Monthly Archives: July 2013

Poll: What Do You Think Employers Want Most When Hiring?

Job Seeking and Career Advice PollImpressing an employer while applying for a job is a multi-step process. It’s a combination of having a stand-out resume and application, getting the opportunity to interview, interviewing well, and following up appropriately. All this activity is taking place on the job seeker’s side and conversely a flurry of work is happening with the prospective employer as well.

Matching job seeker’s skills and desires with employer’s requirements and workplace culture is no easy task. To assist job seekers, we’ve featured many posts exploring the ways to ace the job search process, including the benefits of hobbies, the value of networking, and the best preparation for an interview. Currently, Express is taking a look at the challenges faced by employers and the state of employment. This research has uncovered the personality traits desired in employees and which jobs are hardest to fill right now.

Now we want to hear from you! Share your experience with us in this poll.

How You Can Stay Motivated at Work During the Summer

MotivationSummer_July2013_webThe summer months can be some of the hardest to stay focused and motivated at work. When status updates from friends are filled with images of lounging poolside, hitting the golf course, or enjoying a vacation, it can be really hard to head into work. However, July brings more than barbecues and time at the beach.

Know Where You Are Going
It can be hard to stay focused when you don’t have a clear end in sight. Having a clearly define goal and timeline can motivate you to take action now. The mid-year point can also be a great time to evaluate your progress on your annual goals. This review is a necessary step in making sure you can achieve your goals. If you find yourself waiting until your annual performance review to check in on your progress it can be too late to bring about the necessary changes required to achieve your goals.

Equip Yourself for Getting There
Once you know where you stand regarding your goals, it’s time to get motivated. Make sure you use your time wisely at work. Find a project management system that works for you and review your task list. Perhaps you work best with series of tasks on sticky notes and tossing them in the trash as you get them done. Or maybe you prefer a spreadsheet filled with tasks and deadlines. Having a clear direction and project list can make it easier to focus and make getting the job done that much more efficient.

Take Time To Relax
With team members and managers taking vacations or spending time out of the office it can be tempting to slack off at work, but resist the urge of tarnishing your dependable reputation just for a little summer fun. Instead, make sure you schedule some time for a vacation and recharge yourself. Knowing your time for fun lies ahead can make putting in a full day’s work easier. Not only will you have something to look forward to, but by staying mindful of your goals and tasks, you’ll be able to plan your work around taking some time away.

How do you stay motivated at work? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

5 Facts You May Not Know About Staffing Companies

5FactsaboutStaffingComanpanies_July2013_webWhat comes to mind when you think of staffing companies? Do you think of part-time manufacturing workers and as-needed administrative help? Or perhaps it conjures up visions of high-level headhunters who only hire for executive positions? Your opinion of staffing companies is most likely based on what you’ve heard about them or from your previous experience with them, whether good or bad.

A poor experience, or even having no experience at all, can give you a negative impression of all staffing companies. But, there are a few things about staffing providers that you might not know.

  1. No Charge to Job Seekers
    If you’re working with a reputable staffing company, it will not cost you a penny to be screened, added to their database, or placed in a position. The only one who’s charged a fee is the client company since the staffing provider is doing them the service of providing candidates to fill the open positions. That means you’re getting a team of professionals to find you a job, for free! 
  2. Full-Time Hours Are the Norm
    The majority of temporary employees actually work full-time hours, not the sporadic part-time hours many people seem to think. Research from the American Staffing Association (ASA) found that almost 80% of staffing employees work full-time. Plus, temporary employees often get directly hired for full-time jobs at client companies. At Express Employment Professionals, 60% of our employees go to work full-time for client companies we hire for. 
  3. You’re in Control
    Staffing companies let you tailor your work schedule to your life. You tell them when and how much you want to work. So, whether you’re trying to work a lot of hours to save up money or just trying to fit in a few work hours around other activities in your life, you can do exactly what you need. 
  4. Benefits Are Available
    Many staffing companies offer their temporary employees benefits. Express Employment Professionals offers our associates a wide variety of benefits, from medical and dental insurance to vacation days and retirement programs. You just need to get the details on any requirements associated with being eligible, such as weekly hours worked or length of time on the job.
  5. Chance to Learn Something New
    Employees with a wide-range of skills and experiences are great assets to their employers, and staffing companies provide the perfect opportunity for you to learn a new thing or two. The ASA reported that 65% of staffing employees say they either improved their skills or developed new ones as a result of their temporary assignments. You may also have the chance to participate in specific training programs provided by the staffing company.

Searching for a job can be a stressful, time-consuming task, but you don’t have to do it alone. There are many reasons, beyond just these five, to look for a job through a staffing company. What are some other benefits you’ve found to using a staffing a company? Have you personally experienced any of the advantages listed above? We’d love to hear your thoughts – so please share in the comments section below.


3 Ways to Prove Your Integrity on Your Cover Letter

A recent report from Express Employment Professionals showed that employers value work ethic and integrity over education when considering candidates for open positions, but how can you demonstrate integrity during the interview process? Cover letters have been known as a way to show off your soft skills and personality, but can also be great way to give some insight into your integrity. With the average read time of cover letters at less than one minute, you’ll want to keep your cover letter brief, but still take advantage of the opportunity to stand out. 

Here are three options for demonstrating your integrity in your cover letter. 

  1. I’m Trusted.
    After you read the job description or job posting, include a brief story in your cover letter of when you have been trusted in the past to take care of a related task. State how you handled the request and the pride you felt in completing the project. If you have specific measurements for the success of the project, include those or provide a quote from a note you received thanking you for your hard work on the project. 
  2. I’m Knowledgeable.
    Share a quote or thought from an industry article or training, and explain what you learned from it. Explain how you stay informed on trends and changes in your industry and why you believe it’s important. 
  3. I Have my Own Values.
    If you have your own personal values or mission statement, share that. Then explain why the job or company aligns with that. “The Leadership Challenge” by Kouzes and Posner, offers great advice in creating a personal values statement and how you can use that to guide decision making. If you don’t have your own values statement, review the values of the company you are applying at and select one that resonates with you and expound on that. 

Taking the time to craft a cover letter that demonstrates your integrity can be one more way to stand out in the job applicant pool.

How do you demonstrate your work ethic/integrity during the application process? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

3 Ways to Stay All Ears: Protecting Yourself from Hearing Hazards

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, nearly 30 million people annually are exposed to hazardous noise levels and since 2004, 125,000 workers have suffered significant and permanent hearing loss.

Loud noises, the constant drone of machines, as well as hazardous poisons referred to as ototoxic chemicals can cause significant and irreparable hearing damage. Hearing loss can result in many workplace complications including an increase in stress, reduced productivity, and an increased risk of workplace injuries. Fortunately, hearing loss can be preventable. So how do you protect yourself from losing such a valuable faculty? Here are three prevention and safety suggestions to ensure that you stay all ears.

  1. Wearing proper ear protection
    Hearing protection devices (HPD’s) are a simple way to put a barrier between your ears and the ruckus of the workplace. OSHA requires employers to have an “effective hearing conservation program“ available to employees. This program requires employers to provide sound level sampling, informational material to inform workers of the hazards, and appropriate protective gear.
  2. Regular Hearing Checkups
    Another requirement for applicable employers is the implementation and maintenance of continual audiometric testing. These checkups are important and allow for employees to monitor their hearing and the effects that workplace noise has on it. By keeping an eye on your ears you can take preventative measures if hearing loss begins to develop.
  3. Read the Materials Safety Data Sheets
    Ototoxic chemicals are substances that can permanently damage the inner ear if you’re exposed to them. Industries that have potential exposure to dangerous chemicals should have materials safety data sheets available to employees in the form of a book or online. If you’re concerned that the chemicals you handle everyday may have an adverse effect on you, review the safety materials provided by your employer.

Hearing is important and without it, many daily tasks can be hindered by an impairment. Hearing loss is preventable but you have to do your part. If you have tips on how you protect your ears, share them in the comment section below.

Unemployed vs. Underemployed – The Struggle


Over the past five years the terms, “unemployed” and “underemployed” have unfortunately become common place. Even if unemployment hasn’t impacted you directly, chances are it has affected someone close to you. And the same can be said for underemployment. In 2011, Fox News reported on a Gallup study which found that nearly one in five working Americans describes themselves as “underemployed”. A year earlier, in 2010, Reuters reported a similar Gallup poll that revealed that 30 million Americans were underemployed.

Neither of these situations is pleasant to be in, and they both can have long-term effects on workers’ lives. A Fox News article from May of this year reported that the Center for American Progress estimated that young Americans who are currently either unemployed or underemployed will likely lose a combined $20 billion in earnings over the next decade. That’s a major loss. But, if it came down to it, which predicament would you choose?

Unemployed vs. Underemployed
No one wants to describe themselves as unemployed, and being without work is one of life’s biggest stressors. But, as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining, and this circumstance is no different. When you are unemployed, you have the flexibility and time for interviews and job searching, and you have time to learn a new skill or increase your knowledge. However, unemployment creates a gap in your work history and can have harmful psychological effects, including hopelessness or depression. Additionally, with unemployment comes the stress of missing income and benefits from an employer.

When you feel underutilized and underpaid, sometimes the idea of not working at all can seem appealing. But, just as there are two sides to every story, staying engaged in the workforce, even in an undesirable position, has its benefits, including psychological ones like having a sense of purpose. Additionally, you’ll be contributing to your work history and can possibly have access to some employer benefits. The concerns with underemployment include having less time to look for a better job, and the possibility of being overlooked for a better job because of the work you are doing.

The Better Option
Obviously, everyone hopes to find a fulfilling job they can enjoy and be successful at. However, when that’s not a possibility, our suggestion is to find a job and do it well even if it means being underemployed for awhile. Here’s why:

  1. Skill building – while they may not be the skills you wanted, you can always learn something new.
  2. Networking opportunities – being in the workforce can put you on the inside track for other jobs at that company and puts you in daily contact with people who may know someone that is hiring.
  3. Future job potential – Having a job, any job, can help with your job search, especially since long-term unemployment has been shown to make finding your next job even harder.

In an article on, Tory Johnson, an ABC News Workplace contributor and college advisor for Fairfield University, said, “Don’t wait for the market to magically get better, or for your dream job to come along. Enter the market with a field that is somewhat similar to your career interest, and align yourself with a company or industry that benefits your passion.” And, we couldn’t agree more.

But, you might disagree with us. Which do you think is better? What have been your own experiences with being either unemployed or underemployed? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

5 Signs a Job Post Might Be a Fake

5facts_July2013_webJob seeking can be an arduous task. No matter what your skill level or experience, the job search can be scary or frustrating. To make matters worse, web villains maliciously place fake job postings on commonly trafficked job sites to lure job seekers into multi-level marketing scams or to entice them to provide valuable personal information that could compromise one’s identity.

The potential to be scammed may seem intimidating, but don’t let the possibility of being duped deter you from seeking the job of your dreams. Spotting a scam can be easy with a little insight from someone who has been a victim so here are five signs to look out for.

  1. It sounds too good to be true.
    Job postings are supposed to sound enticing and be informative. But, if a posting makes big promises like high salary with “no experience necessary” or big starting bonuses for entry level positions, as the saying goes, “It might be too good to be true.” Starting salaries are based on the job’s pay range and the applicant’s skills and experience. Entry level jobs usually mean entry level pay.
  2. The job description is vague.
    If the job is poorly defined, this can be a sign that the position isn’t real. A fake posting might say things like B2B sales which could translate to door to door solicitation. A legitimate company knows what they are hiring for and exactly what the job entails. A clearly defined description can help a company narrow down the candidate pool by providing information the jobseeker will need to decide whether or not they are qualified. If you don’t feel like you have a good understanding of what the job is from the description, follow up with a question before applying.
  3. The job description has typos and grammatical errors.
    Job descriptions and postings are often written by hiring managers and HR personnel. As a representative of their organization, it is their responsibility to ensure that outgoing communication portrays the professionalism of the company. If a job description is littered with grammatical errors, you might think twice before applying.  Also look at the email address, if the email URL is not an organization’s website but something strange from a free email provider, use caution.
  4. The company asks for credit card information.
    A company should never need a credit card number to hire you and you should never pay for training unless the industry is regulated by the government and requires a license. Providing personal information can expose you to identity theft. So if the job posting has a form to fill out that doesn’t appear to be legitimate or asks for more than just simple contact information, be aware this could be a phishing scam.
  5. The company name is ambiguous or missing.
    If the post doesn’t contain a company name or has very little information, it might not exist. Always do research on a company before submitting your resume. A good way to find information is to type in the name of the company into a popular search engine and look for reviews from other job seekers. An important exception is staffing companies, the clients that use staffing companies often want to stay anonymous so the name may be withheld. However, the staffing company name and contact information should be verified as credible. In some contract and temporary positions you will work for and paid by the staffing company, making them the employer

Don’t let scammers get you down. Job seeking may seem like a lot of work but a safe job search can be simple by just being cautious. If you have a bad feeling, trust your gut.
Have you been a victim of a job scam? Let us know in the comment section below.