• Spotlight on Success: Engaging entry-level hires at GSE [video]

    October 14, 2016 by

     

    No doubt you’re familiar with the job-hopping trend that millennials are known for. How do you increase your retention of entry-level hires? Wendy Stoner, Director for the Office of Emerging Talent Development at GSA, knows how. She leads a Leadership Development program to engage entry-level hires. She calls the two-week on-boarding Career 101. “millennials like to be part of a cohort,” she says. “They don’t like to be on their own,” so the new employees work together along two training tacks.

    They receive technical training to prepare them for the functions of their jobs. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, they learn soft skills like professional communication, presentation and negotiation skills, and how to have a critical conversation in the workplace. They watch videos and practice role play to prepare them for working with people whose backgrounds and working style differ from their own. Also, GSA delivers the Myers-Briggs personality indicator to explain why coworkers’ behaviors may differ, and how to work with them.

    Generational differences? You don’t say.

    The Careerstone Group designed GSA’s training in response to the inter-generational issues we all hear about. You know some of the complaints. Baby Boomers complain about millennials’ informal communication (they write emails like text messages, Boomers say). And millennials complain about Baby Boomers’ work ethic (keeping long hours doesn’t mean you’re more productive, millennials say). During their Career 101, new GSA employees learn to articulate what these generational differences are, and understand the different values that cause differences in behavior.

    Don’t stop at onboarding.

    Stoner says GSA invests in engagement beyond the first two weeks. They put their entry-level hires on a two-year rotational track that exposes them to different areas of their field. For example, a new hire in finance may rotate to learn about formulating budgets, executing them, strategic planning and more. Not only does this prepare them for a variety of possible jobs, but it clearly demonstrates that they care about employees’ development. GSA wants employees to discover what job appeals to them most. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was that age,” Stoner remarks, so it is only fair to facilitate employees’ learning for a couple years.

    Nothing counts without an open culture

    Formal training can transfer plenty of knowledge, but without an open company culture that embraces all employees, that training can fall flat. Stoner says, “Your culture needs to be open to listening to them and hearing their ideas.” She says GSA recognizes that good ideas can come from anyone, regardless of where they sit on the org chart. Their investment and openness pay off. GSA retains 93% of entry-level hires during their first two years–pretty impressive for the new job-hopping norm. Engaging millennials doesn’t have to be hard. Stoner says, “We want them know they are coming into a company that does value their development. millennials are eager, knowing that a company will make an investment in them.”

    wendy-stonerWendy Stoner will be a panelist at this December’s College Recruiting Bootcamp. She serves as GSA’s Director for the Office of Emerging Talent Development within the Office of Human Resources Management. She strives to create an environment of highly engaged employees dedicated to accomplishing GSA’s mission and has successfully recruited hundreds of highly talented recent graduates prepared to tackle GSA’s business challenges. Stoner’s work is helping GSA fuel the pipeline to meet the agency’s future leadership and succession planning needs. Connect with Wendy on LinkedIn.

  • Absence of genuine networking discourages job seekers

    August 16, 2016 by
    Business photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    As recruiters and hiring managers search for top talent, it is important they understand how to approach potential job candidates. Employers should think about treating candidates the way they would want to be treated when searching for internships or entry-level jobs. Recruiters and hiring managers can’t assume just because they arrive on college campuses that they will make connections. Taking time to speak with college students who attend networking events shows sincere interest in them and create a favorable impression of an employer. Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org, explains the importance of connecting with candidates in a genuine manner.

    “Networking is a way to build professional relationships on a personal level. But many recruiters fail to connect with potential candidates in a meaningful way. Communication is the most important tool in a recruiter’s toolkit. If you can’t explain expectations and describe opportunities in a clear, straightforward way, candidates will go elsewhere. Job seekers aren’t interested in vague, unclear information. They want to know if an opportunity is right for them so help them see if they can fit into the role.

    It’s easy to spot common offenders when you’re at networking events. Keep an eye out for card spammers, people who throw their business cards around attempting to reach as many people as possible in a short amount of time. This is not just unprofessional; it’s also offensive.

    You can’t build relationships by skimming the surface and trying to get your information in as many pockets as possible. Why would I want to build a trusting relationship with you when you can’t seem to take the time to fully engage with me?

    Instead, start a conversation and express a genuine interest in connecting. Being inauthentic and focusing only on the result is off-putting. Don’t force anything; sometimes, there just isn’t a fit. Express what you can offer and how you can help potential candidates.

    Follow-up if you sense some interest, but don’t be pushy. There is a human side to business, and talented candidates appreciate when they are treated as a person, not a commodity.”

    Want more networking tips? Make your way to our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

    Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org

    Michael Moradian, Executive Director of HonorSociety.org

    Michael Moradian is the Executive Director of HonorSociety.org, an honor society that recognizes academic achievement and provides valuable resources and tools to its members. Connect with Michael and HonorSociety.org on Twitter at @HonorSocietyorg.

  • 5 ways juniors can take advantage of career services

    July 19, 2016 by

    It’s finally your junior year of college. You’re more than halfway finished with your undergraduate courses. Woohoo!

    You can certainly breathe a sigh of relief and feel a sense of accomplishment, but you have some serious career-related tasks to accomplish this year. Most college students don’t simply land a great job after graduating. It’s a step-by-step process which requires you to do your part in collaboration with your career services office on campus. As Patricia Niemann, Career Development Consultant, puts it, “career development is the bridge that you will travel from your educational environment to future career opportunities.”

    This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, lists six ways juniors in college can take advantage of career services to get ahead in the job search game.


    If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

    1. Ensure that you’ve written a super solid resume and cover letter.

    Now is the time to edit and update your resume with the help of your career services office on campus and to create a basic cover letter if you didn’t do so during your sophomore year. Career services will be glad to help you do this. Most career services offices even host special resume workshops and events, or you can set up a one-on-one resume appointment. No matter what approach you take, get it done. Don’t wait until the day before a job or internship interview. Creating or editing a resume takes time, even for a professional.

     

    2. Gain work experience in your field of study.

    It doesn’t matter if the experience is paid or unpaid. It doesn’t matter if you work five or 20 hours per week. It simply matters that you gain work experience in your field of study or as closely related to your field of study as possible. Are you majoring in criminal justice? Contact your local police department to ask about opportunities there. Is there a battered women’s shelter or sexual assault center in your area? Perhaps you could serve as a volunteer victim’s advocate. The possibilities are endless, but you have to take initiative. Working with career services is priceless. It’s the job of a career services professional to keep in touch with local employers and to serve as a liaison with organizations like these. Let your career services professionals work as advocates for you. Why do all the hard work yourself if you don’t have to? Don’t overlook sites like CollegeRecruiter.com, either. We can help. When you register, you tell us what you’re looking for, and we send you new job postings related only to your search criteria.

     

    3. Up your networking game.

    During your first and second years of college, it might have been enough to simply keep your social media sites clean of inappropriate content and to occasionally add new contacts. That’s not going to cut it your last two years of undergraduate study.

    Start reaching out to alumni and chatting with employers via discussion boards online. Dedicate at least 30 minutes to these activities per week. Up your game online, and you’ll be surprised how many connections you’ll gain and what types of opportunities may surface as a result. Each time you attend an event with employers present, retain business cards and invite those employers (recruiters, hiring managers, and others) to connect with you on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other professional networking sites. If they don’t accept your invitations, don’t take it personally. If they do connect with you, send a personal message thanking them for adding you. Don’t harass employers online or send annoying messages, but don’t be afraid to like their posts or comment on content they share in a thoughtful and insightful manner.

     

    4. Acquire better soft skills.

    Ask career services professionals for opportunities to improve your soft skills. Seek feedback from your career services staff on where your strengths and weaknesses lie in terms of soft skills. Are you great at communicating in writing but poor at communicating face-to-face? You might need to practice interview questions with a career services member before conducting on-campus interviews with employers. Are you a strong leader but not so great at teamwork? Find ways to get involved in organizations requiring you to collaborate with others on campus.

     

    5. Take grad school entrance practice exams.

    If you plan on attending graduate school after you graduate from college, it’s a good idea to take practice exams for the GRE, MCAT, and other entrance exams for graduate schools during your junior year. Most of these are offered at no cost and can be found online. Career services offices often offer assistance in pointing students to these exams or to study guides on many campuses.

     

    Lastly, and this is a bonus tip: don’t just attend the career fair your junior year of college.

    The career fair is a great event—and a must—but challenge yourself to attend at least two other events sponsored by career services as well. Ask your career services office which events are most important on your campus. Is it the etiquette dinner, on-campus interviews, mock interviews, or other key events? Each campus has its own key events, so don’t assume you know which matter most without asking.

    Want more help finding ways to guarantee career success? Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

     

  • Dispelling 4 networking myths

    June 28, 2016 by

    Have you ever read an article and wondered, halfway through, whether the tips and suggestions were genuine or intended to be funny and snarky? You don’t want this to happen when you’re trying to learn about networking, whether you’re trying to build your connections in the workplace, learning about professional networking events and how to feel more at ease while eating/drinking with coworkers, or understanding the ins and outs of networking in order to aid your job search.

    Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, dispels four networking myths (jokes, really) laid out in a networking tips article by The Onion in this short video and offers entry-level candidates genuine networking tips instead.


    If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

     

    1. First impressions kind of do last forever… but you don’t need to use hand sanitizer after shaking someone’s hand.

    Ignore The Onion’s advice on this one!

    No better way to convince someone you’re going to be picky or odd to work with than to break out the hand sanitizer immediately after meeting them. If you have concerns about germs or cleanliness, try to hold your concerns in until you can get to a restroom, and then scrub your hands to your heart’s desire.

    First impressions do matter, and they do last. This is true because of both the primacy effect and negativity bias. What you see, hear, and recognize first when you meet someone is what sticks with you. If those things you see, hear, and recognize are negative, that’s what sticks, unfortunately. Do your part to ensure that what people see, hear, and notice about you is positive. Dress professionally and look your best when attending networking events, job interviews, and other places when you might encounter employers or potential employers. Smile! Keep the topic of conversation light and polite. Be prepared to introduce yourself (prepare an elevator pitch).

    Professional networking should occur during working hours/daytime; you should NOT confront employers at home at night as The Onion jokingly suggests. This is a surefire way to get yourself arrested.

    2. Be respectful of employers’ personal lives and private space.

    Even when texting or sending private messages/inboxing recruiters, try to limit one-on-one interaction to working hours or at least daytime hours. Keep in mind that when employers, recruiters, and hiring managers aren’t at work, they probably don’t want to interact with candidates. I know, it’s a blow to your ego to hear that. But it’s true.

    3. You should ALWAYS ask people to tell their career stories.

    The article by The Onion gests that people will share with you unhelpful, outdated ways to get jobs when you ask this question. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Instead, you’ll hear really interesting stories when you ask this question full of excellent job seeking and networking tips. If you’re listening carefully to someone who’s working in the career field you’re interested in, you might gain insights into how to start a business in your field, how to avoid common pitfalls in your industry, key names of important people you’ll need to connect with, and more.

    Did you catch that?—if you’re LISTENING CAREFULLY you’ll gain lots of insight. If you zone out and think about whether you can make it to the cheese tray before the mozzarella cubes are gone (cheese does matter, but not more than finding a great job), you’ll miss all of it, and you will have wasted your night, aside from eating some snacks.

    4. There’s no such thing as “selfish networking.” Period.

    The article by The Onion states, “No matter how insincere you are, try the best you can to hide the fact that you’re only talking to someone because you want to use them.” Although the article is sarcastic, this is actually true.

    People don’t want to be used because of their connections or titles or impressive possessions. People want to be appreciated for who they are.

    Networking is about building and maintaining relationships. It is about give and take. Networking, for the job seeker, is about utilizing those relationships you’ve ALREADY built and maintained to help aid you in your job search.

    The time to begin networking is not when you begin searching for jobs. It’s when you begin college or while you’re in high school. You build relationships with people throughout life. If you never stop building and maintaining relationships, networking is a natural part of life. When you need assistance with something—like searching for a job—you have nothing to worry about. You simply ask, and because you’ve been sharing and helping and giving to your connections for years, they’re more than happy to give back to you.

    For more networking tips, continue reading our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

  • Being honest and engaged during the onboarding process

    June 23, 2016 by
    Smiling graduate student with diploma photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    As recent college graduates and entry-level job candidates prepare to enter the workforce, they should prepare for the onboarding process. New hires should stay focused and take notes during the onboarding process to get the most out of it. Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany, shares his best advice for recent grads and entry-level job candidates while onboarding.

    “The best advice I can give recent grads and entry-level candidates is to be honest and stay engaged. Onboarding requires plenty of attention, focus, and an ability to retain information in a short amount of time.

    Recent grads and candidates engage in this process to learn their expectations, gain a deeper understanding of their companies and their employers, meet their team, and see how they can succeed in their new roles. It’s exciting, not a chore, so direct energy in the best way by sitting up straight and staying interactive.

    Take your own notes and actively listen. Continue taking notes while performing tasks. These notes will be helpful because you can review them after training to increase your knowledge. They will also inform some well thought out questions and feedback.

    When trainers ask for feedback, share your thoughts. When you don’t understand something about a process or task, ask questions. Many new hires are nervous and don’t feel comfortable speaking up, but allowing fear to stand in the way is incredibly detrimental to your training and your relationship with your employer.

    The bottom line of onboarding is to set expectations, train employees on processes, and build a trusting relationship. Communication and engagement are crucial.”

    Want to help recent grads and entry-level job candidates in the onboarding process? Get some assistance and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

    Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

    Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

  • How to get a dream job even without experience

    June 20, 2016 by
    Dream, job, way photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    It’s intensely frustrating. You spend years getting further education, you work your butt off, you rack up extra debt, and afterwards no doors will open because ‘you lack experience’ or because university ‘didn’t teach you the skills you need.’ But how can you get experience if nobody will give you a job?

    Well fear not; there are actually ways to get that dream job after all, and that’s without first working 10 years at some entry-level position trying to make your mark. It just means working hard right now and showing everybody that you’ve got the mojo to pull it off.
    So are you ready to get noticed? Here’s what you’ve got to do.

    Do the time

    Despite what many young people think, the world doesn’t owe them anything. That means your dream job is not going to get thrown into your lap. If you want it, you’ve got to look for it, hunt for it, and when you found it, battle to get it. So make sure you don’t sit back and wait for something to happen.

    Instead, pursue every channel to get the job you want, be it social media, friends of the family, career counseling at university or the classifieds in the local newspaper (some people actually still use those). And apply to everything that sounds close to what you want. Even if you don’t end up wanting it, the experience from going to the interview can be just what you need to wow your future employers when you do land the right interview.

    Develop your soft skills

    One of the biggest problems employers have with fresh graduates is that they don’t have the soft skills necessary to actually get anywhere in the workplace. By soft skills I mean teamwork, communication, writing and problem-solving skills. An even bigger problem? Graduates think they’re actually very good at those things and therefore don’t take the time to become better at them. Don’t be like everybody else; accept that you’ve still got a lot to learn, then go out of your way to learn soft skills!

    Be confident but not arrogant

    There is another good reason besides soft skills that many people don’t like hiring recent graduates – and that’s because recent graduates often have a much higher estimation of what they’re capable of than what they’re actually capable of. They come swaggering into the workplace believing that they’ll show these business people a thing or two about how it’s done.

    The thing is, often they don’t know how it’s done. They’ve got too little work experience and often too much idealism. They’ve got a lot to learn but think too highly of themselves to realize this is so.

    Don’t be that person. Be respectful, accept that you’re still at the beginning of your life and that experience is valuable, but make it clear to your future employer that you’re smart enough to know what you know and driven enough to learn what you don’t. That will impress them.

    Prepare for the interview

    There are some tricky questions interviewers can’t ask you, and if you haven’t prepared then they may stump you. So take time to prepare. Not only that, but make sure you know the names of the people you’re going to interview with, as well as whatever basic facts you can find online. People will be impressed if you are well-informed. It shows that you care, that you’re a good researcher, that you’re proactive and that you’re willing to invest effort to get what you want.

    Show off your expertise

    If you want the dream job, you’ve got to show that your skill set is much greater than your limited CV gives you credit for. So you’ve got to show off your expertise. This can be done in multiple ways–by getting an endorsement from somebody who matters in the industry or one of your professors, for instance, but probably the best way is to actually start working in the field. So either start freelancing while you’re still in college, or otherwise start blogging and build up a reputation as somebody who knows what they’re talking about.

    Be passionate

    Read books and articles in your field, understand theory as best you can, know who the players are, and when you get around to writing your cover letter, show them how much you care. Now don’t be a gushing ninny. You’ve got to be professional, but you still have to demonstrate to them that even though you don’t have as much experience as everybody else in the field, you’ve got more than enough passion to make up for it.

    Be a protagonist

    You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions or your lack thereof. It won’t be easy to jump the cue. It will, in fact, take a lot of hard work, so you’ve got to prepare for that. That said, it is possible so long as you take the time to be do what you’ve got to do and show that you’re a cut above the rest.

    And if it goes wrong, own it, learn what you can from it and get back up again. Then push on. That’s the only way it’s going to work. You’ve got to be the hero of your own story, because otherwise you’re the victim. And who hires the victim?

    Jonathan Emmen, guest writer

    Jonathan Emmen, guest writer

    Jonathan Emmen is a student and an inspired blogger from Copenhagen. His passion is writing, and he finds inspiration in traveling, books, and movies. You can follow him on @JonnyEmmen or you can also follow him on Kinja.

  • 7 tips for networking in the workplace

    June 07, 2016 by

    Did you know that 80% of workplace conflicts and problems arise from communication glitches? It’s true. You can do your part to prevent workplace conflicts—originating from miscommunication—by developing your soft skills, namely communication skills and networking skills. If you improve your relationships with your colleagues, clients, and supervisors via networking in the workplace, you’ll be much less likely to face problems at work.

    As a new employee, particularly as a recent grad or intern, it’s also important to network with others at work in order to build rapport with the people you rely upon for help and information to perform your job duties well. If you want to succeed, you’ll quickly learn that it pays to maintain positive relationships with everyone around you.

    Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, offers seven tips for networking in the workplace in this short video.


    If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

    1. Know yourself well.

    If you can detect when you’re having an off day, take steps to prevent taking it out on everyone around you. Stay in your cubicle or office on those days if necessary or take more frequent breaks. Before you begin working, get an extra-large coffee and take some deep breaths or read some positive literature.  Look at some funny photos for five minutes. Find a solution that works for you. If you find yourself in a negative place due to personal circumstances, and you’re allowing your personal life to affect your work life, talk to your human resources officer confidentially to see if your company offers wellness benefits, including an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

    In addition, taking a DISC inventory or other personality inventory—ask your career services office about taking these inventories at no cost on your college campus—can help you to learn more about your work style. It might take one hour to take the inventory, but you’ll then be armed with information about how you work best, how you prefer to interact with others, and what to avoid when interacting with others. The sooner you learn this information about yourself, the better.

    2. Treat others well.

    Treat your colleagues and clients well regardless of their level of expertise, pay grade, or how much money they are spending with your company. When networking, your contacts will appreciate being treated with courtesy, kindness, respect, appreciation, and fairness. You’ll build a reputation of treating people well, and a great reputation goes a long way in the workplace. If you decide to stay with your present company, you may want to apply for an internal job promotion. If you’ve been networking with others at work and treating everyone well, your behavior will likely speak just as loudly as your resume, cover letter, and job application. If you decide to leave your company to pursue other job opportunities, you’ll be glad you treated others well when potential employers call to check your references and hear about how kind, thoughtful, and positive you were at work every day.

    3. Don’t be afraid to collaborate and share.

    Collaborating and sharing ideas and information in the workplace today is a great way to network with your colleagues and to show them that you want to help, not hinder the growth of the organization or team. Sharing your ideas with others also encourages others to share their ideas, and the workplace becomes a more creative place.

    4. Don’t do halfalogues.

    What’s a halfalogue? A halfalogue is when you only participate in half the conversation or dialogue because you’re holding your phone, scrolling through a text message or email, and aren’t able to fully participate and interact with your colleagues as a result. At work, you have to put down your phone if you want to make good impressions and build positive relationships with your supervisors, colleagues, and clients. It’s not just rude to play on your phone during meetings; it’s also important to pay attention when stopping by someone’s office casually to say hello.

    5. Address people by name.

    This is like networking 101. Referring to people by name during conversations or even in emails makes them feel more special, and that’s always a good thing. How long does it take to type out, “Bethany?” Maybe one or two seconds. It’s worth it to improve your communication skills and reduce the potential for future workplace conflicts.

    6. Focus on the solution, not the problem.

    Be a positive influence at work. When networking, whether at workplace events or during daily interactions in the workplace, keep conversations “light and polite” and focused on positive topics and on solutions, not problems. It’s inevitable at work that you’re going to be asked to discuss problems and conflicts during meetings. What’s important is that you find a way to discuss problems in a positive light and to focus on taking constructive action.

    For example, if you’re discussing a challenge you’re facing as a new employee tasked with visiting with patients at a clinic, and you have discovered you simply cannot keep up with the volume of paperwork and still provide quality service to the patients face-to-face, you can be honest about the problem yet discuss potential solutions.

    “I am really glad we have so many patients coming to the office. I like talking to them and helping them get set up to see the doctor. I’m just feeling overwhelmed by the documents to scan and know I’m getting behind. I think I need more time to scan documents, but I don’t want to offer patients a lower level of service either. Do you think I could work on documents for 30 minutes in the morning before I start seeing patients every day? Maybe this would help me to keep it managed.”

    Presenting a potential solution—even if it’s not the solution your employer prefers or selects to implement—suggests that you’re not just belly-aching about problems. It also showcases your soft skills, including your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These are not just great networking skills but are great workplace skills any employer values.

    7. Interact face-to-face whenever possible.

    It’s not always an option, but interact face-to-face if you can. Face-to-face communication helps you avoid most communication errors and opportunities for miscommunication because it is channel rich. When you’re speaking with someone face-to-face, you’re provided with multiple cues that help you interpret meaning: voice tone, spoken word, facial expression, hand gestures, and many more. When you communicate with someone via email or text message, communication is channel lean, meaning you’re relying on just one thing–words. Have you ever received a text message from a significant other, and the intended meaning is not the meaning you interpreted? This likely caused some hurt feelings or even a huge fight. The same thing happens in the workplace.

    For this reason, it’s best to hold meetings face-to-face. If you work remotely, consider hosting meetings virtually via Zoom or Skype. If that’s not an option, you can conference in by phone. At least you can hear voices rather than simply read words. Simply hammering out emails back and forth gives you the illusion that you’re saving time, when in fact, you often waste time because you create confusion which you have to clarify by writing three more emails. Save yourself the hassle—and build better relationships—by talking to people face-to-face when possible. You’ll probably find that your networking skills and communication skills will grow, and you’ll build great relationships, too.

    For more networking tips, visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

     

  • How to have a great first day at work, Part 2

    May 24, 2016 by

    Starting your first full-time, entry-level job can be intimidating. Don’t let your nerves overcome you on your first day at work. If you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1 of this series.

    This video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, offers five more tips to help you shake off the first day jitters and prepare for your first day of work with confidence.


    If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

    1. Observe.

    On your first day at work—or even within the first few weeks or months of a new position—spend more of your time observing and listening than you do talking, saying yes, and volunteering for every opportunity that comes your way. You will learn a lot about company culture, your coworkers, your supervisors, and your new position by observing. You can figure out which circle of work friends you want to align yourself with and which group of friends to join for happy hour. You’ll figure out how to fit in and how to avoid major communication pitfalls. And you’ll avoid getting in over your head by overfilling your plate with unnecessary commitments, too.

    2. Say yes to lunch.

    On your first day and within the first week of work, you may be invited to lunch by coworkers who are trying to make you feel welcome. In general, it’s a good idea to say yes. Going to lunch isn’t a huge commitment. It gives you an opportunity to network and to learn about the workplace in a less threatening and less formal environment. If you go to lunch with someone and determine you don’t necessarily click as friends outside of work, you haven’t lost anything or made a commitment to joining that person for lunch every day of the week. No harm, no foul.

    3. Silence your cell phone.

    You have to be responsible enough to remember to do this yourself; chances are, no one’s going to remind you, and there’s nothing more embarrassing than your phone buzzing or ringing during a team meeting, onboarding training session, or worse yet, an all-company meeting. Take it a step further and implement a personal policy of avoiding carrying your phone around with you during work. Sure, everyone needs to send an occasional personal text message or personal email. But for the most part, work while you’re at work, and tend to personal business when you’re not at work. This helps you to stay focused on doing a great job and learning the ropes of your new position, and it demonstrates respect for your coworkers when you’re communicating with them (rather than gazing at the screen on your phone).

    4. Use names.

    Referring to people by their names is a great idea throughout life for several reasons, but it’s particularly helpful when you start a new job. When you refer to coworkers by name, you make them feel more important. This is a basic networking tip. In addition, referring to people by name often softens the blow when you’re making requests, giving orders, sharing information, and sending emails which otherwise seem cold and impersonal. And lastly, referring to people by name helps you to remember who you’re talking to.

    5. Say thank you.

    When coworkers, supervisors, and others at your new company treat you with kindness and courtesy during the onboarding process, respond with gratitude. Say thank you if someone opens the door for you, gathers office supplies for you, sets up your computer, or invites you to lunch. You might even consider writing thank you cards or at least emails to individuals who go above and beyond to make you feel welcome during your first few weeks of work. Remember, you’re establishing long-term working relationships with people within your company, and what better way to do that than to demonstrate gratitude for their help and kindness.

    For more onboarding tips, check out our onboarding YouTube playlist and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

     

  • 5 onboarding tips to make the first day a success for new hires

    May 18, 2016 by
    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    The first day on the job is always nerve-wracking, especially for the recent college graduate starting their first job, or the entry-level employee taking that next step in their career. That’s why it’s important for employers to create an onboarding program to acclimate new hires and make them feel welcome from day one.

    “Sometimes the simplest things get overlooked and the smallest things make a huge impression,” says Julie Desmond, a talent acquisition specialist with Tennant Company, a manufacturer of indoor and outdoor environmental cleaning solutions with over 3,000 employees worldwide.

    Here are five onboarding tips to make the first day a success for new hires:

    1. New hires must know exactly what to bring
    According to a 2009 study by the Aberdeen Group of senior executives and HR staffing and recruiting personnel, 83 percent of the highest performing organizations began onboarding prior to the new hire’s first day on the job. Do this by sending the new employee a checklist of things to bring for that that first day: Driver’s license or form of identification, social security card, and names and numbers of emergency contacts, are a good start. Let them know they will be completing paperwork such as a W-4 or I-9, benefits and payroll forms.

    “I’ve been in onboarding sessions where this information wasn’t conveyed in advance,” says Desmond. “As a result, it took longer than necessary to get through this step. We know this is a high-hassle moment for new employees. Making it easy is very, very simple.”

    2. New hires must know exactly where to go
    We’re not talking directions to the office. And it’s not enough to simply tell new hires what time to arrive that first day on the job. There should be a clear onboarding plan in place, says Desmond. Tell them “when you arrive, ask for Jane Smith. Jane will meet you there and bring you to a conference room where you will complete your new hire paperwork.”

    This gives them a point person to reach out to versus showing up and sheepishly asking the front desk staff who to ask for and where to go.

    “When people know what to expect, they are more comfortable, better able to learn and process information, and from day one they understand that, here, we communicate clearly and don’t waste time guessing at what’s going to happen next,” says Desmond.

    3. Don’t assume the employer knows what you know
    The worst part about a new job is just that – it’s new and there are unknowns. That’s why an established person within the company needs to make sure the new hire knows the company dress code, where the bathrooms are, how to ask for days off, and where they can get coffee or a bite to eat. “Everyone forgets these things, because insiders already know,” says Desmond.

    4. Have the new hires’ technology in place
    This person has been planning for their first day on the job for the past two weeks. So, why is it that new hires always spend part of the first day on the phone with IT?

    “Good talent is hard to come by,” says Desmond. “When our new hire heads home at the end of the day, do we want him or her to tweet, “first day on the job, got a cool new laptop and got started on a cool new project already.” Or do we want them to say, “Not sure about the new gig. Spent all day with Freddie from the IT Help desk.”

    5. Make the first day special
    The little things count, says Bob LaBombard, CEO of GradStaff, a company that serves as a career matchmaker for recent college graduates and companies that are looking to fill entry-level jobs. Make sure the new hire’s work station is ready, announce the new hire company-wide via email (with picture, if possible), describe their background and role and have top executives or department leaders personally introduce themselves to the new hire. “Make sure the new hire knows their presence is important,” says LaBombard. After paperwork is complete, the new hire should meet with their manager, and new team members. If possible, take the new employee out to lunch to get to know them better.

    This may just be another day for HR, a manager and other company employees, but for new hires, especially recent college grads, this is arguably the biggest day of their professional career to this point.

    It’s important to them – and should also be to employers.

    “Day one matters more than ever for new recruits,” says Desmond.

    For more onboarding tips, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    Julie Desmond, a Talent Acquisition specialist with Tennant Company

    Julie Desmond, a Talent Acquisition Specialist with Tennant Company.

     

    Julie Desmond is a Talent Acquisition specialist with Tennant Company, a manufacturer of indoor and outdoor environmental cleaning solutions with over 3,000 employees worldwide. Tennant Company is committed to providing a rewarding work environment where employees have opportunities to contribute their unique talents and skills to building an even stronger Tennant.

     

     

    Bob Labombard

    Bob Labombard, CEO of Gradstaff, Inc.

    Bob LaBombard has more than 30 years of business experience in the chemical, environmental, professional services and staffing industries, including 18 years of staffing industry experience as CEO of GradStaff, Inc., and founder and CEO of EnviroStaff, Inc. He is a leader in helping client companies develop comprehensive strategies to fill both short- and long-term staffing requirements.

     

  • Improving your writing and getting career prospects

    May 16, 2016 by
    Woman writing photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    You may be able to walk the talk, but can you write it?

    It’s no big secret that writing skills factor in greatly when it comes to getting and keeping a job, especially in such a competitive market. In a study conducted by Grammarly, out of 100 native English speakers’ LinkedIn profiles, those with fewer grammatical errors had more promotions and held higher positions in their respective companies.

    With this in mind, it’s no wonder writing is a crucial communication tool for those in the workforce. In order to be fully able to convey your ideas, you need to articulate them clearly to other people. Writing often serves as the medium we relate ideas with, whether sending and responding to an email or updating our resumes for future employers.

    Despite this overwhelming piece of evidence, not everyone pays attention to improving their writing. Do you want to remain stagnant in your job, or do you want to grow and get career prospects? Here are a few tips on how to become a better writer in the workforce:

    1. Be a wide reader

    You are what you read. There are numerous benefits linked to reading, and among the most notable would be improved writing skills.

    In order to be great, you need to take inspiration from those who already are. Train your brain to tune into good writing practices by reading extensively. Others’ writing styles can certainly influence your own if you read them enough. Take time to sit back with a book, a well-written blog entry, or even browse through the news at least once a day. Aside from being able to unwind after or before the stressful day ahead, you’ll also be able to acquire new knowledge.

    This tip is especially helpful if you’re in the creative industry, where creative and powerful writing is the main tool of the trade, but it can also be beneficial for simple business writing. Noting some common trends in your favorite writers like style, grammar, and tone go a long way in helping to develop your own voice. You also learn new things in the process, which you can incorporate in the other areas of your life.

    2. Read your work backwards

    It sounds silly at first, but it’s effective in weeding out any grammatical errors you’ve missed in your last work email. Give it a shot, and it could save you from an embarrassing typo.

    Our minds are programmed to autocorrect any minor errors they encounter. Remember those online tests that ask you to spot the “the” in a sentence? You may have been one of the majority who filtered out the extra “the”, in which case this second tip can come in handy to avoid any similar grammatical slip-ups.

    Start from the last word of your composition up to the first word you’ve written. Since you’re no longer operating in the context of the content, your focus stays on the form of the text. If you’re already aware of what errors you’re on the lookout for, you’ll be able to spot any repetitive words, misplaced punctuation, and faulty spacing. Note this only works on a structural level, and not if you’re looking for something else like content relevance and fact-checking.

    3. Turn spell check on

    This doesn’t necessarily improve your skill, but it’s an easy fix if you’re in a hurry to compose an error-free report you’ll be delivering to your bosses the next day. Ruby Hardman, an editor from ResumesPlanet shared: “We can’t always be on top of our writing game, and having technology on our side helps in taking some of the load off our shoulders.”

    Turn spell check on so you can automatically spot mistakes without having to painstakingly go through your work word per word. Don’t take this to mean you can let your guard down. In fact, this should give you time to focus on other aspects of your writing. If you’re writing up a resume, take the time to organize the details of it. If you’re writing a speech for a presentation, use it to focus on your tone and fine-tuning your content to the audience you’re presenting to.

    Just remember that spell check isn’t perfect, either. There will be some errors it will miss and some idioms it may misinterpret. In that case, always have a dictionary ready to counter-check the results. Sometimes you’ll still have to do the heavy lifting in refining your work, but it will all pay off with a thriving career, and improved communication between yourself and other people.

    Get on it write away!

    Writing is an often overlooked skill that plays a huge, though subtle, role in leveraging your career. In his article on Harvard Business Review, iFixit’s Kyle Wiens openly declared he wasn’t too keen on hiring people with poor grammar, precisely because they don’t make good employees. According to Wiens, these job seekers lack the critical thinking and orientation to detail that efficient workers and leaders possess.

    In order to project the right image to your employer, make sure to be on top of your writing game immediately. Read the right things to absorb some of their influence, proofread your work extensively, and if you’re in a rush, spell check is always a safe option. Just make sure to scan and countercheck for any missed marks.

    So what are you waiting for? Become a better writer, and increase your chances of moving up in your industry today.

    For more tips to improve your job search and build a career, head over to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Paige Donahue, guest writer

    Paige Donahue, guest writer

    Paige Donahue is an editor and blogger from Pennsylvania. She is a traveler and a collector of some sort – coins, comic books, and stories. You can connect with her via Twitter.