Category Archives: Hiring

Resume Must-Have: Soft Skills

Source:  CNBC

 

Employers are looking for soft skills. In fact, more and more are listing them as part of the job requirements for open roles. More than 6 million job listings included “communication skills,” 5.5 million included “customer service” and 5 million included “scheduling” as a requirement on jobsite ZipRecruiter in May.

soft skills “Even without looking at a specific job listing, we can probably imagine that every job is going to require the same set of soft skills: teamwork skills, communication skills, problem solving skills, time management skills,” says Gorick Ng, Harvard career adviser and author of “The Unspoken Rules.”

If you’re on the market for a job, “your resume is a really, really, really important platform for you to use to embody” these skills, says Octavia Goredema, career coach and author of “Prep Push, Pivot.”

Here’s how to illustrate soft skills on your resume, according to career experts.

Use descriptive titles

The anatomy of a resume features multiple facets. One of them is the various job titles under your “experience” section. These present an opportunity to convey some of your soft skills.

“The key here is to be truthful but also be descriptive,” says Ng.

“There’s a big difference between calling myself an intern and a social media intern,” he says as an example. “There’s a big difference between calling myself an analyst and a project manager, if I was, in fact, doing that. There’s a difference between me calling myself a manager and a communications manager.”

Each of these titles illustrates another facet of the job that proves you have certain experience. “Even just one word like ‘communications’ or ‘social media’ or ‘project’ or ‘product’ or ‘department’ can go a long way in giving people a mental image of what it is that you’re actually accountable for,” he says.

Think back on your work experience for each role you’re outlining and consider one or two additional and accurate words that describe what you did and what you can do.

Bullet points can give examples of your skills

Another piece of resume real estate that could be used to illustrate your soft skills are the bullets under each job title giving concrete examples of what you achieved. Each bullet could speak to a soft skill an employer specifically mentioned in the job description or one you think is relevant for the role.

Consider some of your accomplishments in previous roles, then, when writing these, “think about it being really a Mad Lib exercise consisting of impactful verbs, impactful nouns and impactful numbers,” says Ng.

Say you want to highlight your communication skills, for example, and you work in search engine optimization. One bullet could say something like, “I led a presentation to 30 of our clients outlining effective ways to use keywords, resulting in an average 30% increase in traffic for each of their websites.” “Led,” “increase” and “30%” are a verb, noun and number that give a visceral sense of the kind of impact you had on your company.

The bullet serves to highlight an impressive achievement. Inherently, because it takes strong communication skills to give a good presentation, and because your presentation was clearly successful in helping your clients grow their traffic, you’re proving you’re a good communicator.

“It’s almost implied that I would have had to have the skills to make this impact,” says Ng.

‘What language are you using to talk about work?’

When it comes to communication, specifically, the way your resume is written as a whole can go a long way to proving you’re a good communicator. “You want to be as concise and impactful as possible,” says Goredema.

“What language are you using to talk about work?” she says. “Is it repetitive? Is it flat? Is it really long convoluted sentences? Really take a look at how you are bringing your career to life on paper and how you’re communicating what you do best.”

A resume with strong work examples free of excessive language can show potential employers that, at the very least, you’ve honed your written skills, which are critical for multiple forms of day-to-day communication.

 

Still struggling with your resume?  Apply with Allied and our experienced recruiters will review your resume and help you improve it! 

The ultimate guide to nailing the ‘tell me about yourself’ interview question

Source:  Fast Company

 

We’ve all been there.

You’ve just sat down for an interview and you’re feeling a little nervous. After a few quick exchanges of small talk, it’s time to get down to business. You’re trying to recall all those notes you prepared, hoping your background noise stays quiet for the duration of your Zoom, and going over the buzzwords you want to avoid. You know what’s coming, yet it always catches you by surprise: the dreaded first question.

“So,” your interviewer says, “tell me about yourself.”

Where do you begin? Do you jump right into the details of your résumé? Do you talk about what you do in your free time? Or how much you want this job?

The “tell me about yourself” question is an almost universal way to kick off an interview. In fact, nearly 60% of job recruiters report that this is their go-to first question for a candidate. Although planning ahead and embracing the open-ended nature of this query can feel overwhelming, acing it could just be the key to ensuring your interviewers remember you as the standout candidate you are.

TAKE YOUR TIME

You might come across some career “experts” who suggest sticking to answers as short as 30 seconds because hiring managers will lose interest. While unorganized rambling will do you no good, hiring managers are likely looking for more information than you can express in under a minute. Managers ask questions like “tell me about yourself” because they are looking to see whether your professional skills align with the role you’re interviewing for.

“It may be difficult to understand the depth of a candidate’s experience related to the role if his response is shorter than three minutes,” Brenda Kurz, chief administrative officer at Toptal, previously told Fast Company. In the same piece, Pete Sosnowski, head of HR and cofounder of the tech startup Zety, agreed:

You want to give an impression that you really thought this through. If your answer is too short, the recruiter might think you simply don’t care or have much to say.

It’s not just what you’ve done in your career, but why you made those decisions. The average hiring manager spends just seven seconds looking at your résumé, so this is your chance to show them who you are. When you answer this question, you want to share a clear narrative of the experiences, roles, and achievements. Use this time as an opportunity to road-map your interviewer’s takeaways so that you will stand out against other candidates.

THINK LIKE A LEADER

If you answer this first interview question hesitantly, chances are it’ll be harder to impress upon your interviewers that you’re a strong leader. Kicking off your interview with the intention of motivating and inspiring your potential employers can help you land the job. Try taking a less “informational” approach and more of an “inspirational” one. Show that you’ve done your research on the company and don’t be afraid to move the conversation toward your own visionary thinking.

You can also adopt what Judith Humphrey, author and founder of The Humphrey Group, calls “the Leader Script.” Open your answer with a line such as, “I’ve heard so much about you from my previous interviews, so it’s great to meet you in person.” You’ll come across as being open-minded and self-assured: two qualities that will remind interviewers of your leader’s presence.

But it’s not just what you say that will make your interviewers see you as a leader. Humphrey also pointed out that leadership begins with your physical presence in a room. Be vocal and animated. Speak energetically. Act enthusiastically and eager to be there. A smile and good posture could just be the extra note of confidence to show recruiters your commitment to the job.

EMBRACE IT

When hiring managers inevitably look at you and say, “tell me about yourself,” think how your answer can be the start of a deeper conversation, leading to a stronger relationship with your interviewer. According to public speaking coach and founder of Spokesmith Eileen Smith, you should keep three themes in mind when crafting your response: Engage your audience, establish credibility, and tell your interviewers why they should care.

In tailoring your answer to your specific audience, you will find ways to connect your experience with the expertise and interests of those listening to you. Smith recommends using some version of, “This is important because . . . ” to link what you have told your interviewer with what you hope they remember about your potential in this new role.

GET AWAY FROM YOUR RÉSUMÉ

As much as your previous leadership experience matters, employers are also looking for a well-rounded candidate. Don’t discount the last thing you read or watched as material for the “tell me about yourself” question. This can be a way to demonstrate your interests beyond the workplace and to show hiring managers that you have opinions that you’re not afraid to express.

“I look for curiosity. I legitimately don’t care if the answer is Game of Thrones, as long as they have an interesting take and an ability to communicate it clearly,” said Jess Greenwood, North America’s head of strategy at R/GA, in another Fast Company report. “We work hard, and maintaining a life outside of it is important. I want to hear how they stay grounded and what makes them happy.”

DON’T NARRATE YOUR LIFE STORY

The only thing you’ll accomplish by admitting how you’ve been unable to get a job or that you’re unsure why this position is a good fit for you, is leaving hiring managers absolutely cringing. “Tell me about yourself” is a great opportunity to share what you’re like beyond your one-page résumé, but be careful about spilling your emotions and dishing out your entire life trajectory.

Michelle Mavi, director of content development, internal recruiting, and training for the hiring agency Atrium Staffing previously warned candidates in an article for Fast Company that the nature of this question can feel daunting. “As it’s a very broad and open question, candidates are prone to ramble, talking about their professional selves in very generic and general terms, and basically rehashing their résumé,” she said.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR SIMILAR QUESTIONS

Sometimes, this question can be disguised as another. Anne Marie Squeo, CEO and founder of Proof Point Communications, always starts job interviews with “tell me your story.” She reminds interviewees that she and other hiring managers have already read a candidate’s résumé, so there’s no need to rehash it. Yet, 85% of candidates seem caught off guard by the question and fall back on reciting their résumés anyway. Or fall prey to the urge to tell the interviewers everything they’ve done since high school.

For Squeo, the question is meant to be an opportunity for a potential hire to offer an illuminating deep-dive into what drives and encourages them as a person. “One candidate not long ago responded to this question by telling me she’d been a concert pianist who had an injury and had to quit during college,” Squeo wrote recently in Fast Company. “She then took a deliberate approach to identify what also fueled her passion and embarked on a career in corporate communications. Here’s what I learned: She’s resilient, knows who she is, and is purposeful in her pursuit of a challenge.”

DON’T DISCOUNT YOUR ATHLETIC EXPERIENCE

Maybe you’ve just graduated or maybe you’re switching industries. Either way, your athletic experience could be a factor in showing hiring managers that you’re right for the job. A lot of the skills employers are looking for align with the characteristics you develop on the athletic field–you just have to convince an interviewer that this is the case.

Think about the challenges you encountered in a game and apply it to the workplace. Did you attend daily, grueling sport practices? In the workplace, former athletes will know how to work through tough times, handle a busy schedule, and always keep a goal in mind.

Remember all the sacrifices you made for your team, too. You gave up personal time to perfect that pass or that trick shot. You understand that if one team member is struggling, success will be impossible. These are all critical characteristics to bring to a workplace.

AVOID BUZZWORDS

Remember that employers interview many candidates, and if your answers sound the same as theirs, you don’t have a chance of sticking out. Using generic buzzwords will only increase the chance you’ll sound like a corporate drone, so try not to use too much jargon. To avoid this, practice describing your skills and your experience with anecdotes that demonstrate the value you will bring to a company. In other words, show your potential employers why your experiences have shaped you rather than tell them.

The same idea applies to generic accolades about yourself. Avoid inauthentic statements that interviewers can see right through like, “I’m a perfectionist,” “I get along with everyone,” and “this is a dream job for me.” According to a TopInterview survey, the two worst traits for a job candidate are arrogance and dishonesty. Don’t take the risk of coming across as disingenuous by using these vague lines. Instead, focus on moments of individual experience and growth–your interviewer will notice this.

PLAN AHEAD AND WRITE IT DOWN

If you’re reading this now, you’re probably expecting that your interviewer will look at you and say, “Tell me about yourself.” You might think very few candidates actually write out what they’re going to say but, without a script, you could be caught flailing in an interview. And with a question as common as this one, you should be prepared.

Humphrey offered advice for prepping your interview script in another Fast Company report:

As a former speechwriter, I can tell you, good scripts don’t come “in the moment.” There’s a slight chance you’ll get it right. But more likely, you’ll deliver mixed messages that don’t add up to a clear and compelling picture of yourself. You have to think a lot about how you’re going to tell your story. After all, it must inspire that particular interviewer, and that company.

Humphrey underscored that every job seeker needs a message. What is the big idea you want your interviewer to hear? And how should that show them you’re the right candidate? In getting this message across when you’re asked to tell interviewers who you are, you’ll have a better chance of securing your interview narrative right from the start.

FRAME IT AS A STORY

If you’re stuck while you’re trying to write out possible responses, Humphrey suggests framing it as a story. In a recent Fast Company story, she wrote,

The simplest way of thinking about flow is to build your story chronologically—with a past, present, and future. If you are in a job interview for an HR position and are asked why you want the job, you might develop this flow:

Past: “I’ve always loved people, and that’s why I’m passionate about this job in HR. I was outgoing and extrovertish, even when young.”

Present: “In my last two HR positions, I have developed programs that make employees feel safe and engaged. One program I am particularly proud of is our Mental Health offering.”

Future: “This job is my dream job, and as an HR professional, I know I would be a great fit for this role.”

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Even the best narrative won’t work if you sound like a robot. Whether you practice in front of a mirror or with a handful of trusted friends, you should go into an interview having already rehearsed what you plan to say. In an interview, you’re expected to balance sounding confident without coming across as a know-it-all. Striking this balance ahead of time will not only calm your nerves in the moment, but it will ensure that interviewers can relate to your personality.

According to a study conducted by TopInterview and Resume-Library, 70% of employers think a candidate’s personality is among the top three factors they consider when making a hiring decision. Personality consistently ranks higher than education (18%) and appearance (7%). So, stay calm, take a deep breath, and fire away at the script you’ve prepared.

BE YOURSELF. THIS IS JUST A CONVERSATION

When the interview time finally rolls around, take the moment seriously without wigging yourself out. Test the waters and follow the lead of your interviewer. Do they want to make small talk? Go with it. Are they probing for how much you know about the company? Go for it. The broadness of “tell me about yourself” should serve as an asset. You can talk about yourself while emphasizing the skills you will bring to the job. Skills are now the most important factor employers use when hiring, so don’t waste this opportunity to share your strengths.

Show hiring managers how you’re professional and experienced beyond your career accomplishments. In doing so, you’ll both tell interviewers who you are and why you’re the qualified choice.

Pride in the Workplace

Employers must protect individuals identifying as LGBTQ+ from workplace discrimination. Awareness of issues affecting LGBTQ+ individuals is also important, including sensitivity to the needs of transgender individuals who may be transitioning or undergoing sexual reassignment surgery.

Take Complaints Seriously

Create an atmosphere of open communication and trust so that employees can voice their concerns without fear of retaliation.

Firmly commit to taking all complaints based on LGBTQ+ status seriously, and promptly investigate them. Assure employees, managers and supervisors that they will not be retaliated against for bringing a complaint and that the complaint will be kept confidential to the extent possible.

Conduct a thorough investigation by reviewing any evidence and interviewing the complainant, the alleged perpetrator and any potential witnesses. Document the entire investigation process and the steps taken in response to the complaint. Consider implementing interim measures such as separating the complainant from the alleged perpetrator during the course of the investigation. Take remedial and/or disciplinary measures, if warranted. Then follow up with the employee to ensure that no further incidents have occurred.

Provide Reasonable Accommodations

Carefully consider all accommodation requests from LGBTQ+ individuals. Discuss the request with the employee, and provide reasonable accommodations when possible. For example, consider allowing all employees and third parties to use the restroom or locker room that corresponds with their current gender identity and presentation regardless of the individual’s sex at birth. Single-occupant, gender-neutral restrooms provide increased privacy for all individuals. If an employer maintains multi-occupant restrooms with stalls, it may want to consider additional privacy measures such as stall doors and dividers. An employee who is uncomfortable with an LGBTQ+ individual using a particular restroom should be permitted to use another facility.

When it comes to accommodation requests relating to dress codes, allow an individual to dress consistently with their gender identity, as long as the individual looks professional and appropriate for the particular workplace and position. This also applies to policies related to uniforms, grooming, jewelry and makeup.

Handle a transgender employee’s name change using the same policies and procedures for other employee name changes (e.g., after marriage or divorce). Also find out their preferred pronouns and then use them. Make sure all managers, supervisors and colleagues do the same.

Support Transitioning Employees

While the Supreme Court recognized that its decision does not provide employers with guidance on issues surrounding sex-specific changing facilities and restrooms, employers can still strive to be sensitive to transgender employees who are transitioning and/or undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

Processes around how an employee can make a name change, update employee records, resolve conflicts over restroom use, comply with the dress code, or request a change in duties or responsibilities, a potential transfer and other accommodations that an employee may need while they are transitioning should be discussed and handled on a case-by-case basis.

Keep all discussions private and confidential, to the extent possible, but also work through with the employee how and when they want co-workers and third parties to be advised of the change.

Also, be aware of any state or local laws that may impact the employer’s decision. For example, in New York City, employers may not require an individual to use a single-occupancy restroom or other facility. However, employers can accommodate requests to use single-occupancy restrooms and can provide single-occupancy restrooms and private space within multi-user facilities for anyone who has privacy concerns.

Review Recruiting and Hiring Practices

LGBTQ+ individuals should be treated fairly in all aspects of employment including recruiting and hiring.

Recruitment practices should aim to attract applicants from as wide a talent pool as possible. Inclusive recruitment practices include:

  • Stating the employer’s adherence to anti-discrimination laws in job postings. An employer could even consider listing the specific grounds on which it will not discriminate;
  • Recruiting from broad-reaching sources (e.g., post job ads on general job boards) and targeting under-represented groups (e.g., provide job ads to LGBTQ+ advocacy groups to post on their website); and
  • If using an employment agency or external recruiter, clearly explaining the employer’s stance on discrimination.

Hiring decisions should be based on merit, skills and qualifications. Ensure interviewers do not talk about personal matters, especially ones that could lead an applicant to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity or other protected characteristic (e.g., asking about family status, assuming a male candidate’s spouse is a woman).

Any background checks or reference checks that require applicants to provide a prior name could expose a transgender applicant. Such information should be kept confidential and not shared with the hiring decision-makers.

Job Fairs Are Back! Here’s How To Get the Most Out Of Them

In-person job fairs are one of the many things that haven’t happened much in the past 2 years, thanks to COVID.  2022 marks the return of one of the largest job fairs in the Lehigh Valley:  The Morning Call Career Fair.

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.  Workplace dress codes also have become much more casual in the past 2 years, so a full business suit may not be necessary, but it is still important to 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 downtime 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.

Planing on attending The Morning Call Career Fair on May 3rd?  Be sure to stop by and say hello to the Allied team!  

 

Phony Job Ads and How to Spot Them

Source:  SHRM

Job ad scams are on the rise. According to the FBI, more than 16,000 Americans reported employment scams in 2020. Some are easy to spot. Others are quite sophisticated.

Fake employment postings often promise thousands of dollars in earnings for little or no work. In some cases, it is a re-shipping scam: The individual targeted is tasked with receiving packages at home and forwarding them. In other cases, the scam involves paying a fee or sending something of monetary value. The many people currently unemployed or working from home have become a big target for these kinds of ruses.

“Be very wary of work-from-home online job ads/postings,” said Brian Gant, assistant professor of cybersecurity at Maryville University in St. Louis. Gant has almost two decades of experience working in the private and public sectors, including for the FBI and the Secret Service. “If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.”

Unfortunately, even bona fide jobs sites are being abused by cybercriminals.

“Fake job ads are popping up on websites like Indeed that are convincing [and] well-written, and some [criminals] go as far as performing interviews with unsuspecting candidates,” said Chris Ray, an analyst at IT research and analysis firm GigaOm in San Francisco. “The goal is usually to purloin confidential data such as Social Security numbers and bank details.”

The people creating these fake job ads generally bait individuals with unrealistically high salaries and promises of large chunks of equity. On occasion, targets of scams are even told that they are hired after just a few minutes on a call.

“Hiring organizations should occasionally Google their name in combination with popular hiring terms to attempt to identify and take down fraudulent job ads on popular hiring sites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed and Glassdoor,” Ray said.

Attacks on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s popularity as a recruiting tool has put it in cybercriminals’ crosshairs.

“An e-mail with a job offering can be the perfect way to lure someone into downloading malicious files, such as one masquerading as a job description, or spoofed LinkedIn messages,” said Karen Krivaa, chief marketing officer of Perception Point, a cybersecurity firm in Tel Aviv, Israel.

A common example is a LinkedIn connection e-mail bearing a message about a potential job or stating that the individual targeted appeared in specific searches. When the individual clicks Accept Invitation or See All Searches, he or she is routed to an illegitimate LinkedIn website that immediately asks for login credentials.

Protecting Yourself

Here are two ways organizations and job seekers can protect themselves from sophisticated online job scams:

  • Don’t agree to send funds back as a portion of a larger check received.
  • Do contact someone familiar with the job or industry to ask their thoughts about the job posting. Those entrenched in the industry usually know all the players.

The trickery doesn’t necessarily require money to change hands or goods to be forwarded. In some cases, the fake job posts are simply phishing and social engineering ploys. All they want you to do is engage someone via chat boxes and e-mails and be lured into clicking on malicious links or attachments.

“Ninety-eight percent of cyberattacks rely on social engineering, which is the manipulation of people into performing actions such as clicking on a file or divulging confidential information,” Krivaa said.

But there are always subtle hints or glaring errors indicating it is a scam. Compare the sender URL, display name and actual e-mail address used. Common tricks are to have a plausible display name disguising a strange e-mail address or outdated domain name. URLs also may appear valid, yet a closer inspection shows an added character or slight alteration in the organization’s name (e.g., company.com could be changed to company-jobs.com).

Grammatical errors or typos in the e-mail or overly formal or clumsy English can also be clues. Calls-to-action for a limited time are sometimes used to inject urgency as part of a cyberswindle.

Krivaa said further warning signs include broken links on the fake website, out-of-date website certificates or a brand-new certificate issue date. The FBI and the Federal Trade Commission, too, offer plenty of pointers and tips in recent alerts and posts on this topic.

Technology Tools

Cybersecurity and artificial intelligence tools are available to help organizations find and eradicate fake job posts and e-mails. For example, e-mail security and protection solutions from companies such as Perception Point scan messages, URLs and files to identify malicious content and intercept dangerous e-mails before they reach users’ inboxes.

They achieve this via:

  • Image recognition algorithms that validate the website.
  • URL reputation engines that monitor traffic for phishing attempts.
  • Threat intelligence scans of URLs and files outside the organization, searching for signs of potential or current attacks.
  • Dynamic scanning to rapidly identify malicious files.
  • Anti-evasion capabilities to unpack embedded content in the e-mail and properly scan it.

“The ability to easily check any suspicious e-mail or file improves the security posture of the organization,” Krivaa said. “It is also wise to leverage an incident response service to monitor, analyze and report on e-mail security incidents; provide rapid alerts and analysis of malicious attempts; and optimize the security system’s engines.”

 

Looking for REAL jobs?  Check out Allied’s open positions and connect to a *live* recruiter!  Find out why we have been Lehigh Valley’s leading staffing agency for over 37 years!

How to Keep the Job Search Moving Forward—Even if Recruiters Ignore You

Source:  The Wall Street Journal

 

Career coaches say these interviewing and résumé tips can help you stand out and land a new role.

There are more than 10 million job openings in the U.S., so why do so many job seekers remain frustrated by hiring managers who ignore them and online application portals that delete them?

There are a lot of jobs out there, but a lot of rejection, too. It’s easier than ever to apply for roles, so companies are swamped, leaving applicants—even ones who have been courted by recruiters—either facing a void or never hearing back again. Hiring experts at Tuesday’s WSJ Jobs Summit said candidates can take steps to build relationships with the humans overseeing the hiring process—and bounce back faster when they are rejected.

“Job searching’s probably not easy for anybody,” said Brie Reynolds, a career coach and career-development manager at FlexJobs, an online site that lists flexible and remote job opportunities. “There’s always a confidence piece there that you want to make sure you’re building up.”

Here are more tips from career coaches.

You’re going to be ignored. Persist anyway.

Maintain reasonable expectations, and don’t expect a reaction from every hiring manager you reach out to, said Christine Cruzvergara, chief education strategy officer at Handshake, a careers site for college students and recent grads.

“Sometimes you might not be the right candidate at that certain time,” she said.

Knowing when to follow up after applying or interviewing for a job can be one of the toughest challenges for applicants—especially if early conversations seemed promising and now you have been left hanging.

“Organizations deeply appreciate persistence, as long as your persistence is generous,” said Keith Ferrazzi, an executive coach and author of “Leading Without Authority.” Sending a flurry of check-in emails is usually a bad idea, he added, but asking thoughtful follow-up questions by email and volunteering your knowledge to a potential boss can be a winning strategy.

“If your persistence is, ‘What about me? What about me? What about me?’ That’s not generous,” he said. “If your persistence is, ‘I’ve been thinking about your company, I’ve been researching a little bit more about your company, I’ve had a few ideas about the conversation we had,’ those are generous acts of reaching out.”

Motivated job seekers should ask if there is anything they can do during the hiring process to demonstrate to the employer that they are right for the role, Mr. Ferrazzi said, and then follow up to prove it.

“Ask the person interviewing, ‘Is there anything you are curious about relative to my ability to perform this job that I can do between now and the next call that could show you how I can perform?’” he said. “Actually start the work.”

Nontraditional methods of communication can sometimes yield a surprise reaction, said Keith Wolf, chief executive of ResumeSpice, an executive and professional résumé-writing service. He advises reaching out to people you are eager to connect with on Twitter or Instagram instead of simply sending an email.

“Twitter—you can have a conversation with someone who will never return your email,” he said.

Don’t worry about beating the bots.

People become obsessed with outsmarting résumé-reading applicant-tracking systems that most companies use to sort through candidates. It is a better bet to focus on the information and keywords provided in a job description and incorporate them into your résumé, Mr. Wolf said.

“It’s almost like you’ve been given the answers to the test,” he said, adding that the skills and demonstrated experience spelled out in a job posting should be reflected in a résumé.

Mr. Wolf recommends using logical headers—such as experience, education and skills—and ditching fancy formats and fonts. “Anything you think is going to get a human’s attention to really stand out can hurt you when it comes to an applicant-tracking system, and they won’t allow your résumé to be read,” he said. “Simple is better.”

Another tip: Eliminate the objective statement. Those few sentences at the top of a résumé, summarizing skills and the type of role a person is seeking, only makes it easier for recruiters to disqualify anybody who is not an exact match, Mr. Wolf said.

“It’s a great excuse just to take you out of the pack,” he said.

Another common mistake is using valuable résumé real estate to describe your companies instead of your work, said Ashley Watkins, a job-search coach at Write Step Resumes LLC. While it is tempting for job seekers who have worked for startups or small businesses to detail what their prior employers have done, a résumé should be all about you, she added.

“If I want to know about the company, I can Google them, as a recruiter,” Ms. Watkins said. “The résumé is about you and the value that you offer, not your company.”

 

 

If you want to avoid the bots and have a conversation with a real, live recruiter, contact Allied today!  We don’t use algorithms.  We make genuine connections with job seekers and work closely with you to find positions that fit. Apply today and see the difference we can make in your job search! 

 

Why it’s never too late to make a career pivot or learn a new skill

Source:  Fast Company

Taking on a new career direction or passion can help establish a sense of connection and achievement while remaining safe.

My friend recently confided in me, “I hate my job.”

“Why don’t you try a new field?” I asked. She responded she was too far into her thirties to make a career pivot. This answer saddened me, because it was far from the truth.

No matter what your age is, it is possible to make a career transition that can lead to a happier and more fulfilled you. Throughout my twenties, I’ve switched jobs dozens of times, started multiple businesses, and pursued numerous passion projects. Along the way, I’ve failed, and failed hard.

Nevertheless, from these failures, I’ve been able to correct my career path and eventually land on the fulfilling work I do now. Now, heading into my thirties, I’m working as a ​business owner​, a ​product designer​, and a ​songwriter​—pursuits I couldn’t have been further from over a decade ago.

If you’ve been feeling stuck at home during this time of shelter-in-place and lack of social connection, learning a new skill could be just what you need to get out of your rut. Here are four reasons you may be overwhelmed, as well as how to overcome them.

YOU’RE SCARED OF FAILURE

You might be putting off trying a new skill because you are afraid of failure. You can find solace in recognizing that everyone is afraid. We may be afraid people will judge us. We may fear our work isn’t good enough. And we shrink away from the idea of falling on our faces.

To overcome this fear of failure, it’s important to first of all surround yourself with a caring network of nonjudgmental friends and supporters. Over the years, I’ve moved away from friendships that were based on criticizing my work and demeaning my efforts.

It was painful to let those relationships go, but I’ve found myself today with a supportive group who encourages me that I can do it, no matter the endeavor.

Another way to get over your fear of failure is to fail, and fail often. I’ve made so many mistakes and flops that at this point it doesn’t affect me much when I fail. Whether it’s a new product design no one likes, or a song that gets only a few streams.

I’ve learned to keep creating, since success truly is a numbers game. I like to call it the 99/100 rule: For every 100 ideas you have, 99 of them will most likely go nowhere. For every 100 emails you send, no one will answer you on most of them. That’s why it’s important to keep ideating daily on whatever your craft may be.

A friend and I once played a game where we raced to see who could get 20 rejection emails first. A helpful trick: Making rejection more fun can make the process of putting yourself out there easier.

YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START

Last January, I had no idea how to make music but took to Google to learn how to do it. First, I start by opening a blank document and begin pouring my feelings onto the page. Then I rearrange what I’m feeling into song form.

Using talent on ​Fiverr​, I then find musicians who can make my songs a reality. Since then, I’ve written over 50 songs. Now, a few of my songs are being considered for TV and movie placement—which is a testament to the fact that you can get started in a new field at any age. If you want to get started in a new field or learn a new hobby, start typing every single question you have into Google. You’ll fall down a rabbit hole of articles, videos, and podcasts that you can learn from.

A simple way to get started is to utilize your own social network. Create a post that reads “I’m looking to get into X. Does anyone have a friend or colleagues I could speak with?” For me, this tactic has resulted in success for any question I might be stuck on.

YOU’RE IN NEED OF MOTIVATION

If this headline makes you feel uneasy, it may be true.

But don’t worry—a lack of motivation is something many people struggle with.

Over the years I’ve dabbled in an array of hobbies and passive income streams that never took flight. Last year, I bought a guitar and a keyboard and have only learned to play half of “Jingle Bells” (I’m open for holiday party gigs now!). I started to learn Greek and Turkish and then stopped at the drop of the hat. I can make excuses and say they weren’t my true passions, but it’s really because I didn’t commit to putting in the work. Recently a friend said, “Why don’t you learn to play your own songs on piano?” and it re-upped my motivation to give piano another attempt.

“Create motivation. Identify new skills that are adjacent to your current abilities,” says designer-turned-photographer​ Pamela Sisson. “Create a routine and focus on the process rather than the end result. As you move closer to the finish line, the exciting feeling of achievement will motivate you more and more.”

To get another boost of motivation on a lost start, find people who are excelling in the areas you want to pursue and find motivation in their work. Start watching YouTube tutorials or watch free Udemy courses to get you started.

For instance, if you want to be a painter, change your Instagram feed to only follow artists you admire. If your dream is to be an architect, turn your Netflix queue into architectural documentaries.

YOU’RE NEEDING TO DIVE DEEPER

The way I always learn new skills is to jump in headfirst and learn as I go from experts. When I was learning about design, I filled my Instagram feed with dozens of designers I looked up to. I would read their tips and learn from their experiences to help me navigate a new field. When I was learning to make music, I filled my calendar with conferences and events to network and meet like-minded artists I could learn from.

This tactic can work for learning just about any skill. If you’re trying to learn a language, surround yourself with new friends who are fluent. If you’re trying to transition from a lawyer to a bakery owner, fill your video queue with baking tutorials and practice one per day. If you’re an aspiring songwriter like I was, fill your Spotify with bands you admire and learn about their process and lyrical styles.

“I have a YouTube channel, but COVID-19 caused depleted motivation,” explains Jennifer Matthews, content creator. “I took a 3-month hiatus from shooting and editing videos. I started passively looking on LinkedIn to find freelance jobs and see what was out there. I ended connecting with a VP of digital content about video producing and editing opportunities to keep my video production skills sharp.”

Matthews describes how this process led her to the birth of a new project. “What started as me doing a few video production jobs here and there, [led] to helping launch one of their weekly Facebook LIVE shows.”

Today is the perfect day to take the plunge headfirst into a new hobby or skill. You might find that these new pursuits can change the course of your life for the better.

Working with a staffing agency is a great first step in your career pivot!  Allied can help you build your skills (and resume!) and introduce you to the leading employers in the Lehigh Valley.  Search our available jobs and apply today!

How Finding a Job Will be Different in 2021

Source:  Fast Company

2021 may bring some normalcy back to the workplace, but some changes are going to stick. Here’s what you need to know.

 

 

 

Whether you’ve been unemployed and looking for a job through the pandemic or are planning to leave your current role in 2021, it’s no secret that hiring has changed in many ways. From remote onboarding to a shift in where we network and look for job opportunities, there have been fundamental changes in how we get our next gigs. And even as the promise of vaccines and immunity give us a glimpse into a future where we’ll be back in the office again, some things are here to stay.

“During the eight months of the pandemic, we basically saw a lot of rules around how work gets done, be broken, or fall by the wayside,” says Erica Volini, global human capital leader at Deloitte. “People worked in radically different ways, whether that’s crossing functional silos, whether that’s teaming, whether that’s working in different industries in different sectors, assuming new roles very quickly.” And once you change the way you work, it can be tough to go back to the old way of doing things, especially if the new way works.

As the pandemic era gives way to a hybrid approach to work, the way we look for jobs will remain changed too. Here’s what job hunters can likely expect in the “next normal” in 2021:

INTERNAL TALENT MARKETPLACES WILL GROW IN IMPORTANCE

“One of the biggest trends that we are going to see in a post-pandemic world is a heavy focus on people looking for new jobs within their organization,” Volini says. Organizations will be looking internally first, sometimes on sophisticated, technology-enabled platforms, to find the right mix of skills and capabilities, she says. These marketplaces can also track employee development.

According to a recent Deloitte report, this approach helps organizations apply the talent they already have more effectively. Eventually, such marketplaces are expected to evolve into a place where employees can find stretch roles, gig assignments, mentors, and other opportunities to develop their skills. Such internal focus means that employees will need to become more adept at navigating these systems, including ensuring that their skills, training, and goals are up-to-date, to find their next roles.

YOUR DIGITAL PRESENCE WILL MATTER MORE

With remote connections still the primary way candidates connect with recruiters and hiring managers, they need to be diligent about their digital presence. Companies will increasingly find candidates through the content they develop online, says Abakar Saidov, CEO and cofounder of HR technology firm Beamery.

Hari Kolam, CEO of Findem, an HR platform that helps companies find candidates and manage their workforce, agrees. Candidates need to “move the focus from their résumés and place it more on developing their digital footprints to get noticed,” he says.

Clean up your social accounts, curate or create relevant content, and develop content—such as a blog post, introductory video, or contributed piece—that will demonstrate your thought leadership and give you an edge, he says. “Sure, a résumé is a nice-to-have and required for some applications, but it’ll just be table stakes in the 2021 job market and not enough to outshine a competitor,” he says.

EMPLOYERS WILL SEARCH FOR CAPABILITIES

As previously reported in Fast Company, Gartner data found one-third of the skills listed in an average 2017 job posting would not be relevant by 2021. As roles are reimagined, and companies need employees with skills such as problem-solving and adaptability, those skills should be evident on your résumé and in any content you create, Volini says.

“We’re starting to see technology that can actually then tell you, based on your capabilities, here are all the different types of jobs that you might be equipped for within the organization. Here are the multiple different career paths that you can start to take. And, so it starts to open up a brand new dialogue,” she says.

As more companies recognize the importance of internal mobility, she predicts there will be a shift in culture that emphasizes managers’ responsibility to develop talented employees, rather than wanting to hold onto them for their teams. That’s going to help employees have more frank conversations with managers about their goals and development.

GEOGRAPHIC OPTIONS WILL INCREASE

With so many remote opportunities opening up, geography is becoming less of a factor in where you’ll look for a job, says Amelia Ransom, senior director of diversity and engagement at tax compliance software firm Avalara and former talent director at Nordstrom.

So, while you may not have considered a company in New York or California because you would need to relocate, now that remote work is so prevalent and, for many companies, permanent, you can expand your geographic parameters. “Job seekers will now be looking for companies that have increased flexibility to accommodate different work hours, time zones, and in-person requirements as they are looking for the right position,” she says.

UPPING YOUR PRODUCTION GAME MATTERS

As videoconferencing has become such an important part of work for many, expectations around production quality are shifting, Kolam says. “When you have high-quality sound and lighting, as well as a better-than-decent headset to block out distractions, you’re set up for success for video interviews and interactions with prospective employers,” he says. Creating a mini-production center to ensure your audio and video are both high-quality can help set you apart, he says.

It also helps for job seekers to have a tracking system and a personal CRM, “anything from an Excel document to an Airtable that can help them organize their job search and keep track of job openings, job descriptions, company overviews, and follow-up timelines,” he adds.

ONLINE NETWORKING WILL CONTINUE TO GROW

Kolam says that online professional groups and job-search groups where people provide job leads, advice, and opportunities to peers have surged and will remain popular. The ease of connecting through social media or getting together for coffee over a video chat versus getting together in person will make it an ongoing tool for people who want to be time-efficient, keep in touch with contacts, and form communities.

You can find various special-interest and regional online networking opportunities on sites such as Eventbrite and Meetup. Check LinkedIn and Facebook for industry-, region-, and interest-specific online networking groups. Some organizations, such as local Chambers of Commerce and business groups, also host online networking opportunities.

IT MAY BE HARDER TO FIND THE RIGHT FIT

A key area that will be tougher for job seekers is determining whether the firm’s culture is a good fit for you, says business psychologist Matt Kerzner, director at the Center for Individual and Organizational Performance at advisory and accounting firm EisnerAmper. In other words, you can get a feel for the place by walking around, seeing the people, looking at the break room, etc. “We don’t have that right now, in today’s environment, and that gets really tricky.”

People could soon realize they’ve made a big mistake when they get a dose of the company’s culture. So, job seekers will have to become better sleuths, using social media, networking, and insightful questions to get a true sense of the company’s culture.

For many companies, shifts to remote work and new demands on most employees have changed what we took for granted about the job-search process. Like so many other work-life areas, adaptability to the new norms and willingness to explore new ways of working will be valuable assets to help you succeed.

Let Allied help you explore new ways of working!  Check out our available jobs and apply today

Where to Search for Jobs: Finding Your Next Opportunity

From the Wall Street Journal

 

Finding the perfect job takes time, patience and the right resources. As of May 2021, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that unemployed people are out of work for 19.3 weeks, or about 5 months, according to Indeed.com. The time it takes for you to find a job may vary depending on your industry, location and level of experience. It might seem counterintuitive, but the more experienced you are, the longer it may take you to find a job, because employers may see you as overqualified. But there are some ways you can make the search more constructive.

1. Learn how to network.

One of the most powerful things you can do when searching for jobs is actively network. It can be awkward and, for people who aren’t naturally outgoing, requires a bit of courage, initiative and self-discipline.

  • Start with friends and people you know. Get a feel for creating rapport with those you are already comfortable with in order to have some ice-breakers ready to go when you expand beyond your social circles.
  • Find people who have similar jobs to the one you are seeking. Let them know you would like to learn more about their jobs and see if they know of any openings in the industry. The more you make connections, the easier it will be to gather intel on what is available.
  • Force yourself out of your comfort zone. Start reaching out beyond your immediate circle once you feel like you have a good rhythm. You don’t need to contact 10 people right out of the gate. The first couple of cold calls are always the hardest.
  • Know that people genuinely enjoy your interest in them. Don’t feel like you are imposing on people by asking about their jobs. Steve Dalton, author of the “Two Hour Job Search” told us, “It’s an old maxim that ‘interested is interesting.’ They take a reciprocal interest in you because you have good taste in who you listen to speak, and that’s where jobs come from.”

2. Search online job sites.

Looking at online job boards is an efficient way to find opportunities. Most employers use one or more of them to find candidates.

Glassdoor: Glassdoor is known as a resource for researching a potential employer. You will find ratings and reviews of different employers on a range of topics, such as compensation, company culture, how generous benefits are, and what employees think about top executives.

Indeed: Indeed’s main function is as a search engine for jobs. It also happens to be one of the most popular sites for job candidates, which makes it attractive to employers trying to cast a wide net in search of potential candidates. It has other value-add offerings, such as a salary comparison tool, allowing you to look at compensation trends among different industries. It also allows other users to review companies, providing insights into what it might be like to work for or interview at certain companies.

Ladders: The selling point of TheLadders is that it only features vetted jobs with annual compensation of $100,000 or above. It offers a well-curated index of jobs by industry and skill specialism. It also allows you to filter by the highest-paying companies in each industry.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn markets itself as a “professional social network” where, aside from job listings, you can potentially reach decision makers at the companies you wish to apply to. Candidates can get an edge by looking at the profiles and posts of those who they might be interviewing with for insights into their career paths. Since users’ profiles are always available to view and the platform is used for networking, LinkedIn allows potential employers to find you whether or not you are actively seeking a new job. This sets it apart from other job sites.

SimplyHired: This site can flag job openings to you based on your location. It also offers a resume-building tool with a number of templates and formats specific to your career. Employers aren’t charged to post jobs on SimplyHired, so the quality of the jobs may not be quite as high as on other boards.

Upwork: If you are looking for freelance gigs, there are a wealth of job opportunities on Upwork, particularly if you have technical or design skills. The platform is well designed for bidding on jobs and communicating with those commissioning the work.

ZipRecruiterZipRecruiter’s key features include an option to message with employers through the site and a one-click application option. The platform will also let you know when employers are looking at your resume.

Key takeaways from job boards

  • Different boards have different features, so it makes sense to use more than one to take advantage of the resources they offer.
  • Researching a potential employer can help you decide where you want to work.
  • You can streamline your search using boards that cater to certain pay levels, or based on employee and interviewee feedback.

As you find and apply for jobs, check that you have everything—from your resume to your online image—in order to land the job you want.

3. Join a professional network.

Professional organizations can be a useful way to network with people in your industry and give you access to jobs that might not be widely found on the job boards we mentioned above. In addition, they can be a resource to learn which skills you should learn and how to do so. JobStars has a list of professional organizations you can use as a starting point for finding one relevant for your search.

4. Get an advocate and work with placement agencies.

Agencies and recruiters can maximize your search potential by actively looking for work for you. Once they have familiarized themselves with your skills and experience, they can be an additional resource pounding the pavement to help you land your dream job.

Keep in mind agencies and recruiters will receive a fee from the employer for placing you, and companies only work with a preferred list of agencies and recruiters. This can work both for and against you, depending on whether the job you are hoping to get is one they have been approved to recruit for.

You can find lists of recruiters and agencies by industry on JobStars. Other websites where you can find recruiters include SearchFirmOnline Recruiters Directory and Recruiterly. For creative jobs, a great place to look is Aquent.

Beyond your search

When your job search takes longer than you expected, it can feel overwhelming. If you are facing setbacks in landing the job you want, it may be time to look beyond your search. Use this guide to help you take a strategic approach in finding your next career opportunity.

 

Get extra support for your job search with Allied!  Review our available jobs and apply today!