Building Up Your Work Experience

February 27th, 2015

Your “work experience” section can be the most important part of your resume, and in some cases, it may be the only section that your potential employers actually read before they make the decision to call you in for an in-person interview (or not). If your list of previous positions perfectly aligns with your employer’s needs and you’ve never missed a beat, held a single bad job, or spent a single minute among the unemployed, you’ll be fine… But since this doesn’t apply to very many people, most of us can take a few steps to make this section more effective. Try the moves below.

Find an Alignment

If the parallel between the responsibilities you held and the accomplishments you acquired in your last position align with the needs of your prospective employers, make this clear. And if they don’t align perfectly, find a line between the two and use your words to illustrate this line clearly. Use the keywords that appear in the job post and make the distinction clear.

Stay Busy

During the time between your last position and your next one, make sure you stay active and involved in the larger world. Take on leadership responsibilities in your community. Participate in any organization that interests you, from your homeowners association to your PTA to a local club, sports team or charitable society. Volunteer to help a local non-profit organization. Join an open source community and contribute something meaningful.

Keep Learning

Don’t let your skills stagnate while you’re waiting to get back on the bicycle. And while you’re at it, don’t just run to stand still; keep actively learning new skills and exposing yourself to new information and new facets of your industry. You can do this by conducting research online and contributing actively to various thought communities. But even better, get away from your screen. Sign up for a class, find a mentor, read actual books, subscribe to professional journals, and consider membership in a new professional society or group with regular meetings.

Stay in Circulation

Keep exposing yourself to new people and new opportunities. Travel if you can afford the time and cost. Attend conferences and networking events. If you can, work to publish papers and give presentations, even without the support and sponsorship of a formal employer.

For more on how to stay busy, connected, and growing whether you have a job or not, consult the job search experts at PSU.

Hiring is Getting Difficult…But We Can Help

February 20th, 2015

If you’re a hiring manager attempting to find and recruit talented candidates in the 2015 labor market, you may have noticed a few recent trends. Compared to the hiring picture of 2010, 1.) rare skill sets are harder to find, 2.) overqualified applicants used to flood the landscape, but their numbers are shrinking, and 3.) candidates left waiting by the phone tend to disappear. Talented workers are no longer willing to put up with low salary offers, ten rounds of interviews, or long hiring timelines. If you’re slow with your decision, they’ll simply accept offers elsewhere.

Long story short: it’s getting rough out there for managers. But if you’re facing these challenges and you just don’t have the budget to keep up with your competitors, don’t despair. We’re here to help!

In the Staffing World, Experience Counts

When you pace your trust in the established, experienced staffing team at PSU, you’ll benefit from our extensive industry connections and the wide reach of our reputation. We source top candidates all over the country, and we know how to attract the specific types of talent you’re looking for. We also understand that you need more than talent; you’re also looking for personality and cultural alignment. We’ll listen closely to your credentials and requirements, then we’ll turn toward the marketplace and help you find the matches you need.

Professional Staffing Reduces Risk

When you choose to partner with a staffing agency, you reduce risk as well as cost and headaches. We can provide you with employee agreements on a contingency basis, and if you and the employee prove to be a mismatch over time, we can reassign the employee to another client and provide a replacement. If you love the employee and want to take her on full time, you’re free to do so as soon as the contract period ends. With this system in place, you won’t have to make a commitment before you’ve worked closely with a candidate for several weeks.

Navigating the current hiring market may seem like an uphill climb, but with the PSU staffing team on your side, you’ll have what it takes to attract, hire, and retain the most talented candidates in your search area. Contact our office today!


Selecting Professional References

February 13th, 2015

After you submit your resume and cover letter, if all goes well, you’ll be contacted by your potential employers and invited in for an interview. And if the interview goes well, you’ll be called in for another and maybe even a third. If you make it this far, it means your employers are ready to start taking the next step: contacting your references to solicit outside opinions about your character and performance.

Reference checks are socially awkward and time consuming, so employers don’t usually love conducting them. But despite the general hesitance, these checks still offer volumes of useful information that can help mangers make a final hiring decision. If they’re smart, they gather their resolve and pick up the phone, and they do this somewhere close to the very end of the selection process. Will you be ready when this day comes? To prepare, you’ll need to choose your references carefully. Keep these factors in mind.

Choose people who will take the process seriously.

The weakest reference will be a person who doesn’t pick up the phone when employers call and doesn’t return the message later on. If your reference is impossible to reach, this might just mean she’s busy. But to an employer, this suggests that she doesn’t know who you are, doesn’t care about the outcome of your job search, or has nothing positive to say about you. Pick someone who will step up and jump at the chance to help you.

Choose a reference who knows you well…

You can use coworkers, peers, and even classmates as professional references if you choose; these people have worked side by side with you and can provide detail about your character and work ethic. But their opinions may not have much gravitas, since their rank in the corporate world will be similar to yours.

….OR choose a reference with high industry status and a far-reaching reputation.

You can also choose someone who may not know you as well, but whose opinion will carry more general weight. Your immediate supervisor can attest to your daily habits, which the CEO of the company can’t, especially if she only met you two or three times. But the CEO is a CEO, so other CEOs might value her glancing opinion on a different level. Ideally, you’ll want at least one person from each category.

The winning combination: Articulate, responsive, and supportive.

The best references have a strong command of the language and can be trusted to choose words that will help you shine. Avoid references who will simply shrug and mumble something like “Yeah…she was great…She always showed up on time.” These people may like you, but that doesn’t mean they can help you. You’re better off choosing a shorter list of more reliable supporters.

Offer a list of at least three references, and let these people know that you’ll be submitting their names during your search. Contact the staffing experts at PSU for more tips and guidelines.



Reduce Workplace Stress by Opening Lines of Communication

February 6th, 2015

Are your employees looking a little worn out? Do they seem a little irritable or stretched to the limit? Are they hesitating before accepting new projects and making weak promises about deadlines and completion dates? January and February can be challenging months in the workplace, since breaks are few and far between, the days are short and dark, and the weather can present serious challenges. If you pile tight deadlines or complex field work on top of this equation, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your employees so they don’t approach the breaking point. If you’re one flu outbreak away from losing your overworked and invaluable team, try this simple, time tested move: listening. Here are few things to keep in mind.

Don’t force employees to drop hints.

Subtlety and indirect remarks don’t usually help an important message get through. But if your workplace culture discourages or punishes employees who get to the point and simply state what they need, then they’ll be left with no other recourse. Keep an eye out for hidden, veiled messages that are couched in polite, vague terms. These mean one thing: “I’m exhausted. And NO, I would rather not stay late this evening…again.” When you hear these messages, tune in.

Keep an open door policy.

Your own door, the doors of your managers, and the doors of your HR team should be kept open (literally and figuratively) barring specific reasons to close them (like private conversations). Make sure your employees feel comfortable walking right up to the door and asking you if you have a minute. The same applies to your (thoughtful and non-judgmental) HR staff.

Make it clear that you’re listening.

If you can’t grant a request or resolve a complaint, at least register that you’ve heard it. You can’t make sure every path is completely cleared and every conflict is resolved, but at the very least, you can demonstrate that you’re trying and that you care. Sometimes employees don’t even need your help as much as you might think; they just want you to know what’s going on and how they feel.

Don’t ignore interpersonal problems.

If an employee complains of bullying, unjust treatment, or an impasse with another worker, don’t just dismiss this and encourage the parties to “work it out.” It takes courage to bring these things to a manager’s attention, and this courage should be respected and addressed. Listen to both sides of the story before you make a decision.

For more on how to keep your door and ears open—and your valuable employees on board—reach out to the experienced staffing team at PSU.


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