Volume I  Number 1   Winter 2020




We have all experienced it. You are applying for a new position online and you begin the application. One of the first things you are asked to do is download your resume. You begin to get excited. This is going to be an easy application. You download your resume, and you assume that all of the important information you include on it has been uploaded into the employer’s application system. But then you get to the next part of the application, and you are asked to enter every piece of information that appears on your resume including your education, your work history, and your references. You think to yourself, “What is going on here? I was just asked to download my resume. Why are you asking me to re-enter everything that you can see from my resume?” We have all been there, and we have all wondered why.


In a recent survey created by the research team of The Pennington HR Institute, over 65 men and women, employees at all levels of their careers, ranging in age from 18 to 68 years old, responded to ten relevant questions about their attitudes toward online jobsites and the application process. The survey was promoted on social media and the greatest number of respondents were between 23 and 40 years old, with the second greatest number of respondents in the 41-60 year old range.


According to Danielle Oliver, Assistant Executive Director and Research Coordinator for Pennington, almost all of the respondents reported that they had encountered one or more online applications that ask for the resume to be downloaded and then ask the applicant to manually input most of the information from the resume, while almost 60% of those respondents admitted that when they faced the tedious manual process, they decided to not complete the application, and went back to find an easier and faster application for a similar position advertised by another organization. Obviously, this means that companies using job sites like Indeed, Monster, and Career Builder are missing out on what could be excellent candidates.


There is a Reason for the Redundancy

However, according to Jobscan, a company that has created a tool that gives job seekers an instant analysis of how well their resume is tailored for a particular job and how it can be even better optimized for an applicant tracking system (ATS), the reasons online applications are set up this way are for the applicant’s benefit. It has to do with the fact that some ATS systems take the resume and parse it into a digital candidate profile that can be searched or filtered by recruiters. Unfortunately, systems that rely on parsing tend to let highly qualified candidates slip through the cracks. For example, if your resume isn’t ATS-friendly, critical information might not be parsed correctly. This could cause you to be overlooked when a recruiter runs a keyword search for a skill that is on your resume. (more)


Quite often, it is not until we have experienced a difficult situation like an accident, illness or COVID-19-related events that we start to appreciate employer-provided benefits like disability insurance and leave policies that protect income and jobs. According to a recent MetLife disability survey fielded in April 2020, a significant number of employees say disability insurance (50 percent) or family caregiver leave (47 percent) would best support them if out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, approximately one-third of employees say they don't feel like they have enough of either to feel protected through the crisis.


Below are three points to consider about disability insurance in addition to your holistic well-being that can help you be better prepared and protected for unexpected situations.


1. Know what you have now

While reading your benefits package is probably not super exciting, investing the time now can make a big difference later. Start by understanding what is currently offered by your employer, or your spouse's or partner's employer. This will help you make informed decisions and could even illuminate programs such as mental health support or income protection that may not have seemed relevant months ago.


Many employees do not realize that disability insurance, for example, can help cover expenses if they are out of work due to illness or injury. This is important because 61 percent of employees in the disability survey said monthly expenses, such as rent/mortgage payments, utility bills or car payments, are top stressors if they are suddenly unable to work full-time.


Also be aware of any benefits changes related to COVID-19, as many employers have expanded their leave programs and some increased certain benefits to further assist employees. In addition, federal, state and local leave policies have been implemented to support workers during these challenging times.


2. Prevention and rehabilitation matter

Along with the financial stress imposed by COVID-19, employees are facing physical, mental and social health consequences, too. From having fewer opportunities for physical activity and social interaction to feeling anguish over the suffering or isolation of loved ones, every element of holistic well-being is being tested.


Participating in home exercise programs, virtual social gatherings and seeking mental health support are all ways to stay healthy during these challenging times. You can also take advantage of creative programs employers are offering such as nutritional recipes, fitness challenges, telehealth opportunities, and Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) which offer counseling.


Moreover, when returning from a leave of absence, employees should understand the return-to-work programs offered by their employer, which are designed to keep you healthy after they are back on the job. These programs may offer flexible work hours, technology equipment accommodations, training opportunities, and mental and financial wellness support to address related stressors.


3. Prepare for future decision-making

Employers are continuously reviewing the benefits they offer their employees, and you'll have the opportunity in 2020 to make new choices for the coming year. In advance, take the time to think about how you could build out your coverage for the future. Over the years, employers have introduced a number of benefit offerings that allow you to customize your coverage for your individual situation, such as if you have children or caregiving responsibilities. In addition, consider how your life has or could change in the coming year and the importance of programs that can supplement your income.


Such questions are important to raise. The MetLife disability survey fielded in April 2020, in fact, found nearly half (48 percent) of employees say the pandemic has increased their likelihood to enroll in disability benefits and programs in the coming year. It's also important to examine your benefits package for wellness programs that can help support physical, mental and social health, in addition to your financial health.


Acting today for tomorrow

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call on the vital importance of leave and disability insurance, which offer protection against the unknown.


These events can impact how employees make benefits decisions. By looking through the lens of holistic well-being, options that sustain not just their financial health, but their mental, physical and social health too will be a priority to feel protected in good times and bad.


Download these insights and learn about other employee benefit resources here: https://www.metlife.com/workforce-insights/benefits-strategies/disability-support-challenging-times/.


a video by Thomas Fanelli

Welcome to Employee's Life

Welcome from the Managing Editor

As part of our mission of advocating for employees across the country, The Pennington HR Institute is pleased to bring you this new online magazine. This will be a place where you can find resources related to all things in your busy life. Especially as the world faces such unprecedented challenges, we will strive to provide relevance for employees at every stage in their careers. Our content will focus on the current issues you are facing with solutions and advice to keep you informed and empowered.


Our content will come from the minds of esteemed career coaches and mentors who specialize in fields ranging from human resources management, technology, career advancement, recruiting, marketing, and more. Additionally, The Pennington HR Institute will be contributing independent research and experience-based insights. We will also serve as a digest of relevant articles from other major sources from print, broadcast, and online organizations. Together, we will bring you unique resources designed to guide you and inspire you.


Our goal at Employee’s Life is to create a happier workforce through education and support. Whether you are at the height of your career or working in your first position, switching careers or trying to move ahead, or trying to perfect your resumé, our new online magazine will offer something for every employee! Each new issue will keep you updated on the continuously changing workplace environment, so there will always be something new to learn. Welcome, and we hope you enjoy!

Danielle Oliver

Managing Editor


We've all been there: You embark on the job hunt and you're full of excitement for what's ahead - but you sometimes feel like one name in a sea of candidates, trying to figure out the hacks to break through, get noticed, and land that interview (and job offer!).


If this sounds all-too-familiar, you're not alone - but the good news is that according to LinkedIn, there are five top 5 secrets to getting noticed and snagging that new job opportunity.


Get ahead of the pack: There are 100 million job applications on LinkedIn every month. This may sound overwhelming as a job seeker, but remember this: getting a head start can make all the difference. In fact, LinkedIn research shows that being one of the first to apply to a job can increase your chances of landing a job by 4x. Tip: Sign up for LinkedIn Job Alerts which will send you a notification within minutes of a relevant job posting.


Spruce up your online presence: A picture might say 1,000 words, but a strong LinkedIn profile can say a million. Refresh your profile photo, relevant skills, experience and summary section so that you show up in hiring managers' searches. It's a good idea to put in this work ahead of time because once you capture a recruiter's interest, you want your profile to showcase why you're the best for the job.

Brush up on your skills - and let the world know: Showcasing your skills can make all the difference when it comes to being considered for a job. Everything you've learned from your past experience, education, courses and more make up who you are and how you shine as a professional - including hard skills, soft skills and transferable skills that round out everything you bring to the table.

Use your secret weapon (people you know): You never know where reaching out to a connection on LinkedIn might lead. Getting introduced to someone through people you know and are connected to on LinkedIn can increase your chances of getting hired by 9x. And the best part is, you have this invaluable tool right at your fingertips! Tip: Start with your family and friends first (you never know who they're connected to online) and consider joining LinkedIn Groups, where professionals in the same industry or with similar interests can share their insights and experiences, ask for guidance and build valuable connections.


Put in the practice: According to LinkedIn, 54% of job seekers say the interview phase is "moderately to extremely challenging" due to two reasons: uncertainty and lack of confidence. The trick? It's all about preparation. Get ahead of the interview jitters by putting in the time, research and practice sessions to be sure you're on your A-game when you walk through the door. 




Courtney Connley      Abigail Hess               Jennifer Liu

EDITOR’S NOTE: CNBC Correspondents Courtney Connley, Abigail Hess, and Jennifer Liu collaborated on this very powerful article that predicts what the workplace will look like in the next weeks and months, as businesses of all kinds begin to reopen.


In only a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has upended the daily lives of people around the world. For Americans, the economic impact of the virus has led to new categorizations of “essential” workers, a large-scale move to remote work and skyrocketing unemployment that is expected to continue increasing. 

With more than 30 million people filing for unemployment in the past six weeks, the U.S. is predicted to experience a coronavirus-induced recession through 2021.


And amid stay-at-home orders across the country, office workers have ditched their daily commutes to work from dining room tables, couches and beds in their own homes. Many may find themselves in this situation for the long haul, as businesses struggle to find a path forward while restrictions slowly lift.


But what other changes will we see in the coming months and years? CNBC Make It spoke to futurists, employment experts, CEOs, designers and more to find out how the pandemic could forever transform the way we work.


Working in an office could become a status symbol

Following the pandemic, it’s likely that more Americans will split their time between working from home and from a corporate office, says Brent Capron, the design director of interiors at architecture firm Perkins and Will’s New York studio.


“People will still gather for work,” he says. “But the amount of time you work in proximity with others, and what your work week looks like — I see that to be the biggest cultural shift moving forward.”

With more people working remotely, companies may open regional hubs or provide access to co-working spaces wherever their workers are concentrated rather than have the majority of their workforce at one central office.


As a result, corporate headquarters may become a status symbol for the companies that still have the budget and a workforce big enough to warrant pricey real estate in a major city.


A company’s investment in its headquarters could become a way to recruit talent, says Jane Oates, president of WorkingNation, a nonprofit campaign about unemployment, and a former assistant secretary at the Department of Labor. 


Job seekers may consider it a draw to work for a company with a physical location, which could boost brand awareness and overall influence within the industry. (more)



© 2019 by The Pennington HR Institute

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