31 January 2017
Imagine that you’ve just spent the past 4 or 5 years of your life studying a particular field, and after months of unsuccessful job hunting, you still haven’t received a callback for an interview. While the technical skills you possess are important to secure a job, if your resume doesn’t grab the hiring manager’s attention, it may prove to be more difficult just to get your foot in the door. In general, employers and recruiters alike only spend a few seconds reviewing a candidate’s resume, so it’s important that your resume strategically highlights your key strengths in the most succinct way possible. If you don’t possess a great deal of out-of-the classroom experience (or relevant professional experience) it can be challenging to construct an attractive resume. Here are 5 tricks you can employ to boost your entry-level resume: Format your resume strategically Depending on where you are in your career, it can be tricky to find the right format to highlight all of the experience and skills you’ve acquired over the years. There are two types of formats that most job seekers often utilize to create their resumes: functional and chronological. A functional resume format emphasizes specialized knowledge and transferable skills that could be applicable to the position you are applying to. On the other hand, a chronological resume format lists your work experience and responsibilities starting with your most recent position and traces back throughout your employment history. For recent grads with less experience, a functional resume format can be especially helpful as it focuses on the technical/soft skills you possess rather than your years of experience. Use fonts, spacing, and keywords to your advantage In addition to choosing the right format, your ability to use fonts and spacing creatively can help your resume stand out in a number of ways. For example, depending on the industry you want to work within, you can use a combination of fonts (e.g., bold, italics, etc.) and space margins to separate or emphasize specific information on your resume. Additionally, it’s no secret that hiring managers and recruiters use application tracking systems to find qualified candidates. To do this, they search resumes for certain keywords as they apply to the role. Therefore, to improve the keyword optimization on your resume, highlight the specific skills and programs that are listed throughout the job description as it will increase the likelihood that a hiring manager comes across your resume. However, to ensure you don’t come off as over eager to prospective employers, be sure to include keywords throughout your resume sparingly and avoid over saturating your resume with keywords. Highlight your academic/personal accomplishments Although you might be a recent grad, there are methods you can employ to leverage certain aspects of your educational background and personal accomplishments to make you a more marketable candidate. For example, strong academic standing is important to prospective employers; therefore, if you have a cumulative GPA above 3.5 out of 4.0, this is something you should highlight clearly on your resume. Additionally, highlighting any relevant coursework you’ve completed can demonstrate to your prospective employer your industry knowledge as well as your potential to meet the demands of the job you’re applying to. Get creative with your professional experience One of the most frustrating parts about putting together an entry-level resume is finding ways to highlight your professional accomplishments. For example, highlighting any internships (paid or unpaid) you’ve held over the past few years will help to show employers how you’ve acquired skills relevant to the role. On the other hand, if you don’t have any internship experience, detailing different volunteer work you’ve participated in will show your commitment to learning more about the industry you want to work in. Along the same lines, if you participated in any major academic competitions, received any awards, or completed any extensive projects or presentations, calling these out throughout your resume will give prospective employers a glimpse into your ability to produce results. Be smart about including social media-related information As much as your resume is the first glimpse a prospective employer gets of you, your digital presence can also play a role when an interviewer is determining if you’d be the best fit for a job. Keep in mind, an increasing number of employers utilize social media websites like LinkedIn and Facebook to weed out unprofessional candidates. Therefore, if you include links to your social media page(s) on your resume, make sure that they depict you as the type of professional you want to be perceived as. Since an unprofessional social media presence has the potential to negatively affect your professional reputation, pay closer attention to the types of information (e.g., pictures, status updates, tweets, etc.) you share publicly.
27 January 2017
Over the past few years, the healthcare industry has experienced an increased need for more highly skilled nursing care as a result of the Affordable Care Act and technological advances. According to the BLS, one thing is clear, the employment outlook remains positive for health professionals, especially for nurses. While a positive employment outlook might point to an increase in job opportunities available, as a recent nursing grad, it can be tricky to determine which opportunity is the right fit for your needs. Amanda Cruse, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Health Services division, regularly educates nursing grads on the different types of opportunities available as well as the factors they should be taking into account throughout their job search. “Too often, nursing grads feel the pressures of being unemployed, and as a result, typically will accept the offer they receive first,” says Amanda. “I encourage nursing grads to take their time and explore the market to learn about the type of opportunities that will be best for their career goals before accepting a job offer.” To ensure you are focused on the big picture when evaluating your next offer, nursing grads should consider the following factors: Your long-term goals and the experience you’ll gain When contemplating your decision to accept an offer, it’s important to think about how this opportunity will allow you to learn in-demand skills while laying the foundation for achieving your long-term goals. “One of your top priorities as a recent nursing grad should be gaining new skills and experience to build on your area of specialization,” advises Amanda. “Many nursing grads make the unfortunate mistake of limiting their opportunities by only considering one type of setting or working with a specific employer.” Focus on the big picture and think about which role will enable you to enhance your skillset and marketability for future opportunities. For example, while a hospital might be your ideal setting to work in, consider working in a nursing home that may ease you into a lighter case load, which may prepare you better for making the transition to a hospital down the line. Both permanent AND temporary roles There is a common misconception amongst nursing grads that permanent roles are the only employment options available to them. While full-time employment can be a great option for many nursing professionals, temporary roles are rising throughout the healthcare industry and can provide a number of benefits towards career growth. “Instead of holding out for the right permanent opportunity, it’s important to consider what you can gain from certain temporary assignments,” says Amanda. “Although most temporary assignments have a set period of how long you will work with that employer, a company’s needs can change over time. What once started as a temporary position at a school or hospital could evolve into a longer-term role based on your performance.” Therefore, before you focus all of your efforts on securing a permanent role, be sure to consider how a temporary assignment or two can help you reach your long-term goals. The ENTIRE package As a recent nursing grad, it’s important to remember that there are a variety of different components to consider in a job offer that go beyond compensation. “While salary should be an important part of the decision, many nurses don’t dive deeper into the offer to understand the big picture,” states Amanda. For example, other areas to consider learning more about include: professional development programs, tuition reimbursement, schedule flexibility, or parental leave, just to name a few. “As the economy continues to improve and more opportunities arise, it’s important to take the time to evaluate every aspect of your job offers before making a final decision,” stresses Amanda.
26 January 2017
As we move further into 2017, many admins may start to take stock of their career resolutions. Whether you wanted to pick up an intermediate Excel skill or expand your network, it can be discouraging if you haven’t stayed on track for accomplishing your goal. Regardless of how much (or how little) progress you’ve made, now is not the time to lose momentum! This is especially true if you are considering making the move to a new employer. “Finding a new job is a common resolution that many administrative professionals have made this year,” says Jamie Wells, an Associate within The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support division. “However, this is something that is difficult to accomplish if you can’t identify the reasons why you want to make a change. While it can be easy to say you want more money, in most cases, that’s not the real— or necessarily the right—reason that most professionals are job searching. If you want to find an opportunity that’s the best fit for you, it’s important to dive a bit deeper.” If you are still interested in finding a new administrative position this year, take some time to reflect on what you actually want in a new position. Before resuming your search, here are three questions that Jamie suggests you ask yourself: Are you looking for more growth? At some point in your career, you may hit a wall where you feel there is no longer room for growth at your current employer. Once that happens, you have a couple of options: you can ask your manager for more responsibilities, or you can start searching for a new job. In this circumstance, Jamie suggests evaluating the environment around you before taking any next steps. “If you have put in an appropriate amount of time at the organization and would like to expand your role, reflect on other employees’ growth at the company,” she says. “If you have strictly been doing calendar management for the past two years and would like to move into more of an event planning or office management role, for example, inquire where your colleagues who currently fill these roles got their start.” If they are typically promoted from within or hired externally, this can help inform your next steps. Then, if you ultimately decide to look for a new job, you’ll know what type of questions you can ask when inquiring about growth opportunities pertaining to your interests. What type of company culture do you fit into? If you haven’t started to think about company culture as a major factor in your decision-making process when searching for jobs, it’s time to start. “While company culture is often seen as a big picture, intangible concept, it actually affects your day-to-day job satisfaction more than you may expect,” advises Jamie. “From how many hours you work per week to whether or not you find the work environment beneficial to your productivity, company culture is a factor.” Do you thrive in fast-paced, competitive environments, or laid back collaborative ones? Do you prefer cubicles, offices, or open floor plans? What’s more important to you: a higher salary, or a more flexible work schedule? These are all factors to consider in any job search, and you can ensure your needs are met by targeting companies that foster the type of environment that suits you best. Do you believe in the company’s mission? Working for a company whose goals and ethics are not in line with your own can be extremely frustrating. In order to feel motivated about your work, you really need to believe that your company is making some type of difference, whether that means helping others or making industry strides. “If you don’t believe in your current employer’s mission, there is no real desire to perform to the best of your ability,” says Jamie. “Since this may result in unproductive days and subpar work, it’s important to identify companies that are more aligned with your beliefs. Doing so will not only help you determine which jobs you should apply to, but also increase your chances of finding a company that is the best long term fit for you.”
25 January 2017
Regardless of where you are in your career, there are always times where you may feel like you are in over your head or like you are out of place at work. Whether you’ve been promoted or you’re starting a new career path, you may feel scared or doubtful that you know what you’re doing. While it ultimately takes time before you’re more comfortable or confident, there are always ways to help you get there faster. Try these tips to speed up the process of feeling more confident in the workplace: Act the part While the actual job may still give you jitters, there are simple habits that can help you feel better right away. For starters, you can change your wardrobe to fit the part. Whether you’re in a corporate office or at a startup, dressing up—even just a little bit—is proven to boost your confidence. Additionally, you can go above and beyond by arriving earlier in the morning. When you get even a ten minute head start on your day, you’ll be amazed how you can feel more accomplished. Practice positive thinking The more you tell yourself that you can’t do something, the more likely it is to be true. Not only does this mean that you should speak positively out loud toward your coworkers, but it also means that you should think positively toward yourself. If you catch yourself in a negative thought pattern, it is important to take a minute and correct yourself. The more you tell yourself that you are capable of accomplishing your goals, the more likely you are to succeed in doing so. Try to learn more Often, what can cause us to doubt ourselves is the fear of the unknown. Once again, the more you learn in your new role, the more comfortable you’ll become. Whether it’s picking up a new skill set or learning new aspects of the company, there is always more to absorb. In the process, you’ll find that the only reason you lacked confidence is that you didn’t know that you could do it. Practice makes perfect Another common reason you may feel unsuccessful is that you failed at something and it shook you up a little. While this is totally normal, it does no good to sulk. If you weren’t doing something properly, the best solution is to get back on the horse and practice until you are finally mistake-free. Again, you’ll find that learning how to correct your mistakes will prove to you that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Learn your strengths As important as it is to correct your mistakes, learning where your strengths lie is equally important. In the same way, when you know you’re really good at something, this can help you boost your self-esteem. Once you learn the ways in which you excel, it may help you figure out how to improve in areas where you struggle. Plus, if you feel a moment of self-doubt, you’ll know what kind of work can help you feel more assured in your abilities again. Ask questions As always, no matter the situation, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re ever unsure of something, most employers agree that it’s better to ask than to act incorrectly. While it may sting your pride a bit, the faster you learn about your role and the company, the quicker you’ll feel capable of handling the challenges ahead.
24 January 2017
If you work in the creative or fashion industries, having a well-organized portfolio is a must. Not only does it display tangible examples of your work, but it also helps you showcase (rather than state) your skills. This is why the way in which you present your resume—both online and in-person—to prospective employers and clients is key to long term career success. “While most creatives seem to know that their portfolio is an important resource to have on hand, some fall short in its actual execution or have trouble reviewing it with others,” says Julie Maurer, an Account Executive within The Execu|Search Group’s Fashion/Retail specialty area. “Unfortunately, these are two mistakes that can cost you potential opportunities. Employers are looking for candidates who are invested in their work, so an inability to clearly display and articulate who you are and what you do can raise some red flags about your professional credibility.” Whether you are a recent grad or a seasoned professional, there are a variety ways you can make a strong impression through your portfolio. To help get started, here are our Creative & Digital team’s top do’s and don’ts for compiling outstanding digital and print portfolios: Do invest in a high-quality portfolio site: In today’s digital age, an online portfolio will make it easy for other people to find and view your work. Not only can this help you improve your personal brand and establish yourself as a thought leader, but it can increase your chances of connecting with employers for both full-time and project-based roles. “In many cases, employers will review your digital portfolio before they decide to meet with you,” explains Ashley Hill, a Director at Execu|Search. “As a result, it’s considered a best practice to host your digital portfolio on a high quality, completely customizable site that allows you to have your own domain. I typically recommend Squarespace, but if you can’t invest in a subscription-based site, dribbble and coroflot are two free, but less customizable, options.” Don’t publish or submit confidential work: Displaying work that a current or former employer deems confidential is a challenge that many creatives face. If you find yourself in this situation and don’t have permission to add the project to your public portfolio, there are a couple of ethical ways you can get around this. For example, you can disclose to the interviewer that you have additional work that you can’t share over email, but would be happy to show them in person. If your work is featured on the company’s site, another option is to direct the hiring manager to the webpage, and explain how you were part of the project. Do include mockups and/or mechanicals: While it may be tempting to only document your best (and most final) work, it’s important to show prospective employers how you achieved the end-result. “Many of our clients want to see the story behind the work,” notes Julie. “This helps them learn more about the qualities that inform a candidate’s problem solving, creative thinking, or collaboration skills.” As a result, Julie regularly advises her candidates to include mockups or mechanicals in their portfolio. This is not only a great way to highlight your individual process, but also describe the project, from start to finish, when meeting with the interviewer. Don’t overlook a PDF portfolio: Whether or not you create your own website, it’s always a good idea to create a PDF version of your portfolio as a backup. “You want to make it as easy as possible for hiring managers to review your work,” says Ashley. “We strongly advise against sending multiple JPEGs in different emails or a compressed folder of your files, which make your work difficult and confusing to review.” Instead, Ashley suggests creating a PDF portfolio that allows you to compile all of your relevant work into one, easily sharable document. To ensure it can be attached in an email, it’s considered a best practice to limit it to 15-20 pages of your most recent work. Do prepare a condensed print portfolio: Although the world is becoming increasingly digitalized, there are some circumstances where you might need to have your print portfolio available for review. To prepare for these occasions, we recommend basing this portfolio off of your digital version. You should print on crisp, clean paper and make strategic use of negative space. If you have more than a decade of experience, it’s considered a best practice to go back about 10 years at most when selecting which work to feature. Don’t forget to prepare brief talking points: According to Julie, your ability to seamlessly navigate through your portfolio can make or break your chances of landing the project. “An inability to articulate their work and how it relates to the opportunity at hand is the top reason why candidates don’t receive job offers,” she says. Fortunately, this mistake can be easily avoided with some pre-interview prep. You can start by reviewing your portfolio and selecting a handful of projects that relate to what the job entails. In the interview, these examples can serve as talking points to help guide the conversation and prove you are the right fit for the role. Just remember that an interview is meant to be a two-way street, so keep your explanations brief and to-the-point! This will give the hiring manager opportunities to discuss the role in greater detail and ask you questions.
20 January 2017
It’s common knowledge that networking is an essential factor toward career success, but it’s also easy to forget just how often we should be making the effort! If you’ve been working in your field for a couple of years, you probably already have some sort of established network. However, expanding your network can be difficult if you already struggle to network in general. Deciding where to start can be overwhelming at first, but instead of viewing networking opportunities with trepidation, view them as opportunities for professional development. Before you know it, you’ll get the hang of it and have an even more impressive network than you could have imagined! Here are 5 ways to get started: Research networking events and trade shows near you One of the easiest ways to start growing your professional network is by attending networking events or trade shows. Networking events are specifically designed for people with similar interests to come together and discuss their interests, so this is a perfect growth opportunity for you and your network. Not sure how to find an event in your area? There are dozens of websites geared toward helping professionals find events, including LinkedIn, Meetup, and Eventbrite. A quick search of your career field will usually turn up several future networking events, so be sure to look and see what is out there! Join a professional organization Regardless of the industry you work in, there are likely several professional organizations you could become a member of. These organizations typically serve as a function to further the success of their particular field, and it is usually made up of people with years of experience, knowledge, and connections. While joining a professional organization offers you the opportunity to build connections, it also gives you a chance to further your own knowledge in your profession. Don’t limit yourself to your industry Are you already part of a professional organization? Already a regular on your industry’s networking scene? Don’t assume that networking should only be limited to events specifically targeted to your career field! If you have a hobby or special interest you feel passionately about, don’t shy away from attending these types of events as well. While building up your professional network with people within your industry is important, it’s also valuable to expand your network with those who may not work in your field, but do share a common passion with you. Pursue volunteer opportunities One resource for building professional networks that some professionals neglect is volunteering with a charity or advocacy group you feel passionately about. Professional networking events can be limited to small talk, which is frustrating for people looking to make deeper connections with other like-minded people. However, volunteer work often leads to more substantial discussions and presents more opportunities to build stronger and deeper relationships. Plus, building relationships with people from backgrounds that are different from yours will help you establish a stronger network than one that is limited just to your career interests. Use alumni networks If you went to college, your school likely has an alumni association that is tasked with hosting networking events for you and your fellow graduates. Similar to non-career volunteering and networking events, alumni networking events expose you to professionals from different fields, but with similar interests. Alumni events are a great place to rekindle old memories, but they’re also an excellent way to discover new career opportunities that you may not have considered in the past. Plus, your fellow alumni tend to be among the most generous in regards to helping you land a new job, so definitely don’t let those opportunities go to waste!
19 January 2017
As an IT professional, it can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing needs of such a fast-paced industry. One area of the technology field that is growing exponentially is data. “As organizations increase their use of technology across the board, they continue to gather more and more data surrounding every aspect of their business,” says Bryant Vargas, a Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division. “Once they have this data, they need specialists within the IT field who can analyze this information and provide valuable insights for the organization.” As organizations get on board with data analysis, the demand for these skill sets has increased rapidly over the last few years. “2017 will be no exception,” says John Carey, a Senior Technical Recruiter within The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division. “Professionals who have a handle on data analysis will be in a good position in the job market as organizations continue to add more resources for that field.” In particular, there are several technical skills that have seen immense growth in job demand in recent years, according to Forbes. “A big trend in these top technical skills is data processing, which should be incorporated into any IT professional’s skill set” says Bryant. For IT professionals looking to stay up-to-date on the data skills with the highest demand, John and Bryant recommend brushing up on these 4 skills to boost your marketability in 2017: Big Data: Large organizations are collecting more and more information every year, and these large sets of raw data can’t be analyzed by traditional processing tools. “Specialists who are trained to handle large amounts of information to generate valuable insights and identify patterns can greatly assist an organization looking to make data-driven decisions,” notes Bryant. Apache Hadoop: Hadoop is an open-source framework for a programming language. The software library allows for the distributed processing of large data sets across clusters of computers using simple programming models. Python or R: Of course, Hadoop is useless if you don’t know the coding languages necessary to sort through the data. “Both languages, Python and R, handle the data processing, visualization, and machine learning,” says John. “And they’re the most in-demand of their kind, so you’ll want to be sure that you’re fluent in one of the two.” Tableau: Once data and insights are compiled, Tableau allows you to arrange and visualize your findings to present to other departments. “By communicating what you’ve learned to other parts of the organization, your colleagues can then make informed decisions to increase their revenue and productivity,” explains Bryant. Gaining exposure and experience with these elements of data processing is not always easy, and it will require consistent effort to stay up-to-date. “Take ownership of your skill set, and make it a priority to learn the current trends in technology and data processing,” recommends John. Depending on your skill level, use the following strategies to continue learning: Take a class: “For those at the beginner level looking to expand their skill set, you might consider taking a class to get the basics,” says Bryant. “There are several lower-cost options like General Assembly, where you can learn from other professionals in a formal classroom environment.” Utilize online resources: “If you don’t feel like you need a class, but maybe just need to brush up, there are plenty of online resources and tutorials to get you up to speed,” explains John. “Tools like coding academies or even simple YouTube tutorials can tell you what you need to know. Additionally, you can find online communities of professionals like you through social media groups or online forums in order to learn from one another.” Ask for a new project at work: “Many professionals may simply be a little rusty and require some practice,” notes Bryant. “If you are ready to take on a project but don’t have the tools available to you, sit down with your supervisor to ask for a new project in order to brush up. When you do so, be sure to show how this project will benefit the organization.” Take a look at job openings: “If you can’t seem to get exposure through your current position, you may want to consider looking at other opportunities,” says John. “While these skill sets are increasingly in-demand by many organizations, businesses may use these tools differently from one to the next. If you’re looking for a specific experience, chances are there is a company looking for you.”
19 January 2017
On January 18th, The Execu|Search Group’s Creative & Digital division hosted a lunch and learn workshop, Presenting Your Best Self In The New Year, for design professionals. At the workshop, attendees learned about strategies for professional success from creative career experts, including Darin Holt, Creative Resource Manager at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, and our own Creative & Digital recruiters. This included tips for perfecting their design portfolio, improving their personal branding, and professional development opportunities for diversifying their skills. In the latter part of the workshop, all attendees had the opportunity to speak with Darin or a member of the Creative & Digital team to discuss their resume or portfolio. “It’s a new year, and for many, that means new career resolutions,” says Heather Cianchetti, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Creative & Digital division. “Whether it’s gearing up for a job search or picking up a new skill, this is the time of year when many creatives start to evaluate their goals and make plans for accomplishing them. As a result, we offered this workshop to help the professionals we partner with find success in the year ahead.” The Execu|Search Group’s Creative & Digital division is committed to providing educational resources for an ever-changing and fast-paced industry. To be sure that you don’t miss the next event, follow the Creative & Digital team on Instagram, and to learn about your next job, or your next great hire, check out our Creative & Digital site.
18 January 2017
The Execu|Search Group is pleased to announce that we have been approved by the New York State Physical Therapy Board to serve as a continuing education (CE) provider for physical therapists and physical therapy assistants. Mindy Booth, OTR/L and Senior Director of Clinical Services for Execu|Search’s Health Services team, spearheaded the initiative. “We consistently hold ourselves to the highest industry standards, and this approval truly highlights our commitment to professional development and high-quality care,” says Mindy. “This approval allows The Execu|Search Group to administer a variety of CE courses that will help therapists expand their skills through reflective practice and ongoing education.” Mindy is an Occupational Therapist and has practiced in the field since 1997 with a focus in pediatrics as well as adult and geriatric intervention. Since 2015, Mindy has worked with The Execu|Search Group’s Health Services division to develop a comprehensive continuing education, mentorship, and staff development program for therapists across all disciplines. The CE courses offered will cover a range of approved subject areas from introductory to advanced topics. Courses will be administered through in person workshops, live webinars, or pre-recorded formats. Practicing therapists will also have the opportunity to host CE courses through The Execu|Search Group. Mindy will partner with Michael Feist, DPT, Continuing Education Consultant, to ensure we continue to meet the guidelines set by the Board. Michael is a LSVT certified professional and has extensive specialty education in the treatment of people with Parkinson’s disease. In addition, he is a resident assessment certified specialist (RAC-CT) for long term facilities. Ultimately, The Execu|Search Group is working towards being recognized by AOTA and ASHA as an approved continuing education provider for Occupational Therapists and Speech Language Pathologists.