31 July 2014
Networking opportunities come in all forms, from a planned informational interview or career fair to an impromptu introduction at a social gathering. In fact, something as simple as having your conversation at a coffee shop overheard by someone in your field could be the start of a lasting professional relationship. It’s impossible to predict when and where you’ll bump into someone you’d like to connect with, so being prepared to forge and maintain a new addition to your network at all times is vital. Of course, it’s important to always network tactfully, so this doesn’t mean you should pursue opportunities in every social setting. Rather, it’s important to prepare yourself, assess the situation, and be ready to follow up should anything arise. Being Prepared Whether you’re going to a networking event or simply heading out to lunch, you should always have three key tools at your disposal: a few conversation starters, an elevator pitch, and a small stack of business cards. Make this a habit by keeping a few business cards in your wallet at all times and memorizing some key points of your elevator pitch so you don’t have to think too much about it when the time comes. As for preparing talking points, don’t go for anything too contrived—this can be achieved simply by remaining up-to-date on industry news, knowing what your current short-term and long-term goals are, and listening to what your possible future contact has to say. Assessing the Opportunity There are a few possible scenarios when meeting a new professional in your field, and it’s important to know which you find yourself in before you move further. Three main types of networking opportunities are the new connection(s), the exploratory opportunity, and the direct opportunity. In the first, you have the opportunity to meet a new person or group of people in your industry. You never know where these relationships can lead, so these connections are just as vital to your network as is the hiring manager of your target company. In these situations, be sure to ask questions, exchange business cards, and discuss some industry news. It’s best to start these scenarios off with friendly, professional conversation. Should you meet someone who has something to offer, be sure to deliver that elevator pitch along with your business card. The elevator pitch can come in handy when networking with peers as well, but when meeting those with possible or definite opportunities, be sure to lay out what you can offer and what your goals are for the future. Just be sure to avoid appearing presumptuous or assumptive, whether there’s a solid position available or simply the opportunity to explore possibilities—there is no guarantee your contact will be able to help you, and nobody likes feeling pressured. Following Up Once you successfully connect with someone, follow up to thank them for their time and mention that it was great meeting with them. If you can recap one talking point from your meeting, such as “I found your views on X to be interesting” or “I’m really interested in talking further about Y,” that’s a great way to keep the conversation going for the future. Next, do something to help—either reach out with an article you think they’d find helpful, connect them to someone who can further help them with their own goals, or simply offer your help should they need anything. The best way to ensure success with any professional in your network is to stay in touch and give back, regardless of what you receive.
30 July 2014
This month, The Execu|Search Group sponsored an event at Good Shepherd’s Red Hook Community Center Beacon at PS 15. At the summer program, children, aged 5, 6, and 7, enjoyed an afternoon filled with face painting, balloon sculptures, dancing, and a magic show. “As part of our continuing efforts to fully integrate ourselves with our clients’ missions, this is the first in a series of social services programs we will be supporting,” explains Jill Bragg, a Managing Director within Temporary Staffing who helped organize this event. “In order for us to truly help our clients achieve their mission and long-term goals, we believe that we have to do more than simply provide them with the staff needed to manage their caseloads.” Founded in 1991 as one of New York City’s original 10 Beacon programs, the Red Hook Community Center Beacon at PS 15, provides year-round, day, evening, and weekend activities for more than 2,000 young people and their families annually. “Our staff works diligently to give each child a safe and happy summer full of arts and crafts, swimming, games, and educational enrichment,” says Tricia Blanchard, Corporate Relations Manager of Good Shepherd Services. “Having events like this helps us provide even more meaningful and memorable experiences to these young people. We are very grateful to the Execu|Search team for coming out to Red Hook and making this very magical event possible for our kids!” For more information on Good Shepherd Services, please visit their website, here.
28 July 2014
Many articles often publicize the types of qualities it takes to be a strong leader in the workplace, but not enough consideration is given to what it means to be an effective follower. If you’re asking yourself, why would I want to be a follower when I aspire to be a leader, keep reading because this article is still applicable to you! After all, in order to truly be a successful leader, you have to understand what it involves to manage a team. Being part of that team and recognizing how your role contributes to the success of the department, is a fundamental step in eventually being able to ascend into a position of leadership. Regardless, you don’t necessarily have to be in a leadership position to develop or demonstrate the traits that make a good leader. In fact, here are 5 of the skills that make professionals effective followers and will take you far in your career, regardless of whether or not you aspire to be in a leadership role: Independent critical thinking Followers help a company succeed by uniting under a leader to help bring their goals to fruition. However, an effective follower should also try to create new opportunities and responsibilities for themselves by proactively thinking about problems or solutions independently. The more independent you are in managing your time and tasks, the more you will slowly build a sense of accountability for the work you produce. As a result, if you want to be seen as a reliable colleague or staff-member, it’s important that you maintain a sense of autonomy over your work. Strong listening skills Active listening is a soft skill that many professionals may take for granted in this technological age. However, sometimes it’s important to minimize your email, or put down the phone, and have a face-to-face conversation. Why? As an intent listener, you are better able to define objective/goals clearly, ask thoughtful questions, and provide useful input. In addition, good listeners communicate more directly, which may evade possibilities of miscommunication. In the end, an effective follower with strong listening skills may make fewer mistakes, which in turn can increase overall productivity across the board. Work well collaboratively How well your personality fits in with the team dynamic plays a critical role in your ability to have a voice in the workplace. For example, if you can openly and confidently share your point of view without undermining your teammates (or leader), this is one of the best ways to build trust and respect among your coworkers. Motivation and drive Good leaders encourage their followers to want to grow within the organization. Some ways an effective follower can show motivation and drive is by learning new skills, taking on new responsibilities, consistently meeting deadlines, and/or proactively achieving difficult goals. Therefore, an effective follower will not only demonstrate a strong work ethic, but will also show your capacity to succeed without the presence of a leader. Creativity A working environment or team dynamic lacking creativity is one that can drastically impede progress. So, in order to be an effective follower, you should be willing to demonstrate your ability to think “outside the box” and offer a unique point of view to generate new ideas. Not only might this reflect positively on your leader, but it might also highlight your efficient use of creativity to get the job done.
23 July 2014
For those of you looking for a job this summer, you may be in luck. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recently released June unemployment report revealed some very positive information about the state of the job market. Not only did the unemployment rate drop to 6.1%, the lowest it has been since September 2008, but also, the 288,000 new jobs added to the market in June exceeded the estimated monthly gain of 215,000. This upward trend is also visible in TESG’s monthly employment index, which shows a 52% year over year increase in the number of new jobs our clients are looking to fill. If this report has motivated you to kick your job search into high-gear, here are some ways to ensure that you are taking advantage of the recovering market: Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. If you’ve been holding off on updating your resume and LinkedIn profile, don’t wait any longer! With the number of new opportunities only increasing, you have to be prepared to apply to a job at a moment’s notice, and the first step in doing this is updating your resume. Some simple ways to do this include adding any new responsibilities that you have taken on or new skills you’ve acquired, ensuring your resume is in an easy-to-read format, and removing any irrelevant information. The next step is making sure that you are searchable via social media, specifically LinkedIn. In today’s digital world, employers will most likely search for your profile on LinkedIn, so you want to ensure you have a compelling profile that includes an up-to-date summary of your skillset and accomplishments. Brush up on your interviews skills. Interviewing may be one of the most intimidating parts of a job search, but don’t let your nerves get the best of you. The key to a successful interview is preparation. As a result, before your interview, we suggest that you do significant research on the company, review the requirements of the position you are interviewing for, and conduct a mock interview with a friend or yourself. This will not only help you prepare for difficult questions thrown your way, but also give you the confidence you need to ace your interview and hopefully land the job. Make a portfolio. A portfolio is not always an application requirement, but having one may give you a competitive advantage over other job seekers. A well-organized and concise portfolio that showcases your skills and accomplishments can say more about you than your resume can, and is also a great tool that can be used to market yourself as a qualified candidate in an interview and showcase your personal brand when networking. Grow your network and reach out to existing contacts. In today’s job market, submitting your resume and applying to jobs online isn’t the only way you should be looking for a job. For instance, there are some great opportunities out there that aren’t always publicized on the internet and can only be found through a personal contact or referral. This makes networking just as vital a tool in your job search as any other. With these 4 steps in mind, you should be well on your way to finding success at the end of your search!
23 July 2014
Glenn Bernstein, Chief Operating Officer of The Execu|Search Group’s Temporary Staffing division, was featured in a recent CIO.com article discussing the emphasis that employers are placing on interview questions aimed at assessing a candidate’s personality.
22 July 2014
Are you having trouble getting hired? There are a number of interview and resume tips you can utilize in your job search, but sometimes, the harsh truth may be that you’re just not as employable as you should be. Whether it’s just a matter of presenting yourself a bit differently or making some updates to your professional experience and skillset, there are ways to make yourself more employable in today’s job market, and we have you covered. Try out these few tips the next time you’re job hunting and you may just find yourself to be more in-demand than you expected. Work on your skills. Acquiring a new technical skill or brushing up on something you’ve been out of practice with can make a huge difference in qualifying for certain positions, so try polishing, updating, and growing your skillset while looking for work. There are a number of ways to do so, such as taking on a temporary assignment, volunteering, accepting independent projects, blogging, and etc., but the best thing you can do is focus on acquiring skills that are of interest and relevant to you as a person—not just pursuing ones that might look good on your resume. If you pick up something that you’re truly invested in, you’ll master it much more quickly, and your passion will show through when you next discuss it in an interview. Keep your education up to date, but don’t rely on it. If going back to school to acquire more education in your field is something you want to do, go for it! However, don’t rely on education alone to carry you to your next position. It’s becoming increasingly common today for advanced degrees to be preferred, rather than required, assets for many roles. Ranking higher on the list of requirements are often work experience and relevant soft skills that qualify you for the duties you’ll be responsible for. Step up your networking. Do you have a great LinkedIn profile, but few contacts? Do you know a few key people in your field but don’t keep in touch with them? Whether it’s as simple as improving your online presence or sending out a few emails, be sure to stay on top of your networking game. At the very least, keeping in touch with your contacts will keep you up to date on industry news and encourage you to think analytically about your field, which can translate into better interviews in the future. Get a mentor, be a mentor. Whatever level of your career you’re in, mentorship should be a part of it. On one hand, having a mentor can open you up to many new skills, opportunities, and experiences, while on the other, being a mentor shows dedication. Either way, being part of a mentor-mentee relationship can help you grow personally as well as make you stand out amongst other candidates. Find a way to tell your story. Anyone can create a resume that lists their experience and skills, but what employers really want to see is how all these separate facets come together to make you the professional you are. For example, noting on your resume that you held two jobs while attending school can speak to your time management and dedication, while detailing in a cover letter that you took extra courses during a period of unemployment to brush up on your skills will fill in the gaps in your work history that your resume might leave open. Rather than create a laundry list of achievements and competencies, find a way to tie them all together to create a whole picture.
18 July 2014
It’s always unfortunate to be let go from a position, but possibly the hardest part of job searching afterward is addressing that experience in an interview. There are a variety of ways to answer “Why did you leave your last position,” but when the departure wasn’t your decision, it can be tough to formulate an impressive answer and buff the tarnish of “terminated” from your name. But it is possible, so how do you go about this? Your answer will depend largely on your unique situation—a major mistake on the job, corporate downsizing, unjust termination—but whatever the case, you have to move on from it in order to get your career moving again. In your next interview, be sure to… Be honest. Start by being honest about what happened. On a rare occasion, you may be able to squeeze by with a lie, but if the truth is unveiled one way or another during your time at that company you can possibly be fired for it. In many cases, you won’t even get this far—any company serious about hiring a valuable employee will usually perform reference checks and will, most likely, refuse to hire you if they catch you in a lie. If you want to be proactive about this, bring up the termination and the (honest!) reasons for it before you are asked—the sooner you get it out of the way, the less time you’ll have it hanging over you in your interview, and the more likely you are to impress the hiring manager with your tact. Explain what you’ve learned. If you plan your explanation out in advance, it can be the difference between an offer and a rejection letter. What happened is now in the past, but what did you learn from it? How can you use that experience to not only prevent the same outcome but improve your performance in your next position? If you can answer these questions without being prompted to, it will show that you’ve learned from your experience and put thought into preventing it from being a problem again in the future. Keep it short. Surely there’s more to your termination than can fit into a sentence or two, but try to be as concise as possible. Rambling on can make it seem like you have something to hide; at the very least, it will make it seem as if you aren’t comfortable with the situation. And if you aren’t comfortable with it, how can the interviewer—or any potential employer—be? Stay positive. One of the worst things you can do in an interview is trash-talk your former employer or colleagues. Regardless of the circumstances, and even if you believe you were wrongfully terminated, it can raise some major red flags if you spend even a second of your interview blaming someone else or commenting negatively about the situation. The best thing you can do is show maturity, and the easiest way to do so is to show that you’ve accepted the situation, learned from it, and moved on. No employer wants to sit in an interview and wonder whether or not you’d be saying the same about them in the future.
17 July 2014
If you have experience overseeing the operations of a medical facility, you know that a lot of work goes into ensuring the organization’s clinical functions run efficiently. As a result, you must also understand or have the ability to imagine the scope of work that must be done to get a medical organization started from the ground up. A new facility not only needs a team of medical professionals to treat patients, but also a strong team of practice administrators to oversee the strategic plan, facilitate policy making, and maintain office systems (scheduling patients, billing, managing staff, etc.) to ensure the practice’s needs are being met from a clinical standpoint. If you are ready to make your next career move, and the idea of being an integral part of something new excites you, then the rise of community health may present you with the perfect opportunity to do so. “We started to experience a rise in demand for practice administrators a little over 2 years ago when some of our clients began to develop community health centers,” explains Kelly Mattice, Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s Health Services division. “Today, this demand from clients has reached unprecedented levels, and we only expect it to grow as more community health centers are developed.” For those who are unfamiliar with community health, the primary difference between it and a traditional practice is that rather than focusing on patients with shared characteristics, community health focuses on bringing healthcare into a geographic area. “Since the goal of community health is to increase access to healthcare in underserved locations, look out for open positions at urgent care centers,” advises Kelly. Qualifications If you are interested in making the transition to a community health center, you’ll want to ensure your resume highlights the experience and skills that employers are looking for, and that you can discuss them during the interview process. “Practice administrators who have experience in ambulatory care with a strong business development background are in especially high demand as they can oversee the center’s growth,” says Kelly. “Applicants should also have the ability to demonstrate a strong understanding of their state’s healthcare regulations.” As practice administrators are often considered the face of the facility, Kelly also recommends that job seekers emphasize certain soft skills such as their written and verbal communication skills, organizational skills, and attention to detail, while maintaining a polished and professional demeanor at all times. In addition, since this role often reports to a center’s CEO and/or CFO, it’s important to highlight any applicable leadership experience and presentation skills. Finally, if you are proficient in a second language, make sure you make this known. Many community health patients do not speak English as their first language, so this skill could mean the difference between you and another candidate who doesn’t. “Community health is expected to play a large role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” says Kelly. “However, in order for it to successful, new centers need to build a clinical support structure, making it an excellent time to be a practice administrator.”
15 July 2014
In today’s technological age, an increasing number of businesses are proactively developing digital strategies in order to remain competitive. As a result, they have begun to invest in technologies centered around emerging trends in big data/business intelligence, mobile development, and web development. However, many businesses know investing in these technologies isn’t enough – they also need to invest in the right IT talent. In order to truly push the business forward, employers are actively seeking analytical thinking and data savvy IT professionals that can strategically assess data or create digital solutions. If this sounds like you, here are three areas of infrastructure support that are in highest demand right now: Big Data Analytics/Business Intelligence – As Big Data continues to transform the way organizations use data to make decisions, the demand for IT professionals that possess the ability to acquire, process, and sort vast quantities of data is proving to be difficult to meet. In fact, a recent study from Gartner suggests that 4.4 million IT jobs worldwide will be needed to support big data by 2015. With this in mind, the more confidently candidates can discuss current events in the big data market, the more valuable they will appear to prospective employers. “Currently, we are seeing companies move away from sql databases (such as Excel), instead preferring to utilize more cloud-operated databases,” says Ajmal Amin, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s IT division. This has highlighted the need for IT professionals to understand new cloud-based programs such as: NoSQL, MongoDB, DynamoDB, and Redis to analyze data. Learning how to analyze data using one or more of these programs, and showing you have cloud computing skills on your resume, may help you stand during your job search. To learn more about these types of databases and to stay up to date on emerging cloud storage types, codeacademy.com is a good starting point. Mobile App Development – With a heavy reliance on smart phone and tablet technology, the need for mobile application developers has grown rapidly across all industries. In highest demand are candidates with a working knowledge of different frameworks (e.g., iOS, Android, etc.), as well as a variety of programming languages (e.g., Objective C, C++, SDK, and Ex Code). Therefore, candidates should be prepared to show measurable examples of what they’ve accomplished and what they’re interested in learning, rather than what their degree was in. Our Information Technology recruiters recommend that their candidates highlight their set of skills clearly at the top of their resume. This will ensure that employers not only get an overview of your technical background, but also see example(s) of how your skills could further help their business. For instance, one way to catch some eyes during the interview stages might be to create your own working software application(s). This will not only demonstrate your technical competency, but it will also show your motivation to learn and execute something new. Web Developers – Since web development consists of two main types of developers: front-end developers and back-end developers, recruiters recommend that candidates try to specialize in one area in the web development capacity. Therefore, if you want to specialize in front-end development, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the most in-demand programming languages like HTML version 5, CSS version 3, and various Java Script libraries. “A working knowledge of these languages may allow you to position yourself to be a more well-rounded candidate than your fellow job seekers,” states Ajmal. On the other hand, if you are looking to specialize in back-end development, choosing between open source or closed source development may be difficult. “Candidates interested in standing out as an open source candidate should focus on learning PHP, Ruby, and Java program languages. Conversely, if you want to focus on closed source, .net framework, C Sharp, ASP.net, and VB.net are the key areas companies are looking to build up their teams,” recommends Ajmal.