Resolutions for Getting a Job in 2010 Hiring Pros on What Job Seekers Must Do in This Tough Market
The Recruiter Roundtable is a monthly feature that collects career and job-seeking advice from a group of recruiting experts throughout the United States. The question we put before our panel this month is:
With unemployment rates at record levels in many parts of the country, what would you say are the one or two things job seekers MUST do in order to succeed in landing a job in 2010?
Exhaust All Options
Exhaust every resource at your disposal. Let members of your network know the type of job you seek and work with a recruiter that specializes in your field. Refine your resume and look for opportunities, such as courses or seminars, to enhance your skills and industry expertise.
Also, in your resume and interviews with hiring managers, stay focused on how you can help the prospective employer. The onus is on you to show why you are the right person for the job and will be a valuable contributor to the success of the organization, making it imperative to customize your resume for each position and research companies thoroughly before submitting your application materials and meeting with them. -- DeLynn Senna, executive director of North American permanent placement services, Robert Half International
Do Thorough Research
If you're interviewing with a company, diligently research all aspects of their products, company strategy, executive team, and latest organizational changes. When you are in a situation with a recruiter or company representative, be yourself and don't be nervous. But be able to talk about the topics that interest you with passion. -- Ross Pasquale, recruiting/sourcing consultant, Monday Ventures
Tailor the Resume and Network
In order to land a job in 2010, you will need to network and tailor your resume specifically for each position.
Think of everyone who might be able to help you -- family, friends, social acquaintances, former business associates, leave no stone unturned. Don't be shy! You can get the word out without being obnoxious or sounding desperate. Join a professional organization and attend the meetings. You'll get useful information and leads by networking with those who are active in your field of expertise.
Create a general resume that can be customized. Be aware of keywords. Use bullet points for a cleaner look and just state the facts. Recruiters will not spend time on a resume that contains errors and doesn't have a professional appearance. -- Debbie Dean, recruiter, Wells Fargo
Go for a Realistic Match
Job seekers must remain focused on opportunities that are a solid match to their background, skills, and abilities. While it might be tempting to apply for every open position out there, a targeted search will be a much more efficient use of job-search resources and will give the best chance of success. A hiring manager's number one question is, "Why did this person apply to my job posting?" To be a successful finalist, you need to have a better response than, "It was open." -- Noah Apodaca, lead recruiter for staff at the University of California, Irvine
7 Things You Should Have Said at the Job Interview By Linda Matias, author of "201 Knockout Answers to Tough Interview Questions"
One common complaint among job seekers is that they go on interview after interview and never receive a job offer. If you fit into this category, consider the possibility that you might be unknowingly sabotaging yourself by offering a weak interview performance.
Below are typical interview scenarios, common job-seeker mistakes and the best way to manage each situation.
Scenario No. 1: The interviewer came out swinging, asking tough but appropriate questions regarding a professional hiccup: your employment gap and job-hopping image. The question either left you stuttering with an incoherent message or sounding defensive because you were confrontational. What you should have said: When the interviewer read your résumé, she knew about your job- search challenge and invited you in for an interview. As such, your hiccup wasn't a deal breaker, but a negative response could be one. Explain your situation without getting emotional or hotheaded by saying, "In the past I made the mistake of accepting a position based on salary alone. That mindset led to hopping from one job to another, because I was never completely satisfied. Now, I'm looking to work for a company where I'm compensated well and the company values complement mine."
Scenario No. 2: The interviewer asked, "Why should I hire you?" You listed strengths that align with the open position. Although there's nothing technically wrong with your response, you could have taken your answer a step further. What you should have said: "That's a fair question. Instead of providing a canned response, I'd like to participate in an audition interview so you can see my work ethic firsthand." An audition interview is when you perform the tasks of the position as though you were hired. This way, the hiring manager can see your performance before extending an official job offer.
Scenario No. 3: "Why are you looking to leave your existing position?" is another typical question, one that you were expecting but weren't quite sure how to address. Your motive is grounded in bad feelings, and you blurt out, "My boss is out to get me. I'm tired of being looked over for promotions." What you should have said: Honesty is always the best policy when answering interview questions. There is a difference, however, between shooting yourself in the foot and providing a straightforward response. If you're leaving a position because of office politics, the interviewer doesn't need to know the specifics. As a result, a neutral response such as, "I've advanced as far as I can with ABC Co. So I'm looking for a position where I can manage a larger territory and bring in lucrative accounts," works well because it's truthful without oversharing.
Scenario No. 4: Since the average person searches for a new job about every two years, the interviewer wanted to know how long you planned to stay with the company if hired. Not sure how to respond, you said, "Until retirement." At first blush, the response sounds like a good one, because you're making a commitment to the hiring organization. But the response comes off as brown-nosing and not entirely believable in today's environment. What you should have said: Show your ambition alongside your dedication by saying, "I plan on staying on board as long as I'm contributing to the department and growing professionally."
Scenario No. 5: You committed an interview misstep by arriving late. Nervous, you rambled with a long excuse, bringing prolonged attention to your blunder. What you should have said: Apologize and move on quickly. Extend your hands and say, "My apologies for my late arrival. I'm enthusiastic about the position and am looking forward to discussing how my accomplishments support the open requirements."
Scenario No. 6: Toward the end of the interview, you were given an opportunity to raise questions. You asked typical questions, such as, "How soon do you expect to make a decision?" but stopped short of asking for the job outright. What you should have said: "Based on today's conversation, do you have any reservations about extending me a job offer? If the interviewer provides a reason for hesitation, resell your qualifications. If the interviewer says "no," respond with, "I'm interested in the position. Can I have the job?" You'll be surprised that many will hire you contingent on a referral check.
Scenario No. 7: At one point during the interview you were asked about your salary requirements. Based on advice you read over and over again, you throw back the question by asking, "What's the budget for the position?" Unfortunately, you did this one too many times, and the interviewer became irritated. What you should have said: It's acceptable to avoid answering the salary question one or two times, but answer the question when asked a third time. You can provide a range by saying, "Based on the responsibilities of the job and my proven success in driving profits, I'm looking for compensation within the $60,000 to $75,000 range."
With the right responses, you can turn those awkward interview situations around and land the job you want.
Linda Matias, JCTC, CIC, NCRW, is the author of the new book "201 Knockout Answers to Tough Interview Questions: The Ultimate Guide to Handling the New Competency-Based Interview Style" (Amacom 2009). As the president of CareerStrides, a career consulting firm, Matias coaches clients on effective interview techniques. For additional information visit: www.careerstrides.com.
Thank you for your interest in this in this position. At this time, the position is on hold. Please continue to check back for our latest job postings.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates with Soldering experience for a temp to hire opportunity in Alpharetta. $10 per hour. Multiple positions available. 1st shift available now, with second shift starting in February. Must have production soldering experience.
Candidates must be local to the Alpharetta area and have reliable transportation. Please send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Thank you for your interest in this in this position. At this time, the position is on hold. Please continue to check back for our latest job postings.
DISCOVER STAFFING is seeking direct hire candidates for an inside sales position with a company located in Suwanee. Position will be selling company product to customers primarily via the telephone. 90% of the calls are outbound and cold calling is required in addition to account maintenance.
Must have at least 2 years of telephone or sales support experience,excellent communications skills,and have a desire to succeed.
Salary is $45K plus commission. Please submit resume to email@example.com
The Often-Overlooked Interview Advantage: Good Grooming by Caroline M.L. Potter, Yahoo! HotJobs
There are dozens of factors that affect whether or not you land a job: from your work and expertise to your education and your personality. In addition to these weighty factors, your appearance also counts, in particular good grooming. Fashion stylist Colin Megaro, the founder of Planet Style Concierge, says that today, "Grooming standards are definitely higher across the board." Megaro, whose company offers style analysis, personal-shopping services, and more, offers up these tips to make sure you're good to go at your next interview.
1. Good grooming is standard, no matter the industry. If you work in the music industry, you may think you can push the boundaries of good grooming -- but you'd be wrong. "Standards do not vary from industry to industry," according to Megaro. "No matter what you do for work you should always be well-groomed. Take some pride in yourself and always present the best you."
2. Nail it! Men and women should always be manicured, according to Megaro. "That's right, gentlemen! A manicure and a good buff go a long way," he states. Megaro, who styles both men and women, advises women to choose neutral colors for nails. "Bright red, black, or jeweled nails are not appropriate for the workplace."
3. Don't look shady with a "five o'clock shadow." The rugged look probably isn't best for the office, either. He says, "Five o'clock shadows aren't OK -- even after five o'clock. If you're heading to an interview from a current job or even from home, schedule it so you have time to wash your face, shave, and make sure your suit is fresh and wrinkle-free."
Facial hair can be fashionable, but it's probably best for men not to rock the ZZ Top look. "If you must have it, it needs to be short and well groomed," he cautions.
4. Put your best foot forward. "Women MUST have a pedicure if they're wearing open-toe shoes, but even if you're a man, your shoes shouldn't look as if you regularly walk on hot coals (unless that's the job you're pursuing)," Megaro counsels. He recommends that shoes always be polished with proper soles. If you scuff a shoe, he reveals, "A Sharpie the color of your shoe can save the day!"
5. Wear it well. Make sure your clothes reflect the job you're pursuing. "When dressing for an interview, research the company and dress accordingly. If you are interviewing at a bank, wear a classic suit with a beautiful tie or scarf. If it's a media company, you have a bit more freedom. Aim for a more modern suit with a great briefcase/bag. You should show your personality and individualism when it's appropriate," he states.
6. Breathe easy. Fresh breath is a priority if you're going on an interview. Megaro points out, "You don't want to smell bad breath on other people and, trust me, they don't want to smell it on you!" He recommends brushing your teeth, carrying breath mints, and keeping mouthwash in your desk or breath strips in your pocket.
7. Use scented products sparingly. If you're wearing cologne or perfume, exercise caution. "Yes, it can be worn, but please do not bathe yourself in it. Remember that some people are sensitive or allergic to smells. Also, no one wants to walk into a wall of cologne," Megaro says.
8. Act natural. Aim for a daytime appearance, especially when pursuing an office job. Megaro, whose company also offers wardrobe consultation and shopping tours, urges job seekers, "Avoid wearing too much makeup or overpowering nail color, and keep hair color to natural tones. We don't need to see bright colors, over-done highlights, or bad wigs."
9. Tress to impress. Beware of overdone hair. Megaro says, "Too much, whether it be color or product, is never attractive!" If you're a bit too coiffed, you may appear high-maintenance, and, possibly, out of touch.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking a Human Resources Generalist for a position in Alpharetta. Client is looking for someone with a minimum 5 years HR Generalist experience. HR Managers or Directors are not being considered at this time. Will be responsible for employee benefits, employee relations, policies and procedures, maintaining employee records, training and development, compliance and reporting. Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with focus on HR preferred. Proficiency in MS Office required.
Please submit your resume to laura@discoverstaffing for consideration. Only qualified candidates will be considered at this time. No phone calls please.
Is Your Resume Costing You a Dream Job? by StyleCaster, on Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:36am PST
Contrary to Legally Blonde, dyeing your resume pink and bathing it in Chanel No. 5 will not get you into Harvard, nor will it get you a job. In case you take career advice from Elle Woods, below you will find the worst resume mistakes in the history of resumes mistakes, followed by why these little errors are the reason why you're not even granted a pity interview. Spell check doesn't catch everything, and no one cares how active you were in Girl Scouts, unless you traveled to India to empower girls to sell Thin Mints. Which, in that case, we'll take two boxes.
The idea of a resume is to fit the most pertinent information into a small space. (On that note, a resume should NEVER, under any circumstances, be more than one page long.) Your name and contact information should not be size 40 font, and you should include multiple ways of contacting you; phone, address, and email are sufficient.
[Here is where I disagree with StyleCaster. Recruiters today don't expect professional candidates to squish all of their important information on to one page. It is not only acceptable but also common to have your resume on two pages. However, don't let the information get out of control. Keep it succinct and professional and don't let it progress past two well-tailored pages. The ten page resume gets deleted just as quickly as the one page with no margins and too much information squeezed on.]
This should be no more than 5 or 6 words, and should state exactly what you are looking for. Keep in mind your wording could give them an impression of how experienced, or inexperienced you are. If it says "Seeking an entry-level position," guess what? That's the salary you'll be offered.
[Many recruiters also suggest that you leave an objective off all together. If you still feel the need to include it, tailor it to each individual company that you apply to. Recruiters will not consider a resume where the objective is "To seek a position in Accounting" that has been submitted to a clearly labeled Receptionist job posting. Instead, you may want to consider a summary or just begin your resume with relevant experience.]
Think of a resume like an upside-down pyramid. The most important information should be on the top, and the farther down the page you go, the less important the information is. Your potential employers knows how to skim resumes, and if they don't see something impressive in the beginning, they will move on. Make sure your experiences are first, recognizable names and companies are more impressive than what school you went to.
[Another rule of thumb for resumes is to keep it to the last ten years of professional experience. Recruiters and hiring managers don't need to see that you worked at McDonald's in college if you have also had 15 years of otherwise professional experience.]
Things not to include
Reasons why you were fired or left from a job, winning a spelling bee in high school, and your high school GPA and SAT scores. Also, do not include typos. Have ten people read your resume over after you, so that they might catch any grammatical errors that you may not have caught. Also, do not include your Myspace or Facebook page link. Chances are, if you're being considered for the job...they'll see it soon enough, anyway. Also, do not link to your personal blog unless it is somewhat successful or extremely relevant to the job you're applying for. Lastly, do not rhyme. (Saying you have a passion for fashion is more than not okay.)
[Not completely inappropriate advice. However, I would encourage you to use your LinkedIn page link on your resume. It is becoming a common standard for today's professional networking. But I do agree with the advice about your blog. If you have a successful blog that matches your career path, by all means include it. This also applies to hobbies; if your hobby directly relates to the position to which you are applying, feel free to include it. If not, leave it off along with other personal information including your birth date, photographs, or marital status.]
The worst thing you could do
And finally. Never appear at an interview without a copy of your resume. Can't find a printer in time? Reschedule the interview. Unless you won the Nobel Peace Prize, showing up sans resume is what Liz Lemon calls a dealbreaker, ladies.
[This is true - recruiters and hiring managers typically have a copy of your resume, but it shows another level of attention to detail if you bring one yourself. However, I believe it is negligent advice to reschedule an interview just because you have been unable to locate a printer. Be a 100% professional candidate and don't let either event happen.]
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for a Security Analyst position in Alpharetta. Will be supporting the security, investigations and incident response team. Will monitor and execute security processes. Must have experience with MS Office, PC and Internet, and SQL. Must have excellent attention to detail. Track and update incident reports and review daily logs. This is a contract position, up to $17.00 per hour.
Only qualified candidates will be considered. Please send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org - no phone calls please.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for a Shared Services/Quality Support position in Alpharetta. Will be responsible for finding, extracting, analyzing and reporting data for quality, supply chain, customer care, purchasing and accounts payable departments. Will be developing and automating the metrics using information systems. Must have experience with creative data mining. Will also facilitate meetings, special projects and workshops. Must have experience with data management and structure, JDE and SalesLogix, MS Office, Business Objects and Lotus Notes. Bachelor's degree in Business or Science. 5+ years industry or business experience. Direct Hire position, $50,000.
Only qualified candidates will be considered. Please submit your resume to email@example.com - no phone calls please.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for a Planning Specialist position in Alpharetta. Will be responsible for forecasting, production planning, logistics, supply chain management, inventory management process, production scheduling and control, and MRPII Systems. Must have a bachelor's degree in a science subject, Industrial Engineering preferred with Supply Chain focus. Must have 5 years experience within a supply chain function and production area. $50,000 annual salary, direct hire position.
Only qualified candidates will be considered. Please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org - no phone calls please.
Certification Programs and the Job Search Edge By Rachel Zupek, CareerBuilder.com writer
Have you ever seen "CMP," "CQM" or "PMP" behind someone's name and not had a clue what it meant -- or if it meant anything at all?
Contrary to what you might think, those letters aren't just for show. In fact, those two or three symbols can separate you from the pack or be the reason you get the job over someone else.
"Especially in today's business climate, anything that differentiates you from the crowd and emphasizes your commitment to your profession is career critical," says Kent Johnson, partner for Da Vinci Search, a Minneapolis-based recruiting firm. "As hiring managers pore over the multitude of résumés for an opening, their eyes will naturally pick up those with the all important initials that trail their name."
Sheri Rice Bentley, APR, a public relations specialist for Knupp & Watson Inc., says earning her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) enhanced her career tremendously. APR, the only certification that exists for public relations professionals, consists of presenting work to a jury of PR professionals, followed by a written exam. After Rice Bentley passed the exam, she was immediately headhunted into a position that paid 50 percent more than her previous salary and boosted her to the managerial level.
Lesly Simmons, APR, a media relations specialist with the American Red Cross, concurs that the designation has been a huge professional improvement.
"In a field like PR that doesn't typically have degrees associated with it, it shows my peers that I have a certain level of expertise on the field. It wasn't easy, but it was definitely worth it," Simmons says.
How can credentialing help you?
Certifications show employers your dedication and commitment to your profession. They show you're credible and knowledgeable about current trends and best practices in your field. In addition, designations polish all skill sets -- not just the hard skills you might need in a position. In fact, 64 percent of employers in a recent CareerBuilder.com survey found social interview skills and the ability to communicate well were the most important assets in a potential employee.
"Staying on top of soft skills such as critical thinking and time management while maintaining expertise in hard skills such as widely used software programs provides candidates and employees with a necessary edge," says Christian Idiodi, director of CBInstitute.com, a division of CareerBuilder.com that offers online courses and certifications.
Even if you already have a designation, employers expect workers to consistently improve their current skill sets. According to the survey, the following percentages of employers want their employees to sharpen their skills in the following areas: time management (62 percent), customer service (45 percent), Microsoft Excel (44 percent), leadership (39 percent), interpersonal skills (33 percent), business etiquette (26 percent) and business ethics (17 percent).
While there is no doubt certifications open the door and improve your chances of getting an interview, official recognitions are not the silver bullet, says Wayne Botha, a project manager with two designations: Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and Project Management Professional (PMP).
"Certifications are especially beneficially when coupled with an appropriate number of years of experience in the field that you work," Botha says.
In some cases, however, certifications might count for more than just an added skill. Joe Palmer doesn't have a degree but believes his certifications as a bookkeeper, notary public, registered representative (series 7 & 63), and business coach and trainer count as qualifications in the absence of a degree.
"Years of experience are a great gauge, though interviewers had to see my highlighted accomplishments to even entertain me," says Palmer, a life coach and certified sales and leadership trainer. "I absolutely believe that my certifications are important and attractive to employers."
What kinds of certifications are out there?
There are literally thousands of certifications available to people, both on and offline, specializing in hard and soft skills, and in every industry. CBInstitute.com, for example, offers more than 4,000 courses and certifications in topics ranging from business etiquette and workplace safety to language skills and customer service.
"CBInstitute.com offers easy-to-use online courses at all levels to help employees get ahead in their current jobs or improve their skills to land the job they aspire to have," Idiodi says.
Looking to expand your skill set, boost your salary and make yourself more marketable to employers? Here are several certificate programs that you might not have known about to beef up your résumé:
Designation: Certified florist
Where you can earn it: Only a few states offer floral design certifications through their state floral associations. Among them are the California Certified Florist (CCF) and Texas Master Florist (TMF) programs. Shenlei Winkler received her TMF and says it always earned her a higher salary and more respect on the job.
Designation: Search engine marketing
Where you can earn it: There are several search engine optimization and marketing programs that offer certifications; you just need to find one that's right for you. Jon Negrini, founder of the search marketing firm Arrive Digital Marketing Solutions, is certified in SEM with Google Adwords and Yahoo! Search Marketing. Negrini says his certifications with these companies, who are industry leaders in search marketing, add a nice touch and a level of professionalism to his résumé.
Designation: Certified plant maintenance manager
Where you can earn it: The Association of Facilities Engineering will administer an online and classroom course beginning in February 2009. The CPMM certifies these professionals are qualified in preventive and predictive maintenance, work-flow planning and scheduling and overall productive management.
Designation: Accredited jeweler professional
Where you can earn it: The Gemological Institute of America, which developed the four C's of diamond value (color, cut, clarity and carat weight), offers an accredited jewelry professional diploma program that focuses on product knowledge and proven sales techniques. It's offered through distance education only and is accredited by the Distance Education Training Council.
Designation: Certified purchasing manager
Where you can earn it: The American Purchasing Society has a purchasing certification program for professionals in the purchasing industry. If offers two certifications: a certified purchasing professional (CPP) and a certified professional purchasing manager (CPPM).
Designation: Professional in human resources
Where you can earn it: The HR Certification Institute offers several certifications for HR professionals, including Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR). The requirements and qualifications for each vary, as do the conditions to keep certifications current. Cathy Missildine-Martin, SPHR, has had her designation for 13 years and says it's helped her establish authority. "HR historically has not had a lot of credibility, but I have found that having the certification helps with that," she says.
Designation: Certified wedding consultant and coordinator
Where you can earn it: It may seem obscure, but wedding certifications are actually available through a number of media and in a number of different ways. Some companies offer online certification, while The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants, for example, says certification is available after working two years as a consultant, completing 18 weddings and obtaining 14 letters of recommendation.
Designation: Certified professional organizer
Where you can earn it: The National Association of Professional Organizers sponsors the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers, which offers the certified professional organizer (CPO) designation to anyone, not just professional organizers. Candidates must document 1,500 hours of paid work experience in the last three years, according to the BCPO Web site. CPOs must also adhere to a code of ethics.
Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for a Shopper Recruiter position in Norcross. Will be recruiting independent contractors for mystery shopping opportunities throughout the country. (Not a "work from home" scam!) Hours are 9am to 6pm. Must be experienced in and comfortable with cold calling. Must be a creative thinker with great communications skills. Professional attitude is a requirement. Must be organized with excellent follow up skills. Previous experience with Cold Calling or Sourcing is required. Temp to hire opportunity starting at $12 an hour.
Candidates must be local to the Norcross area and have reliable transportation. Please send your resume to email@example.com
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for an Accounts Services Coordinator in Alpharetta. Our client is seeking candidates with a background in distribution and inventory. Consumer goods experience and bilingual preferred. Will be processing orders by phone, mail, fax, Internet or email. Update customers on status of orders, prices, or additional information. Will be entering orders for merchandise or material and tracking PO's. Client prefers individuals with tangible product inventory or distribution experience, not call center. Position pays $16.00+ depending on experience.
Candidates must be local to the Alpharetta area and have reliable transportation. Only qualified candidates will be considered. Please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. No phone calls please.
Posted on Yahoo! Hotjobs, I liked this article for it's practical advice. This time of year, when more people are spending time being social and gearing up for the holiday and the end of the year you may find that social networking is the best medium for focusing your job search. The following are tips for the working professional, but they are good to keep in mind for any step of your job search and career.
Facebook Tips for Working Professionals by Doug White, Robert Half International
To friend or not to friend, that is the question.
As more people embrace Facebook and other social media websites for business purposes, the already fine line between what's professional and what's personal continues to blur. It can be difficult to determine which work-related contacts to connect with and what content to share. Here is some friendly advice:
Let your boss make the first move. According to a new Robert Half survey, nearly half of executives polled said they are uncomfortable getting Facebook friend requests from people they manage.
Regardless of how much rapport you have in the office, your supervisor simply might not want to connect with employees on personal networking sites. Avoid awkwardness by waiting for your boss to reach out to you first. And if you choose to accept the friend request, make sure you don't post anything you wouldn't want him or her to see!
Protect your privacy -- and your professional image. Familiarize yourself with Facebook's privacy settings. Remember: Unless you use this feature, every word or image you post can be seen by all of your Facebook friends. Do you really want coworkers and clients to view your vacation photos?
Adopt a better-safe-than-sorry approach by creating a separate "work" list and limiting the content you make accessible to those contacts. You can even go a step further and customize your settings to block specific individuals from viewing certain sections of your profile, such as photos of you and your friends.
Exercise good judgment. This common-sense message bears repeating: Don't be your own worst enemy. If you have a bad day, cool off before clicking. Badmouthing your boss, a colleague, or a hiring manager through Facebook is a highly risky move that's come back to haunt many professionals. Similarly, if you're currently employed (and you want to remain so), think twice before writing status updates about your search for a better job. In addition, avoid becoming a fan of potentially controversial people or products, or taking online quizzes (for which there are no privacy controls) that could be deemed unprofessional.
Consistently monitor your online reputation. Managing your so-called "digital footprint" requires more than merely monitoring what you post. Check your Facebook account regularly to keep tabs on the information others are broadcasting about you.
You'll want to act quickly if someone makes an inappropriate comment on your Facebook wall ("Steve, are you still working for that boneheaded boss?") or identifies you in an embarrassing photo. You can easily delete comments posted on your wall and untag yourself from pictures by clicking "Remove Tag" under the image. You also might contact the person to express your displeasure and politely request that he or she keep your professional reputation in mind in the future.
While Facebook enables savvy professionals and job seekers to build key connections, there are also many pitfalls to sidestep. By taking the tips highlighted above, you can be sure that Facebook helps -- not hinders -- your career.
Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 360 offices worldwide. For more information about our professional services, please visit rhi.com. For additional workplace articles and podcasts, visit workvine.com.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for Auditing and Scheduling positions.
Candidates for the auditor position must have a degree in English or a related field and experience as an editor, writer, journalist or similar. Must be proficient in MS Word, Excel and Outlook as well as have excellent grammar, vocabulary and spelling skills. Must be available to work evening and weekend hours. Some of the work will be completed at home so must have a home phone line and reliable Internet access. $13per hour. Candidates who speak French Canadian also encouraged to apply.
Candidates for the scheduler position will be responsible for contacting independent contractors and scheduling them for events. May make up to 60 phone calls an hour. Required evening and weekend hours. Will be working both in the office and from home so a home phone line and reliable Internet access is required. Must have prior experience with call center or telemarketing. Candidates who speak French Canadian also encouraged to apply.
Please send your resume to email@example.com for consideration.
Holiday Job Searching Don't Believe the Myths By Susan M. Heathfield, About.com Guide
Many job searchers are convinced that job searching between Thanksgiving and the middle of January is a waste of time. If you buy into this myth about holiday job searching, you are losing one of the better job searching seasons of the year. During this holiday job search season, you enjoy reduced competition for jobs and more. Debunk the common holiday job searching myths.
During this holiday season, you enjoy reduced competition for jobs and easier access to decision makers who are actually in the office. Fall trade shows are over and holiday vacations have yet to kick in.
You have the opportunity to help people spend their budgets before year end. Hiring managers, with fresh goals for the new year, are eager to find people who can help them get the jump on goal accomplishment. If nothing else, many organizations interview in December for positions starting at the first of the year.
Holiday Job Searching Tips If you're ready to drop the seasonal holiday job searching blues, here are several tips that will help your holiday job search.
Use holiday events for schmoozing with family, friends and acquaintances. You never know who will produce your next job lead. Attend as many events as you can reasonably fit into your calendar. You don't want to be obnoxious about your job search and aggravate friends and relatives. But, do prepare a brief statement that tells people you are looking for a job and the kind of job you seek.
Send holiday cards with your business card enclosed to hiring managers with whom you've recently interviewed. Send one to well-connected friends as well.
Create a job searching schedule with at least one item to accomplish every day. Don't get lazy or depressed; keep your spirits up by taking positive action during the entire holiday season.
Check the classifieds in your target job searching markets from late November through December. Those employers are still conducting their searches, unless they happened upon a "perfect" candidate. Continue to check the online job boards as well. And, don't forget to check company Web sites if you have selected employers for whom you'd like to work.
Check professional association websites for advertised positions.
Take seasonal work during the holidays to tide your finances into the New Year. Temporary agencies also see an increase in employer requests as companies struggle to complete annual goals and enable employees to use their vacation time.
Take all of the job searching tips you've gathered throughout your job search and work doubly hard to accomplish them during the holiday job searching season. You won't be sorry.
DISCOVER STAFFING is working with a great company in Kennesaw looking for a Service Technician for an innovative technology. Background in computer repair or automotive technology required. Bilingual Spanish helpful, but not required. Great opportunity to grow with this company. $15 to start with possibility for larger salary or salary plus commission. Position may evolve to include national or international travel to sites for product repair.
Candidates must be local to the Kennesaw area. Only qualified candidates will be considered. Please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Thank you for your interest in this position. The client has made a hiring decision at this time. Please continue to check back for our most up to date job postings.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for two part time receptionist positions. Our client, located in Lawrenceville is looking for two experienced receptionists to job share. One shift would be from 8:30am to 1pm and the other would be from 1pm to 5:30pm. Candidates must have 2+ years receptionist experience, good phone presentation, customer service attitude, and computer skills including Excel and IM. $12 per hour. Temp to hire opportunity.
Candidates must be local to the Lawrenceville area and have reliable transportation. Must have recent receptionist experience. Please send your resume with a cover email to email@example.com for consideration.
The following is from our DISCOVER STAFFING Career Resource Center archives. If you are new to our website, please feel free to browse our previous articles for great information to help you in your job search.
When you apply with DISCOVER STAFFING or any staffing service, you will be asked to bring with you IDs to show that you are eligible to work in the United States. So, what does that actually mean to you? Please check out the official PDF form of the current I-9.
On the fourth page, you will see a list of approved documents. These are the forms that you need to bring with you when you apply. You only need to provide either one document from List A or a combination of one document from List B and one document from List C. Companies cannot accept two forms from the same list. Companies also cannot specify exactly which forms you provide.
What the I-9 actually does is verify that the employer has reviewed your employment eligibility status and determined that you are eligible to be employed legally in the United States. Companies face stiff penalties from the Department of Homeland Security for not completing this information accurately.
Thank you so much for your cooperation in the I-9 process.
With the use of social networking such as LinkedIn and Facebook, the 21st Century Job Search is very different from the techniques of the past. This great article from MSN Careers provides advice on culling references from these sources.
Facebook friends as job references? These days, hiring managers can talk to anyone about you By Eve Tahmincioglu, MSNBC contributor
Time was you could control the references a prospective employer contacted because you provided them with a well-thought out list of colleagues and former bosses you knew would provide glowing recommendations.
But with the proliferation of social networking sites loaded with lists of your contacts, and your contacts' contacts, it's like the Wild West of references for job seekers. You never know whom a hiring manager may end up talking to about you.
Almost every human resource professional I talk to lately admits to using these social networking sites to check out applicants, beyond just public profiles and résumés. In many cases, if an HR person shares a job seeker's connection on a networking site, they'll just e-mail that contact to find out the dirt on the applicant without permission from the applicant.
The thinking is, there's nothing illegal or unethical about it because you're flaunting your connections in the public domain.
So it's time to think long and hard about the many friends and contacts you now have on your social networking pages. Just because someone is on your list of friends on Facebook doesn't necessarily mean you want that individual as your reference for a job.
"The old days of a page with three references and three phone numbers on it that you controlled are over," says Jennifer L. Berman, an HR attorney with consulting firm CBIZ in Chicago. "With these networking sites, you've opened up your rolodex for the whole world to see."
Cybersleuthing Indeed, Sergio Alvarez, executive vice president of Internet sales for Internet advertising firm Ambassador Media Group, recently used LinkedIn to get the skinny on a candidate he was considering hiring.
"This sales person was on LinkedIn and he had a contact on there from one of our competitors. Since everyone knows everyone in this industry, we contacted someone there directly," he explains.
The job applicant had no idea Alvarez was doing the stealthy online reference check, but it worked out well for the candidate because he got a positive recommendation and the job.
If you don't want prospective employers calling certain people on your friends' list, you could list those individuals on a private list, which many sites now offer. But that sort of defeats the purpose of these sites: networking.
Many of these networking sites now include functions allowing contacts to include written recommendations or you're-a-great-person labels. LinkedIn literally has an icon of a thumb pointing up to signify a friend or associate has recommended a contact.
On Jobster.com, there's a section where you can ask your colleagues to send you a letter of recommendation.
Here's the canned e-mail you can send out: Would you write a brief recommendation of my work that I can include on my Jobster profile?
Recommendation dos and don'ts These are all great tools, but beware of recommendation hoarding, either getting too many or giving too many.
If you have a bunch of your non-work pals writing testimonials on Jobster, or recommending you on LinkedIn, employers may be turned off if they call your cyber connections to find out what kind of employee you may be, only to find out that you were just drinking buddies.
"This opens the door for the prospective employer to request to speak to these references, thinking that the relationship is professional in nature, to validate claims made by the candidate during the interview process about their achievements and experiences," says Lee B. Salz, author of "Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager." "When they find that the reference is personal instead of professional, a trust issue develops between the employer and prospective employee."
For managers who give out recommendations on social networking sites, the rules of reference non-engagement still apply. Companies have for some years put the kibosh on bosses giving out good or bad recommendations for fear of being sued by former employees, and cyberspace should be no exception, says Rich Falcone, an employment attorney with Payne & Fears in San Francisco.
"Some managers may have the feeling of freedom in cyberspace, doing things from home when they don't feel the restraints of the office with the HR person looking over their shoulder," he says, "but we recommend they just give out name, rank and serial number."
You also don't want to give a recommendation to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Recommending someone who's incompetent could undermine your credibility in an industry or a company, says Diane Danielson, CEO of career networking site, Downtown Women's Club and author of "The Savvy Gal's Guide to Online Networking (or What Would Jane Austen Do?)"
But you want to make sure you have some recommendations on your site. Danielson suggests having at least three recommendations but no more than 10.
Honing your references Creating a list of recommendations on your site helps give you back a bit of control, says CBIZ's Berman. "A lot of hiring managers are kind a lazy, so if you give them a lot of good information, odds are they will be less aggressive in finding things out on their own," she adds.
Be sure to hone your references to people who are specific to the industry you want to enter, and place the most influential contacts at the top of your list.
That said, don't get mired in cyberspace. Just because you have a long list of virtual recommendations doesn't mean you should be dropping the ball on the traditional development of your three-person reference list, which is still a key hiring tool for many human resource managers.
As Chuck Pappalardo, managing director of Trilogy Search, a retained executive recruitment firm headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, says: "At this juncture, Facebook is simply not a serious site for business at the level I place folks. LinkedIn, however, is becoming increasingly more useful as a networking tool and in identifying candidates. But any posted reference can't be taken seriously on any level."
Since the references on these sites are often solicited, many have come to realize such references may not always be the most honest reflection of an individual.
"While some of the comments are certainly genuine with regard to service or capability, to truly check references and be satisfied that we have a 360-degree view of the candidate, we need to go beyond the obvious," Pappalardo says. "And this means making phone calls and speaking directly to those who know the candidate, including not only relying on provided reference information."
Ambassador's Alvarez says he uses the information he gets from social networking sites as just one piece of his hiring strategy.
"I won't rule out someone who's not on Facebook or LinkedIn, but having recommendations and references up on networking sites can only help you," he says.
Eve Tahmincioglu writes the weekly "Your Career" column for msnbc.com, aiming to tell daily grinders how to make work life work for them by sleuthing out career-ladder secrets rung by rung.
Are you interested in short term project work for the holiday season?
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for a variety of temporary projects throughout the holiday season, including:
General Office Projects
Positions located in Gwinnett County, North Fulton County and Cobb County areas. Candidates must have reliable transportation and flexible schedule. Please send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. No Phone Calls Please.
Despite millions of job seekers, many positions sit open By Jessica Dickler, CNNMoney.com staff writer On 1:50 pm EST, Tuesday November 3, 2009
Despite millions of unemployed job seekers desperate for work, many open positions are languishing unfilled. The reason? Not enough candidates.
With job openings largely concentrated in specialized industries like health care, green technology and energy, some employers say the problem is finding qualified workers, which are in short supply. Meanwhile, they are inundated with eager candidates from other industries who lack the skills and experience that the job requires.
According to a recent survey by Human Capital Institute and TheLadders, more than half of employers said "quality of candidates" or "availability of candidates" are their greatest challenges -- despite the recession.
Mary Willoughby, the director of human resources at the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester, New York, has been trying to hire registered nurses, home health aides and service coordinators for several of the agencies that she oversees.
Many of the positions, which require specific skills and offer salaries in the range of $30,000 to $45,000, have been vacant for six months or longer.
The job postings, which appear on CareerBuilder, Craigslist and some regional sites, garner a lot of attention, she says. "We get tons of résumés from people. We are just not getting highly qualified candidates."
The problem, according to Willoughby, is that they are bombarded by résumés from job seekers without the two years or more of health care experience necessary. "We're seeing a lot of people trying to break into the health care arena," she said.
As a result, human resources spends too much time sifting through résumés for people who aren't remotely qualified, and can't find many that are. "We've gotten close to 300 résumés for a service coordinator position. Out of that we brought in four people," she said.
Those that didn't make the cut included someone with previous experience as an office clerk and a job applicant with a bachelor's in mathematics, currently employed at a café.
Willoughby recently instituted a hiring incentive program to encourage existing employees to refer viable candidates. Those responsible for bringing in new hires are eligible to receive $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the position. She has also added in a signing bonus for the new employees.
Things are even worse on the higher end of the pay scale. At wireless leasing firm, Unison Site, a position for director of lead generation, which pays $90,000-$140,000, has been open for three months, with no candidates in sight.
"With the job market the way it is, we should be able to recruit really good people and it hasn't worked quite as well as we wanted," said Joe Songer, co-founder and chief financial officer. "My problem is when I put an ad out I just get bombarded with people that aren't qualified."
Typically, the jobs that are the hardest to fill are those that require unique or extensive work experience, according to management professor Peter Cappelli of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.
For job seekers, applying to those types of positions may be worth the off chance that one responds with a request for an interview. "They think, I've got nothing to lose," Cappelli said.
Recruiters recommend that job seekers create a targeted list of companies with a clear match to their background and tailor their experience to the job they are applying for, rather than blanketing all available job openings with the same résumé.
"Eighty percent of jobs are being obtained on personal referrals so candidates that are spending the bulk of their time sending their resume out blindly are not being the most fruitful," said Carolyn Thompson, president of CMCS, a boutique staffing firm near Washington, D.C.
Thompson advises job seekers to network within those target companies, whether in person or through social networking sites.
Without a contact at the company, résumés should highlight and emphasize any relevant experience specific to the job opening, added Jennifer Becker, market director for Ajilon Professional Staffing. "You really want your résumé to very quickly and easily reflect your relevant skills and the value you can bring to the position."
"If the client has to look for it, you are probably going to get passed over."
Today's employment climate has changed significantly in a very short period of time. At DISCOVER STAFFING we are often told by our clients that they do not want to see candidates who are "job hoppers" - individuals who have had a new job every 6 months to a year. At the same time, we are talking with candidates who have faced layoffs, sometimes multiple layoffs, causing them to have resumes with several shorter term positions listed over the last two years. Yahoo! Hotjobs has this great article on how to address your current situation in interviews.
The Do's and Don'ts of Explaining Your Recession Layoff by Liz Seasholtz, WetFeet.com
Getting laid off is an embarrassing experience -- and not a particularly fun one to relive again and again during interviews. But the way you handle the topic can make or break an opportunity to restart your career and leave the past behind. To help perfect your approach, we've compiled the following advice for how you should -- and shouldn't -- handle the discussion.
DO be the first one to address your layoff. One of the first questions a recruiter is likely to ask is, "Can you tell me about yourself?" Reveal your passions and career motivations first, and then take this as an opportunity to explain your recent layoff. "You'll get credit for bringing it up," says Lewis Lin, founder of Seattle Interview Coach and former hiring manager for Microsoft and Google. "You'll get to frame the layoff and explain it on your own terms, as opposed to letting the recruiter ask about it."
DON'T weave a complex story. You may still feel wounded from your layoff, but don't be too sensitive and over-explain why you were let go. Weaving a complicated story (like you were laid off during a restructuring even though your boss promised your position would be safe, but instead your colleague was chosen to stay because she had a lower salary requirement -- whew!) will raise red flags that there was some deeper meaning behind your termination. Just say, "There was a restructuring and unfortunately my position was eliminated." Then move on to the next question.
DO mention if it's a recession-related layoff. It's perfectly fine to use the recession as an excuse for your departure. In fact, although layoffs typically carry some shame for the interviewee, Lin says many recruiters aren't even batting an eye when candidates mention they've been laid off as a result of the poor economy.
DON'T speak poorly of your last employer. This is just unprofessional, and again, will make your interviewer think twice about why you were laid off.
DO mention if you were involved in a mass layoff. If you were one of many laid off at your company at one time, you should say so. "If it's a mass layoff, it draws less attention to why you, specifically, were laid off," says Lin. "A single person getting laid off draws more scrutiny." A good, objective way to phrase this kind of layoff is to say, "There was a reduction in force. One hundred positions were cut, including mine."
DON'T be afraid to say you're not comfortable answering. If your interviewer presses for more details, don't be afraid to say you'd prefer not to talk about it. "Candidates forget they can choose not to answer," says Lin. "Especially in this recession, many people feel like they are begging for the job, and that they need to answer every question. It's a matter of dignity, and it's OK to decline."
DO discuss how you've filled your time. Before the interview, you should come up with a solid answer about how you've been filling your days -- and catching up on "Days of Our Lives" doesn't count. Lin advises his clients to be honest, clear, and confident. "I had a client this week who was getting caught up about how to explain what he'd been doing, and I advised him to just be honest: he should say he took two months of vacation to relax, and then for the past two months he's been consulting on some tough engagements." It's also acceptable to explain that job-searching and networking has become your full-time job.
Want more? Visit CareerTV.com for this video on addressing interview questions about past conflicts. For more articles on resumes and cover letters, visit WetFeet.com.
Feel like Giving Up on Your Job Search? 5 ways to shake things up By Rachel Zupek, CareerBuilder.com writer
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 38 percent of full-time workers were unemployed for 27 weeks or more in September 2009. That's equivalent to more than 5.4 million people.
Whether you're out of work for five days, five weeks, five months or five years, any period of unexpected unemployment can be frustrating -- especially when it seems to go on forever. Although the economy seems to be showing signs of recovery, any job seeker who has been out of work for a long period of time will tell you: It's still not easy to find a job.
"Even though there are positive indicators, companies aren't adding jobs now at the rate they cut jobs over the last year," says Noah Blumenthal, bestselling author of "Be the Hero: Three Powerful Ways to Overcome Challenges in Work and Life." Despite that, Blumenthal reminds us that economic activities are cyclical. "Every boom feels like it will last forever and so does every bust. But none of them do. Know that things will turn around. The jobs will come back."
Laura Torres, a 28 year old development associate in Boston, knows first-hand about being frustrated with a job search. She was laid off in December 2008 and didn't find a job for about nine months.
"The most frustrating aspect was not feeling totally in control of the process -- particularly once you started interviewing at a job," she recalls. "Obviously you can play the game and even play it well, but your fate is still up to a small group of people. The agonizing wait between the interview and the follow-up is eerily reminiscent of trying to date someone who 'just isn't that into you.'"
Elena Sokolow-Kaufman, 30, who works at small nonprofit in Massachusetts, also had a frustrating job search. After being unemployed for a little more than two months, she reached a breaking point.
"I had sent out a lot of résumés and had a few interviews for specific job opportunities, but nothing seemed like it was moving forward. At the time I was going on a lot of informational interviews and at that point I started to feel very burned out," she recalls.
If you do reach a breaking point like Sokolow-Kaufman, Blumenthal says it's important to switch things up and try something new in your job search. Doing so will reinvigorate you and help you stay motivated.
"When you've been searching [for a job] for a long time, it can wear you out. You need to do things to keep you excited about your job search so that you keep going," he says. "The most important thing you can do is keep yourself eager, motivated and energized to continue the search."
To revitalize her efforts, Sokolow-Kaufman says she started a blog, in addition to working on her search in coffee shops with friends who were in the same position.
"It helped me a lot to feel less isolated and was a good reminder that many other people were in the same boat I was in," she says.
Torres also took different measures to revive her job search. In addition to narrowing her focus in order to find a job she really wanted, Torres challenged herself by applying for jobs outside of her interests or background.
"I never got interviews for these jobs, but it helped me think outside the box a little," she says. "I also sometimes just had informational interviews with people whose careers were markedly different from mine. Again, this was to broaden my horizons a big and give me more perspective."
If you (and your job search) are stuck in a rut, here are five ways Blumenthal suggests to rejuvenate your job search and mix things up a bit:
1. Go online "You've sent out more résumés than you can count. But have you Tweeted? It's a social networking world. Build your online connections on services like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Then use that platform to make value-added observations about your line of work and job searching. You never know where your electronic connections can lead," he says.
2. Separate yourself "Hiring managers and recruiters receive tons of résumés. Some are better than others, but frankly, none of them stand out. You need something else," he says. "Try writing an article or two about your field. Print them up on glossy paper with a nice graphic design. Add a professional bio, and put it all together in a nice folder. Now, instead of sending a résumé, you're sending a press kit on you. That stands out."
3. Have fun "I know a woman who once sent her résumé folded up and stuffed inside of a baby sneaker. Her note said she was sure to be a shoe-in for the job," he recalls. "If you are bored with your job search, it will show in your materials, your applications and your interviews. So have some fun." (And yes, the shoe-in did get the job.)
4. Set a big goal "You've already met 100, 200, 500 people? Set a goal to meet and have one-on-one conversations with 100 new people this month. Is it possible? Can you do it? Use Facebook. Go to professional meetings. Ask 10 friends to introduce you to 10 new people. It doesn't matter if they are in your field. This is the "Six Degrees of Separation" game. Meet up and let the new connections take you where they will," he says.
5. Go to work "Volunteer at a local charity or political organization. You have the time and this helps you in so many ways," he says. How? It feels good to help; you're using your skills; you're meeting new people; you're getting off the couch and out of the house; and you will build your stockpile of stories. "When you meet people or interview, the connections you make are through your stories. What better story to tell than something that happened while you were helping make the world a better place?"
Ultimately, Blumenthal reminds job seekers to treat your job search like a job, and like a project that has a long-term objective.
"Do what you would do if this were such a project. Celebrate milestones and accomplishments along the way. Appreciate what you love about this job. After all, you can work in your pajamas, set your own hours, work from Starbucks and pick your kids up from school."
Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CBwriterRZ.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently recruiting for candidates with Clean Room experience in a medical manufacturing environment. Assembly and packaging of the product - preparing for shipping. Must be able to keep up with paperwork. 2nd shift position. $10.
Candidates must be local to the Alpharetta area and have reliable transportation. Please submit resumes to email@example.com for consideration.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for 1st and 2nd shift positions in Alpharetta. Must have plastic injection molding experience including the ability to set up the machine, make necessary adjustments between products, and knowledge of the mechanical aspects.
Please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. Candidates must be local to the Alpharetta area and have reliable transportation.
Thank you for your interest in this position. Our client has removed this opportunity at this time. Please continue to check back for our most up to date job postings.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for a 2nd Shift Production Supervisor position in Alpharetta. Must have 3+ years of production supervisor experience, medical manufacturing or FDA experience required. Must be familiar with ISO. Experience supervising 25+ employees. Must have a BS degree or equivalent experience. Display good leadership skills. $40,000 to $50,000 annual salary, temporary to hire or direct hire.
Please submit your resume to email@example.com for consideration. Candidates must be local to the Alpharetta area and have reliable transportation.
In our industry, we meet unemployed candidates every day. We understand that it is difficult to maintain a positive attitude while looking for a job in this very tough market. However, it is true that your attitude can make all the difference when looking for a position. Coming across as desperate or depressed can have dire consequences. The following article from MSN Careers provides some great advice for job seekers.
Your Bad Attitude Could Be Hurting Your Job Search By Robert Half International
Imagine you're a hiring manager, and you receive a cover letter from a job seeker that begins: "I am tired of writing cover letters." Rather than pick up the phone and call the person in for an interview, you're likely to discard the application.
You may be surprised to learn that the example above is real, and this applicant isn't the only one to inappropriately complain to a prospective employer. Here are some additional examples:
"Argh! I hate job hunting!"
"Life isn't fair. I should get paid for looking for a job."
"I have received zero replies from my résumé. It's not me, though. I know that for sure." While nearly everyone can understand the frustration of a prolonged job search, it's a big mistake to let your negative feelings show. Indeed, remaining positive can help you get hired. Employers want to hire people who are passionate about their work, relate well to others and aren't easily deflated by setbacks.
Here are some guidelines for conveying the right attitude to hiring managers:
When in doubt, leave it out One individual who applied for a job wrote: "I'm not lazy, but given a choice between working for someone else, following orders and waking up to that awful sound of an alarm clock or doing what I want to do -- wouldn't any intelligent human being choose the latter?" Although few would be as blatant as this person, any amount of venting is likely to turn off a hiring manager. Make sure the focus of your résumé or cover letter remains on your qualifications. Specifically, what needs does the firm have, and how can you help fill them?
Be a team player Another candidate had this to say: "I have a problem with dress codes. It will be difficult for me if I need to wear a formal button-down shirt for work because I don't have many of those types of clothes since I dress cool." Such candor didn't do him any favors because he was perceived as someone who has trouble following rules and interacting with colleagues who may have different opinions than his own.
The simple truth is that people want to hire -- and work with -- people who are easy to get along with and low-maintenance. Don't appear difficult by outlining your pet peeves. This extends to the interview as well, especially if it's over lunch: Don't give an overly complicated order; instead, make your requests simple.
Show your enthusiasm for the position One company received a résumé from a job seeker who said simply, "I've never been all that excited about working." With an attitude like that, you can bet the business wasn't too excited about the candidate, either. Employers want to hire professionals with a true desire to work for their firms. Demonstrate your passion for the position by researching the employer before submitting your application and noting how your skills can meet the company's unique needs. For example, you may learn that the company is opening a new office in your area. Your experience helping to launch start-up operations could be valuable to the organization.
Impress in person If you're called in for an interview, remember your enthusiasm -- or lack thereof -- will show during the meeting. Simple steps, like offering a firm handshake, sitting up straight, smiling and maintaining eye contact with the interviewer, will showcase your positive attitude. Small shifts in body language, like tapping your foot impatiently, or tone, such as sighing under your breath, can undermine your efforts to make a good impression.
Check in with others If you've hit a roadblock in your job search, it might be worthwhile to get an outside perspective about how you're presenting yourself. Ask someone whose opinion you trust to review your résumé, cover letter and any other materials you will be submitting to hiring managers. A subtle negative tone can sometimes seep into your application materials without you noticing.
A job search can be challenging even in a good employment market. If you're feeling discouraged and having trouble getting motivated, share your frustration with close friends and family. Not only can they provide a good shoulder to lean on, those you know may have faced similar challenges themselves and be able to provide valuable advice for keeping your head high.
Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 360 offices worldwide. For more information about our professional services, please visit www.rhi.com.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently working with a client in Alpharetta that is looking for candidates with Soldering experience. Must have 1-3 years previous experience. Temp to hire opportunity. $10/hour.
Candidates must be local to the Alpharetta area and have reliable transportation. Please email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for a client in Alpharetta. Must have experience with one of the "Big 4" Public Accounting Firms (such as KPMG and Ernst & Young), a BS in Accounting, and 2+ years public accounting experience. Must have experience with Sarbanes Oxley Compliance. Will be handling the general accounting, public company reporting and financial analysis. $55,000-$65,000 depending on experience.
Please send your resume to email@example.com for consideration.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for a client in Alpharetta. Must have 3-4 years experience in manufacture or production of medical devices and a high school diploma. Experience with FDA Procedures is helpful. Must be able to effectively troubleshoot. Must have experience with MS Office. Position is temporary to hire and pays $12.
Candidates must be local to the Alpharetta area and have reliable transportation. Only qualified candidates will be considered. Please submit your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Piercings, Tattoos and Mohawks at Work By Anthony Balderrama, CareerBuilder.com writer
Today's workplace doesn't look much like it did 20 or 30 years ago. Typewriters gave way to clunky PCs which are now paper-thin laptops. Perhaps more noticeably, the workers look different now that shoulder pads are gone and they took teased bangs with them.
Over the past few decades, fashion statements that belonged to rebels became part of mainstream attire. Piercings in your eyebrow, nose and tongue started showing up on your Average Joe and Jane. Tattoos no longer belonged to bikers -- your typical college student might be sporting ink somewhere on his or her body. Even Mohawks and brightly dyed hair worked their way into suburbia. As a result, younger generations entering the work force have brought their sense of style with them and are complicating the old dress codes.
Know your audience Now that business casual is the new suit-and-tie, how much liberty can you take with your appearance before you're not seen as professional? Depends on the industry, says Brad Penman, chief operating officer at The Marketing Arm, a promotions agency.
"Obviously the dress code and the acceptable 'look' should match your organization's culture," Penman says. "What's OK for a creative agency like ours may not be right for a bank, investment firm or attorney's office."
Workers should keep in mind that the company culture has two components: the boss and the client.
"[The company's dress code] should match the expectations of your clients. Your clients pay the bills, so it's important to respect what makes them comfortable," Penman explains. "And, by the way, it's OK to ask your clients that question. If [they] expect you to be creative and understand that a little irreverence can spur exceptional ideas, they're likely to be OK with a different look around the office."
Etiquette consultant Mary Harris agrees that context is everything.
"Your judgment really does have to come into play here. If you're a software developer or graphic designer, most likely the atmosphere is more relaxed in your work environment and an outward creative expression of your personality would not be frowned upon," Harris says. "If you are in investment banking or work in the sales department of a large firm then pink hair, visible tattoos and tongue piercings would not be recommended if you are hoping to land or keep a job. Even subtle piercings like nose rings, which younger workers feel are very tame, are considered inappropriate to their older superiors."
When you're already employed, you probably know what's acceptable and what's forbidden in terms of personal style. At least you're already employed, so if you have a question you can ask your boss or refer to the handbook. When you're looking for a job, though, how do you deal with your unique appearance?
The interview dilemma Janet Flewelling, director of human resource operations at HR-services company Administaff, suggests job seekers exercise caution during the interview.
"One of the primary goals of an interview is to leave a lasting and positive impression," Flewelling says. "When interviewing for any position, most employers are seeking candidates who display professionalism. In many cases, the first impression a prospective employee will make on an employer is often based on appearance."
If a cautious presentation isn't in your best interest, at least recognize what you're risking with 11-inch hair spikes or a tattoo of your daughter's name on your forearm.
"If a candidate were to arrive at an interview with an uncovered tattoo and the organization is one that prohibits its employees from having exposed tattoos, the chances of that individual landing the job can be reduced," she says.
Of course, you could be your own tattooed Trojan horse and play it safe for the interview, only to arrive for your first day with your pink hair and inked arms exposed to the world. But that could be just as bad. Flewelling cautions job seekers that the company could have an explicit policy about visible body modifications, and if you do an about-face, the boss might perceive your conservative interview appearance as dishonesty.
One way to prevent the awkwardness of revealing your true, expressive fashionista is to discuss the matter prior to accepting the job -- just don't sound presumptuous with your questions. The last thing you want is to sound like you know you're getting the job, thereby turning off the hiring manger.
"One way to approach the subject of the company dress code, without potentially sending a red flag, is to ask about the policy as part of a list of general questions. Try asking the question in an open-ended manner," Flewelling suggests. "For example, instead of saying 'Do you have a dress code?' or 'Can I wear a nose ring?' phrase questions in a manner that leads to a discussion. 'Are there any dress code specifications relevant to this position I should be aware of?' or 'Are there any particular types of dress required for the job?'"
The ongoing debate Even after you're hired and have established yourself as part of the company, you can find yourself grappling with work-appropriate appearances as your style changes or career advances. Maybe one morning you wake up and think the Dorothy Hamill haircut you've been sporting since 1976 isn't contemporary enough. Or maybe you get promoted and worry that an edgy look doesn't belong in a senior position.
In both cases, Flewelling puts the responsibility to personal judgment.
"The best way to proceed in this regard is to look and learn. There is rarely a one-size-fits-all or right and wrong in these matters," she says. Your best bet is to take cues from the people around you to see how they dress and are perceived, she says.
Ultimately you need your work environment to suit you, and Penman thinks this is something everyone needs to recognize.
"I'd say that company owners and top management need to change their thinking about how people should 'look' in the workplace and instead think about how people 'can look.' One of the most important benefits to staff is freedom of appearance at work. It's a benefit to feel comfortable," Penman says. When you're looking at potential employers, ask yourself if you'll be comfortable going to work every day dressed how they want you to look.
Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/abalderrama.
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From résumés accompanied by shoes to get candidates' "feet in the door," to candidates sending cakes designed as business cards, hiring managers have seen it all when it comes to memorable job-seeker tactics.
Facing the most difficult job market in decades, job seekers are often advised to stand out among the competition by using creative and unconventional tactics to grab an employer's attention. While that advice is sound and good, it raises the question of whether or not these avant-garde approaches actually work.
Well -- it depends.
"I personally like those candidates that think outside of the box. As an HR professional, nothing makes me happier than knowing a candidate for a marketing position has, for example, created a brochure that is actually his or her résumé," says Vani Colombo, HR director for VIPdesk, a customer and concierge service. "I'm always amazed when candidates break the rules with class to stand out. It shows they are resourceful and willing to go the extra mile."
Tactics that worked Vinh Nguyen, 30, is a great example of someone didn't want to fall prey to the same fate as other unsuccessful applicants -- but who stood out in a good way. Career Tiger, a service that helps people find a job through unique and unconventional methods, helped Nguyen come up with this tactic:
When asked a question during an interview with a health-care IT company, he surprised his interviewers by pulling out a whiteboard, writing down his thought process and taking control of the interview.
"Differentiating yourself from your competition makes sense. The idea is to show that you are a thought leader in your area and that your knowledge is valuable," Nguyen says. "It was awkward at first, but breaking away from the norm will pay off as long as you put in the work beforehand researching."
He got the job, and he is still working at the company as a project manager.
Dave Bowman, founder and chairman of TTG Consultants, a consulting firm, recalls a client who was a designer and really wanted to make an impression in an upcoming interview.
"As the interview began, he would wheel in a model of a previous theme-park exhibit he'd designed. He'd bring in with him three clowns who would be playing musical instruments. They would walk around the room for a minute or so, playing a song, and then exit, leaving the model for the interviewer to view in more detail," Bowman says. "The idea worked. His out-of-the-box tactics got him the job offer and at more money than he'd expected."
While both of these unconventional methods worked in these instances, many hiring managers say that alternative tactics often walk a fine line between admirable and creative and just plain inappropriate.
"I would consider a candidate who used a tactic if it was ethical and demonstrated a behavior that would be relevant to the job they were interested in," says Kim Lockhart, regional vice president for Spherion Corp., a recruiting and staffing provider. "For example, if someone was trying to get their name in consideration for a sales position and was using techniques to obtain an interview similar to the way they would approach securing a sale, I would consider it."
Tactics that didn't Though many job seekers have successfully used creative job-search tactics, there seem to be an equal number of unsuccessful applicants, according to some hiring managers.
A few months ago, Carolyn Turner, a business coach in Portland, Ore., was helping a client hire an office manager.
"We had one applicant arrive unannounced at the office with a cherry pie she had baked that morning. She explained that she wanted to stand out from all the other applicants -- which she did, but just in a scary, stalkerish kind of way," Turner says. "I got a call from the business owner that day wondering what to do; no one wanted to eat the pie, but she left it in her own pie plate, which meant they had to get it back to her somehow. It was all just very awkward."
Turner says that having gone through hundreds of résumés for that position, it became clear that good candidates stand out just by how they present themselves in their cover letters and résumés.
"There's really no need to go over the top to get noticed," she says. "For the majority of businesses and positions, a really well-written cover letter is more than enough. You'd be surprised at how many badly written cover letters and résumés there are."
Don't try this at home Christine Bolzan, CEO of Graduate Career Coaching, agrees with Turner and strongly advises against extreme tactics in the job search. She says many applicants who use these methods end up with a permanent "Do Not Hire" label in their company file.
Bolzan recalls two examples of what not to try in your job-search efforts, one of which includes gift giving.
"I've received flowers, wine, perfume and the most memorable of all -- a pair of Ferragamo shoes, which was a generous attempt at a ping following our brief conversation of great things to buy at Heathrow Duty Free," Bolzan says. "This is never appropriate. In fact, many companies have a policy against accepting gifts of any sort."
Another job search no-no? Stalking the interviewer, which Bolzan says she's encountered on several different levels, including people who have waited in career fair parking lots and others who've waited outside the office building.
"The worst of all stalkers I've encountered followed me into the pool at my hotel at 10 p.m. when I was trying to get a break from a long day at a large-scale recruiting event," Bolzan says. "The same event where I found over 100 different résumés secured by the wipers on my rental car windshield, and woke in the morning to even more résumés slipped under my hotel room door."
Remember the rules Barring stalker behavior and lavish gifts, out-of-the-box tactics can work if you play your cards right. Greg Masiewich, manager of marketing and online communications for IQ Partners Inc., offers these tips:
1. Make it relevant
"Whatever tactic you choose to use, make sure it's relevant to the position you're applying for," Masiewich says. "If you choose a tactic that you think will grab a hiring manager's attention but doesn't tie into the job, the industry, or what you're about, then it can come off as just seeming strange and weird instead of creative and clever."
2. Don't go too far
"It's important to walk that fine line between different, yet not going too far with trying to stand out. If you do something that's too overly crazy, you can come off seeming a little creepy and weird instead of like a star applicant with a sense of determination," Masiewich says. "Remember, you want to grab their attention, not become a joke in the office."
3. A good idea can get you an interview, but not a job
"Remember that no matter the tactic you use to try and gain the attention of a hiring manager, at the end of the day they're still going to hire the person who they feel can do the job best," Masiewich says. "An out-of-the-box tactic might get you an interview, but it's still up to you to show you're not only determined, but also the best person for the job."
Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CBwriterRZ.
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