you partial to open work areas, a socially active employee staff, or would you find these aspects distracting? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions; however, identifying where you fall within the mix can help you quickly realize if a particular work environment is going to work for you. It’s a good idea to get a feel for the dynamics of the organization before you start the job by researching a company’s website and LinkedIn page, and even asking appropriate questions during your job interview.

Decide which companies to target first.  Garrido suggests creating “a list of companies for whom you’d like to work and set out to get noticed [as this] is part of a proactive job search”.  Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. If there are specific companies in your area that interest you and hold a good reputation, take the first step by contacting the right individuals in these organizations. This will increase the odds of being at the top of their list when a position does become available.

Don’t hesitate to seek help.  Never underestimate the power of your network; in fact, it’s likely that you possess more meaningful contacts than you may think. Start by making a list of people who would be glad to assist you with your job search.  However, Garrido states, “Remember to think beyond coworkers and former colleagues. You are more than your job title, so explore all areas of your life while making this list”. It’s recommended to begin by contacting those individuals to whom you can reach out most easily, and let them know what type of position you are seeking. Keep in mind, that besides actual job opportunities, introductions to other contacts within your industry are valuable as well. This is a simple way to utilize and expand upon your existing network, while directing you closer to your next professional role.

Seek personal balance. Garrido reminds job seekers, “When searching for a job, it is important to present the best version of yourself. That means focusing on things that keep you happy and healthy, not just on search related activities”. Be sure to isolate time for friends, family, brief getaways, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Creating a little space between you and your job search may help you return to it with a fresh, more productive, outlook. Moreover, a bright, positive outlook on life always shows through nicely on interviews.

Identify your “non-negotiables”.  Everyone has certain job-related factors on which they are not willing to bargain. Perhaps it is a specific salary, commute length, or a particular job detail. If this is the case, create a list and stick to it. This will allow you to direct your efforts toward opportunities that fit your criteria, preventing you from wasting time pursuing roles that are a poor fit for your needs.

Rethink your notion of a successful job search.  Remember that job hunting is an activity that surpasses simply sending out resumes, completing applications, and going on interviews. Keep in mind that the connections you’ve made, events you’ve attended, and the confidence you’ve gained doing so, are all part of the plan. Maintaining a positive view of the progress you’ve made will keep you on track toward finding and obtaining your next target role.

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To Conclude

Guidelines such as these can help job seekers stay focused on their goals by reducing the distractions associated with uncertainty and a disordered strategy. We all know that time is of the essence during any job search, so be sure to construct a “clear criteria” of which jobs are the best fit for your personal and professional needs.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200


Current U.S. Labor Laws and Trends in 2017

Here, we provide an evaluation and practiced look into the overarching umbrella which is United States federal labor law, some notable variance of state labor law, and the best of predictive trend forecasting for the rest of 2017. It goes without saying that the remaining and following year may see some difficult-to-predict upheaval and change, much of which centers around recent elections. Yet with that aside, we will first examine — with a brief recap — some essential basics.

Labor Laws - Group of employees at table

Definably, the purpose of U.S. labor law is attuned to the protection and well-being of the American workforce. While many of these rules and regulations may unsettle business owners as a superfluity of obnoxious red tape and bureaucracy, we can soften our regard a bit by recalling the conditions which brought about their original predecessors.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) has been amended and undergone rule changes 21 times (given your preference to counting sub-classifications), but at the outset it set the gold standard that we know today, establishing:

  • A federal minimum wage
  • Outlawing child labor
  • 40 hour work week and assured overtime pay

The FLSA has since grown to incorporate a wealth of worker protections and collective bargaining rights. The last federal minimum wage hike was set to ink in 2007, to $7.25 an hour.

The following should neatly sidestep any position-taking or opinion-gathering on these particular issues and focus rather on two spheres of interest: What is, and what may be. We leave it to the clever executive to determine his or her own footing on this shifting ground.

What’s New

As mentioned, federal law sets the standard of the land. However, many states legislatures have grown weary of waiting for federal action pertaining to the minimum wage. The following are a few examples of the most recent proposals for raising hourly wages:

  • Arizona: Raising from $8.05 to $12
  • Maine: Raising from $7.50 to $12
  • Seattle and LA: Raising to $15
  • Colorado: Raising from $8.31 to $12

Additionally, there has been a commensurate legislative response – again at the local level – in attempts to address the trend of businesses and companies phasing out “sick days” in favor of “Paid Time Off” (PTO), a move which has been strongly linked to both increased sickness and lower morale in the workplace. Therefore several states and cities have introduced Sick Leave laws, allowing for a gradual accrual of dedicated hours meant to cover times of illness without depriving the employee of much-needed vacation hours – thus attempting to circumnavigate the impact on productivity and profit margins.  However, the data is still out on the effectiveness of this move.

stack of ring binder book or notebook isolated on white

What’s Next

According to an interview with GovDocs, two things are abundantly clear: (1) The most visible trends are progressive ones, such as those dealing with minimum wage hikes and protecting and/or accommodating leave (as well as expanding the types of leave covered), and (2) despite state and city jurisdiction making their own rules, the current administration is such an unknown that many viable speculations as to what may or may not occur at a federal level may be logically discounted for the foreseeable future.

Two further changes of which all employers of every level should be aware are increased restrictions on background checks and criminal history inquiries, and the move pushed by U.S Citizenship and Immigration to a new I-9 form.

To close, remember that first and foremost, labor laws are meant to protect your workers in both health and safety. As these laws, and their direction, have a direct impact on business owners and corporations alike, it is always the right choice to stay on the ball with the latest discussions surrounding these topics; as developments are sure to shift over time.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Breaking Ties: Understanding Employee Separation Agreements

There are a myriad of terms often used to indicate that a period of employment has come to an end, and each carries its own distinct connotation. Yet, “separation of employment” seems to cover all of them as a general overhead; while not going as far as to define the nature of the arrangement – specifically — whether the separation was voluntary or involuntary.

Termination of employment

The purpose and service of an actual agreement, signed by both employee and employer, is to act as a legal assurance against the company being held to any binding claims, which may or may not have been active during any portion of the employee’s tenure (including the future).

More immediate effects are that the employee is no longer able to sue for severance pay or wrongful termination after signing most such documents.

Related:  Resigned to Resigning: The Proper Way to Leave Your Job

What to Expect as an Employee

If you find yourself on the receiving end of such documentation, it’s helpful to know the broad strokes and implications for signing (or not signing). Peruse the entire document very carefully, paying special attention to the stated reason(s) for separation and – most especially – the terms of separation. Terms may include:

  • Severance Pay
  • Severance Packages
  • Benefits in Lieu of Pay
  • Non-compete Agreements
  • Confidentiality Provisions and much more

The noted importance of having a solid and comprehensive understanding of these terms is absolutely vital because they are legally binding after signing. If you happen to gloss over a provision restricting your ability to advance your career in a given field or geographic area, for example, you may find yourself in a limiting, if not disconcerting position.  Yes, these may be challenged legally (especially if they present an unreasonable overreach), but such legal disputes are costly and time-consuming, especially while simultaneously focusing on the continuation and advancement of your career.

What to Expect as an Employer

There are endless reasons why employees may leave your organization. They range within the spectrum of negative to positive; from moving to a new location or advancing their career, to being let go due to poor behavior or performance. You must take several aspects into careful account, especially when considering the level or position of the former employee. For instance, it can be a costly oversight to gloss over the essentials of ensuring that confidentiality agreements are properly attended to, or that the employee’s benefit status (including sick pay or unused vacation time) is fully addressed. It is also a vital matter to ensure that the integrity of your organization’s security remains intact by disabling the employee’s security access to the premises and disabling their passwords and access to the company’s computer systems and networks.

Many states are “at will” working states, which itself, eases much of the concern over possible wrongful termination claims, but for those that are not, it is always prudent to have your HR department check all points with a thorough exit interview, thus sidestepping any potential claims of discrimination or unfair treatment. It is always advisable, regardless of a given scenario’s context, to have a policy for regular written documentation of employee performance.

Close-up of businessmen handshaking in working environment

The Overview

Drawing to conclusion, we’ll circle back to refocus on a few tips for the employee side of the picture. Remember that the signing of a separation agreement is in no way mandatory, and given that signing waves your right to legally contest issues, it is always best to first decide without duress, whether you actually want to sign in the first place. Particularly, be on the lookout for any clauses – and they can be innumerable – that may in any way affect your ability to find employment elsewhere. Regardless of the circumstances, every step is a step forward. Make certain you have your eyes open and are comfortable with your footing.


Fred Coon, CEO

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