30 December 2013
Have you set your career resolutions for the New Year yet? Whether you’re employed or currently in the job market, and looking to a recruitment firm, here’s a secret: the key to setting a manageable New Year’s resolution is to choose one that can produce measurable results. For example, take the most common New Year’s resolution: exercise more. Many people resolve to become healthier but inevitably revert to their more sedentary habits within a few months. Why? Because their resolution is too broad. If they narrowed it down to something measurable—like run one mile in under ten minutes—they would be much more likely to achieve it. The same goes for your career resolutions. Rather than “get a job” or “get promoted,” think in measurable increments. Break down your larger goals into steps and make each of those a resolution in and of itself. And if you haven’t considered making career resolutions yet, pull out a pad and paper! Every year gives us the opportunity to turn over a new leaf and use the motivation that comes with a fresh start. Here are some broader career resolutions for the New Year and how you can break them down into more manageable goals, regardless of what level of your career you’re in: Stay updated on the industry: Whether you’re in healthcare or accounting, there’s a wealth of information out there to keep you up-to-date in any industry. Try making a resolution like “read one blog per week” or “subscribe to an industry publication” to help you stay on track and keep absorbing knowledge. You can even make a list of reputable sources and keep them at the ready for your “study time” so you don’t spend valuable time researching for relevant information. Be more observant: This goal can come in a variety of forms. “Listen more,” “Pay more attention at meetings,” and “Stay on top of emails” all fall within it, but they are all too abstract to measure and keep track of. Instead, if you’re simply trying to make sure you’re more present, try such resolutions as “get back to all business-related emails within 12 hours” or “follow up on job applications within one week.” These can keep you more accountable and aware of your goals and those around you. Strive for better work-life balance: Scheduling time for relaxation is something too many of us let fall to the bottom of our priorities. Try such resolutions as “keep a three-hour block of time free every Sunday” and “get at least eight hours of sleep per night” to refresh you and keep you in better habits. This is also where you should start considering that exercising resolution mentioned above: studies have repeatedly shown that healthier people are generally happier and more productive at work. Pick up a new skill: Whether you need a resume builder for your job search or simply want to move up in your current position, gaining a new skill can only help. Try setting a resolution like “take a class in Excel” or “attend a webinar on X” to hold yourself accountable. Network better: We have lots of advice on networking here on our blog, but there are so many aspects to so many different types of networking, your efforts have to be narrowed down to what works best for you. Try resolving to go to at least one or two networking events, send an email to your current network to wish them a happy holidays (and continue to keep in touch with them), and/or make at least “X” new LinkedIn connections over the course of the upcoming year. These are the kinds of moves that can make a difference in any professional’s career, whether they’re in the job market or the VP of a major corporation. What are your career resolutions?
26 December 2013
Every day, more and more professionals are turning to social media to network and market themselves. And since Microsoft released its study stating that social media actually makes workers more productive, you might decide it’s time for you to hop on the proverbial bandwagon, yourself. As with any new venture in your career, you should always prepare before diving in—and the first thing you should have ready is a stellar bio. So how do you write a bio that’s informative, engaging, and unique to your professional story? Follow these simple steps: Start with your name. Look around—from accounting professionals to physicians to novelists, it’s not a coincidence that most bios begin “(Name) is a…” Putting your name first is direct, memorable, and informative, and assures readers or job recruiters that they won’t have to go searching for the information they’re looking for. And remember, a bio is a short blurb in biography form, not an autobiography. So make sure to… Keep it in third person. By bringing your skills and expertise to the social media forefront, you’re creating your own brand—so treat your bio accordingly. You want your bio to read as if a professional in your field wrote it about you. Writing “I have a CPA and work for a Big 4 firm” is much less effective, for example, than “Jane Smith, CPA, currently works for a Big 4 accounting firm.” Keep it short and sweet. It’s important to write your bio so that it’s quick to catch its reader’s attention. It’s been suggested that the average website viewer only reads 20-28% of the words on a given page, so keeping your bio short is important. Of course, some platforms such as Twitter will limit how much space you have to work with anyway, but when filling in the “About Me” field on Facebook, for example, discretion is key. Include a professional picture. It’s been stressed repeatedly that a resume usually isn’t the place for a picture, but social media has a slightly more casual feel to it, and every profile has the option of uploading a profile picture. When picking your photo, you should stick with an appropriate headshot, simple background, and professional attire. Tailor it to your audience. If you’re creating a professional profile for yourself as a nurse, it would be important to include that you have a BSN, for instance. Less necessary, and possibly even extraneous, would be to include that you enjoy knitting. Keep your bio professional and focused. Highlight your best achievements. Before writing up your bio, lay out a timeline or list of your greatest achievements and pick your best ones, to seek the attention of a recruitment agency. The ones that say the most about you should make it into your bio, while the others should be left out to save space. The unmentioned achievements can always be moved to a separate field on the page later. Write in full sentences. Your bio is not a resume, so don’t treat it like one. Listing your achievements in bullets or numbered sections can draw the reader’s attention away from the important information preceding them. Limit your bio to one to two full paragraphs at most. Include contact details. While many social networking platforms may offer your audience options for contacting you via direct messages or other site-specific means, you should consider including more professional contact information in your bio. For example, if you are a jobseeker, be sure to create a professional email address to include rather than listing your personal email address. Prioritize. Once you have your information mapped out, make sure you include it in the right order. You should write your bio in the order of most important information first, least important last. A typical bio might start with your name, followed by your occupation and/or industry you’re involved in, followed by the achievements that qualify you, and end with contact information. If it’s convincing and well-organized, there’s a good chance that your bio will have readers reaching for that “contact” button!
23 December 2013
Does this scenario sound familiar to you? In your quest to find the best candidate for an open position, you: first review hundreds of resumes, next interview a variety of candidates, and finally, hire the person whose skills and years of experience best match your requirements on your checklist. Then a couple of months after the hiring decision is finalized, you realize or hear that your “perfect fit” hasn’t lived up to expectations.
20 December 2013
Sitting through a performance review can be challenging, especially if you’re uncertain of the evaluation process. Wondering what criticisms await you and whether you’ll be evaluated harshly are legitimate concerns. The key to calming your nerves and gaining from the review is to keep an open mind and prepare for any type of feedback, whether it be positive or negative. For ways on how to make the most of your performance reviews, read on…
19 December 2013
With all the creative ways applicants are approaching interviews these days, why risk falling flat with worn-out clichés? Too often, interviewees will revert to old tried answers that the interviewer has likely heard many a time, either out of nerves or a lack of a better response. But the problem with these approaches is that they’ve been done before—extensively. And with the wide range of unique skills, talents, and experiences each individual candidate has, giving these answers can make you seem unoriginal or disingenuous. In order to come up with an original answer that will wow your interviewer, you need the right mix of research, preparation, and honesty. After researching the company thoroughly beforehand and becoming familiar with interview best practices, all that will be left is a dash of your honest experiences and self-assessments. Whatever you do, just make sure to steer clear of these overused answers: The Question: How do you work with others? The Cliché: “I’m a team player/people person.” When an interviewer asks you this question, they expect you to give them a positive answer—what sets you apart from others, however, is how you word that answer. Calling yourself a “team player” or a “people person” no longer cuts it, and often, is seen as overdone and lazy. Instead, recount a story for the hiring manager about how you overcame a challenge by working as a part of a team. The Question: What’s your greatest weakness? The Cliché: “I’m a perfectionist/workaholic.” This is probably the most common and overused interview answer. Interviewers understand that this is a tough question, but it’s intended to be; as a result, giving an answer like this will prove to the interviewer that you haven’t given one of the most canonical interview questions a thought prior to meeting with them. Instead, be honest. Think about your greatest professional weakness and find a way to spin it into a positive, just like the first person who came up with this answer did. The Question: Where do you see yourself in five years? The Cliché: “In your chair/position.” Not only has this been said before, it’s assumptive and aggressive. Rather than take this dangerous route in hopes of introducing a bit of humor to the process, take this question seriously. Try formulating an answer ahead of time using these tips to get you started. The Question: How would you describe yourself? The Cliché: “I’m a hard worker/detail oriented.” Being a hard worker is important to any position, and in many cases, you’ll see “detail-oriented” as a requirement on a number of job listings. But that doesn’t mean you should use these terms to describe yourself. These terms are best demonstrated through your work ethic, organization, and dedication—all of which you can show by being a successful interviewee. Like with the question about your greatest weakness, being honest here is key. The Question: Why do you think you’re right for this position? The Cliché: “I’m the perfect fit for the role because…” This is also an assumptive answer based on your limited experience with the company and the position you’re applying for. Sure, you might have the qualifications listed on the job posting, but have you met your possible future team? Completed any of the tasks that will be required of you? Gotten a true feel for the company culture? If you haven’t had an in-depth experience with the position and the company you’re interviewing for, which most interviewers don’t have so early on, this isn’t a safe answer. Instead, highlight your best strengths and describe how they would help you accomplish the tasks at hand.
18 December 2013
Lisa Carver, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Temporary Staffing division, was featured in a recent article published on Huffington Post. In the article, 9 Tips for Making a Temporary Job Permanent, written by Tom Lowery, Lisa commented on the importance of temporary employees proving their worth if they want to be hired by the company on a permanent basis. “These days companies demand serious due diligence before they take on a temporary employee,” explains Lisa. When contemplating whether or not to permanently hire a temp, Lisa’s clients often give consideration to these questions: Are they a demonstrated team player? Do they have the required experience and skill set for the job? Is the candidate willing to work consistent overtime? Do they have the right personality for the company? Can they present themselves in a professional manner? You can read the rest of the article on Huffington Post, here.
18 December 2013
Like temp-to-perm jobs, seasonal work offers job seekers one big advantage: a foot in the proverbial door of a company (and, for some, an industry). If you’re looking for full-time work and are biding your time with a temporary position this holiday season, be sure to approach your new assignment with the same hard work, dedication, and professionalism you would any long-term opportunity; there could be a job, or some fantastic connections, in it for you if you do! Many retailers, for example, hire up to half of their holiday staff for permanent roles. According to a recent Careerbuilder survey, 39% of retail hiring managers plan on taking on holiday hires. The good news is they aren’t the only ones: survey-takers from other fields such as information technology, hospitality, and financial services also expressed interest in extra help both during the busy season and after. Remember, ‘tis the season of giving. Here are some ways to make sure you give your all at your seasonal position—and, possibly, receive the gift of full-time employment in the long run: Cover the basics. As with any job, it’s important to act professionally and respectfully. Adhere to the dress code, arrive on time, and approach your work with dedication and enthusiasm. Offer your help when you have extra time. Don’t rely on others to get started on your work. These are the core qualities most employers look for, and showing them from the get-go can ensure that you both give and get the most out of your time. Be up front. Although you should take the same professional approach to your position regardless of its potential, be sure to let the hiring manager know early on that you’re interested in a full-time position. That way, when considering possible open positions, they know for sure that you’re interested in the role—and that you have the initiative to go after it. Go the extra mile. Offering extra help when you have a lull in work, staying late or arriving early when necessary, and asking for extra responsibilities are all great ways of doing so. Show that you’re capable of much more than just the tasks you’ve been assigned and you’ll likely be a top pick for future positions. Get to know your fellow coworkers. And not just the seasonal ones. Forming a professional bond with your long-term coworkers can not only provide you with great additions to your professional network, it can get you a great reputation in the workplace. If people like you, they’ll usually be vocal about it, and will most likely relay their positive opinions when their managers start looking at hiring prospects. Ask for a review. If your position ends or is close to over and you haven’t heard anything about future openings—or if you’ve asked and there is nothing available at the time—ask your manager for a review of your performance. At the very least, you’ll walk away with an idea of what you did right and what you can improve on, and that kind of insight is valuable to any career! Of course, you have to be happy with the position to take it on full-time, so take your time while you’re working to really gauge the company culture, mission, and management styles. If you don’t end up with a position or simply want to keep your eye open for other opportunities, take a look at our advice on keeping your job search fresh during the holidays with these revamped networking tactics. Good luck and happy holidays!
18 December 2013
Information technology professionals are well aware that their skills continue to be in high demand, especially when it comes to software design and mobile application development. However, while having a demonstrated knowledge of computer science is likely to allow IT job seekers a degree of freedom when it comes to an employment search, there are
17 December 2013
On December 16th, The Execu|Search Group’s Bridge Travel Healthcare staffing division hosted an in-house sensory integration workshop for their working therapists. The 90-minute workshop was led by Eva Rodriguez, PhD, OTR/L, a faculty member and chairperson of Stony Brook University’s Occupational Therapy Program. “During the workshop, Eva gave a presentation that aimed to support participants’ understanding of how sensory integration as a brain function is related to everyday occupations and how it is manifested in the daily problems of children who experience difficulty with sensory integration,” explained Michelle Callahan, a Staffing Manager within Bridge Travel Healthcare who organized the workshop. By the end of the event, the participants had the ability to: Explain the link between sensory input from the environment and the child’s adaptive response. Explain the clinical picture and hypothesized basis for problems in sensory modulation, defensiveness, and discrimination. Apply and adapt concepts from various models of consultation for Sensory Integration Interventions. “This workshop was important because it enhanced the participants’ knowledge base and skills in sensory integration as a clinical frame of reference,” noted Michelle. “By learning about how to identify types of sensory integrative dysfunction, review approaches to clinical assessment, and identify characteristics of both direct and indirect modes of intervention that may be applied in either school based or home based settings, our therapists have been well equipped with the knowledge they need to continue providing high quality care to the children they work with.”