Category Archives: Staffing Firm

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!

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!

LVEDC Q&A: Susan Larkin Discusses Staffing Challenges During COVID-19

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) is led by a Board of Directors with expertise that represents a broad cross-section of the regional economy. LVEDC Director and Allied Personnel Services Vice President Susan Larkin, who has more than two decades of experience in the staffing industry, recently shared her insights about the employment challenges businesses face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q: Please tell us about Allied Personnel Services and your role there.

A: Since 1984 Allied has been providing staffing and employment solutions to Lehigh Valley employers. We develop long-term partnerships with our clients, and many of the area’s most successful companies have been clients for 30+ years.  A key to Allied’s success is our ability to deliver ti

mely and effective talent solutions that are flexible to quickly adjust to changing market conditions.

My role as Vice President is to oversee operations and to consult with our clients, developing strategic staffing programs and sharing critical labor market information based on the diverse insight and experience I’ve gained over my 25 years as an executive in the staffing industry.

Q: Before the pandemic, when unemployment was at record low levels, attracting and retaining talent was the biggest issue facing employers. How has the pandemic changed employer perspectives on the importance of talent supply?

A: The pandemic has elevated employers’ awareness of how fragile the talent supply is and how a high rate of unemployment doesn’t always equate to a robust talent supply.  Because of the strong distribution and biotech sectors in our area, layoffs in those areas were not as significant.  Add to that the challenges families face finding child care, the fears surrounding a return to work in the face of COVID, and the financial incentives offered through FCCRA [Families First Coronavirus Response Act] and unemployment, and the supply of available talent hasn’t significantly increased.  Retaining talent has really become an even bigger focus.  Keeping the hardworking, reliable, skilled employees on staff is critical to success when industries see a return to prior levels of workload.

Q: What types of jobs do employers need to fill during the quarantine economy and how do you expect that to change as restrictions are eased?

A: There continues to be a demand for skilled manufacturing roles, logistics staff, and scientific roles like quality control and lab work.  As restrictions ease, we expect to see the offices and smaller businesses rebound with a corresponding increase in demand across all skill levels.

Q: What role did school closures and the availability of child care play on employment during the pandemic and how will that affect the local economy as the economy opens back up?

A: It is an extremely difficult hurdle for families.  Some people were forced to leave the workforce completely to stay home with small children.  Others that had the luxury of moving to a work from home arrangement were forced to figure out how to both educate their own children and keep up with their own work.  If daycares and schools do not reopen in the fall, this will have a long-term negative impact on the talent supply and productivity of at home workers.  Workers will require increased flexibility for child and family care and employers should be prepared to adapt to accommodate these new employee needs.

Q: Explain why enhanced employment benefits may be a challenge for some employers to find workers?

A: Enhanced employment benefits were intended to provide workers affected by the pandemic with immediate, significant financial assistance to allow them to remain home during the stay-at-home order.  Unfortunately for essential businesses that have continued to operate, these enhanced benefits have had the unintended consequence of incentivizing people not to work.  Many are able to make significantly more money each week with unemployment than they could earn with the jobs available to them.  This has made recruiting for all types and levels of employees a challenge.

Q: How does social distancing and more rigorous disinfecting impact the number of workers an employer can hire even if there is demand for the product or service?

A: Complying with the ever-evolving CDC and OSHA guidelines has forced companies to rapidly adjust their operations.  Hiring, training, scheduling and workflows have all been adapted, and in some cases the number of workers able to work in certain areas has been reduced in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.  There have been some opportunities created with increased needs for sanitation and medical screening workers.  We’ve seen our clients reacting well to these new challenges, and certainly those who are able to pivot to a new normal quickly will see a quicker recovery.

Q: How does the Lehigh Valley talent supply initiative position the region coming out of the COVID-19?

A: The LVEDC Talent Supply Initiative recognized the need to prioritize building a strong workforce before COVID-19, and the work around developing and retaining talent will easily be able to be applied to the post-COVID labor market.  Areas such as career pathways, internships, and apprenticeships will all be vital in reshaping the workforce as we move forward, and the work that has been done in these areas already has prepared the Lehigh Valley to respond to the new challenges that employers will face.

Source:  LVEDC

Your Job Search: The Big Picture

It is never easy to talk when having your teeth cleaned, but recently I chatted with my dental hygienist while she cleaned my teeth. I always ask about her kids – particularly her son, Joe.

A few years ago, Joe was searching for a job and came to Allied. We placed him in a warehouse position at a great company – a company that ended up hiring him. Today, my hygienist told me he is interviewing for a position in that same company’s sales and marketing department, something he was always interested in. If he gets the position, he’ll train in Europe for a few weeks. She also told me the company is paying for him to complete his degree, something else he always hoped to do. I heard the pride in her voice as she talked about him; she was so happy he got into this company because so many new opportunities were now opening for him.

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I love to hear stories like this. They confirm what we in the staffing industry know: temporary work can open doors you may have never known existed nor been able to open yourself. Joe didn’t do well when he went to college straight out of high school so he dropped out. If he had applied for the same sales and marketing job then, he never would have gotten the interview. But now, he’s had the chance to prove himself to a company that recognized his potential and is giving him the chance to move from the warehouse to a job he’d merely dreamed of a few years ago. Plus, he is with a company that will finance the completion of his degree.

When we talk to people about jobs, we encourage them to consider the big picture. Maybe we don’t have your dream job available. We dare you to look at more than that. Is the company part of an industry that appeals to you? Does the company have a variety of departments and positions? Will the experience improve your resume? Will the job help you pay your bills while you continue to look for your dream job?

During a job search, it is important to take a step back and look at things differently. I’m sure Joe was frustrated before he came to us and I’m sure he complained to someone about having to take a warehouse job to get by, but I bet he’s happy with the big picture unfolding in front of him right now.

Want to jumpstart your job search?  Take a look at our current opportunities, and apply today!

Job Search Tools: Wordle

Have you ever heard of a wordle? Self-described as a “toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide”, they offer an interesting way to visually represent text. Words that appear more frequently in the source text are displayed larger than other words. It’s an interesting exercise to create a wordle of your blog feed to see if the resulting image accurately represents the message you are hoping to deliver with your posts.

The wordle created from our blog feed is below, and it perfectly captures the goals and message of this blog. (Click to enlarge.)

Wordles aren’t just for blogs. You can cut and paste any text and create an image. Try creating a word cloud from your resume. Are the words that represent your strengths, skills and experience that you want to highlight the largest? If you have multiple resumes that you use for different positions, creating a wordle for each is an easy way to see if they are emphasizing the correct things. And what about your cover letters? A wordle can help you see if the keywords and important points of the job description or posting that you are responding to are prominent enough in your letter.

Wordles are a fun “toy”, but also have some possibilities to help you with your job search, even if only to help you look at it a bit differently. Sometimes being able to take a different perspective can be a big help, especially with something like your resume that you may have looked at over and over. And that new perspective might be the spark your job search needs.

Once you have that resume ready to go, check out our current openings and get it over to our recruiters!

Lehigh Valley’s Best Employment Agency

For the 13th time, Allied Personnel Services has been named the Lehigh Valley’s Best Employment Agency in The Morning Call’s Reader’s Choice awards!

2019 marks Allied’s 35th year serving the Lehigh Valley, and we are humbled by another Reader’s Choice win.  The commitment and hard work of our staff and temporary employees continues to set Allied apart as the top staffing service in the Lehigh Valley.

Thank you to everyone that voted for us!

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Professional Career Opportunities

Allied is more than just temporary staffing! We are also a leader in the staffing of Office & Professional roles for companies across a diverse set of industries within the Lehigh Valley.  And working with a professional recruiter can transform your job search!

Here are just a few of the roles we currently have available:

images-1HR Manager

Senior Operations Manager

HR Generalist

HRIS Analyst

Staff Accountant

QA Documentation Coordinator

Network Engineer

Desktop Support

Project Coordinator

Corporate Recruiter

These full-time positions are all located in the Lehigh Valley and offer the chance to work with some of the best companies in the area. If you are interested in one of these openings, please email your resume to janell@alliedps.com for immediate consideration.  (Haven’t updated your resume recently?  Check out our tips for giving it a refresh!)