Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to Temp with Confidence

In searching the internet for resources to pass on to our readers. I found this great article on eHow.

How to Temp with Confidence
By lbothell, eHow Member

Whether you temp (or do contract work) by career choice, as a stop gap to finding a permanent position, or as a fill-in between classes, you can be a temping ace. With the ups and downs in the job market, your attitude and professionalism will determine whether or not you get called for the best temp jobs. You need to represent your agency favorably and to encourage both commendations and callback opportunities.

Step 1
Know why you are temping and be excited about it. If you hate temping, it will show. This separates the ace temps from the forgettable ones who don’t get callbacks. Some of the strongest temps are those who have chosen the flexibility and variety that temp life offers, while the more challenged temps project that they are filling in until they can get a ‘real’ job. Temping is a free education - more than that, you actually get paid to meet potential employers, engage in different types of business, and to learn whole new skill sets.

Step 2
Do what you say and say only what you’ll do, so you can offer reliability and professionalism. No assignment is too low or menial if you choose to accept it. If you believe the pay is much too low or the commute is too far, don’t accept the assignment. If you really can’t stand certain kinds of work or a specific environment, don’t accept the assignment

Step 3
Know your limits and keep it professional. If you accept an assignment that doesn’t prove to be all that you hoped, never let the employer see your disappointment. Never pre-terminate without discussing the situation with your agency rep so that s/he can ease the client’s transition to another temp. This will help the employer keep production going, and your agency will preserve a valuable client.

Step 4
Be prepared going in. Prepare your own sheet of basic questions for the first ten minutes you spend with the client supervisor. You’ll look confident and competent if you verify your schedule, the locations of amenities (water, coffee, restrooms), assignment information (like who will sign your timesheet), and specifics of the job itself. Keep notes on the equipment you use, any passwords you are given, and contact names. Present your timecard well before the end of the working day on which you need it signed. All this will help you look more organized and professional than the client expects.

Step 5
Add value for your client. Do the job you are given, ask for more, and fine tune whatever you do. For instance, perhaps you are given a computer and a phone, plus an old or messy phone list of department contacts. Redo the phone list - primarily so you can actually use it. However, leave a clean copy for the original employee, and forward a copy to your agency for the next temp. Draft a few procedures and task expectations for the next temp, and fax or e-mail a copy to your agency for their records (and keep one for your own). In slow times, use available tutorials and resources to learn new skills, and test them on more complex tasks. Finally, use your slow time wisely with educational and business-oriented research and reading. If you are ever queried, you can say (and truly mean) that you are brushing up so you can do more.

Step 6
Promote yourself. When you get a compliment, ask the client to pass it on to your agency. This is easy to do if you explain that such calls help your agency know they are serving the client properly, and will help make successful matches on future assignments. After you leave, send a brief thank-you card to the supervisor you worked with, with the agency’s contact information. Check in with your agency and note that you would like to see any callbacks awarded with a higher pay rate - especially if you received compliments and/or assignment extensions. (As a side note, please keep in mind that DISCOVER STAFFING does not establish the pay rates for our positions; the individual client does. We will do what we can to get a more competative pay rate for our good employees, but often that amount is not our decision.)

Contact DISCOVER STAFFING to learn more about the temporary positions we staff.

North Fulton Area:
Gwinnett Area:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


At DISCOVER STAFFING, we request that all new applicants provide us with the contact information for at least two references. Due to the nature of our business, we are required to contact these individuals before we can place someone to work. Here is an article about how to go about acquiring references during your job search. I have included some comments in italics that are specific to DISCOVER STAFFING.

Employment References
How to Get and Provide References for Employment

By Alison Doyle,

At some point during your job search, a potential employer will request references. Typically, it will be when the company is seriously interested in you as a potential hire. It's important to be prepared to provide a list of employment references who can attest to the skills and qualifications that you have for the job you are applying for.

Plan ahead and get your references in order, before you need them. It will save time scrambling to put together a list at the last minute. Keep in mind that good references can help you clinch a job offer, so, be sure to have a strong list of references who are willing to attest to your capabilities.

How to Ask for a Reference
Do not use someone for a reference unless you have their permission. You need to be sure that you are asking the appropriate people to write a letter of reference or to give you a verbal reference. You also need to know what the reference giver is going to say about you. The best way to approach this is to ask the reference writer if they would mind if you used them as a reference. Then review the type of positions you are applying for with the reference giver, so they can tailor their reference to fit your circumstances. (DISCOVER STAFFING is required to get all references verbally. It is fine to provide a written reference but we still need that reference writer's contact information so we can verify what it is that they have written.)

Who to Ask for a Reference
Former bosses, co-workers, customers, vendors, and colleagues all make good references. So do college professors. If you're just starting out in the workforce or if you haven't worked in a while you can use character or personal references from people who know your skills and attributes.

Company Reference Policy
Be aware that some employers will not provide references. Due to concerns about litigation, they will only provide job title, dates of employment, and salary history. If that's the case, be creative and try to find alternative reference writers who are willing to speak to your qualifications. (Please keep in mind also that many companies use The Work Number. DISCOVER STAFFING is unable to use The Work Number to receive references. If you know your former employer only uses The Work Number, please be prepared to provide an additional contact that would be able to speak with us.)

Make a List
Create a document listing your references. The list of references should not be included in your resume. Rather, create a separate reference list on the same paper you used for your resume. Have it ready to give to employers when you interview. Include three or four references, along with their job title, employer, and contact information. If the employer asks you to email your references, paste the list into the body of any email letter, rather than sending an attachment. (We do encourage our applicants to provide a formal list, but we will also ask all applicants to complete two reference forms. The reason for this is to have your signature on the form to indicate that we have your consent to contact the references.)

Once you've made your reference list, check it twice. I know someone who had a typo in the phone number of the top reference on her list. Needless to say, the employer couldn't reach the contact.

Paper vs. Personal
Many employers won't be interested in reference letters, though I still think it's a good idea to have some, especially if you're graduating from college, relocating, or the company you work for is going out of business. Instead, they will want to speak to your references so they can ask specific questions about your background to find out what type of employee you were and why you might be qualified for the job they are hiring for.

Request a Reference Letter
Every time you change employment, make a point of asking for a reference letter from your supervisor or a co-worker. That way, you can create a file of recommendations from people you may not necessarily be able to track down years later. (This being said, still always make sure you have current references. Our clients are counting on us to make sure we have the most up to date information including references from the most recent employer.)

Keep Your References Up-to-Date
Let your references know where your job search stands. Tell them who might be calling for a reference. When you get a new job, don't forget to send a thank you note to those who provided you with a reference.

Maintain your Network
Maintaining your reference network with periodic phone calls or notes to get and give updates is important. Have an active network in place because you never know when you might need it. (One good tool for this is to use LinkedIn to connect with people you have worked with in the past.)

Requesting Permission
A prospective employer should ask your permission before contacting your references. This is especially important if you are employed - you don't want to surprise your current employer with a phone call checking your references. It's perfectly acceptable to say that you are not comfortable with your current employer being contacted at the present time. However, do have a list of alternative references available. (If you do not want us to contact your most recent employer, do not indicate that employer on the work reference cards that we provide to you when you apply.)

Please contact us to learn more about how to apply with DISCOVER STAFFING.

The North Fulton area:
The Gwinnett area:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Working with Recruiters

I had intended to spend some time today searching for informative articles from other sources. However, the first thing I noticed on MSN this morning was this article about working with recruiters that I thought was too good not to share.

What Works When Working with Recruiters
By Selena Dehne, JIST Publishing

With an explosion of job seekers competing for fewer jobs, many people are turning to recruiters to try to tap into little-known opportunities in the job market.

If you're enlisting this strategy in your job search, it's critical that you understand the possibilities and limitations of working with a recruiter, as well as how to present yourself throughout the process.

Louise Kursmark, author of "15-Minute Cover Letter," says the most important thing to remember about recruiters is that they don't work for you; they work for hiring companies.

"They are not 'your' recruiter and will not try to 'find a job for you.' That said, recruiters can be your best friends during a job search -- provided you have the skills, experience and industry expertise their client is looking for," Kursmark says.

She suggests the following tips for making the most out of your relationship with recruiters:

Uncover a recruiter's specialty areas before contacting him or her. Otherwise, you risk wasting his time and your own. To learn more about recruiters who work in your areas of interest, consult recruiter directories (at your local library); online networking Web sites, such as LinkedIn or Twitter; the Yellow Pages; or company Web sites of recruiters based in your area.

Remember whom you're writing to. When writing to recruiters, refer to "your client" or "your client's organization" rather than "your company."

Follow up after sending a recruiter your résumé and cover letter. This call should determine whether the recruiter is a good fit for you. Introduce yourself concisely and briefly share some of your career achievements with him.

Be patient. Don't expect to hear back from recruiters unless they have a job that's a potentially good fit for you.

Understand the realities of recruitment. Recruiters have been given guidelines about the ideal candidate. If the recruiter doesn't think you are the right fit, don't dwell on trying to convince him or her otherwise. Instead, move on and let him know you're interested in future opportunities.

Help recruiters to help yourself. If you know of other individuals who would be a good fit for the recruiter's specialty areas, recommend them. It's a win-win for all involved.

Never work with a search firm that charges you a fee to get a job. Don't confuse this advice with fees you'd pay to work with a private-practice career counselor, coach or résumé writer. These people will provide you with services, but don't promise you a particular job.

Selena Dehne is a career writer for JIST Publishing who shares the latest occupational, career and job search information available with job seekers and career changers. She is also the author of JIST's Job Search and Career Blog (

Monday, May 18, 2009

How to Handle Mistakes on the Job

MSN Careers has a number of great articles posted this morning. Take a look, at least, at this one:

Should You Admit a Mistake?
If you do admit an error, you can start looking for solutions

By Eve Tahmincioglu, careers contributor

If the captain of the Titanic had not gone down with the ship, would he have blamed the iceberg for the disaster?

Probably not.

It would have been considered "dishonorable" for a longtime veteran of the sea like Capt. Edward John Smith to abdicate blame, says Carol Tavris, a social psychologist and co-author of "Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts."

But today, she adds, accepting responsibility for our mistakes has become passé in politics, finance and the workplace in general.

Just look at the financial sector's collapse. Few have lined up to take the fall for Wall Street's fall.

Richard Fuld, a veteran of 158-year-old Lehman Bros., was CEO when the company collapsed in spectacular fashion in September. He testified before Congress recently and blamed the implosion on everything from short selling to the government. He maintained that his decisions and actions as the leader of the firm "were both prudent and appropriate."

It got me thinking about what a CEO, or even a rank-and-file employee for that matter, really gains by admitting a mistake and taking the blame.

Should you fess up or deny?
On the surface, it seems Fuld has little to lose, since he is walking away with nearly $500 million in compensation earned during his tenure at the company.

That said, there could be a hidden cost to admitting any error.

"What do we think of CEOs hiding from responsibility?" asks Angie Morgan, co-author of "Leading From the Front: No-Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women."

"Their personal integrity has gone away," she said. "Respect is the ultimate reward you can get as a leader."

In general, does it help or hinder a career to admit mistakes and take the blame? Should you fess up -- or deny, deny, deny?

There is no easy answer to these questions, experts say. It all depends on a number of factors:

  • The gravity of the mistake you made.
  • How you approach fixing or resolving the mistake.
  • And most importantly, how understanding your managers are when it comes to screw-ups.

    When Morgan was an officer in the Marine Corps deployed in Australia, she made some mistakes.

    On one occasion, she sent two Marines under her command into the Outback without radios or any communications tools. When they didn't return that evening, she realized their lives could be on the line.

    She immediately told her commanding officer her mistake.

    "He then relayed the news via radio to units in the Outback, trying to locate the last unit that came in contact with my Marines. He utilized his communication channels to get a sense of where they were last seen, which allowed him to send out Humvees in those areas to try and locate them," she recalls. "His actions were immediate."

    After the Marines were found, she adds, she and her commanding officer "discussed my role in the situation and what I should have done to ensure that the situation never had occurred in the first place."

    Morgan learned a valuable lesson.

    "When you acknowledge mistakes, you can start looking for solutions," Morgan says.

    Lin Grensing-Pophal, an HR management expert, recalls one of her past employees who made a big blunder.

    The employee, a copywriter, worked on a major direct-mail initiative for Grensing-Pophal that involved more than 250,000 mailers to promote a bankruptcy book to lawyers.

    "I was sitting in my office one day when she came in with a copy of the brochure and announced: 'I've made a very big mistake.' She then proceeded to tell me that instead of listing the book price as $265.00 it was printed as $26.50."

    But the employee already had an action plan. "She had looked into a couple of alternatives for correcting the error. We could reprint at a cost of X, or she had found a service that would affix stickers over the price to correct at a cost of X. She offered to have the cost of correcting the error taken out of her salary," she explains, adding that the company did not dock her pay.

    Three things that impressed Grensing-Pophal:

    · "She immediately came to me to admit her mistake."

    · "In reality, this mistake was owned by several people. She was the copywriter, but the proofing process we had in place involved the product manager as well as a proofreader. She didn't even bring them into the picture -- she took full responsibility."

    · "She came in with a solution in hand. She didn't just dump the problem on me."

    "Since then, I've tried to use this same approach whenever I make a mistake," she says. "Mistakes, in my opinion, are not opportunities to chastise or place blame, they're opportunities to learn and improve."

    Learning from a mistake
    That's something children are supposedly taught from a young age -- how it's important to learn from your mistakes. But alas, what they learn from how adults deal with bungles tells them a different story, says "Mistakes" author Tavris.

    "They learn early on that making mistakes means you are stupid or incompetent," Tavris says.

    That is the wrong approach, she says. "People who are able to admit mistakes don't see those mistakes as a reflection on their own character and ability," she says.

    The ability to admit a mistake may also depend on your own conscience, adds Paul Facella, CEO of consulting firm Inside Management.

    "I think it depends on your own tolerance. If you can live with yourself and sleep at night knowing you made a mistake, more power to you," he says. "I would be waiting every day with bated breath wondering when the ax was going to fall."

    Facella, who is also the author of "Everything I Know About Business I Learned at McDonald's," says he was lucky enough to work in an environment as an executive at the fast-food chain that made employees "comfortable" about admitting mistakes.

    "In most situations, if people are honest and explain what they did, and it had no true malicious intent, then most organizations will acquiesce and like that," he says.

    It's all about weighing the consequences. "You can't be stupid about this," he advises. "If it was an honest mistake and your appetite for holding something like that back is not strong, I would go with your gut, pick a time and place, and explain it to your managers."

    Tony Simons, author of "The Integrity Dividend," says it's generally wiser to accept collective blame. "If you can get everyone around the table to say, 'We all screwed up,' that's really nice," he says. "In most big organizational foul-ups, there are lots of people that fouled up."

    Legal implications
    Part of the issue today when it comes to accepting blame, he continues, is the legal implication of doing so, which could mean everything from a loss of bonuses or even jail time.

    Tavris believes the fear that you'll be fired or derail your whole career for telling the truth, however, is overblown.

    "If you are a good employee, hard-working and care about the quality of your work, and make a rare mistake, then I think admitting it is the best thing to do," she says, so long as you offer corrective measures when you disclose the fumble.

    And accepting blame may actually help your career.

    "People like working for someone they can trust," Simons says. "And if you have an employee who tells you they screwed up, then you know you can trust them."

    There's a payoff on both sides, he says. But, he stresses, "It's naïve to say telling the truth will always serve you well. You have to be able to read if those around you, and the company you work for, are worthy of the truth."

    Eve Tahmincioglu writes the weekly "Your Career" column for, aiming to tell daily grinders how to make work life work for them by sleuthing out career-ladder secrets rung by rung.
  • Thursday, May 14, 2009

    Stand Out from the Crowd

    Check out this article from MSN Careers.

    What Makes You Different From the Other Job Seekers?
    By Anthony Balderrama, writer

    You're special.

    Your mom and dad told you. Your Little League coach told you. You tell yourself in the mirror every morning.

    Anyone who encounters you must recognize what a unique snowflake you are, right?

    Maybe, but not necessarily. If you're looking for a job, don't assume the hiring manager is going to look at your cover letter and think, "This job candidate is The One." That could happen, but you should do all you can to make that realization occur.

    In the interest of spreading the word about your unparalleled qualifications and stunning personality, we've compiled some questions you should ask yourself at each stage of the job-hunting process. Some of these questions can apply to each stage.

    When writing the résumé
    Q. What about my education sets me apart?
    A. Although degrees are more common than they once were, not each one is created equal. Most programs have enough freedom built in to them to allow students to customize their courses. The combination of your major and minor or your courses can give you a background that no one else has.

    Q. Do I care about all of this?
    A. This résumé is about you, so you probably have more interest in it than the average employer, but if you're bored, everyone else will be, too. If your attempt to show how unique you are results in a dense list of your jobs and skills that make the page look like one huge block of text, you're probably not focusing enough. Keep details short, informative and, above all else, relevant. Your paper route in junior high doesn't matter if you're 25 and have a college degree.

    Your GPA, awards and recognition are good examples of items that do set you apart. They won't land you the job by themselves, but they are additional assets that can differentiate you from the next résumé in the stack.

    When writing your cover letter
    Q. What's implied on the résumé but not explicitly stated?
    A. Have someone else read your résumé and explain your strong points to you. If you don't hear something you were expecting, figure out why. You might think your extensive work history painted a clear picture for readers, but it might not. The cover letter is your chance to connect the dots and (eloquently) tell the hiring manger, "Hey, look what I have to offer!"

    Maybe your internship with an employer was more involved and relevant to the position you're seeking than the résumé suggests. Go into details and prove why that experience matters to this job.

    Q. Does this sound like me or like Janet Q. Jobseeker?
    A. Professionalism is key in a cover letter, but so is your personality. Now is not the time to be a comedian, but if your cover letter could have been written by any other applicant and been about any other applicant, then it's not special. As a result, the employer won't think you're special.

    If you have extensive knowledge of the industry, have a contact at the company or possess strong communication skills, don't be afraid to let it shine through.

    When interviewing
    Q. Would I hire me?
    A. An interview is basically an extended, interactive form of this question. If you get an interview the employer thinks you fit the job requirements, but whether or not you're the perfect candidate is still in question. In addition to elaborating on your skills, only one thing can make or break you at this point: your personality.

    Your personality is unique to you, so don't be scared to let it show. As with the cover letter, don't be so casual that you come off as unprofessional, but now is the time to show your sense of humor and your interpersonal communication skills. Fading into the background will only help you be forgotten.

    Q. What is the one thing I want the hiring manager know about?
    A. Hiring managers don't know you, so they're probably asking you the same questions they asked other candidates. If you want to prove that you're a three-dimensional person who exists beyond undergrad business courses, have an actual dialogue. A hiring manager doesn't need you to echo everything he or she already read about you.

    The time you helped your group tackle a problem during a brainstorming session? The interesting marketing book you just read that has given you some new ideas? Let these facts out if they're relevant to the conversation.

    Q. Why do I want to work here?
    A. Interviewers often ask this question of candidates, and candidates have learned to come armed with a response. But do you know why you want to work there or do you just know what you want them to think?

    Everyone wants to be hired so they can get a paycheck, add another line to their résumé and move up the chain. Do you want to transition into a new industry? Do you think you can bring a fresh perspective to the company (without sounding arrogant)? Does the position sound like the one you've been preparing for and you have the experience to show for it? You need to know the answer and believe it before you walk into the interview.

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

    Tuesday, May 12, 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. - serving North and South Gwinnett and Peachtree Corners - serving Alpharetta, Roswell, Sandy Springs and Marietta
  • Monday, May 11, 2009

    After a Layoff...

    Career Builder and MSN Careers share this article for advice.

    Laid Off? Your 'Get Hired' Plan
    Tips from Martha Finney, author of "Rebound: A Proven Plan for Starting Over After Job Loss"

    By Rachel Zupek, writer

    Unless you're in complete denial of what's happening in the world around you, by now you're well-aware that layoffs are rampant in today's economy.

    In February 2009* alone, employers made 2,769 mass layoffs compared with 1,672 mass layoffs in the same month last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Each layoff involved at least 50 people from a single employer filing for unemployment insurance. Since December 2007, when the recession was declared to have started, there have been 28,481 mass layoffs, and more than 2.9 million people have filed for unemployment benefits during that time.

    The numbers show that it no longer matters if you've been with a company for 15 years, if you're highly educated, if you're a top performer or even if you're friends with the boss. Layoffs are happening, and they are happening to everyone.

    "If the company is determined to cut head count by a certain percentage, no amount of exposure, of reminding the boss how successful you've been in helping the company achieve its goals, will save your job," says Martha Finney, author of "Rebound: A Proven Plan for Starting Over After Job Loss" (FT Press). "They'll miss you when you're gone, but they've already determined that you're gone anyway."

    Voice of experience
    Charles** worked for a family-owned real-estate and agricultural business for 10 years. He has two master's degrees, moved up quickly within the company and had a long-term plan to take over the IT department.

    When the housing market collapsed, the company began to go through some tough times and it became evident to Charles that companywide layoffs were on the horizon.

    "I honestly thought I was safe because I had really good rapport with the family," he says. "My boss's boss was the CFO and he had asked me work on a special project analyzing some of the various business units and what it would cost to dispose of them. He told me not to read anything into that. 'Don't worry about things,' he said."

    When the project was finished, Charles was laid off.

    "I thought I'd work for this company for the rest of my life. I believed that good work would give me job security. As long as I do really good work, why would a company let me go?" he says. "Even though I knew trouble was on the way, I thought I was in a good position because I had multiple talents and had worked for every operation there. If you're going to shrink your work force, you'd think you would keep people who can do multiple things."

    Now what?
    Charles' story is probably much like your own if you were laid off -- you were shocked, angry and bitter, and your confidence was shaken. But the worst thing you can do is blame yourself.

    "Recognize that this period of layoffs is just another moment in time, having nothing to do with your essential value and meaning," Finney says.

    Now that you've come to terms with your many emotions, what you need is a plan.

    In her book, Finney teamed up with Bill Berman, Ph.D., a Connecticut-based corporate psychologist, to come up with steps to take toward getting hired.

    (And no, tapping away on your laptop while you're stretched out on the sofa in your PJs doesn't count.)

    1. Take some time to stop
    Take a step back and figure out where you stand. Know how long you can afford to explore your possibilities and where you want to go next.

    "The worst thing you can do when you get laid off is run right out and grab whatever you can," Berman says. "Step back and think about what you want to do, what you loved about the work you were doing before and how it matches with what you want to be doing one year, three years, five years from now."

    2. Build your network list and start using it
    Your network will be your biggest ally in your job search. Your friends, their friends and the friends of those people will surprise you when they show a genuine interest in helping you.

    Berman suggests thinking broadly about whom you know and being upfront with them about your job search.

    "Think back to the people you worked with five, 10, 15 years ago and don't e-mail them. There's no substitute for a phone call," he says.

    3. Get dressed!
    Now isn't the time to explore your quirky bohemian phase, unless it's the course you've decided to take for the next phase of your life, Finney says.

    "Treat your job search project as you would a regular full-time job. Get out of the jammies and put on something you would wear to work at your old job," she says. "When you wear the uniform of your role, you stay in touch with that side of who you are. No one I can think of is in the market to hire Mr. Scratchy Pajama Bottoms."

    4. Set regular working hours that match a conventional workday
    Finney says that any self-employed person will tell you that choosing your own hours is both a joy and a curse. Sure, you don't have to work while everyone is, but that usually means that you won't be having fun when everyone else is, either.

    "If you work nine to five on your job hunting assignment, then absolutely you can take weekends off," Berman says. "The reason why people work on weekends and at night on looking for a new job is because they screwed around all day."

    5. Establish a structure against which you'll achieve and measure your goals
    Identify specific ways you'll approach your job search by outlining how many tasks you'll do each day and what they are specifically. Make a list of the phone calls you'll make and the names you'll look up, Finney suggests.

    "If you set a goal, you're going to be able to work toward that goal," Berman says. "Set very specific goals, make them things you think you can actually do, and then make them non-negotiable."

    6. Dismiss the derailers
    Undoubtedly, job searching is a pain in the rear. The process is lengthy, at best, and it's easy to get discouraged along the way. The feeling of panic that you have to have a job now! is a derailer, as are mean-spirited friends who undermine your confidence, well-meaning family who are concerned and your own ego, which tells you that if you were truly a good provider, you would have a job by now, Finney says.

    "You might not be able to see them coming, but you can spot them for what they are," she says. "Shrug them off. Some people mean well, some people are just, well, mean. Either way, that's not your focus right now."

    *According to the most recent data, updated on March 20, 2009. A mass layoff occurs when at least 50 initial claims are filed against an employer during a consecutive five-week period. An initial claim is when someone files for unemployment, according to the BLS Web site.

    ** Voice of experience paraphrased from page 92 of "Rebound: A Proven Plan for Starting Over After Job Loss."

    Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues..

    Thursday, May 7, 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.

    Don't forget to say "Thank You"

    Take Note! Don't Forget to Say "Thanks"
    By Robert Half International

    In a competitive job market, just one wrong move during the application process can take you out of contention for the position you seek. Not sending a thank-you note after an employment interview is one of those wrong moves. In fact, no thank-you note may translate into "no, thank you" from an employer that was considering hiring you.

    A thank-you note is a chance for you to make a lasting, positive impression on a hiring manager who may have interviewed dozens of candidates. Nearly nine out of 10 executives polled by Robert Half International said sending a brief letter after an interview can boost a job seeker's chances of landing the position.

    Here are some tips for writing a winning thank-you note:

    Keep it formal. After an interview, some job seekers use their cell phones or PDAs to send off a quick thank-you note to the hiring manager -- in "text speak." But hiring managers won't be impressed by "thx 4 ur time." Just as you wouldn't wear shorts and flip-flops to an interview, avoid such informal language, which could come off as unprofessional. Also, saying thanks so quickly after the interview makes it seem like you haven't given the meeting proper thought -- that you're sending the note as routine, not because you truly appreciate the opportunity. A better tactic is to send an e-mail message to thank the interviewer within 24 hours of the interview. Then, follow up with a letter sent through the regular mail.

    Be specific. In your note, bring up points from the conversation you had with the hiring manager. For example, if a prospective employer stressed that the open position calls for knowledge of a particular software program, use the thank-you letter as an opportunity to remind the person that you've worked with the application on a range of projects.

    Repeat yourself. While a lot of what you include in your thank-you note may seem repetitive, remember that a hiring manager who has interviewed a dozen candidates may not remember all the specifics about your skills and experience. Just like an advertising campaign for a consumer product, a certain amount of repetition is necessary to distinguish yourself from the competition.

    Make it personal. If you discovered the hiring manager shares your passion for travel or mystery books, referring to this commonality could make your letter even more effective. Personalizing the note will remind him or her who you are and that you paid close attention during the interview.

    Allay concerns. A thank-note is your chance to address any concerns the hiring manger expressed, especially if you were unable to do so in the interview. Perhaps the interviewer was worried about your lack of industry experience, and during the interview you forgot to mention a temporary position you had in the sector. You can bring it up in your note, along with a few points about how that experience contributed to your knowledge or interest in the field.

    Don't stop at one. If you interviewed with more than one hiring manager, send a thank-you note to each person. Address every letter to a specific individual, even if you have to do some research to uncover the spelling of someone's name or locate his or her contact information. Also make sure the content of each letter differs; hiring managers often compare notes -- literally.

    Add an extra. Perhaps during the interview you mentioned an article you recently read that's relevant to the firm's business. Send it with your note, along with a brief explanation of why you thought your contact would be interested in the information. Indeed, whether it's a news article or a link to an interesting Web site, you'll make yourself more memorable by demonstrating that you've gone beyond the basics.

    Finally, keep in mind that sending a well-written thank-you note at other points in your job search can be advantageous. This communication shouldn't be limited solely to the employment interview. It's also worth sending a short letter of thanks to a contact who clued you in to a job lead, a former colleague who served as a reference or a manager who accepted your request for an informational interview. On the job hunt, the little things count. Displaying good manners can help you forge stronger relationships and ensure people are happy to lend a hand when you need their help again.

    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

    Wednesday, May 6, 2009


    Everyone talks about using keywords today in their job search. While it might seem somewhat impersonal, it is one good way to get through to that potential opportunity. The more diversity you use in your search the more possible matches you'll find. MSN Careers shares this great article.

    Using the Right Keywords in Your Job Search
    By Anthony Balderrama, writer

    The right words make all the difference in life. Try asking "Wanna get hitched?" instead of "Will you marry me?" for proof.

    Even in a job interview, you wouldn't say, "Hey, dude." You'd probably say, "Nice to meet you." And your résumé wouldn't include slang, either. You know all this. At least, I hope you do.

    But the need for well-chosen words starts when you search job postings. From the job title to the list of requirements, knowing how to tweak your words to yield the best results is vital to getting your job hunt started off right.

    Here are a few ways to make sure you're using the right keywords:

    Be a copycat
    In your résumé and interviews, you want to let your best qualities and unique point of view shine through. But to get to those stages, you first have to find the right job. That means you have to do something that's unacceptable in every other circumstance: plagiarize.

    Go to an online job board and search for jobs that you think you're a great match for. Then study the language they use to perform your own searches. For example, if you find a listing for a project coordinator position that sounds ideal, you should apply for it, of course, and then pull out key phrases to search other jobs. If they use the phrase "method calibrations," plug that into the search field to see what other positions comes up. Employers might use different job titles or you might find other positions that are good fits but you didn't know they existed.

    Don't get stuck on titles
    When you have defined goals for your career and subsequently your salary, you can find yourself fixated on having a certain job title. Although your ambitions are admirable and beneficial to your career, don't forget that not all titles are created equal. Every company has its own culture and often its own lingo. One employer's vice president is another's senior associate. Search for the job title you want, but remember to dig deeper for other title ideas.

    Look to the responsibilities and skills detailed in a job posting for a more accurate gauge of its duties. You'll still find the jobs you're looking for if you search by responsibility instead of title, except you'll be working backward. If, for example, you want a retail manager position, you should search for related terms, such as "supervisor" or "customer relations." Filter through the results to find good matches. You might find that you're a perfect fit for a "team leader" position that you wouldn't have otherwise found.

    Treat it like a search engine
    When you're looking online for something that interests you -- say, a new apartment -- you suddenly become a master of the Internet query. You're trying different keywords, searching by ZIP code one moment and neighborhood nickname the next. If there's an available property in a two-mile radius, you'll find it. You know how to work a search engine without a second thought.

    Take that mentality to your job search. One of the simplest ways to broaden or narrow your search is to use quotation marks. Searching for a phrase without quotation marks (i.e., dental assistant) will find you jobs with either word in the description. However, enclosing the entire phrase (i.e., "dental assistant") in quotes will only return jobs with those words together in that exact order. If you find your searches are returning too many hits or too few, play with quotes. You can also use the advanced-search options to tailor your searches or use other shortcuts, such as minus signs to exclude words from results.

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

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    Out Dated Job Hunt Tactics

    MSN Careers struck gold again with this informative article.

    What's 'In' and 'Out' on the Job Hunt
    By The Creative Group

    Monogrammed stationery.

    A Rolodex filled with business cards.

    The Sunday want ads.

    These job search tools have all gone the way of the dodo. But are you still using tactics that are similarly slated for extinction?

    Like all trends, those that define the job search change over time -- sometimes often, and sometimes dramatically. To give yourself the best possible chance of landing a new position, you need to use the most up-to-date approaches. And if you haven't launched a job hunt in several years, you could be behind the times.

    Here are some job search tactics that are "in" and "out":

    Out: Blanketing local employers with a résumé and cover letter addressed "To whom it may concern."
    In: Researching prospective employers and applying to companies where your skills and interests match their needs. In a competitive job market, a generic résumé won't grab a hiring manager's attention. The best applications are highly targeted to the opportunity. That means not only researching the appropriate contact so you can address the hiring manager by name but also detailing how your skills and experience can meet the potential employer's exact needs.

    Out: Stilted language in application materials (e.g., "Please find my résumé attached in response to the job posting ...").
    In: More natural prose that provides a sense of your personality. Soft skills are more important than ever, and employers want to get a sense of your personality to ensure you will mesh well with existing staff members. So use your résumé and cover letter as a way to show the hiring manager who you are. But keep in mind that these documents should still remain professional -- you can get your personality across without resorting to shorthand, slang or "text speak."

    Out: Using unusual résumé formats to hide employment gaps.
    In: Filling potential gaps through volunteer or temporary work. Some job seekers have used functional résumés to downplay gaps in their work history. But this format -- in which the person's skills are listed at the top of the document, and the work history is truncated or omitted -- could raise red flags by making it seem like you have something to hide. Today's hiring managers realize that many talented people are out of work right now through no fault of their own, so don't think you need to hide a recent period of unemployment. Instead, demonstrate that you've remained professionally engaged while searching for a new position by taking on volunteer or temporary work.

    Out: Overly detailed résumés.
    In: Streamlined résumés that list relevant accomplishments. Hiring managers don't have much time to devote to your résumé, so you need to make a positive impression right away. The best way to do so is to cut out unnecessary information from your document -- for example, accomplishments from a job you held two decades ago, the clubs you belonged to in college (unless you're a recent graduate) or that your references are available upon request. Focus on the skills you have that match the employer's requirements and, in particular, bottom-line contributions you've made in previous roles.

    Out: A narrow focus in your job search.
    In: A broad view of how your skills might be useful in various roles. In today's job market, you may need to be creative to land a new position. Think about the skills you possess and how they could be applied in new ways or in an entirely new position or field. For example, your experience spearheading a product launch could position you for a role as a project manager.

    Out: Networking occasionally.
    In: Networking constantly using tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, as well as in person. The best way to find a job remains through word of mouth. And, in the recession, a lead or referral from a contact can give you the edge you need to land a new position. Online networking Web sites make it easy for you to keep in touch with members of your network, but keep in mind that face-to-face interaction is still important. Offer to treat people to coffee on occasion to catch up and talk about your search.

    Out: A set reference list.
    In: A customized reference list for each opportunity. Like your résumé and cover letter, your reference list should be fluid and targeted to the opportunity. When providing this information to a prospective employer, think of who can speak best about your most relevant skills for that position, not who has the most impressive job titles. For example, if you are interviewing for a management position, have the hiring manager reach out to individuals you've supervised in the past.

    Out: Ending the interview by asking when they'll be contacting you.
    In: Ending the interview by asking for the job on a trial basis. It never hurts to be proactive. If you think the employment interview has gone well, don't be afraid to ask if you can prove yourself on a temporary basis. You'll demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and desire to hit the ground running.

    The fundamentals of the job search -- reaching out to employers and making a positive impression -- haven't changed. But the tools for doing so are different today than even just a few years ago. Make sure you understand the current trends to maximize your success on the job hunt.

    The Creative Group is a specialized staffing service placing creative, advertising, marketing and Web professionals with a variety of firms on a project basis. For more information, visit

    The Recruiter as a Resource

    The Recruiter's Guide Blog at Wordpress was recently brought to my attention. I thought that information provided was very well written and informative. Please do check out the current post for more information.

    Here are some highlights from his blog post:

  • The job-seeker is NOT the recruiters customer, the organization is (they pay the bills).
  • A recruiter does not ‘get’ you a job. Their role is to work with the client, understand their need and find the best match to fit that spot.
  • Just like with any profession there are good recruiters and bad recruiters. Sometimes you have to go through a couple of bad apples to get to good ones.
  • If approached correctly, a recruiter can be a great resource of information on the job-market, your industry, and best practices on how to find employment.
  • To maximize your time in working with recruiters, find those that specialize in your job-function as they will be more likely to have opportunities that are of interest to you.
  • Make sure that you have a firm understanding with any third-party recruiters that your résumé is NOT to be sent to any opportunity without your consent.
  • Not tracking where you have applied and been submitted can easily lead to a double submission to an organization which can result in you being eliminated from consideration completely.
  • If a recruiter recognizes your number on caller id you might be calling just a little too much
  • the AJC HR Roundtable

    I was looking for some information to share with our readers specifically related to the job search process in the local Atlanta area when I found the following information. I discovered the AJC Blog, specifically this information on their HR Roundtable Feature. I wanted to share it with you as an additional resource for advice while in the job market.

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Email Tips for the Job Search

    I frequently find myself combing sites such as Careerbuilder and Hotjobs for great information to share with our readers. On Yahoo! Hotjobs, I came across this great article on how to use Email to its best possible potential.

    Email Can Be Key to Employment
    By Erin Hovanec

    Email can speed up your job search. It makes it faster and easier than ever to communicate with recruiters and hiring managers.

    Unfortunately, email is also often used incorrectly. And a simple mistake can cost you an interview or even a job offer.

    But, by following a few simple steps, you can help ensure that your email gets a response when communicating with recruiters and hiring managers.

    Here's the first tip: Always put your name in the subject line.

    Don't assume you're the only job candidate named "Pat." Include your full name (first and last) as well as the topic of the message in the subject line.

    Here are some other tips on how to email your way to employment.

    Keep Your Contact Information Handy

    Of course your contact information is front and center on your resume. But there's another place you should also include it: In the body of your email.

    This will make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to reach you.

    You can create an email signature that will automatically appear in each message. Or, type your name, address, phone number and email address at the bottom of every email you send.

    You shouldn't assume someone will take the time to look for your contact information in their files.

    'Attach,' Then 'Open'

    Always double-check attached files AFTER attaching them to your message.

    Many people have multiple versions of their resumes and cover letters. Make sure you're sending the most appropriate resume or the cover letter addressed to the correct person. Attaching the wrong file, especially if it's a personal file, can be disastrous.

    Be the Sender and the Recipient

    Be smart: Test your e-mail messages by sending them to yourself.

    If you're worried that a message won't look right or will have formatting problems, send it to yourself before sending it to the recruiter or hiring manager. You'll see exactly what they'll see, and you can fix any problems first.

    Before You Hit 'Send' ...

    Leave the "To" field for last.

    You don't want to accidentally send an incomplete or error-filled email to a recruiter or hiring manager. Don't fill in the recipient's email address until right before you hit "Send." Adding the email address should be the very last thing you do.

    Check the spelling, do a final proofread and THEN fill in the "To" field.