31 March 2015
Author: The ExecuSearch Group
Let’s face it: networking is hard. Even the most extroverted of us can find it difficult to meet, click with, and build a relationship with professionals in our field—but on top of that, what if you’re an introvert, or feel a strong aversion to the networking process? What if the thought of walking into a networking event with hundreds of attendees makes your palms sweat, or your stomach turns at the suggestion of striking up a conversation with a complete stranger? There are a number of these scenarios that plenty of professionals dread when networking. But, regardless of how you feel about it, your networking can still be effective and productive with the right tactics: Prepare conversation starters. Likewise, having a number of conversation starters at your disposal can help break the ice when meeting new contacts. It’s best to begin with a conversation starter rather than leading the exchange with your elevator pitch, so memorize a list of options for when you see someone you would like to engage with. Some effective ones include: Hi, my name is ___. You are? So, what do you do? How did you hear about this event? Did you try these (food items)? They’re really good. It’s crazy in here. Have you made any good connections? Did you hear about that (current event)/see that (viral video or article)/etc.? Many conversation starters may sound awkward on paper, but you’ll be surprised at how effective it can be to simply offer your name with a handshake or comment on something happening at the event. Come prepared with an elevator pitch. If you find being put on the spot difficult, crafting an impressive elevator pitch and for upcoming networking events is a great way to take the pressure off. Of course, you don’t want to sound too salesy or rehearsed, but at least having a good idea of what you’d want to communicate about yourself and your brand can greatly help ease your nerves when beginning a conversation. Arrive early. This is especially helpful for those who experience anxiety when wandering through large groups of people. Getting to the event early gives you an opportunity to scope out the layout, the people, and the general feel of the situation. You’re much less likely to feel overwhelmed if you’re already there when people begin arriving, rather than walking into a bustling event that’s already on its way. Listen. If you’re naturally nervous about carrying a conversation or promoting yourself, here’s your permission to breathe a sigh of relief. Contrary to popular belief, networking events aren’t about selling your brand; while it’s important to come prepared to represent yourself should any opportunities arise, the true nature of a networking event is to build relationships with like-minded individuals who have similar skills, goals, and career tracks. So rather than lead the conversation, take the time to listen. Many will appreciate the effort, especially if others have been too busy selling themselves to lend an ear. Let your materials speak for you. If appropriate, bring copies of your resume, portfolio pieces, and anything else you could possibly hand out after leaving an impression with someone. This is especially useful if you have a hard time keeping a conversation going when you first meet someone, or if you run out of time until your next commitment. Leaving an impressive resume or portfolio piece behind with the appropriate person—especially if these documents provide follow-up information, such as a phone number, email address, or website link—is a great of saying “remember me for later.” Add in a follow-up email, and you’ve got yourself a great first impression. Keep trying. This might be the last thing you want to hear if you hate networking, but you can only get better at it by making more of an effort. Go to a few networking events, invite existing contacts out to lunch, or simply reach out to someone in your field you’d like to get to know better. These things can all be nerve-wracking, but the more you do them, the more fearless you’ll become.
26 March 2015
If you are a recent or soon-to-be graduate looking for your first job, getting your job search on the right track can seem like a difficult task. Therefore, it’s important to depict yourself in the most professional manner to prospective employers as early as possible. In the professional realm, your resume is your first opportunity to grab the attention of a hiring manager, and how effectively you highlight your skills and accomplishments can make the difference between an employer looking past your application or inviting you in for an interview. Allison Shulman, a Staffing Manager for The Execu|Search Group’s Creative & Digital division, understands just how important it is to have an effective job search plan in place, as she guides a wide range of entry-level candidates through the process. “While there are a variety of roles you can pursue in the creative and digital industry, it’s important to familiarize yourself with resume strategies you can use to tailor your resume to the type of company and/or position you’re interested in,” says Allison. “Learning how to communicate your goals to potential employers through your resume may increase your chances of standing out against competition throughout the hiring process.” 1. Highlight relevant experience and skills Throughout your job search, it’s important that your resume appeals to your overall strengths in addition to aligning with the job responsibilities you may have in your prospective role. “Employers are most interested in the skills that will add value to the position you are applying for,” highlights Allison. “For example, while you might have gained experience working as a waiter/waitress at your local restaurant, these skills may not help you be an effective graphic designer. As a result, a great way to highlight your knowledge in a space you have little experience in would be to emphasize certain classes and/or internships that align with the position you’re interested in.” To further emphasize the skills you’ve gained from relevant jobs, internships, etc., you should compile a portfolio or design a website to show potential employers concrete examples of your work. “These examples are a great way to demonstrate your creativity and add a visual element to your professional profile that complements your resume,” says Allison. “However, while it’s important to be able to highlight concrete examples of your work, employers will also be very focused on the technical programs you have experience using.” For instance, if you are applying for a web designer role, in addition to directing employers to your website on your resume, list the specific creative tools you used in the process (e.g., Photoshop, Acrobat, InDesign, HTML, WordPress, etc.). The more specific you are when outlining your skills, the easier it may be for a hiring manager to see you are the best fit for the position. 2. Tailor resume design and format length Keep in mind that while it can be easy to give in-depth details about the responsibilities you’ve held in the past, try to keep your resume under one page in length. Until you’ve established yourself as a professional in a certain specialty area, a one-page resume will give a hiring manager the quickest snapshot of your professional profile in an easy-to-read format. And while a streamlined format is important, tailoring the overall design of your resume to the role/company you are interested in is also a good way to stand out to hiring managers. “If you are interested in a copy writer position at a conservative financial firm, for example, a ‘clean-cut’ standard functional resume design may be the safest way to highlight your professional strengths. On the other hand, if you are interested in a web designer role with a younger, more progressive startup, a more visually creative resume design may help you stand out more against your competition,” recommends Allison. 3. Include social media links Finally, while an impressive resume can get you in the door with your next employer, creative professionals should understand how important it is to have a strong professional online presence in such a digital age. Providing links to certain social media pages that highlight your professional interests may be a good way to depict yourself as a well-informed and unique professional that understands how to effectively use these platforms to connect with professionals. Keep in mind that an increasing number of companies are utilizing social media websites like LinkedIn and Facebook to weed out unprofessional candidates throughout the screening and interview stages. Therefore, if you include links to your social media page(s) on your resume, they should honestly depict the type of professional you want to be perceived as. Since an unprofessional social media presence has the potential to negatively taint your professional reputation, pay closer attention to the types of information (e.g., pictures, status updates, tweets, etc.) you share publicly. Taking the time to implement these small steps into your job search may not only improve your odds of landing an interview, but it may also demonstrate your level of professionalism to prospective employers as you move forward.
24 March 2015
Author: The ExecuSearch Group
The benefits of occupational therapy services for children in the home and school—from assistance with handwriting to increased concentration to motor skills—are gradually becoming more widely recognized, especially in New York City. According to an article by The New York Times, New York City public schools referred nearly 42,000 students to occupational therapists for services over the past four years—a whopping 30% increase from prior years. As a result, there are more pediatric opportunities than ever for occupational therapists, making it a great time for those actively looking in the job market to find work. In fact, school-based occupational therapists are currently amongst the highest needs Bridge Travel Healthcare, a division of The Execu|Search Group dedicated to staffing travel and local therapists, nurses, and allied health professionals, is currently experiencing. As the primary vendor for the Department of Education, Bridge Travel Healthcare staffs occupational therapists throughout numerous New York City school districts, including all districts in Manhattan and Brooklyn. These professionals help children excel in their studies to ensure they aren’t left behind in a time of increasingly rigorous curriculums and growing numbers of special-needs children. Of course, providing these services and playing a direct role in the child’s growth and development is rewarding for the therapy professional in and of itself, but there are numerous other benefits to taking on an assignment in a school. Occupational therapists looking for more flexible scheduling, for example, have a world of opportunities through pediatric work and can build their schedules case-by-case. “Each child has their own Independent Education Plan, or IEP, and their own mandates,” says Jason Niad, Managing Director of Bridge Travel Healthcare. “So each case is different, allowing therapists to work with what best fits into their schedule. A therapist could potentially take on just one assignment for a few hours twice per week, or a full 40-hour, 5-day work schedule.” Cases can range from several months, such as semester-long assignments in which a therapist is covering for another’s leave of absence, to long-term. The Department of Education funds services for students aged 3 through 21, so if a therapist and a patient work particularly well together, that relationship could potentially last several years. Occupational therapists working with school-age children also have the opportunity to treat children in the school, in the home, or a combination of both. When specifically working through Bridge Travel Healthcare, occupational therapists get exposure to opportunities as they open. As the primary vendor for the DOE, the group gets cases for many New York City-based children first, then passes the cases off to other agencies if the need cannot be filled. “We’re looking to successfully place as many of these assignments as possible,” says Jason. “42,000 children is a great improvement, but there are many more in need of services who aren’t receiving them. We’re working to connect children in need with talented, licensed professionals as quickly as possible, with the goal of cutting down on the number of underserved children in schools in New York City and beyond.”
23 March 2015
Are you proficient in Microsoft Excel? If so, how proficient are you really? In today’s job market, this term is commonly tossed around by administrative professionals in order to highlight their technical skills within Excel, but far too often, candidates are realizing that they aren’t as proficient as they originally thought. For example, proficiency should go further than a basic understanding of the program and should include working knowledge of advanced functions, such as VLOOKUPS, Macros, and Pivot Tables. “In today’s competitive market, the knowledge of advanced excel functions is extremely important as employers put more stress on the need for technically savvy administrative professionals,” says Kim Caruso, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support division. “Candidates should be actively pursuing these skills in order to make themselves more marketable and gain an edge on their competition”. As an administrative professional, these skills have the potential to boost your career and here’s why: They allow you to work more efficiently Microsoft excel is a tool that can quickly provide an abundance of insight if used properly. For example, if basic SUM and AVERAGE functions can help businesses calculate and analyze data better and quicker, think about how much more efficient advanced functions can make you. There are plenty of different ways excel can be manipulated to make your day to day activities easier; it’s just a matter of knowing how and when to utilize the various tools that excel has to offer. Possessing these skills will not only allow you to work more efficiently, but also free up your day to do other important tasks. You’ll have more room for growth In addition to improving your workflow, being in possession of advanced excel skills can have the potential to open up more career opportunities. Especially since almost every profession in today’s market has some use for excel, the knowledge of these advanced skills will give candidates more options and make them more than qualified to perform the tasks necessary for jobs that require a strong proficiency in excel. “Today many higher level executive assistant roles require advanced excel skills, so if you’re looking to climb the corporate ladder, a strong understanding of these skills is a must,” says Kim. “They will allow you to perform special projects that other admins might not be able to do – making you more of an asset to your company. They show your skills are up-to-date As companies start to put more stress on technical skills, the need to keep skills current has become even more important. Clients are now demanding that their administrative employees possess strong technical skills and many are even implementing tests in Excel and Word to gauge a candidate’s proficiency in these programs. Therefore, it’s important to keep your skills current and educate yourself on the various tools that excel has to offer – basic and advanced. If anything, it’s always wise to periodically revisit and reacquaint yourself on any software knowledge or functions that may help you fulfill the duties of your position.
20 March 2015
18 March 2015
The Execu|Search Group is proud to announce the launch of our new and improved blog, which is 100% mobile friendly and includes an updated look with improved navigation! “With traffic to our blog steadily increasing each month, we felt it was important to improve the design and overall aesthetic of our blog to ensure all of our visitors can easily navigate, share, and subscribe to content,” says Hannah DeGiovanni, The Execu|Search Group’s Chief Marketing Officer, who spearheaded this project. “As part of our commitment to providing a truly personalized experience for all stakeholders, we made the decision to utilize adaptive technology in order to display content optimized for different devices —computers, tablets, or smartphones.” Ensuring our blog is mobile-friendly and automatically adjusts to fit any screen size will make the site accessible to all visitors, regardless of what device they are using. “Ease of use was our main priority when redesigning the blog, especially due to the fact that traffic to our blog from mobile devices has doubled in the last year alone,” notes Hannah. “Responsive design has worked really well for our main website, so utilizing this technology for our blog felt like the next natural step in our brand update.” The new blog also expands the industry insight we offer, and allows visitors interested in those industry-specific articles to easily subscribe to the corresponding newsletter to receive regular industry updates via email. This, combined with the mobile design, supports the overall goal of our blog, which is to provide thought leadership and educational resources for the two main audiences we serve: job seekers and employers.
17 March 2015
If you are an IT professional looking to take the next step in your career, President Obama’s recent Executive Order, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, is something you’ll want to pay close attention to. Why? The order, which the president signed at the end of February at the White House’s first summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, aims to encourage the government and the private industry to collaborate on cybersecurity issues in order to identify and prevent any future cyberattacks that threaten the nation’s safety, privacy, and economy. This initiative, spurred by an uptick in recent cyberattacks on major U.S. companies, is expected to strengthen the already robust demand for cybersecurity professionals. “This hiring trend originated 5-7 years ago when businesses began to transition to cloud-based solutions and services, which increases an organization’s capabilities, but makes data more vulnerable,” explains Jed Pillion, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s IT division. “Data is considered a highly valuable asset for both the private and public sectors, and the consequences can be devastating if confidential information, ranging from internal corporate data to the financial information of customers or clients, is accessed by unauthorized parties. Just look at the recent Target and Sony hacks.” With more organizations utilizing cloud-based solutions than ever, security has become a critical initiative for businesses across industries, creating opportunities for IT professionals with different backgrounds to transition into the field. “The supply of cybersecurity professionals simply cannot meet demand, so employers are very open to hiring IT professionals with a core foundation of transferable skills from both the software and networking sides,” says Jed. “For example, security software companies are looking towards software engineers to help them develop and deploy security solutions, while many businesses are adding network engineers to their internal teams to ensure their networks are secure.” While you don’t necessarily need to have a security background for these positions, there are a couple of steps you can take to enhance your marketability if you are interested in making the transition. For instance, prior to job searching, Jed first suggests seeing if there are any internal opportunities at your current company to learn more about cybersecurity. “It’s always important to learn a bit more about the field before jumping straight into it,” advises Jed. “Moving internally will allow you to evaluate what you enjoy about security, which will give you something to discuss with prospective employers when you do decide to make a change.” Once you are officially ready to start interviewing, Jed also recommends emphasizing your soft skills such as your ability to adapt to change, problem-solving skills, and personal accountability. “Today, most employers are willing to train candidates with less experience if they feel they are a good cultural fit for not only the organization, but the team they will be joining,” notes Jed. “If you are interested in transitioning to cybersecurity and can prove that you possess some of the personality traits needed to successfully learn a new skillset, you’ll find yourself in a good position to take advantage of this hiring trend.” The Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity executive order is just one of President Obama’s recent IT initiatives. His TECHHIRE initiative, which was announced on March 9th, is aimed at building a larger technology workforce by providing Americans, who may not have had access to it otherwise, with hands-on training for high-level IT roles.
13 March 2015
On March 11th, The Execu|Search Group held its first Women’s Network meeting of the year at The New York Times Building. At the meeting, the group welcomed guest speaker, Ellen Goldman, a healthy lifestyle and fitness expert, who presented on the topic, “Time Out: How to Stay Calm, Happy & Focused in a Highly Distractible World.” Through interactive presentations and team building exercises, Ellen provided the group with tools for managing conflict and staying calm, happy, and productive by maintaining a healthy work/life balance. A couple of the tips the women found especially valuable were about making an effort to plan your expectations for the week and taking time out of your day for “focus sessions” to let your brain recharge while eliminating distractions. “In speaking with various women at Execu|Search, many of them expressed concern about not having enough time in their day to devote to their personal well-being,” says Lisa Carver, a Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Temporary division and a Women’s Network co-founder. “We often work in a high-stress, reactive environment where our cell phones and other forms of technology make it difficult for us to remain organized and focused on one task, and finally disconnect from work when the day is over. Since one of our goals is to ensure that women at all levels of the organization are supporting one another, we felt that the Women’s Network as a whole could really benefit from Ellen’s insight on maintaining a healthy, balanced life.” As part of their next initiative to give back to the community, the Women’s Network will be working with Operation Prom to collect prom-appropriate dresses and accessories for local girls in need. Then, on May 7th, the Women’s Network will be partnering with three local philanthropic efforts in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, including Grace Institute, Habitat for Humanity, and Dress for Success.
12 March 2015
In a day and age where technology is rapidly evolving and social media allows us to acquire information faster than ever, finding the right resource to give you the answers you need can seem fairly simple. While having this access can be great for finding information related to your career, learning about certain aspects of your profession through your professional network can be even more useful and worthwhile. For example, one of the best resources your professional network could provide you with is a great mentor. The right mentor could give you the tools you need to perform better on the job, advance more rapidly within your organization, and even introduce you to a broader network of experts in your field. However, cultivating a strong mentor/mentee relationship takes time and dedication on both ends. While there is no foolproof method to finding a great mentor, there are 4 steps you can take to ensure that once you do find one, you’ll be in the best position to move your career forward. Set goals and expectations for yourself Think about how ineffective it would be to ask someone for directions if you had no idea where your final destination was. In the same way, how could you seek direction from someone without a vision of your own long-term goals? Therefore, to make the most out of finding a great mentor, the first step is to set the goals and expectations of what you want to gain from the relationship. In addition, try to pinpoint your weaknesses and determine how this particular individual will be able to help further your career goals. Admire your mentor’s professional brand Whether you’re in search of a mentor at your current job or seeking help from a distant colleague, make sure they emulate the qualities you admire in a person and that their professional brand aligns with the type of expert you want to become in the future. Is your mentor respected amongst their peers? Does your mentor work well with others? You should be aware of how your mentor conducts themselves on a professional/personal level before deciding to invest in a long-term relationship with them. As a result, your ability to effectively collaborate and openly share ideas with your mentor may impact how honestly you can address certain areas of your professional development. Seek guidance from an expert in your field Some would say that the best way to become the best is to learn from the best, and this holds true for finding a great mentor as well. It will be most advantageous for your career to seek the help from someone that is an expert in the specialty area you’re interested in. A great mentor should be one who is willing and excited to impart their skills, knowledge, and experiences onto someone that is genuinely interested in taking their advice. It’s important to note that any expert in a particular field should also be up-to-date on the market and industry trends that affect their line(s) of business. Additionally, you should want a mentor who is knowledgeable on a number of areas, not just the particular area you’re most interested in, as you will be more likely to get well-rounded advice and guidance this way. Establish a line of communication Communication is the foundation to building any strong relationship, and cultivating a bond with a mentor begins with establishing a line of communication between the two. A perfect conversation starter could be to draw attention to your mentor’s key strength(s) and highlight a specific example of something they did that you may want to be able to accomplish in the future. For example, saying something along the lines of “I like what you did with ABC, I’m interested in learning more about that,” could be exactly what you need to establish a line of communication. Remember, once you establish this relationship, it’s important to maintain a regular schedule of keeping in touch (i.e., face-to-face meeting, e-mail, phone call, etc.) on a weekly or monthly basis. The more you proactively communicate with your mentor, the easier it may be to ask the tough questions you need to in order to get the answers that will help you the most. Finally, the most important aspect of a mentor/mentee relationship is that you are willing to take honest, constructive criticism and successfully use it to improve your craft.