Monthly Archives: February 2013

Associate Spotlight: Lonnie Cain

Associate SportlightExpress Employment Professionals is often placed in the business of building hope. When news and world events seem to spread sad and gloomy stories, it’s refreshing to read something positive. There are a lot of inspiring stories going on within Express, and we’d like to share.

We are always looking to showcase exceptional associates on Movin’ On Up. It’s important to give credit where credit is due, and Express loves to share the stories of our associates as an inspiration to you while you strive to achieve professional success.

What makes this associate so special isn’t what he did for himself or how he overcame obstacles. Rather, it’s what he brings with him and shares with co-workers that makes him unique. Our spotlighted associate, Lonnie Cain, has an amazing ability to spread cheer and happiness to not only his Express office, but also to the companies to which he is assigned.

Lonnie Cain

After years of working as a route manager, Lonnie Cain retired from Aramark. Even though he was retired, Lonnie still wanted a flexible job that allowed him time to travel. One day, he noticed a classified ad for a medical supply driver posted by the Express office in Springfield, IL. After applying and interviewing, he was quickly hired for the job and became an example of the Express values to everyone at work.

Lonnie has proven to be dependable and skilled in his job as a driver for several doctors in the Springfield community. Since 2006, Lonnie has worked more than 7,500 hours and has only called in unavailable once. His sheer commitment and contagious smile have made Lonnie an outstanding worker and a valuable associate to Express.

“He represents Express with a professional and cheerful attitude,” said Julie Hamilton, Staffing Consultant for the Springfield Express office. “He’s the most requested driver by the physicians.”

As a medical driver, Lonnie transports medical files to different hospitals. He relates well with the doctors and medical staff at the hospitals. The Springfield office continuously receives high praise for Lonnie. The secretary of a client, Dr. Raghu Kolluri, called Express just to say, “Lonnie is a great driver, very personable and reliable.”

If you’re looking for the same success that Lonnie is experiencing, find the the Express office closest to you for more information and help with your job search. Express is always looking for associates who would be a great candidate for our associate spotlight. If you have an Express associate you’d like to feature on Movin’ On Up, let us know in the comments below.

It’s Awesome Being a Millennial Job Seeker

it's great being a millennialHosting multiple generations in the workplace is becoming an important issue among employers. Right now, there could be as many as five different generations working together. And, the generation that can feel the most stress is the Millennial generation. While older generations have their own hurdles to overcome, the youngest generation has a lot to prove because they have very little experience to support their big plans for the future.

Millennials, those born on or after 1980, have a bad reputation of being uncommitted job hoppers who want the meatier projects now instead of earning them over time. But the reality is, Millennial job seekers and workers can provide huge benefits to employers.

Millennials Kiss and Tell
According to a CareerBuilder survey, 96% of Millennial job seekers discuss their job searching experiences with others, including in person and on social media. Millennials can help an employer with their bottom line by improving public opinion. People are looking for organizations that are transparent, and the more positive feedback a Millennial employee can add to the increasing louder voice of customer opinion, the better.

Millennials Search for the Final Frontier
Young job seekers have a goal in mind, will go where opportunity knocks, and are much more likely to accept job offers that require them to relocate. Younger job seekers commonly aren’t limited to their local job market, which means more job openings and greater chances of success. Fewer Millennials have families or other responsibilities that older, more experienced job seekers have to keep in mind.

Millennials Have Their Eyes on the Prize
Most Millennials have something to prove. If they can’t make their own opportunity for themselves, they will go somewhere else. While many see that as a disadvantage, young job seekers can turn that into an advantage. They are hungry and looking for opportunities to advance, which means that if the opportunities exist, the employer can have an engaged employee for the long term. This drive and motivation can offset any lack of experience and separate young job seekers from the competition.

Millennials are Rich…With Information
Have you heard the phrase, “Time is money?” Years ago, knowledge was highly valued because it took time to find the information you needed. But thanks to the age of the internet, almost any piece of information can be found with the click of a button.  Millinneials are also attached to their smartphones, which helps them be more adept to finding directions, answering trivia, solving problems, or getting the latest news and events.

Millennials can find information quickly and easily. They can provide value to employers by demonstrating how connected and informed younger job seekers are and how that behavior can benefit the employer.

Don’t worry Millennials, your time is coming. Pew Research predicts Millennials will make up 75% of the job market by 2025. The workplace and those working in it are constantly changing, and who knows what it will be like 10 years from now, but those who are taking their first steps in their career can highlight some strengths and demonstrate the value those “kids” can bring.

Deciphering What a Job Description REALLY Means

Job descripton decodedDuring my job search, I felt like I became a master at decrypting and interpreting the slightly vague vocabulary and jargon used in job descriptions for the variety of positions for which I applied. Healthily

I always thought it funny how people make careers out of teaching job seekers how to format and maximize their resumes; we even have a whole category of the blog dedicated to resumes and cover letters. But, there doesn’t seem to be as much emphasis on employers developing clear and concise job descriptions that contain the same types of generalities.

What are they really looking for when the description wants someone who “thinks outside of the box?” If job descriptions want someone “highly motivated,” does that mean there are employers looking for people who are “highly unmotivated?” All of these questions and concerns can be cleared up with these explanations.

“Good interpersonal skills”
Even if you will be alone or independent of a team, the ability to collaborate is a very important aspect for any job. You don’t have to be the office social butterfly, but you need to know how to work with those who could have different communication styles than you.

“Highly motivated”
Yes, the job market is slowly recovering. And yes, you might not have the experience yet to land your dream job, but that doesn’t mean you should apply to any and all jobs available. Do your research to find out if the job and employer are things you want to be a part of instead of just a means to a paycheck.

“Work well under pressure”
We all have deadlines. Some deadlines can be made at the beginning of the year to be a certain amount of units sold or made by the end of the year, and others can be projects due by the end of the week set by your boss an hour ago. You need to prove that you can consistently make deadlines and keep your cool when they are short or get pushed ahead.

“Critical thinking”
When employers want someone who can think outside of the box, they aren’t asking for a candidate who thinks he or she is the next Steve Jobs. It’s true that a critical thinker is often someone with unique, groundbreaking ideas with the drive to implement and see them through, but they really want someone with a balance of teamwork and initiative. Show employers how well your teams have performed, then display the unique ideas you’ve implemented in the past.

“_____ – level”
So they are hiring for an entry-level, junior-level, or a senior-level job. How do you know which one you are qualified to be in? Entry-level jobs require little to no previous experience and are generally best for those just graduating from college or looking to enter an industry.

Junior-level jobs tend to require three to five years of work experience, but you should also consider the size of the company, too. A few years of previous work may qualify if you want to move into a management position in a small company or nonprofit, but you may need at least five for the same position in a large corporation.

Senior-level roles generally need at least five years of experience. These are generalities, and you shouldn’t be discouraged if you’re short a year or two of experience if you can make a strong case that your skills and accomplishments are a good fit for the open position.

This can get confusing since levels won’t always be spelled out. For instance, most Administrative Assistants are junior-level jobs, which will need more experience than entry-level Receptionists roles.

“Working Knowledge”
You don’t have to have actually used a program, tool, method, or knowledge to have working knowledge of it – you just have to be familiar with it. Even though my primary responsibilities are writing and research, I’m familiar with using Adobe Photoshop® and InDesign®. I just won’t be able to make a pamphlet or logo.

When skills or experience are preferred, the employer would like you to have them but it won’t necessarily disqualify you. Required experience are skills or tasks the employer is expecting you to have.

The exact amount of experience is sometimes negotiable, and you can use more general experience and transferable skills that could apply to the specific job. But, sometimes it seems like employers can get these confused or at least undefined. There have been a few jobs where I met the required experience but not the preferred experience. Apparently, several people did too, because a few weeks later, they would repost their job description with the preferred experience as the required.

“Command of” or “proficient in”
I love it when job descriptions use these words. It brings back memories of my fraternity days when we’d have our memorization tournaments and the sheer competitiveness of proving our proficiency with the rituals. In the job market, being proficient means that you should have good hands-on experience with tasks or techniques, but not complete mastery. To have command of a skill means that you are so experienced with a skill that you could teach it to others.

You don’t have to feel like Indiana Jones trying to decode ancient languages on a treasure map when reading job descriptions. With these guidelines, tailoring your resume to fit the description will be a lot easier. What are some of your favorite phrases mentioned in job descriptions? Let us know in the comments section below.

Who Would Hire Cupid? Take Our Poll!

Job Seeking and Career Advice PollWith the start of February comes flowers, chocolates, and candlelight dinners. But, nobody will be working harder this month to make these acts of love happen than a certain mythological character – Cupid.

Starting with his ancient Greek roots as the mischievous god of desire, Eros, he was known as the son of Aphrodite until he was given his Roman name, Cupid, and has since became a cultural icon in modern times as a winged child whose arrows can make two people fall head over heels in love with each other.

Cupid is often featured playing games, pranks, and politics among the Pantheon and lesser mortals. But in modern times, Cupid is just a symbol of Valentines Day. With Cupid working so hard only one day out of the year, it makes us wonder – what would Cupid be doing the other 11 months of the year? Let us know in the poll below!

Workplace Romance: Flirting with Danger

relationships at workIt’s February, and millions of people around the world are making plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their significant others. In the spirit of the holiday, there may be a certain someone at your workplace you’ve debated whether or not to start a relationship with, and you’ve decided to take the plunge.

Hey, if it worked for President Barack Obama and Bill Gates of Microsoft, why can’t it work for you? But before you jump into things head first, take some time to consider these guidelines so you don’t get bit by something worse than the love bug.

Company Policy Should be Your First Love
With workplace relationships becoming more common and accepted among younger employees, the definition of sexual harassment broadening, and employers becoming more wary of sexual discrimination lawsuits, more and more companies are putting a real effort into developing “love contracts” or “anti- fraternizing” policies.

It’s a tricky subject employers are dealing with now or will be handling in the future, but it’s still best to review your employer guidelines to see if there is any information you should consider before starting a romantic workplace relationship. The most common things to look out for are rules about being in a relationship with someone who has been or is a supervisor to the significant other.

Put Work First
What you do outside the office is your own business, but when you’re at work, you are there to do a job. If at all possible, leave your personal romance at home and treat your partner as any other co-worker. It’s much more important to maintain an office relationship with that person developing your job.

You should also consider keeping your space with your partner. You do spend a large part of your day at work, and spending too much time with a significant other can not only lower your job performance, but it can also strain the relationship.  In most cases, the phrase, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” is important to remember within a romantic relationship.

While workplace romances can be a very tight rope to walk, it is usually possible. As long as you remain professional and adhere to your employer’s guidelines, you could have a relationship with a co-worker that won’t interfere with your career.