22 December 2016
2016 is almost over and while you may be focused on tying up all your loose ends for the year, it isn’t a bad idea to set your sight on changes you may wish to make for the new year! You may have a lot on your plate from now until 2017, but January drawing closer and closer means that it’s time you start putting some thought into your 2017 career-related resolutions. Even if you aren’t the type of person who looks to make any type of new year’s resolution, there is definitely nothing wrong with trying to make a good habit for 2017 before the stroke of midnight on January 1! Unsure of what you want to accomplish in 2017? Consider making the following resolutions: De-clutter your workspace and promise to keep it that way If you’re the kind of person who has a hard time parting with anything, come into 2017 with a set amount of time to go through your work space and dispose of what’s unnecessary. Recycle old papers, bring those extra Tupperware containers home and, for good measure, give your desk a good and thorough scrub down. Having a clean and open area is an easy way to feel more organized, so this is a great step if you don’t just want a cleaner desk, but a clearer mindset too! Have a better sleep schedule It’s been found by many studies that a solid six to eight hours of sleep a night is conducive to greater levels of productivity and happiness. If you know you’ve been slacking on getting a good night’s sleep over the past year, make the commitment of going to bed earlier. It may be a struggle at first, but you’ll be much happier with that extra hour or two spent on sleeping and not on binging Netflix. Look to expand your network You know what we said about getting a head start on resolutions? This is one you should consider putting in motion now that the holidays are here. With office holiday parties and get-togethers currently taking place, there are few better times for you to branch out and connect with people who were not previously part of your network. Or, if there are people in your network who you do not know very well, this is the perfect time to build better connections within your current circle. Learn new de-stressing routines Workplace stress is something we all face, and we all have our own ways to cope with it over the course of time. However, whether or not our own methods actually help us is another issue altogether. Take some time to reflect on the stressful moments you had over the past year and assess if your current ways of de-stressing actually helped you get through difficult times. If not, consider trying a different approach. If you’re stumped, ask your colleagues what they do in order to calm themselves down when they need to take a step back from work. Improve your email habits Have a crazy amount of unread emails? Struggle to answer messages in a timely fashion? If you’ve demonstrated poor emailing habits in the past, you know that improving them can ultimately make you a more reliable professional in the future. In 2017, resolve to pay more attention to your email by treating it like your physical work space. As opposed to allowing junk mail to pile up, delete everything you know is not related to your responsibilities and peers. If you struggle to read and answer emails, develop a strategy for being more organized with your inbox.
21 December 2016
Giving back to the community has always been a part of who we are as a company. From fundraisers to volunteer events, we combine our efforts as an organization to make a difference where it matters most. To make this year’s holiday season a little brighter for those in need, our offices worked together to support a variety of charitable initiatives throughout the month. For this month’s charity day, we donated toys to Toys for Tots. Some also made monetary contributions to help purchase gifts for the children. In recognition for their support, participants were able to take part in an ugly sweater contest! Additionally, our Women’s Network continued their annual tradition of holiday giving by partnering with three regional organizations: Safe Horizon: A New York City-based shelter for women and children fleeing abusive home situations. New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P): CP&P is New Jersey’s child protection and child welfare agency within the Department of Children and Families. Its mission is to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children and to support families. Cambridge Family & Children’s Services (CFCS): Founded in Cambridge in 1873, CFCS is one of the oldest human services agencies in Greater Boston. Today, CFCS serves children and families in over 100 Massachusetts communities. Its mission is to strengthen & support families so that their children can be raised in loving & nurturing homes, within communities that support them. Our New York office also participated in a coat drive spearheaded by Shelly McCann, a Director within our Healthcare division. Together, we donated jackets to New York Cares in an effort to help them reach their goal of 150,000 coats to be distributed to New York City’s homeless. Last, but certainly not least, The Execu|Search Group made a contribution to Feeding America. We recently surveyed our clients and candidates to compile data for our 2017 Hiring Outlook, and as a thank you for completing the survey, we pledged to donate $5 for each survey response. This amounted to a $5,000 donation that will help families throughout the country have a meal this holiday season.
21 December 2016
Whether you’ve realized that you started your career in the wrong field, or you’re simply looking for a change of pace, taking the leap to switch career paths is no easy task. Many creative professionals often realize this when they get a small taste of something they love to do in their current job, and it can be a wake-up call that they’re not entirely happy. “This can occur quite frequently in creative fields, especially in a market where job seekers have a clear advantage,” says Jaymee Kruysman, a Staffing Manager within The Execu|Search Group’s Fashion & Retail division. “However, anyone looking to make this change should still be ready to face some tough competition.” If you’re invested in making a career change in a creative field, you will most likely find that your background is lacking some experience that would make you a better fit for the positions you’re applying to. However, that doesn’t mean you’re totally out of luck. “By showing your potential through your transferable skills, you can still be considered a contender,” says Kathryn Coury, an Associate within The Execu|Search Group’s Creative & Digital division. “Sometimes, that fresh perspective is exactly what the employer is looking for.” However, making this leap requires commitment throughout the application process, and it will require you to sell your transferable skills each step of the way. When approaching this in the application and interview process, here are the steps you can take to highlight those transferable skills: First, review each job description thoroughly As you read each job description, you’ll be able to determine not only which skills you are lacking, but more importantly, the qualities that will make you most valuable to the employer. “Identifying in-demand qualities and skills, such as critical thinking or data analysis, can help you reflect on review your previous experience to decide where you shine in those disciplines the most,” says Kathryn. “This might be different for every available position, so it is crucial to first determine those desired skills before proceeding in the application process.” Tailor your resume Next, you’ll want to ensure the skills you’ve identified are addressed on your resume. However, you’ll want to do more than simply add a few more details under your employment history. “To be more strategic about highlighting an experience that you feel would transfer well into this new role, you’ll want to use action words, and indicate the outcome you achieved as a result of your work,” Jaymee says. “Additionally, place that information at the top of your bulleted list so that the employer is more likely to see those transferable skills Address the transition through your cover letter Although you don’t have to go into too much detail, your cover letter is still the perfect place to mention your transition. “Along with highlighting those transferable skills that you’ve identified, take this opportunity to tell your story,” recommends Kathryn. “This can give some added context to your application, and it can show your passion for this new path.” Expand your portfolio When making a career change, you may not have the robust body of work that your competition may have, but this is an excellent opportunity to showcase the work you have accomplished in your own right. “Through a general portfolio, you may find that you can display your creative transferable skills through previous projects that show your potential,” says Jaymee. For example, if you haven’t written copy for an ad campaign, but you have written copy for blogs or social media, you can highlight that similar copywriting experience in your portfolio. “Or, take some of your own time to produce some new, original work to really show what you’re capable of,” advises Jaymee. “There are so many ways to display your creativity and your nontraditional background in this manner, and it can prove to employers that you can provide out-of-the-box ideas for their organization.” Prepare to make your case in the interview Once your application gets your foot in the door, the interview is the time where it is most critical to sell your value to the organization. “To prove that you can make the transition to a new field, it’s important to not only convey your passion for the industry, but also show that you’ve done your research,” says Kathryn. “To do this, you should expand on how your unique background complements the role.” Lastly, don’t be afraid to seek outside help As with any big life change, you should never be afraid to seek help from others. “Breaking into a new field or industry can be difficult if you go it alone,” notes Kathryn. “That’s why it’s important to consider your professional network. If you know a former colleague or recruiter who can help you make a more personal connection with an employer, don’t hesitate to reach out. If that person is able to vouch for you, the company may be much more likely to trust that they can take a chance on you.” If this strategy works for you, just remember to pay it forward if the opportunity arises.
20 December 2016
Among many campaign promises made during the past year and a half, President-Elect Donald Trump said he planned to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act. With the new administration set to begin this upcoming January, financial services professionals, particularly those in compliance roles, have voiced concerns over their job security. In particular, compliance professionals are unsure as to whether or not their roles would be needed with the loss of Dodd-Frank, and would ultimately lead to downsizing within that area in financial services. But according to Ben Hartman, an Associate within The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division, compliance professionals shouldn’t be concerned about downsizing or a lack of opportunities in the future. “There’s been a lot of talk about repealing Dodd-Frank with the incoming administration, but a repeal of the act alone doesn’t necessarily spell out the end of compliance,” says Ben. “Even if the law were to be repealed —a much more difficult process than many people realize —there will still be many opportunities where compliance professionals can continue to find success in the future.” To ensure you can be competitive in the evolving market, consider taking the following steps: Stay updated on current events According to Ben, a repeal of Dodd-Frank would require time and effort, meaning the need for compliance professionals will remain. “In order to ensure that banks follow proper protocol and are in compliance with regulations, they may rely on those compliance professionals even more than they do now to avoid large fines.” However, it is also important to continuously monitor current events within the industry in an effort to see where compliance trends may shift. “There are plenty of areas in compliance that have the potential to grow with a new administration,” explains Ben. “For example, there’s a strong possibility that Trade Compliance will become an important area of expertise in the coming years, as will Code of Ethics Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering. Being aware of these events will help you decide what type of career move you’ll need to take to keep your skills up-to-date with evolving market trends.” Take on new projects Along with following current trends and events within compliance, professionals should consider the possibility of taking on projects outside their realm of expertise. In an industry like compliance, where there are multiple areas you can focus on, familiarizing yourself with different areas can ultimately benefit you in the future. In the event that you would have to shift your interests and area of expertise, diversifying your skillset gives you the option to gain experience within an area that may grow under the presence of a new administration. Become a subject matter expert If you ultimately decide to pursue new projects outside of your realm of expertise, you may also want to consider becoming a subject matter expert in an area that interests you. “With the possibility of new compliance areas gaining more importance and relevance, banks will need people who have expert-level knowledge of these trends,” explains Ben. “With shifting priorities in the industry, it would be a tremendous benefit for compliance professional to learn and really own a particular process, and be able to advise banks on what to do to adapt.” Consider consulting opportunities Should you decide to become a subject matter expert, you may be able to put yourself in a position where a bank may need you to consult. Depending on where attentions shift in compliance, Alex Wright, a Senior Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance Division, believes that the new administration could result in a noticeable increase in consulting opportunities. “In periods of uncertainty, employers tend to hire on a temporary / consulting basis to ensure they have the staff they need to get them through transitions,” says Alex. “Additionally, roles such as trade surveillance are project-based in nature, so it’s in a bank’s best interest to bring in someone who is uniquely qualified to see these types of tasks from start to completion.” To take advantage of these opportunities, Alex advises professionals to seek opportunities to specialize in an area of compliance. “Since compliance is such a broad field, there are plenty of options to explore and become well-versed in,” Alex says. “Being adaptable, especially with changing administrations, is key to being successful within compliance. The more you can prove this on your resume, the more valuable you will be to prospective employers.”
15 December 2016
The holidays are officially here, so many of you know what that means —‘tis the season for your company’s holiday party! For many of us, the holiday party is a time when we get to come together as a collective group to let loose and socialize about something other than the typical day-to-day office workings. And, it’s the time of year where things could get a bit out of hand. In fact, there’s even a movie coming out soon about just how wild those parties can be! All joking aside though, you do want to make sure you don’t make any embarrassing faux pas that become the topic of conversation until next year’s holiday party! Hoping to avoid being the center of the drama at your office’s holiday party this year? Here’s how to do it: Be timely Want to know what’s overrated? Being fashionably late to the office holiday party. Sure, trickling in 10 to 20 minutes after the party starts is fine, but getting there an hour after it starts is rude and disrespectful. Is this the office and do the rules of punctuality apply to the party? No, but don’t draw attention to yourself by coming into the party an hour after it has already begun. Keep conversations professional While the company holiday party is a more relaxed environment than normal, it’s still important to keep conversations professional. Sure, if you have a close circle of work friends who you’re comfortable being more open and informal with, then it’s fine to talk as you normally would. However, the holiday party is a perfect opportunity to talk with people who you don’t talk to on a regular basis. Those conversations? Keep ‘em classy. Don’t hover around the buffet line Perhaps your company is having people bring their own dishes, or maybe they’re going all out and catering the party with a buffet. Whatever they may be doing, there will likely be many options and there will surely be a long line to get to the food. While you may want to get to the food as soon as possible, don’t be the person who hangs around the food table a solid hour before the food even comes out. Sure, you’ll get your food before everyone else, but that’s valuable time you could spend catching up with colleagues or socializing in general. Show up for work the next day If you have vacation or personal days left in your pocket that you’re looking to use, the day after your company’s holiday party could be an option you wish to pursue. But, if you aren’t able to do that and you know you’ll be in the office the next day, you’ll definitely want to make sure you keep yourself in check. While the open bar may be calling your name, it’s important to remember that you have a full day of work to look forward to in the morning. Know your limits and don’t let yourself get out of hand!
14 December 2016
In the current job market, you may have noticed that job seekers are placing a lot of emphasis on company culture. However, if you feel your company culture isn’t attracting the kind of talent you’d like to see, it can be difficult to know where to start. While there are several things to address from the top down in your organization, one thing that helps build relationships and trust among your employees is planning events and activities to get out of the office and bond with one another. When you allow your employees the opportunity to get to know one another and learn about their peers away from the office, not only are they more likely to work better together, but they’re more likely to enjoy it and stay at the company longer. Eventually, things like this can be seen outside of your organization, and incoming talent will see that you support a positive company culture. Here are some memorable and fun ways to spend a day with your staff outside of the office: Volunteering The best thing about volunteering for a day or even a few hours is that it is nearly impossible for you and your team to feel bad about it by the end. Additionally, there is no shortage of organizations that consistently need help, so there are always opportunities to get involved and give back. Not only is it a feel-good event, but you can also build on your teamwork skills, as well as your capacity for empathy and understanding others on your team. Additionally, showing support for your local community is a good way to build a well-respected brand image for your company. Escape Games This new trend is incredibly popular with organizations across the country. Escape game facilities take your team into a room where you have to work together to figure out how to get out. Through this series of challenges, you’ll learn how your team functions best as a whole, using everyone’s unique strengths to accomplish one shared goal. By the end of it, you’ll have a much better idea of how to function more effectively as a team in the office. Improvisation Workshop If you ever need a laugh, an improvisation workshop is sure to get your whole team chuckling. Improvisation is a form of comedy performance that is made up completely on the spot, and the practice teaches a lot of valuable life lessons along with it. Along with improving your ability to react at a moment’s notice, improv can teach your staff to accept each other’s ideas and support them by adding concepts of their own. When your team gets out of their head a little bit, they may realize that solutions are less complex than they seem when you work together. Fitness or Sporting Activities Not only are sporting activities a great way to get out of the office and get moving, but there are so many ways to go about it. In addition to organizing a team in an existing league, you can organize a field day or a fitness class like yoga or kickboxing. In addition to promoting a healthy lifestyle for your employees, it promotes a healthy state of mind. Physical activities can relieve stress and anxiety, as well as build teamwork and interpersonal skills that are bound to translate to the office. Dinner or Happy Hour Of course, there is always the old standby of a dinner or happy hour event. In addition to this being easy to plan, it’s an event that will have almost universal approval—who doesn’t want free food and drinks? Even this simple gesture lets your employees just relax and enjoy each other’s company, allowing people to converse with those they may not normally get to see in the office. As a result, they will know that they are valued and deserve a night off every once in a while.
14 December 2016
With the new year upon us, many of you will resolve to do a lot of things in 2017. While some will pledge to save money or hit the gym more often, others will be determined to find a new job. However, some professionals in the accounting and financial services sectors will delay their search until they can collect their bonus. “If you are one of these professionals, you may want to reconsider your strategy,” says Paul Herman, a Senior Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “While it may be tempting to sit back and count down the days until you receive your bonus, those who start their job search in quarter one can find themselves at a competitive advantage.” Why? For one reason, with many professionals waiting until March—or even May in some cases—to start applying to jobs, competition is lower than it will be during those months. This means that the earlier you start educating yourself on accounting or financial services market trends and checking out new opportunities, the higher your chances are of landing the job you want. “Being proactive doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to make a move if you aren’t ready to,” advises Samantha Parris, a Senior Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “It does, however, help you build connections and understand your market value—two elements that can make it easier to find success when you are ready to change jobs.” If you are still apprehensive about starting your job search without collecting your bonus, Paul has observed that this is a concern that many employers recognize. “To attract candidates in quarter one, employers are coming up with creative ways to make top talent whole on their bonuses,” he says. To do this, many organizations will extend sign-on bonuses to compensate for any potential losses, or even offer delayed start dates, so new hires can start after they collect their year-end bonus. With this in mind, the risk of looking for a new job at the start of the new year is relatively minimal. Not kick-starting your job search—or at least not taking the steps to ensure you are prepared— can, in fact, do more harm than good. “If you are serious about finding a new job in 2017, don’t let your bonus get in the way of your professional development,” warns Paul. “Those who get a head start in quarter one will be in a better position to secure an opportunity that sets them up for long-term career success.”
13 December 2016
In today’s market, millennials sometimes get a bad rap from more experienced professionals. Perhaps the most common complaint that hiring managers make about this generation is that they lack the skills to really succeed in a work environment. In fact, many studies have shown that basic workplace skills—or, soft skills—are rated as the most lacking among this generation, according to employers. Because of this perception, even qualified millennials may have difficulties breaking this stereotype. However, there are simple ways to allude to the fact that you possess these skills even before you meet with a hiring manager. When writing your resume, you can use specific action words with concrete examples to prove that you have the skill set that an employer needs. Here are the top in-demand soft skills for millennials and how you can showcase those abilities on your resume—without resorting to buzzwords. Learn how in the infographic.
09 December 2016
It’s that time of year again! Depending on company policies, you may be the focus of an end-of-year performance review with your manager. While performance reviews can be a great way for your manager to highlight your accomplishments over the year, they can also be used as a way to start fresh by outlining new goals and objectives. However, not taking time out before your performance review to reflect on your individual accomplishments or shortcomings may work against you since you might be unprepared to discuss some of your manager’s main points in detail. Instead of treating this like any other meeting you’ve had with your manager, take the proactive route and outline specific things you’d like to address throughout the review. This isn’t to suggest you should prepare a list of points to give to your manager during your meeting, but the following tips will help you be prepared for wherever the conversation may lead. Take a look at your own performance If you have the ability to evaluate past performance reviews, this would be a great first step. Taking the time to do this beforehand will allow you to objectively measure your own performance and highlight any specific successes or challenges you faced over the past year. Since your manager might be comparing your performance to years past, the better prepared you are to address any of the projects or examples that may come up, the more productive your conversation can be. In your evaluation of your past performance, be sure to take note of particular challenges, areas for improvement, and ways you built on key strengths. Establish future goals and objectives Although your manager might be responsible for outlining formal goals and objectives for you over the next year, take it a step further by summarizing specific goals and objectives you want to focus on in your career. Providing your manager with concrete examples of what you would like to accomplish over the next year is a great way to inform them of your career interests, so the two of you can outline realistic goals. For example, if you need more management training, looking to build new technical skills, or taking on larger projects, preparing these points for your manager during your performance review may ensure that you will spend the next year focused on what’s most important for your career. Think about your delivery For some employees, performance reviews are a great way to end the year, but for others, they don’t always end in praise, promotions, and raises. For instance, if you missed hitting certain metrics/goals, or your industry experienced changes that had a direct impact on your organization, your performance review might not be so positive. Although you may be aware of the challenges you faced over the past year, it can be difficult to hear this information come directly from your manager. That’s why it’s important to try your best to take your emotions out of the discussion. Furthermore, be cognizant of how your emotions can affect your verbal and non-verbal delivery throughout the meeting. Specifically, pay special attention to your tone, posture, and diction as all of these can come off as defensive if you’re emotionally invested. To take the feedback as objectively as possible, digest the points your manager makes, take notes, and ask questions for clarity. This will ensure that you know exactly what you need to do to prevent having the same conversation next time you have a performance review. Do your own research Since performance reviews are typically the time when managers or employees discuss promotions or raises, doing your own research to understand what other professionals with similar years of experience are making in your current market and location is important. If you walk into a performance review without having a general idea of your worth, you risk losing out on certain benefits. On the other hand, if your manager hasn’t settled on a specific promotion or raise yet, use this as an opportunity to get a better sense of what a realistic timeline on raises or promotions might be and what you can do to get there.