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.
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.
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.
Attending a job fair can be an excellent way to get your job search started, or to re-energize a search that may feel stalled. It’s a great chance to get in front of many employers in a single day and see what companies are hiring. But in order to make the most of a job fair, it’s important to be prepared.
1) Research. Find out what companies will be there. Most job fairs include a list of employers in advertisements for the event. Visit the websites of those companies to check out current job openings. If there are opportunities you are interested in, take a minute to learn more about the company. Then when you speak with a recruiter at the job fair, you are able to talk about a specific opening or about their company’s business and really stand out from the crowd.
2) Prepare. This is the one time you won’t be able to customize your resume. Since you will be presenting it to multiple employers for various opportunities, make your objective specific to the way you’d like your skills to be used and to the type of work environment you prefer. For this occasion, this is better than trying to specify a position or an industry.
3) Practice. Do you have your 30-second commercial ready? This is one tool you absolutely must have ready for a job fair. Prepare it and practice it. A job fair is a great opportunity to end your commercial with a question; this will help you start a dialogue with the recruiter.
4) Attire. Going to a job fair is a lot like going to a bunch of mini-interviews, so dress as you would for an interview. Often the setting for a job fair is casual, but don’t dress for the venue. Dress to make a great first impression.
5) Prioritize. Rather than start at one end of the job fair and visit every single booth, determine your game plan before you arrive. Because you’ve done your research, you will know the employers you are most interested in visiting. Start with those. If the recruiters are tied up with a line of people waiting, it may be best to stop back. For some very popular employers, there may be no down time for the recruiters and waiting in line may be your only option.
6) Respect. At a busy job fair, you need to be respectful of the recruiter’s time. If there are a large number of job seekers, you may not get a chance to do much more than introduce yourself and drop off your resume. Don’t monopolize a recruiter’s time with excessive explanations about your work history or with multiple questions about their openings. You want to be remembered but not as the person who talked excessively.
7) Follow-up. Get business cards and contact information for the companies you are interested in and follow-up with them. A short, hand-written thank you note reconfirming your interest in the company or in a particular opening is a simple way to give a recruiter a reason to pull your resume out of the stack they have from the job fair.
Don’t be intimidated by long lines at job fairs or by the volume of resumes you see stacked on a recruiter’s table. If you play your cards right, you’ll be on the “first call back pile” and a new employment opportunity may find its way to you.
The job market in the Greater Lehigh Valley has steadily grown since the Great Recession of 2008.
More employers are hiring, and the unemployment rate has been dropping, which are building a stronger local economy.
There are agencies throughout the region designed to help employers find staff and to help jobseekers find positions in the workforce relevant to their experience and needs.
Here to answer this week’s “Behind the List” questions is Susan Larkin, vice president of Allied Personnel Services Inc. in Allentown.
Lehigh Valley Business: How long has Allied Personnel Services Inc. been operating in the Greater Lehigh Valley and what are its primary services?
Susan Larkin: Allied opened in 1984. Our client companies look to us for innovative workforce solutions to allow them to achieve their business objectives, and employees look to us for career opportunities, flexible work schedules or the chance to gain new skills.
We have three staffing divisions — office and professional, technical and light industrial. This business diversity and our partnerships with the top Lehigh Valley companies position our employees for success and are key factors in Allied’s long-term growth and achievement.
LVB: What have been some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that you’ve encountered throughout your years in business?
Larkin: Over the past 30 years, we have witnessed the evolution of the Lehigh Valley’s workforce from a blue-collar, industrial driven economy to a more diverse marketplace, where entry-level workers may work beside skilled tradespeople as well as degreed professionals.
As the face of the workforce changed, it became a challenge to convince all of these groups that staffing companies represented a viable and strong resource for their careers. Additionally, companies viewed contingent workers simply as a commodity.
By sharing our expertise, we have been able to show job-seekers the value a staffing firm can bring to their career, and teach companies that temporary employees are a critical asset and can be an integral part of their business strategy.
Most recently, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been a big challenge but also a tremendous opportunity. With the mandate for large employers to offer affordable health insurance that meets minimum value, it was a challenge to build a complete benefits package for all of our full-time temporary employees.
By making the welfare of our temporary employees a top priority, we were able to create a comprehensive and competitive plan. Offering fully-compliant benefits has created opportunities as well, allowing us to create unique staffing programs for our clients and to contribute to their business goals.
LVB: Have you seen steady growth in job placements since the economy starting bouncing back?
Larkin: The staffing industry is unique because our business is a leading indicator for the state of the overall economy. We generally feel the impact of a recession earlier than other industries, but we also see recovery sooner.
This most recent recession differed from previous ones because companies cut staff more drastically than typical and also were slower to respond as there was much uncertainty about the recovery.
Now that confidence in the economy has been restored, the demand for talent is huge. We are seeing growth across all sectors and have increased our internal staff in order to effectively meet the growing demands for our services.
We expect the labor market to continue to tighten as the unemployment rate drops and job seekers receive multiple offers.
LVB: How does Allied Personnel Services Inc. directly stimulate the local economy?
Larkin: As one of the 50 largest employers in the Lehigh Valley, Allied provides employment opportunities for thousands of people each year.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the staffing business is seeing our employees succeed and move into career roles with our clients.
We are experts in the local labor market, and the long-term partnerships we have with our client companies help them achieve business success and contribute to the overall economy.
LVB: What does the future look like for Allied Personnel Services Inc. on a local level?
Larkin: The future of employment will continue to evolve as both employees and companies seek increased flexibility and innovation in the contingent work arena. As we have done in the past, Allied will adapt to meet those demands, adding programs and services that enhance the employment experience for all of our customers.
Strong community involvement is a long-standing, core value of Allied, and we will continue this commitment through leadership roles and corporate support for organizations such as Communities in Schools, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board, Valley Youth House, Third Street Alliance for Women and Children, Humble Hearts for Hope, Musikfest, Lilly’s Hope, March of Dimes, Boys & Girls Club of Allentown and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Our passionate staff is committed to maintaining our position as the leading staffing resource in the Lehigh Valley, and we are looking forward to an even brighter future.