Reasons to Search for Work While You’re Still Employed

October 30th, 2015

You’ve added up the numbers, done the math, and talked your situation over with your loved ones and the path ahead is clear: It’s time for a new job. Your current workplace just isn’t giving what you need. Maybe you were excited to receive your initial offer or start work on your first day, but that was a long time ago, and things have changed. At this point, you’re ready to move on, and you just don’t see a future within these walls. Here are a few tips for job searching while you are employed.

Money matters.

Chasing your dreams is important. And being polite to your current boss is important. But your personal financial stability is more important than either of these things, and the money you’ll be earning while you search for work on the side can sustain you if the marketplace isn’t as welcoming as you expect. Stay stable and keep your paycheck until you’re fully ready to let go.

Expand your options.

If you’re still employed and still collecting a paycheck and covering your bills, then you’re less likely to leap at the first offer that comes your way. You can afford to be calm, collected, and discriminating, which can help you choose the right job (and negotiate a salary that works for you).

Maintain your personal connections.

Don’t tell anyone at your workplace that you’re stepping onto the market, even your closest friends. Nobody at your office should know your plans, or you may be hustled out the door before you’re ready. But at the same time, maintaining contact with your mentors, supporters, and co-workers can help you in the future when you need references and a bank of goodwill that you can count on.

When you have an offer, you’ll have leverage.

When you finally land an offer that you like, you can let your boss know that you’ll be leaving in two weeks’ time. They may let you go without a peep, and that’s fine. But they may also decide they would rather keep you on board and they can make it worth your while.

For more on how to search for work or plan your career path over the long term, reach out to the job search experts at PSU.

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Social Media Tips for Small Businesses

October 23rd, 2015

Your small business is finally up and running, and it’s a proud day! You’ve been working toward this goal for a long time, and you finally have your infrastructure, financing, tax plan, and business model in place. You’re learning how to manage your budget, and you’re doing everything you can to keep your new clients happy and your micro-team of employees busy and content. But if you’re like most small business owners, your thoughts are already turning toward sustainable growth. You have a trickle of customers that can keep you moving, but how can you expand your reach and gain more traffic? How can you tell the world about your product or service and start bringing the crowds to your door? You can start by leveraging the power of social media. Here’s how.

Take care of the basics.

Before you make another move, set up the basic foundations of your social media footprint. These first steps will cost almost nothing and won’t take more than a few hours. Establish a page for your business on Facebook. Start a website by purchasing a domain name and getting design and management help from any number of site hosts and providers.

Make it easy for your customers to find you.

The most important page on your nascent website isn’t your home page; it’s your contact page. Make sure anyone with any interest in your business knows exactly how to find you by email, by phone, or on a map.

Build outward from the core.

Once the basics are covered and curious clients can reach you within a few clicks, you’ll be on your way. The next step will involve targeting a passive, rather than active audience. At this point, your marketing game will need a boost, and it may be time to reach out for serious help. Turn to a professional social media marketing firm and learn more about the simple moves and applications that can help you track the flow of traffic to your site, raise your position in a list of search results, and get your ads in front of the people who are most likely to show interest in your product.

Cultivate relationships.

While you try to expand your footprint and build name recognition, protect your relationships with the customers you already have. Develop a friendly and responsive online “voice”, a blog with content that’s always relevant and fresh, a customer-focused return/complaint procedure, and an easy, appealing way for current customers to learn more about your product offerings.

For more on how to attract a growing audience of loyal followers, site visitors, blog readers, and—most important—paying customers, turn to the small business management experts at Personnel Services Unlimited.

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Give Your Entry Level Resume Expert Appeal

October 16th, 2015

What does your resume say about your personality? How about your general work ethic? What might your resume suggest about your sense of responsibility, or your demeanor when you’re interacting with strangers? Whether you realize it or not, your resume offers your employer some important details about who you are and what it might be like to work side by side with you on a daily basis. Even if you’re searching at the entry level and you haven’t spent much time in the working world, your reviewers will read between the lines to get a sense of your personal brand. So make sure you’re sending a clear message and selling yourself while you pitch your credentials. Keep these considerations in mind.

You respect education and lifelong learning.

Make it clear that you’re a flexible, intelligent person with a respect for knowledge and education…even if you don’t have a long list of graduate degrees from Ivy League institutions. A few simple moves can help. Start by placing your “education” section at the top of the page, just under your resume summary and above your work history. This can show a sense of pride in your academic accomplishments, even if you stopped studying after high school. You can also gain ground in this area by listing your non-academic course work, including all recent training sessions and certifications.

You’re committed to your goals.

Your “work history” section should show that you’re a determined person with a sense of direction and purpose. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working your way up the ladder, or which direction you’ve chosen for your career and your life; it only matters that you have one. If you’ve moved from job to job several times over the last few years, that’s okay. If you’ve never held a “real” job before, that’s okay too. Just frame your history in a way that’s understandable and relevant to the open position on which you’ve set your sights.

You know how to use words.

Communication skills—both written and spoken—are essential to success in almost every imaginable industry. And since you can’t show off your speaking and listening skills until you land a face to face interview, you’ll need to focus on written language as you draft your resume. If you truly feel hopeless as a writer, get some editing help. In the meantime, keep your sentences concise. Get rid of unnecessary adverbs and empty buzzwords. Read your phrases aloud and listen to how they sound. Do they flow naturally and make sense? If not, keep polishing and rewriting until your words reflect who you are and what you can do.

You care about the details.

Small mistakes, including typos and greetings addressed to the wrong person, can suggest that your approach to your work is sloppy and dashed-off. And that’s just not you. Don’t let little errors and a misplaced sense of urgency derail your message. Take your time and get this right.

For more help with your job search, including resume and cover letter guidance, turn to the expert team at PSU.

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Five Things You Can Learn From a Reference Check

October 9th, 2015

You’ve narrowed your candidate pool down to a handful of contenders, and you’ve asked each finalist to submit a list of references. And now you have a choice to make: Should you ignore these reference lists, or should you invest time, effort, and company resources in a series of phone calls and emails in order to inform your final decision?

Too often, managers choose the first option. At this point in the selection process, most employers already have a positive gut feeling about their preferred candidate, and they’d rather avoid a conversation that only confirms what they already know. Besides, most references tend to give uniformly glowing reports that add little substance to a candidate’s profile. But before you ignore your candidate’s reference list, recognize that a simple phone call can help you verify these five critical details before you make a commitment.

Is your candidate honest?

If his references are genuine, their stories check out, and they really are who the candidate says they are, great. You expect nothing less. But if they aren’t, now is the time to find out.

Is your candidate a trailblazer or does she toe the line?

By posing an open ended question about your candidate’s general approach to life and work, you can learn plenty about her willingness to break boundaries and try new things. Word the question like this: “Would you consider (candidate) to be more of a leader or a follower?” or “Can you tell me about a time when (candidate) broke a rule, tried an unconventional approach to a project, or pushed an idea that others didn’t immediately embrace? What were the results?”

Can your candidate handle the most difficult aspects of the job?

Identify the rarest or most challenging skill set that this job entails, such as CNC coding, public speaking, complex technical writing, or high level event planning. Ask the reference if he or she has direct experience with the candidate’s abilities in this area. Ask the person to speak freely on the subject, and read between lines of whatever you hear.

In what areas does the candidate NOT excel?

This is a tricky question, and it’s a difficult one to ask without seeming disrespectful of the candidate, or disrespectful of the relationship between the candidate and the reference. Try phrasing your question like this: “Can you name one task that you would rather assign to someone else instead of (candidate)?”

How can you bring out the best in this candidate?

If your reference is a former manager or supervisor, learn more about the kinds of tactics and management styles that can help you bring out the candidate’s best work. Frame the question as a simple request for advice. For example: “Can you offer me any management tips or guidance that might help (candidate) thrive in this position?”

For more on how to attract, select and retain the most talented candidates in the marketplace, reach out to the staffing team at Personnel Services Unlimited.

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