29 May 2014
Imagine if an employer gave you the chance to write a personal essay on why their company is perfect for you, and why you are perfect for their company. You’d be free to describe just how much working there would mean to you, be able to express yourself and your strong suits articulately, and best of all, directly address the person in charge of hiring. Well, guess what? That opportunity exists – and it’s called a cover letter. Though you may not be able to be as uninhibited as you might wish, a cover letter is an essay of sorts that can differentiate your application from the next, and add a refreshing, personal touch to your application materials. Whereas your resume is a factual, referential document that summarizes professional details including your work history, qualifications, and experience, your cover letter allows you to speak in a more expressive manner on your background, skills, and highlights of your career and education (the latter, particularly applicable if you are a recent grad). The objective when writing a cover letter should be to support the assertions of your resume, expand on your best professional attributes, and interest the hiring manager enough so that you get a call for an interview. To do this, make sure that you write about how your qualities and qualifications will allow you to push the business forward and benefit their overall goals. If you want to write a cover letter that describes you to a T, cover these bases: Clarify what position you’re applying for Describe why their specific company appeals to you Touch upon your skills, experience, and competencies in order to show what you offer Refer to a story that illustrates your abilities to show them, not just tell them Describe why your fit is just right for the position Thank them for their time and consideration Above all else, aim to customize and personalize the letter for your audience, and write it with the position you’re applying for in mind. Make sure to showcase the skills that are the most relevant for the job, as well as your credentials that best support your claim that you are the right person. Finally, don’t forget to have a fresh pair of eyes look over your letter to make sure it accomplishes this.
29 May 2014
A common question amongst many job seekers is how to overcome “imperfections” they may have on their resume. Nobody has a flawless resume—some may not have enough experience to fill out a full page, for example—but where there are imperfections, there are solutions to overcome them. Your resume should be a tool that works in your favor with prospective employers, not a roadblock that keeps you from the job. So if you’re currently on the job hunt and have concerns about your resume, look no further: here’s Jesse Siegal, Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s temporary staffing division, explaining the top 5 resume imperfections and how to overcome them: The imperfection: Your resume is “too long” The solution: Despite the very real need for your resume to be concise and well-organized—and what many may tell you employers want to see—there is actually no golden rule for resume length. We recommend that professionals with up to 10 years of experience limit their resume to one page and those with 10 and above stretch to two, but ultimately, the most important aspect of your resume is that it paints a comprehensive picture of you as a professional that aligns with the open position’s needs. If you feel your resume is on the lengthy side, try transferring your information to a functional or skills-based format by focusing on your skills and accomplishments at the top and moving your employment history to the bottom. The imperfection: Your resume is “too short” The solution: Again, there is no magic length for any resume. But if you’re a new grad, for example, and don’t have much experience to work with, it can be difficult to fill out a substantial resume. Still, there are ways to focus on and highlight experiences and achievements in the jobs you’ve had. List all your relevant internships, volunteer work, temporary work, and education, focusing on your accomplishments at each location. Be sure to draw specific parallels between your experiences and skills and those required of the job. This approach also works for those who have significant experience, but only with one company: focusing on each position you’ve had there, as well as promotions and major projects, can help flesh out a resume and give an employer better insight into your history. The imperfection: Job-hopping The solution: Thankfully, job-hopping isn’t nearly as looked down upon in the job market today as it once was; in fact, millennials are now averaging just over two years at each employer. Still, having a jumpy resume can potentially raise some red flags for employers, so you should address this within your resume itself. Include reasons for your job change in parentheses next to each job so employers know the reasons: for example, including “(department was outsourced”) next to the position it applies to in your employment history. This way, an employer knows the reason for the move up-front rather than playing the guessing game. The imperfection: Not enough experience The solution: It’s okay to apply for a job you don’t have quite enough experience for as long as you aren’t completely out of the ballpark. However, if you have 3 years of experience and the position requires 4 or 5, you’ll need to go the extra mile to show why you’d be a good fit. Highlight your education, accomplishments and achievements, and any volunteer work that may apply to the position and show you’re capable of its demands. As always, be sure to draw specific parallels between your qualifications and the position’s requirements. The imperfection: Gaps in your employment history The solution: If you’ve spent six or more months unemployed at any point in your employment history and it shows on your resume, be sure to fill in the gap. Describe what you’ve done in that time to stay relevant and keep your skills sharp by focusing on things like temporary work or independent contracting, continuing education, volunteering, etc. As long as you have something to show for the time you spent between jobs, most employers will be understanding.
28 May 2014
On an interview, have you ever been asked a question that aims to get a closer glimpse at your personality? If you answered no, these personality questions are questions that you’ll want to get acquainted with, and put the same preparation/effort into as you would for more standard questions regarding your resume and background. Why? In an effort to see how quickly a candidate can think on their feet, and evaluate whether or not they would be a good cultural fit, an increasing number of hiring managers, including The Execu|Search Group’s COO of Temporary Staffing, Glenn Bernstein, are putting greater emphasis on personality questions. Before you go on your next interview, here are 4 personality questions to prepare for: If your best friend was sitting here, what would they say is the best part about being your friend? “I like to ask this question because there is something about discussing a friend and your best attributes about being your friend that brings out a sense of honesty and candor in a candidate,” explains Glenn. “It helps me get to know them better as a person, rather than an applicant, so I can get a better feel for whether or not they would fit in with our company culture.” As a result, when answering this question, don’t answer with qualities that only describe your professional life. A good answer can encompass soft skills that show how you value relationships and can get along well with others. If you could change one thing about the way you approach challenges, what would it be? This question, which puts candidates on the spot, allows hiring managers to evaluate a candidate’s self-awareness and ability to admit there are some aspects of their professional life they would like to improve. A well-thought out answer that shows you have an actionable plan is indicative of an individual who sees an opportunity for professional growth and who possesses a sense of humility. If you were an animal, what would you be and why? This inquiry is a favorite amongst hiring managers because answering this question successfully not only shows how quickly you can think on your feet, but also requires exercising some degree of creativity in a relatively short amount of time. Therefore, to ensure you choose the right animal, take a brief moment to think about the requirements of the role, and which animal possesses the qualities that would allow you to do well in the position. What has the most satisfying moment in your life been? When employers ask this question, they are looking to see what motivates a candidate and whether or not their values fit into the company culture. When answering this question, be honest and reflect on all aspects of your life – not just professional achievements. Employers want to see what makes you, you!
27 May 2014
The job market was greeted with a welcome surprise from the Labor Department this month: an adjusted number for the week of May 15th’s unemployment claims, bringing the total number to the lowest it’s been in seven years.
22 May 2014
As an administrative professional, you know that being prepared is a major component of your ability to do your job well. Therefore, this concept shouldn’t be any different for an interview! “Before any of my candidates go for an interview with any of our clients, I always set up a 20 – 30 minute call with them to make sure they are adequately prepared,” explains Kim Caruso, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support & Human Resources divisions. “Part of this preparation includes knowing what steps to take before, during, and after the interview to show you are the most qualified candidate for the job.” For those who need a quick tutorial, here are 9 tips that Kim frequently gives her candidates: Before the Interview Do your homework: In addition to researching the company’s website and looking for articles about the company online, it’s important to check out the people you are meeting with on LinkedIn. This will allow you to get a sense of their backgrounds and how their role fits in with the company, and see if you have anything in common with them that you can incorporate into the interview in order to build a rapport. Brainstorm: Make a list of your top 10 strengths (with examples of how you use them), 5 accomplishments you’ve made throughout your career, and some examples of challenging situations that you handled successfully. “Remember, in an interview, your job is to sell yourself without repeating what is listed on your resume,” warns Kim. “Having this information to draw upon will help you accomplish this.” Do a mock interview: Whether you ask a friend for help, or talk to yourself in the mirror, it’s important to have a practice interview before the real thing. Kim advises candidates to run through some common, but tricky questions such as, “why did you leave/are you looking to leave your most current role,” and “what is your biggest weakness.” Be cognizant of the way you present yourself: “In such a competitive job market, every impression you make counts,” warns Kim. “From the security guard to the receptionist, treat everyone with the same level of professionalism as you would the actual interviewer.” Kim also suggests arriving 10-15 minutes early to give yourself enough time to collect your thoughts and get organized (put your coat/any extra bags away) before the interview. During the Interview Be enthusiastic: Regardless of whether or not you think the opportunity is for you, it’s important to let your enthusiasm and personality shine through for the entirety of the interview. “Smile, actively listen and participate in the conversation, and sit upright,” explains Kim. “Ultimately, whether or not you take the role should be your decision, not the interviewer’s. However, to accomplish this, you have to get their approval first.” Gain control: A great way to gain control of the interview and be proactive about explaining why you’re the right fit for the role is to strategically ask the interviewer questions about what skills one would need to be successful in the position. Use their answer to explain how you meet these requirements and are the right person for the job. Ask questions: Asking questions not only shows your interviewer that you have been actively listening and are engaged in the conversation, but also gives you the opportunity to evaluate whether or not this is the right job for you. Kim advises candidates to ask a variety of questions that stem from some information you found through your research and targeted towards assessing the company culture. After the Interview Ask for feedback: At the conclusion of the interview Kim advises her candidates to ask for feedback on their background and whether or not the hiring manager feels they would be a fit for the role. “This allows you one final opportunity to sell yourself and/or address any concerns that the hiring manager may have about your eligibility,” says Kim. Follow up: Within 24 hours of the interview, follow up with a thank you note. A good thank you note is personalized, expresses your gratitude, references something that came up during the interview, and concisely reiterates why you are a good choice for the role.
21 May 2014
Many job opportunities are never publicized externally and are attained through other methods, such as networking. If you’re serious about finding a job, being creative in the way you get in front of people can lead to getting in front of the right people, and pay off big-time. However, with so many articles out there that give varying advice on how to network, how can you know that you’re going to the right events, talking to the right people, and saying the right things? Though there is room for difference stylistically, good technique revolves around three particular steps, not necessarily any specific delivery or forum. Here are steps every professional can take in order to foster networking productivity: Prepare now, not tomorrow: It’s important that you always be prepared in some capacity to network, both formally and informally. At formal networking events, you’ll want to do your part in initiating a knowledgeable and polished first meeting by bringing multiple copies of your resume with you, researching the attendees beforehand in order to strategize and prepare relevant talking points, and familiarizing yourself with any material you’d like to speak knowledgeably about. Carrying around less obtrusive materials, such as business cards, can also ensure you are prepared to network at any moment’s notice, allowing you to efficiently exchange contact details, and facilitate further interaction after your introductory conversation. Perfect your lead to ensure strong delivery: Striking up a conversation conducive to networking can easily go awry, and the art of straddling the fine line between sounding too casual and well-rehearsed may take some practicing. After all, if you’re too laid-back, you run the risk of making idle small talk that isn’t conducive to forwarding your professional goals, and if you’re too technical, creating natural rapport between yourself and others may prove difficult. To avoid potential pitfalls and get to the point quicker (ideally in 30 seconds or less), it can be helpful to have an elevator pitch that can easily be tweaked based on the networking setting, and is suited to your career goals. For instance, someone looking to promote their new business would have a different pitch than someone looking for a job lead. Generally, your elevator pitch should include: Who you are: Your name and essential details like your work history, and professional interests. What you do: Your job, what you’re up to professionally, where you’re at in your career, and what brings you to the event. What you offer – The qualifications and abilities you have that you can share with others. Follow through by following up: After a long night of networking, it can be appealing to put your new stack of collective business cards on your desk and unwind. However, if your goal is to harness the wealth of opportunities others can connect you with, you’ll want to clinch those connections and integrate them into your network, sooner rather than later. There are a variety of ways you can do this, and the most appropriate methods depend on each individual interaction you have. For instance, if you spoke with a seasoned professional that was able to get you into contact with someone else, you would want to start by writing a thank you note. After that, or as a first step for more general interaction, you would want to add them to your network on LinkedIn, a business-oriented social networking service that encourages networking activity and allows users to tap into a variety of professional activities they can use to reinforce the relationship. Aside from LinkedIn, directly sending a new contact an email is another way to ensure you stay on someone’s mind. Whatever your methods, establishing a person-to-person relationship outside of that one-time introduction is key if you’re looking to build lasting connections. Make regular contact: So how do you build a network that has longevity? Maintaining regular contact with the members of your network will ensure that you are current and up to date on what everyone is up to, and will strengthen your circle over time. There are a few easy openings that give you the perfect reason to touch base with your connections, such as holidays and birthdays, inviting contacts along to industry or networking events, reaching out with opportunities you feel may be of interest to them, or simply asking to get a cup of coffee. Networking is a great way to become acquainted with other professionals, and with preparation, can lead to the kind of opportunities you may never have been offered if you went the straight and narrow route of sticking to only one type of job seeking, like via online postings. With regular effort and practice, you can develop your own style of networking that successfully communicates your goals, and leads to productive professional relationships.
21 May 2014
Many new nurses are facing a conundrum: a rapidly growing healthcare market with a shortage of professionals, but few—if any—jobs accepting new grads. Especially for those seeking work in hospitals, it seems as if everyone requires experience but don’t necessarily have the resources they need to offer opportunities for those who need to earn it. However, there are a number of different areas in which new nursing grads can acquire work. At The Execu|Search Group, our Health Services recruiters are seeing the most success with placing new grads in home care and community health centers, as well as temporary assignments in a variety of settings. Home Care & Community Health Centers Though they are the preferred setting of many nursing professionals, hospitals are no longer the first stop for new grads. Hospitals are reporting an increased need for experienced professionals and, as a result, are rarely hiring new nurses. Instead, many new grads are now successfully finding work in home care facilities and community health centers. Both offer much more manageable case loads, less severe complications with patients, and more opportunities to gain experience working independently. In addition, many such facilities are now becoming more willing to provide training to new grads, something many hospitals and sub-acute facilities don’t always have the time or resources for. Community Health Centers are popping up in many areas as a result of the ACA and, therefore, are experiencing a high demand for nursing professionals at all levels. Though they occasionally do need more experienced nurses, they are open to taking new grads. Working in such a setting gives new grads experience with a wide patient base. Conversely, Home Care opportunities are great for gaining more detailed, one-on-one experience with patients and learning to implement the full scope of care, from assessment to care planning to follow-ups. Temporary Assignments Finding temporary work through a recruitment firm can also help many new grads get their foot in the door. While a permanent position may be the ultimate goal for some, temporary roles offer a number of benefits including greater flexibility with scheduling, as well as the coveted experience necessary for nursing professionals to begin their careers. “Through our temporary contracts, we have successfully placed new grads with a number of facilities,” says Amanda Bleakney, Senior Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Health Services division. “The important thing to remember is that, to get experience in this market, you must be flexible with settings—for example, working within an outpatient clinic or rehabilitation facility rather than a hospital.” According to Amanda, opportunities for new grads are inversely proportional to the level of acuity of care. Hospitals, in which patients may need urgent and immediate care, are acute care facilities and therefore need more experienced professionals on hand at all times; facilities such as rehabilitation centers, in which nurses are usually responsible for less urgent duties such as drug screening and taking vitals, are more likely to take on new talent and provide training. Despite the difficulties of finding work with little to no experience, new grads do have one major advantage: they have grown up with technology and are generally more technologically savvy than more seasoned healthcare professionals. With the number of technological changes taking place as a result of the ACA, many facilities are now seeking candidates who are adaptable, flexible, and able to advance along with the industry. To better your chances of obtaining your first position, work with a recruiter and use this technological proclivity as a selling point on your interviews. Through patience, flexibility, and the right pitch, you too can find your first nursing opportunity to kick off your career.
20 May 2014
19 May 2014
As the HITECH Act and mandates of the ACA continue to transform the way the healthcare industry uses technology, the number of opportunities for IT professionals is expected to grow as well. In fact, according to The Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “IT jobs in healthcare are expected to grow by 20% annually through 2018, ‘much faster than average’.” From this, it is clear that there are ample opportunities for IT professionals to consider for a new career path in the healthcare industry. Since IT professionals are expected to be in such high-demand, now is the perfect time to position yourself as an expert on specific healthcare IT trends and technologies and launch yourself into a long-term career. Here are some areas where hospitals and other healthcare providers are ramping up their staffing strategies to hire top IT talent: Mobile App Development – With the heavy reliance on smart phone and tablet technology, the use of mobile devices and mobile apps has grown rapidly within the healthcare industry. For example, while some mobile apps provide a database used by doctors to search information about drugs, diseases, and medications, other apps allow patients to use them as encyclopedias in order to educate themselves on various medical related issues, conditions, treatments, etc. Whether you have basic or extensive experience in software development, the demand is projected to increase in this area. Cloud Computing – The healthcare industry is constantly updating its methods of providing remote patient monitoring and assistance through cloud technology. Cloud computing gives providers the ability to centrally manage patient data, in which doctors can quickly and easily pull up medical records remotely. It also allows for better data consolidation, which helps clinicians make better decisions and provide high-level care to patients. If you possess cloud computing skills or are a well-versed cloud architect, consider these types of positions. Clinical Data Analytics – With so many systems in place for patients, compiling data and tracking hospital records can prove to be a challenging task for many under-staffed hospitals. A Clinical Analyst uses big data to predict outcomes, measure trends, and establish correlations that can drive quality care at lower costs. If you are an IT professional skilled in data warehousing and business intelligence, you will be able to find rewarding opportunities in these areas. ICD-10 Implementation– The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) is the most up-to-date diagnostic coding and billing system used across the healthcare industry. As the deadline to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 approaches, there is a high demand for IT professionals familiar with coding systems and data that possess the ability to train staff in using this complex electronic medical record system. Patient Portals – Brower-based gateways are now being used to connect patients with convenient 24 hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an internet connection. For example, to help ensure patients have their most up-to-date information, they are able to view recent doctor visits, specific lab reports, or check benefits and coverage through these gateways. If you have experience working with web browsers, website design, and website maintenance, working with hospitals to develop patient portals can be an area with a lot of opportunity. Data Breach Prevention and Network Security – With an increased usage of mobile devices and internet-based medical recordkeeping systems, unpredictable cyber breaches have healthcare professionals on constant alert. As a result, medical providers have begun to invest in cyber-attack prevention strategies. Therefore, if you are an IT professional with experience in data breach prevention or network and cloud security, you are in a great position to update infrastructure to secure privacy for both patient and provider information.