Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Temporary Staffing and the Recession

Everyone knows that the economy is aching right now. Companies are laying off scores of employees, instituting hiring freezes and worried about making the next move. However, at DISCOVER STAFFING, we have seen this pattern before and we are positioned for continued success in 2009.

Once payroll costs are trimmed, many companies still find themselves with critical roles to fill. Most likely, they will move forward with temporary employees on a project basis. Those left standing after a large company lay off sometimes become overwhelmed and need just a little extra support. The staffing industry was created to handle this type of situation. Then, as the market continues to gain confidence, companies will begin considering temp to hire and direct hire options again.

Administrative, Accounting & Office Support
Light Industrial & Distribution Personnel

email us your resume for consideration
Gwinnett area: gwinnett@discoverstaffing.com
North Fulton area: alpharetta@discoverstaffing.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Keep Your Resume Honest

This morning, listening to a local radio morning show, I heard the story of a caller who was in danger of losing her job. She confessed on the radio that after a frustrating two year long job search she took desperate measures and lied on her resume and the job application. She indicated that she had all the right experience for the job and also falsely told them she had a degree in their field of expertise. She had only been there for a month and was just asked for a meeting so she was expecting her house of cards to fall. She was asking for advice on the radio about how to keep her job, but the hosts and most of the callers believed the damage had already been done and it was probably too late for her. After hearing her story, I thought this advice would be key for current job seekers both here at DISCOVER STAFFING and throughout the area.

The percentage of people who lie on resumes is both astounding and disturbing. As reported by Forbes Magazine in 2006, CEO Sunny Bates of a New York based executive recruiting firm estimated that 40% of resumes contained purposefully inaccurate information. Some most common untruths include changing dates of employment to hide gaps or job hopping, college degrees that don't exist and fudging numbers such as increased sales percentages or number of people managed.

When you apply for a job and complete their official job application, you are signing a legally binding document indicating that you have provided accurate information. When the truth is revealed the most likely action on the part of the employer is immediate termination. Georgia is an "At Will" state and this means that either party can terminate the employment agreement at any point. There can and will be repercussions if you obtain a job under false presences.

Many companies today are using background checking services that not only check for a prior criminal record but also verify things like education and identity. Once you agree to these processes you will be responsible for their results. Also, references are of critical importance. Companies are looking for legitimate employment references to show that you have the skills you have expressed on your resume or application.

In order to maintain a stable working relationship, it is really best for you to start out with a clean slate. Present yourself with honesty and integrity. When you land a position you will feel very satisfied with how you have conducted yourself on the job market. You will also maintain a good reputation and in the future if you find yourself back in the market your employer will have no problem providing recommendations for your work.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Warehouse and Assembly

DISCOVER STAFFING is seeking qualified candidates for positions with a client in Alpharetta. Positions Include:

Material Handling
Warehouse Experience required
  • Picking and Packing
  • Loading and Unloading
  • General Clean-up

    Basic Assembly Experience required
  • Use of small hand tools such as pliers and screwdrivers
  • basic soldering
  • familiarity with circuit boards

    All candidates must be local to the Alpharetta area and have reliable transportation. Candidates must be able to pass a background check and drug screen. Hours are from 7:30am to 4pm. Mandatory overtime required until 6pm on weekdays and a half a day on Saturday. This is a long term temporary position expected to last 3-6 months.

    Please send your resume to laura@discoverstaffing.com for consideration.
  • Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    Form I-9 Compliance

    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.

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    Transferable Skills

    In the staffing industry, we are frequently approached by individuals looking to change their career focus. The most important advice we can give them is to focus on their transferable skills. Here is an article from MSN Careers that will give you some perspective on how to go about that in your own job search.

    How to Use Transferable Skills
    By Joe Turner, the "Job Search Guy"

    Given the massive layoffs and shrinking numbers of jobs in many industries, it is possible, if not likely, that you will be forced to leave your industry or specialty area. To assure that you're successful in winning a job, it is necessary to master survival skills. To this end, many job-search experts and career coaches talk about transferable skills, but what does this mean to you if you're the one receiving the pink slip?

    Apply these three tips to successfully transfer your existing skills to win your next job:

    You are not your job title
    If you're facing a layoff or you're already there, you'll do well not to limit your identity. You are much more than a job title, and within this rapidly changing and fluid job market, it's dangerous to tie yourself to a title.

    Begin by viewing your work experience as a set of skills and roles that you have mastered that can be useful from one occupation or industry to another. This is what is meant by the term "transferable skills." Doing so gives you versatility and adaptability and opens up new possibilities. Although this is a good exercise to help you view yourself as more than a job title, consider this just a starting point.

    Sell results instead of skills
    Especially in today's shrinking economy, skills are just a commodity. Employers today buy results and are less impressed when a candidate promotes a laundry list of skills. Instead, define the many ways that those transferable skills from your past and present job performances have been assets to your employers.

    Another way of looking at this is to ask yourself, "How am I an asset to a company's balance sheet?" Focus on how your work either helps the company make money or save money. Think beyond even your skill sets and job duties and list every possible example of how you have helped to make money, save money or save time for your employer.

    By including several specific achievements when you have done this, you separate yourself from your competitors and are much more likely to gain the attention of your next employer.

    Write down all of your achievements from current or past jobs. For example, if you're looking for a job as a project manager, make a list of your completed projects and ask, "So what?" after each one. What you're after is the achievement.

    When I say "achievement," I don't mean the role you played or the duties you filled. Focus on the result, the benefit to the client or employer as a result of something that you did or contributed.

    How did the client or employer benefit, how was that person's life made better? Ideally, we want to end up with an answer as close to a money figure as possible. If necessary, make an educated guess, as long as you're comfortable with the figure.

    If you can't put it in terms of dollars, then how about using a percentage such as, "Achieved a 25 percent time savings by reorganizing the front filing system."

    If not a percentage, then how about a number such as, "Reactivated 155 client accounts."

    Now review your list. Try to come up with a list of five or more solid achievements. Ideally, pick those to which you can attach a measurable result.

    If you can include a concise list of five to seven high-quality achievements that are return-on-investment-oriented and that resulted from something you actually did, you'll score a lot quicker than by just trying to sell a laundry list of transferable skills.

    Develop your unique selling proposition
    Education and transferable skills, while valuable, do not translate into benefits. Once you've taken some of those skills and tied a benefit to them in the above exercise, it's now time to define yourself in one concise statement or sentence.

    Ask yourself what you can do for this employer that your competitors can't. You have a unique set of skills, experiences and talents. Now turn them into a unique selling proposition for the employer. A good USP says, "Here's what I can do for you" by highlighting one major benefit that you bring to this employer.

    Often called a personal branding statement, your USP provides the first impression of who you are and what you offer a potential employer. This is also how you describe yourself in any networking meeting you attend. A good USP will get you remembered and put you on the "to-call list."

    A unique selling proposition is deceptively simple, yet can be really tough to develop. It is a one-sentence description of the essence of you. This is your brand, your slogan, so take the time and thought to develop the right message for yourself. Although just one sentence, it should say three very important things:

    1. Who you are

    2. Your biggest strength

    3. The biggest benefit that you bring to the employer

    For the greatest impact, that benefit should be something quantifiable. And the very best measurement is dollars.

    Here is an example of a USP:

    "Hands-on operations manager with strong people and team-building skills who has helped produce revenues of $2.8 million with a 22 percent margin for my previous employer."

    Notice that this simple sentence covers all three elements listed above and ends with a desirable benefit that most any employer would love to have.

    As a recruiter, Turner has spent the past 15 years finding and placing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their careers. Author of "Job Search Secrets Unlocked" and "Paycheck 911," Turner has interviewed on radio talk shows and offers free insider job search secrets at: http://www.jobchangesecrets.com.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    Survival Guide for the Unemployed

    I wanted to provide a link for this great article from MSN Money. Many of us will experience a lay off sometime in our career. Having been through it myself in the past, I would honestly recommend all of the advice provided in this article. This two page article is a pretty comprehensive guide and much to big to reprint here. Please do take the time to visit the link.

    Production Lead Second Shift

    Thank you for your interest in this position. At this time, our client has filled this role. We will continue to post our most up to date job openings here so please check back.

    DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking a Production Lead person for 2nd Shift. Must have good soldering skills and 2+ years lead or supervisory experience. Will be overseeing the work of approximately 10 employees. $10-$11 per hour.

    Please send resumes to laura@discoverstaffing.com for consideration.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    The full time job of job hunting

    My favorite site for career information, MSN Careers, has posted yet another fantastic article full of great advice for job seekers. Check out the article here.

    The Full-Time Job of Finding a Job
    By Anthony Balderrama, CareerBuilder.com writer

    Wouldn't a sabbatical from work be nice? An extended break to finally accomplish all those things on your to-do list: travel, go hiking, renovate the house, read the classics.

    If you find yourself unemployed, very often the silver lining is that you have the time to do all those things you never could while working. But as many job seekers soon discover, lack of income and the need for a new job can hinder your recreational activities. After all, do you want to spend your savings on a trip to Europe if you don't have a job lined up?

    If you're a job seeker, you can find yourself struggling to balance the demands of finding a new job and being tempted by your new found free time. When you're checking job postings earlier than you ever showed up to the office, it dawns on you that a job search is its own full-time gig.

    Why is it a full-time job?
    You know job hunting is serious business, but just how long does it take to post a résumé online and make a few calls to your professional contacts? Not long, but stopping there would be a mistake. Today's job hunt is a combination of old-fashioned footwork, online brand building and reaching out to the right people, as Debbie Withers has learned.

    She was a marketing director before she took some time off in 1997 to be a full-time mother. As her kids grew up, she began a freelance writing career and did marketing consultation. Her youngest child is about to be in middle school and she thinks it's the right time to renew her career outside of the home.

    "What I've discovered is that it really is who you know," Withers says. As a job seeker who was out of the professional world for a while, Withers has to overcome the image that she wasn't getting any relevant work done during her freelance years. Not to mention the fact that her time off began once she moved from Virginia, where she had many contacts and a solid reputation. "Unfortunately, since I didn't work full-time [here] in the Atlanta market, I don't have the business contacts I had in the cities where I was a marketing director; no one in my current sphere saw me in that high-profile position."

    Since beginning her job hunt, Withers says three things have stood out to her:

    1. Connections matter
    One of the other mothers at a play group was married to a cameraman in a broadcast company where she wanted to work. Although the company wasn't in a position to hire her right then, she did get the contact information for a hiring manager. When the company is hiring again, she has a direct line to the right person.

    2. Don't waste any opportunity to sit down with someone
    One of Withers' acquaintances passed her résumé along to a colleague in the marketing department of her company. She was able to sit down with the marketing person and present her portfolio. Although the company was in a hiring freeze, Withers says she doesn't see it as a wasted opportunity.
    "At least now I've met the corporate contact face to face, and although they're not advertising openings, she'll be more likely to think of me when they need someone."

    3. Give your résumé to the right people
    Withers asked one of her former employers to be a reference and forwarded her résumé. A few weeks later, that employer introduced her to a business associate who is hiring for a position she has experience in. She doesn't know whether or not she'll get the job, but she's glad to know she has someone helping her find employment opportunities.

    Technology's role

    By now you know that technological advances have benefits and plenty of disadvantages. Your cell phone can save your life during an emergency, but it can also ruin your evening at the symphony with an ill-timed ring. Social networking sites have had a similar effect on job hunting.

    Sites like Facebook, BrightFuse and Twitter allow you to connect to old friends, potential employers, past clients and other people who might offer career opportunities. But combine the sheer volume of social networking sites and the ever shrinking shelf life of timeliness -- you haven't updated your Facebook status in over two hours? -- and you can't walk away from the computer for too long. Michael Durwin, who was recently laid off because of the economy, is experiencing the full-time demands of a job search.

    "I'm as busy, if not more busy, tweaking my personal brand, hunting down new freelance clients and job hunting," he says. With his wife expecting their first child in a month, Durwin thought the layoff would give him plenty of time to do some work around the house that he's been putting off. He was mistaken. "I'm constantly trolling through job sites, joining new ones, reaching out to contacts, hunting down client contact info [and] updating my blog and Twitter feeds."

    Of course, you might not mind the need for constant updates when you consider how visible you're making your job hunt. Sure, all of your contacts on these sites can see your information, but depending on your network settings, people in your same city or alumni network can, too. More sets of eyes are coming across your availability for a job.

    Time is money
    The ability to stay connected can help your job hunt, but it can also add a sense of guilt to your daily life. Every free minute you spend relaxing can feel like a career opportunity slipping away -- a feeling Meghan Schinderle recently discovered.

    "I was prepared to treat looking for a job like a job," Schinderle says. "I prepared to dedicate long hours to it and to put time and effort into searching and networking. What I was not prepared for was the feeling of guilt I would have for the times that I am not doing it -- and the feeling that I must be glued to my laptop working towards finding a job at all times. This is unhealthy, to say the least."

    To maintain good mental health, Schinderle is taking a step back from her obsessive behavior. She's trying to take advantage of the free time she has, while still looking for a job.

    "I am running at the beach in the mornings and cooking dinner with my boyfriend at night. I am going to the gym and running errands in the middle of the day or going to the museum right by my house," she says. "I am doing all the things that people who do have jobs wish they could. It's great to dedicate a significant amount of time to job hunting, but you have to get away from it for a little while every day or it will consume you and then depress you."

    Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    Positions We Fill

    DISCOVER STAFFING is always seeking qualified individuals for the following positions:

  • Administrative Assistants
  • Receptionists
  • General Office Support
  • Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Assembly
  • General Warehouse

    And More!

    Please contact your nearest DISCOVER STAFFING Branch office for more information on how to apply with our company.

    gwinnett@discoverstaffing.com - serving North and South Gwinnett and Peachtree Corners

    alpharetta@discoverstaffing.com - serving Alpharetta, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Marietta
  • Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Body Language for the Interview

    MSN Careers in partnership with Careerbuilder recently published this article that includes some great tips on how body language can affect your interview.

    Want That Job? 6 Body Language Tips
    By Janine Driver, "Lyin' Tamer"

    Reading and understanding body language is critical to your success in a job interview. Nonverbal communication equips you to understand what interviewers are thinking, helping you tweak your body language to get them to like you ... and offer you the job!

    1. The wet fish versus the bone crusher
    The handshake tells a story about each of us. Do you shake hands softly? Do you come in from the top and deliver a "bone crusher"? Aggressive people have firm handshakes; those with low self-esteem have limp, "wet fish" handshakes.

    A great handshake is a three-step process:

  • Make sure your hands are clean and adequately manicured.
  • Ensure hands are warm but free of perspiration.
  • Execute your handshake professionally and politely, with a firm grip and a warm smile.

    2. The eyes have it
    What's considered an appropriate amount of eye contact may vary in different countries. In North America, 60 percent eye contact is a safe figure -- one that can give hiring managers a feeling of comfort about you. More eye contact than this and you may seem too intense; any less and you risk appearing uninterested.

    Eye-contact tips:

  • When you meet the interviewer, look her right in the eyes, then think to yourself, "Wow, so great to finally meet you!" This will make you smile, and she'll pick up on your positive mood. When we look at someone we find interesting, our pupils dilate, a phenomenon the other person instinctively picks up on.
  • During a job interview, keep your eye contact in the upside-down triangle area of your interviewer's face: from the left eyebrow, to the nose, back up to the right eyebrow.

    Warning: Staring at a person's lips is considered sexual, while looking at their forehead is considered condescending.

    3. Get it straight
    Posture is an important thing to master on an interview: Get your posture straight and your confidence will rise with it. Next time you notice you are feeling a bit down, pay attention to how you are sitting or standing. Chances are you'll be slouched over with your shoulders drooping down and inward. This collapses the chest and inhibits breathing, which can make you feel nervous or uncomfortable.

    4. Get a "head" of the game
    When you want to feel confident and self-assured during an interview, keep your head level, both horizontally and vertically. Also assume this position when your goal is to be taken seriously. Conversely, when you want to be friendly and in the listening, receptive mode, tilt your head just a little to one side or the other.

    5. Arms lend a hand, too
    Arms offer clues as to how open and receptive we are, so keep your arms to the side of your body. This shows you are not scared to take on whatever comes your way.

    Quieter people tend to move their arms away from their body less often than outgoing people, who use their arms with big movements. Keep gestures within the frame of your body, or you'll risk being seen as out of control. Avoid the negative action of crossing your arms during the interview.

    Here are two common perceptions of hand gestures:

  • Palms slightly up and outward: open and friendly
  • Palm-down gestures: dominant and possibly aggressive

    6. Get a leg up on the competition
    Our legs tend to move around a lot more than normal when we are nervous, stressed or being deceptive. As a result, try to keep them as still as possible during the interview. You should not cross your legs during a job interview, as it creates a barrier between you and the interviewer and may lead to fidgeting. When you cross your ankle at the knee, this is known as the "figure four," and is generally perceived as the most defensive leg cross.

    Janine Driver, Lyin' Tamer, is a body language and deception detection expert, author and contributor to NBC's "Today Show." Janine offers her signature training to Fortune 500 companies across the globe, to give them an edge in the game of life! For your free mini-course on "Body Language Business Bloopers Successful People Avoid at All Costs" visit www.lyintamer.com today.
  • Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    The Importance of References

    At DISCOVER STAFFING, we make a commitment to our clients that we have verified past employment for every one of our employees. In order to do this, we need the assistance of each applicant that comes to our office. When you make an appointment with us we will ask you to bring with you two previous work references including names, phone numbers, and addresses.

    When selecting references chose individuals who can speak intelligently about your work habits and experiences. You can use past employers, supervisors, teachers, business leaders or people with whom you have volunteered. Make sure to get prior permission from these individuals before providing their contact information. Sometimes, a former employer will tell you they cannot provide a reference due to company policy. If this is the case, ask them if they will write a reference letter. If they do, please ask them to provide their contact phone number so we can verify the author of the letter while still respecting their company policies. Otherwise, it is best to select another contact.

    Incomplete references will delay the placement process. We must verify two references before we are able to place our employees on assignment.

    We know that situations happen and you may have experiences where you have left a company on "bad terms." If this is the case, be honest with your recruiter, but don't be negative. Explain what happened and take any responsibility that is warranted. Explain what you have learned from that experience.

    We appreciate your cooperation with our application process.

    Monday, March 9, 2009

    Tier 1 Help Desk

    Thank you for your interest in this position. At this time, our client has filled this role. We will continue to post our most up to date job openings here so please check back.

    DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking a Tier 1 Help Desk candidate for a 8 to 9 weeks to cover a maternity leave. $15 to $18 per hour depending on experience. Will be responsible for internal computer support. Must know Microsoft Products including Vista. Must have experience doing help desk support for a mid to large size company.

    Please send your resume to laura@discoverstaffing.com for consideration. Only qualified candidates will be considered.

    Be Careful in Your Job Search

    In the most recent issue of Staff Digest (February 2009), Editor-in-Chief Paula Kutka has a warning for job seekers in this troubling economy.

    She had received a press release telling her about a on-line name lead site for job seekers. A former recruiter had begun a website to provide names of contact people at companies so they could "bypass the gatekeeper". The service charges $10 per name.

    Please be very cautious when it comes to this type of offering. Candidates should never pay for employment services no matter what the current economic climate is like. Please be aware of this and be careful when looking for employment opportunities.

    Friday, March 6, 2009

    Functional vs. Chronological Resumes

    As the job market becomes more and more competitive during the current economic climate, our candidates frequently ask us about resumes styles. Resumes are like your employment fingerprint, each one is different. Individuals reviewing resumes are often looking for very different things as well and what one manager loves about a resume another manager may strongly dislike.

    Common advice is to customize your resume for each position you are applying for. There is no bigger turn-off for a client than advertising for a "Receptionist" position and getting a resume that indicates in the objective that this person wants to be an "Accounting Manager". It shows that the candidate is not very detail oriented, a common corporate requirement these days.

    Candidates applying with DISCOVER STAFFING often ask us for our professional opinion regarding resume styles. Should they create a traditional "Chronological Resume" or try experimenting with a "Functional Resume"?

    WikiAnswers provides some quick definitions here:
    In a chronological resume you have to list your job experience in date order, starting with the most recent first.

    The sections of a chronological resume are: Personal Details, Personal Profile or Job Objective, and Career and Related Accomplishments including Work Experience, Education, Professional Affiliations and Interests. You'll need to highlight your job experience. [Please also keep in mind that if you include interests in your resume, make them related to your professional experience. If you enjoy blogging indicate how you have created a blog for a volunteer organization you belong to. If you enjoy knitting, leave it off the resume.]

    Here is a link for formatting a chronological resume.

    Functional resumes are best used in situations where specific skills and accomplishments gained through experience or academic qualifications will demonstrate the candidate's competency. Your skills should be listed in order of their importance.

    The functional resume is ideal if you're looking for a complete career change. This resume is ideal for students who have no previous work experience and are applying for their first job. Avoid the functional resume when you are applying for traditional jobs, especially positions within government entities or private institutions.

    A functional resume's categories are based on: Personal Details, Career Objective, Professional Experience, Work Experience(optional), Professional Affiliations, Education, and Awards.

    Here is a link to an example of a functional resume.

    And finally here is a great resource for resume examples based on specific situations.

    Thursday, March 5, 2009

    "Minding the Gap" When Returning to the Workforce

    The recruiters here at DISCOVER STAFFING are always talking to individuals who have been out of the corporate world for one reason or another and are now looking to return. Here is an article from JobBound that gives some practical advice for how to tackle a resume with gaps of employment.

    Mind the Gap: Tips for Re-entering the Workforce
    by Brad Karsh, President, JobBound

    It’s perceived to be one of the most difficult transitions in life: rejoining the workforce after an extended layoff. Maybe you were raising your children, maybe you were caring for a relative, or maybe you were downsized and had trouble finding a job. In any case, it’s a daunting proposition to pull out the business suit, polish up the resume and start looking for a job.

    To be sure, it’s not an easy task, but if you prepare appropriately, and attack the search smartly, it’s not as intimidating as you may think.

    With the right Mindset, the proper downtime Approach, and some specific Strategies, you can get back out there and land work.

    The Mindset
    You have a gap in your resume.

    So what!

    There is this obsession that having a gap in your resume is a horrible sin. It’s not. The fact is, it’s incredibly common these days. Layoffs unfortunately are an everyday occurrence. Work/life balance awareness has increased to the point where more people are taking time off for personal reasons.

    Twenty years ago, the typical job situation had the male breadwinner getting a job out of college and spending the rest of his career working for one company until his gold-watch retirement party at age 55.

    Those days are long gone.

    There’s no need for you to be shy about the fact that there’s a gap in your resume. You are part of a large and growing population of job seekers that have taken time off for a variety of reasons. There’s no need to fret.

    The Approach
    The biggest issue that employers have with employees returning to the workforce is their perceived lack of being "out of the game." Technology, industry trends, and job skills can all change rapidly over the course of a couple of years.

    As such, you want to make sure that you can show your aptitude in some of these areas. Take computer classes, get involved with trade organizations, and stay abreast of industry happenings by reading trade publications during your time off. It does take some time, but not nearly as much as working full time.

    Then when it comes time to interview you’ll be able to say something like, "I knew it would be important for me to stay current on my computer skills, so I took classes in the most recent version of Microsoft Office while I was taking care of a relative."

    The Strategy
    Packaging your "gap" in a resume or on an interview takes careful consideration. Don’t try tricks like changing dates or writing about how you honed your managerial skills negotiating with three children under the age of ten. Recruiting Directors simply want to know that you’re in the game and ready to contribute.

    Of course it would always be ideal to be able to tell your story in person, but often you don’t have the luxury of meeting someone face to face. As such, the cover letter becomes a great tool to let a potential employer know about your resume gap and why it’s not a big deal.

    Mention why you’re reentering the workforce now
    "I had always wanted to return to the workplace, and now that my children are in school full-time, it’s the perfect opportunity."

    Talk about how you stayed in the game
    "I wanted to stay involved in nonprofit as much as I could after our company closed our office, so I’ve volunteered at the American Cancer Society and took an online class in development."

    Ultimately it’s not going to be easy to get back out there. But with the right game plan, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think.

    Payroll Manager

    Thank you for your interest in this position. At this time, our client has filled this role. We will continue to post our most up to date job openings here so please check back.

    DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking a payroll manager for a company in Roswell. Must have a BS in Accounting or Finance and 5+ years experience as a payroll manager. Will be supervising the processing of multi-state weekly payroll. Familiarity with multiple payroll software products preferred.

    Please send your resume to kathy@discoverstaffing.com for consideration.

    Monday, March 2, 2009


    Thank you for your interest in this position. At this time, our client has filled this role. We will continue to post our most up to date job openings here so please check back.

    DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking an experienced bookkeeper for an immediate need in Alpharetta. Must have very strong QuickBooks experience. Will handle invoicing and payroll for approximately 20 people. Will also provide clerical support for the office and help assemble promotional materials. This position may evolve into an office manager role for the right candidate.

    Please send resumes to laura@discoverstaffing.com for consideration. Candidates must be local to Alpharetta and have reliable transportation.

    Office Assistant

    Thank you for your interest in this position. At this time, our client has filled this role. We will continue to post our most up to date job openings here so please check back.

    DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking an office assistant for a busy insurance marketing company in Duluth. Will support agents with day to day functions including data entry, customer contact and general administrative duties. This is an entry level position for this industry with potential for growth. Candidates must have some administrative support experience in a professional office environment. Data entry, MS Word and Excel experience required. College degree preferred. Salary between $25,000 and $28,000. This is a temp to hire opportunity.

    Please send your resume to laura@discoverstaffing.com for consideration. Candidates must be local to the Duluth area and have reliable transportation.

    Professionalism and Your Job Search

    Careerbuilder is a great source for advice on your job search. Today they posted this great article.

    Job Search No Place for Emoticons and Texting
    Casual communication can hurt your chances
    By Rachel Zupek, CareerBuilder.com writer

    "Hi! My name is Bob and I am a 22-year-old college dropout. ONE DAY YOU WILL BE REALLY UPSET WITH YOURSELF IF YOU DON'T SOLICIT MY SERVICES. I say that with the utmost humility ... I will be a marketing legend, but no one wants to listen now because I don't have a degree. That's fine. Just read this (see attachment) on your lunch break. And this is one of many."

    Tracy Cote, executive director of talent at Organic Inc., a digital marketing company, received this letter from a job seeker and says it's the perfect example of a candidate who clearly did not consider his audience before applying for a job.

    "Job hunters seem to be more casual now than in the past ... we all know we get better information from someone if we put them at ease," she says. "But, this opens the door to the inevitable too much information."

    Hiring managers and recruiters like Cote agree that things like emoticons, text message lingo, instant message abbreviations, and even social networking friend requests are all part of a growing trend among job seekers: extremely lax communication.

    "More and more job seekers these days are erring on the side of casual communication. The handwritten thank-you note [is] replaced by a short thank-you e-mail, often with typos," says Ashley Houston, director of recruitment for Constituency Management Group. "Job seekers are also relaxing their nonverbal communication, and this is represented in the way they dress, carry and conduct themselves in an interview. Of course it is nice to see a confident, relaxed candidate, but the candidates that come polished, professional and prepared are the ones that are going to impress."

    Sarabeth McAuliffe, a corporate office manager for Family Credit Management Services, has interviewed thousands of candidates and has seen countless displays of informal communication in the application process.

    "I have received handwritten cover letters, pink résumés and applications full of information far too personal to be sharing with a prospective employer. I had one candidate who drew smiley faces next to the employers on her application that she liked and sad faces next to the ones she didn't," she says. "These materials are the equivalent to a candidate wearing a shirt with a cartoon character on it to their interview -- which I have [also] had happen. How can I take that person seriously?"

    A cultural divide
    Some wonder if these informal faux pas are a generational issue. While people of all ages are capable of such behavior, younger generations are usually the guilty party.

    "The Millennials are the most casual generation ever. Raised on a diet of text messaging, social networking and e-mail, their super-relaxed style of communication often baffles older professionals," says Mike Song, e-mail etiquette speaker and author of "The Hamster Revolution: How to Manage Your E-mail Before It Manages You."

    Other experts argue that, in fact, older professionals are blameworthy, too.

    "At this point, even my mother uses LOL and OMG, so I don't think we can say it's a generational issue," Cote says. "In fact, more mature candidates may actually be inclined to be more casual just to show how hip they are, while the younger candidates are still feeling out the interview game and are actually a little more cautious."

    Candidacy killer
    No matter how old you are, experts agree that casual communication like emoticons, text message lingo or even a thank-you note sent from your BlackBerry are sure-fire ways to destroy your chances of landing that coveted position.

    "Emoticons just don't fit into the [job search] equation -- nor do abbreviated thoughts, acronyms or other text-message-type lingo," Houston says. "You can still be creative and unique with complete sentences.

    Song agrees that applicants who are too laid-back in their communication are asking for rejection. He remembers one young woman whom he was about to hire -- until he received a thank-you note riddled with the sideways, smiling and winking emoticon.

    "That, combined with an odd comment [during her interview] about liking the gel in my hair, made me wonder if she would be too forward or relaxed with colleagues and clients. I passed on her otherwise outstanding application," he says.

    Outstanding application or not, you'll give off the wrong impression by using inappropriate messaging on your résumé, cover letter or thank-you note.

    "[It's] like showing up in jeans and a T-shirt for an executive interview," Song says. "It screams out 'I'm not serious.'"

    Houston says when she receives an application with casual communication, she can't help but think that the candidate doesn't have even entry-level business acumen.

    "[It] makes me think that I will need to spend extra time with this candidate in order to get their communication and writing style up to speed," she says.

    Thnk me l8tr
    Are you obsessed with texting, emoticons and other casual communication? Here are a few tips from our experts to keep your habit under control in your job search:

  • Avoid it altogether
    "There is a time and place for text message lingo and emoticons, and corresponding back and forth with a potential employer is not one of them," Houston says. "Construct thoughtful and eloquent sentences and back up this verbal communication with a confident, polished and professional personal presentation."

  • Don't treat recruiters like your friend
    At the end of the day, recruiters are recruiters, not your friends, Cote says. Save the LOLs and happy faces for someone who is.

  • Play it safe
    You have no idea what hiring managers find charming and what they find annoying, McAuliffe says. In the job search, it's always better to stick to a professional representation of yourself.

  • If you have to ask yourself, 'Should I?' ... then you probably shouldn't
    This is true for most things, but especially in a job search, Cote says. "It is always smart to put your best foot forward, and that includes showing that you know how to write without using abbreviations and happy faces."

  • Actions speak louder -- and more professionally -- than emoticons
    "If you want to convey a happy and upbeat personality, use words and actions instead of font colors and symbols," McAuliffe says. "In your cover letter, tell the interviewer how excited you are to be considered for a position at their organization and how passionately you feel about the industry. If you get an interview, give a firm handshake, make eye contact and smile."

    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.