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.

The New Résumé . . . the Static One Is Dead

June 4th, 2013

We’ve discussed the traditional résumé and the social résumé in our previous posts, but many job candidates merge both to offer potential employers a well-rounded picture of what they can bring the table.

Blending the traditional résumé with the social résumé

The most familiar way to blend your traditional résumé with your social résumé is with talent communities such as LinkedIn. But don’t limit yourself to LinkedIn. Check other communities and their unique features.

VisualCV-This site not only provides a résumé platform, but has many multimedia features to make you stand out.

Xing-A global type of LinkedIn.

Razume-This community provides the tools to build your résumé and then the Razume community experts will review it for you

Ziggs-“Your one-stop source for building your online brand, marketing yourself on the web and simplifying communications with people.”

What’s today and what’s yesterday

The tradition of sending out a flat generic multi-page résumé that reflects the résumé company who created it and not you is out the door.

If you’re writing a traditional résumé, eliminate unnecessary information such as goals, personal interests and the old ‘references available on request.’ Instead of telling a potential employer that information: show them where your career is headed with your website or blog, show them your interests with your social media links and show them your references with your online business connections and clout. Like you, your résumé should be vital and vibrant, showcasing you as a three- dimensional person.

No matter which format your résumé takes, remember to keep your focus on the company or industry you’re pitching.  Your résumé should show that you understand the language and the challenges of the company or industry. It’s important that your achievements reflect what you can offer as a potential employee.

The static résumé is…dead

Chances are you’re going to have very few opportunities to mail a paper résumé. Like a paper résumé, the static résumé is history.

Since most companies now request electronic résumés, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have an active social résumé link. Utilize hyperlinks to your webpage and/or blog, and include links to your professional profiles at business communities. Answer questions potential employers have before they even ask them with a dynamic social résumé that demonstrates your initiative.

Social résumés are an important part of job search success, and we at Olympic are committed to your success. 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.

Introducing the Social Résumé

May 28th, 2013

What is a social résumé?

By definition, a résumé is a short summary of you, the job candidate. Social refers to social media. If you have an online presence at all, then like it or not, you already have a social résumé. Social résumés are simply utilizing online formats to present who you are and your qualifications.

Is a social résumé appropriate for you?

If your target job requires a résumé, then yes, a social résumé is a powerful way to showcase your talent. If you need to submit a traditional résumé, be sure to link to your social résumé. That’s a great way to direct potential employers to your online presence.

Forbes magazine says in regard to social résumés, that “we’re moving from a ‘knowledge economy’ to a ‘social economy’.” (January 1, 2013, Forbes). It’s true these days that who you know may be as important as, or more important, than what you know. So why make potential employers search for you? Instead, be intentional about your online presence.

Types of social résumés

Websites and blogs are the most traditional format to host a social media résumé. In fact if you are in any type of visual arts, a portfolio website is a must.

Keep the site clean and easy to navigate, and make it easy to contact you. Let your site reflect you what you have to offer a potential employer.  Adding your photo to the site? Utilize a professional head shot. If you are photogenic, consider adding a vlog (video blog post) to your social résumé.  Multimedia is another option to individualize your social résumé, but use caution as ‘flash’ doesn’t translate to all digital products.

Remember to provide links to your social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Maximize sharing your social résumé with tools such as ShareThis which will share all your social media platforms for you.

Check out these sites which can host your social media résumé. Some also offer unique tools and not only host your résumé but help you build your résumé.

More and more employers are using the internet to screen employees. So why not be prepared with a standout internet presence and a social résumé that gets you the interview and the job?

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.

 

How Social Media Can Help You Land a Job

May 21st, 2013

Social media is all about communication. That is, communicating why a potential employer should hire you.

Your online presence

Next to your resume, your online presence is an important tool in your job search toolbox. The difference between you and another candidate may simply be your online presence. Internet screening is a routine part of most employers’ prospective employee interviews, so use that to your advantage. “37% of employers use social networks to screen potential job candidates.” (April 16, 2013, Forbes) And according to a Bullhorn survey, “98 percent of recruiters used Social Media to find candidates in 2012 (February 5, 2013, CBS Money Watch)

Carefully evaluate what your online presence says about you, and then do your best to enhance your profile. Remember that in this age of social media, an empty online presence can be as detrimental as a negative one.

Make the most of business social media sites

Business social media sites serve three basic purposes:

  • Online networking with companies and professionals
  • Keeping those same companies connected to you
  • Monitoring for industry insights and news

These are all valuable services, and for the purposes of your job search your goal is to enhance your digital presence. That means it’s time to step up your business social media game. Join niche online business communities that are focused on your career interests.  But don’t just join sites. Engage. Participate on blogs of those companies you are interested in with thoughtful and insightful comments. Subscribe, visit regularly and link back. U.S, New & World Report, Money recommends you stay active with “what’s filling the social media stream” of the companies you follow. (April 30, 2013 U.S. News & World Report Money)

Do Twitter and Facebook matter?

Abolutely. Connect by following your target employers on Facebook, and Twitter. Interact with relevant comments and Tweets about your industry. Following can mean gaining valuable information on what’s going on inside your target companies, often before a press release.  In order to make Facebook and Twitter useful you must engage daily. No drive-by posting. ‘Like,’ and ‘retweet,’ comment and share. Keep your profiles up-to-date and professional and engage daily.

Social media can be an important part of job search success, and we at Olympic are committed to your success.

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.

HOW OBAMACARE IS REDEFINING THE FULL-TIME WORK WEEK

April 30th, 2013

As of January 2014, ObamaCare may send the traditional forty-hour work week the way of the dinosaurs. While the Bureau of Labor and Statistics defines full-time employment status as more than 35 hours per week, beginning 2014, the definition changes to one who works a minimum of 30 hours per week or 120 hours per month.

Suddenly the notion of job-sharing is in our faces. The Wall Street Journal says it’s already happening at fast-food restaurants.

Moreover, employers suddenly must come up with a way to deal with the magic number of 50 employees or face penalties.

Take a closer look

An article in Forbes (Tim Worstall) suggests the incentivizing of part-time jobs under ObamaCare. At first blush, the idea of more opportunities for temporary, contract and part-time workers seems appealing, but the trickle-down effect of the new definition is costly.

If businesses with 50 or less employees have workers that work more than 30 hours, they will face a fine that could be several times higher than their annual profit depending on the employer’s provisions for employee health insurance.

It is a conundrum that makes employers think twice about offering health care benefits, or at least promotes a notion of cost-sharing.

Also, it could be argued that if two workers replace one full-time worker, would the amount paid for the job remain unchanged? Wouldn’t the unemployment figure be skewed as well?

Since 2009, when Obama was sworn into office, The Washington Examiner reports that Americans with full-time jobs fell by 370,000. By contrast, part time employment rose 1.5 million.

Olympic Staffing Services monitors what is important to you

PPACA is not going away soon, if at all. ObamaCare is the largest body of legislation on health care since 1965’s enactment of Medicare or Medicaid.

We have always believed that giving you a place at the table is a great way to satisfy the high caliber candidates and successful businesses we serve. It is why we are involved in our communities and why we keep abreast of news and views that impact you.

Subscribe to our blog. Contact one of our seasoned team of staffing professionals to learn more about what Olympic Staffing can offer you.