On the Job Podcast – Entrepreneurial Dreams: Passion in Puns

In this episode of On the Job, we hear about Merrily Grashin, whose career began in New York City, doodling images and writing clever puns about the world that surrounded her while waitressing and bartending. Encouraged by the people she met along the way, she used her natural skill as an artist to launch her own greeting card and print business.

Jobs give us a connection to our communities and the ability to provide for ourselves and our families. Your work may be your passion or it could just be the way you make ends meet. Each week, On the Job will share stories about the pursuit of work by delving into the employment situations people from all walks of life face each day.

Don’t miss an episode!
Download the On the Job podcast on iTunes or anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts or visit ExpressPros.com/Podcast.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Career Change

Are you ready to make the big leap?

You don’t like your job. You’ve known for a while, but hey; it pays the bills! Plus, it’s not like you hate it—you just wish you were doing something else. It’s simply not the right fit.

One day something changes. Maybe you’re placed on a special project where you don’t feel qualified. Perhaps your friend tells you about their new job and everything clicks. It’s even possible you were inspired by something on TV. Whatever the reason, you want to make a career change.

But is it really possible? You have a steady job right now. Is that worth giving up in pursuit of your dreams?

Here at Express Employment Professionals, we see people like this every day. Talented individuals unsure if a career change is right for them. Ask yourself the following questions to get a better idea of whether starting a new path is the best choice.

What Do I Not Like About My Current Position?

Before you quit your job to head out into the job search jungle, figure out why you’re unhappy with your current position in the first place. Is it the company culture? Your job duties? Your boss? It’s possible that your problems with the job could be solved by changing departments within the same company, or discussing the issue with your boss.

You’ll also want to make sure that the problems you have with your current job aren’t going to pop up again in your new job. Learn the type of company culture you enjoy, and what kind of boss you can learn from.

What’s Your Long-Term Goal?

Never quit a job because you’re unhappy in the short-term. First, figure out what it is you ultimately want to do in the future. It’s never too late to start working toward a new dream—however, you need to know the steps required to get there.

While you keep working at your current job, plan for the future. If you want to switch into a new industry, research the industry online and discover what common career paths look like. Take online or after-hours classes if you can. Really get a feel for the job you want and what a career path in that job looks like. The goal here is to make sure the job switch sticks—you don’t want to hop from job to job.

What’s the Downside?

Even if you’re sure you want to begin a new career path, you need to recognize it might be difficult. You’ll need to make new professional contacts, learn a new set of skills, and understand an environment that might be completely different from what you’ve experienced before.

Make a list of pro’s and con’s. How will the new position affect your family? Is there going to be a longer commute? Being realistic about the challenges of changing careers can ensure you run into fewer surprise landmines down the road.

Contact Express

Once you’ve answered these questions and are sure a career change is right for you, contact Express Employment Professionals. Our recruiters will listen to what you liked and disliked about your past position, and use that information to help you find the right job for you.

Staffing companies offer both full-time and part-time positions. This means you could even find a great temp job in your chosen industry before you quit your current job. Think of it as a sneak peek of what a career in that field could look like.

Have you ever experienced a career change? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

What’s the Best Job Search Website: Part 2

The pros and cons of the most popular social media job search sites

Our Assessment

In a previous article, we profiled the major job search websites and highlighted their differences. This time we’re focused on the job search portions of popular social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Each network is unique, with its own culture and available job listings. The job search portions of the sites are also built differently, meaning that you won’t be able to search any two sites the same way.

In a study we conducted late last year, we found that 51% of readers used LinkedIn to job search, with Facebook right behind at 20%. Twitter, surprisingly (given the popularity of the platform), received 0% of the vote.

Although job seekers are welcome to use all three, some may wish to stick to one or two of them. This guide should help you decide which ones are right for you.

Commonalities

Since all three are social media platforms, there are a few things you can do on all three to get your job search started. As noted by StarTribune, these include following the pages of impactful individuals in your industry (who are likely to share job listings), business pages for places you want to work, and journalists who write about your industry. Add a few influential speakers while you’re at it—you never know when their words of wisdom might come in handy!

LinkedIn

For those looking for professional or corporate positions, LinkedIn is a must-have. If you don’t have a profile, you’re missing out on an easy way to network with those in your industry. It’s also an easy to way to keep track of your contacts and their work anniversaries or employment changes.

It all starts with a great profile that shows recruiters and industry contracts who you are and where you’re looking to go. As noted by StarTribune, focus on industry keywords so that you pop up in relevant job searches.

You’re much more likely to see contacts share articles or press releases on LinkedIn than any other social platform. If you see something that appeals to you, like it!

LinkedIn also has a robust job search platform that allows you to narrow search results based on a variety of factors. When applying for a job, LinkedIn even lets you know which contacts have connections at the company you want to work with. It makes it easy to message your contacts to put in a good word with companies for you.

The not so great thing about LinkedIn? Most jobs are professional and most everyone is on the platform to get a job or move up in the world. That environment can be tough for some people, and logging in every day isn’t for everyone. However, you should at least have an updated account in case someone in your industry finds you.

Facebook

Facebook has more than 2 billion active users. Granted, many of those accounts are private and many more are in foreign countries you may never want to work in. However, Facebook can still be a great networking tool. Facebook groups can be like Twitter in that you can find like-minded individuals in your industry and discuss trends and news. There are even groups for resume prep and interview tips.

However, Facebook stands out from Twitter in that it has its own job search feed. This pulls from pages you’ve followed and your local geographic area, showing jobs in your area. Although not as in-depth as LinkedIn’s job search function, the feed is perfect for finding industrial or service-oriented jobs that are rare on the professional-focused platform.

The downside of Facebook as a job search tool is that the site focuses on friends and family above all else. However, business contacts can still see your profile, so you need to stay away from posting anything unprofessional in case a potential employer reviews your profile. It may even be worth it to create a professional Facebook profile separate from your personal one if you want to keep your personal life private.

Twitter

As with any other social media platform, beginning to job search in Twitter starts with building your network. There are over 69 million users on the platform, and even getting in touch with a small piece of that can increase your job search power.

Most people don’t make their accounts private, so you’re free to view and follow users at your leisure. And when you add them, they could add you back.

Everyone is immediately accessible. You can retweet influencers (those in your industry with large amounts of followers) and add a comment of your own in the hopes that they notice you. As noted by LifeHacker, you can also set up job alerts by creating searches and following them.

The downside to Twitter? Sixty-nine million possible connections also mean 69 million people to compete with for attention. However, you don’t need to become an influencer with millions of followers to be successful at networking on the platform; a small sphere of like-minded individuals can still lead to your dream job.

Any other job search websites you want to hear about? Let us know in the comments!

Poll Results: What Benefits Do Employees Crave?

Last month we asked readers what benefits, not including health, they valued most from employers.

The Results

Having a flexible work schedule led the pack with 17.57% of the vote, while generous/unlimited vacation time and opportunities to work from home/remotely followed in second and third, with 12.83% and 11.85%, respectively. The rest of the results were as follows:

  • Access to Training/Certification Classes:10.18%
  • Casual Dress Code:9.76%
  • Profit Sharing/Stock Options:8.23%
  • College Tuition Reimbursement:6.56%
  • Opportunities to Travel:5.02%
  • Company Gym/Membership Discount at Local Gym:4.74%
  • Other:3.07%
  • Cafeteria Programs:2.79%
  • Community Service/Volunteer Opportunities:2.79%
  • Professional Organization Memberships:2.51%
  • Child Care:2.09%

Employees may love their jobs and what they do, but they aren’t just workers. Each one has family and obligations outside of work. Having the ability to attend to those responsibilities is incredibly helpful, and employees appreciate employers that provide that flexibility.

Ask a Recruiter: Your Questions Answered—Part 2

More of your questions about the recruiting process answered.

Last month, a few of our top recruiters answered some of the questions readers had about recruiting.

This month we are answering the rest of those top questions.

  1. I’ve been asked the following: “With all your experiences, how do you attribute your successes?” What are good answers?

The answer to this question is going to depend on your individual experiences. There aren’t any specific “good answers” our recruiters can provide here, since everyone is different. However, there are a few topics you can cover and adapt to your personal circumstances.

“I think good answers are ones that are quantifiable!  For example, an accounts receivable person could say that they were successful in their last role by cleaning up the aging reports and collecting over 1 million dollars in 2016.”Shannon Jacoby, Bellingham, WA.

“There are three main inspirations I see great applicants come up with: other people (for example, mentors, former managers, or co-workers), luck (being at the right place at the right time, working with the right person or company, etc.—they show how they turned a random moment or connection into an opportunity to succeed), and commitment (when they get knocked down, they come back up and try again no matter how many attempts it takes).”Heather Buster, Texarkana, AR.

  1. What are the behaviors recruiters and hiring managers look for in an interview?

Although much of the interview focuses on testing your hard skills (your job experience and abilities), your soft skills are being tested as well. How do you handle stress? Do you make the proper amount of eye contact? How does your personality fit in with the company culture? Interviewers look for certain cues for insight on how you might function as an employee.

“I recruit primarily on the industrial side, so I look for behaviors that indicate that the individual can handle the position. For example, if someone can physically do the job, can understand the industry terminology I use, can fill out their own paperwork, etc.”John Calabrese Jr., Utica, NY

“I look at eye contact and body language. Is the candidate staring out of the window or are their eyes darting around the room? Also, how do they treat the front office coordinator? If you’re rude to my staff but play nice with me, that says something about your character.”—Desiree Stevens, Littleton, CO.

  1. Do staffing companies offer insurance for temporary and evaluation hire workers?

The answer to this one depends on the staffing company, as benefits can vary.

“I can’t speak for all staffing agencies, but Express does have insurance available for temp and contract to hire positions.  If the position is a direct hire to the client, then it will depend on what the client offers.”—Kevin Nissen, Oklahoma City, OK.

“Yes, many staffing companies offer benefits to their employees. You can also check online at the affordable care act website for available insurance plans if your company or agency doesn’t offer benefits.”—Heather Buster, Texarkana, AR.

We hope you enjoyed this two-part series! Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns!

Have any more questions for our recruiters? Let us know in the comments below!

Poll Question: How Should Your Company Give Back?

Most companies today understand corporate citizenship not only makes a difference in their bottom lines and communities, but also helps build a more engaged workforce. Employees like to give back, and it’s always great to see your company doing something for the greater good—that they’re committed to improving the community.

In fact, when companies make giving back a key focus of their business strategy, they often see less turnover and greater success overall.

For our May question of the month, we want to know which company-sponsored outreach programs you prefer. Let us know by voting in our poll.

Job Spotlight: Medical Secretary

Could this position heal your job search pains?

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

Medical Secretary

For this month’s Job Spotlight, we’re checking in at the doctor’s office to look at medical secretaries. Although administrative assistants and medical secretaries share some responsibilities, the overall environment is completely different. Medical secretaries ensure the smooth workflow of medical facilities while simultaneously interacting with patients, many of whom may be irritable or emotional due to medical problems.

Required Education

Associate’s degree or certification program

Salary

Although it varies depending on a variety of factors (e.g. experience, industry, geographic area, etc.), medical secretaries can make as much as $40,000 a year.

What Medical Secretaries Do

Medical secretaries handle a variety of responsibilities, which may include:

  • Managing patient flow and data
  • Responding to general patient questions and processing inquiries
  • General office organization
  • Processing medical claims
  • Scheduling, coding, and billing
  • Transcribing medical reports
  • Recording of simple medical histories, arranging hospitalizations, and ordering supplies

What Companies Look for in Medical Secretaries

Every medical secretary is different, but many need the following skills:

  • A desire to serve and care for patients
  • Depending on the office, an acceptance of what could be a casual work environment (some offices are closed on Fridays or Friday afternoons)
  • A willingness to work in one of the following:
    • Doctor’s office, clinic, nursing home, hospital, or insurance company
  • Kind and pleasant demeanor
  • Recognition and understanding of medical and scientific terminology
  • A good team player

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