Find a Job Like Detective Ace Jobseeker

Different ways to find a jobThe days of graduating, posting a resume online, and sitting back while you wait for recruiters and HR representatives to call with job offers are gone. Gone like a host of sparrows escaping the winter months. Odds are, you’ll be scratching up dough at 11 different jobs by the time you’re 44. With all that job hopping, you’re going to need more than just one method of finding a job.

Nowadays, there are several different resources at your disposal to find a job. You just have to look for them, like a detective. Whether it’s job fairs, social media, internships, or staffing agencies, it’s a matter of finding what works best for you.

That’s why Express’ own private eye, Detective Ace Jobseeker, is here to explain. See how he puts his investigation skills to work.

What are some methods you’ve used to find a job? What do you think about the gumshoe Ace Jobseeker? Sing like a canary in the comments section below.

3 Sales Tips to Overcome Age Discrimination in Your Job Search

Overcome Age DiscriminationAgeism is a rarely spoken, but often occurring form of discrimination that is affecting more and more job seekers every year. Off the record, many job seekers know about and see age discrimination during their search.

According to Next Chapter New Life Coaching, the average length of a job search for seekers 55 and older is 52.4 weeks while younger job seekers only average 37.4 weeks. In 2006, there were only 16,000 age discrimination lawsuits filed in the U.S., but by 2010, there were more than 23,000. With an increasing number of baby boomers holding off retirement to keep working, these numbers will continue to climb.

What’s an Older Job Seeker to do?
The most important thing for older job seekers to do to get passed age discrimination is to change employers’ perceptions. You’re going to have to sell yourself. When finding a job, you’re a salesman, whether you like it or not. Here are three things to sell during your job search to avoid age discrimination.

1.    Sell the Present, Not the Past
You may have a long history of experiences, but it’s not an excuse to make your resume a laundry list of employment. Cut it down by only listing jobs that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. If there’s still much that is relevant, try not to list jobs more than 10 years old.

There are other little tweaks you can make if you’re worried about your age. Try leaving off the year you graduated from college or training. Don’t focus so much on where you’ve been in the past 20 years; focus on selling your accomplishments. Hiring managers love numbers that can quantify your success instead of just being there for eight years.

2.    Sell Your Passion
One of the biggest setbacks older job seekers face is the belief that they are only applying because they can’t retire and will quit at the drop of a hat. A report by the Metlife Mature Market Institute found that most older workers felt financial pressure to work into their 60s, not because they desired to. In turn, employers are less likely to hire older candidates over the youthful, passionate job seeker.

That’s why it’s important to have passion in what you want to do. If you ‘ve lost your motivation, take some time to figure out what it is you enjoy doing. You don’t have to switch careers. Refining and updating your career goal or mission statement can help you find a job  that matches with your passions. Then you’ll have no problem selling your enthusiasm to a potential hiring manager.

3.    Sell the Answers
A key skill any salesperson must have is the ability to answer the customer’s questions and doubts before they even ask. You don’t have to specifically address them, when they ask the typical “tell me about yourself” or “how was your weekend?” questions,  you can tell them about your fun camping trip, charity involvement, or any other activity you do to show that you take an active part in your life and will be an active part of your employer’s business.

Another way to sell the answers is to use numbers. Numbers involving money speak louder than words. And if you can talk about how much you helped previous employer save or make, it can help drown out your age. The same goes for attendance, production, or whatever field you’re in. The conversation goes from your age to something real that your potential employer is facing.

You can’t eliminate age bias in the job market, but you can overcome a big hurdle, which is perception. How have you come up with ways to overcome your age when searching for a job?

Answer These 3 Questions to Discover Your Perfect Job

secrets to finding the right jobDo you ever feel a tad envious when you hear about people who absolutely love going to work every day because they’re so passionate about their jobs? Maybe you think only really lucky people land jobs like that. But finding a job you love involves more than luck – it’s about knowing yourself and what type of work you find most rewarding.

By answering the following three questions, you can discover what it will take for you to wake up every day excited about going to work.

What are you best at?
Research shows that you’re more likely to feel professionally satisfied when you work at a job you’re good at. In fact, the book Now, Discover Your Strengths, cites 2 million interviews and 30 years of research to confirm that fact.

While it’s possible to become proficient at almost any task if you’re given enough time or training, that doesn’t make the behavior a strength. Your true talents are in the areas where you naturally excel.

To determine your natural abilities, think about roles you’ve thrived in. Don’t limit yourself to thinking only in terms of work either. Brainstorm talents you use at home, in volunteer work, or for hobbies.

Knowing what you’re good at is essential to finding the career path that’s right for you. For example, recognizing that you excel at meeting new people or public speaking could point you in the direction of jobs that would use your natural talents such as a sales or hospitality position.

What gets you excited?
While determining your strengths helps you figure out which jobs you’ll have the natural abilities for, this next question aids you in narrowing down the fields or industries you’re most likely to thrive in. For instance, after examining your talents, you might decide that a role as a salesperson would best suit you. However, salespeople work in many different fields, so how do you determine which one is right for you? This is where understanding what energizes you becomes important.

To zero in on the field that’s right for you, think about the kinds of activities and types of environments that make you feel most alive. Do you feel your best doing hands-on projects in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt? Or, does the prestige of wearing a slick business suit and working on a high profile project appeal to you more? Are you passionate about working with children, the stock market or environmental issues?

Spend some time thinking about what gets you going. Understanding the physical, mental and emotional atmosphere that you enjoy most can lead you to the industry that best matches your disposition and drive.

What matters most to you?
Answering this final question will assist you in discovering the types of employers you’d enjoy working for the most. Because companies’ cultures, values and structure vary widely, it’s important to evaluate what’s most important to you in a job.

Different employers appeal to people with different personal and professional goals. Some organizations require 70-hour work weeks but the pay-offs in financial rewards and status are high. Other employers offer flexible schedules and reduced stress but have less monetary perks. And many businesses offer a range of positions between the two extremes.

When thinking about what you want from an employer, consider the type of hours you’d like to work, a job’s distance from your home, the opportunities for growth within the company, and the organization’s values and culture. Knowing what matters most to you in a job will allow you to target employers that provide the things that are essential to your happiness.

Knowing your strengths, passions, and priorities will help you select a job that’s right for you. Then you too can be one of the “lucky” ones who wake up excited to go to work every day.

Dial me This: Questions to Ask in a Phone Interview

questions to ask in a phone interviewLet’s face it. Getting a job isn’t a walk in the park. With such a high number of people looking for work, more employers are trying to find ways of narrowing down their applicant pool. One increasingly popular method is the phone interview. This helps employers save time and resources by weeding out unqualified or unsuitable candidates.

The phone interview may seem like a great idea for some job seekers, but it’s more than just answering questions while still wearing your pajamas. There’s still a lot of preparation needed to excel at this type of job interview because it is just as important as a typical face-to-face interview.

One of the most frequently asked questions to Movin’ On Up is what to ask during a phone interview. Some questions that work for regular interviews might not for an initial phone screening. But which ones do you ask? Here are some guidelines on what to ask during a phone interview.

Don’t be a Time Guzzler
Phone interviews are generally quick and to the point. They typically don’t last as long as normal in-person meetings, so it’s not the time for idle chit chat. Make sure your questions are quick and to the point. Employers often schedule several phone interviews in a short period of time, so taking too much time runs the risk of cutting into other applicants’ interview times, which could reflect poorly on you.

While there is no set number of questions to ask, consider asking prior to the call how long you can anticipate the call being. Try limiting yourself to three to five questions. Good phone interview questions clarify job duties or inquire about the workplace structure. They shouldn’t be very in-depth and require a lot of discussion.  Just prove that you’ve done your homework and show your interest in the employer.

What Not to Ask
Things like benefits, hours, or job salary may be important to you and affect your decision making, but there will be plenty of time to talk about them if you move forward. The phone interview is typically to clarify key points before the next step in the process. If it comes up, answer and ask. Don’t just start those conversations.

Phone interview questions need to be short and to the point, because the interviewers will often make decisions based on what you ask. Make sure your questions couldn’t easily be found on the employer’s website. This gives the impression that you’re ill prepared. Instead, try asking questions that demonstrate your preparedness. Start questions with, “so, I noticed on your website that…”

Ask Away
You may want to ask some specific questions relevant to the position or employer. It’s best to ask behavioral or open-ended questions. Here are some examples of questions you could ask:
•    Who would this position report to?
•    What are the daily responsibilities of this position?
•    What is the hiring process like?
•    How would you describe the company culture?
•    How are you evaluating candidates?

Asking About the Future
There’s one important question you should ask at the end of an interview. Find out about the next steps and the employer’s timeline for getting back to you. That way, you’ll know when to expect to hear back from the employer, and you won’t be sitting around waiting for more information, wondering why they haven’t called back or sent a letter.

It’s better to confirm the next steps in as much detailed as possible. Assume a more active role and try to get a commitment from the interviewer on when you’ll be contacted and what happens next. Try not to settle for “we’ll let you know,” but for a more specific plan of action.

By using these helpful hints on what to ask during a phone interview, you will improve your chances of getting more offers, and you will also feel more empowered and prepared throughout the hiring process. What are some of your favorite questions to ask during a phone interview? If you’ve had any phone interview experiences, share them in the comments section below.

Would You Relocate? Take Our Poll

Job Seeking and Career Advice PollEarlier this year, a study showed that out of the more than 7,000 workers polled, 44% said they would be willing to relocate for the right job opportunity in 2012.

Of the workers who relocated in 2011, 77% reported they were happy with the move and didn’t regret their decision. Interestingly, of those workers who relocated, 41% said their family didn’t relocate with them and they have to travel to see them. With summer in full swing and several co-workers taking vacations, we were wondering if you would travel for a different reason. We want to know if you’d be willing to move away for a new job this year.

Get a Job, Charlie Brown

getting a job with charlie brownCharles Schulz’s famous comic series, “Peanuts,” was about fusing adult ideas on art, psychology, and current events with the world of children. The comic has delighted, thought-provoked, and entertained children and adults for more than 50 years. The cast of characters in Peanuts typically cover a wide variety of issues about daily life, but with tough economic times, even the most prepared job seeker can feel like saying, “good grief.”

The truth is, there are several things to take away from Charlie Brown that can affect your job search. Here are three lessons you can learn to improve your job search from Charlie Brown.

The Great Career Pumpkin
In the 1966 TV special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” the character Linus waits in a pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin, who rises out of the pumpkin patch on Halloween night and flies through the air delivering toys to all the good little children in the world. Despite Linus’ faith and commitment, the Great Pumpkin never shows.

Sometimes we treat our job search like we’re waiting for the Great Pumpkin. We have that dream job in mind and no other opportunity will do. The hard truth is that sometimes that dream job may just be out of reach. Those just graduating from school or training might need more job experience before getting the dream job. Look at your industry and see if you need to follow another opportunity and build your skills and experience before jumping at job openings you aren’t qualified for yet.  You’ll be better prepared and more skilled to do it if you work your way there.

Book Reports and Resumes go Hand in Hand
In the musical and TV special, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” the Peanut gang has trouble writing a book report on “Peter Rabbit.” Lucy focuses solely on the word count, Linus gets lost in his own vocabulary, Schroeder ends up writing more about “Robin Hood,” and Charlie Brown gets so nervous, he never writes anything at all.

We can have the same mishaps when writing resumes. Like Lucy, we can meet the minimum requirements on a résumé, but we can forget to market and sell ourselves as the best candidate for the job. We may be the most qualified person, but can end up like Linus and fill our resume with jargon and technical words recruiters might not understand. It’s easy to ramble like Schroeder about what you’ve done for previous employers, but stick to the experience that’s relevant to the position you’re applying for. If you see a job opening for a position you want, customize your resume before applying to present your abilities in the best light for the position. Don’t wait and get panicked like Charlie Brown.

It’s a Group Affair
In “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Charlie Brown finds a small, almost broken Christmas tree to use in his nativity play. Depressed by the commercialization of the holiday, he gives up on the holiday until his friends show up to decorate the small tree together, which revitalizes Charlie’s Christmas spirit.

Just like Charlie needed his friends to decorate the tree to revive his passion, we should be open and welcoming of others to help us with our job search. Have old contacts or mentors review your updated résumé, practice interviewing, and talk about any job leads. There are several people in your life who want to help, you just have to ask.

It’s amazing how Charlie Brown can give us insights as kids and adults. What are some lessons you’ve learned from Charlie Brown and the Peanut gallery?

Associate Spotlight: James Price

Associate spotlight james price jobsEvery month, Movin’ On Up likes to tell the story of outstanding Express Employment Professionals’ associates and the success they have found in their life. There are countless stories to from the 335,000 workers Express employes in the United States, Canada, and South Africa.

This month’s associate spotlight tells the story of an associate who wasn’t placed in any outside business or organization, but was hired for his talents and skills at the Express International headquarters in Oklahoma City, OK.  This associate’s professionalism and willingness to work helped the Marketing and Communications department tackle large projects when it was understaffed.

James Price
A Houston native, James Price attended Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK majoring in journalism and broadcasting. All was well until he faced graduating during he Great Recession in 2008. Entry-level jobs in his industry were scarce, and James needed help finding work in a sluggish economy. Eventually, James heard about Express after receiving a referral from a friend. Once he applied, he was contacted by the downtown Oklahoma City office about an opportunity writing for the Express headquarters.

James was assigned to a longer-term placement at the Express International Headquarters when one of the members of the Marketing and Communications department went on maternity leave. The department faced some large projects due in a short amount of time, and James helped write promotional material, blogs, and newsletters to help finish the projects on time. He is still working on projects for the headquarters and greatly enjoys it. His flexible schedule helps him develop skills, but also allows him to continue following his other passion, music. When not working for Express, James enjoys writing and recording music for his band and serves as music director for First Baptist Church of Stillwater.

“Working with Express has been a growing experience. I have been able to develop several different skills which I never had the opportunity to use before. Looking toward the future, Express has helped me build my portfolio to become a more desirable employee. For those of us who are entering the workforce with little to no professional experience, Express is a great opportunity and will be a stepping stone to greater things,” James said.

We love hearing stories about the determination and quality work Express associates demonstrate every day.  James is just one example of thousands of Express associates who achieve success through their strong talent and resolve. If you’re searching for a job, consider working with a staffing agency like Express. More and more employers are relying heavily on staffing companies to fill open positions before hiring them on as full-time employees.

If you’re an Express associate and know a fellow associate who would be a great candidate for our associate spotlight, let your Express office know. If you have an Express associate you’d like to feature on Movin’ On Up, let us know in the comments below.