28 June 2013
On Saturday, June 22nd, The Execu|Search Group’s Lisa Carver and Lisa Morano partnered with Donna Caroleo, Human Resources Manager of Suburban Propane, to teach a class to Dress for Success – Morris County’s graduating class. To help prepare the class of 15 women graduating from a 13-week intense program for their next job in the workforce, the three volunteers led a class called “Building Your Resume.” The three and a half hour session consisted of an extensive round of FAQs, an overview of the anatomy of a resume (accomplishments, work history, education, computer skills, etc.), tips on building an impressive objective, the elements of good and bad resumes, and the value of LinkedIn. “Perhaps the most rewarding part of the session was the end where we were able to give every student individualized attention to help them build a stronger resume,” explained Lisa Carver. “We are looking forward to teaching this class again in the fall for the next group of graduates.” Dress for Success is an international organization that aims to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. To learn how you can get involved, please visit: http://www.dressforsuccess.org/home.aspx
27 June 2013
You just got a call for a final interview and the first thing that comes to mind is your prospective salary. There is always a possibility that their initial proposal may not match your expectations, so it’s important to be patient and act professionally. In order to use your resources to leverage a better offer, here are three things to keep in mind: Research: Doing some extensive research prior to your final interview is a necessity because the last thing you want to do is enter an interview with unrealistic expectations. To get a better idea of where you stand on the playing field, check websites and credible resources to figure out what the industry’s current economic state may be. The next thing to look for is how well the company has done over the last 5 years. Have they been profitable? Where are they in comparison to their competitors? Details like these will help you hypothesize what salary range you can expect they’ll offer. Lastly, understand the value of your position. Figure out what other people with similar positions are making. Sites such as Salary.com, Payscale.com and Jobstar.org are just a few sources you can use to help figure this out before your interview. Show Your Worth: Throughout the interview process, the one thing you must be consistently doing is selling yourself as the best candidate for the role, and if you do this properly, it’ll be reflected in their offer. By illustrating your accomplishments and emphasizing your goals, your interviewer can make an assumption on how valuable you’ll be to the company. Don’t forget to let your personality shine through to show how you’re an excellent fit for the company’s culture. Play the Hand You’re Dealt: If you have a final interview where you’re discussing an offer, barring an unforeseen variable, the employer is likely considering you and just one other candidate. At this point, you, in a sense, have as much power as your interviewer. The key to a successful negotiation is to not show your hand too early. Don’t be afraid to ask about the salary, but do not be the first person to bring it up; let them show their interest first. If the hiring manager asks you what salary you’re hoping for, try to delay this question with a response similar to, “There are so many components that factor into an opportunity being a great fit for me like the company culture, work environment, etc. that I’m reluctant to focus on one specific aspect at this stage. I’m extremely interested thus far and would love to learn more.” Additionally, if you have had other interviews and received formal offers from them, it may be appropriate to bring them up as leverage as long as it doesn’t come across as arrogant. Finding a job you truly enjoy and landing the position can be a fairly long process, and keeping these points in mind can only help mitigate your stress and finesse your negotiation tactics. At the end of the day, if reach this point in the interview process, you’re in pretty good shape. Remember, the worst that can happen is that they say no! As long as you are respectful, knowledgeable and confident, you’ll have nothing to lose.
26 June 2013
Author: Edward Fleischman
As the price of real estate in major cities continues to rise, companies are working on optimizing their office space in order to reduce their leasing costs. New York City, for example, has some of the highest office space costs in the country, averaging at $58.77 per square foot in Manhattan—a hefty price tag considering that today’s private offices span an average of 200 square feet. As a result, private offices are becoming more of a rarity, quickly being replaced by cubicles and other more space-efficient workstations. Should you find that your new title change doesn’t come with a corner office, or that your new employer doesn’t offer you an office of your own, don’t take it as a comment on your status or how the firm views your performance. In previous generations, the size and locale of your office might have been indicative of your value in the company, but that is no longer the case in many organizations. In some progressive companies like Zappos, employees are free to roam the open-office environment and work where they please with their mobile devices and laptops—and not even the CEO has a separate office! But in most offices that are in the process of restructuring, open-office policies aren’t yet the norm. Instead, space optimization is often achieved by implementing customized cubicles, movable walls, office partitions, and “cluster pods,” units of 3 or more connected u-shaped desks that face their occupants toward one another. These “modular workstations” are more effective and cost-efficient than offices and standalone desks, and when organized properly, can offer their users a great deal of space. Of course, smaller offices also mean greener ones. The more square footage saved, the less lighting, plumbing and electricity needed. This not only reduces pollution but also cuts costs. Furthermore, as offices become more technologically advanced, the need for mass quantities of paper is greatly mitigated, which also helps reduce the amount of space needed for storage and filing. As a result, where executives once needed the space to file away important documents, many now simply need a computer and maybe a file cabinet or two. Besides just saving space, these new layouts also encourage collaboration amongst coworkers. Cubicles are becoming smaller, and their high dividing walls are being shortened to allow for more open environments. Desks are being arranged to encourage both inter- and cross-departmental communication. As a result, people are being encouraged to interact with their coworkers, bounce ideas off one another, and maintain friendly and cooperative work environments. Despite the obvious benefits of these new office layouts, both for the company and its employees, many may still find themselves wanting a private office or feeling that they aren’t being recognized for their efforts. However, remember that working in a different environment than was once typical for a professional in your position is not a reflection on you as an employee, but simply an effort to optimize space, reduce costs, and encourage collaboration. Today, status is not relative to office size. Edward Fleischman CEO
25 June 2013
It’s no secret to jobseekers that a polished LinkedIn profile is a great addition to your professional presence. Today, it’s become almost as customary as a resume and, if applicable, a portfolio. The great thing about LinkedIn is that it combines the best characteristics of all these things, but that can also be its downfall: too often, it only reiterates what your resume and portfolio already do. Chances are, you’ve filled in all the seemingly important areas: bio, work history, maybe even project samples. You’ve made connections and uploaded a professional photo. Now how do you go beyond and make your LinkedIn profile a powerful marketing tool? The mistake most people make is that they upload their information and expect it to attract connections and job opportunities, ultimately leading to a job placement within their area of expertise. You can’t expect a resume lying dormant on your desk to do that for you, and nor should you expect your LinkedIn to do so. Just as with a resume, your profile needs to be showcased to the right people in order to aid your job search. Furthermore, it should be polished and fully represent who you are as a professional. There are a number of ways to enhance your profile to present you as the well-rounded, multi-dimensional person you are, and to help it effectively market you and your services. Follow the prompts—to an extent. When improving your profile, use the automated prompts LinkedIn provides, but use them to your discretion. The tool can be great for filling in some gaps in your profile; however, certain fields might not be necessary. The prompt asks for things such as test scores and classes you’ve taken, for example, which may work well for a recent college graduate or someone looking to apply for further education—but may not be necessary for a seasoned professional with 10+ years of experience. Be creative with your headline. All too often, professionals with a multitude of experience and skills only restrict their headline to their current title, but there’s a section under your current work experience for that. Instead, find a title that best describes you as an overall professional, as it’s one of the first things someone sees when they search for or stumble upon your profile. In addition, headlines make you more searchable by recruiters and hiring managers, so make sure your title is one that will show up in relevant searches. Be more than a resume. You already have one, so why use such a powerful networking tool to just restate your resume online? Take your profile a step further by uploading work samples and writing a bio that says what your resume can’t, such as your career plans for the future and what your professional goals are. Hiring managers want to see that you’re qualified for positions you apply for, but they also want to see that you’re a real live person with a likeable demeanor. Find ways to communicate that through your profile, and you’ll be well on your way to having a more marketable presence. Network (tactfully). Once your profile is polished, it’s time to put it to work. One of the best ways to start doing this is to use LinkedIn’s arguably most important and widely-used feature: adding connections. We’ve mentioned before that one must be tactful when networking, especially on LinkedIn. Adding connections you’ve never met or done business with, without stating why you’d like to connect or how you found them, may not be beneficial. Using the automated “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” invitation for people you do know can be tacky. Instead, form real connections with personalized invitations, and then endorse your connections for skills you know they have. The easiest way to properly network using the social media tool is to be honest, friendly, and genuine—and go the extra mile to show your connections that they aren’t just number padding. Boost your activity. Make yourself heard. Join groups, post to your recent activity, and follow professionals in your field. This may seem to be less focused on improving your profile itself, but when you partake in discussions and share content, these tasks all pop up on your activity feed. As a result, your connections and those scanning through your profile will be able to see that you can back up your credentials with activity and interest in your field.
25 June 2013
Glenn Bernstein is featured on Princeton Community TV’s Off the Front Page – Finding the Perfect Job
Last month, Glenn Bernstein, Partner and President of The Execu|Search Group’s Temporary Staffing/Consulting division was featured as a guest on Princeton Community Television’s program, Off the Front Page – Finding the Perfect Job.
20 June 2013
As Medicare reimbursements have become tied to patient satisfaction, hospitals and health systems have begun to re-examine how they can improve patient experience – a topic that was recently investigated by The Beryl Institute and Catalyst Healthcare Research. In their May report, The State of Patient Experience 2013 Findings, 70% of survey respondents reported that Patient Experience/Satisfaction was one of their organization’s top three priorities for the next 3 years. If you are one of the many organizations in the country making the effort to improve the patient experience, here are some key findings from the report along with some recommendations for staffing solutions: A committee approach is most widely used to address patient experience (26%) 22% of respondents have a Chief Experience Officer or Patient Experience Director 14% of respondents have a Chief Nursing Officer Note: Physicians, nurses, and clinical staff members are often being left out of patient experience initiatives, which might be to the detriment hospitals’ HCAHPS scores Those with the primary responsibility for addressing patient experience spend on average 63% of their time supporting these efforts Top drivers of a successful patience experience initiative: 62%: Strong, visible, support from “the top” 55%: Having clinical managers who visibly support patient experience efforts 44%: Formalized process review & improvement focused on patient experience Top roadblocks: 48%: Leaders appointed to drive patient experience pulled in too many directions 46%: Other organizational priorities reduce emphasis on patient experience 42%: General cultural resistance to doing things differently So what are the most important things to take away from these findings? Let’s start with the simple fact that patient experience is or should be a major initiative for healthcare providers. Furthermore, from the results above, it is clear that patient experience committees are crucial to implementing any real changes. Remember, the larger the team, the more responsibilities that can be divided and shared, and the more that can be accomplished. The next question you need to ask yourself is: Do you have the right staff on board to sufficiently manage and advise the process? When answering this question, consider whether or not your organization has enough bandwidth, has the right voices, and these voices have enough time in their schedules. Since a top driver of successful patient experience initiatives includes strong support from “the top,” you want to make sure you’re hiring, promoting, and/or appointing well-respected, proven leaders as the faces of your formal patient experience program. To maximize the success of your patient experience program, we suggest staffing your committee with department representatives who have direct contact with patients such as nurses, physicians, etc. Although having clinical managers who visibly support patient experience efforts is a top driver of success, only 3% of respondents felt it was important for the person in charge of patient experience to be a physician, nurse, or clinical staff member, so it appears there is some disconnect between perception and reality. The fact of the matter is, by leaving department representatives, who often have their finger on the pulse of the patient experience more than anyone else, off of patient experience committees, many hospitals are doing themselves a disservice and excluding too many important voices. If you are a large organization, chances are, you have an extensive number of employees who are divided into many units. Different departments have their own unique culture and way of doing things and department representatives may have some great insight to offer on how hospital-wide patient experience initiatives can be adapted to their department’s needs. A department representative can help address the issue of cultural resistance by attending committee meetings and acting as a liaison between their department and the committee. You can think of committee meetings with department reps. as a roundtable or an open forum where everyone can communicate interdepartmentally – concerns can be expressed, feedback can be shared, and questions can be asked. To successfully implement a formal patient experience program, every employee who works both directly and indirectly with patients will need to be kept in the loop about recent developments on how they can improve patient experience. If employees have the opportunity to learn about new programs from someone they work closely with, and feel that their voices are being heard by upper management, they may be more open to change. A good patient experience program focuses on establishing protocols for care coordination and communication with caregivers and staff responsiveness. To be successful at enhancing the patient experience, medical facilities must first employ these concepts of communication and staff responsiveness to build a level of trust and collaboration throughout the organization. Once your staff can understand the value in the patient experience and see how their actions can directly impact a patient’s hospital visit, you will see your HCAHPS scores rise. New initiatives may come from the top, but leadership can be found at all levels of an organization. Letting these leaders engage in the decision making process will allow you to implement a patient experience program both effectively and efficiently.
20 June 2013
The beauty of working in an administrative capacity is that if you have a “roll up your sleeves” attitude and strong work ethic, you truly have the ability to adapt yourself to different roles across a variety of industries in ways most professionals can’t. “Your opportunities are infinite,” explains Jennifer Mrejen, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support staffing and Human Resource division. “As a result, if your job-hunting philosophy dictates that you accept the first job that you are offered, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Rather than looking for just a job, you should be looking for the right opportunity with the right company.” Therefore, when looking for your next career opportunity, don’t worry so much about specific qualifications but rather about how well you connect with the organization and who you will support. Consider yourself a chameleon and explore every avenue that seems interesting to you. Like a chameleon, you have the ability to blend into different environments externally, yet remain true to yourself on the inside. In other words, as someone who works on an administrative level, you can wear many hats, and the hat you choose to wear when applying to jobs should be dictated by how well you feel you can connect with the organization on a cultural level. Once you established the job matches what you are looking for, show how you are more than qualified for the role by tailoring your resume and the way you present yourself in the interview. To do this, here are some guidelines to follow: Tailor your resume to the job description you’re applying for. Most companies use applicant tracking systems to filter through the heaps of resumes that accumulate to find the candidate that is most relevant to the job they’re looking to fill. To push your resume closer to the top of the list, scour the job description and add any applicable keywords to your resume. For instance, if you are applying for an administrative assistant position within a financial services firm that requires you to maintain and track employee timesheets, make sure you highlight your excel skills and any experience with project time management software. Make sure you are also keeping up with industry-specific jargon. For instance, if there’s a new technology that people in the industry are using, and you know how to use it, make sure to mention that. Include an objective on your resume. Whilst reading the job description, try and evaluate what strengths the employer is looking for. Then in your objective, briefly explain why your background makes you qualified for the position. This is another place to include keywords. At some point in the interview, ask, ‘What are the most important attributes that someone in this position should possess?’ Asking this question not only shows that you are interested in learning more about the position but it also gives you the chance to have a conversation with your interviewer and clearly explain in greater detail why you are the perfect candidate. The answer to this question also allows you to make your own judgment as to whether or not you feel the job and the company culture are right for you! Dress the part: In a similar vein, different organizations have different dress codes. If you’re interviewing for an executive support role at a law firm where you will be expected to greet clients and other visitors, you should dress in business professional attire. On the other hand, if you are interviewing at a retail company, it may be more appropriate to tailor your outfit to the image the brand portrays on their website. Demonstrate your aptitude for learning. “This is especially important to do when making the leap to an industry you don’t have much experience in,” stresses Jennifer Mrejen. “We’ve had plenty of instances where clients have been flexible with industry experience as long as the candidate was able to express their abilities to adapt and learn new skills.” To do this successfully, Mrejen suggests that candidates list any professional certifications and/or any continuing education coursework on their resume. During the interview, she also advises her candidates to try to weave an example of a time where they were able to overcome a challenge and explain what they learned from it, and how that made them a better employee. The next time you look for a new job, remember, you should seek out places where you would be the most comfortable and where you can remain true to yourself. Finding the right job, the right people to support, and tailoring your skills to meet the needs of the organization is a matchmaking process, and is often considered one of the most important parts of the job hunting process. You never want to accept a job for the wrong reasons, and looking at a position from a cultural fit perspective, can help you find your career happiness.
19 June 2013
Being unemployed can be frustrating. Of course, as the economy recovers and more jobs are added, it can be disappointing to find yourself constantly sending out cover letters and resumes with nothing to show for it. While you may feel you’re doing something wrong, much of the time, you’re actually doing everything right. The simple fact is, it’s a waiting game in this day and age. However, there are a few steps you can take to improve your professional worth as a candidate as well as your mental health. Volunteer – Volunteering is a great way to spend a portion of your time. It can make you feel like you’re doing something worthwhile and contributing to a part of something bigger than yourself. It supports feelings of self-esteem and self-worth. Additionally, volunteering somewhere relevant to your skill set can help your chances of being hired. For example, if you’re an unemployed teacher, help out with after school programs. If you’re a web designer, find a local nonprofit that needs a re-design. These are great ways to keep your skills current and show employers you’re occupying your time wisely. Improve Your Skills – Don’t just stop at keeping your skills current, improve upon them! If you lack a skill commonly required for the kinds of jobs you’re seeking, work on developing that skill. You can borrow books from the library, watch online tutorials and how-to videos, and read up with online e-books and articles. You can also look for free or affordable classes in your area. Network – Networking is socializing with a purpose. Reconnect with old and current contacts, and form new ones. Almost anyone can be a contact – college professors, advisors, internship supervisors, old colleagues, bosses, business acquaintances, and classmates all count. When it comes to the actual conversation, ask how they are and be honest when they ask how you’re doing. Let them know about your job search (industry, location, etc.) and see if they know of any opportunities or possible contacts for you, including a job recruiter in your area of expertise. If you’re looking to make new contacts, go to networking events sponsored by your university, industry, and city. You can also take the untraditional approach and go to lectures, neighborhood council meetings, or even a community event where you know there will be like-minded individuals. These are more organic settings in which you can strike up a conversation with someone and meet people. Freelance or take on a temporary role – Freelancing is a great way to make money while you’re home looking for full-time work. Freelancing looks good on your resume because it shows that you’ve still managed to find a way to provide your own professional services while looking for work, gain more experience, and keep your skills current. Pursuing a temporary job or contractual assignment can also help you achieve those objectives. Checking out our job listings for work opportunities is also a great way to find positions related to your skills. Build an online presence – Building your presence online means gaining greater exposure. Consider starting a professional blog, and enhance your social network profiles. Also, create an online portfolio to showcase your work across social media sites. Lastly, look for companies you are interested in working for and subscribe to their blogs and follow them on all their social media sites. Through these sites you can impress them with your insight, not to mention being in the loop about any company changes or opportunities. Make Sure Your Resume Includes Keywords – Using key words in your resume is extremely important. Key words are words found within a job posting that list specific qualities or skills being sought after in a candidate, as well as words that describe the tasks of the job. The reason key words are crucial is that many employers use electronic scanning devices to screen and rank candidates, and if your resume contains none of the key words found in the job description that these devices are set to look for, your resume may not show up at all when a hiring manager searches for resumes. Follow Up – According to a CareerBuilder survey, two thirds of workers report that they do not follow up with the employer after submitting their resume. However, following up can prove extremely rewarding. It is a way of separating oneself from the crowd, and taking that extra step. It also gives that jobseeker greater exposure since it is their second time contacting that recruiter or employer. Never underestimate the value of a thank you note, as it affords you one last chance at making a good impression, and peace of mind. Take breaks – Give yourself breaks and weekends, like employed people do. Don’t push yourself to the brink of exhaustion on the days you’re looking for work, and don’t look for work all day, 7 days a week. In that same vein, do keep a regular schedule of looking for work, and treat applying for jobs like a job. Following these guidelines will ensure you have regular days of play like working professionals, and regular days of productivity. Take care of your health – It’s easy to get depressed if you’re unemployed. Speak regularly to your friends and family, and make sure to leave the house to go out and socialize. It’s vital to your mental health to have stimulation and encouragement and support from those around you. Also, reaching out to your contacts, as we suggested before, may feel silly to you, but it may help end your job hunt a lot more quickly. Exercising may not be an option for everyone, but most people will be able to find a free instructional clip on YouTube to follow along to or be able to get their hands on a workout DVD to try. Also, never count out going on walks or being active. Exercising can help you feel active and help you blow off steam. Get support from those in the same situation – Seek out other people who are going through the same thing. It can be extremely comforting to have bi-weekly coffee dates with a friend in the same situation, and to compare notes. Seeking out other people going through the same thing may be as easy as looking through your Facebook newsfeed. Talking about your mutual job seeking experiences not only gives a sense of comfort, but also serves as a springboard for which you and your fellow unemployed can trade ideas, job boards, and potential places to look for work.
18 June 2013
Job hopping, a term used to describe moving from job to job in a relatively short period of time, has typically carried a negative connotation. This is mostly due to the fact that, for generations, it was more commonplace for someone to settle into a job and stay at the company for 20 years. But today, it’s increasingly common—if not expected—for Gen-X and Gen-Y professionals to hold a number of jobs, some much shorter lived than that. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average Gen-X employee today stays at a job for around 4.4 years. For Gen-Y millennials, cut that number in half. It’s becoming more widely accepted for shorter employment tenures to be the norm, especially as the number of new industries that require professionals to keep their skills sharp and stay ahead of the game grow in number. However, many employers are still wary of lengthy and varied job histories on resumes. So what are the pros and cons of job hopping? And how do you explain it to a possible employer? Pros You gain more experience and acquire new professional skills from each experience. Candidates who have worked in a number of different positions often have confidence in their abilities, and exercising their skills in several different jobs keeps those abilities sharp. Job hopping can also give professionals a good sense of the variety of work environments out there and which types of work culture they may or may not work well in. It’s easier to move up. Once upon a time, the path to developing a career involved settling into a job and climbing the corporate ladder. Today, it’s still important to gain long-term experience, but many jobs may not come with the opportunity to advance. Learning all one can from a position and then moving on, often to a higher position with better pay, is the Gen-X and Gen-Y way—and, arguably, an effective way—of moving up in one’s field. You learn what you want through trial and error. Some positions may sound like great opportunities, but in practice, aren’t a good fit for you. Especially early on, candidates can often get a much better feel for the type of job placement they work best in by trying it out. Cons An employer might see it as a sign of irresponsibility. After all, as we stated in another post, longevity in a career is one of the most attractive qualities a candidate can have. An employer may find a candidate less attractive if he or she has a record of job hopping; not only can it make one appear indecisive, it may also give the impression that a candidate lacks a sense of direction for their career. It may compromise your job security. Should an employer decide to hire you, he or she may keep your job hopping tendencies in mind for the future. In the event of a mass layoff, for example, you may find your position less secure because your employer would prefer to keep the employees who he or she knows are loyal and in it for the long-term. Your experience may be limited, depending on your industry. Although you have a lot of short-term experience, you don’t have any long-term. So while you may have the adaptability to change positions every two years, you haven’t had the experience of settling into a company and becoming a part of its long-term plans. This may be okay for some industries that are constantly changing, like IT, but this may raise some questions about your loyalty and ability to see the big picture in others. The best way to explain a history of job hopping in an interview is to reflect on why you’ve changed jobs so frequently, keep these pros and cons in mind, and formulate an answer that best describes the experience you’ve gained. Don’t apologize or seem uneasy with your employment history—you’ll only be showing the employer that they have a reason to be uncomfortable with it, as well. Instead, detail how your different positions have helped you grow as a professional and how the experience you earned makes you a great fit for the role. Give genuine reasons for your departures, such as layoffs or a folding company, where you can. For the positions you decided to leave, it could be beneficial to say “I felt that I learned all I could from that company in the time I was there, and as a professional in my field, I felt that moving on was the best way to stay up-to-date and keep my skills sharp and relevant” or “My experiences have helped me decide what direction I want to take my career in, and I believe this organization would allow me to grow as a professional and build a long-term career.” Remember, only your relevant employment history is needed on a resume. So if you’ve held a number of different positions in a variety of fields that aren’t relevant to the current role you’re applying for, leaving some of those off and shortening your resume can help reduce the chances you’ll be labeled as a job-hopper.