Five Painless Ways to Save Money While Job Hunting

SaveMoney_June2014_webWe’ve all been there – looking for a job, lacking a paycheck, and searching to find ways to cut back on spending. That’s why Movin’ On Up has compiled a list of five simple and painless ways to save money while you continue your job hunt. These money saving tips will not only help your pocketbook, but will assist you in your job search as well.

Money Saving Tip #1: Dress for Success Without Breaking the Bank
It’s not a secret that dressing for the job you want, and not the job that you have (or don’t) is one of the most touted tips for success. This can be hard to accomplish on a tight budget, but it’s important to look your best when going to an interview. If you don’t feel your current wardrobe is suitable for a first impression with your potential new boss, check with a friend to see if they would be willing to lend you an outfit. Another way to solve this problem would be checking local secondhand or consignment stores, such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or online stores like eBay. Browsing through these shops for the beginnings of a professional wardrobe can yield some unexpected and worthwhile results.

Money Saving Tip #2: Avoid Eating Out
Eating out often is not easy on your wallet. Instead of going out to dine, take a trip to the grocery store and buy ingredients for meals you can prepare throughout the week. There are multiple websites at your disposal for recipe ideas that are fast and low-cost. For example, at www.eatingwell.com, you can sign up and receive a free printable dinner plan for a month of easy weeknight meals for busy families. For similar meal plans, just use your preferred search engine to look for inexpensive meal options.

Money Saving Tip #3: Strategically Plan Your Search
When on the hunt for a job, it’s easy to simply drive around aimlessly and hope you come across a place you’d like to work. Instead of using this approach, hop online the night before and choose a specific section of your city or town to travel to. Visit different sections on different days and you can strategically visit every part of your city without driving back and forth past the same business repeatedly. This method will save you money spent on gas, which we all know can be a drain on your pocketbook.

Money Saving Tip #4: Build Your Resume for Free
Volunteering and continuing your education aren’t just ways to feel good about yourself; they are also valuable opportunities for adding skills and experience to your resume. Check with your local Regional Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club, and various other non-profit centers for volunteer openings in your area. This can also prove to be an effective networking opportunity and a place to meet future employers, so don’t forget to work hard and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. For education, check out Duolingo to learn a new language, learn to code at Code Academy, or even learn about web development at W3 Schools. These specific skill sets are at very high demand and can be learned for free over the web.

Money Saving Tip #5: Write off Your Job Hunting Expenses
Many of your job searching expenses are tax deductible, including resume preparation fees and traveling expenses. Check out www.moneycrashers.com for a list of four ways to deduct job hunting expenses. Of course, make sure to also go to the IRS website for a complete list of details and restrictions.

A vast majority of job seekers are learning ways to cut costs. And, implementing these five simple tips can put you on the fast track for not only a fuller bank account, but a job as well.

Do you have any other tips for cutting back on spending? Have you had success with any of these techniques for saving money and getting a job? Let us know in the comments below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Safety Month 2014: Two Communication Tools

SafetyMonth_June2014_webJune is National Safety Month, and this year the theme from The National Safety Council is “Safety: it takes all of us.” The message is focused on continuous risk reduction.  With that in mind, this is a good time to focus on working as a team to improve safety.

How do our actions impact our co-workers’ safety? How can we inspire or inform our co-workers in working safely? A commitment to continuous risk reduction means asking these questions, speaking up, and working together to take care of safety issues in the workplace. Here are two communication opportunities you can participate in to promote a safe workplace.

  1. Communicating About Near Miss Incidents
    Near miss reporting is a way to recognize hazards before they lead to an injury. A near miss is something that could have led to an accident, but the person was “lucky” not to have been in the wrong place. By reporting near misses and communicating with your co-workers, you can begin to eliminate risks. If everyone understands the preventative goal behind discussing these incidents with one another, this communication strategy can be a good way to prevent future accidents.
  2. Mentor Others
    Another way to continue this year’s theme of “Safety: it takes all of us” in the workplace is by being a mentor.  If you have a group who has learned to look at near misses and take care of risks, have an ongoing plan to share what that group has learned with the team and new employees.  Assign mentor employees to watch new employees perform risky activities, and explain the history of safe practices. Promote everyone’s participation in the group’s safety culture. In the end, the development of this culture of recognizing and eliminating hazards together is the strongest way to continuously reduce the risks associated with the workplace.

Safety Month is every June in the U.S., and serves as an annual reminder to focus on safety prevention and best practices. For more tips on staying safe at work, check out our special section of the Movin’ On Up Blog.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Six Resume Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

SixResumeMistakes_June2014_webWith so many people vying for jobs, it shouldn’t be a surprise if you don’t get called for an interview or selected for the position by every employer who receives your resume. However, if you notice a trend of being rejected for positions that you were truly a good fit for, you need to ask yourself this question: “Is my resume effective?”

A resume serves one purpose – to help get you get an interview. If it’s not fulfilling that purpose, then it stinks. In a survey of hiring managers last year, CareerBuilder learned of some resumes that were obviously bad, including a resume written like a text, one consisting of a single sentence, another linking online video gaming to leadership experience, and a resume written in the Star Trek language of Klingon. Although your resume may not be like these extreme examples, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
It can be difficult to critique your own work, and sometimes you just don’t know what employers want to see on your resume. So here are the most common resume mistakes that result in employers dismissing the applicant, according to CareerBuilder’s research.

Mistake #1: Typos
There is absolutely no reason for a resume to have grammar, spelling, or formatting mistakes. More than 50% of the hiring managers said that typos meant an automatic no.

Mistake #2: Too Generic
Nearly 40% of employers said they tossed resumes that weren’t personalized for that specific position.

Mistake #3: Lack of Skills
It’s not that the applicants weren’t skilled; those skills just weren’t listed in the resume, which meant 35% of the employers dismissed them right away.

Mistake #4: No Originality
Resumes that reflect the skills and experiences listed in the job posting are good. However, resumes that match the job listing word-for-word aren’t recommended. One out of three hiring managers cited it as a reason to reject candidates.

Mistake #5: Unprofessional Email
Employers expect a certain level of professionalism from their employees, and when the email address listed on the resume is unprofessional, 31% said no thank you.

Mistake #6: Missing Dates
More than a quarter of the managers dismissed candidates who failed to specify exact dates of employment within their resumes.

It’s easy to assume that resumes really aren’t that big of a deal anymore. But as Matt Tarpey, a career adviser with CareerBuilder, told Forbes, “Even as technology has advanced and changed the way job seekers find open positions, the resume remains an integral part of the hiring process.” If your resume contains any of these mistakes, it may be holding you back from the position and career you want. Make the effort to learn how to improve your resume, and then take the time to shape it up. It will give you a greater chance for potential employers to call you in for an interview.

Has your resume kept you from getting interviews? What have you done to help make your resume stand out among the rest? Let us know in the comments section below!

Written by Ashlie Turley

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Survey Reveals Three Things to do in Your Job Search

3ThingsToDoInJobSearch_June2013_webRecently, Express Employment Professionals surveyed the unemployed in both the U.S. and Canada to uncover current job search activity and the mindset of the unemployed. More than 1,500 unemployed adults in both the U.S. and Canada were surveyed by Harris Poll, revealing what the jobless are doing to find work. From this research, we want to offer our Movin’ on Up readers three pieces of advice to improve your job search.

  1. Work Full-Time on Your Job Search
    Looking for a job is a job in itself, and Sean Harry, writer for Careeralism, recommends your job search should take up about 30 hours per week. In our recent survey, 36% of unemployed Americans and 32% of unemployed Canadians spent five hours or fewer a week looking for work. Don’t just think about searching job boards online and sending in applications. Invest time into networking and building contacts within companies where you want to work. Jacquelyn Smith recently shared in a Forbes article that 80% of available jobs are never advertised. In this case, networking and personal connections are key.
  2. Keep Your Search Wide
    For some job seekers, finding a job in your current location may be more difficult than if you considered moving. However, in our survey of the unemployed, 37% of Canadians and 44% of Americans are “not at all willing” to move to a new city/town for a job. If possible, consider employment opportunities outside your current area as a way to increase your opportunities.
  3. Be Open To Learning
    64% of U.S. respondents and 51% of Canadian respondents “have no plans to go back to school to make themselves more marketable.” While the cost of education could be a deterrent, job seekers can explore vocational and apprenticeship programs as an affordable way to gain new skills.

Staying positive during your job search can be hard, so consider seeking help by applying through a staffing company such as Express Employment Professionals. Just 24% of the unemployed in the U.S. and 31% of unemployed Canadians are using an employment agency/temporary staffing agency to find work.
What job search activities do you find to be most effective? Share with us in the comments section below.

This research on the unemployed is part of an ongoing series by Express on the state of employment, and who gets hired and why. To learn more, visit America Employed and Canada Employed.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

4 Things To Do the Night Before an Interview

ToDoNightBeforeInterview_June2014_webCongrats! Your job search is progressing and you’ve landed an interview. Your excitement and nerves are probably both in overdrive. Having a plan to prepare for the big day is one way to stay in control and set yourself up for success. Express Employment Professionals has your back. Here are four things to do the night before your interview.

  1. Prepare Your Wardrobe
    It’s best to play it safe with your interview wardrobe. Even if the work environment is business casual, you should consider a more traditional business suit for your interview. Prior to the day of your interview, make sure the clothes you want to wear are clean and ready to go. Trying to locate your coordinating suit jacket or iron your shirt are stressors you don’t need when heading out to an interview. By laying out your clothes the night before, you’ve got time to swap items and make sure you are comfortable with your selection. For advice on best colors to wear to an interview and additional wardrobe tips, check out this article.
  2. Do Your Research
    The unknown can be scary, so do your research to find out as much as you can prior to your interview. Here are a few things to dig for details on:

    • The company – Check out a site like Glassdoor to learn more about the company you’re interviewing with. The “About Us” section on the company’s website is a great place to learn more about the company. Look for for information like their products, services, goals, and values. Pay attention to recent press releases from the company to learn about company milestones or initiatives. Keep an eye out for any awards the company has received. All of these details can help spark your interview conversation, which will help you feel more comfortable.
    • The job description – Take time to really read through the job description. Develop a couple of questions to ask during the interview that will help you understand what the day-to-day job activity looks like. Be prepared to share a few examples of how your experience and education matches up with what they are looking for in an employee.
    • The person you are interviewing with – Use LinkedIn or the “Our Staff” section of the company’s website to learn a few facts about the person you’re interviewing with. Look for any commonalities that help you connect with the interviewer, like if you attended the same school or worked for the same company in the past.
  3. Take Care of Yourself
    The night before your interview is not the time to pull an all-nighter. Get your rest and allow yourself time to prepare. An interview is a big opportunity, and you want to shine accordingly. You don’t want your appearance to be a distraction, so make sure you are clean shaven, your hair is modestly styled, and you’ve got fresh breath. It may sound silly to state the obvious, but we’re here to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward for a great first impression.
  4. Plan Your Route
    The best case scenario is for you to actually visit your interview location a day in advance, so you can be sure you know how to get there, and if necessary, where to park and how to get in the building. At the very least, make sure you have clear directions and instructions on where to report. Don’t just rely on your GPS or map app to help you arrive; have a backup plan in case your service is down. Think of the little details, like having money for parking and allowing time for traffic. Of course you don’t want to be late, but your interviewer probably has a full schedule, so check in no earlier than 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time.

Landing the interview is a step along the way to your new career. Take time today to make sure you’re ready for the interview, and don’t forget to follow up afterwards.

Check out this video with two different takes before the interview. What ritual do you have to get ready the night before the interview? Share it with our readers in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Poll: Is Business Ownership for You?

MOV_POLL-ICONRecently, the Creative Job Report found that 55% of employed U.S. adults would choose to be self-employed if they could still pay their bills. The numbers were even higher for the Millennial generation, age 20 to 34-years old, with 67% saying they want to start a business. But taking the leap from wanting to start a business to actually being a business owner can be an overwhelming and thrilling process. With more than 500,000 businesses created monthly, we want to know if our Movin’ On Up readers are planning an entrepreneurial rung on their career ladder. Let us know by voting in our poll!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Volunteering Could Help You Find Your Next Job

BrandItBlue_May2014_webWhether you’re a job seeker who just graduated, or someone who’s been out of the workforce for an extended period of time, the experience section of your resume may be what’s holding you back from your next job. But don’t worry. There’s something you can do to not only add to your work history, but to separate you from the crowd of people applying for the same jobs.

A 2013 report by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that “volunteering was associated with 27% higher odds of employment.” This same report also found that volunteering is most likely to help the jobless who do not have a high school diploma and those who live in rural areas. Just how can spending time working for a local nonprofit or charity for free help in your job search? Here are three ways it can help lead to a new job.

  1. Volunteering helps you make connections and build a network.
    If it’s truly all about who you know for your job search, then spending time serving in your community is a great way to meet new people from different industries and companies around your area. And, you won’t have the sometimes awkward pressures that come along with a pre-planned networking event. Enjoy your time sorting donated food or cleaning up a park, or think about striking up a casual conversation to get to know people. You might meet the person who helps you land your next job. Remember this is also a time to demonstrate your work ethic so while you get to know people, don’t forget to focus on the task at hand.
  2. You can learn new skills that can be added to your resume.
    Never been in a leadership or management role? Struggled with finding creative solutions to a problem? The next time you volunteer, there’s a good possibility that you’ll have the opportunity to lead a team in completion of a project, or help find an answer to a problem the nonprofit or charity is facing. And if you’re missing some recent activities in the experience section of your resume, volunteering is a great addition that can make an impact on a hiring manager. Which leads to point number three…
  3. Employers want people who like to serve others.
    Going through the numerous job applications, resumes, and cover letters a hiring manager sees each day, they are looking for a job seeker to stand out. When your resume includes your history of volunteering, and your cover letter describes your passion for serving others, you’re more likely to see an increase in the number of job interviews on your schedule.

If you’re not sure about volunteer opportunities in your community, or what type of work you’d like to be involved in, check out what’s happening on Saturday, June 14 at Express offices across North America. Brand It Blue Day is a day of service to help in the fight against hunger, and you can be a part of it. Summer is an especially difficult time of year as most of the school meal programs for children end, leaving millions of children at risk of going hungry.

To find out how you can be involved with your local Express office, visit ExpressPros.com/BrandItBlue.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.