30 March 2016
Whether you’re new to LinkedIn or simply looking to improve your profile, there are some basics you can’t afford to miss. There are many reasons to create a LinkedIn profile—networking, better visibility during a job search, and having an easily accessible portfolio of your work, to name a few—but overall, every LinkedIn user has a common goal: to present themselves professionally and market their personal brand on the world’s largest professional networking platform. So the next time you log on, try surveying your current profile to make sure it has the following key facets to keep your image in top professional shape: A Professional Photo: The days of the blind resume are over. If you want your profile to be noticed, upload a professional photo! According to LinkedIn, uploading a picture to your profile makes it 14 times more likely to be viewed. Just be sure, as we’ve said before, to choose a conservative photo. If you’re unsure of what picture is best, try a headshot in professional interview attire. Your Summary: All too often, the summary box of a LinkedIn page gets neglected. However, this section is the least constricting and, therefore, should be used to its full advantage. Write up a compelling description of who you are as a professional, what your current and future goals are, and what you can offer (such as an elevator pitch or professional bio). Be sure to include any keywords you think can help you pop up in the correct search results, but incorporate them smoothly—you don’t want anything to seem out of place. A Detailed Employment History: It’s not enough to simply put together a few bullet points of your past duties. LinkedIn gives you much more room to work with than a resume and, though you certainly don’t want a profile that takes forever to scroll through, you should expand on what you’ve done in your prior roles. A short paragraph accompanied by those bullet-pointed duties should do; just be sure to explain how your role evolved, if possible, to paint a full picture of your time at that organization. Original, Creative Language: This is a less concrete addition, but an important one nonetheless. Try to avoid using clichéd language and overused techniques to describe yourself; for example, rather than describe yourself as a “detail-oriented and highly organized professional,” try telling a story of a project you completed that required you to be well-organized. Or, if you want to highlight in your summary that you have these qualities, find an original way to describe them. You can save things such as “organizational skills” for the Skills & Expertise section at the bottom of your profile. Though these are the absolute essentials, it never hurts to go above and beyond! In fact, LinkedIn even has a “Profile Strength” graph on the side of your profile that gives you suggestions on how to improve your page. If you’d like some further tips on how to make your LinkedIn page more marketable, check out our past post on the topic.
29 March 2016
This is part of a series of testimonials from candidates who have successfully been placed by The Execu|Search Group. This testimonial comes from Stephanie Weeks; you can find our past testimonials here. When Occupational Therapist, Stephanie Weeks, decided to pursue a career in travel healthcare, she was looking for a staffing partner who could help her make the transition. After researching several travel therapy staffing organizations, she spoke with Rob Palermo, a Director within our Travel Allied Healthcare division, and knew she had found the right match for her search. Now settled in Brooklyn, NY, covering two OT assignments, Stephanie had a positive experience and was happy to speak to us about it. Here’s what she had to say: On her background… I am originally from Florida and attended undergraduate and graduate school at the University of Florida. After graduating with my Master’s of Occupational Therapy, I moved to North Carolina and worked in an acute care and inpatient rehabilitation hospital for almost four years. I’ve always had an interest in travel occupational therapy, and finally decided to pursue that path. On what she was looking for… Beginning a career as a travel therapist can be a daunting experience, so I was looking for a temporary staffing firm that would be receptive to my individual needs and would support me both personally and professionally. While researching several travel therapy companies, I came across The Execu|Search Group, and was drawn to them based on their core values and the fact that they are headquartered in New York City (which is where I wanted to move). After speaking directly with my now recruiter, Rob, I knew that Execu|Search would be the right fit for me and my long-term career goals. On how TESG worked to meet her needs… Deciding to move to NYC and pursue a travel career in OT – much less arranging this to happen from North Carolina – was an intimidating task. The Execu|Search Group ensured all my needs were being met and addressed all my concerns during each step of my career transition. From securing my housing to arranging my schedule, Rob and his team went above and beyond to ensure I had nothing to worry about. The additional support I received from Mindy Booth, my clinical mentor, has been instrumental in my ability to successfully work in a new practice setting, a school system. On preparing for the interview… Since I was living in North Carolina while I was interviewing for jobs in New York, Rob helped arrange a series of phone and video interviews. Before each meeting, Rob called me to review the specifics of the role and was able to brief me on the qualities prospective employers were looking for in candidates. This helped me ensure I was able to put my best foot forward on each interview and could confidently describe my skills and abilities as they related to the position. On her overall experience… Now that I have started this new chapter as a Travel Occupational Therapist, I can confidently say that The Execu|Search Group has surpassed my expectations of what I was initially looking for in a staffing firm. In addition to securing two school assignments for me, Rob and his team have found me per diem work at a few local healthcare facilities. Better yet, I’m genuinely enjoying this experience! “Stephanie and I have a great rapport,” says Rob. “I wanted to make sure her transition into travel therapy was as seamless as possible, so I took the time to fully understand her needs and address her concerns before starting the search process. Overall, she has been a pleasure to work with and I am excited to partner with her on all future career endeavors!”
28 March 2016
As you begin to go out on job interviews, you’ll want to prepare a list of questions to ask hiring managers once you get called in. It can be difficult to brainstorm questions that don’t come off as generic, so how do you begin to weed out questions that not only won’t impress a hiring manager, but could do more harm than good? While compiling questions you want to ask during a job interview, keep in mind that there are several questions that could ultimately place you out of the running. Despite having the best intentions, asking the wrong questions can make you appear ill-prepared or lead employers to believe that your priorities aren’t aligned with what the company is looking for. To ensure you don’t commit any major faux pas, don’t let these questions make the cut: What does your company do? Before you go in for an interview, you should spend some time reading up on the company’s history, mission statements, and any relevant news. The hiring manager will likely be expecting that all of their serious candidates will be familiar with the company to an extent, but will be impressed most by candidates who took the initiative to learn some key facts about the company. If you ask the hiring manager what the company does, you’re not only showing that you didn’t do your research, you’re giving off the impression that you aren’t serious about the job. What are the benefits like? First, let’s make one thing clear: it is okay to be curious about the benefits a company offers. For some, something like health insurance or reimbursements can make a significant difference in an employee’s quality of life and well-being. Despite this, it is better to save this question until the second or third round of interviews, or when you ultimately get offered the job. If you ask about the benefits during the early stages of the interview process, the hiring manager might think you’re being assumptive that you are going to get the offer. Instead, it’s better to focus on questions pertaining to the company’s culture and the team you would be joining. However, if you truly need to know about the benefits before the appropriate time, look around the company’s website and see if they’re there. Companies will sometimes list their best benefits and perks online as a way to attract applicants. Do you check social media accounts? Before you even begin looking for a new job, you should spend some time combing through all of your social media accounts for any polarizing or controversial content. The fact of the matter is, you should always act under the assumption that all prospective employers are checking up on your activity. By asking a prospective employer whether or not they check their employees’ social media accounts, you’re raising a red flag for a hiring manager who may see you as a potential hazard to the company’s image. To keep yourself from getting caught in this situation, carve out some time to delete anything that could hurt your professional credibility. Do you conduct background checks? If you had some type of conflict with the law that is bound to come up if a prospective employer conducts a background check, your gut reaction may be to ask whether or not background checks are part of the hiring process. However, by approaching the situation in this manner, you’re inadvertently telling the hiring manager that you have something to hide. Instead, it’s a best practice to be transparent with the hiring manager about your past. Though it may be intimidating, the hiring manager will appreciate your honesty and your willingness to take accountability for your past mistakes. Background checks are part of almost all hiring processes, so it’s better to be honest from the beginning than let the company be surprised once they check in on you.
28 March 2016
As technology continues to transform the way we communicate, it’s hard to deny that every company is a digital one. The best businesses recognize this and have begun making a greater investment in their internal processes by bringing in specialized consultants to keep up. Since tech upgrades and transitions are often project-based, those who decide to focus on this type of consulting work have the unique opportunity to keep their skills sharp and gain experience with a wide range of industries. “To ensure their organization can compete in this ever-evolving digital landscape, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) know they have to move quickly,” explains Erica St. Pierre, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division. “That’s why they are turning to highly skilled consultants who can hit the ground running and see the project through to completion. Since these hiring needs aren’t limited to one industry, consultants can take advantage of this faster turnover on assignments to diversify their experience with different companies, while honing their skills.” If you are interested in pursuing these opportunities, here are the 5 industries where tech consultants are in highest demand: Retail/e-commerce: In recent years, there is little doubt that online technology has transformed the consumer shopping experience. To create a better user experience for their customers, retailers have begun to invest in the most advanced technology and need skilled professionals to help implement it. To have the best commerce capabilities, these companies are turning to mobile developers, UX and UI designers, and professionals experienced with cloud-based point of sales and mobile inventory technology. Healthcare: In its effort to reduce costs while improving the quality of healthcare, the Affordable Care Act places a lot of emphasis on technology. To align clinical care with these tools, hospitals and health systems across the nation are turning to highly skilled tech professionals of various specialties to complete a variety of projects including, but not limited to: implementing electronic medical record (EMR) systems, installing patient flow and medical billing/coding software, updating infrastructure, and securing patient data. Investment Banking: As compliance efforts continue to evolve, investment banks need to ensure their processes are aligned with these regulations. Since protecting their data as well as their clients’ information is a major part of this, they regularly turn to consultants to make sure their technology is secure and meets the latest requirements. Nonprofits: With donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations reaching a record breaking $358.4 billion in 2015, nonprofits have found themselves busier than ever. To increase their efficiencies, many of these organizations have begun to update their databases, overhaul their infrastructure, and streamline their applications. Energy + Utility: Many of these large, Fortune 500 companies have recognized the need for up-to-date technology not only to attract the best talent, but to run business more effectively. In a world that seems dominated by start-ups, it can be easy to overlook some of these more established organizations. However, a lot of these companies have migrations, upgrades, and new products on the horizon – and have created a lot of positions to help them accomplish these goals.
24 March 2016
Over the past 5 years, outpatient care centers, home healthcare services, and ambulatory services have experienced significant employment growth. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average employment growth among these specialty areas was 22%, with outpatient care centers topping the list at 28%. Not only have recent years been positive, the BLS also projects a 19% increase in healthcare employment over the next 10 years, much higher than the average. As a result, the expansion of these healthcare outlets has created a variety of jobs that present healthcare professionals with excellent opportunities to work in new environments. This trend comes as a result of certain laws and regulations implemented under the ACA and how they’ve impacted insurance providers and various healthcare facilities throughout the industry. A rise in the number of patients admitted to outpatient care centers has resulted in increased demand for a variety of health professionals, giving new grads and seasoned professionals more flexibility in their career paths. Amanda Bleakney, Senior Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Health Services team, has witnessed a general shift in the types of settings health professionals are willing to consider in order to take their career to the next level. “As a new grad, working in different settings can serve as a great stepping stone to get your foot in the door, develop the clinical skills you need, and position yourself as a more suitable candidate if you decide to transition to a different facility,” highlights Amanda. For example, a pediatric nurse who needs additional clinical training could consider working in a school setting, this will expose them to the types of conditions to build the skills they need while focusing on their end goal. Along similar lines, seasoned professionals now have viable alternatives to diversifying their clinical experience. In light of the positive employment projections, it’s important to remain open and receptive to the different types of opportunities available. “I strongly advise health professionals to utilize different types of assignments towards ultimately reaching their career goals,” says Amanda. Looking ahead, certain settings show much potential for doctors and nurses, in addition to a variety of support roles. For instance, outpatient clinics and ambulatory care centers, often allow a variety of medical professionals to perform minor surgical and diagnostic procedures in a particular field. In the end, whether you are trying to break into a new specialty area or simply looking for ways to build on current skill sets, now would be a great time to take advantage of the opportunities that outpatient care centers, home healthcare services, and ambulatory services offer.
22 March 2016
As the US job market continues to experience growth, businesses across all industries are adding more and more employees to their ranks. And with companies increasingly hiring people for mid- to senior-level roles, the need to find administrative professionals to support these individuals is becoming more demanding than ever. However, hiring managers aren’t just looking for job seekers who can complete simple tasks like filing or answering phones; they’re looking for people who can assist with a broad spectrum of work. Since hundreds of professionals can apply for any one particular role, it’s important to make sure you stand out. In order to do so, there are several aspects of your professional persona to focus on improving. By adding on these increasingly sought-after, but rare, skill sets, you have a chance of hedging yourself above the rest of the pack. Before you send out applications for your next administrative role, consider your aptitude within the following skill sets: Typing speed Before you go in for an interview, you will want to know your personal words per minute (WPM) count. Typing abilities, and especially your typing speed, are becoming an increasingly sought-after skill among hiring managers looking to employ administrative professionals. While this skill may seem dated, many job seekers don’t realize just how important your WPM still is to employers. If you don’t know your current WPM, consider taking an online test like this one from TypingTest to see where you currently stand as far as typing speed goes. According to Lauren Pearce, an Associate within The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support and Human Resources division, a “solid WPM count is 65 words or more,” so strive to land within that number when you test your speed. If you fall below 65, consider taking some time out of your day to focus on typing speed and accuracy. You may find it frustrating at first, but you’ll thank yourself later when you find yourself being asked to take a typing test before or during an interview! More advanced Microsoft Office proficiency Similar to WPM, your level of ability in Microsoft Office programs, especially Excel and PowerPoint, is becoming more desirable in the eyes of a hiring manager. During the interview process, you can impress a hiring manager by demonstrating more advanced capabilities in both programs. “Assistants who possess intermediate-level skills in Microsoft Excel, such as the ability to create or utilize Pivot Tables and V-Lookups, can be of major assistance to the executive they support,” says Lauren. “Therefore, taking the time to enroll in an online tutorial can put you a step ahead of your competition.” Also, consider having a PowerPoint Presentation tucked away in your portfolio. Unless you’re a more seasoned professional, try to keep anything you put together in college out of the picture. While it might be impressive, a hiring manager will be more interested in seeing something you created in a professional setting; it gives them a better idea of what you can bring to the company should they choose to hire you. Interpersonal skills More so than in any other profession, your interpersonal skills matter when you work in a support function. If you’re an Administrative or Executive Assistant, you will more than likely serve as the face and voice of your respective company or department, and will be interacting with people internally and externally on a regular basis. Because of this, it’s important to be cognizant of any verbal or physical tics you may currently have, and then think of ways to improve upon them. For example, look out for any filler words such as “um” or “literally.” As an administrative professional, you need to be as polished as possible, and these words can distract the person you are communicating with from your ultimate message. If you’re worried you might have a subconscious verbal habit that could impede your chance of landing a job, ask a friend to practice interviewing you. Have them ask you a set of questions and, instead of focusing on your answers, ask them to focus on how you’re answering them. According to Lauren, a friend can better identify how many times you drop a particular verbal filler or phrase. She also advises asking them if they notice any nervous behaviors you may have, such as running a hand through your hair or clearing your throat. From there, you can work on eradicating these things from your professional persona and mold yourself into someone who can adapt seamlessly into a role.
22 March 2016
When Jennifer moved to the Washington D.C. Metro area after college graduation, she was introduced to the ever-evolving world of technology. Recognizing the growing need for IT professionals, she joined the staffing industry, and 5 years later, she still loves putting people to work! After relocating to the New York City Tri-State area in 2015, Jennifer joined The Execu|Search Group as an Account Executive and quickly moved up the ranks. Today, she is a Director within our Information Technology division, and was happy to share her story: On why she joined The Execu|Search Group… During the interview process, I was instantly drawn to the people! They all truly possessed an entrepreneurial spirit, and I could tell that this mentality is what has driven the company’s success. Not only was I excited to join such an energetic work environment, but also an organization that prioritized quality. It was clear that Execu|Search really takes the time to ensure they are not only placing great candidates for their clients, but hiring the right people for their internal needs. Specifically, I was really impressed to learn that Execu|Search meets with all of their prospective candidates before working with them. This is not something I had done in my past recruiting roles, but now wish I had. It truly makes all the difference, and sets us apart from other firms. On what she loves about working here… That entrepreneurial spirit is at the core of all the things I love about working here. For example, we do not have a metrics-driven environment, which is something I have realized is not necessary if you have the right people in place. The Execu|Search Group facilitates a very team-oriented culture, and we all work hard to motivate each other. It’s easy to be hard on yourself in a commission-based role, so it’s great to know that I have my team close by for support on both my good and bad days. In addition, the trust that leadership places in their reports really allows you to manage and take ownership of your business. They provide you with the foundation and support you need for growth, but don’t hold you back from developing your own approach. They really value and recognize hard work through annual promotions and other incentives, which lights a contagious fire throughout the firm. Everyone is motivated to put their best foot forward, and working in this type of environment is part of what drives me every day. On what she enjoys most about her job… As the Information Technology industry evolves, I enjoy meeting with my clients and learning about these trends through the projects and initiatives that we get to support. As technology continues to influence our lives, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to work with all the people who are making it happen behind the scenes. On what she thinks sets her apart from others in this field… Rather than focus on simply filling a role, I prefer to take a much more consultative approach. Before working on a search, I take the time to learn as much as I can about my clients. Going beyond the job description by inquiring about their culture, employees, and current/future initiatives allows us to identify the best fit for their team. As IT trends continue to evolve, I also believe it’s important to educate our clients on market trends and what we’re seeing in the industry. Doing so helps us establish expectations, match salary requirements to skillsets, and provide an honest timeline. Through these two strategies and my passion for this career, I’ve built really strong relationships with clients and colleagues. I’m looking forward to many more years with my amazing team at The Execu|Search Group!
21 March 2016
With the IT job market the strongest it’s been in years, you might want to use this growth as an opportunity to step into a leadership role. However, to do this, you need to show more than just a strong work history. In today’s digital world, employers need IT managers that not only possess the technical skills to adapt to evolving IT needs, but also employ the right leadership skills to effectively manage a team. Bryant Vargas, a Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology team, finds that candidates interviewing for managerial roles often face difficulty when emphasizing soft skills that would make them the right fit for the position. “It’s essential that aspiring IT managers highlight the methods they’ve developed throughout their career to manage teams and projects effectively,” says Bryant. “If you can’t articulate them throughout the interview process, the hiring manager will not be able to visualize how you would fit in at the company as a manager.” To ensure you’re seen as the best fit for the job, consider emphasizing the following three soft skills throughout your interviews: Proven effective communication skills Strong communication skills are often a prerequisite for many IT roles, however, IT managers should be able to articulate the ways in which they’ve practiced effective communication. As an IT manager, your role can be very hands-on with several different tech teams (i.e., help desk, server, development team, etc.), so it’s important to illustrate how you will be able to communicate effectively with a wide range of professionals. Hiring managers will be most interested in your ability to keep the IT infrastructure intact, while attending to your team’s individual needs appropriately. For example, an interviewer might ask ‘when issues arise, what is your method for delegating responsibilities to your staff?’ This is a good opportunity to explain how critical communication was at a certain point in your career. “IT managers will often need to communicate with employees at all levels within an organization, and your ability to answer these types of questions will be indicative of how you would handle similar situations if hired,” notes Bryant. In other words, being unable to give a direct answer that demonstrates how you’ve managed a particular team or project in the past, will make it harder for a hiring manger to see the value you could bring to the organization. Strong presentation skills Over the past few years, there’s been a major shift in the way many companies utilize technology. “As emerging technologies have expanded companies’ reliance on technology to increase revenue, businesses are increasingly turning to their IT managers for advice on critical business decisions,” highlights Bryant. As an IT manager, you may be tasked with presenting to a board of directors or business executives on what emerging technologies are impacting the business. “Possessing strong presentation skills go far beyond reciting PowerPoint slides to an audience,” says Bryant. “You should be able to provide technical insight into why, for instance, implementing certain technologies would be financially beneficial to an organization.” The better you can show how your technical presentations persuade decision makers to follow your advice, the more likely a hiring manager will be to see the benefit you could bring to their organization. Prioritizing your time effectively The information technology industry as a whole is highly unpredictable, and the responsibilities of an IT manager can vary greatly day to day. For example, a system server can go down or your company’s system can get hacked or compromised, and how you prioritize your time in handling these issues, while delegating responsibilities appropriately, is extremely important. “An IT manager should first understand the severity of the issue and how it will affect the business, but also be able to allocate the proper amount of time and staff to handle issues that take precedent,” says Bryant. In such a fast-paced industry, demonstrating how you determine which projects are priorities over ones that can be solved over a period of time will speak to your time management and decision making skills.
16 March 2016
With residencies quickly coming to an end for physicians and graduation swiftly approaching for new nurses, job searching is probably a high priority on a lot of to-do lists. If you fall into one of these two categories, you therefore have a lot of competition – meaning you need to put your best foot forward to stand out amongst your peers. From letting your personality shine through on an interview to properly following up with your hiring manager, there are a lot of steps to leading a successful job search. But perhaps, the most important? Your resume. “Your resume is your first opportunity to make a strong impression on an employer,” says Adam Bottorff, a Senior Associate within The Execu|Search Group’s Physician Recruitment division, who regularly helps his candidates revise their resumes. “If it isn’t formatted properly, your chances of making it past the initial application stage of the hiring process are relatively low. Hiring managers can receive hundreds of resumes for a single physician or nursing position, and they don’t have the time to review poorly organized documents – even for the candidates with the strongest clinical experience.” Now that the job searching season is upon us, it’s time to ensure your resume positions you as the strongest candidate possible. To get you started, here are Adam’s top resume do’s and don’ts: Do list your experience in chronological order. When reviewing your resume, medical facilities want to see a complete overview of who you are as a healthcare professional. As a result, it’s important that you highlight how your education and training have allowed you to build upon your clinical skillset over the years. Seeing this natural progression will help hiring managers discern if you’d be the right fit for the role. Don’t include an objective section. If you are in the early stages of your career, you run the risk of hurting your eligibility for certain positions when you include an objective statement in your resume. “Let your background, certifications, and training speak for themselves,” advises Adam. “If you get too specific with what you are looking for in a job, you might inadvertently miss out on opportunities that you could have been an excellent fit for.” Do list your past responsibilities. Many healthcare professionals make the mistake of leaving out the responsibilities they’ve held in past positions. However, the best way to align yourself with a job that matches your skillset and background is to detail your core duties in brief bullet points. Employers need to ensure that you have the relevant experience necessary for the position and they can’t do that unless they are able to see your previous responsibilities. On a related note, avoid using first person point of view at all costs. Saying, “ I was responsible for x” or, “I accomplished y” is considered unprofessional. Keep it objective. Don’t list extracurricular activities. When evaluating candidates, healthcare organizations want to see the skills and experience, such as any fluency in another language or knowledge of an EMR system, that would make you the best fit for the job. “Save the small tidbits about your personal life for the interview,” notes Adam. “Instead, use that space on your resume to list a few different professional interests, relevant skills, and professional associations.” Do watch your formatting. Since hiring managers often only spend a few short seconds reviewing a resume, formatting errors and a cluttered appearance can quickly make them lose interest. In general, your resume should be easy on the eyes and organized so that it draws attention to the right sections. This means your resume should have sufficient spacing, use consistent spelling and punctuation, and be as concise as possible.