5 Ways to Build Career Skills in Your Spare Time 

In today’s competitive landscape, you should look for every opportunity to stand out to recruiters and hiring managers. Have you devoted time recently to honing your career skills to stay ahead of the competition? jobs in Los Angeles

Believe it or not, your hobbies and interests can help you boost your career and increase your chances of standing out with recruiters. In fact, these 5 hobbies can make a major impact:

  1. Indulging your creative side. Are you always creating funny memes or other images and sharing them with your friends and family? Your creative endeavors — both online and off — can help you build important critical and software skills. Even if the specific software you’re using doesn’t relate directly to a specific job, your ability to quickly learn and adapt to new software is extremely marketable to employers.
  2. Volunteering. Giving back to the community is great for your neighborhood and can even be good for your health, but it also offers benefits to your career. Many nonprofit organizations lack funding to hire full-time staff. They depend on volunteers for things like donor solicitation, administrative tasks and other mission-critical responsibilities. These types of tasks can provide excellent opportunities for you to learn new computer skills, grant writing skills and more >> earning hands-on experience with real results.
  3. Starting a Meetup. Meetup.com has become an excellent resource for clubs, professional networking groups and more to connect and unite over shared passions and interests. When you start a new group on a site like Meetup, you are not only nurturing your passion, you are demonstrating and building strong leadership skills. Promoting your group and expanding its reach will help you develop strong marketing skills. And when you present at your Meetups, you’ll hone important presentation and speaking skills that can help you in a range of industries and roles.
  4. Reading. One of the first hobbies many of us develop is also one of the most beneficial. Not only can you read books that help you learn new skills and aid in your personal development, reading any book helps improve communication skills. Focusing on business or personal development books can also give you some important leverage in job interviews. Many interviewers like to make small talk – this is partially to put you at ease, and it’s also often an assessment tool. Rather than talking about the latest TV shows you watched, talk about the latest important business book you read. That is MUCH more likely to get the attention of your recruiter and increase your chances of landing the job.
  5. Yoga. Yoga can help you avoid muscle injuries and stay flexible, but its effects can also help you at work. The focused breathing and mindfulness associated with yoga can help you better handle the daily stresses that happen at work. Most employers today are looking for a strong cultural fit. Employees who can keep their cool during stressful moments are highly desirable for employers. The next time an interviewer asks you about a time where you faced a difficult situation at work, mentioning your yoga hobby and the benefits it affords you in the office can show interviewers that you take your career seriously, inside and outside the office.

Today’s employers are looking for well-rounded individuals. Embrace your hobbies and their ability to impact your career! Here at Helpmates, we help professionals across Southern California match their skills and goals to job opportunities with some of the area’s top employers. Search our current job openings or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

Image courtesy of samarttiw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How to Overcome Your Biggest Career Fears

How to Overcome Your Biggest Career Fears

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” Theodore Roosevelt

What are your biggest career goals? If you haven’t achieved them yet, what’s holding you back? Fear is a powerful component of career success, and it’s something that can prevent you from reaching new heights. overcome career fears

Your success depends on overcoming career fears.

If you sometimes freeze up because of fear, you’re not alone. Many of us share the same career fears and concerns. Overcoming them is key to reaching your goals.

Here are the four most common career fears and how to battle them:

  1. Being asked a difficult question during job interviews. Job interviews are intimidating enough on their own: Being asked to describe why you’re better than the hundreds (or thousands) of people who also applied definitely brings some pressure! “Freezing” after being asked a difficult interview question is a very common fear for job seekers. The definition of a “difficult” question varies from industry to industry and person to person, but the best way to overcome this fear is consistent. Think of the Key P’s: Preparation and Practice. Do your research into common interview questions for your industry or area of specialty. Then practice answering them. Be prepared to talk about everything on your resume. Preparation and practice ensure that you can handle any curveballs that come your way. Need someone to practice with? Call your Helpmates Talent Relationship Specialist >> He or she will walk you through the interview process and can help you master the P’s to feel comfortable during job interviews.
  2. Being negatively impacted by social media posts. Social media is a critical part of your job search. The Internet is filled with posts warning about the dangers found in posting questionable content. It could be tempting to avoid social media altogether, but employers want to learn about you online before the interview >> Avoiding social media could potentially raise a red flag and could actually result in fewer job interviews. The best way to alleviate this fear and avoid any negative fallout from social media mistakes is to remove anything that could be considered offensive or inappropriate. Then, follow the advice we shared a few months ago in our Top 10 Social Media Tips for Job Seekers. Pay particular attention to your privacy settings and build consistent, complete profiles. Follow those tips, then be sure to consider your career when posting any content in the future. If you wouldn’t post it at work, it’s better not to post it at all!
  3. Not getting a high enough salary. Depending on your industry, you could either be in a candidate’s market or a more competitive environment. In the tech industry, for example, some specialties are commanding increasingly competitive salaries. Other industries aren’t quite as swayed in candidates’ favor. Depending on your specific background and goals, you may have some fear that the jobs that most appeal to you won’t provide the right salary. Knowledge is power to help overcome this fear. Use tools like salary.com to research positions and salaries for ideal positions in your city. These tools can give you a good idea how much salary to expect. Be prepared to back up your salary expectations with real-world examples of results you’ve delivered in previous positions. RESOURCE: Our salary negotiation tips can help you land competitive compensation.
  4. Not finding the right job. Feeling stuck in the wrong job is not a great feeling. Struggling to find any job can also be stressful. A fear that the right job will never come along is understandable during your job search, but it doesn’t have to be realistic. Partnering with a recruiting firm like Helpmates can help in a few ways. First, your job search efforts will be focused only on those jobs that are most likely to help you reach your goals (no more dead ends!). Second, recruiters will work with you to understand which jobs are best suited to your strengths, background and goals. We’ll work with you to find the right job for YOU.

The recruiters at Helpmates are here to help you overcome your fears and find jobs across Southern California. We work with the area’s top employers — they trust us to match them with incredible professionals like you. Search our current jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to take control of your career.

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Searching for Passive Candidates? What NOT to Say.

Passive candidates are often considered the “holy grail” for employers – after all, who wouldn’t want to hire the competition’s best talent? But reaching passive candidates and enticing them to leave their current positions can prove challenging. passive candidates

Stop thinking like a recruiter to hire passive candidates.

Sounds like some difficult advice, doesn’t it? How can you NOT think like a recruiter? It’s important, though — thinking like an employee instead of a recruiter can help you understand and pinpoint what will resonate with passive candidates. But your work isn’t finished once you’ve opened up communication with passive candidates. Here is some advice to help you say the right things (and avoid saying the WRONG things):

  • Avoid going too far on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for recruiters, putting you within reach of just about any professional across the globe. But use LinkedIn incorrectly and you can quickly alienate (or anger) candidates, sabotaging your current and future recruiting efforts along the way. These quick tips can help you avoid LinkedIn mistakes:
    • InMail. Keep messages short and sweet. Remember that many candidates are reading their messages on smartphones. If you’re using LinkedIn’s recruiting tools, you can send InMail to just about anyone, but don’t badger candidates with every detail about your company or your jobs. Instead, start off with some positive feedback on the candidate and his or her profile. Quickly explain who you are and why you’re reaching out, then include a link to your specific job opening, if appropriate. Finish by including your contact information and a note explaining if you’ll follow up (and when).
    • Connection Requests. Once again, short and sweet is the rule here. Especially in certain industries (like tech), candidates are being inundated with messages from recruiters. Want to stand out? Keep your messages short and quickly explain what’s in it for the candidate. Don’t ever lie about why you’re reaching out or how you may or may not know a candidate. This may sound like common sense, but it can get cutthroat out there for talent – don’t ever be tempted to damage your reputation by lying.
    • Group messages. Sure, you may be able to send group messages through LinkedIn, but that doesn’t mean you should. Yes, it takes longer to send individual messages to candidates, but group messages are the easiest way to get your name, company and job trashed by passive candidates. They’re already employed (and possibly quite happily so). If you can’t take a few minutes to craft a unique message to each person, how could passive candidates feel as if you truly value them and their potential contributions to your company? Remember: Think like the passive candidates. What would make you feel valued by an employer? Which leads to the final point on LinkedIn communication…
    • Get personal. Look at candidate profiles before sending InMail or a request to connect. Don’t cut and paste the same generic message to all the passive candidates you’re trying to reach. Pay close attention to schools and previous employers to see if you share an alma mater or colleague. Look at any portfolio work, project examples or LinkedIn Pulse posts, then comment on them in your message. Remember, you’re trying to “woo” passive candidates from their current positions. Flattery doesn’t hurt, and taking a genuine interest in someone by relating to items in their profile instantly helps you stand out from the pack.
  • Try weekends. It may seem counterintuitive, but candidates get tired of hearing from recruiters all week. Following the recommendations above (whether you’re using LinkedIn, email or another communication method) in communications on the weekend can help you stand out and open the door to more communication.
  • Work harder on referrals. Putting your effort into new, passive candidates is important, but it’s critical to value your current candidates and employees. Foster an environment where they want to refer more people to you. Recruiting and HR should be working together to build a strong culture that increases retention rates and supports an environment where your employees want to refer their friends and former colleagues. According to research from LinkedIn, referred employees have longer tenure and higher performance, so in addition to maximizing your recruiting efforts, getting more referrals just makes better business sense.
  • Go beyond social media. LinkedIn is a great option for reaching and communicating with candidates, but it’s just one option. It’s important to also go where passive candidates in your target industries spend time. Professional organizations, associations, college career centers and niche websites/forums are a good place to start. Build relationships by providing value there (not instantly recruiting or trying to sell candidates on your organization). Not only are your communication efforts more likely to be successful, passive candidates may start reaching out to you directly to look for new opportunities!
  • Change your approach. Just as your messages and communication should be quick and to the point, once you’ve gained the interest of passive candidates, don’t put them through your standard interview/hiring process. Instead, brainstorm questions that could help uncover hidden problems within their current jobs that your new jobs could somehow solve. These questions provide a strong starting point. Keep it simple for passive candidates throughout – avoid putting them through the wringer with a long online application or drawn out interview process. If you’ve identified passive candidates who are an ideal fit for your organization, make it easy for them to make the switch. Offer interview times outside normal business hours, accept a resume instead of a long application — do everything you can to simplify the process and make your organization an appealing choice.

Passive or not, top talent acquisition is a goal for every organization. Helpmates has an extensive network of top talent in a range of industries and disciplines across Southern California. We’ll help you find the best talent to impact your bottom line. Contact us today to learn more.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

© Year Helpmates Staffing Services. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Statement | Site Map | Site Credits.