Looking for Work During the Holidays: Why it Works

It’s the holidays! Time for great food; enjoying the red, green, yellow, blue, and white lights; listening to noels as well as goofy old-fashioned holiday songs (which still make you a tad weepy in a good way because they remind you of your grandmother); watching children’s faces light up with delight at special holiday decorations; getting together with friends and loved ones; shopping for gifts for those you love (and even those you’re not that keen on).

So who could possibly have time for job hunting?

holiday job search los angeles

You do!

At the least, you should make the time for job hunting because as busy as you are getting ready for the holidays, as much as you may not want to look for work (it’s not nearly as much fun anticipating the hunt for a job as it is the hunt for the perfect gift), looking for work during the holidays is a terrific idea because (drum roll): employers still have holes in their employee rosters! What’s more, here in December 2017, it’s still a candidate’s market and employers pretty much are desperate to find good people.

Yes, employers may distracted by the holidays as you are and hiring decisions may be put on hold later in the month as many people take vacation and some businesses close for a few days. But if you keep your full-court press on your SoCal job search at this time you’ll keep that momentum going in your search (a job hunt thrives on momentum).

Take a look below for X reasons why looking for work during the holidays…..works!

  1. Not everyone can stay focused on the job search, so you’ll have less competition.

We understand all too well how distracting the month of December can be. And not everyone can compartmentalize their different priorities – certainly not as well as you can! And because you can focus on the search, you can snag an interview from someone who’s distracted by holiday events and to-do lists.

Yes, you may find that hiring managers are a bit slower to get back to you. You also may find that when you are hired your new manager may say you won’t be starting until after the New Year. (But that’s OK, because instead of being “unemployed,” you’ll be “on vacation” and you can truly enjoy the holidays!)

  1. Can you say “Networking opportunities galore!”?

Take advantage of the many holiday gatherings and parties held at this time of year to – discreetly – connect with people who could possibly help you in your search. Not sure how to network at holiday gatherings? This article has several good tips.

  1. Many companies have “use it or lose it” budget policies.

Many department/hiring managers are given department funding that requires them to use all of the funds budgeted to them each year or else the money not used won’t show up in their budgets next year. (“After all,” their manager may reason, “they didn’t use it this year, so they don’t need it next year.”)

So hiring managers may be eager to fill an open position before the year ends and you may find yourself being called in for interviews and getting an offer faster than you might have anticipated.

  1. Many holiday positions can turn into permanent work.

Seasonal jobs often do turn into full-time work even after the holiday season ends. Savvy department managers know they would be foolish to let great workers go and so you well could be pleasantly surprised to be offered the chance to continue working after January 1.

So there’s one more reason to look into seasonal/holiday work if your “real” job hasn’t yet panned out.

  1. Temporary assignments also often become full-time opportunities.

Working with a staffing service such as Helpmates during the holiday season – or any time of the year – can help you bring in some cash while you look for work.

Yet many of our associates take on a temporary assignment and later are hired by our client company as their own employee. This happens regularly throughout the year and during the holidays.

So if you’re looking for your next opportunity, take a look at our current openings and, if one or more look interesting, follow the directions for applying.

Happy Holidays!

How to Rule the Office Holiday Party This Year

It’s that time of year again – holiday party season is upon us. After a long year of hard work, the holiday party offers a great opportunity to unwind and celebrate a year of success with your colleagues.

Our list of do’s and don’ts can help you avoid unnecessary career blunders and even boost your career at this year’s event: holiday party tips

  • Do have fun! Holiday parties are thrown to have a good time and reflect on your hard work over the past year. You absolutely should eat, drink (don’t overdo it!) and have a great time.
  • Do remember that it’s a work event. While you should have a nice time, remember that the holiday party is still a professional, work-sponsored event. Your dress and behavior should be work appropriate, and you should conduct yourself as if your boss is watching your every move (because he/she probably is!).
  • Don’t skip the party. Unless you have another obligation that’s impossible to reschedule, you should at least make an appearance at your work holiday party. Skipping the party could send the wrong message to your boss and imply that you aren’t invested in the company. Stay at least a half hour or so, and be sure to say a few “hellos” to key individuals before you go.
  • Don’t be “all business.” While you should conduct yourself professionally at all times, don’t be that person who sits around talking about your to-do list or work projects at the holiday party! You don’t want to be known as the “Debbie Downer” of your office – remember, you’re there to celebrate!
  • Do think about your career. While you shouldn’t spend your time focusing on business talk, it absolutely makes sense to mingle and introduce yourself to the “major players” in your organization. It’s a great opportunity to begin new relationships or strengthen prior ones. Just keep it to either a short introduction (letting them take the lead and ask questions) or a “how have you been” to people you don’t see very often.
  • Do check the invitation. While some employers invite spouses or significant others, many employees also keep the guest list to employees only. Verifying the situation at your holiday party ahead of time can prevent some awkwardness or hard feelings down the road.
  • Do say ‘thanks.’ Coordinating a holiday party is a lot of work, so be sure to take a moment to thank the person(s) from your team who were responsible for planning and coordinating the event.
  • Don’t be the last one to leave. No one wants to be first (someone ultimately has to be!), but you don’t want to be the last person to leave the work holiday party. Organizers don’t want people lingering when they’re trying to close it down. Aim to leave about 20-30 minutes before the official end time to leave plenty of opportunity to say your goodbyes.

Looking for a new job this holiday season? Helpmates works with top employers across Southern California. Search our available jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

Going the Extra Mile: 5 Things You Can Do at Home to Boost Your Career 

Although we may leave jobs after our shift is over, our ability to boost our careers and get to the next level continues once we get home. Spending your time going the extra mile can help you whether you’re looking to get ahead at your current job or find a new, better career opportunity.stencil-facebook-post

Are you going the extra mile to take your career to the next level? 

It doesn’t take a herculean effort to go the extra mile. Here are five things you can do at home right now to boost your career:

  1. Refresh your resume. You should update your resume at least once or twice a year. Set a reminder in your cell phone calendar if you need to – this one can make a big difference on your long-term career success. If you’re able to update it more often, even better – your most recent accomplishments will be top of mind. Get specific in your accomplishments, include numbers and details about your successes to ensure you make the best possible impression on employers. Email your updated resume to one of our Helpmates Talent Relationships Specialists for targeted feedback and input to help you ensure your resume is at its most impactful.
  2. Update your LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t touched your LinkedIn profile in the past six months, it’s time for an update. Now you may have just updated your resume, but your LinkedIn profile should NOT simply regurgitate your resume. Instead, take those key accomplishments and updates and include them, but weave them into your personal story. Taking a personal approach to your LinkedIn profile will help you stand out from the pack. And while you’re at it, ask a friend or relative to take a new headshot for your social media profiles. If your headshot is outdated, cropped from a casual picture — or if you don’t have a headshot — a simple but professional picture can help strengthen your personal brand.
  3. Get out there. Networking is an essential component of successful careers. Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job, attending networking events can open up doors at new organizations and at the very least, can help you boost your speaking and presentation skills. You’ll also get more comfortable talking about your strengths and differentiators >> a skill that will come in handy the next time you’re looking for a job! Not sure what networking events are scheduled nearby? Meetup.com is an excellent resource to find networking events in most cities. Your local chamber of commerce is also a great place to call. You can always call one of the Helpmates Talent Relationship Specialists for networking event recommendations as well.
  4. Curate your social media presence. LinkedIn is just one piece of the social recruiting puzzle. Recruiters are visiting ALL your social media profiles >> are they telling the story you want them to tell? We recently posted our top 10 social media tips for job seekers, which offers a great place for you to start. Be sure to focus initially on updating your privacy settings and completing your profiles. Also, scan your past posts and any posts you’ve been “tagged” in to remove anything that could be considered unprofessional or that could make a negative impression on recruiters.
  5. Build a new skill. The internet today is buzzing with free resources to help you boost your career skills. Want a job creating websites or apps?  Codecademy offers free HTML lessons. Always wanted to be a designer? Adobe offers free Photoshop classes. Udemy is another resource that offers free career classes – not all courses here are free, but you can often find many free courses (and others that are $20 or less) to boost your skills.

Putting in some extra time at home can pay off in the long run of your career. And when you’re looking for your next great job opportunity, call Helpmates. We work with some of Southern California’s top employers in a range of industries. Search our available jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

It’s Time For Spring Cleaning (Your Job Search)

Spring has officially sprung — as the trees blossom and the weather improves, are you where you want to be in your career? Just a few months back, we offered these tips for turning your New Year’s career resolutions into a reality this year. If you haven’t made as much progress as you’d like, it’s time to use the spring season to your advantage. 

Get to work on spring cleaning your job searchHM April Blog 1

The theme of “spring cleaning” has a few different applications – maybe it’s cleaning out the garage, a spare bedroom or your car. Maybe it means changing your diet to focus on healthier foods. This year, take a different approach to spring cleaning — use it to freshen up your job search.

Spring cleaning your job search doesn’t have to be as intensive as a weekend spent cleaning the garage – follow these three steps to take a fresh approach to your career this spring:

  1. Overhaul your resume. You should be reviewing and updating your resume at least once or twice a year (or perhaps more frequently if you’ve changed jobs multiple times). This checklist offers four things many people forget to put on their resumes (make sure yours is complete!). Spring cleaning your resume can really help remove unnecessary clutter and help employers focus on the most pertinent and relevant details. Here are a few places to start: Removing work experience that’s more than 10 years old or isn’t directly relevant to the jobs you’re applying to right now; Freshen up your bullet points by adding your most recent accomplishments (quantifying results wherever possible) – remember to go beyond your to-do list and focus on what you’ve done in your jobs; Tighten up the language by including relevant keywords to your target job titles wherever possible; and Eliminate unnecessary words or clutter to make your resume more visually appealing.
  2. Call your recruiter. Maybe you’ve been working in your latest position for awhile, or perhaps your job search just took a backseat to other priorities to start the year. One of the best ways to freshen up your job search this spring is by calling your recruiter. Either on a phone call or in a meeting, update your recruiter on what you’ve been up to, what your goals are and what you’re looking for in the short and long term for your career. Your recruiter is one of the most critical tools in your job search, and ensuring he or she has the most up to date information about you, your job and your goals means that recruiter is able to match you to the most relevant jobs within those goals. Plus, many recruiters are extremely busy – when you take the initiative to touch base with an update, you’re ensuring that you stay top of mind, which can be a huge boost when new jobs open up.
  3. Spring clean your wardrobe. Hiring managers are using a lot of information to determine whether you’re a fit for their companies. Resumes and input from recruiters play a part, but your wardrobe is also essential. From the moment you walk through the door, potential employers are assessing your wardrobe to determine your level of professionalism and respect for the position and company. In the literal sense, spring cleaning your wardrobe means putting away the heavy sweaters and moving into lighter clothing. But also take the opportunity to determine whether your spring and summer interview clothes truly put your best foot forward. Ask a friend or relative for input if you’re not sure. New wardrobe pieces don’t have to cost a fortune, but your interview clothing should be professional, and your work wardrobe should match the corresponding employment environment of your profession.
  4. Review and revise your online presence. Recruiters are putting in the time to review your online profiles for sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook. While you’re updating your resume, take a few minutes to update your social media profiles to ensure they are up to date and positioning you in the best light. For Facebook, verify your privacy settings keep personal photos and posts to family and friends. Keep Twitter content personal but professional and respectful wherever possible – if you spot something that could be misconstrued or hurt your reputation with a hiring manager, play it safe and delete the tweet(s). On LinkedIn, verify your photo is professional, and update your profile throughout to ensure it helps tell your personal story while highlighting your professional accomplishments. Taking a few minutes on each of these sites helps ensure recruiters and hiring managers see a complete, professional portrait when visiting your social media profiles.

Spring offers an excellent opportunity to recharge your job search – the team at Helpmates can also help you take your career to the next level. Visit our job board or contact your local Helpmates office today to get started.

3 Keys to Avoid Common Workplace Distractions

If you read articles on the internet (since you’re reading this one, it’s probably a safe bet), you likely see at least a handful of articles focusing on productivity each day. With good reason: Today’s employers expect their employees to get more done. “Time is money” is the old adage, and it holds true today.

The “secret” to getting more done.helpmates

What if instead of getting more done, we focused on eliminating common workplace distractions that are unimportant or worse, make you “feel” like you’re being productive, when reality is just the opposite (and they’re taking us away from truly important tasks)? It might not be much of a “secret,” but eliminating distractions can make a drastic impact on your ability to get work done and feel satisfied when you leave the office each day.

Focusing on these three keys will help:

Put away the phone. Is your mobile phone an accessory, a communication device…or an extension of your physical body? The latter is true for an increasing number of adults. In fact, people between the ages of 18 and 36 check their phone an average of 43 times per day! When added up individually, one or two minutes on your phone more than 40 times equals a little over an hour. That doesn’t sound too intimidating; however, when you think about the time taken away from tasks, or restarting important tasks after checking your phone, the actual impact is much greater. Making matters worse, actually checking your phone isn’t the only thing distracting you from work – just hearing and seeing phone notifications is enough to distract you and prevent you from focusing on your tasks. The solution is as simple as it sounds – don’t keep your phone somewhere easily accessible, where the temptation to check it (or the sights and sounds of notifications) can cause you to veer off course.

Manage your email. Researchers have found that checking email more often leads to increased stress and feeling emotionally drained. So then why do many of us check email compulsively throughout the day? Regardless of specific industry, many of us now find ourselves in service-based roles. Our clients or customers expect us to respond to their questions or concerns quickly. But how quickly? Another recent study found that three quarters of employees report replying to email within an hour of receiving it. Is that really necessary? Depending on your industry or specific role, maybe — but it’s highly unlikely. Rather than constantly checking email all day (which, as noted above, not only takes the time necessary to read and respond to emails, but the time needed to resume tasks or get back into whatever you were working on previously), schedule set times throughout the day to check it. In most cases, checking email first thing in the morning, just before or after lunch, and again near the end of the day ensures you read every message within a couple hours of receiving it, and can promptly address anything that needs to be addressed. For real emergencies, your coworkers, clients or customers will call you or find you in person, they won’t be sending emails. So schedule time to check and respond to emails, and focus the rest of your time on truly important tasks.

Drown out ambient noise. Open offices are becoming more common, and even in traditional, cubicle-based offices, conversations and other ambient noise can bleed into your workspace — and make it difficult to focus on important tasks. The simplest way to drown out noise and create a more suitable work environment is to wear headphones and listen to music that helps you focus. But if your workplace doesn’t allow headphones, consider explaining to your supervisor that, while you are a team player, the nature of your job makes it difficult to focus with the level of noise outside your cubicle. Your supervisor may be able to accommodate a request for a new cubicle. Or, you may be able to negotiate the addition of a “white noise” machine or fan, which can drown out ambient noise and provide a better environment for you to get your work done.

Avoiding workplace distractions at work can help you get more done and be more successful, but when you’re looking for a job that provides you with the opportunities you need, call Helpmates. We work with top employers to provide jobs across Southern California, and we’ll find the right job to help you reach your goals. 

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