Tag Archives: job

4 Summer Blockbusters that Can Help In Your Job Search

blockbuster_movies_webSummer brings the big hits to the box office, and this year’s selection of action movies were full of lessons that job seekers can take away. In fact, most of the heroes in big movies have traits you need while you’re looking for that perfect career – courage, creativity, an open mind, and a positive attitude. Like movie heroes, you’re facing a big conflict or a villain (in this case, unemployment), but you also have the traits to overcome and win in the end.

So, let’s take a look at this summer’s blockbusters and how they can help you land a job.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Asking for Help
An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” can teach you a thing or two about networking and unlikely alliances.

When adventurer Peter Quill becomes a hunted man after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by a powerful villain, he has to team up with a group of misfits—Rocket, a gun-happy raccoon; Groot, a tree-like creature; the deadly and mysterious Gamora; and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. Together, this group must make a desperate last stand to save the galaxy’s fate.

Okay, so you aren’t saving the galaxy, but you are saving your career and future happiness. What “Guardians of the Galaxy” says about networking and getting some help from your friends can apply to your job search as well.

Enlist your network of people by asking them to refer you to job openings, introduce you to people they know, and use them as references. Don’t discount anyone – your hairdresser, gym trainer, or even the family doctor may know of job opportunities that could be perfect for you.

Taking a team approach to job seeking is helpful. It never hurts to have somebody else to share ideas and progress with on a regular basis.

How to Train Your Dragon 2: Hidden Possibilities
This family-favorite blockbuster has a lot to say about discovering something special where you least expect it. Five years after Hiccup and Toothless united the dragons and Vikings of Berk, the two have charted the island’s unmapped territories. When they find a secret cave that houses hundreds of wild dragons, they also find themselves at the center of a battle to protect Berk from a power-hungry warrior named Drago.

You too can find hidden job leads in places you normally wouldn’t look, but you have to be as tenacious and adventurous as Hiccup and Toothless. Upward of 80% of jobs are obtained through networking, so try beefing up your networking efforts. Your secret caves of social media can be a goldmine of connections.

For instance, how many Facebook friends do you have? How many have jobs? How many of your LinkedIn connections work in your field? Start asking them about employment opportunities or if they know other people to connect with.

Look for opportunities to network in places you normally wouldn’t. That unadvertised job opening might be hidden in plain sight.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Correcting Past Mistakes
This summer movie is a lesson in past mistakes, and how they can catch up to you if you aren’t careful. A population of genetically evolved apes comes head to head with human survivors of a devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. Though a truce is declared, both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.

The rise of the apes was due to an experiment led by humans, and now that mistake has all but wiped out the human race. So, don’t let your past mistakes wipe out your job future! If you’re searching for a career, take time to clean up your online profile. When it comes to potential employers, it’s important to make sure that what they see online represents who you are.

Google your name and find out what pops up. Remove distasteful or offensive posts from your social media, and while you are at it, set your Facebook posts to private.

If you find offensive results on Google, Google has a process for removing them. For more tips on making your online reputation shine, check out this blog post.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Staying Positive
Having a good attitude is everything, and these pizza-loving turtles have plenty of that. The teenage terrapins Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael live in the sewers beneath New York City, but the brothers can’t stand by while evil Shredder and his minions harm the city.

Our intrepid heroes never let anything get them down, even when their plans seem to go awry. They just dust themselves off and get back to saving the city. Attitude and optimism are just as important if you are unemployed, too.

Regardless of how tough your job search is, it’s absolutely vital to keep a positive attitude during your job search. Some great tips to maintain that attitude are to take charge by being present, accountable, and ready; talking positively about yourself and your abilities; exercising to relieve stress; and making a job search schedule and sticking to it.

Few people score the very first job they apply to. So, instead of seeing job rejection as a personal attack, look at it as an opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself.

What job search tips did you take away from your favorite summer movies? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

How You Can Thrive in Today’s Changing Workforce

rise_contract_class_webFor millions of workers, the fixed schedule full-time 40 hour workweek is a thing of the past. Looking for greater flexibility and new opportunities, job seekers are turning away from the traditional employer-employee relationship and eight to five work day.

The number of temporary workers, independent contingent workers, and freelancers is increasing to record highs in the U.S., defying previous economic trends. A study from MBO partners, a support system for independent professionals, found that all U.S. independent workers totaled 17.7 million in 2013, a 10% increase from MBO’s first study in 2011. More than 24 million are forecasted to be independent by 2018.

In Canada, the change has not been as dramatic, but the number of temporary, independent contingent, and “casual” workers is increasing. Their share of the workforce increased by 1.1% from 2008 to 2013.

Why It’s Changing

Coming out of the Great Recession, temporary or independent work gave those who may have lost their jobs an opportunity to get back on their feet or overcome extreme hardships. It’s also given them an opportunity to prove themselves as valuable to an employer.

According to CareerBuilder, “42% of employers plan to hire temporary or contract workers” this year — an increase from 40% in 2013. And, the staffing industry is expected to grow by 6% in 2014 and 7% in 2015.

“Many businesses use temporary workers as a way to find great talent,” said Michael Kreiling, general manager for the Express Employment Professionals offices in Winona, MN; and Eau Claire, Medford, and Menomonie, Wisconsin. “The more you impress them the more opportunities they will create for you.”

Opportunities in the Changing Workforce

As Kathryn Dill with Forbes writes, “…for many, temporary work isn’t simply a means to an end — it can also be the end goal.” Check out Forbes fastest-growing temp jobs, based on data by CareerBuilder.

According to AOL Jobs, the highest paying temporary jobs range from $26.44 to $46.69 an hour.

In a white paper released by Express Employment Professionals, “America’s Changing Workforce and the Rise of the Contingent Employee,” job seekers pursue temporary work so they can either work when they want, they need a flexible work schedule, or they want to earn additional money for bills, leisure, or retirement. If you are looking for these types of opportunities, then temporary work may be an answer.

Advice from the Experts

Jessico L. Culo, owner of the Edmonton, Alberta Express office, recommends that workers with long-term temporary jobs build relationships with the people you work with and the firm that represents you while on assignment.

Ronnie Morris, who owns an Express office in Jackson, TN, advises, “Little things like being on time, being willing to work over-time, learning multiple jobs, adhering to company policy, and possessing a willingness to train others are important things that can distinguish you on the job and make you a more valuable employee.”

Working to Live

It’s clear that more workers are turning to temporary and independent contingent work. And if you’re looking for permanent work, temporary jobs often lead to full-time permanent employment.  Job seekers who are willing to take on different temporary jobs and make those jobs work for them will come out on top. To thrive, be open to learning new skills and show the company you are a fast learner. Be adventurous and take advantage of the changing workforce. You never know where it will take you.

“More and more, people are interested in working to live rather than living to work,” said Jim Britton, owner of the Express Employment Professionals office in Springfield, IL. “And the flexibility offered by connecting with a well-run staffing company can be very appealing and rewarding.”

If you’re a worker who is part of this changing workforce, please share how you enjoy your temporary job, independent contingent work, or freelance opportunities. Let us know in the comment section below.

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

Do This During Your Job Interview and You Won’t Get Called Back

interview_mistakes_webThe number of articles and blogs online about the mistakes people make during an interview would lead you to believe that interviewees would have learned from other’s hard lessons. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always seem to be the case. A recent survey of 115 hiring experts about the worst interview mistakes people make reveals that interviewees are guilty of committing some very avoidable errors during their time in front of a potential employer.

Here are the three worst mistakes respondents said they saw job seekers make during their interview and how you can avoid making them.

1. Lie About Your Experience 

Want to start your relationship off terribly with someone who could determine if you get hired or not? Lie about your work experience or education.

Even the slightest fib or stretching of the truth could do irrevocable harm to your potential to get hired. If an employer finds out after you’ve been hired that you lied about your abilities or knowledge of a key part of your new job, you can expect that you won’t be there long. And if they do research about you before you’re hired and find out you’ve been dishonest, don’t expect to get a call back anytime soon.

“In this era of massive information availability, anything you say about your experience, your past performance, or your education that isn’t accurate can most likely be checked,” said Erika Anderson, a contributor for Forbes Magazine. “It’s much better to be upfront about anything that’s less than stellar, and offer a simple (non-defensive) explanation.”

2. Show Up Late

Things happen. Tires go flat, kids get sick, and bad weather can set anyone back. But when you know you have a job interview coming up, preparing for any situation is the key to showing up on time.

Take the appropriate steps to make sure that on the day of your job interview, nothing but a serious emergency could cause you to show up late or miss the chance to show an employer why you’re the best person for the job. Put gas in your car and check your tires the day before, set your alarm to give yourself plenty of time to get ready, and do a final review of any research you’ve done. And if you’re unfamiliar with the location of the interview, drive there from your home in the days before so you know how to get there, preferably around the time of your interview so you can account for traffic.

If something completely unforeseen does come up and you know you’ll be late, call ahead to the employer and let them know about the situation. Be prepared with another time when you call so that if they ask to re-schedule, you know of a few times you’re available.

3. Answer Your Phone (Call or Text)

This is pretty simple. Unless there is an emergency situation in which you are waiting on a phone call (in which case you should probably ask to re-schedule the interview), you shouldn’t even have your cell phone turned on when you walk in the building.

We know how tempting it is to check your phone while you wait to meet your interviewer, but it’s not worth it. Employers want to know you’re focused on the task at hand and will be if they decide to hire you. Don’t give them any reason to think you’re anything other than excited, determined, and completely focused on what you can bring to their team.

Everyone understands that mistakes can happen during an interview, but there are some that are worse than others, and several that are avoidable. What have you done to avoid these interview mistakes? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

4 Secrets of Hiring Managers

hiring_manager_secrets_webGetting an interview is a great first step to landing a job. But, how do you ensure you’re a top pick for the position when you meet face-to-face with the hiring manager? We asked four hiring professionals from Express Employment Professionals to share their secrets from the initial phone call to the follow-up in order to help you stand out in your next interview.

Secret #1: The first impression is hard to change.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Sometimes that first impression may be through a phone call or email, so don’t forget to act professional in non-face-to-face interactions. “A candidate who responds quickly and has a professional demeanor over the phone, in email, or on my voicemail is someone who usually excels in person,” said Lee Wenninger, owner of the Fishers, IN Express office.

Lauren Chandler, a recruiter at the Howell, MI Express office, agrees. “Did the person arrive on time, call back when they were supposed to, or follow up when they should have? This could be a big indicator of whether or not they will be a dependable employee,” she said. “They’re basically on an audition with us, and they have to pass our audition to get to the next one.”

If your first impression happens to be during an interview, be as professional as possible. Here are a few things Joe Paquette, a consultant at Express, looks for in an ideal candidate:

And, don’t forget to be respectful to the company’s receptionist or anyone you come in contact with. “I always ask staff members how they were treated by someone who is applying internally,” Joe said.

Secret #2: The reason you’re looking for a job matters to employers.

Before your interview, you may want to ask yourself why you’re looking for a job. For many jobseekers, finding a job is essential because they aren’t currently working. But, if you’re looking for a job due to other reasons, be honest about why you’re searching. If you indicate on your resume that you’re “looking for additional opportunities,” some hiring managers might see this as a disguise for more serious reasons, like challenges or issues working with a team member or manager.

“I dive into past work history to look for patterns,” Joe said. “I ask the candidate what they think their previous or current supervisor would say about them personally, and I follow up with that supervisor to see if their thoughts are the same.”

If you’re looking for a new job due to challenges in your current one, turn it into a positive. Emphasize how your past experiences have prepped you to become successful in the role you’re interviewing for and give helpful examples.

Secret #3: Asking questions shows interest in the job.

If you land an interview, be prepared to not only answer questions, but to ask some of your own as well. According to Joe, asking questions throughout the interview process shows that you’re interested in the position and driven to succeed. To get ahead of the game on this hiring manager secret, remember to:

  • Research the company you’re applying for and make a note of important information, like the date they were founded, the name of the CEO, and the company’s core values.
  • If you’re given the name of your interviewer beforehand, research them as well. Find out about their educational background and interests in case you can use them in the conversation.
  • Develop a list of questions you may have about the company, the role you’re interviewing for, or the hiring process.

Showing interest in the job or company you’re applying for goes a long way, according to Carrie Smith, a recruiter for the Howell, MI Express office. “If they seem uninterested in the opportunity to be here, I find myself being uninterested in them as well.”

And, when you’re answering a question, try not to talk forever. “Nothing takes you out of the top category quicker than not being able to get to the point. Answer the question, then elaborate if needed,” Lauren said.

Secret #4: A follow-up note is very important.

Following up after an interview is important to hiring managers. Send an email or letter after your interview to say thanks and provide any details you may have forgotten during the interview. And, don’t forget to emphasize your interest in the position. If you don’t have the email address for your interviewer, do some research to find their contact information or call the company and ask for it.

If your interviewer gives you something to do after the interview, like performing a test or providing a sample of your work, do it. And, do it quickly. According to Joe, giving an interviewee a task lets hiring managers see how much time, effort, and thought the candidate puts into that task and if they are someone who can take direction. If you don’t complete the work you’re given, it could put the brakes on your interview process.

“I run from someone who doesn’t complete the task or sends me something without a lot of thought put into it,” Joe said. “It’s fine not to understand the task, but someone who is serious about the job will follow up to get more details if they’re stuck.”

How do you ensure you’re a top pick during an interview? Share with us in the comments section below.

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

I RESIGN – The Best Way to Quit Your Job

_iresign_webGiving your resignation to your boss is never an easy thing to do.

You may not get along with your boss or you may dislike your job, but it’s still important to quit your job professionally and with tact. If you’re preparing to resign from a job, plan it out and handle it as carefully as you would any other business decision. Don’t burn your bridges, because you never know when a former employer will come in handy for as an ever-important reference.

If you are absolutely certain that it’s time for you to resign from your job, here are some tips to make quitting a little easier and more professional.

Always give notice.
Chances are, your employee handbook spells out how much notice you should give. If it does, then abide by it or offer at least two weeks of notice. If you absolutely cannot stay a minute longer, here are some acceptable reasons for not giving notice.

Stick to your guns.
Sometimes, your boss might ask you to stay a little longer than two weeks. You have no obligation to stay, but the decision is ultimately up to you. Offer to help your previous employer by training someone during your two weeks or answering questions that may be emailed to you in the coming weeks.

Write a formal resignation letter.
Be professional in the letter, submit it, and tell your immediate supervisors about your decision. Need tips on how to write a resignation letter? Check out these tips.

Keep it short and sweet.
Emphasize the positive things you gained at the company, but be firm about your decision to leave. Offer to help during the transition, and try to keep negativity out of the letter. You may have great reasons for leaving, but there’s no point in hashing it out – you’re leaving anyway, so make sure you leave on good terms.

Ask for a reference.
Always ask for a written letter of recommendation for future employers.

The devil is in the details.
Before leaving, get your employee benefits, unused vacation, sick pay, and retirement funds all in order. Some great tips about employee benefits are available here.

Don’t take what doesn’t belong to you.
Sure, this may seem like common sense, but even your email list might fall under this category. Before you leave, return important documents, property like cell phones, keys, and anything else that you didn’t personally buy.

Stay present.
It’s easy to check out that final week of work, but keep doing your best. Being professional up to the very end will pay off.

Leaving a job and turning in a resignation is a stressful transition. Take time to decompress and renew your spirit to make sure you have the right state of mind to hit the ground running at your new job.

Have you ever resigned from your job? How did you handle it? Share with us in the comments section below.

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

Does Being Unemployed Make You Unemployable?

unemployment_web“If I’m unemployed, is it making me less employable for the jobs I’m applying for?” It’s the question facing millions of people who struggle to find work in a weak job market.

One of the long-lasting impacts of the Great Recession is how many job seekers are continuing to have trouble starting over in a new job. For the long-term unemployed (those out of work for more than six months), a Princeton University study found that only 11 percent found steady employment. So, does being unemployed make you less likely to get a job?

It Can, But It Doesn’t Have To

When an employer is looking over a resume, they want to see not only what type of work history you have, but also what you are currently doing to improve yourself professionally. While out of work, it’s tempting to focus on applying for as many jobs as possible and getting your information to your network of friends and family to help you get an interview. But your efforts can’t stop there.

If you’re unemployed, take this time to improve your current skills or learn a new one. A recent Harris Poll survey of the unemployed found that 64 percent are not planning to go back to school to make themselves more marketable to employers. Career Technical Education locations in your community often have classes you can take to keep you up-to-date in your field, but can also provide you with the opportunity to learn a different skill or trade.

When employers are struggling to find qualified workers in the industrial, health care, and IT fields, this may be the perfect time for you to learn a new skill set. Most programs can be completed in two years or less, and tuition is much more affordable than a traditional four year degree from a university.

Keep Working

Going back to school is great way to fill in the gap in your resume, but if that isn’t an option, consider taking a part-time job to add to your resume. This will demonstrate your work ethic and show employer you’re ready for an opportunity to continue your career. And if part-time work isn’t an option, consider volunteering in a way that uses your skills.

Whether your background is in administrative work, human resources, accounting, or another field, you have something to offer to a non-profit or charity. Most of these organizations are often under-staffed and depend on volunteers with expertise in different areas to come in and do some work for them for free.

When a potential employer looks through the stack of resumes and sees that you’ve spent time serving others in the community using your skills and expertise, you will stand out and have a leg up on the competition.

Some Employers May Not Hire You

In a few places, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against job seekers based on their employment status. But for the most part, there is no legal protection from your unemployment having an impact on the hiring process, and that means you may run into this problem.

So what can you do? If you think an employer won’t hire you because you’ve been out of work, it’s a tough situation to deal with. But when you turn your focus from the gap in your work history on your resume, to the people you know, your job search could be revitalized.

Connect with People and Stay Positive

Build your network of contacts. Reach out to family and friends to introduce you to people who could have an impact on your job hunt. Help a potential employer get to know you as great candidate and not another resume in the stack sitting on their desk.

If you’ve done all you can to improve yourself since becoming unemployed, it’s likely you won’t stay out of work for long. The Harris Poll survey of the unemployed also found that 91 percent of the unemployed are hopeful they will find a job they really want in the next six months. Hard work during this time in your life will set you up for success in your future career and make this an experience you look back on with pride as you overcame obstacles that wanted to keep you down.

How do you make sure you’re still employable if you’re unemployed? Share with us in the comments section below.

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

Three Sure Signs Your Interview Went Well

interviewwentwell_webThe moment you walk out of a job interview, there’s usually only one thing on your mind: How did it go? Sometimes you may feel like you nailed it, other times you may feel like you crashed and burned, and other times you may not have a clue how it really went.

There is no exact science to determining what an interviewer thought of you and if you’ll be offered the job, but there are some indicators that signal you made the cut. Watch for three signs to decipher if the interview really did go well.

1. The interview lasts longer than expected.
Interviewing you is most likely not the only responsibility on the interviewer’s plate. In fact, it was probably added on top of a very long to-do list, so you should feel proud, and hopeful, if the hiring manager spends extra time with you. Taking the time to go beyond the superficial, checklist questions to ask more insightful follow-up questions means the potential employer is truly interested in what you have to offer. Carolina Ceniza-Levine, an author and career-coach, told CBS News that it’s also a good sign when interviewers “ask for their calls to be held or for a later appointment to be pushed back in order to focus solely on you.”

2. They schedule a second interview.
The same principle from the first sign applies to the second – time is valuable. As Justin Honaman, director at Coca-Cola Customer Business Solutions, told CareerBuilder, “The hiring manager does not want to waste any more time interviewing you if you are not a fit. (An) invitation to the next round is a win!” An employer isn’t going to waste anyone’s time by going through another interview for no reason. And, if they schedule your second interview before your first interview is even over, you know they’re interested and eager to learn more.

3. Your references get called.
Once you find out that a potential employer has contacted your references, you can pat yourself on the back for being at the top of their list. Hiring managers won’t make the effort or take the time to contact references unless they’ve narrowed down the field to a few candidates and are nearing a decision. “A firm will not spend the time to do background checks and talk with references if you are out of the candidate pool,” agrees Honaman. Often, doing those final checks is simply the last step for wrapping up loose ends prior to making a job offer.

So much energy goes into preparing for an interview, and then afterwards you’re left to wonder how it went and mull over what you wish you’d done differently. A word of warning, though – don’t spend too much time worrying about how it went. Instead, use that time wisely by making a list of things you did right and things you could do differently next time. Or, stop and go over the questions that may have stumped you. Now that you have time to think about them, prepare some answers for next time. And, don’t forget to send thank you notes to continue making a good impression.

Have you found these three signs to be true in your interviewing and job hunt experiences? What other signs have you discovered that are good indicators of how an interview went? Please share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

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