Do’s and Don’ts of Helping Your Adult Child or Grandchild Get a Job

Are you doing just enough or just too much?

At Express Employment Professionals, we hear from plenty of parents looking to find their child or grandchild a job. And that’s totally fine! Whether it’s a quick summer job for a high school or college student or something more long-term, we’re here to help.

We get it. Finding a job is hard. And the more people helping your son, daughter, or grandchild look for a job, the better.

However, there are right and not-so-right ways to help these budding employees find a job. Let’s dig in.

DO: Mentor and Guide Them

The job search can be discouraging, both for you and your progeny. Maybe they graduated from college excited for employment, and quickly became disillusioned after multiple interviews that didn’t result in job offers.

Encourage your kid to apply to several jobs. Introduce them to online job search websites they might not be aware of, like Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, or the job search sections of social media websites.

If your child can’t find anything to apply for, ask them to consider other work experience options. Community service, professional organizations, and even part-time work can still look great on a resume.

The key here is to do a bit of research and inspire your child to do the rest. Sometimes all they need is a jumpstart to realize what more is out there.

DON’T: Do All the Work

Make sure not to go off the deep end with research. This is for two main reasons. First, if you do everything, your kid isn’t learning what the job search is like. Young people job hop these days, and their first job is hardly ever the one they stay with long-term. If you do all of the hard work now, your child is going to have a rough go of it when it comes time to find the next job.

Second, too much information can be daunting for a young job seeker to go through. If you’ve gotten to the point where you have an entire folder packed with information for your son or daughter to go through, it might be time to stop. A huge amount of information can be scarier than one piece at a time. Again, just add a bit of spark to their job search fire and let them do the heavy lifting.

DO: Leverage Your Own Network

Getting a job can frequently come down to who you know, due to the simple fact that it’s easier to trust and work with someone you have some sort of connection with. Feel free to ask your friends and family if they know of any openings. If they do, ask if they’d like to see your child’s resume. Just avoid turning into the crazy aunt that contacts family members she hasn’t spoken to in years about cousin Timmy’s desire to be an entry-level CEO. All things in moderation.

DON’T: Apply to Jobs for Them

This is something that happens more than you might think. It can be as innocent as calling a hiring manager to ask about a job, or as bold as attending interviews with your child. Although you’re only trying to help, it can look unprofessional when a job seeker’s parent monopolizes the interview process.

For instance, one of our recruiters was once contacted by a woman inquiring about interview opportunities. The paperwork was submitted, and she was interviewed by phone. When she showed up for the in-person interview, she was accompanied by a young man. When asked who this was, she responded by saying it was her son, and he was there to interview. This was confusing for the recruiter, as he had been interviewing the woman up until this point. The son was not the one who was called in to interview.

You can recommend certain jobs to your child, but never fill out forms or make calls for them. The more companies hear from them directly, the better they’ll know your child. And that will help immensely in the interview.

DO: Contact Express Employment Professionals

Like we said before, we hear from plenty of parents looking to help their children or grandchildren find work. We’re happy to help! With more than 35 years of experience, we know what we’re doing. We’ve placed plenty of parents and children alike, and you’ll never pay a fee for our services.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, Express Employment Professionals is a leading staffing provider in the U.S and Canada. Contact your local Express office or fill out our online contact form.

Also, encourage your young job seeker to sign up for the Movin’ On Up Newsletter. We have plenty of job search tips waiting to be discovered.

Still not sure where to start? Check out our ParentGuide, part of our Job Genius educational program.

Do you have a child or grandchild looking for a job? How have you helped them in their job search? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Retirement: Happy 40th Birthday 401(k)!

 

Do you have enough saved to retire?

For those who don’t know, as defined by NerdWallet, “a 401(k) is a savings and investing plan offered by employers that gives employees a tax break on money they set aside for retirement.”

Why is it called a 401(k)? The term refers to Section 401(k) of the tax code, initially created in 1978 to give those who earned a high wage a tax advantage. That evolved into what we have today: one of the most popular retirement savings account for workers in the United States.

This year, the 401(k) turns 40.

401(k) Stats

To commemorate its 40th birthday, let’s go over a few stats, information brought to you by The Motley Fool, published in the Society for Human Resource Management’s HR Magazine.

  • Average 401(k) balance: $96,288
  • Approximate account value for those age 65 and over: $200,000
  • Percentage of U.S. employees who work for an organization or company that provides a 401(k)-type plan: 79%
    • Percentage of these workers who choose to participate in a 401(k): 41%
  • Percentage of the overall U.S. workforce that is saving in a 401(k): 32%

Are you saving in a 401(k)?

What do those numbers tell us? That many U.S. workers could be saving in a 401(k), but aren’t.

If you aren’t saving for retirement yet, consider starting now. Retirement savings aren’t just for going on vacations or replacing your income source after you retire. A modest retirement account can pay for medical expenses, moving from one home to another, or simply paying for help with tasks you are unable or unwilling to do when you’re older.

You’re never too young or old to contribute into a 401(k). If you’re young and new to the workforce, dedicating even a small percentage of your income into that account each paycheck really adds up. And if you’re older, having some sort of retirement savings is still better than nothing. Essentially, if you’re working and receiving a steady paycheck, it’s worth it to invest in a 401(k).

And if your company offers matching funds and you aren’t contributing into a 401(k) , you’re losing out on free money! And everyone likes free money.

Still have questions about what to do with a 401(k) and how to start saving for retirement today? Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Retirement.

How old is your 401(k)? How is it performing? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Poll Results: The Most Popular Part-Time Jobs

Which job should you choose?

Fulltime work isn’t for everyone. Some workers are at a point in their lives where they want to spend more time with their families and less time at the office. Others need to be able to balance taking care of children or sick relatives with earning a paycheck.

For those looking for something different than the traditional 8-to-5, part-time work can be a great option.

Last month we conducted a poll asking voters what type of part-time work they would consider.

The Results

Professional/office position came in first with over 27% of the votes, followed by data entry with 21%, and customer service/call center in third with 17% of the votes.

Other results included:

  • Food service: 8.5%
  • Warehousing/assembly line: 7.4%
  • Retail industry: 6%
  • Other: 3.5%
    • Choices included house cleaning, working from home, and quality engineer
  • Taxi/ridesharing driver: 1%
  • I will not consider part-time work: 1%

What does this mean?

For much of our audience, part-time work is a great choice for later in life. Industrial positions are harder to do, so desk jobs become attractive. Taking a few hours to work behind a cubicle or in a call center is worth it to be able to spend time with your family.

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.

Are you a part-timer? What kind of work do you do? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Job Spotlight: Sales Representative

Can we sell you on this job path?

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 know your answer. In this series, we review all the basics of specific job types, from salary and duties to why people do the jobs they do.

Sales Representative

For this month’s Job Spotlight, we’re cold calling to sell you on a sales rep position! Most every business has a sales department; how else would they find clients? The main responsibility for a sales rep is to present, promote, and sell products/services using solid arguments to existing and prospective clients.

Required Education

At least a high-school diploma is required, but this varies depending on the sales position (selling scientific products, for instance, could require a bachelor’s degree).

Salary

Although it varies depending on a variety of factors (e.g. experience, industry, geographic area, commission, etc.), sales representatives can make $40,000 or more a year.

What Sales Representatives Do

Sales representatives handle a variety of responsibilities, which may include:

  • Achieve agreed upon sales targets and outcomes within a time frame
  • Perform cost-benefit and needs analysis of existing/potential customers
  • Establish, develop and maintain positive business and customer relationships
  • Reach out to customer leads through cold calling in person or on the phone
  • Expedite the resolution of customer problems and complaints to maximize satisfaction
  • Coordinate sales effort with team members and other departments
  • Analyze the territory/market’s potential, track sales, and create status reports
  • Supply management with reports on customer needs, problems, interests, competitive activities, and potential for new products and services

What Companies Look for in Sales Representatives

Every sales rep is different, but many need the following skills and attributes:

  • Ability to thrive in a deadline-oriented environment
  • Friendly personality/ability to resolve conflict
  • Keen knowledge of current best practices and promotional trends
  • Ability to continuously improve through feedback

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 sales representative jobs in your area or job search in general, feel free to contact your local Express office or fill out our online contact form.

Are you a sales rep? What else should people know about your position? Let us know in the comments below!

 

How to Vet Child Care Centers

When you have a family, finding a job isn’t as easy as choosing whatever employer offers you the most cash. You have to take into account barriers to employment such as transportation and the always-important proximity to child care.

Once you’ve made a list of all the nearby child care providers (preferably half a year before you need child care, since the best ones reach capacity quickly), what’s next? How can you be sure your child is well taken care of? Check off these qualities.

They Have an Up-To-Date License and Minimal Infractions

Have you ever seen a TV commercial with a talking animal telling you to check out a used car’s history report before buying? Child care center licenses are kind of like that.

An up-to-date license doesn’t mean a facility is perfect, but it does tell you that certain baseline requirements have been met. If your state requires licenses for child care facilities, that means they are at least meeting base levels of safety and quality concerns. Although you still need to do your own research, a facility that doesn’t have any type of license is one to stay away from.

Check online for a child care database. Depending on where you live, this resource might show not only whether a particular location is licensed, but also how many infractions they have had. While you might be able to overlook a paperwork infraction, anything involving chemicals or not having a thermometer in the freezer should raise red flags.

There’s Plenty to Do

When you first visit the child care facility, look at what the kids are doing. Are they all sitting around watching TV? That’s not a great sign.

As BabyCenter.com notes, “The best daycares have structured schedules that include plenty of time for physical activity, quiet time, group programs, individual activities, meals, snacks, and free time.”

You want your kid to have a well-balanced experience. That means healthy meals, exercise, time for imaginative play, etc. If you’re not sure about their curriculum, ask!

They’re Qualified and Agree with Your Parenting Philosophy

Great child care centers cost more than other child care options (such as babysitters and friends or family) because they typically have well-trained employees. As BabyCenter.com notes, “Daycare center employees should be educated, with at least two years of college, a background in early childhood development (though many states don’t require this), and CPR and other emergency training.”

But education isn’t everything. Watch how the daycare providers interact with the children when  you visit. Are they kind and peppy or tired and slow? Do they know the children by name at first glance? You want a staff that has high energy levels to keep up with your little one.

You also must make sure the staff agrees with your parenting style. What kind of feeding schedule do they adhere to? How are naps handled? Is their discipline style something you can work with? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A good child care provider isn’t going to think of you as an overconcerned parent—they know how important these questions are.

They Work With Your Schedule

One of the hidden costs of child care is late pickup fees. When does the child care facility close? Will you be able to get there in time after work? Some facilities charge higher fees after a certain time, given that the staff must stay late in order to watch over kids. Choose a facility that lines up with your own schedule, or work out a plan with family members to pick up your child.

Once you find a child care provider that you’re comfortable with, working away from you children becomes much easier. You know that they’re in good hands, and you have peace of mind to feel fulfilled at work.

Have any more questions about vetting child care providers? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

 

Discussing Skills and Experience in an Interview

Interviews usually start out the same way. You’ll shake hands with your interviewer, sit down, and wait for the first question. They might want a quick introduction, or could just go right into asking about your resume. If you don’t have a resume, they might want you to speak about your applicable experience and skills.

This is where many job seekers stumble. Some have plenty of skills and experience, but aren’t exactly clear on how to articulate it. Others don’t have much experience, and don’t know what to say.

Here’s our list of do’s and don’ts to get everything out there.

Do: Kick Things Off with an Elevator Pitch

Before digging into your skills and work experience, share a bit about who you are as a person. Giving the interviewer a feel for your unique personality, strengths, and what you’re looking for in a job is a great way to stand out from the competition.

All this information is called your elevator pitch, a quick speech outlining who you are, what you want, and what you can do for the company. This is where you can highlight what you want in a position (e.g. family-oriented culture, opportunities for advancement), as well as specific experiences you’re proud of (e.g. increasing ROI, achieving deadlines during a serious time crunch).

Do: Make a List of Your Skills

You have useful skills; the hard part is figuring out how to talk about them. For instance, maybe you were a cashier at a fast food restaurant or sold shoes at the mall. That means you have customer service experience! The same goes for being a recruiter for a school or college club.

Before your interview, write down a list of everything you did at your past jobs. Or, if you haven’t worked before, jot down club or volunteer experience. Then, translate those job responsibilities into skills and pair them with specific experiences. Instead of going on an unfocused ramble about your last job, note that you managed a team, completed projects well-before deadline, or exceeded expected quality levels.

That’s the kind of information interviewers want to hear. Making a list ensures you recognize your skills and can speak directly about them, instead of babbling about jobs in general without a central focus.

Do: Connect Your Skills to the Job You’re Applying For

Every job is different, which means you need to prepare differently for every interview. Take time to read the “required skills” section of the job listing and match those qualities to the ones on your list. Sprinkle a few of those keywords into your interview and expand on them with specific experiences and you’ll stand out as an applicant.

Don’t: Speak Poorly of a Previous Employer

This is something we mention frequently. It seems obvious, right? Nobody is going to want to hire you if you walk into an interview complaining about a previous boss.

But things are a bit more complicated than that. In most interviews, you’ll be asked about why you left your previous job, or what issues you ran into at a previous position. Applicants make mistakes when they’re tempted to say it was because of being fired, hating their boss, or bad leadership.

While you shouldn’t lie in response to these questions, finding a positive spin to show off your skills and experiences is a safe way to answer. Saying anything negative can cause the interviewer to think you might speak negatively of your new employer in the future.

Perhaps there wasn’t a chance to advance into higher positions (this shows your zest for success), or you realized you wanted to use your skills and experience in a whole new way. And if you can’t come up with anything positive? Just say that there was a culture mismatch.

Do: Stop Stressing

The interview process is stressful. You need a job now to pay your bills. But you’ve done everything you can. You’ve made a list and checked it twice, conducted your research, and really gotten to know who you are as an employee. All that’s left now is to ace the interview. So, breathe. Take a few minutes to meditate, let out a primal scream, or do whatever it is you need to do to settle your nerves. Go in there, be yourself, and dazzle them with your experience.

Have any more questions about discussing skills or experience in an interview? Let us know in the comments section below!

Does Your CEO Connect with Frontline Workers?

Most companies dedicate substantial time and energy to researching, planning, and implementing communication strategies that build stronger relationships with their customers, but the most successful also dedicate an equally significant amount of energy to communicating with their employees.

Legendary former General Electric CEO Jack Welch once said, “There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”

Why Employee Communication Matters

Employee communication is vitally important to building a successful company. In addition to building an informed workforce that clearly understands the why and how of the work they do each day, effective and genuine communication between a company’s senior leadership and its frontline workers can make or break employee engagement. For instance, if your CEO sees you in the hall every day and never remembers your name, you’re probably not going to feel valued as an employee. But if he or she both knows your name and asks for your opinion on big company changes? You’ll know you’re valued, and have a tangible company goal to work toward.

According to a Gallup study, only 22% of employees “strongly agree that their company’s leaders have a clear direction for their organization. And only 13% strongly agree that their organization’s leadership communicates effectively.” Similarly, a study by IBM and Globoforce found that “44% of employees do not feel their senior leaders provide clear direction about where the organization is headed.”

In many cases, a company’s senior leadership may very well have a detailed plan for the organization’s future, however, if it’s not being effectively communicated down the line to workers like you, it’s more difficult for employees to rally around a common goal. Opening the lines of communication with frontline workers makes it easier for everyone to work together toward a common goal.

Where Companies Fall Short in Their Communication Strategies

A poll from the Harvard Business Review highlighted some of the top communication issues that prevent effective leadership, including “not recognizing employee achievements” (63%), “not giving clear directions” (57%), “not having time to meet with employees” (52%), “not knowing employees’ names” (36%), and “not asking about employees’ lives outside of work” (23%).

The Solution

Whether it’s implementing a formal internal communication tool or organizing a weekly “coffee with the CEO” roundtable in the breakroom, it’s in a company’s best interest to make a deliberate and genuine effort to bridge the gap between the “C-suite” and frontline workers.

In fact, according to a study from Towers Watson on how businesses capitalize on effective communication, “Companies that are highly effective communicators had 47% higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years compared with firms that are the least effective communicators.”

Bottom line, employees care more when leadership takes the time to get to know them. They want to know where the company is headed. The less mystery, the better.

Does your CEO care about frontline workers? Let us know in the comments below!