Tag Archives: motivation

The Job Hunt: Staying Motivated

MotivationSummer_July2013_webExpress Employment Professionals recently released results from a new Harris Poll of the unemployed, which, for the third year in a row, shows a significant number of Americans have completely given up looking for work.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed said they have completely given up looking for work. For those unemployed more than two years, the percentage of individuals giving up on the job hunt increased to 59% from 2015.

Results were based on a May 2016 survey of 1,513 jobless Americans, age 18 and older, who are unemployed but capable of working.

Who Are the Unemployed?
According to the survey, 55% of the unemployed are men; 45 % are women; and 33% are between ages 18 and 29.

The majority lack a college degree:

  • 38% received a high school diploma
  • 22% attended college, but did not receive a degree
  • 13% hold a bachelor’s degree

Of those with at least a college degree, 52% indicated they wish they had focused on a vocational career such as automotive technology, electrician, plumber, HVAC specialist, dental assisting, or medical assisting. If you find yourself thinking about a vocational career, Express published a white paper, “Caution: College May Not Be For Everyone,” that takes an in-depth look at career technical education, and compares its benefits to a traditional bachelor’s degree.
Inspiration from Thomas Edison
American Inventor and businessman Thomas A. Edison once said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
If you are among the unemployed, it can be a frightening time. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates there are 5.8 million open jobs. When re-entering the workforce, it’s important to be honest about resume gaps and be open to the idea that you might need to look for a career path in a different industry.

You can always take advantage of the time you have to read, volunteer, or continue your education. Use your time to work on your resume, polish your skills, and heed Edison’s advice. Try sending out one more resume a day, applying for one more job per week, and calling on your network to see if they know of open jobs.

Resources to Find Work
The 2016 survey on the “State of the Unemployed” indicates that unemployment is becoming a chronic condition. More than half, 51%, reported they haven’t been on a job interview since 2014.

According to the study, the unemployed reported they are putting in an average of only 11.7 hours per week looking for work. Recruiters, however, will often tell you that a job seeker needs to spend more time looking for a job.

In today’s online world, there are numerous sources that you can use to enhance your job search. Job boards such as Monster or Indeed.com provide valuable listings. Also, company websites often list open jobs. And, there are valuable websites that help enhance your job search, as well as offer resume tips.

You can also use a staffing company, like Express Employment Professionals, to help you find work. According to the American Staffing Association, more than 3 million temporary and contract employees work for staffing companies during an average week. And, during the course of a year, American staffing companies hire nearly 16 million temporary and contract employees.

Express also conducted a similar study on the unemployed in Canada. View results of both studies with infographics on unemployed Americans and Canadians.

If you have found yourself unemployed, what motivates you to continue your job search? Please let us know 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.

Know When To Go – Job Change

Know when to go_May2014Everyone has moments when they wonder if it’s time to make a change and find a new job. But, if you find yourself constantly thinking of leaving your job and wishing you worked somewhere else, you probably need to do a little soul-searching. It may be time to try something new, or you may just have unrealistic expectations of your job.

Making a job change can be a great career move, but it’s not something you should take lightly. In order to know when to go, you need to take an honest look at your situation. Understanding your reasons for leaving will not only help you make a wise decision, but also ensure your future success wherever you work.

How’s Your Attitude?
There is no such thing as a stress-free job. Even the most passionate professionals can find themselves frustrated and stressed out. So don’t make a quick decision to change jobs when you’re emotional. Take the time to uncover if you are just stressed or have burned out. Also, see if making a conscious effort to have a positive attitude for a few weeks changes your perspective.

Are You Running Away From Someone?
Toxic coworkers or managers can ruin any job. However, there will always be difficult people in the workplace you don’t get along with. If you want to change jobs to get away from someone, consider if you’re dealing with a true toxic relationship or if it’s just a matter of personality difference. And, to be fair, you should also reflect on if you’ve played a part in creating the negative relationship and if there is a way you can turn things around.

Have You Maximized Your Current Job?
A lack of career development opportunities is a legitimate reason for leaving a job. However, it’s easy to mistakenly assume you’ve outgrown your current job and employer. Think through all your job responsibilities – have you mastered them all? If so, are there other skills you could learn in your department or in other departments? Sometimes lateral moves at your current workplace can offer the challenge and development you’re looking for, without the uncertainty and hassle associated with a new employer. This is also the time to decide if you want to be a job-hopper or a job-shopper.

Before you make the transition into job-hunting mode, take the time to consider why you want to change jobs. If you decide to leave, then you’ll already know some of the key things you’re looking for in a new job. And, if you decide to stay, you’ll know how to improve and be happy in your current job.

How do you know when to go? What do you look at when you’re considering changing jobs? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

How to Find Your Breakthrough

breakthrough_April2014Have you ever dreamed of having a great job, owning a company, or being a millionaire someday? Although we all want the best that life has to offer, our dreams won’t become a reality without hard work and unwavering determination, it doesn’t happen randomly or by accident. So, here are a few tips to help you along the way to your breakthrough.

We All Have to Start Somewhere

Steve Jobs is a perfect example of how hard work pays off, and his life story reminds us that we all have to start somewhere. After graduating high school, Jobs enrolled in college but dropped out right after his first semester. Throughout his life, Jobs struggled in school. But, he didn’t let that stop him from founding one of the world’s most innovative companies, Apple. Steve Jobs believed that every obstacle you encounter in life will prepare you for the future, and every aspect of the struggles we face will somehow help out down the road. His mindset was one of determination and grit. “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards,” Jobs said. “So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Know What You’re Good At

Before you get your foot in the door at a company and start trekking down your career path, you’ve got to know where you want to go and what you’re good at. So, how do you make your dreams of having a great job become reality? You’ve got to be intentional about your job choices. If you want to do website design, search for entry level jobs in an IT role. Whatever field you’re interested in, look for jobs where you can learn skills in that specific trade. Try to get the most out of each job by looking through a learning opportunity lens. Remember to know where you’re going and have an end goal in mind.

Don’t Give Up

At the end of the day most people are looking for that big break that will make them successful in their career, job search, and life, but most times it’s the first step that leads to the breakthrough. All you’ve got to do is work to reprogram your brain to become more positive, in order to gain a competitive edge at work and in the job search process. Don’t look at a job as a dead end, focus on what you can gain and experience to take away. Even negative or stressful situations can teach you. Take this lesson and apply it to any area of your life where you need a break-through or positive change. Don’t just wait for situations to change, begin today by taking empowered actions to bring the breakthrough you’ve needed.

Hard Work Pays Off

Zig Ziglar once said, “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.” This means we have to work to gain experience and the knowledge over the course of a career. And, even when you arrive at that dream job and achieve success, you have to continue to work hard. Honestly, big breaks don’t just happen; people make them happen through, hard work, determination, networking, courage, and passion.

How have you made changes and seen a breakthrough in your job search or at work? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

A High School Graduates Job Search

What to Do After CollegeFor high school graduates, landing a job may be the last thing on their mind, but with graduation right around the corner, getting a job should be something to think about. Focusing on your career post high school can help lead you to choosing the best next steps.

Gaining Skills for Employment
Job options may be limited during high school, but having an idea of what job you’d like for the future could make a positive difference while preparing for life after high school. When choosing a career path understand the time and investment to become skilled in that occupation and the demand for workers with that talent. Going to college or a Career Technological Education school without previously deciding which major you want can lead to spending extra semesters and, in some cases, even years, to graduate. And, unfortunately, extra time spent in school means more student loan debt that could have been avoided.

Preparing For Your Job Search
Where do you begin job searching? First, if you’ve had some odd jobs or activities you participated in throughout high school, think back to what you enjoyed doing the most. Narrowing down your likes and dislikes is a great way to start in your job search process. If there are certain things you’re better at, or enjoyed more, focus on finding a job in that field or that will allow you to use your skills and abilities to the fullest.

Clean Up Your Social Media
Did you know your social media profile can make or break your job search. CareerBuilder recently performed a study that showed 34 % of hiring managers who currently research candidates via social media said they have found information that has caused them not to hire a candidate. So, be careful and keep that information in mind when posting and sharing things on your profiles

Job Options
Have you ever thought about working for a staffing company like Express Employment Professionals? A staffing company can offer a flexible schedule to accommodate your continued education and access to entry-level positions. Continuing your education while working doesn’t have to be a daunting task, and companies like Express are here to help you gain experience in many different fields.

How do you plan to job search after high school? If you’re out of school, how has your job search been since graduating? We want to hear about it. Let us know in the comment section below.

Portraits of Hope

gI_96155_Portraits Book CoverAs the American economy continues to recover from the Great Recession of 2008, Express Employment Professionals, the nation’s largest privately held staffing firm, released a book titled “Portraits of Hope,” a compilation of inspirational stories from people who have found success despite the shaky economy.  In this book you’ll hear about how Express Employment Professionals has helped people find work and how having a job has made a positive impact in their lives and the lives of others. These encouraging stories are sure to inspire you, highlighting people who seized opportunities to build a better life. Some people were helped by friends and neighbors, while others were guided by faith and determination. Each person persevered through struggle and was able to pick themselves up, find work, and press on.

Some of the individuals featured in “Portraits of Hope” include:

Janice Andrick – Rossville, KS

Janice, born with cerebral palsy, was brought into a society that offered few opportunities for quadriplegics like her, but found hope in the support and therapy provided by the Capper Foundation for Crippled Children in Topeka, KS. There, she also found her first job. The 1990s brought the Americans with Disabilities Act and new technologies that made it possible for Janice to do a wider range of work. Through Express, she found a position doing clerical work with the State of Kansas Department of Disability Services.

Garrett Fairbanks – Kenosha, WI

A native of Kenosha, WI, Garret Fairbanks lost his job during the Great Recession. He found himself homeless, carrying a bag on his back, and selling aluminum scrap just to put money in his pocket. After finding a church program that offered him a place to sleep, Garrett found Express, and within a week after filling out an application, he was hired as a machinist. Today, he’s proud to be financially stable and living in his own apartment. In 2012, he was recognized by Express as the Wisconsin Employee of the Year.

Inder Narang – Northridge, CA

Born and raised in New Delhi, Inder Narang graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in India, but the only work he could find paid little, and there was no room for advancement. He decided to follow his brother to the United States in hopes of finding a job. But, he soon realized he lacked the necessary experience for the engineering jobs he applied for. He took a job as a department store sales associate. Before moving to L.A., Inder and finding an engineering job through Express — one that he enjoys and allows him to pay the bills.

“Read these stories and you understand why we do what we do,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Finding people a job so often means giving people hope and a chance at a better future. I’ve seen it over and over: a life can be drastically changed by just one job.

“We feel privileged at Express to have played even a small part in the lives of these remarkable individuals, whose determination to succeed allowed them to overcome tremendous challenges and to make it in America. I’m inspired by them, and I’m sure they’ll inspire others.”

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