Monthly Archives: October 2018

Scary-Cool Words for Your Resume

Scare off the competition with your newly expanded vocabulary

Ghosts and ghouls are garish and ghastly. Zombies are zealous in their pursuit of brains. And warlocks are wild in their suspiciously suspect spellcasting.

But there is one creature more frightening, foul, and fatal than all the rest:

Your resume.

Only a select few enjoy resume-writing. For the rest of us, the onerous activity can seem like an exercise in futility, akin to trying to melt a witch wearing a water-resistant wetsuit.

You must get your foot in the door to score a job, and, unless you’re a zombie with the ability to throw your actual foot through the literal door, you’ll need a tip-top resume to get past the scanning robots and secure an interview.

Here are the tastiest words to make sure you don’t get eaten by the competition.

Words That Show You Take Initiative

You want to show your potential employer you didn’t twiddle your thumbs and do the bare minimum in your previous positions. Use these words to show you’re eerily experienced, and that you originated new and complex programs:

  • Redesigned
  • Revamped
  • Launched (a new project, blog, program, team activity, regular event, etc).
  • Established
  • Introduced
  • Pioneered
  • Spearheaded

Words That Show You Are Results-Driven

Employers want results. Would you hire a ghost that scared “a bunch” of people or a ghoul that increased the individuals frightened by 72% within 2 years? Be specific with the following words:

  • Generated
  • Seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, etc. (Again, be specific!)
  • Dollars and cents; as exact as you can get
  • Improved
  • Increased good thing (gross margin, sales, customer satisfaction) by ___%.
  • Decreased bad things (customer complaints, workplace accidents, etc.) by ___ %.

Words That Show You Are a Team Leader

A true werewolf king is the leader of his pack. But that doesn’t mean he needs to repeat the word “led” five hundred times on his resume. Instead of saying you “led” a team, show you went above and beyond with these words:

  • Managed
  • Directed
  • Coached
  • Oversaw
  • Mentored
  • Motivated
  • Supervised
  • Cultivated
  • United

And that’s it! Now that you have plenty of words in your resume pumpkin, you’re ready to turn it into a ferociously fresh job search jack-o’-lantern. So, get carving!

Any other “boo-tiful” words you’ve found effective in getting your resume noticed? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Will You Get a Job this Winter?

Here’s what the employment scene looks like.

To get a better picture of how the economy is doing (and how that affects your chances of getting a new job this winter), we surveyed business owners, decision makers, and human resource professionals about hiring trends in their markets and how they impact hiring decisions.

Business leaders predict an optimistic end to an overall strong year.

Forty-eight percent of survey respondents expect an upward trend in employment for the fourth quarter. This is up 14% over the first quarter of this year. On average throughout the year, less than 9% of survey respondents said they expected a downward trend in employment activity. Even more encouraging, 92% of companies do not plan to eliminate positions in key segments during the fourth quarter.

Jobs you may want to consider:

The top 5 segments hiring in the fourth quarter of 2018 include:

  • General Labor (Industrial): 37%
  • Skilled Labor (Industrial): 30%
  • Administrative/Office Clerical: 21%
  • Accounting/Finance: 10%
  • Engineering: 9%

The jobs are there, but access to top talent continues to plague businesses.
There are jobs available, but the competition among businesses to recruit workers with the right mix of skills and expertise needed to fill them is fierce.  In fact, 65% of survey respondents reported a “lack of applicants with experience” as the primary reason their open jobs are not filled—a 37% increase over first quarter of 2018. Only 16% of survey respondents said all their positions are filled.

According to the survey, top reasons jobs go unfilled include:

  1. Lack of applicants with experience – 65%
  2. Lack of applicants in general – 65%
  3. Lack of applicants with hard skills – 43%
  4. Lack of applicants with soft skills – 27%
  5. Pay is not competitive – 24%

What this means for you.

Employers are looking for qualified applicants, and jobs are going unfilled because they can’t find people with the right mix of skills. This means that you can get those jobs if you acquire those skills. Look into training programs or night classes and strengthen your resume to be the best employee you can be.

An Intern at Any Age

Is a later-in-life internship right for you?

Remember the movie The Intern? It wasn’t full of superheroes throwing trucks or giant dinosaurs eating people, but it was a great flick nonetheless.

Robert De Niro plays a retired executive who has trouble adjusting to his empty schedule and decides to join a senior citizen intern program. The film is hilarious, but has plenty of heart, too.

Ok, enough with the film review (although, yeah, you should absolutely see it). The interesting bit here is that The Intern is not too far off the mark. Plenty of people, not just seniors, are looking to get back into the workforce. In fact, many of those over the age of 40 have chosen to explore internships (or returnships, as some folks call them).

Why?

Here’s what Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO of iRelaunch, an organization dedicated to assisting people with re-entry into the workforce, had to say on Today.

“These are a great vehicle for people returning to work. The word ‘internship’ is just a label, but it really covers any kind of short-term, non-binding work arrangement.”

Not convinced? It’s true that not getting any sort of payor compensation can make the concept hard to swallow. However, here are a few reasons you might want to try a later-in-life internship.

Experience

When you spend years out of the workforce, the world keeps on moving. Industries change, new technology is created, and cultural values shift. The workplace is constantly evolving, and the place you left behind could be completely different in just a few short years.

An internship allows you to learn about all of these changes without being overwhelmed by a full-time job. You can continue to learn and develop as you practice your craft.

Networking

Although there is a trend of older interns popping up here and there, they are still relatively rare on a per company basis. That makes you stand out as someone unique. Which makes you memorable, which makes the connections you form at your internship all the more valuable. If there isn’t a full-time position available at the end of your internship and that’s something you’re interested in, these individuals could help you find something at a different company.

There are also professional organizations available for aspiring interns to join. National Intern Today has a great list!

Freedom to Explore

Maybe you don’t know what you want to do. You’ve had kids, watched them grow, and now you’re ready for that next step. You didn’t hate the job you had before kids but it would be great to try something new. Internships allow you to do that.

You can start an internship in a completely different field. Or start in something you know fairly well and branch out.

In an article on Stuff, Lorna Hendry, a graphic designer, talks about her experience as an intern for a children’s publisher after traveling around Australia with her family for three years.

“The internship was annoying initially because the publisher was keen to use my design and art skills, which I was trying to leave behind. I was getting really grumpy because I felt that was not what I was there for. I whinged to the staff member who organised the internship and she encouraged me to stick it out. Within a week the publisher asked me if I’d like to write a book for them about penguins. And who wouldn’t want to do that? How good are penguins!?”

Have you ever held a later-in-life internship position? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below!

So, You Left a Toxic Work Culture – How Do You Explain That in an Interview?

Where do you even start?

Sometimes a good company goes bad. This can be for a range of reasons: from sketchy financial situations and harassment issues to nepotism and endless gossip. The possibilities are practically endless. Regardless, the result is the same—you probably leave.

But while interviewing with new companies several of them ask why you left your previous job (especially if you weren’t there for very long).

How are you supposed to respond? Should you tell the truth? Or do you need to dress it up as something else? The answer is a mix of both.

Tell the Truth (But Maybe Not Every Detail)

Being honest about why you left a job is a good thing. But try to keep your emotions and the specific details out of it. For instance, if you left because of nepotism, stay away from saying “I left because the CEO only promoted friends and family members into leadership positions.” This makes it sound like you were bitter about the promotion landscape, and might have been coming up for excuses why you weren’t promoted.

Instead, go with something along the lines of: “I was ready to take on more responsibilities and enter a management position, but the company decided to go in another direction. While I respect that decision, I believe I’m ready for a position like [name of position you’re interviewing for], and am excited to take that next step.”

This way you’re staying truthful, but keeping the focus on you as a productive individual and your own career hopes and dreams.

Keep the Focus on You

Don’t spend too much time talking about the culture and misdeeds of your last company. Your interviewer wants to know more about you as a job candidate not about how your last company was run. Keep emotion out of the interview, give a quick soundbite about why you left that job, and continue to keep the light on yourself and why you’re perfect for the position you’re interviewing for.

If you spend too much time talking about how bad your last job was, your potential employer might think that’s how you’ll talk about their company in the future.

Show What You Learned

Try not to place all the blame on that old company. What was it that finally made you leave? Focus on that element, and turn your leaving the company into a learning experience.

For instance, perhaps there was uncontrollable gossip in the office due to a lack of clarity from management regarding the future of the company. Instead of saying that you left because “people wouldn’t stop talking about me behind my back,” opt for something positive:

“There was a lack of clear vision for the company going into the future, and this trickled down into discontent among employees.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure where things were going either. However, I eventually realized that sitting around wondering about things wasn’t going to do anything to change my circumstances. I researched ways for the company to improve, and brought them to my supervisor to forward up the chain. When no action was taken regarding those concerns, I decided to leave the company. I wish them all the best, but I think for me, personally, it’s time for a change.”

Have you ever left a toxic work culture? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below!

Are You Too Nice to Your Co-workers?

When never saying “no” turns into a problem.

It’s a question they ask. Every. Single. Interview.

“Are you a team player?”

There’s only one right answer: “Yes.” Followed by examples of how great you are at working with a team.

And it’s true—if you can’t work well with others, you’re probably going to have trouble in any workplace.

However, there’s a limit. If you accommodate every single person’s request, from picking up lunch for a group meeting to taking notes, you become everybody’s “go-to guy (or gal).” It’s flattering to be thought of as the co-worker who can get any task done. But that can take a toll on you, both mentally and physically.

Here’s a few ways to tell it might be time to start embracing the word “no” (or a suitably polite equivalent).

You Say Yes. A Lot.

As noted by the Wall Street Journal, many employees now spend 85% of their time working with other team member in emails, meetings, conference calls, or instant messaging. That’s why it becomes a problem when you tell everyone you can handle anything.

You want to do a great job. So, you email a friend in a different department that you’ll send their request to your manager, help every customer (via phone or in-person) with any requests they have, and tell the front office coordinator you can cover the desk while they’re on lunch break. You like being reliable.

But before you know it, it’s two hours before you’re supposed to go home and you haven’t even started your own projects for the day.

You’re (Too) Stressed

When you say you can do several things for several different people, even if they’re all small, it all adds up. And saying “yes” makes you accountable. You said you’d do it, and don’t want to let everyone down.

But now you’re juggling too many things. You almost forget what you’re working on, who requested it, and when it’s due. And even if you can keep all those things straight, you still have your own responsibilities as well.

You’re Becoming Bitter

Eventually, initial feelings of pride over being the reliable person can turn sour. You don’t even remember why you started doing these things that aren’t in your job description in the first place! Why did people even ask you to handle responsibilities that aren’t yours? Why don’t they do it themselves! But now it’s too late to say no. You’re buried with no way out.

Or are you?

You’ve Accepted You’re A Yes (Wo)Man; Now What?

First off: you’re not alone. Being overwhelmed is a real problem, all across North America.

According to Robert Cross, lead author of an eight-year, 28 employer study on collaborative demands, “The volume and diversity of collaborative demands on employees have risen 50% in the past decade.”

But not all hope is lost. The article goes on to note that “changing just a few behaviors can regain 18% to 24% of the time spent collaborating.

These include:

  • Taking time to focus, whether through meditation or whatever else relaxes you.
  • Not answering every email. It’s okay, not everything is meant for you to respond to. If you’re addressed directly, feel free to forward it to the appropriate person.
  • Having hard discussions. Sitting down with your boss or a particularly demanding co-worker to let them know you’re a bit overwhelmed. If you’re handling odd jobs for multiple people, it’s likely each person doesn’t know the full extent of everything you do.

And if you’re resolved to continue doing everything for everybody? At least try to schedule your workload down to the minute. Once you go past your scheduled time on a task, stop it and move to the next one. Prioritize your own projects and let people know you’ll be handling those responsibilities first.

 

Have you ever ended up as the workplace go-to person for basically everything? If it became overwhelming, how did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below!

Poll Results: Are Companies Offering the Flexible Work Employees Crave?

And how do workers define flexible work?

Open up any employment news report these days and you’ll see that workers want flexible schedules.

But what does that even mean? And does it mean the same thing to workers as it does to employers?

We decided to find out with two polls. One here on Movin’ On Up, and one on Refresh Leadership, our blog for business leaders.

The Results

Job seekers listed “freedom to adjust your schedule to accommodate personal family needs” at number one, with 22% of the vote. Just under 25% of business leaders agreed, making this the most popular response for both groups.

The number two definition for jobseekers at 19% of the vote was “freedom to adjust your own hours/schedule.” Number two for employers was “options to work outside the traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. business day,” with 20% of the vote.

And rounding out the top three for jobseekers was “options to work outside the traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. business day” at 18%, while 15% of employers chose “freedom to adjust your own hours/schedule” as their number three choice.

Beside that slight difference, responses were more or less the same. We’ve listed the remaining results for both job seekers and business leaders below.

What Flexibility Means to Jobseekers:

  1. Working extra hours each day to accommodate a 4-day week: 10%
  2. Working from home part-time: 9%
  3. Working remotely from another city or state/province, etc.: 7%
  4. Working from home full-time: 5%
  5. Working part-time: 4%
  6. Unlimited vacation/paid time off (PTO): 2%
  7. Job sharing: 1%
  8. Doing freelance/gig work: 1%

What Flexibility Means to Employers:

  1. Working extra hours each day to accommodate a 4-day week: 11%
  2. Working from home part-time: 10%
  3. Working remotely from another city or state/province, etc.: 8%
  4. Working from home full-time: 3%
  5. Working part-time: 3%
  6. Unlimited vacation/paid time off (PTO): 2%
  7. Job sharing: 2%
  8. Doing freelance/gig work: 1%

What does this mean?

Job seekers and employers mostly agree on what flexible work means. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that flexibility is being provided. Conversations should be had between employers and employees to work toward a suitable solution to the flexibility question.

About Express

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Express Employment Professionals is a leading staffing provider in the U.S and Canada with over 800 locations. If you have any questions about part-time work in your area or job search in general, feel free to contact your local Express office or fill out our online contact form.

Does your employer offer a flexible work situation? Let us know in the comments section below!

Job Spotlight: Shipping and Receiving Clerk

Right your job search ship with this position.

Despite already having experience with several jobs, many working adults are unable to answer that age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Our Job Spotlight monthly blog series is designed to help you answer that question. In this series, we review all the basics of specific jobs, from salary and duties to why people do the jobs they do.

Shipping and Receiving Clerk

For this month’s Job Spotlight, we will cover information about Shipping and Receiving Clerks. As long as people are buying products, those products will need to be shipped and received, so job stability is quite high. Responsibilities mainly include receiving and checking-in each arriving package, as well as distributing and logging the internal delivery of the received goods. In addition, this position will also oversee the shipment of packages, which includes working with shipping vendors to ensure on-time pick-up.

Required Education

Usually a high school diploma or equivalent, although there can be exceptions.

Pay

Although it varies depending on a variety of factors (e.g. experience, industry, geographic area, etc.), Shipping and Receiving Clerks can make on average $15.27 an hour.

What Shipping and Receiving Clerks Do

Shipping and Receiving Clerks handle a variety of responsibilities, which may include:

  • Operating forklifts and pallet jacks.
  • Unpacking and examining shipments, looking for any damaged or missing items.
  • Record stock amounts and contact shipper with any problems.
  • Maintaining, restocking, and using shipping materials.
  • Maintaining safety and cleanliness in the shipping/receiving area.
  • Useing computer programs to track where goods are located.

What Companies Look for in Shipping and Receiving Clerks

Every Shipping and Receiving Clerk is different, but many need the following skills and attributes:

  • Three or more years of experience with shipping and receiving preferred.
  • Must be able to regularly lift 25 pounds, and at times up to 50 pounds, safely.
  • Ability to communicate and work well with others.

Not sure where to find a position like this?

We can help.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, Express Employment Professionals is a leading staffing provider in the U.S and Canada. If you have any questions about Shipping and Receiving Clerks in your area or job search in general, feel free to contact your local Express office or fill out our online contact form.

For More in Our Job Spotlight Series:

Insurance Agent

Warehouse Worker

Administrative Assistant

Medical Secretary

Welder

Sales Representative

Human Resources Generalist

Are you a Shipping and Receiving Clerk? What else should people know about your job? Let us know in the comments below!