Category Archives: Job Search

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!  

 

3 Essentials for an Exceptional First Impression

You’ve heard it before: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Research shows we make judgments about someone’s trustworthiness in seconds. What’s more, our first impressions are unlikely to change – even if we see conflicting evidence that suggests they’re wrong!

first impression

The takeaway? First impressions are very important, and shouldn’t be left to chance. With a little education and practice,  you can increase your chances of making an exceptional first impression. In addition to nailing the basics, like maintaining eye contact and having a firm handshake, there are other simple actions you can practice to make a memorable first impression:

  1. Listen actively. One way to establish an immediate sense of trust and connection is through active listening.  Active listening occurs when you are fully immersed in what the other person is saying, as opposed to thinking of the next thing you’re going to say or selectively listening for what you want to hear. The key is to be authentic. It is obvious to the other person if you are not taking a genuine interest in them or the subject, so only ask a question if you genuinely want to know the answer and avoid giving in to distractions. Use body language as well. Making eye contact and smiling builds trust and indicates you are fully present in the conversation. Active listening may sound simple, but can be very difficult when you are nervous and thinking about what you are going to say or ask next. Practice active listening in advance and take deep breaths to clear your mind before the meeting.
  2. Ask meaningful follow-up questions. If you are actively listening to someone, it is easier for you to think of follow-up questions based on your curiosity about the topic, or to clarify their message. In case the conversation comes to a lull, have questions prepared based on your research of the person. Preparing questions that go deeper than a typical, surface-level conversation makes the interaction memorable. Keep your questions open-ended and let them do the talking. Research has found that when people talk about themselves, it produces pleasurable feelings and stimulation in the brain, which will leave them with a positive impression of you!
  3. Book your next meeting in person. Clarifying the next step and your next meeting time demonstrates you are reliable and committed to developing the relationship. If possible, continue to have in-person meetings, since 93% of communication effectiveness depends on nonverbal cues, which are best assessed in person rather than through video conferencing or over the phone. Also, in-person meetings result in more small talk, which is an innate part of social bonding and establishes trust.

First impressions are developed quickly and are long-lasting, so you need to make them count! When you’ve made a positive first impression, getting your next meeting is much easier.  Whether or not these actions come naturally to you, it’s a good idea to practice them with people you already know and trust. When you’re meeting someone you really want to impress, your nerves can get the better of you and reduce your ability to listen and ask thoughtful questions. The more you practice, the more likely you’ll be able to do it in stressful situations. These simple, but essential tips will improve your first impressions greatly and can have a huge impact on your business and personal relationships.

Be sure to check our blog often for more tips for success at work.  Ready to make a great first impression at a new gig?  Check out our available jobs and apply today!

Use Your Strengths to Improve Your Relationships

What are your strengths?

Hundreds of self-directed tests and assessments have been created to help people figure this out. It’s one of the most commonly asked interview questions, and many companies aspire to build a “strengths-based” culture, which encourages employees to discover and develop their strengths.

Studies continuously show that focusing on your strengths leads to higher levels of engagement and better performance. When you focus on using your strengths, rather than improving or “fixing” your weaknesses,  your confidence and self-awareness increases.

Conversely, when you are focused on your weaknesses, you are more likely to have lower levels of confidence and be more stressed, which can negatively impact self-esteem and your ability to have healthy relationships.

Discovering Your Strengths

You may have an idea of your strengths based on past performance reviews, feedback from others, and by looking at your past successes. These can be helpful, but they are contextual and subjective. Here are a few tools for helping you discover your strengths:

  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has been used consistently in organizations over the past 40 years to help people become more aware of how they judge and perceive situations and others. For example, are you more externally focused (extroverted) or internally-focused (introverted)? Do you look to logic for decision-making (thinking), or do you consider how you or others feel first when making a decision (feeling)? Through a questionnaire, you are assessed across four main dichotomies and given your personality type. For a fee, you can take the test and receive personalized courses and guides about how to make the most of your strengths. Because this test has been used for so long, it has been refined and validated by many professionals. There are endless resources available based on the test that help you leverage your personality type and strengths in both a personal and professional context.
  • For an assessment about your character strengths, the VIA institute offers a free character test for you to identify whether things like teamwork, gratitude, and curiosity come more naturally to you than other character traits. These not only give you insights into your own strengths, it also helps you recognize strengths in others, which can improve your relationships and the gratitude you feel towards others in your professional and personal life.
  • The DISC Assessment Test is a free psychologically-based assessment test that is commonly used for teams and motivational purposes. Based on your answers, you are placed into one of four different personality types: dominant, influence, steadiness, and compliant. Although you’ll likely exhibit one type more than the others, you may demonstrate the other personality types in varying degrees.  Because this test is widely used, there are many free resources that help explain the implications of your result and help you understand the traits of the other personality types as well.

An important thing to remember is that there are advantages of all of the personality types, character traits, and categories that these tests diagnose, and one type or category is not “bad” or better than another. Also, while these tests are a great start to helping you determine your strengths, they have their limitations. It is impossible to capture the full essence of someone through online tests and questionnaires. To make sure you’re not missing anything important that such assessments did not detect, ask your friends and colleagues about your strengths and competencies as well.

Choosing a Career Based On Your Strengths

Knowing your strengths also allows you to choose opportunities for which you are well-suited. For instance, if creativity is a strength, choosing an R&D position rather than a sales or administrative position might be a better fit for you. Similarly, if you shine in client-facing tasks, choosing a client representative role over a position that is more focused on research and analysis will help you hone your strengths and increase your likelihood of success in that role.

In addition, being aware of your strengths can help you determine the value you can add to a team or a group, as well as identify the types of people with whom you work best. For example, if you are very detail-oriented, then you might add a lot of value to the team by taking note of the action items from each meeting and holding people accountable. If you have this trait, you would work well with someone who is more big-picture focused, since they will complement your detail-oriented approach by keeping the overall project or purpose of the task in mind.

Using Your Strengths To Build Positive Relationships

Authentic relationships are the key to unlocking your true potential. Understanding your strengths and recognizing others’ strengths will help you find and build positive professional relationships that will be mutually beneficial. The Enneagram Test is a tool commonly used in the workplace to help improve team dynamics and business relationships. It measures your personality across 9 personality types, giving you a better understanding of your tendencies, stressors, fears, and strengths. It helps you understand how you interact with others and how others will interact with you based on their personalities. The better you understand your strengths and how to use them, the more you’ll be able to bring to a relationship.

For example, if one of your personality strengths is making people feel connected and comfortable, help your contacts connect with others and start conversations. If you’re task-oriented, use that strength to stay in touch with your contacts on a regular basis or help them accomplish a task they’ve mentioned to you.

Using your strengths in relationships will likely feel natural to you in situations or relationships in which you feel comfortable. It may take a little more effort and practice when you’re feeling vulnerable, but that’s when focusing on using your strengths, rather than worrying about your weaknesses, will help you build and develop relationships that create opportunities.

Using Your Strengths To Serve Others

Understanding your strengths and confidently using them will allow you to serve others in meaningful ways. Serving others increases your sense of purpose, which leads to greater happiness. Conversely, knowing your strengths also enables you to set boundaries and say “no” to projects, requests, or relationships that aren’t a fit. Focusing on how you can use your strengths to best serve others, rather than how you can please others, will enable you to thrive in your relationships and career.

Going through the process of discovering your strengths and the best ways to use them will also improve your ability to help others discover and use their strengths successfully. Bringing out strengths in others is a highly desirable leadership skill, one that will serve you well in business, relationships and your career.

Key Takeaways

  • Focusing on your developing strengths rather than “fixing” your weaknesses will help you build a successful career and positive relationships.
  • Use the available personality tests and assessments to get an idea of your strengths, weaknesses, and relational style. However, recognize that automated test results don’t fully define you. Ask trusted friends or colleagues to share their feedback and do some self-reflecting to fully understand your strengths.
  • Knowing your strengths and using them to serve others is the best way to build authentic relationships, feel a sense of purpose, and thrive in your career.

How are you using your strengths to serve others in your career and relationships? Write down a few ways you are or want to and let them guide you!

 

Looking for a new opportunity to tap into your strengths?  Check out all of our available positions and apply today!

 

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!

During Covid-19, Technology Can Help You Find a New Career Path

If Covid has thrown your job, company or career for a loop, this may be the moment to think about not just a next move, but a larger career change.

Of course, such a move is impossible—or at least close to it—for many people who don’t have the contacts or resources to make it happen. But for those lucky enough to take advantage of it, technology can help address some of the obstacles to making a midcareer shift—especially right now, when so much of the professional world has moved entirely online out of necessity.

By putting a range of professional conversations and communities at your fingertips, the internet makes it much easier to figure out which fields are the best fit for your interests and talents. And through low-risk, low-cost options for trying out new professional contexts—such as taking online courses or doing remote pro bono work—you can assess a new career direction before you take a leap.

Here is how to tap into all that to help plan a career change.

Assess your options

Before you start to make a move, get a feel for your options by eavesdropping on other fields and getting familiar with the cultures and opportunities they offer, as well as the kinds of people and tasks that are involved.

An easy place to start is by joining professional groups on LinkedIn, so you can watch (or join in) the online conversation; many groups will welcome anyone who asks to come on board. Following a LinkedIn group for environmental lawyers, for instance, might confirm your hopes that this is a field you would like to leap into—or it might reveal political squabbles you’d find intolerable. Likewise, if you have friends or colleagues in this field, pay closer attention to them online and see what they share and respond to.

Be sure to follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as Facebook. Maybe the occasional posts you see from your management-consultant friends make their fast-paced work look appealing, but reading the full stream of their working lives will give you a better sense of whether it is a pace you would want to sustain yourself.

In addition, find the top Twitter hashtags, tweetups or Twitter chats in your new field and make a point of following or participating. You may find a group of kindred spirits who share not only your passion for project management, but also your affection for dogs and gardening—or you may discover that they are snarky and gossipy in a way you hate.

For something that offers a bit more opportunity for (virtual) face time, you might also sign up for webinars and remote events; there has never been a better opportunity to attend conferences in lots of industries for low to no cost.

Finally, if you do all that and you’re still torn between two or three different career paths, use Glassdoor, Payscale, LinkedIn, Indeed and other career sites to figure out pay ranges, volume of opportunities and expected qualifications.

Assess yourself

Next, figure out if your potential new field or career is actually the right fit for your particular skills and talents. There are many tech tools and strategies that can help you get a better perspective on your strengths and weaknesses.

One of my favorites is a 360-degree assessment that asks for online input from colleagues, bosses, direct reports and friends. This is best accomplished through a third-party consultant who can review and anonymize the results and help you make sense of them. When I completed an online 360 as part of a leadership program many years ago, I was surprised to learn I was a better manager than I thought, and that encouraged me to take on professional roles with more managerial responsibilities. If I’d had that kind of feedback face to face from my direct reports (as opposed to online and anonymously), I would not have trusted it as much.

It can also be useful to do an online self-assessment. Twenty years ago, when I was first working as a digital business consultant, an online self-assessment found I was a perfect fit for a career as a (drum roll) digital business consultant. It was very affirming and kept me from a big career rethink I didn’t need.

You can get a different sort of 360 by looking at analytics that examine your social-media presence. I routinely use software to see which of my articles have been shared the most on different platforms, for instance.

This kind of close examination will show you the kinds of blog posts, photos, Facebook posts and tweets that draw the biggest response, which can provide an important clue about where you add the greatest value.

But be sure to look not only at your most shared or liked content, but also at the stuff that didn’t perform well.

For example, you may think you’ve found your calling as a furniture designer on the strength of a few Instagram posts with your sofa designs that got a ton of likes. But some investigating may show that the vast majority of your other designs got little attention—so you might conclude that something else about the popular photos drove all those likes and shares. Such as the cute dog on the sofa, and not the sofa itself.

Test out the job

Let’s say you’ve found a field or profession that appeals and for which you seem to be a great fit. Now consider a virtual test drive.

One simple method: Set up a blog or social-networking profile focused on an area you’re thinking about moving into, and start posting. It is best to put up material regularly (at least once a week, or two to three times a week if you’re just posting short updates) for at least two or three months to see if you maintain your interest or this is more of a brief flirtation.

It is one thing to post the occasional set of house photos or neighborhood profiles to a real-estate blog; it is another to endure the day-in, day-out grind of adding a few house profiles every week.

(It is good practice to use a mysterious (but not misleading) pseudonym; if you want to design wine labels, call yourself “The Stylish Vintner” in your wine blog. If you decide to drop the field, there is nothing out there with your name on it. If you decide to pursue the career, you can out yourself.)

Another way to get a taste test is to take an online course in your new proposed field. Don’t think just in terms of accumulating credentials or skills; it is useful to take a course that will give you a feel for the breadth of work or the culture of the field. Also consider taking a participatory class, so you can get a sense of personalities and even start to form collegial relationships.

A volunteer engagement is another terrific way to gain some perspective and experience. If you have some credible basis for offering your services, try offering yourself as a pro bono service provider to a charitable organization. Right now, when everyone is working virtually, you don’t have to be constrained by geography, plus many organizations are stretched thin by the Covid crisis.

Map out your route

Unless you’re moving into a field or career path that is very closely related to your existing or most recent role, you probably need to plan your career transition in terms of “hops” that will take you from here to there.

In other words, first move into a career that is just a little different from your current job—but that is closer to your dream in terms of the industry, role or specific responsibilities. Use that role to build the skills, relationships and résumé that bring you one more step closer to your ideal, and then (in another couple of years), make your next hop.

For example, if you’re a web developer but you want to get into human resources, you could start by searching out HR companies where you could build websites—and get an inside view of the industry. As you’re working with HR teams, take every opportunity to learn about how they work and what they are looking for, and offer web or tech suggestions that reflect your growing understanding of their work.

With the experience and contacts you gain, you can then look for another job that is more focused on HR—bringing you closer to your goal.

For examples to follow, look at LinkedIn profiles of people in your new chosen career and reverse-engineer their career paths. Let’s say you’re a software developer but would like to work in epidemiology. Search out people whose current job title includes “epidemiologist” but whose profiles also include “software developer.”

Then look at their résumés and figure out the path they took to get from developer to public-health expert. You might see one person moved from software development into data-management-software development, then into data management and then into public-health-data management specifically.

Network—a lot

Start building virtual relationships with people at the companies where you hope to find your next job via LinkedIn or Twitter, and if you’re in a visual field, Instagram or Pinterest. If you build friendly relationships with a few people over time, after a while it is perfectly appropriate to reach out via private message to ask them if they can keep an eye out for potential job openings.

Don’t forget to reframe your own digital presence. Look at all your business-related profiles online and shift what you showcase so you can position yourself for the job you want. Let’s say you’re a software engineer but want to get into sales. If you’ve helped answer technical questions for customers or salespeople during the sales process, put that in the top of each job summary in your LinkedIn profile, so you look like a more obvious fit for sales roles.

Once you’ve got the right foot forward, start to book online meetings that move you closer to your goal. Whenever you apply for a job (or even think of applying for one), use LinkedIn to look for first- or second-degree connections at the company you’re applying to, and see if you can (re)introduce yourself. Don’t wait for a job opening to book these meetings—look for any opportunity to make new relationships with people in the companies or fields you’re targeting.

Finally, get creative. You may get better and faster results to your meeting requests by developing your own project in your field of choice, even if it is just an excuse to book some calls or meetings. Write the short e-book you think the field needs, sharing best practices from process engineers; start a podcast about higher-ed tutoring; build a directory of leaders in community fundraising. You just need something you can use to set up 15-minute conversations that are a good use of everyone’s time. And that something may turn out to be the first step in your brand-new career.

Source:  The Wall Street Journal

 

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