2017 Resume Refresh

imgresAs 2016 winds down, it’s a great time to reflect on the past year and gear up for 2017.  It is also the perfect time to give your resume a refresh.  If it has been a while since you updated it there may be significant changes in your skills and experience that aren’t reflected.  Here are a few tips to help guide you through the process.

Review the past year.  Have you completed any significant projects?  Do you have any added responsibilities?  What new skills have you acquired?  Looking through your calendar for the past year is an easy way to remember your accomplishments.  If you received a performance review take a look at that also, as it should include some details that might need to be added to your resume.

imagesUpdate your keywords.  Strategically using keywords throughout your resume is essential to ensure that employers find you, and also that your resume makes it through the automated resume screening tools that many companies utilize.  Your objective or summary statement at the beginning is an easy place to include keywords, and it’s also an easy area to edit when applying for specific positions.

Consider a redesign.  While you are editing the content of your resume you should also think about updating the style.  A new format might allow you to better highlight some of your recent achievements, or it can help your resume stand out in a crowd of others.  Be careful not to overdo, however;  keep it professional and remember that sometimes less is more.

Get an objective opinion.  Ask a friend or colleague to look at your resume and give you their honest feedback.  It can be helpful to seek the opinion of both a person who knows you well and also of someone who doesn’t know you very well.  Comparing the feedback of both can help make sure that you’ve crafted a resume that speaks to who you are and what you’ve accomplished.

Need an objective resume review?  Talk to one of the staffing professionals here at Allied.  Working with a staffing firm is the perfect way to begin a job search and we would love to help you with your 2017 resume refresh!

10th Readers’ Choice Win For Allied Personnel Services

Allied Personnel Services has been named Best Employment Agency in the 2016 Morning Call Readers’ Choice awards.  This marks the 10th win for Allied, confirming our status as the leading staffing company in the Lehigh Valley.

Thank you to all of our clients and employees that voted for us.  We are proud of our service to the Lehigh Valley over the last 32 years and look forward to our continued commitment to our community.

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Preparing for Pre-Employment Testing

screening_and_assessment 2If you are a current job seeker, chances are you’ve encountered some sort of pre-employment testing. Many employers include evaluations in their hiring process to more fully evaluate your skills.   Pre-employment tests may assess specific technical skills to help the employer determine your ability to perform the job or they may assess your personality to determine how you would “fit” into the company’s culture. Preparing for these evaluations ahead of time can increase your chances of receiving a job offer.

 

Before the Test

  • Study.

Obviously you won’t be able to study for a personality test; however, preparing for tests designed to evaluate your technical skills is easier. Review relevant materials you have from previous jobs or from training courses and class work. Do some simple puzzles or brainteasers to help improve your analytic problem-solving skills.

  • Reduce your stress.

The more relaxed you are prior to the test, the better you will perform so try to eliminate as many potential stressors as possible. Make sure you know where you are going for the test and allow enough time to arrive early. Get a good night’s sleep. Eat a good breakfast so you aren’t hungry at test time. Studies show that test takers who have recently eaten have improved cognitive ability.

The Day of the Test

  • Be sure you understand the instructions.

Thoroughly review all written directions, and get clarification on anything that is unclear. Is there a time limit? Are you allowed to use any aids (i.e. calculator)? Can you skip questions and return to them later? If you are unsure of an answer should you guess or leave it blank? Ask these and any other questions before you begin the test.

  • Manage your time.

Keep in mind the time limit for completing the test and always use your time wisely. Even if the questions seem simple, don’t rush in order to finish quickly. Conversely, if you get stuck on a particularly difficult question don’t spend an excessive amount of time trying to figure it out.

  • Review your answers.

Some computer-based tests won’t allow it, but if possible, review your answers when you are done.

Pre-employment tests and evaluations don’t have to be unexpected hurdles to cross during the interview process.   By following these simple steps, you can meet the challenge head on and with confidence.

 

Now Hiring: Manufacturing Jobs in Bethlehem

We are looking for people with solid manufacturing experience for great positions at Orasure–one of the Lehigh Valley’s premier companies, chosen as a 2016 Top WorkPlace.

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Allied placed Dawn Anderson in a temporary, entry-level assignment at Orasure back in 2004. Fast forward to 2016 and Dawn is now a full-time Senior Manufacturing Technician at Orasure.

These opportunities offer a 4-day work week and start at $15/hour.  Be one of Allied’s next success stories!  Visit one of our offices, or apply online today.

 

Avoiding Negative Thoughts

DbeRd“Garbage in, garbage out” became a common computing term after it appeared in a syndicated newspaper article in April 1963. It’s a pithy way to describe a truth about programming: What you put in a programdetermines what it will spit out. The same thing applies to our mind. The well-known speaker Zig Ziglar said that when it comes to what we put in our minds, it’s actually “garbage in, garbage stays in.” How true.

Whether it’s a colleague complaining, a hostile driver who honks his horn at us or a news report about a horrible act, negative events affect us. So do negative thoughts. Both have an impact on our mental well-being.

We can’t keep all the “garbage” away – that would give us a false sense of reality and could even be dangerous. Nor can we expect to never have negative thoughts, as many of them just pop up unexpectedly. But there are things we can do to counteract and reduce the garbage that can hurt our happiness. Here are three tactics I use that have been a grand blessing. I’m sure (unless you are using them already) they will help make a positive difference in your life too:

Cut back on the “news” you watch and read

You will probably never have your picture posted on several news sites or have your name called out as a leading news story across the country. Do you know why? It’s because you’re like most people – a decent person who isn’t going to commit a sensational crime. You wouldn’t think that was the case if you watch the nightly news or review a major news site. Most of the people featured have done (or are accused of doing) something nasty.

Of course, not all news sources are negative. Some are even helpful. But in general, as Rolf Dobelli writes in “The Art of Thinking Clearly” (a book I highly recommend), “News is to the mind what sugar is to the body: appetizing, easy to digest – and highly destructive to the mind.”

Look for the positive in other people and situations

For safety and health professionals, this suggestion can be tough to follow at times because part of our job is to suggest ways people can improve their behavior and notice what’s wrong. Still, that doesn’t prevent us from focusing on the positive things about what goes on around us. When your mind is focusing on the positive, there is less room for negative or depressing thoughts.

For example, I often go through airport security checkpoints. When I noticed I was getting more disturbedabout it, I started changing what I noticed and focused on the positive things about the experience, such as the variety of faces and colorful clothes. Of course, I would rather not go through a security checkpoint, but I don’t mind it anymore. In fact, during my last trip, I had a good laugh with the TSA agents about some of my unusual speaking props!

Practice being grateful

One book that helped me be more grateful, “The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse” by Gregg Easterbrook, is not a “happy” book. But it was an eye-opener, especially the parts that describe how much we have to be thankful for today. We’re blessed beyond measure. And now that I make it a point to regularly remind myself of the things I have to be grateful for (such as the privilege to share my ideas with you!), the garbage has a harder time getting in.

Source: Safety+Health Magazine

Congratulations, You Graduated! Now What?

Congratulations to the graduates of 2016! You’ve finally completed your studies and all that cramming – now it is on to the “real” world. As many of you are finding, it can often be much more challenging than school was, especially when it comes to finding a job.
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Each year, Allied successfully places numerous recent grads in positions at many leading Lehigh Valley companies. These positions can be short term (1 day, 1 week, etc.) or they can be long term (1 month+). Both provide a great advantage to you.

Short-term jobs provide the flexibility to interview for jobs in your field or outside of the area without the commitment of a full-time job. Long-term positions allow you to expand on and build your skills, which in turn enhances your resume.
Additionally, you may find that the position you thought was just a way to make money until you secured your dream job is actually satisfying and provides a challenging opportunity for growth. 

Of course, you can’t overlook our temp to hire opportunities either. If you have a clear picture of your interests or career goals, we may be able to help you find a great opening. Companies often don’t post every job they have on their website; they rely on us to recruit for them. Working with a staffing company allows you access to the jobs you’d never find on your own, and can often be the best way to get into a full-time role at a top company.

Graduates often wait until August or September to contact us because they see a staffing company as a last resort. Instead, make Allied one of your first contacts, especially if you want to have an edge on the competition.

Why Apply With A Staffing Firm?

Allied scrabbleHave you ever experienced the frustration that comes with job searching? Sending out dozens of resumes, scouring the internet, going to interview after interview without ever getting a second call. It can be overwhelming and discouraging. Our recruiters meet many candidates who’ve had these experiences before hearing about the opportunities available through Allied. Working with a staffing firm can offer job seekers many benefits, especially when it comes to finding jobs that can’t be found elsewhere. Staffing firms have the unique advantage of offering opportunities job seekers would not be able to find on their own. Here are a few examples why a position might only be available through a staffing company.

  • Project Needs: Many of our customers contact us for project needs. They could have a permanent employee out on leave, or they have a large order they need extra help with. These can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. These positions can give candidates a great “foot in the door” opportunity. Consider it a working interview – if the position lasts longer or if a permanent job opens up, you’ve already proven you can do the job and are an asset to the company. If your situation allows, be open to project positions through a staffing firm. You never know where they could lead.
  • Lack of Resources: Some small companies contact Allied when their HR department doesn’t have the capacity to recruit the right candidates. Sometimes they are understaffedor don’t have the time needed to search for and interview candidates
  • Contracts: Larger companies often sign exclusive contracts for certain positions, meaning the only way to get these jobs with their company is through Allied. Openings won’t be posted on job sites or their website – all candidates must be submitted through the staffing company.
  • Leave it to the Experts: Staffing firms are staffing experts. Allied has trained and certified recruiters that can search for and interview candidates faster and more thoroughly than most HR departments can. Companies recognize this and utilize staffing firms to find great employees.
  • Marketing: Recruiters may present a resume to a company where they think the candidate would be a good fit, even if there is not an opening. Allied does this on a weekly basis. If we think you would be perfect for Company XYZ but don’t have an opening for them right now, we’ll still call them about you – with your permission. It’s surprising how often a company that is not hiring will make a position available based on our recommendation.
  • Confidential Searches: Companies running confidential searches keep their posting off the typical go-to sources. The job won’t be on CareerBuilder, Indeed or the company website. Often a company does this when they are replacing a current employee and they need to be discreet.

Job searching is a full-time job. It’s frustrating at times but with hard work and resourcefulness, you can succeed. Take advantage of every opportunity you can, including applying with a staffing firm. Allied Personnel Services offers job seekers some great advantages: resume and interview tips, foot-in-the-door opportunities and access to jobs you didn’t even know were out there!

Resume Mistakes To Avoid

resumeWhile technology and the internet have dramatically changed the way we search for jobs, one thing still remains constant: the resume. Even if you are conducting your job search entirely online, your resume is still a necessary component in the process. You may have updated it to include all of your career accomplishments, training,awards and certifications, but there are also several things you need to make sure that it doesn’t include.

• Leave overly personal information off your resume:  no social security numbers, marital status, family blogs, pictures, or information unrelated to your skills and work experience.

• References and salary requirements should not be included on your resume. If an employer requests this information, references should be presented on a separate page and salary requirements can be included in a cover letter.

• Limit the use of jargon or specific industry terms unless they are directly relevant to the position for which you are applying.

• Limit your use of bolding, italics and underlining – too much of these can clutter the content. Use a standard font like Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman and use that font consistently throughout all documents.

• Your resume should be free of all spelling and grammatical errors. Always have someone read your resume before sending it. Attention to detail can very easily put your resume on the top of the pile; failure to fix errors quickly moves you to the bottom.

• Present yourself accurately at all times. Never lie. Companies have the time and resources to verify your background information including education and employment history.

If you haven’t done it recently, ask a friend or colleague review your resume. Get their honest feedback and make improvements. You can also get constructive feedback on your resume from a staffing service. At Allied we always provide our candidates with tips and advice to help them improve their resumes and their chances of landing the job.