How to Network Yourself into Your Next Job

July 30th, 2013

We’ve mentioned before that who you know is as important—or more important—than what you know.

U.S. News & World Report, Money, suggests that 80% of available jobs are hidden. What are hidden jobs? They’re job opportunities that are not advertised. So how do you find those hidden jobs?

Networking. It is an opportunity to connect with who you know and who they know.

Online opportunities

The majority of networking is now done online. (See our recent post on the importance of social media.)

Stay active on your social media sites:

  • Maintain an up-to-date online profile.
  • Schedule time to engage. For example: recommend others on LinkedIn, ‘like’ and comment on Facebook, and retweet on Twitter.

Networking online isn’t just about how many followers, circles, friends or contacts you have. It’s about cultivating relationships. While online professional communities provide excellent bridges to contacts, it’s very important to keep this a two way street. Provide your contacts with tips and feedback, and in return you’ll receive them.

Networking events

Don’t be afraid to casually let your friends and family know you’re looking for employment. Then move to local networking opportunities, utilizing business organizations that target your job interests.

Be open to any event where you might make a connection, and develop a relationship that can lead to an open employment door. Don’t forget volunteering. This can often lead to a job opportunity that is only advertised in-house, plus it provides you the opportunity to hone or upgrade your skill-set while helping others.

The best advice is to be genuine. Your passion for your interests and skills will come through without the need to pitch. But when asked, you’ll already have your elevator pitch ready (see our last blog post).

Emailing a connection

Not many of us have time for cold calls or cold emails. That’s why establishing a connection online before that networking email is so important. Remind your contact exactly who you are and your connection level.

Add a connection comment, such as a how you appreciate an article or blog post the person wrote. Or mention a link provided. Then be to the point by asking for advice or direction. (Don’t ask for a job.)

Be respectful of time and say thank you. The best advice is to always behave in an email like you would in person. Professional.

Finally, remember that the essence of networking is building relationships.

We at Olympic Staffing Services can help your job search.  We don’t simply fill positions—we build relationships, taking the time to understand your unique talents and qualifications. Contact one of our seasoned team of staffing professionals to learn more about what Olympic Staffing can offer you.

 

 

 

 

Creating Your Elevator Pitch

July 23rd, 2013

The elevator pitch answers two questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What you want?

And you have thirty seconds to deliver your answer in a way that ensures you are remembered.

Fondly.

The value of a pitch

Pitches are a tool to succinctly share information.  What they are not is a thirty-second commercial, or an in-your-face branding advertisement. It isn’t a memorized list of your accomplishments.

The value of a pitch lies in the quality of the content and the delivery. Share your motivations and goals in such a way as to humanize you.

“Hi, I’m Chris Candidate. I’ve got a background in early childhood education. Have you ever seen a kid get excited about learning? I love being the one who turns on that light bulb.”

Creating a pitch

Forbes recommends crafting two pitches. “Craft one pitch for formal settings like job interviews and another version for social settings where you can do informal networking. The informal version should include several nuggets about your personal life.”

What you’re pitching isn’t as important is who you are pitching to. Every word should be specific to the person catching your pitch.

Pitches should not be static closed-ended forms of delivery. They should be open-ended. The bottom line is that a pitch is not successful unless it gets the conversation ball rolling.

Whenever possible, end with a call to action, a question, or an intriguing thought.

The final aspect of the pitch is practice. Practice so your pitch doesn’t sound practiced. It should be conversational, not technical, in tone and verbiage, and it should be used as a lead-in to encourage the person on the receiving end to respond.

The goal is to get the other person to ask you more about yourself. Then be prepared to converse.

When not to pitch

Not all situations call for an elevator pitch. A social event may be a great opportunity to network, but an official pitch is probably going to make the person you pitch feel awkward. You may actually alienate him.

Instead, be yourself.  Show genuine interest in the person you’re talking to. Ask questions. People love to talk about themselves. When the moment is ripe and the questions turn to you, subtly weave information about you into the conversation.

Save your practiced pitch for the next time you’re standing in the lunch line with the head of your department and they query, “You’re the new temp, right?” Or you’re at a tradeshow and an HR manager says, “Tell me about yourself.” That’s the perfect opportunity for a practiced elevator pitch that delivers your message and engages you with the person you are pitching.

Olympic’s pledge:  We match the best candidate with the best companies, and we get it right the first time. Contact us and let’s chat about how we can partner to make that happen.

 

 

Best Answers for Those Tired Interview Questions

July 16th, 2013

Your résumé got you the interview. So how do you turn those clichéd interview questions into an opportunity for you to shine?

The key to answering these questions is to take ‘you’ out of the equation. It’s all about the potential employer. So, focus your answers on what the employer needs.

Why do you want the job?

Of course you’ve already done your due diligence on the company. You are connected through social media and have been observing discussions, tweets and even hiring notices. You’ve also researched the company culture and the key players. Now it’s time to let that savvy show.

Share what excites you about the company and why you would want to be part of the organization. Weave tidbits of what you’ve learned about the company into the conversation to show you have done your homework, and use quantitative information whenever possible.

Then, step out of your comfort zone to share what you think you can contribute to the company. Sure you’re pitching, but if you are enthusiastic and real, you can be sure your genuine responses will be remembered.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Start with your weakness so you end on your strengths.

First, forget the old ploy of spinning your weakness into strengths. Instead share a little about yourself. Be forthright. Share a genuine weakness and how you’ve taught yourself to overcompensate for it with examples.

Asking your strengths seems like a benign question, but consider turning it around with a positive and memorable answer. List your strengths as related to the potential employer and the position for which you are applying.

Smile, engage with the interviewer and be yourself.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Alison Green in USA Today News & World Report/Money translates that question to “How does this job fit in with where you see your career going?” The answer an interviewer wants to hear is that the position means a career to you, not just a paycheck or a place holder until something better comes along.

Answer thoughtfully, honestly and with enthusiasm. Your answer must demonstrate that:

  • You have vision and it involves the potential employer
  • Your goal is to invest yourself in a career with the company.

Once again, it’s all about making that interview all about what you have to offer a potential employer.

Let Olympic Staffing Services help with your job search.  We don’t simply fill positions—we build relationships, taking the time to understand your unique talents and qualifications. Contact one of our seasoned team of staffing professionals to learn more about what Olympic Staffing can offer you.

 

Turning that Temp Job into a Full-time Position

July 9th, 2013

According to Forbes magazine, “70% of people in temporary positions ultimately get a permanent job at that company.” If you would like to try to turn your temp position into a full-time one, the steps are simple.

Learn the company culture

Learning the culture not only helps you fit in, but it helps you get ahead. Become familiar with the company from the ground up. Know the chain of command. Show interest in the firm’s position and results in the industry.  Observe the company dynamics and internal personalities.

Be able to recognize the key players by face and name. Establish and build relationships with these key personnel. Know who you’re standing next to in the break room and don’t be hesitant to strike-up a positive and upbeat conversation. This is a great networking opportunity!

Remember that you are also auditioning the company. Are they a right fit for you? Is there room for you to grow?

Act like an employee

Remember that those first few days and weeks on the job set the tone for how you are viewed. You may not feel you are being observed, but others do see how you act. Be punctual if not early, and don’t rush to leave.

Don’t be a clock watcher. Engage and own the job, no matter how low you are in the pecking order. You aren’t just a temp; you’re a qualified candidate who is auditioning for a full-time position.

This is where your résumé becomes real. Qualities such as “self-motivated, detail oriented and strong work ethic” need to be demonstrated on the job, not just once but continuously. Show you can adapt to change and how the company does things.

Then, make yourself indispensable so that you’re the first choice if a permanent position opens. And be sure to communicate in casual conversation that you’re interested in a full-time position.

Be a team player

Part of being a team player is interacting and networking with your coworkers. Don’t isolate yourself or overshare, but do be friendly and enthusiastic. Above all show you are genuinely interested in your position and the company. Do ask relevant questions and don’t gossip.

Show your coworkers that you are there to complement their workday, not create more stress. When you’ve completed your assigned work, ask if there are any other ways you can help them. Be willing to work outside your job description and learn new things to help the team.

Temporary positions can easily bridge to a permanent position if you’re willing to go the extra mile with these simple steps.

Your goal is to match your skills with the right company. At Olympic Staffing Services that’s our goal too. Contact us and let’s chat about how we can partner to make that happen.

Teenagers in the Workplace

July 2nd, 2013

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tell us of a downward trend in teen employment “with many teens concentrating on academics, fewer are working during the summer, and in recent years, teens also have faced a labor market weakened by recessions, a diminishing number of federally funded summer jobs, and competition from other groups for entry-level job opportunities.”

An article in USA Today Money states that “more than 44% of teens who want summer jobs don’t get them or work fewer hours than they prefer.”

An insider tip to teen candidates: Don’t be afraid to ask your target career employers about volunteering and internships. These positions will provide real life employment and career experiences. And don’t forget to check out your local non-profit industries. Often, opportunities aren’t advertised; so, a foot in the door can be your stepping stone to a part-time or full-time position.

Employment resources

Teen candidates should be aware of several valuable employment resources available to assist them in finding and keeping a job.

Teens4Hire.org provides important information for teenagers on topics such as: how to write a resume, places to look for jobs, labor law information, and qualities employers look for in teen candidates.

USA.gov provides information on employment rules for teens, Military and ROTC Academies, recruitment, and training, A Student’s Guide to Community Service, and summer job safety.

YouthRules! is a Department of Labor site providing information on summer jobs, employment rules, a Young Worker Tool Kit, and labor laws in your state. It’s also a resource for parents, educators and businesses.

Teen Hire Tips

Once you’ve got the job, observe these tips we’ve gathered to help both you as the employee and your employer create a great work environment.

  • Assign a mentor: One-on-one communication is a great form of personal coaching that teens respond to.
  • Provide clear and concise dos and don’ts:  Besides employee manuals, make your expectations and rules clear. This is especially important for a teen accustomed to a social media world and a relaxed dress code.
  • Cross-train: Often, there is a high absenteeism rate among teens due to academic commitments. Cross-train to encourage owning the job and increase job satisfaction. This also prevents internal tensions due to short staffing.

Above all, treating your teen candidate as part of the team makes for a healthy, positive work environment.

We at Olympic Staffing Services look forward to the opportunity to chat with you about your employment needs. Contact one of our seasoned team of staffing professionals to learn more about what Olympic Staffing can offer you.