Tag Archives: careers

Choosing your References

referenceIt is standard practice to perform reference checks on every new hire. Generally, potential hires are asked to provide three references for the Hiring Manager to contact. Some companies do not check references at all. Some will check all, others stop after reaching one. Regardless of how often they are contacted, you need to have confidence that your references are helping you reach your career goal. Here are some do’s and don’ts to make the most of your references:

DO ask your desired references well in advance of when they might be contacted. It is important to give plenty of warning so they can think about what to say. It is extremely difficult, and unkind, to put a reference on the spot without giving them a heads up. It is a good idea to confirm with your references their agreement and current contact information at the beginning of your job search. Continue reading Choosing your References

7 Elements of a Great Workplace

Some companies have a reputation for being a great place to work – Facebook and Google are the two most popular and well-known examples. But a company doesn’t have to be a huge multi-billion dollar enterprise to be a great place to work. Small, medium and large businesses of all industries have a lot to offer their employees. What can we learn from the top companies’ practices to create an environment that employees love working in every day? Let’s start with these 6 factors:

  1. Benefits. Number one on many job seekers list, good benefits are mandatory for companies to be considered a desirable place to work. Health, dental, massage, eye care, family plans, a pension plan, vacation days and sick time… the list goes on.
  2. Salary. Right next to benefits is how much money the job offers. A competitive salary will draw in top quality applicants and keep workers happy. Being stressed about finances or covering basic needs is not going to make an employee happy about their company.
  3. Flexibility. Being able to telecommute, work from home a few days a week, or work flexible hours can help to handle everyday stress and contribute to a healthy work-life balance. A company that can be flexible with its hours is one that cares about its employees’ well-being. Giving time for people getting over a personal tragedy or getting adjusted after maternity leave shows the company has a lot of empathy.
  4. Management. The people you work with every day have a huge effect on how you perceive your company, and how satisfied you are with your job. A boss from hell can make your life miserable, no matter how good a pension the company offers. Incompetent managers, micro-managing, unclear corporate structure or too many managers can all lead to a toxic workplace. On the other hand, a manager that communicates well, listens to his/her employees, and provides helpful feedback and advice will increase productivity, employee retention and help create a positive environment.
  5. Training. Training should be ongoing – starting with teaching new hires how the company works and what is expected of them, and continuing with improving the skills and knowledge of long-term employees. Opportunities for growth and learning are something most people look for to feel satisfied in their career. Paying for workers to attend workshops, conferences or courses to upgrade their certifications or degrees benefits both the company and the employee.
  6. Small perks. Creating an everyday office culture that give benefits to workers provides a sense of overall happiness and good will. Little things like weekly free lunches, a stocked beverage fridge, family events or a daycare show an appreciation for employees and make a workplace less stressful.
  7. Corporate responsibility. While the above points are all great ideas, it is important to consider the company’s products, services, stance on major topics like sustainability, and their treatment of clients or customers. Being able to respect a company’s overall vision and high-level decisions are key to retaining employees that will be proud of who they work for.

Reasons you never hear back after a job application

You apply to dozens of positions, sending in customized cover letters each time, sure that the next one will land you the perfect job… but never hear anything back.

Sound familiar? You aren’t the only one. Aside from the automatic email reply acknowledging your application, many companies do not reply individually to their applicants. One of the main difficulties is that there are so many people competing for the same positions. Hiring managers may receive hundreds, or even thousands of resumes – it’s impossible to read through each one carefully, and many are screened out as quickly as possible. Companies using hiring software to pre-screen candidates mean that your resume may be discarded before anyone even sees it. This can be very discouraging, when you are putting in a lot of effort to finding a career. But don’t lose hope – there may be ways you can raise your chances of being contacted. The Glassdoor blog lists 5 reasons why you don’t hear back from an employer, most of them specific to your application: Continue reading Reasons you never hear back after a job application

Invest in Your Career

Glenn Llopis writes a comprehensive article for Forbes on managing your career: taking your goals, ambitions, capabilities and passions into a career building strategy. Following the article’s 5 steps will ideally result in a job and lifestyle you are satisfied and happy with. I’ve summarized each of the steps below:

  1. Invest in Your Strengths: Use Them More Frequently
    Focus on and develop the things you are good at and passionate about
  2. Invest in Intelligence and Know-How: Apply it More Actively
    Learn about your industry, the competition and the leaders in the field
  3. Invest in the Right Relationships: Give Them Time and Attention
    Network with others in your industry and connect with potential mentors
  4. Invest in a Career Coach:  Sustain Your Momentum
    Stay committed to your career goals
  5. Invest in Your Family and Personal Life: Create Balance and Strengthen Your Career
    Glenn states that this will make you a better person overall

Read the full article here

Job Fairs: Worth your Time?

Career fairs are crowded and interview chances are slim, but all the big companies are there… so are they really worth attending?

job fairThe answer, as usual, is that it depends. It depends on what type of position you are looking for, what kind of recruiters are attending and what your career goals are. Here are some arguments for and against the job fair to help decide the right answer for you.

Are there hiring managers there? If yes, go! Hiring managers can conduct meaningful interviews on the spot, and have a say in the hiring decision. Practice your interview skills and make one-on-one connections with employers in your industry. There are lots of networking opportunities here – the connections you make may land you a job later. Focus on the booths that have less traffic, so you have an opportunity for a conversation. Follow up by email or a LinkedIn request by referencing a topic you discussed.

These days more and more companies are sending representatives to collect resumes or simply direct candidates to apply online. Don’t bother visiting these types of booths at a career fair: your paper resume has a good chance of being lost in the pile. Instead, visit an online job board, like HireGround Careers, and get your resume in electronically.

If you are new to the area, or recently graduated, a career fair can be worthwhile. It is a way of researching the organizations in your industry and learning which jobs are in demand.

Final tip: Dress for an interview, so you are prepared if there is one on the spot. You will leave a good impression by dressing professionally, as this shows you are serious about your career.

Jobs! The Monday List: …on Tuesday September 6 2011


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