Tag Archives: skills

Start Building Your New Career Today

start_your_new_career_today_webAre you a recent graduate? Are you new to the workforce? Are you looking for a career change?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you may be in the process of building your new career. Getting started can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you’re motivated to make your new career a success, your dream job can become a reality. To help you get started, check out these tips for building your new career today.

Know what you want.
Whether you just graduated, are entering the workforce for the first time, or considering a career change, the first step is knowing what you want in a job. Do a self-assessment of your values, hobbies, experience, and work preferences so you know when a job opportunity may be right for you. Knowing what you want before you apply helps you avoid getting stuck in a work environment that doesn’t match what you need. According to a Forbes article, “When your values are dramatically misaligned with those of your employer, you will become disengaged and possibly even disgruntled.”

Customize your resume for every job application.
Making sure your resume matches each job description helps you stand out from the competition and ensures that you’re the right fit for the job. Don’t forget to check for spelling and grammatical errors in both your resume and cover letter. Sending out material with mistakes may make you appear lazy to hiring managers and prevent you from landing an interview.

Spread the news!
Tell your friends, family, and mentors that you’re looking for work so they can help you search. You never know what connections are out there, and someone you know may be able to connect you with a potential employer. Networking is essential when you’re looking for a job, especially if you’re thinking about changing careers or are just starting out in the workforce.

Consider finding temporary or short-term roles.
Temporary work is not only a great way to earn an income while you’re searching for that perfect job, it’s also a chance to gain experience and skills you may not otherwise have. Temporary jobs even allow you to test out a career you may be interested in by helping you get your foot in the door. You can gain knowledge, skills, experience, and networking opportunities by working a short-term job in a field you want to explore. And, that temporary job could even turn into a permanent one. Consider applying with a staffing agency to find temporary or contract work that’s right for you.

Take advantage of social media.
Some of your social media sites can be a useful tool in your job search. LinkedIn, for example, is a great way to get noticed and find employers who are hiring. Think of LinkedIn and your other social networks like a digital resume and use them to showcase your skills, experience, and education. Remember to keep your social media clean and free of anything that may not make you an ideal job candidate for employers. If your social media profiles are public, chances are potential employers will look at them. In fact, a 2014 survey by Harris Poll revealed that 51% of employers who research job candidates online said they’ve found content that caused them not to hire the candidate. Think twice before sharing any photos, updates, or links that may be questionable or paint you in a bad light. When it comes to your job search, social media can make or break you.

Freelance or start a side business.
If you currently have a job, but have a hobby or skill you’d like to explore, consider freelance work. For example, if you love to write, but don’t know where to find writing jobs, try contacting websites or local newspapers to see if they’re looking for freelance writers. Or if you are really good at math, but don’t know how to use that in your career, reach out to schools and other organizations that may be looking for tutors. Freelancing allows you to take on small projects that use your skills while adding to your portfolio and experience.

Educate yourself.
If you want to change careers, you may need the proper training to do so. According to the University of Southern California, some college graduates earn more than twice as much as high school graduates. If higher education is in your future, start by looking for vocational schools and colleges in your area. In some cases, the training you need may be as simple as online certifications or courses. If you’re looking for a career change, check out this list of careers that will make going back to school worthwhile..

Make a list of companies where you’d like to work.
Forbes suggests taking the time to learn about companies you’d like to work for, and familiarizing yourself with that company’s leaders and the industry they’re in. Know what issues affect the industry and determine whether or not you have the experience and skills to offer possible solutions to those issues. Knowing industry trends is also a great way to start a conversation with potential employers and hiring managers.

What tips do you have for building a new career? Share with us in the comment section below!

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

The Skills Employers Wish You Had

ThinkstockPhotos-487834398Finding the right person for the job is a task employers often struggle with. In addition to experience and education, top candidates must also possess certain skills that are right for the job. You may be familiar with important hard skills like a college degree or certification, but how often do you assess and improve your soft skills like communication, teamwork, and time management?

If “not often” is your answer, you may want to reconsider your job search tactics. In fact, in a recent study from Express Employment Professionals, a group of leaders shared the soft skills that society is missing when it comes to preparing the next generation for the workplace.

“We hear all the time from businesses that they’re looking for workers who are punctual, respectful, properly dressed, and dedicated. Employers prize these soft skills, but we constantly hear from employers that too many potential workers lack these attributes,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express. “Soft skills are vital and there are things we can all do to help develop them.”

The study revealed that the skills employers are looking for include people skills, respect, modesty, humility, self-sufficiency, gratitude, and more. While these skills may come naturally to some, the study suggests there are actions job seekers can take to learn these skills and teach them to others.

To better understand the soft skills employers are looking for, check out the study’s list of ten actions you can take to help prepare those who are about to enter the workforce.

“The results show what everyone in society can do to send signals, especially to young people, so they develop strong soft skills that will guide them in life – and help them get job offers,” Bob Funk said.

What do you think society can do to better prepare workers to be prime job candidates? Share with us in the comment section below!

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

Need a Job? Seasonal Work Is Here

RET_005The holiday season may still seem far off, but now is the time to start looking for work if you plan to find a seasonal job this year. Every year, the holiday season helps put millions of people to work in jobs that may begin as temporary employment, but often turn into permanent employment.

There are many benefits to finding a seasonal job. In addition to the extra income around the holidays, seasonal jobs are also a great way to add experience to your resume and network with people who may be able to help your career in the future. Even though your job may start out as a temporary one, it could lead to permanent, full-time employment.

Take Your Job Seriously
According to Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, “Employers will look at their temporary employees this holiday season to see which ones merit a full-time, permanent position.”

If you want to better your odds of landing a permanent job after the holidays, remember to treat your seasonal job like an extended interview. Take advantage of the opportunity to show you’re hard-working, committed, and have a positive attitude. When you go above and beyond at your temporary job, you better your chances of being noticed by potential employers.

Don’t Limit Your Options
Holiday jobs may seem like they’re limited to Christmas or other winter holidays, but don’t forget about the entire holiday season. Halloween, for example, can be an avenue for temporary work because of large costume superstores that open for the season. Additionally, party stores may need extra help around New Year’s Eve.

Start Now
Stop by any department store and you’re likely to see holiday items already stocked on the shelves. If businesses are already thinking about the holidays, you should be too. Brainstorm places you would like to apply for seasonal work and get started on applications. Don’t wait until November or December, because most employers want their seasonal staff trained and working before the shopping rush begins.

Call a Staffing Agency
When companies want to hire multiple new employees for the holiday season, they often go to a staffing company for assistance. Since staffing providers are usually better equipped to find, screen, and hire large numbers of workers, they can be a great resource for you. Do your homework before you apply and make sure the staffing company is a reputable one, like Express Employment Professionals.

Make Sure You’re Prepared
In a recent poll on Movin’ On Up, we asked if our readers plan on looking for seasonal work this year. An astonishing 84% of responders said that they do plan to look for seasonal work. Since so many people want to find work this holiday season, you need to make sure you’re prepared to beat the competition. Clean up your resume, brush up on your interview skills, make a list of references, research the companies you want to work for, and know the skills that employers want to see. When you’re prepared for a job opportunity, you stand a better chance of landing the job.

Have you worked a seasonal job? Did your seasonal job turn into a permanent one? Share your tips with us in the comments section below!

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

Which Is Better – Chronological or Functional Resume?

resume_chronological_vs_functional_webThe two most common types of resumes are the chronological and the functional resume. When you want to write a stellar resume, one of the most important things to consider is the format you choose. And with roughly 10 seconds to grab the attention of hiring managers looking at your resume, you need to stand out.

Both functional and chronological resumes have unique advantages and disadvantages, but they are very different. Knowing which type of resume best fits your career history and skills can help set you apart from the competition, so take a look at the distinctions below.

Chronological Resume
The most popular resume format, the chronological resume is easy to read and documents your work experience in a consecutive list. Your employment history is listed in reverse order with your most recent position on top.

This resume may fit your needs if you have a consistent employment history without gaps between jobs and the position you’re applying for matches the work experience you have. If you’ve worked many different jobs in a short time period, or if you have large gaps in your employment history, this type of resume may hurt your chances of landing the job.

To see what a traditional chronological resume looks like, click here.

Functional Resume
This resume format could also be called a skills-based resume because it lists your transferable skills and draws on the work experience that best fits the job you’re interested in. Instead of listing the dates of your previous employment, this format focuses on the work you’ve accomplished and the skills you’ve gained.

If you’ve had many different jobs, large gaps in employment, or are entering the workforce for the first time, this type of resume can benefit you by focusing on your competence and abilities. This format is a great option for recent graduates who are looking for a job but have a limited employment history.

Even better news – writing a functional resume is more likely to attract a recruiter’s attention. According to Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, “A well-crafted functional resume that focuses on the specific opening will make you more likely to get a second look from a recruiter, a few more hits on LinkedIn, and a better shot at an interview.”

To see what a functional resume looks like, click here.

Using Both Formats
If you’re torn between a chronological and functional resume, consider combining the two. This lets you use the functional features of pointing out your skills and abilities while also showing off your employment history. Since the chronological format is more familiar to potential employers, using the best of both worlds can help you stand out without being counted out.

Whether you stick with a chronological resume, go for the functional look, or create a mixture of the two, remember that your skills are one of the most important things to show. “It’s absolutely crucial to communicate skills in a resume, especially when moving between industries,” said Bob Funk. “Recruiters aren’t looking for someone with just a laundry list of past employers.”

What kind of resume do you use? Which resume type works best for you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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

5 Important Lessons Learned From a First Job

lessons_from_first_job_2_webYour first job is a milestone. You get a real paycheck, you start a career, and you start on the grand adventure called life. It will be a learning experience. You may not get the salary of your dreams, and it may feel daunting to learn the ropes, but your first job can teach you many things. Whether you are serving up burgers or starting your first office job, learning these five things can make a significant impact, and can help you move from a first job to a successful career.

1. Your job is to make your manager’s life easier. Until you are CEO, your job is to serve your boss. Make sure you support your manager and take on extra projects when possible to show you are willing to go above and beyond. Most importantly, don’t go to your boss with problems. Go with solutions. If you have a situation you need to resolve, brainstorm possible solutions before you visit with your boss.

2. Attitude, manners, and people skills matter. Establishing that you’re a positive employee is incredibly important, especially early on in your role. If you show that you’re driven by solutions, others will look to you for answers and support. If you bring negative energy into the office, you’ll only bring others down and may end up hurting your career in the process. It may sound simple, but don’t forget to use your manners. “Please” and “thank you” can go a very long way in building stronger relationships.

3. Always look for new ways to learn. “Be a sponge and have a thirst for knowledge,” says business coach Tonya Monsef Bunger. Make an effort to learn new skills, take on training opportunities, and develop your hobbies. When you learn something new, you bring even more positive qualities to your skill set, which in turn can help boost your resume.

4. Don’t get discouraged. In any job, problems will arise. Issues are often unavoidable, but how you deal with them can make or break your job performance. It’s okay to feel like things are going less than perfect, but don’t dwell on the challenges. Instead, stay focused and positive, and try to offer solutions to the problem.

5. Know when it’s time to move on. Your first job may not be your dream job. You may not be making much money, you may have tasks you don’t like. All of that is normal. But, if your job is making you miserable and you face every day with stress and anxiety, it may be time to move on. Whether you’re unhappy in your job, you need more income, or it’s just time for a change, make sure you know how to move on.

Most likely, your first job is not going to be your last job. If an opportunity presents itself, go for it. The only way you can grow in your career is to take those opportunities.

What did you learn from your first job? Do you have any words of wisdom for others starting their first job? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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

Four Training Tips You Can Do Right Now to Advance Your Career

training_tips_for_job_webWhether you are currently seeking a job or looking to move up the ladder in your current position, you can be proactive in building a plan for future success.

If you want to advance your career, start taking steps today to boost your skills, prepare for promotions, or impress interviewers. Here are five career training tips you can do right now to help secure that future success.

1. Develop current and new skills. Be honest with yourself about both your strengths and your weaknesses, and learn to develop both. If you struggle with new programs required for your job, study them or enroll in training. If public speaking is part of your career plan, join organizations like Toastmasters to help improve your speaking ability. Many libraries and community colleges also offer workshops in everything from Excel to business writing. Investing in your skill set is never a waste of time and can only improve your chances for success.

2. Build your network. Networking is a skill you can develop right now, with or without a current job. Attend events where your peers go. Ask advice and offer help when you can, but also watch what successful people do well and learn from them. If you have a job already, build your network within the company. Collaborate and work with others to solve problems, showing that you have a team-building mentality. Attend work functions and join professional networking groups to help expand your future job base.

3. Make a plan. If you are seeking employment, take this time to plot a course for your dream career. Knowing where you are going makes it easier to get there. Research what skills you need to improve, what programs or knowledge you need to learn, and what you must have for upward mobility, and then create a step-by-step plan to meet those skills and needs. Many experts suggest creating a one year, three year, and five year plan – much like you would in a business plan. Once you have a clear goal in place, reaching that goal becomes attainable.

4. Act like the leader you are – or want to be. At the end of the day, leaders are the ones who get promoted or hired. Doers are the workhorses, but leaders are highly sought after. So how do you train yourself now to be a leader? First, have a vision for your career and/or the company’s future. Learn to speak up and offer to take charge on projects. Show respect for all employees, and communicate in a professional manner. Again, taking business communications or public speaking classes can help with this.

If you want to advance your career, these simple training tips are steps you can take now, whether you are currently employed or not. Follow these career training tips, commit to your career, and be open to learning new skills. Proper training is never a waste of time.

What training tips helped you in your career or job search? Share your tips with us here.

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

Poll Summary Results: How would you prepare for a highly skilled job?

poll_results_highly_skilled_work_webWith the evolution of technology, the skills gap, or the lack of qualified workers to fill highly skilled jobs, has become a very hot topic. In fact, according to a survey by Express Employment Professionals, 53% of  employers reported difficulty filling jobs. Since many of these jobs require higher education or experience, we asked how you would prepare for a highly skilled job.

What the Survey Revealed
With 160 votes, the survey revealed that more than 60% of readers are willing to learn new skills or take courses to prepare for a highly skilled job. The results of their answers break down as follows:

  • Learn new skills through work or volunteering – 30.63%
  • Pursue higher education (college or career tech) – 30.00%
  • Find a mentor – 18.13%
  • Join an industry organization – 11.88%
  • Change careers – 5.63%
  • Other – 3.75%

Of the 3.75% who selected “Other,” responses included:

  • Network
  • Research the job and its industry
  • Short-term occupational training

Doing What It Takes
Results of the poll indicate that readers will do what it takes to help them get a highly skilled and sought-after job—exactly the type of quality that employers look for in their highly skilled workforce. To become the right candidate for these jobs, job seekers may need to explore higher education or training to sharpen their skills. Think outside the box and get that job you’ve always dreamed about. For more insight on job training, check out these articles:

Have you taken steps to prepare for a highly skilled job? Do you have any tips for others who want to take that step?  Let us know in the comments section below!

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