Monthly Archives: December 2015

7 Ways to Set Goals for Your Job Search

12-11 Goals2As the year comes to a close and New Year’s Day approaches, resolutions and goal-setting start to become a priority. For those searching for a job, goal-setting can be an empowering and valuable tool in finding a new career. After all, numerous studies prove that setting achievable and measurable goals leads to success.

Setting distinct goals allows you to identify what you want, how you can accomplish what you want, and what it takes to get there. Incorporating goal-setting into your job search process has a lot of benefits, so check out these tips below:

Be clear on what kind of job you want.

If you can describe the specific kind of job you want, then you know exactly what kind of job openings to pursue. If you apply for every job you see, you may get bogged down and frustrated. By creating a list of target companies and positions, you save time by not applying for the jobs that aren’t the right for you.

Make a list of long term goals, short term goals, and immediate goals.

Take time to consider what you want in the next five to 10 years. After that, set up goals for the next month that will help you reach your long term goals. Lastly, figure out what you need now to reach your monthly goals and how you can meet those needs. Think of it as a business plan for your career.

Customize resumes and cover letters.

Set a goal to target your resume and cover letter in a way that shows off your relevant skills, but also targets each specific job for which you’re applying. Learn to identify key words in job postings and include those words to help you stand out to recruiters.

Use your goals to schedule your daily activities.

Having a plan for each day as a job seeker helps you stay on track and feel productive. For instance, you may schedule online job searching on Monday, applications on Tuesday, interview practice and networking on Wednesday, etc. Having a plan in place helps keep you focused on your goals.

Each week, create at least three goals for your job search.

Focus on actions that help you with your job search. Some activities could include attending at least one networking event, reaching out to a recruiter on LinkedIn, or applying for two positions a day in the field you want.

Keep your mind busy.

Your goals could also include ways to better educate yourself on job searching or the job you want. Read articles or updates, find new information about the positions you want, read job interview tips, and keep your mind busy on the business of finding a career.

Use technology to help your goal setting.

Today’s world offers software and apps to help you with goal setting and tracking your success. If you need a little guidance on setting up goals and tracking them, consider apps like Smart Goals, Any.Do, or Evernote. These apps help you identify what you want to accomplish and help you get there.

When it comes to your career and job search, goal setting will allow you to stay focused on what comes next. Defining your career goals will help you take powerful steps toward creating a satisfying and rewarding work life.

Do you set goals? Share your goal-setting process with us in the comments section below.

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

Who Is Hiring Non-College Grads?

12-9 GradsAre you thinking about getting a higher education? Or, are you considering skipping college and heading straight for the workforce? Before you make this important decision, check out the results of a recent survey from Express Employment Professionals. The survey revealed the hottest fields that are hiring the most non-college grads, and the top 10 are:

  • Industrial
  • Office services
  • Sales/marketing
  • Home help
  • Health care
  • Engineering/manufacturing/technical
  • Technical
  • Informational technology
  • Accounting financial
  • Licensed medical

According to Express CEO Bob Funk, “Today’s conventional wisdom suggests that the path to a rewarding career must run through a four-year university. In reality, we’re finding out that many sectors are hiring non-college grads.”

Do you work in any of these fields? Share your job journey with us in the comments section below!

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

Is the Customer Really Always Right?

customer_always_right_webWe’ve all heard the saying “the customer is always right.” This saying implies that no matter what, the customer is right in every situation and businesses should always attend to their needs.

But, is this wisdom really wise? We’ll let you in on a little secret that many businesses are afraid to share: the customer is not always right. Some customers, in fact, just need a little guidance to show them the error of their ways.

That being said, it’s important to note that while the customer isn’t always right, they are never wrong either. Confusing? We’ll explain.

The difference between great customer service and poor customer service is the skill to successfully negotiate any gap between what the company offers and a client’s expectations. If you can clearly outline what your company does or produces, then the risk of disappointment declines.

Here are a few steps to help you come to a resolution when a customer feels he or she is right.

Listen attentively – Sympathetic listening may be difficult if you’re faced with an irate customer, but becoming defensive will only make the situation worse. After you’ve heard what the customer has to say, ask appropriate questions about what they expected.

Based on those questions, you can decide if your company was at fault. By understanding the person’s position and reasons for anger, you’ll gain a great starting point to take the appropriate steps.

If you made a mistake, own it – If your service was at fault or if the company failed the customer in any way, acknowledge that immediately and offer a resolution.

However, if any part of your customer’s disappointment doesn’t come from your service or product, be sure to point this out. If someone expected service that you do not provide, help the customer understand this and offer an alternative solution.

Make it right and share your plan – If you can resolve any issues on the spot, do so. The quicker the resolution, the happier everyone will be.

On the other hand, if you cannot resolve the issue quickly, share a plan for resolution with the customer. Match the level of compensation to the level of inconvenience to your customer, but know that sometimes a full refund isn’t necessary.

If you make a genuine effort to fairly compensate the customer for their inconvenience, you have a better chance to keep that customer.

Don’t be abused – Some customers demand special attention and will fight for an outrageous request. Identify people who abuse your services. If your company charges a flat fee for a one-time product and a customer calls you 20 times a day for help, you may need to set limitations so they don’t abuse your services.

A disciplined and professional approach to dealing with customers can help you resolve problems with them the right way.

Have you ever dealt with a situation where the customer was not right? Share your story in our comments section below.

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

Poll Results: What Are Your Job Market Predictions for 2016?

job_market_predictions_2015_webWe recently asked Movin’ On Up readers to reflect on 2015 by sharing their predictions for the job market in the new year. It’s a question we’ve asked for several years in a row, and the results have usually varied.

Four Years of Results
This year, the majority of readers (34%) answered that the market is “good enough to test the waters and see what else is out there for me.” This number closely matches last year’s poll, which revealed that 35% of readers felt good about the job market.

In fact, last year’s results are almost identical to this year’s. Take a look at these results:

“It’s good enough to test the waters.”

  • 2014: 35%
  • 2015: 34%

“Things are going to get worse before they get better.”

  • 2014: 27%
  • 2015: 25%

“I’m definitely getting a job offer or promotion this year.”

  • 2014: 17%
  • 2015: 18%

“I’m staying where I am. I don’t expect things to get better.”

  • 2014: 11%
  • 2015: 11%

This year, 12% of respondents selected the “Other” option and left responses including:

  • Uncertain
  • Jobs are moving out of the office and online
  • No jobs for those aged 50 or above
  • Get an advanced degree

Do you notice any trends based on these results? Do you think the job market is on its way up? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

Why Customer Service Matters in Any Role

customer_service_matters_webNo company is too big or too small to avoid the effects of customer interaction with current, new, or potential customers. If a company has good customer service, people will assume they also have good products.

And since customers will remember if they have a bad experience with you or your employer, it’s extremely important to maintain a positive attitude and provide excellent customer service every day. To help you put your best foot forward, take a look at these reasons why customer service is important. Then, check out a few quick tips to remember when you interact with customers.

Positive customer service can help your career path.
Employers keep a close eye on their employees to ensure they are doing great work. This means you have a perfect opportunity to stand out and shine in your role. Show up to work on time, maintain a positive attitude, answer customers’ questions quickly, be helpful, and go the extra mile when you can. It may seem like a lot of work, but when your employer notices how important customer service is to you, it may lead to promotions, raises, bonuses, or other rewards. And if you’re on a temporary assignment, great customer service can even lead to a permanent job.

Good experiences lead to return customers.
Customers who have positive interactions with employees and experience a high level of service will likely return to the business. If you went to a restaurant that had poor service, would you return? Most likely, the answer is no. Likewise, if you went to a restaurant with exceptional service and a positive atmosphere, chances are good that you’ll return. The same goes for customers who visit your workplace. In fact, a study by InfoQuest found that a totally satisfied customer contributes 14 times as much revenue as a somewhat dissatisfied customer.

Customer service can separate you from the competition.
Companies must compete for business, and customer satisfaction can be the one thing that sets them apart. If there are two businesses that sell similar products, but one has a poor customer service record, which business will likely receive the most customers? The one with the better service, of course. Today, reviewing companies and receiving recommendations for businesses is easier than ever. Even one poor customer service interaction can lead to a negative review, which could lead to lost customers.

Happy customers can lead to a happy work environment.
When a company keeps its customers happy, it usually creates a trickle effect on employees. According to Forbes, positive customer interaction leads to great work, which “leads to greater productivity, less absenteeism and turnover, and reduced retention costs.” If your supervisors and co-workers are as determined as you are to be great every day, your work environment is sure to improve. As Forbes states, “Often, doing things for your customers also works better for you.”

Now that you know how important customer service is, how do you make sure you’re doing your best?

Evaluate your own customer service experiences.
When it comes to how people interact with your company, it’s about more than products. People are interacting with you, and they expect to have a positive experience. Taking the time to be courteous and respectful goes a long way. Think about your own experiences and the businesses that left you either smiling or steaming. Consider adopting the positive elements from those experiences so you can help your customers enjoy the interactions they have with you.

Be positive from the start.
Excellent customer service begins with the first word you say. Whether it’s a greeting as customers walk in the door, an exchange over the phone, or the opening line in an email, you set the tone for your customer interaction. Remember to smile, offer assistance, and speak clearly in all communications.

Lend an ear.
It isn’t always easy to be on the receiving end of customers’ frustrations, especially when you are not to blame. But, attentive listening can be a catalyst for breaking down barriers and creating a fix for the situation. When you listen politely to a customer, you help them feel valued and may be able to solve their complaint more effectively. Remember to ask for assistance from your supervisor if a complaint is out of your control or you cannot remedy the situation.

Follow up in a timely manner.
When a customer has a question, always be as helpful and quick as you can. If you don’t know the answer, let the customer know that you will find out as soon as possible and follow up with the answer they need. If a customer has a complaint you can’t resolve, let your supervisor handle the situation, but be sure to follow up with the customer to ensure they received the help they needed.

Exceed expectations.
Whenever you can, go above and beyond. Anticipate your customers’ needs by offering assistance, making suggestions, or following up with them. Impress your supervisor by exceeding quotas, asking if you can help with additional tasks, or offering to stay late if the workload is overwhelming. When you go above and beyond, customers will notice and may even tell your supervisor. As much as a positive review can help a business, it can also help your career.

How do you maintain excellent customer service? Let us know in the comments section below!

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