Job Searcher Should Read these 4 Classic Books

Job Searcher Should Read these 4 Classic Books

When it comes to packaging job search and career books, there’s no shortage of titles to choose from. Each one offering a unique perspective on employment and career development. And while you can learn a thing or two from each volume, there are a few books that are consistently heralded as being the best of the best.

“What Color is Your Parachute?” – Richard N. Bolles

This classic job seeker book is the definitive guide to finding the career that suits you best. Not just with your abilities, but your goals and personality as well. Initially printed in 1970 (and revised every year since), over 10 million copies have been sold.

The first half of the book is a compendium of strategies for your job search. Applying, interviewing, follow-ups, and negotiations. It’s all here. But the second half of the book is where the magic happens.

Part two is chocked full of practical exercises to guide you in your career selection. Like Bolles’ famous “Flower Exercise” which covers the seven key areas (or petals) of your work life.

1. Goal, Purpose, or Mission – uncovering what you want to contribute to the world and how you’ll go about it
2. Location Preference – where you’d choose to work if given the opportunity
3. Expected Salary Range and Benefits – desired pay, perks, and extras
4. Preferred Working Conditions – the type of environment where you excel
5. Best Transferable Skills – what you can AND like to do at work
6. Areas of Interest – topics and assignments that get you excited
7. Types of People – that you connect with and share common interests

Well-written, easy to read, and chock-full of actionable advice. It’s easy to see why “What Color is Your Parachute?” has been around for decades.  

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

A book you’ve likely heard of (even if you haven’t read it). More than just time management, Covey’s masterpiece explains how mindset is the critical element to both your job search and your life. He covers topics such as:

Beginning with the end in mind – productivity is meaningless if you’re not working towards something. Covey explains that you must get clear about your long-term goals first and then filter all of your decisions through them.

Learning how to say no – using tools like the Eisenhower matrix to determine what’s important vs what’s not. Then creating a “burning yes” to counteract saying no to all things trivial.

Listening (and understanding) before speaking – not thinking about what you can say next to be clever or witty, but truly focusing on the other person and their message.  Which helps you build empathy, appreciation, and clarity regarding their needs.

All of which are fundamental skills for building a strong packaging career.

How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Often referenced as the source for understanding people and human behavior, this gem has been in print for over 80 years. It’s a masterpiece containing timeless nuggets on communication, leadership, and negotiation skills.  
 
Most of which revolve around a singular grounding principle: You can only change another person’s behavior by first modifying your own.

Packed with simple, yet actionable advice, this guidebook is as relevant now as the day it was published. Mr. Carnegie goes into detail about how to be more likable, earn favor with others, and do so without the use of manipulation or deceit.

A few key takeaways include:

Becoming more interesting by speaking less – Carnegie explains that you need not dominate conversations to be memorable. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The more you listen – and let others do the talking – the better people will respond.

When you do speak, ask relevant follow-up questions to extend the conversation. This makes the other person feel good and help to remember your interaction.

Gain support by asking questions the right way – that is, in a manner others can easily say yes to. Allowing them to conclude that your original idea was their own.

Thus, making your suggestion that much easier to sell.

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In – Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, and Bruce Patton

One of the building blocks of a career in packaging is negotiating job offers. Not to mention that strong bargaining skills help you in other areas of life. “Getting to Yes” is relevant anytime you find yourself at odds with others and need to work out an amicable solution.

In this book, Fisher, Ury, and Patton break down four distinct principles of negotiation:

1. Separating people from the problem – untangling emotions and egos from the issue. Seeing the other party’s point of view, clarifying perceptions, and ensuring open communication from everyone.
2. Focusing on interests, not problems – getting to the root of what each side truly wants and why. Which isn’t necessarily the same as the argument that’s brought to the table. The only way both sides can win is to be open about their interests and explain why they’re important.
3. Generating opinions for mutual gain – simply put, rather than a winner take all mentality, good negotiations are about working together. Finding a solution that both parties can agree on and walk away feeling victorious about.
4. Insisting on objective data – designing solutions based on criteria both parties can agree on (aka fair and reasonable standards).
Additionally, “Getting to Yes” covers instances when others refuse to play fair or opt to strongarm the negotiations. The advice? Recognize and deflect the attack and then calmly shift focus back on the problem itself.

Wisdom that will serve you in packaging management, your personal life, and beyond.

Conclusion

Let’s face it – when it comes to career advice, no one has all the answers. But what job seekers do have is a wealth of information to draw upon from these timeless career books.

Each offers a unique perspective on finding the right job, negotiating, staying productive, and effectively communicating. All of which are essential for a growing a strong packaging career.

These classics have stood the test of time for a reason – because they simply work.


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Dos And Don’ts of Social Media for Professionals and Job Seekers

Social Media for Professionals and Job Seekers

Professional Social Media Etiquette

While embarrassing photos and the occasional rant happen to us all, putting them front and center on social media isn’t always the best idea. Not knowing how potential employers will react can spell trouble for job seekers.

After all, studies show that 70% of employers review applicants social profiles during the hiring process. Sending the wrong message can mean getting passed over (even for otherwise highly-qualified applicants).  

Your best bet? Keep it clean.

It’s fine if you showcase your personality and have some fun but stay away from divisive or offensive content that may rub others the wrong way. Politics and religion are classic examples, but they’re far from the only ones.

Gossiping, badmouthing former employers, talking about drug use or criminal activity – it seems like a “no-brainer” but these topics surface more often than you think.

If you can’t keep it clean, consider making your social profiles “private.” Employers and recruiters can still find you during searches but must request permission to view your account. Thus, putting you in control of who has access and what remains visible to the outside world.  

Besides what you post, consider the image you’re trying to convey.

Keep your “branding” consistent by using the same image, language, and messaging on all of your accounts. This proves to employers you are who you say you are and helps to put hiring concerns at ease.

Another great idea is to create a website and bring all your information together in one place. Thus allowing you to control the narrative and help guide the conversation.

Include links to your social profiles to make the vetting process easier (and minimize the risk of mistaken identity).

That and use your real name on social media. CakeSmasher21 sounds cute but makes it hard for others to take you seriously.

The Best Social Media for Professionals

While the term “social media” encompasses nearly every platform in existence, there is only a handful that job seekers need to focus on – LinkedIn being the biggest.

LinkedIn is considered the gold standard for jobs and career development. It’s the only platform dedicated to networking and bringing candidates and employers together.

With roughly 10 million jobs and 500 million users located around the world, why wouldn’t you want to be part of the conversation?

Although having a LinkedIn profile is a given, many job seekers fail to utilize the full potential of the platform. Here are a few quick tips to help you stand out.

  • ‍Keep Your Account Up to Date – which includes filling out a complete profile and staying active on the site. Contributing articles is the best strategy, but if you can’t, at least share and comment on other people’s posts.

    The idea is to show employers your communication skills and personality.

  • ‍Include Keywords – in both your headline and summary area. Keywords are what recruiters and employers use to search for potential candidates. Not including them in your profile is silly if you want to be found.  

    Also, make sure your headline is interesting and relevant to the jobs you’re looking for. Consider including a nice profile photo as well – one without your spouse, kids, or family pets (save those for Facebook). Think “professional” for these are often the first – and only – elements others see in search results.

  • Get Recommendations – which are LinkedIn’s version of testimonials. Adding social proof to your profile is an easy way to earn trust and build rapport with potential connections.

    A quick tip here is to write the testimonial yourself and let others edit or revise as they see fit. Doing so makes it easy for the other party to say yes and fulfill your request.

Finally, write your profile in the first (not third) person. Users often try to make themselves sound more impressive this way, but it typically just comes off as contrived or awkward.

Write the way you speak to humanize your story.  

Other Social Media Outlets for Job Seekers

Although LinkedIn gets top billing in this category, other social media outlets hold value for job seekers as well. Namely, Facebook and Twitter.  

Both have distinctly different flavors but are similar in how they encourage direct interaction. These two social outlets are a great way to share your personality by talking about hobbies and interests. Because most employers prefer well-rounded talent vs an army of boring robots.

A proven strategy for success is to follow companies (and key employees) that you’re interested in working with. Doing so gives you access to decision makers within these organizations you might never meet otherwise.

You also learn news and gain insight into company cultures that outsiders may not be aware of. Such information can be invaluable in deciding where you want to work and provides a nice advantage when it comes time to interview.

And just like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be used for job searches too. Just remember to include the right hashtags in your searches to generate relevant results (i.e. #jobs Denver marketing).

Finally, no matter which social platform(s) you choose, be sure to let others in your network know that you’re looking. You never know who a friend of a friend might be.

Besides, landing jobs through referrals is way easier than trying to accomplish the same feat on your own.

Conclusion

While some may shy away from social media – or dismiss such platforms as being irrelevant – they are an undeniable part of the job search equation. More than ever, employers are researching candidates long before conducting interviews or extending offers.

If they don’t like what they find, they’ll look elsewhere

That’s why it’s critical that the messages and “branding” of your social profiles reflect the image you want to portray. Candidates should also be active on social channels always looking for opportunities to connect and provide value to others.

In the end, social media skills are a lot like interviewing. Figure out how to stand out from the crowd – without putting your foot in your mouth during the process.  


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How to Build a Career in the Packaging Industry

How to Build a Career in the Packaging Industry

Have you ever thought about a career in the packaging industry? If not, you may want to reconsider. Everyone knows that technology, healthcare, manufacturing, etc. are all booming these days. But what most fail to realize is that the biggest names in every sector still utilize the packaging industry to fulfill their brands.

Think about it. Any physical product that’s designed, built, made or harvested must be transported elsewhere to be of value to the market. And jobs in the packaging industry are what make this transition a safe, secure and reliable process.

Why Choose a Career In The Packaging Industry?

Packaging can be an exciting and lucrative career with virtually unlimited growth potential. Research shows that packaging is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Some estimates point to total sales reaching $975 Billion in 2018 with no slowdowns expected anytime soon.

Booming industries like food and beverage, consumer goods, automotive and construction are seeing phenomenal growth and know that packaging is a major component of their success.

In fact, according to recent data, 3.4 trillion items were packed in 2016 alone. Not to mention that these numbers have steadily increased year-over-year for nearly the last decade.

Because of this huge demand, packaging industry jobs are available at every skill level (from production to management) for those who are ready to apply.

If that doesn’t get you fired up, here are a few more benefits to consider.

Packaging Is a Stable Industry

Despite the ups and downs of world economies, packaging is an industry that stays in demand.

No matter what happens, people always need food, healthcare, transportation and consumer goods (amongst other things) in order to survive. That means jobs in the packaging industry are all but guaranteed to remain stable.  

And we’re not just talking about the basics either. As consumer class income continues to grow, buyer appetites for goods, services, and conveniences typically follow suit.  

Electronics, sports and entertainment, home furnishings, etc. – the list goes on and on.

With all needing innovative, well-designed packaging to facilitate their growth.

There’s A Strong Need for Creative Talent

Most successful businesses agree that packaging can serve as an ambassador for your brand.

Being fun, creative, or different is what allows the best companies to stand out from the competition. Not to mention that (all things being equal) consumer choice often boils down to which product has the stronger visual or emotional appeal.

However, it’s about more than just colors and images – physical design plays a vital role as well. Unique configurations often appeal to consumers sense of style and taste. Thus, driving the demand for smart, strong, yet aesthetically-pleasing packaging options.

Better-designed packaging benefits manufacturers also. As lighter products mean less raw materials used and reduced fuel costs to deliver goods.

Packaging Jobs Are in Demand

As the economy grows, so does the need for packaging professionals. Take, for example, the recent surge in online shopping. The National Retail Federation predicted an 8-12% growth rate in 2017 (3x the total retail average). Factor in the need to reliably transport all these items and it’s clear that this trend will continue to rise.

The food industry is another incredibly hot market. Organic items, portable snacks and prepared meals are seeing tremendous growth across the board. Industry estimates for flexible packaging are above 50% of total volume for this particular market sector.

Strong consumer demand for longer shelf life, non-toxic materials, and environmentally-friendly designs are the driving factors behind these changes.

Types of Jobs In The Packaging Industry

Packaging may have originated on the assembly line, but has come a long way since then. Nowadays, the need for a multitude of talented individuals (from every discipline) is stronger than ever.

Production – still the heart of the industry. While most production jobs are entry level, they’re often a gateway into many other high-level industry careers.

Typical roles in this area include line workers, operators, and mechanics. Their main responsibilities involve packing, sorting and shipping but they also find new and more efficient ways of doing business while ensuring everything runs smoothly.

Production roles are a natural fit for those who crave structure, like problem-solving and enjoy working with their hands.

Engineering – a critical discipline in the packaging industry. These are the experts who create the actual packing materials themselves using advanced chemical, mechanical and engineering knowledge. The job also involves selecting raw materials with a focus on optimal strength, durability, shelf life and cost efficiency.

A great field for those who excel in math and science and enjoy working with technology.

Sales and Marketing – help spread the word about packaging products. Salespeople market to clients using their business acumen and people skills. Often working with copywriters, brand experts, and engineers to create packaging that makes an impression and generates results.  

Designers are called upon to make items feel beautiful and unique. These marketing specialists study color, design, shape, and texture to create demand and entice consumers.

Consumer Strategists study public behavior to uncover the latest trends in sales and buying habits. Recognizing how subtle changes in design and positioning can affect overall revenues.

Support Services – are needed in every industry with packaging being no exception. Information Technology, Human Resources, Safety, Legal – you name it and it’s there. Large packaging brands have tremendous support budgets, and with the forecasted growth in this sector, they’re only going to get bigger.

Management and Leadership – opportunities for packaging executives are on the rise and those with the right skills and experience can fetch top dollar. With such a high demand existing worldwide, opportunities are available most anywhere you want to go.

Not surprisingly, strategic leaders with the right skills and experience can fetch top dollar.

Directors, VPs, and C-Level talent are needed in multiple areas of packaging including: Operations, Sales and Marketing, Research and Development and many others.  

Best of all, with such a high-demand existing worldwide, executive opportunities in packaging are available most anywhere you want to go.

Conclusion

Bottom line – packaging is an exceptional industry to be in. A business sector filled with great people who enjoy strong job security, have an abundance of opportunities, and work on interesting projects that make a difference in the marketplace.

Many packaging industry jobs offer generous compensation packages, excellent fringe benefits, and quality work-life balances. Perks sometimes found lacking in other large industries.

You may not have previously considered a career in the packaging industry – but with so much to offer – it deserves a spot on your shortlist.  


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