Tag Archives: job seeker

Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts Today

Social MediaSocial media is a great way to express yourself and grant others insight into who you are. As a job seeker, it also provides a way for employers to find out more about you than what they’d find on your resume or application.

In fact, a majority of employers will research potential candidates online to gauge professionalism, make sure work experience lines up with a resume, and find out what the candidate represents as a person. With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to avoid any social media snares in your job hunt.

Start out with a search engine.
To get the ball rolling on your social media sweep, check your online reputation with a quick internet search. This will help you get underway in locating unprofessional pictures, compromising posts, and more.

Review your photos.
Speaking of pictures, it’s best to do a thorough scrub of your social media profiles for any images that may depict you as a less-than-ideal candidate. Should you come across any undesirable images, the best thing to do in these instances is to remove it altogether or untag yourself, if possible. If you’re not quite ready to part with certain pictures, you can either move them to a secure cloud service like Google+ or Amazon Prime, or check your privacy settings to adjust who can see those images.

Utilize privacy features when available.
Most social sites have a “private” or “protected” option for users’ profiles. By using this, you can refine who sees what on your account and have more control over the personal brand you’re promoting. For example, on Facebook, you can adjust your settings to review tagged photos of yourself before they appear on your profile, while you can hide your entire profile on sites like Twitter and Instagram.

Paint your professional portrait with LinkedIn.
One of the top social media sites employers check during the hiring process is LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one. This tool was built primarily for networking and serves as a great way to paint a clear picture of who you are as a professional. If you do have an account, review your profile to make sure it aligns with your resume. Take the time to build your professional brand to make yourself a more desirable candidate.

Cover all your social media bases.
Probably the best way to make sure you’ve deep cleaned your online presence is to go through any social media sites you’ve used in recent years and review your activity. Delete or hide anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. Remove any posts in which you bad-mouthed a previous employer or status updates about how much you party, in addition to instances of poor spelling and grammar. Ultimately, the goal of your social media scrub is to promote your personal brand as a professional.

Above all else, be intentional.
Whichever social media site(s) you use that are viewable by prospective employers, strive to be purposeful with your presence. Make sure your information is up to date, follow leaders in your desired industry, be consistent in maintaining your profiles, and post content relevant to your professional goals. Employers want to know that if they hire you, your connection to the company won’t be harmed by your online presence, but rather supplement it with a professional image.

How do you keep your social media presence in order? Share with us in the comments section below!

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

State of the Job Seeker Today

state_of_job_seeker_today_webUnless you earned a degree in economics, the news reports on how the job market is shaping up can be confusing and frustrating. But if you’re on the hunt for a job, it’s important to understand the current issues surrounding unemployment, hiring, and pay. Here’s a little help looking at the big picture and what it means to you.

Unemployment Situation
According to a recent article in Forbes magazine that took an in-depth look into the unemployment numbers from last month, there has been some slight improvement.  The “official October jobless rate fell to 5.8%,” and even the so-called “real unemployment rate,” which includes part-time workers who want to be full-time and people who are too discouraged to look, “fell sharply in October to 11.5% from 11.8% in September.”

Both of those rates are better than this time last year, which is a good sign for job seekers. However, Forbes also reports that almost 4 million non-retired Americans have given up on finding a job and nearly a third of job seekers who have been looking for jobs over the previous month are going on at least six months of joblessness.

Hiring Outlook
“Employers added an estimated 214,000 jobs in October,” according to the same Forbes article. New jobs are always a good sign for job seekers. CareerBuilder’s Fourth Quarter Forecast echoes more good news, as it shows that more than 25% of employers want to hire permanent, full-time workers before the end of the year. And, 43% of retailers and 26% of employers overall plan to hire seasonal staff, which means now is the time to land a seasonal job so you can finish out the year employed. That is especially true considering this other piece of good news from CareerBuilder – almost 50% of companies who hire seasonal workers want to eventually transition some of their seasonal workers into more permanent roles after the holidays.

Pay Rate
Across the board, it looks like the average pay rate is going to remain about the same, which means you’re not likely going to see a pay raise or a pay cut anytime soon. CareerBuilder found that, in regard to seasonal workers, 27% of employers will pay more than last year, while 13% will pay less. This mimics what Forbes has to say about October’s average earnings. There was a miniscule increase of 0.1% in average pay from September to October, with only a 2% increase over the entire year. So, as the worker, it’s up to you to decide if you want to see the glass as half empty or half full.

Overall, the numbers and reports seem to paint a decent picture for people on the job hunt. Companies are hiring, and, while you might not land the full-time position you were hoping for just yet, the holiday season has provided plenty of opportunities to boost your resume and add more money to your bank account. And that’s always a good thing.

What’s your job hunt experience been like lately? Do you think it’s getting easier or more difficult to find a job? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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

The #1 Soft Skill Every Job Seeker Should Have

softskills_Sept2014_webWhen employers evaluate potential employees they look at two different skills sets – the applicant’s hard skills and the applicant’s soft skills. The hard skills you possess are skills you’ve acquired through education and experience, skills like your ability to operate a machine or a computer, for example. The second set of skills employers look at is your soft skills.

Soft skills include skills like how well you communicate with others or how well you manage your time. They are generally considered more subjective but are equally, if not more important, than the hard skills you have.

Every time you communicate with a potential employer whether it’s through your cover letter, resume, during the interview, or in your follow up, you are revealing some of your soft skills. But which ones help you stand out from other applicants?

The Top Five Soft Skills
In a recent survey of 115 Express franchises across the nation, Express found that the top five most important soft skills employers look for are:

  1. Dependability
  2. Communication
  3. Commitment
  4. Motivation
  5. Initiative

For the second year in a row, dependability was considered the most important soft skill to have.  Employers need to put a lot of trust in their employees, so they need people they can count on no matter what. You can teach people hard skills, but soft skills like dependability have more to do with who you are (your character) than what you know.

Demonstrating Your Dependability to Potential Employers
If dependability is the top soft skill employers are looking for, then it’s important to make sure you exhibit your reliability during the application and interview process. Here are some ways to do just that:

1. Update Your Resume and Cover Letter
Because resumes and cover letters are an important part of getting an interview it’s very important to ensure your resume illustrates your dependability as much as possible. Employers will look for signs of your dependability like the time spent at each job and the projects you were tasked with. You can emphasize your dependability in your resume and cover letter by using words like consistent, diligent, reliable, persistent, and improved.

2. Give Examples During Your Interview
If you go on to an interview, be sure to have some examples prepared of times that you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.  Whether you helped a coworker out or solved a problem for the company, think of times when your past employers relied on you and be prepared to share those examples in your interview.

It’s also important to remember that dependability isn’t just about what you do in difficult or big situations. It’s about what you do in the everyday, small things that matters most, like showing up to work early every day. With that in mind, remember that it’s so important to show up to your interview on time because that too will be a demonstration of your dependability to an employer.

If an employer asks you when you’d be available to work and you’re currently employed at another company, be sure to let them know that out of respect, you want to give your current company the standard two week notice. They would want the same courtesy shown to them if the tables were turned, so this is just another way you can demonstrate your reliability.

If they ask you not to share information about their interview process for privacy or security reasons, as tempting as it may be to talk about it with your friends and family, be sure to respect their wishes and keep it to yourself. You never know how it could get back to someone if you’re not careful. The more trustworthy you are in the small things, the more trustworthy you will be in the big things.

3. Your Follow Up
After the interview, if you were assigned a task or project to submit as an example of your work, be sure to complete it as soon as possible and get it back to the perspective employer on time. This is an important opportunity to display your hard and soft skills at the same time.

These are just a few of the ways you can demonstrate your dependability to an employer. Share some of the ways you demonstrate your dependability in the comments section below.

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

5 Great Apps To Help You Prepare For An Interview

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“There’s an app for that!” is an iconic Apple Inc. slogan, one of several companies capitalizing off of the trend of desktops being replaced by mobile devices. According to a five year report by “Flurry,” a leading producer of app analytics, consumers now spend two hours and 42 minutes a day on their phone, with 80% of that being used for apps and only 20% for internet search.

This increase in phone usage means the need for apps continually increases as well. From documenting every second of your life to maximizing your next selfie, there truly is an app for everything. Among those millions of apps are actually some very useful tools for job seekers. So which of them can help you land that next job? Below you’ll find five apps that are sure to make an impact on your interview preparation.

Glassdoor
Knowing your audience is very important in many facets of life, and it can definitely be a winning factor in an interview. Glassdoor calls themselves the world’s most transparent career community. It is a largely crowd sourced online resource that connects you with company information, employee reviews, salary information, and job descriptions. This knowledge can be helpful in giving you a deeper understanding of the companies that you are applying with.

Interview Prep Questions
Once you get in the door of an employer, it’s not always smooth sailing. Some hiring managers will ask you tough questions that could rock your boat if you aren’t prepared. This quick-flip app displays questions similar to flash cards and lets you get familiar with frequently asked questions so you can give solid, confident answers.

MonsterInterviews
A simple app by career search company Monster. This app has multiple tools to help you prepare with sample interview questions, company research tools, and last minute tips to keep you calm and collected on the interview big day. Another unique function it provides is a post-interview calendar option. With this you can set reminders for follow up calls and save important notes that you can reference if you get called in for a second interview.

Google Maps
Although not directly related to the actual interview, knowing where to go for your interview can relieve one more stressor and help keep you focused on the task at hand. I speak from experience – getting lost and calling the employer for directions doesn’t help put your best foot forward.

How-to-tie-a-tie
An integral part of getting your next job is dressing the part. And, anyone who wears ties in their day-to-day lives will tell you the knot in your tie is very important in how you present yourself. So if you aren’t familiar with tying a tie, this app can definitely help top off your appearance with a top-notch knot.

Not everything can be solved with your digital companion, but when job hunting you can never have too much support. Regardless of how you prepare, be sure to research and prepare for the tough questions. Most importantly, be sure to stand tall, stay confident, and present yourself like you are their next most valuable employee. If you know of other apps that are complementary to the interview preparation be sure, to let us know in the comments section below.

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

Ditch the Title and Get the Job You Really Want

Guest_Post_Ditch_the-Title_and_Get_the_Job_You_Really_Want_Jan2014Appearances mean a lot to most of us, from the labels we wear and where we live to our job titles. It’s the social norm when meeting a new person to ask, “What do you do for a living?” And although some of us may not be completely conscious of it, we place a lot of stock in our answer. We grow up with the mantra “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but in all reality, we are all guilty of judging others, no matter how hard we try not to.

We are often judged by what we do when it comes to first impressions, and the bigger the title, the more respect we deserve in the eyes of others. It can be hard to give up a title like “lead manager,” “editor in chief,” or even “CEO,” for a job that makes you happier. But, I speak from experience when I say that sticking with a job because of it’s title is like paying $2,000 for a Puggle – when it comes down to it, it’s really just a mutt.

I learned this firsthand when after just a few weeks as an intern, I was promoted to the coveted editor position of one of San Diego’s largest travel and tourism websites. My boss chalked it up to my “can-do” attitude and ability to conquer any challenge. It came with a menial raise (barely noticeable) and a few new business cards, but none of that mattered because I was an editor. I didn’t know what I was doing or how I was going to tackle this task, all I knew was that I was given the title and it was time to fill the shoes. Over the next few months, I fumbled around learning the ins and outs of travel sites through trial and error and somehow ended up transforming the failing website into one that actually made a profit.

I was also taking full advantage of editor perks, flashing my business cards around town and reaping the benefits of it with free cruises, comped concerts and dinners, and a sudden flurry of social activities on my calendar. It was fun, exciting, and definitely felt good to meet a stranger and tell them what I did, but in reality, it wasn’t what I wanted. Sure the perks were great, but I was being worked to the bone, paid pennies, and constantly struggling to keep my head above water. I thought I’d run with it for a while, learn everything I could, and use it as a major stepping stone for my resume, but when it was time to move on, I had a hard time letting go of the title.

What’s in a title anyway?
Absolutely nothing. You can slap a big title on anything and make it sound better than it is. We get attached to titles and personas. Being called “editor” felt good and gave me some additional unearned respect among my peers, but really I was doing the same work everyone else was with a little more clout.

When I finally made the real decision to move on and job hunt, I quickly realized just how little that editor title was doing for me. Other companies had a starting salary that was higher than what I was making, better benefits, and a friendlier environment. I ditched the title and took a new job without the glitz and glam, but that made me a lot happier and put some money in my pocket. I may not be attending the biggest parties and rubbing elbows with the who’s who of San Diego any longer, but I have a job that makes me happy. I work for an awesome company and most importantly, I’m doing work that I’m proud of.

So, what can job seekers learn from this?
Basically, don’t jump at a job because it has a great title. Take a closer look at the jobs you are applying for and open your mind to the less high-profile positions, because they may be exactly what you’re looking for. Sure a big title can feel good, but just like any relationship, eventually the butterflies wear off and you’re left with what’s in front of you. Don’t let yourself be romanced by the title, choose your next professional position based upon the work, environment, and how much the employers respect their employees. There are many more important aspects to a job than what’s on your business card and if it means that much to you, you can always call yourself something fancy like a mobile sustenance facilitator instead of a pizza delivery guy – no one will know the difference.

About the Author
This article was written by Carli Leavitt. Carli currently handles outreach and public relations for a number of attorneys and is an SEO Consultant with Highrank Websites.

7 Must-Dos Before a Job Interview

Woman waiting before an interviewAcing an interview isn’t magic that only certain people possess or a skill that only experts can attain. You can become a pro at interviewing too, but just like anything else, it takes practice. So, to help you master the skill of interviewing, here are seven must-dos to practice every time you’re invited to an interview.

1. Research the company and the position.
No employer wants to hire a candidate who doesn’t know anything about the company or the position. Make sure to research the company and get familiar with their mission statement, goals, products, services, and news. Check out the company’s website, the Internet, magazines, newspapers, and your local library to find this useful information. By knowing these facts, you’ll be able to answer two commonly asked questions: “What do you know about my company?” and “Why are you interested in this position?”

2. Review your resume.
Employers will often refer to your resume and ask you to expand on a point you included or explain a project you listed as an accomplishment. Be familiar with the information you listed on your resume. You need to be able to talk about every line of your resume with why you included it and how it makes you qualified for the job.

3. Make a list of talking points.
Your resume and cover letter can’t always include every piece of information you want to share with an employer because you should limit it to one page each. But, an interview gives you the opportunity to share details you couldn’t fit that are relevant to the job. If you left something out of your resume or cover letter, or thought of another strength, experience, or skill you possess, this is the time to bring it up. Make a list of the topics you want to discuss in the interview, and you’ll be better prepared to answer the interviewer’s questions and ask your own.

4. Practice answering questions.
Being able to answer questions articulately will show that you’re prepared and serious about wanting the job. You don’t want to practice so much that you sound like a record stuck on repeat, but you need to practice enough to be comfortable answering questions. Have a friend or family member ask you questions for a mock interview. Since it’s a practice session, use your list of talking points. Try to relate each answer to something on your list.

5. Prepare questions for the interviewer.
Toward the end of your interview, the employer might ask if you have any questions for him. If you don’t, it may seem like you’re unprepared or uninterested in the position, so make sure you have several questions ready ahead of time. A few strong questions you might ask are, “What is the biggest challenge someone in this position might face?” and “What are the opportunities for career growth in this organization?” Some of your questions may be answered during the interview, so it’s best to come up with several to choose from.

6. Dress to impress.
Appearance is noticeable and memorable, so dress to create a positive first impression. When you research the company, don’t forget to find out about the company’s dress code so you can dress the part, or one step up. It’s OK to call ahead of time to ask. If you can’t find this information, it’s better to dress up than to dress down, so choose a professional look. Make sure your outfit is wrinkle-, stain-, and odor-free, and that your clothes aren’t worn through or holey.

7. Decide you want the job.
One of the most important aspects of an interview is your mindset. Before you go to the interview, decide that you want the job and that you’re determined to get it. Think positively, and give the interview your all. You may decide later on that the job is not the right fit for you, but you don’t want to blow an interview by appearing unenthusiastic or uninterested.

No one wakes up knowing how to master the interview, but anyone can learn the skills it takes to land a job. Practice the seven must-dos for every interview you’re a part of, and your interview techniques will become stronger and stronger each time.

5 Free Investments for New Job Seekers

You can start investing today in your future by making use of free resources that will help you in your professional career. As a recent graduate or a new job seeker, it may seem difficult to find the right job. No matter what field or industry you’re in, you can make use of some of the following tips to set you apart from the competition, and increase your chances in finding a job. These tips will also help you tackle any challenges in your career.
 
Read career blogs:
Career blogs are becoming more and more popular as time goes on. Job experts are now using them as a way to share information and offer advice on various topics from how to ask for a job reference to top questions to ask during a job interview. They are also great because they’re free and easily accessible and thus some employers might expect you to be well prepared for an interview because of the plethora of information that is readily available to prepare you for the interview. Use the information to gain insight and quick tips on everything about careers. Learning never gets old, so take advantage of this opportunity. These blogs can help you be better prepared for what employers are looking for in a job candidate.

See a career counselor or visit a local staffing agency: Career counseling is available on many college campuses and is a very helpful resource in choosing the right career path. Talk to a college counselor to gain more insight about your skills, learn what your interests are, and discover what career path is best for you. Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you can ever make, so it’s important to get all the advice you can before making your decision. For those who may not have access to career counselors, staffing agencies are another great resource to help you find job openings in your area of interest. So, check with your local staffing agency to find out how they can be of service to you.

Ask questions: Asking questions is very important because it helps you gain insight into your potential job path and clear up any confusion or concern you may have. Educate yourself on choices before you make them by talking to people who have experience in the field you’re interested in. Also, find out if you can job shadow someone in the field that you’re curious about. This will give you a clear vision of their job and its daily functions.

Go to a job fair: Job fairs are great opportunities for you to meet with various employers in one place and in a small amount of time. For businesses, this gives them the opportunity to perform initial screening and recruit for entry level jobs. In order to make the most of a job fair, it’s good to research what companies will be attending the fair in order to make a list of your top choices so that you can meet with them first. Researching companies ahead of time or before attending a job fair would give the recruiter the impression that you have an interest in their company and that you are responsible enough to do your homework. Know what the companies do and be able to speak about them in addition to telling them about you.

Make sure you prepare a list of questions you want to ask. For example, ask the recruiter questions about the company’s culture and values. Also prepare to answer questions from the recruiter. Some questions you may be asked are questions like, “What are your goals?” or “Why do you want to work for our company?”

Making a good first impression is the most important thing to remember when attending a job fair because right from the get-go you’re being analyzed and screened. Job fairs are a great opportunity for you to market yourself and show what sets you apart from everyone else. So, be sure to dress appropriately, wear what you would for a job interview because essentially, that’s what you’re doing even if it’s not in a traditional location. Avoid carrying too many things so you can move around freely, and carry a portfolio with plenty of résumés so you can hand them out to the companies you’re interested in. Lastly, remember why you’re attending the job fair. Don’t get distracted by all the freebies some companies provide during job fairs, be professional. Smile and give a firm handshake.

Start a blog: People are now using blogs as a tool to market themselves. Blogging allows you to share information about yourself and your interests. As social media continues to grow, this is a good avenue for employers to familiarize themselves with your interests. Starting a blog will help you establish yourself as a subject-matter expert and develop online persona. Remember some industries may be less interested in blogging and social media than others, so be sure to take note of other tips that are more applicable to your field. If you decide that starting a blog is a great tool for your career, be careful what you put on it. Remember your blog reflects on who you are. So, be professional and avoid anything that may give a bad impression about you. 

Whether you’re a student, recent graduate, or just new to your career field, make use of the above tips to either boost your chances of getting a job or to learn important elements to succeed in the business world. Stay in touch with what is happening around you. You owe it to yourself and your career.