Choosing Your References

References come down to two types of people: personal and professional. While you may be tempted to list out personal references because they are more likely to give you glowing reviews, you need to avoid this. While your character and ethics should be a huge part of who you are as an employee, potential employers are much more interested in how you function as an employee.

Choosing your references can be a little tricky, but when you know the types of professional contacts to use, it becomes much easier.

Co-Workers

When you are choosing your references, one of the best types of people you can add to your list is co-workers. While managers have an insight into who you are as an employee, co-workers work directly with you on a daily basis. Further, in some cases, you may have a friendship that extends beyond the office, which means they are more likely to give you that glowing reference. Co-workers see you working every day and understand how you function in an office, conduct your work, and present yourself as an employee.

Teachers

If you have recently graduated high school, college, a trade program, or any other type of school/training, then your teachers are great references. Teachers and instructors have unique insights into your work ethic, attitude, and skill levels. Teachers see you grow as students and begin grasping the concepts that will shape your future career. If you have a great relationship with a teacher or instructor, then you should consider adding them to your reference list.

Professional Group Members

In many cases, job seekers are already part of professional groups. Whether they are industry-specific professional groups or simply career development-type groups, other members make great references. If you are active in your group(s) and have formed great mentor relationships, then you should consider using someone in your professional group as a reference. While these are more of a personal reference, it is coming from a more professional and developmental perspective. These references can attest to your character, growth, and goals.

Clients

If you work at an agency or as a freelance professional, using your existing clients to get a new job or new clients is a great way to get a job or project. While using clients as references can be tricky, they can attest to how you work with clients/customers and can speak to the quality of your work.

Supervisors or Managers

Depending on your relationship with current and previous supervisors and managers, they can make for great references. Future employers love hearing from your supervisor because they have direct insights into you as an employee. However, before you start listing your supervisors on your reference list, you need to evaluate your working relationship and if you are still working for that person, make sure they know and understand you are looking for a job. If you don’t, then they could be taken off guard and it could result in the loss of your current job.

No matter who you choose to list as a reference, you need to notify that person and ask their permission. The people you choose as references need to know that someone could be calling or emailing them to ask about you as a person and an employee.

Do you have any questions about choosing your references? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Successfully Work with a Staffing Agency

Whether you’re looking for project work or a full-time job, working with a staffing agency greatly improves your chances of finding a job that fits your skills, experience, and career goals.

If you want to build a successful relationship with a temp agency, you need to first understand who the staffing agency works for.  Staffing agencies are hired, and paid, by companies looking for temporary workers and need help filling vacant labor jobs. This means that a recruiter’s main goal is to find the right talent for their client and not just a job for their candidates.

REMEMBER: A staffing agency wants to place you but never at the expense of their client. They won’t send you for a construction job interview if they feel you are unprepared or not a good fit for the vacancy.

Second, what the staffing agency expects from you.  A professional and reliable staffing agency will work with you early on to set expectations around communication, feedback and the process they follow when setting up interviews for potential jobs.  Always ask these questions before working with a temp agency:

  • What can you expect when working for them?
  • How often will they communicate with you? (Daily, Monthly e.t.c)
  • How long will it take to find you a job?
  • Will they share feedback with you regarding your interviews and resume?

Third, it is important to find a staffing agency that is open and honest with you.  You want to find an agency that:

  • Provides feedback that helps emphasize your strengths to potential employers
  • Is truthful when the job isn’t the right fit
  • Keeps you informed throughout the interview and hiring process

However, you also need to reciprocate. Staffing agencies can only do their jobs well when candidates are honest with them.  You must be truthful about your skillset and experience level. If you have a criminal record, please communicate that upfront.  While you may be hesitant to share certain information for fear that it will impact your chances of getting a job, not telling the truth can damage your reputation and affect your future job prospects.

The fourth and final key to successfully working with a staffing agency is to make sure they are a good fit.  There are many staffing agencies available and you need to make sure that you find the right fit for your specific needs.  Finding a temp agency that specializes in your industry is a necessity as well as working with someone whom you feel comfortable with and trust to give you honest feedback.

If you are interested in learning more about Diverse Staffing and the jobs that we have available near you click here.

Are you Management Material?

Are you Management Material?

Being a boss can be very rewarding, and when you’ve gained a lot of expertise in your area, the next logical step is often becoming a manager.

But management is certainly not for everyone. In fact, when a supervisor role isn’t a good fit, it can damage an otherwise promising career, so it should be considered very carefully. Here are three questions to ask yourself before becoming a manager:

  1. Are you motivated by reaching your own professional goals, or by helping others achieve their professional goals? There is not a right or wrong answer here. It’s really about what personally motivates you. Do you prefer having more control over your work product, or are you willing to work through others by teaching and mentoring them through the process? And keep in mind that those you manage may not do things exactly the way you would have. Will you get satisfaction from watching them develop and solve problems?
  2. Are you comfortable being an outsider and making unpopular decisions? As a manager, you’re less likely to receive open and transparent communication from your employees as you would as a department colleague. You’ll never again be “just one of the team” as you were before you were a manager. You’re the one who has to push team members along a path, and sometimes tell them they’re not getting the job done. A regular part of a manager’s job is dealing with problem performers, incredibly demanding employees or employees who question everything you do. These are complex issues and you need to possess excellent communication skills. You also need to have confidence in your decision-making abilities because your team isn’t always going to agree with you.
  3. Do you prefer to do your job with few interruptions, or are you willing to be interrupted regularly?If you mostly want to focus on completing your own work, management might not be for you. Managers have to embrace an open-door policy knowing that they will be pulled into conversations and issues they didn’t anticipate every day, often from team members who say, “This will just take a minute …” These interruptions are part of the job, and sometimes that means doing your “regular work” after hours.

Becoming a manager is not for everyone. If you have a well-defined career path as an individual contributor and you’re approached about taking the next step in your career by moving into management, proceed with caution and accept the job for the right reasons.

Never move into management simply because it’s different than the job you have, especially if you’re not really passionate about the role. However, if you feel the desire to expand your skill set and are excited at the thought of taking on greater management responsibilities, becoming a manager can be an incredibly rewarding and challenging role.

How to Find a Job in 2019

How to Find a Job in 2019

The job market constantly evolves. Twenty years ago, you read paper newspapers to find job postings and had to stay near your house phone to wait for companies to call you back. Ten years ago, it was all job sites and maybe some message boards.

Now, social media, the gig economy and an emphasis on employer branding play an increasing part, once again complicating the process of finding a position. Another year, another set of changes in the mix of potential job-search tools.

So, what’s the best combination of techniques to use in 2019 and beyond? Here solutions for your job search for the rest of the year and into the 2020s.

Job Postings

Job posting sites still represent the vanilla, baseline place to find potential opportunities. Job sites like Indeed or Monster aggregate postings submitted by companies. They provide a good place to start your job search, especially if you have just entered the market.

These sites have a wide selection of current positions and provide an easy interface. Most sites allow you to upload a resume (or a set of targeted resumes), which you can submit to different positions, usually something close to a single-click process. It facilitates a shotgun approach of applying to a lot of gigs in short succession.

On the downside, you can slog through a lot of trash to find a real gem. Also, the posting sites get stale pretty quickly. Once you’ve been out of work for a time, only a few new items come up each day.

Social Media

LinkedIn remains the central hub of social media job searching. However, it is far from the only game in town. You can use a spate of other professional online hubs. You can also use the services that aren’t specifically targeted to career building, places like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

These services allow you to get the word out quickly that you are looking for work. You can also market your skills with relatively little effort on your part. Meanwhile, you can research opportunities and reach out to people…even strangers you want to cultivate as contacts.

The social media path has some drawbacks. These strategies can be indirect, and people are generally leery of social media trolls.

Find Your Dream Situation

Don’t just use a scattershot approach to finding opportunities. The powerful research capabilities the Internet provides can help you to seek out a particular company or the specific position you want.

Search out dream companies and see if they are hiring. Reach out to their HR department…you may get lucky with your time in hand find an unpublicized opening.

Old Fashioned Networking

Everyone knows that networking provides the best opportunity to find a new position.

As soon as you are looking for a job, alert everyone you know. Don’t stop a blanket announcement, hoping people will volunteer help. Contact your best prospects individually and gently press them for connections.

Staffing Agency

Everyone can use a little help, especially during the job-search process. That’s a key advantage of networking: getting other people involved.

Take this to the next level with some professional assistance. Staffing agencies connect with hundreds of companies, allowing them access to large collections of job placements that fit your skill sets.

What’s more, a recruiter will help streamline the process of applying to these opportunities. It’s like nuclear-grade networking. Apply once with a recruiter and automatically tap into their entire network.

Work With Diverse Staffing

Ready to reach out to a staffing firm? Diverse Staffing provides the industry’s best performance. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff are ready to help you jump-start your career.

7 Keys to a Successful Interview After Being Fired

Getting fired from a job almost always provokes mixed emotions; you may be shocked, dismayed if you were let go over an honest mistake, or alternately, relieved if you had been laboring under a superior with unrealistic expectations for months or years. No matter your specific situation you must face the same imminent hurdle as everyone else who’s ever been fired: Figuring out how to handle your next job interview. Interviewing after being fired is a delicate process, one wherein honesty, diplomacy, and professionalism must be precisely balanced.

If you’re struggling to understand how you ought to present yourself and your situation to a potential employer, the 7 job interview tips below should help you to develop successful post-termination interview tactics:

  1.  Deal with your emotions before tackling the interview.

It’s inevitable that the question of why you left your last job will come up during interviews, and if your emotions are still running hot, your answer is almost guaranteed to go over poorly. You may commit a major interview faux pas like speaking negatively about your former workplace, you may give the impression that you cannot think calmly under pressure, or you may make your work ethic look less than admirable.

As such, it’s vital to work through the emotions connected to being fired before you attempt a job interview. Talk to a friend or career counselor and don’t hold back feelings of shame, sadness, anger, etc. Work it out so that you can start your post-termination interviews with a clean slate, ready to discuss your dismissal with frankness and positivity.

  1.  Get your confidence back.

Being fired can leave deep wounds in a person’s self-esteem, even if the termination was unfair and the employee in question knows they didn’t really do anything terribly wrong. Alas, we can’t walk into job interviews with these scars showing; most interviewers decide who they will hire within just 3 minutes, largely based on how confident and professional that person seems. Things like assertive body language, eye contact, and action-oriented language make a huge difference during the interview process.

Prior to tackling an interview after you have been fired, you should, therefore, do something to rebuild your confidence: Volunteer, for example, or participate in a sport or hobby you excel at. Volunteering has the bonus of padding your resume so that your termination is not the most recent item on it.

  1.  Don’t speak ill of your former employer. 

Yes, this can be a challenge if he or she really did unfairly fire you, but it’s necessary to be polite and positive about your last boss no matter what he or she did. Speaking ill of your former employer will not show your interviewer that your dismissal was not your fault; it just makes you look unprofessional (and will likely make your interviewer concerned that you will speak badly of his or her company as well).

  1.  Don’t lie.

 While it’s important to frame the facts in as positive a light as possible, one should never outright lie about what occurred surrounding a termination. Research reveals that over 70 percent of interviewers can detect a lie immediately (whether expressed vocally or written into a resume), and most will absolutely refuse to hire anyone they catch trying to falsify the details of their work experience. Ergo, you should absolutely be honest about what happened—but refer to the point below for tips on how to candidly explain your termination.

  1.  Practice explaining your dismissal.

In interviews, semantics matter. While you should be direct when talking about what happened at your prior place of employment, there’s a world of difference between saying “I was let go because they gave me too much work to do and I couldn’t handle it,” and saying, “After my colleague left, my boss added her workload to mine, and I struggled to keep up. However, I learned the importance of being extremely organized from that experience and have since developed better time-management skills.” The latter response adds context to the situation without speaking negatively about the interviewee’s prior workplace. It also shows that the interviewee has thought carefully about his or her role in the termination and is serious about doing better.

  1.  Take responsibility.

Another important aspect of the response above is that the interviewee does not try to avoid taking the blame for being dismissed—even though the situation was somewhat unfair. He or she is willing to look at his or her mistakes honestly, own up to them, and learn from them, which conveys an image of maturity and professionalism.

Remember, your prospective employer isn’t looking for perfection; he or she is looking for accountability and problem-solving skills, so if you show said traits, you should be able to make a graceful recovery from your termination.

  1.  Be positive, then bring things back to the present.

Above all else, once you have respectfully answered your interviewer’s question about why you left your last job, it’s important to steer the conversation in a positive direction and bring the focus back to the present. The less time you spend talking about your termination, the less of a lasting impression it will make, and rightly so—being fired is an unfortunate occurrence, but it’s not who you are.

Now that you understand how to interview successfully after being fired are you ready to get back into the job search and start interviewing?  If so, take a look at our open positions and see if they might be the perfect job for you. We conduct open interviews daily at all of our locations.  

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Writing An Effective Follow-Up Email

Whether an interview goes well or not, you can still impress a recruiter, human resource representative, or a hiring manager by sending an effective follow-up email. In the past, sending a formal letter to the person you interviewed with was an effective way to give yourself a boost. However, in today’s technology-filled world, writing an effective follow-up email is a great way to get noticed.

Writing a follow-up email needs to go beyond sending one or two sentences saying how it was nice to meet and/or speak with the person you interviewed with. To be effective, the email needs to be in depth and specific about the position for which you applied, your qualifications, and the interview itself. Here are a few tips:

Greetings

When you start your email, be as personable as possible. If you used the person’s first name in the interview or they informed you it was okay to do so, then you should address them that way in the email. If you know their first or last name, then avoid addressing the email with a general greeting such as, “to whom it may concern.”

Be Thankful

One of the first few sentences of your email should include a thank-you to the person who took time out of their schedule to meet with you or speak with you. This does not need to be an elaborate thank-you, but a sentence or two about how you appreciated them taking time to speak with you and how nice it was to meet them.

Be Specific

After thanking the person who interviewed you, talk about what you are specifically excited about in regards to the position and how your specific qualifications and experiences make you a great fit for the position. The more specific you are, the better it will be. By doing this, you not only touch base on the conversation you had, but you also create another opportunity to show the interviewer why you are such a great candidate.

Close With Enthusiasm

As you close out your email, be sure you sound enthusiastic about the interview and the potential job opportunity. This is another great place for you to thank your interviewer. Thank them for their time spent discussing the position with you, but also for taking the time to read your email. Be sure as you close the email to let them know you are looking forward to hearing from them soon.

How to Get a Raise in 2015

For many people, the new year includes resolutions and oftentimes, those resolutions revolve around career changes. Some will be looking to add value to their career and to add value to their paycheck. If you are looking to get a raise in 2015, there are a few key things you need to do:

1. Show Your Value

If you are seriously committed to getting a raise in 2015, then you have to be seriously committed to your job.  It is not enough to simply want a raise; you have to earn it. Your employer will not just hand you an increase in pay. Instead, start working harder, dedicate more time to your job, ask for additional projects, and help out your coworkers when you can. By doing these things, your manager is more likely to notice that you have taken more interest in your work and recognize that you add real value to the company.

2. Research Salaries

Before you schedule a meeting or start thinking about numbers, you should research your position and see what others in your field make. Knowing these numbers and knowing your worth at work go a long way in negotiating a new salary. Researching salaries is not as complicated as it may sound. There are several salary comparison websites that will help you determine how much money to ask for.

3. Schedule a Meeting

After working on adding value to your company and taking the time to research salaries, you can schedule a meeting with the person you directly report to. When you schedule this meeting, inform your manager that you would like to discuss your performance and your career growth.

4. Ask for Endorsements

When you know that you have a meeting scheduled, it would not hurt your chances to ask for endorsements from coworkers and anyone else whom you have a working relationship with that is higher in the company than you. It’s important for your manager to know that others recognize your value.

5. During the Meeting

While you are meeting with your manager, be sure to make a strong case but do not come off as aggressive or forceful. By presenting your case, you can show your manager just how committed you are to the company and your job. There is a chance they do not know what your goals and ambitions are. This is a great time to discuss your career growth and exactly what you are looking to get out of your job.

Do you have any suggestions for getting raise? What has worked for you in the past? Leave us your stories and suggestions in the comments below!

Career Goals for 2015

As you begin the new year, it’s a great time to set some career goals for 2015. Whether you want to find a new job or get a promotion within your organization, career goals can help you achieve those objectives. But, how do you go about setting goals and sticking to them? Just like with New Year’s resolutions, it can be difficult to stick to your career aspirations. Here are a few steps you can take to set your goals and stick to them:

Define Your Goals

As you begin thinking about what you want to accomplish professionally, in 2015, it helps to actually define those career goals. If you want to find a new job in 2015, then you need to set that as your career goal. If you simply want to get better at you current job or want a promotion in your current organization, then define that as your career goal for 2015. No matter what you hope to achieve, define that as your goal and share that goal with someone who can help you stay on track.

Create a Strategy

Now that you have defined your career goal for 2015, you need a strategy to accomplish the goal. For example, if your goal is to get a new job, then your strategy should revolve around making the best resume and applying to a certain number of jobs on a weekly or monthly basis. Remember, as you’re filling out application and submitting your resume, don’t just apply to any job. Only apply to jobs that you’re qualified for and actually can see yourself taking in the future.

Set Deadlines

The only way to really stick with your goal and strategy is to set deadlines for yourself. In the example above, applying to so many jobs a week or month is a great deadline to set for yourself. If you need to update your resume, then include deadlines to have certain parts of your resume edited until you are completely finished updating the whole document. When you have deadlines, you are able to keep yourself accountable and reach your goals.

What are your career goals for 2015? How do you plan to achieve them? Let us know in the comments section below!

Staying Productive in the Winter

It’s certainly no secret that when winter hits most of us just want to hibernate. There is less sunlight and the days can just be downright dreary. For most, those things can make staying productive in the winter rather difficult. In order to stay productive during the cold days of winter, you may want to try a few of these things:

Stay Active

When you’re at work it can be difficult to stay active, but by doing this you can keep energy levels up, help yourself stay in a better mood, and stay healthy. Obviously you can’t take a break in the middle of the day to run a 5K, but you can get up from your desk, stretch, walk to the water cooler, or even do a quick cubicle workout. When you stay active, you stay productive.

Keep Warm

Depending on where you sit in the office, it could be hard to stay warm during the winter. Whether you’re next to window or far from the heat vent, staying warm just may not be an option. However, staying warm is necessary for staying productive. When you’re cold, you’ll lose motivation to stay busy. So, how do you keep warm? One way to keep warm is to stay active (as mentioned above), but you can also wear heavier clothing or layers, bring in a small space heater, or even ask to switch seats.

Watch What You Eat

Because it’s cold out, you probably want to eat heavy and warm meals, but often these types of meals are filled with sugars and carbohydrates. These foods aren’t necessarily bad, but too much of them will make you groggy and just want to nap. When this happens, you’ll be less motivated to stay focused and get your work done. Instead of eating heavy meals at work, pack well-balanced meals and opt for a cup of tea rather than that sugary snack.

Make Plans

What kind of plans? Well, that’s really up to you. Having plans at the end of a work day or work week can help provide the motivation you need to stay focused and accomplish the tasks you have that day or week. But, also have plans for your life (i.e. goals) can really help you make it through the winter and stay productive. These types of plans provide motivation to stay active, be social, accomplish things, and provide you with a list of things to do.

How do you stay productive during the winter months? We’d love to hear your stories and suggestions in the comments section below!

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

When you’re on the hunt for a new job, it can be difficult to stand out. Through your networking efforts and your job applications, you need to be rising above the crowd. But in today’s job market, how do you do that? How do you get employers to notice you and be impressed with what you have to offer? The answer is simple: optimize your LinkedIn profile.

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