Tag Archives: skills

Celebrate Your 2017 Successes

Reflect on your accomplishments this year

2017 is almost over. You’ve followed all our blogs this year, prepped as hard as you could, and now all your tools are sharp. Your resume is rockin’, your network is newsworthy, and your industry knowledge is incredible. You’re ready for the job search in 2018.

And that’s worth celebrating. Looking for a job isn’t easy—getting everything up to date is a job in and of itself, albeit a job that doesn’t pay anything at first. And you’ve done it! Let’s take a look at all of the things you’ve checked off your list this year.

Your Resume Is Ready

Your resume is the most important tool in your job search arsenal. It gets you in the door with recruiters, can be passed out at networking events, and is a one-stop summary for everything that is you. Your resume isn’t just a list of the jobs you’ve held. It’s a monument to your achievements, filled to the brim with data showing how you’ve helped each and every company you’ve ever worked for succeed.

You’ve chosen your words carefully and analyzed job postings to find out what the industry lingo is. Each bullet uses new action verbs to show what you’ve done—no word is used twice. Your formatting is beautiful. Everything fits on one page, the margins are perfect, and the spacing isn’t distracting.

You update your resume regularly and have had friends and peers review it to make sure everything made sense. You even sent it off to a local recruiter to get their thoughts on it.

Your Network Has Grown

When you first started looking for a job, your network was relatively small. You had a few previous co-worker as connections on LinkedIn, as well as a few family members. But since then you’ve grown leaps and bounds. You’re active in your community, hold a position in a professional group, and keep up to date on all the latest industry trends. You receive email newsletters from your favorite blogs, and never miss a beat.

People like you for you. You haven’t run around begging for a job, but they’ve let you know about opportunities because of your relationship. That’s what networking really is. Becoming friendly (on some level) with people in your industry and sharing time with them. Then showing them how great you are at what you do. Leave it to them to put 2 and 2 together to realize you’re the perfect person for their job opening.

You’ve Developed Your Skillset

You’ve realized that some job listings mention skills you don’t have, or familiarity with programs you’ve never encountered. Not one to shy away from a challenge, you’ve found local or online classes that provide the training those companies crave. You haven’t let your existing skills dull as you’ve job searched either. You’ve found gig work where you can, and researched the latest trends in your industry to ensure you don’t fall by the wayside.

And for those of you who still have a few things left on your job search checklist? There’s still time! Read the articles linked in this blog to get started, and you’ll be ready in no time.

Have questions about how to get your job search kicked off in the new year? Let us know in the comments below!

Resolve to Land a Job This Year

ThinkstockPhotos-609804644Resolutions can be great for personal and professional growth, but only if they are commitments that you truly want to see accomplished. You’ve probably heard the statistics, but it’s worth repeating: according to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, just 8% of people achieve their resolutions and less than half make it past the first six months of the year.

Of all the New Year’s resolutions you can make this year, landing a new job could be at the top of your list. With the economy recovering and employers becoming more and more optimistic about their prospects for the future, 2017 has the potential to be the year for job seekers.

But which resolutions can you make to help you get a new job this year?

1. Grow Your Network

Whether you are currently working and looking for a new opportunity, just getting out school and looking for your first full-time job, or have been on the job hunt for a while, you have access to a bigger network than you may realize.

If you sat down and wrote out a list of all the people you know—friends, family, former and current co-workers, teachers—you might be surprised at the number of connections you have. The key to networking though, is not to stop with the people you already know; it’s working with those people to grow your network and be introduced to more and more people.

Those connections will either lead to your next job or connect you to the person who can help you land your next job. Resolve to spend more time in 2017 growing your network of connections so you find yourself closing out the year celebrating the great job you’ve earned.

2. Expand Your Skills

If you haven’t noticed, the workforce has changed. More and more jobs that didn’t before, now require technical skills or education, which means it’s important that you make 2017 the year you learn at least one new skill.

If you have an interest in technology, why not check out the many free online resources that provide training on everything from building your own app, to learning how to code and build websites? Having this type of knowledge is a great way to set yourself apart from other job candidates while showing your commitment to ongoing learning.

Maybe you prefer working with your hands. Taking the time to research the various classes offered through the career techs in your area could lead to an exciting career in industries like welding, dentistry, nursing, cosmetology, or culinary arts.

3. Clean Up Your Social Footprint

Do you remember what you said to your friend last Thursday? What about the conversation with your brother last month, what did you say to him?

If you’re having trouble remembering what you said in those conversations, try remembering what you posted on Facebook five years ago, or on Twitter two years ago.

In 2017, more and more employers are doing an online search of your name to see what they find, and if you haven’t taken the time to clean up your social footprint, you may not like what the search results turn up.

4. Make Your Resume Stand Out

If your biggest resolution of 2017 is to land a job, you’ll be disappointed if you don’t take the appropriate steps to make sure your resume stands out from the crowded inboxes of hiring managers.

Set time aside to focus solely on the effectiveness of each section of your resume. Go through it while thinking like someone who’s making the decision to hire, and then ask for someone you trust to do the same thing and give you honest feedback.

Also, consider the way you deliver your resume to a potential employer. Is there a creative way to make sure your resume gets in front of the person making the decision on new hires and piques their interest in you?

In a survey of businesses conducted by Express, respondents gave several interesting ways candidates delivered their resume, including a YouTube video, folded into a paper airplane, and even a gift package containing the resume.

Based on the early indications, 2017 is shaping up to be a great year for the job market, and starting a new career can be accomplished as long as you’re willing to set some resolutions and commit to seeing them through.

What other resolutions would you recommend for someone looking for a job in 2017? Let us know in the comments section belo

3 Things That Could Hold Your Career Back

Professional CrossroadsAt some point in time, you may feel stuck in your career or job search, and you’re not alone. While many experience this in their professional lives, knowing what’s holding your career back is key to helping you move forward on your desired career path. Below, you’ll find three common things that could be holding your career back and how to work through them.

1. Out-of-date skills
One thing that may be holding back your career is your skills—or lack thereof. If you’ve been stuck in the same position for too long, it might be time to evaluate your skill set and see if there’s room for improvement. Ask your employer if they know of any training or professional development opportunities. When your skills are up to date, your chances of landing a new or different job increase.

2. Fear of change
The thought of a new job can cause anyone anxiety, but it shouldn’t keep you from advancing your career. Remember the words of hockey great, Wayne Gretzky, who once said, “You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Getting out of your comfort zone can open new doors, allow you to see new opportunities, and help you move forward when you feel stuck. A fear of change can hold your career back, but often, change can be positive if you only take the chance. It’s all about perspective.

3. Waiting for your dream job
According to an article on TheMuse.com, “studies have shown that in the realm of jobs, people who spent too much time imagining their dream jobs were actually shooting themselves in the foot.” The thought behind this is that these people focused too much of their time imagining the big picture of their future without focusing on what it would take to get there. And, while you shouldn’t give up on your dream job, it’s important to have a real-world plan to achieve it.

How do you make sure you don’t get stuck in a career rut? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

What Giving Back Can Do for Your Career

Colors hands upVolunteering is a rewarding way to make a positive difference in the lives of others. And, the benefits of giving back are countless. The fact is giving back not only affects your community, but your professional life, as well. From enhancing your resume to establishing new connections to growing leadership skills and more, take a look at what giving back can do for your career.

Networking Opportunities
Volunteering brings you into contact with people you may have never crossed paths with otherwise. Thus, the opportunity to build your professional network is an important benefit of giving back. You will be working with people who are interested in the same causes as you. When you make connections like that, the relationships you build are likely to last longer and lead to job opportunities. Someone you meet volunteering could become your co-worker, boss, or mentor.

Leadership and Other Skills
You can gain invaluable experience through volunteering. First and foremost, you can develop leadership skills if you give your talents to the board of an organization. You can also become a better leader by heading up one of the volunteer projects in your community. Finding an opportunity to lead in these instances is a great transferable skill for the workplace.
Additionally, giving back to your community can help you work on skills like time management, communication, confidence, and teamwork, to name a few.

Better Job Performance
Experts at Glassdoor.com suggest that employees who spend time giving back to their communities often feel more fulfilled. Making a positive difference in someone’s life can help you feel content and translate into your work life, where you’re bound to also be more productive. Just be sure to choose a cause that you’re passionate about.

Resume Building
Aside from the skills you’ll get from volunteering, you can build your resume through giving back. One way to do that is to find a skills-based volunteer opportunity where you can use your expertise to make a difference. You can then include that experience on your resume, highlighting how it’s relevant to your career goals. Check out sites like Catchafire.com to get started.

More Attractive to Employers
All things considered, volunteering simply makes you more attractive to employers. Be sure to include it on your social networking sites, resume, or anywhere else a potential hiring manager might come across it. According to Forbes.com, “Employers like to hire people who can demonstrate they’re motivated and hard-working, even if they haven’t been getting paid for their efforts.”

How do you give back to your community? Let us know in the comment section below.

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

Tips for Surviving Today’s Changing Workforce

Changing Workforce_blogToday’s workforce is in the middle of a transformation that is altering the way employees, new and old, work on a daily basis. With technological advances, a shift in the overall age and work style of employees, and more, it can be tough to discern how to effectively manage one’s career and be an effective employee. But, never fear! We’ve compiled some tips to help you navigate this unique time in your career and survive in today’s changing workforce.

Be flexible.
The workplace of today is not the same as it was in years past. You may end up at a company where shared workspaces and collaborative meetings are the norm, rather than individual cubicles or offices. Work schedules may also be different from what you’re used to or would expect. Instead of being frustrated or thrown off by the way companies are evolving, keep your stress levels in check to stay productive in this ever-changing environment.

Take advantage of training.
Whether it’s an internship or company-offered training, don’t shy away from opportunities to learn and add value to an organization. As baby boomers retire and younger generations fill those roles, employees and job seekers should bridge the skills gap by taking it upon themselves to be trained and ready to step into those shoes.

Keep a balanced life while working hard.
As younger generations move into roles, there is a stronger desire for improved work-life balance. Regardless of what your employer promotes, keep in mind that you will still have to put in the hours to work your way up the company ladder. The commitment to work hard isn’t a quality employers expect to see disappear. If your company does promote a strong work-life balance, be sure to utilize it without abusing it. Your life outside of work is full of people who are important to you, and finding a good balance will keep you happy in years to come, regardless of change.

Develop your skills.
Today’s changing workforce requires employees to be able to think critically across disciplines, while also being able to communicate effectively. As you adapt, it’s important to consider what skills you bring to the table. People skills are just as important as business and technical skills, and companies will want to know what value you can add to their business.

If you’re wondering where to get started, one option may be to engage a mentor or someone who can help develop those soft skills and give you guidance on achieving success. With the generational variety in the workplace now, it’s a great time to build relationships and learn from other age groups.

Get connected.
As social media continues to grow, it’s important to utilize these platforms to promote your professional brand and establish key career connections. While a traditional resume is still required for most job applications, a social profile promoting your skills and accomplishments can go a long way, as well. With the easy access, you can use social media to network, share your ideas and work examples, and demonstrate your personality to potential employers before they even meet you.

A word of caution: Be smart about what you’re posting on social media. For tips on how to clean up your social media accounts to garner positive attention, view this Movin’ On Up article from April.

Can you think of other ways to survive today’s changing workforce? Share with us in the comments section below!

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

The Top Skill Employers Want May Surprise You

interview_showdown_webIn a recent survey from Express Employment Professionals, employers shared which soft and hard skills are the most important for a job applicant to possess.

When asked, “What are the five most important soft skills an applicant should have,” respondents answered:

  • Dependability/reliability – 72%
  • Motivation – 48%
  • Verbal communication – 44%
  • Teamwork – 39%
  • Commitment – 39%

When asked, “What are the three most important hard skills an applicant should have,” respondents answered:

  • Experience – 95%
  • Technical ability – 67%
  • Training – 60%

The fact that employers find experience important when it comes to picking a job candidate isn’t too surprising, but did you know that reliability mattered so much to potential employers? Dependability, punctuality, and trustworthiness are important skills you should possess if you want to stand out from the competition and land the job.

Demonstrate Your Dependability
Because resumes and cover letters are important parts of your job search process, make sure your resume illustrates your dependability as much as possible. If you worked at the same place for a long time, put that on your resume. And, use words like consistent, diligent, reliable, and persistent to show off your skills.

To get started on the right foot, make sure you show up to your interview on time. When you’re in an interview, give examples of times you went above and beyond your job duties to help someone else, and think of times when people relied on you.

How do you show your dependability in the workplace or in your job search? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

3 Must Master Communication Skills

communication_skillsTrue or false? Communication for your job ends when the clock strikes 5 p.m. and you sprint out the door to head home.

False. Even though you may have set great boundaries for your work/life balance, the innovation of technology has made us virtually on call 24/7.  This means you are likely to check your email before bed or answer that text message at home from your boss before going to your son’s baseball game.

Communication is one of the most important soft skills companies look for when they are hiring. It’s so important that according to a survey done on behalf of RingCentral, 97% of people believe communication impacts tasks daily. A whopping 85% rely on more than one device for a majority of work, so not only do you have to worry about in-person communication; you also have the added stress of misinterpreted electronic communication.

The good news is that we’ve honed in on three important communications skills for success in the workplace and how to master them:

Listening
One of the most important communication skills is listening. It helps to be well spoken, but you also need to pay attention to what your colleague or boss is trying to convey. To make sure you are clear on the point of the conversation, be an active listener.

To show that you are listening, look at the speaker directly and pay attention to their body language. Engage in the conversation by nodding occasionally and smiling. Paraphrase what the person is saying by using phrases such as, “What I’m hearing is” and “Sounds like you are saying.”

And remember, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.

Clarity
When speaking or emailing your boss, colleagues, or clients, be direct. If you beat around the bush with your point, you’re likely to confuse others. This applies to meetings, too. Public speaking can be intimidating. It’s a good idea to write down exactly what you want to say in bullet-point form so your notes are easily readable and you can refer to them if needed.

Follow the same process when giving instructions for tasks that need to be carried out, and encourage questions for clarity.

Empathy
Disagreeing with someone can be one of the most effective ways to shut down communication. But instead of seething over why your colleague can’t see your point of view, try putting yourself in their shoes.

The workplace is about teamwork, so it’s important to be open to others’ thoughts and ideas, possibly encouraging the same consideration for your differing opinion, if and when the time arises.

Other Important Communication Skills
While listening, clarity, and empathy are three vital communication skills, there are a few more skills that just may push your career to the top and set you apart from your colleagues when it’s time for that promotion.

Digital Etiquette
Communication through emails and text messages is rife for misinterpretation. Innocent words can suddenly take on a harsh tone without the context of body language and voice cues.

To help avoid communication mishaps, read your emails and text messages a few times to make sure the tone is professional and there are no spelling or grammar errors. Never respond to electronic communication when you are upset. It can come across as unprofessional and come back to haunt you.

If your message is time sensitive, set up a follow-up meeting to ensure the person received your message as it was intended.

Self-Improvement
Many people aren’t naturally gifted speakers, so it takes practice to improve both written and verbal communication in the workplace. Make sure to practice listening, clarity, empathy, and digital etiquette and you’ll soon become a much more valuable team member.

Do you have other suggestions for must master communication skills? Share them with us in the comments section below!

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