Looking for Work While Following “Safer at Home” Guidelines

Life sure feels and definitely looks different here in Southern California than it did just two weeks ago. Many of us started working from home just a few days ago and, as the days passed, more and more of us lost our jobs. And others among us soon may lose ours, as a recession already is here.

There IS hope; Jobs ARE available!

Right now (the last week of March) not only are some companies such as Amazon (to handle the increased need for workers in their distribution centers), Walmart (people are shopping for more food for at-home meals) and Domino’s Pizza (it needs more delivery drivers as people practice social distancing) actually hiring thousands of workers, many employers of all types are still hiring.

The vast majority of these jobs are either those that can be performed remotely, or are for what are deemed “critical” jobs that can’t be performed at home.

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Job Hunting during “Safer at Home”

The City of Los Angeles’ emergency order is called “Safer at Home, Stay at Home,” yet no matter whether you live in LA, Orange County or anywhere in the Golden State, you’re no doubt hunkering down at home now because many employers’ brick and mortar locations are closed to the public.

Rest assured, employers want to hire people as much as you want to be hired. Businesses still up and running are exceptionally focused on ensuring their operations remain steady. Yet with employers still hiring but not being able to meet candidates in the office, at job fairs, etc. what does that mean for you, the job hunter?

Virtual job hunting and interviewing!

And while that may “seem” really new and, well, odd, it’s not really, because you will – and should – continue emailing with recruiters or hiring managers who have reached out to you, just as you did before. (Tip: While we know you’ll no doubt really, really, really, really want to, we recommend that you don’t email or call a company to make sure it received your application. Contact an employer only after its reached out to you.)

  • If you’re just starting your job search, the rules still apply: if possible reach out directly to a hiring manager when you see a job opening and send your resume directly to their email address. (Make sure you’ve sent your application in online, as well – most companies require this today.)
  • If you were scheduled to come in for an interview before the stay-at-home orders took place and if you haven’t heard from the recruiter or hiring manager, it’s perfectly OK to email and ask if the interview is still on (the employer may have put things on hold for a bit). If the employer does want to postpone, ask them when it would be good time for you to check in again and place the date as a reminder on your calendar.
  • If you don’t have video conferencing on your own computer, laptop or smartphone, don’t worry: most recruiters do on their end and will send you a link you can use to have the interview via video.
  • Make sure your clothing and grooming looks job-interview appropriate for the video interview (at least from the waist up). Set up your computer in a spot that’s quiet and ask family members to be quiet themselves while you’re online.

Finally, don’t worry if you don’t have a laptop or computer at home: we can interview you via video on your smartphone!

Also, because our Helpmates offices are closed right now, we’re interviewing everyone via video: even people who will be working at an employer’s physical location.

We’ll all get through this together

Employers still need you. If you’re looking for work, take a look at our current opportunities and follow application instructions for those that appeal to you and for which you are qualified.

We look forward to hearing from you. Stay well.

Getting Through Challenging Times

So. Things now are, shall we say, a tad dicey. The coronavirus pandemic has caused the stock market to decline precipitously, and now many economists are predicting a global recession.

Fun times, right?

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You may be worried that your employer will cut back. You may be an employer and worried that you’ll have to let people go. You may be an employer worried you may have to shutter your entire business. This has, after all, already happened to many enterprises: many restaurants, clothing stores, gyms, hair salons, concert halls, amusement parks, and more already have closed. The idea is that they will reopen once the emergency has passed, but it’s common sense to understand that many may never open again.

We understand your (possible) panic

First, please know that we’re in no way minimizing or scoffing at your concerns. They are legitimate and you have every right to worry or even dread what may be coming. In fact, if you’ve already lost your job/livelihood, it’s perfectly acceptable to collapse in a puddle of “woe is me.” Really. Wallow and wallow some more! For at most two days.

Then, here’s what you do:

  • Reframe your thoughts.

If a negative thought goes through your mind push it out and replace it with a positive one. Even if the negative thought is catastrophic (“We’ll lose our home!”) and the only positive thing you can think of is so minor in its positivity that you feel it can’t possibly “overcome” the negative thought (“We have peanut butter in the cupboard and I love peanut butter”), switch it for the positive one.

Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones really is a minor miracle: it truly DOES help you stay positive and functioning in chaotic times because it shifts your energy.

Once you’ve done that and calmed your mind, you can look back at the negative thought and label it a “negative thought.” Doing so lets you see the thought as something “to either ‘look at or to look from.’” It’s just a thought: it’s not a real thing.

  • Channel your energy in positive ways.

Exercise (with gyms closed, try some bodyweight exercises at home or at least go for walks, if possible). Aim to eat as healthy as possible. Rest and sleep (and don’t take your smartphone to bed with you). Don’t be afraid to ask friends and loved ones for support. (And, instead of texting friends, call them or even Zoom/FaceTime them.)

  • Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t.

If you had to shut your business due to social distancing, you had no control over that decision. If you get laid off due to cutbacks during the (more-than-likely coming recession), you’ll have little control over that (although you may have more control than you think).

But you definitely can control over what you do now.

As some examples:

  • Look for part-time or temporary work (staffing firms are still hiring temporary workers, for example). Restaurants may need delivery people.
  • Start networking. You’ll have to do so remotely/online of course, but if you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile lately, now’s the time. Reach out to former co-workers and supervisors to let them know you’re available.
  • If you were laid off, check with your employer’s human resources department: there’s a good chance you will qualify for unemployment monies.
  • If you ran a business, what aspect of it could you run yourself? Were you a yoga instructor at a gym? Perhaps some of the gym members would be willing to pay you for instruction via Zoom? Did you operate a clothing store? Could you sell some of the items on Poshmark or Ebay?

In all things, be honest!

If you’re a business that might have to close or lay people off, be honest with your workers as soon as you understand that it could happen. Even if layoffs won’t happen, your employees no doubt are extremely stressed: keep them in the loop on everything and shut down any rumors as soon as you hear they’re circulating. Thank them for working even while they’re no doubt worried about the future – and possibly the health of some loved ones.

People here in the U.S. – and even around the globe – have been incredibly kind and supportive of each other in these last few weeks. It’s uplifting and gratifying how willing many people are to work at home (with children home from school, no less!) and how understanding businesses that have had to close for social distancing purposes have been regarding this critical step in controlling the coronavirus’ spread.

We can hope this continues, and it has the best chance of doing so if all of us are honest and above board about the challenges we face.

These aren’t easy times and they probably will get much worse before they get better. If you need staff to replace employees who have contracted COVID-19 or if you’re looking for work, we hope you’ll consider reaching out to the Helpmates branch nearest you.

We wish you good health, calm, hope, and love.

When the Boss Has Unreasonable Expectations

Most bosses have high expectations – as well they should. But sometimes a manager can be unreasonably demanding. There is nothing that raises stress levels more quickly, and nothing that pulls down morale and productivity more readily.

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The stress it induces can also lead to health problems. Studies have shown it significantly raises the probability of a heart attack. So, if you find yourself in such a situation, how do you handle it? Here are some strategies to help you change the dynamic for the better.

  1. Take a different perspective

An assignment your boss has given you may appear to be extreme to you, but take a moment to look at the task from your manager’s viewpoint. It could be that your supervisor sees a way of doing the work that is not as onerous as it appears to you, or that you are misinterpreting what your supervisor wants.

Or it could be that your supervisor is intentionally giving you a challenging assignment because he or she is looking to push you into a higher level of performance, to help you reach your potential. Or it could be that you are selling yourself short, that you are underestimating your ability.

  1. Propose solutions

On the other hand, if your boss is continually dumping an inordinate amount of work on you, or otherwise asking too much in the way of results, then you have a real problem. Your first step should be to arrange a meeting with him or her.

The purpose of the meeting obviously is to work through the situation, but going in simply to complain about the workload or expectations and to say you cannot accomplish the assignments will not go over well. You need to prepare what you are going to say, and you need to focus on how to solve the problem.

You need to explain what the problem is, and what needs to change in order to accomplish the task. You may, for example, need more time to do the job or more people. But the focus here again is on getting the job done.

It also helps to get more information, such as the purpose or goal of the project, what obstacles you are likely to encounter, and if there have been any similar projects undertaken in the past that might help to provide some guidance.

  1. Consider why your supervisor may have such high expectations

Try to put yourself in your supervisor’s position to understand her behavior. He or she may be getting pressure from higher ups to boost performance, or she may be positioning herself for a promotion. It could also be that she is considering whether to give you increased authority and responsibility and is monitoring how you handle it.

  1. Check with coworkers

You probably aren’t the only person who is having difficulty handling the demands of your supervisor. Talk to your coworkers about their experiences with your boss and find out how they handled the situation. Find out what they know about your supervisor and her background and motivations.

Try to find people in the company who have had a good working relationship with your boss and learn what you can from them.

  1. Try stress-reducing activities

If you are going to perform at your best, you need to stay healthy and keep stress to a minimum. There are a number of different ways to do that. Make sure to get enough sleep and exercise, eat a healthy diet and maintain a good social life.

If, no matter what you do, you’ve decided it’s time to leave your boss for another one, check out our current job opportunities here at Helpmates. Find one or two that look interesting? Then follow application instructions or call the Helpmates location nearest you.

How to Network at an Event

There’s an art to good networking, especially in a social setting. Some of us have a natural curiosity and enjoy the opportunity to meet new people, while others view it with a sense of dread, a necessary but tedious chore. However you look at it, there are good ways to network and not-so-good ways.

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Networking is about meeting people, but with a purpose. You are seeking something from the other person, but it is important to remember that networking is about giving as well as getting. The relationship needs to be mutually beneficial if it is to work.

Here are some tips on how to do it.

  1. Have a plan

You have to take some care in choosing the events you want to attend. Consider which types of events you feel most comfortable at, how they are organized, the time of day they are held, and the location. You need to also consider who it is you want to meet and what events they are likely to attend.

Decide what you want to accomplish at the event. For example, you decide to talk at least four people and follow up with one or two of them.

If you receive a list before the event of the people who will be attending, you can determine who you would like to meet and do a little background research on them.

  1. Greetings

You also need to plan what you’ll say when you approach someone, to try and make it as engaging as possible. Opening with your name and job title is not the best kind of greeting. To make it more interesting, say your name, but make sure you ask questions about your new acquaintance rather than about yourself.

It may help to arrive at the event a little early because there will likely be fewer people at that point, making it easier to join a group or make an introduction. But it is important to remember that you shouldn’t immediately jump into work related topics, but make an effort to establish a rapport first, making small talk and discussing topics of interest to the other person.

Even if you have had a bad day, put it behind you and be sure you take a positive, upbeat attitude into the event. No one wants to hear about your troubles. Smile.

What Not to Do

  • Pile food on a plate.

Avoid immediately making a beeline for the appetizers and stocking up. Grab a drink and circulate first. It is very awkward trying to schmooze while holding a plate of food and trying to eat. Also, if you wait for food, going to get it will give you an excuse to end a conversation.

  • Push into a group.

Don’t try to force your way into a conversation. Look at the signals. If you see a group that is engaged in earnest conversation, it is not likely they will be pleased if you insert yourself and ask what they are talking about. If, on the other hand, you see a smaller group talking casually, this may be a better opportunity to approach and introduce yourself.

  • Looking impatient.

Even if you think the person talking to you is a crashing bore, you need to look interested. Even if the person talking to you doesn’t notice your boredom or impatience, others may, and that will not make a good impression.

  • Forget business cards.

There really is no excuse for this. You are there to make connections, and not having business cards won’t help.

  • Talking too much.

Again, you are there to make connections and establish a rapport with others. You cannot do this if you are dominating the conversation. Do more listening than talking, showing an interest in what the other person has to say.

If you’re looking for new job opportunities, contact Helpmates. Take a look at our latest job openings and either apply for those that interest you or contact the branch nearest you for an interview.

The Most Sought-After Skills in 2020

What are the skills employers are looking for now? Do you need to know how to write up an algorithm? Use computer code? Analyze big data? Not exactly. Although the skills companies are looking for do involve some type of analytical thinking, they are not as techy as you might think.

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According to the World Economic Forum, the top skills that companies want, in order, are complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making, service orientation, negotiation, and cognitive flexibility.

Creativity

Creativity clocks in at number three on the 2020 skills list, compared to number 10 on a similar list in 2015, showing that it’s a skill rapidly increasing in value among employers. Negotiation skills, which appeared at number five on the 2015 list, fell to number nine on the 2020 lineup, a sign that employers are expecting new technologies, such as AI and big data, to reduce the need for such skills. In fact, a World Economic Forum survey among companies revealed a widespread belief that AI will eventually have a presence on many boards of directors.

A skill that fell off the 2015 list is active listening. However, emotional intelligence, which makes an appearance at number six on the 2020 list, was absent from the 2015 tally, showing the increasing importance of soft skills in the workplace today.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence is generally defined as being aware of your emotions and being able to manage them, as well as understanding and managing the emotions of others. People with emotional intelligence, for example, can recognize when they are feeling angry or frustrated and are able to control and direct the emotion. They are also more sensitive to the emotions of others and are better able to cope with them. Emotional intelligence has gained significance because it is generally believed that people who are better able to recognize these emotional signals, both from themselves and others, are more productive employees and leaders.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking and problem solving continue to hold top positions on the list, as they did in 2015. According to the Foundation for Critical Thinking, it’s the process of effectively forming concepts, as well as applying, analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating information that is produced through observation, experience, reasoning, or communicating with other people, and using the results of the analysis as a guide for what you believe and how you act.

It’s based on the criteria of clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth and fairness.

The need for such skills is driven by the advance and pervasiveness of technology, which is affecting almost every industry around the world. Change is occurring more rapidly, and for companies to keep up, they need people who understand the change and how to manage it.

Other Skills

Another highly valued skill is the ability to learn. This in turn involves skills such as knowing how to learn, reading intelligently and taking notes. Reading is something that must be done continually in order to learn and to keep up with expanding knowledge.

Reading widely on a routine basis also helps you analyze information and recognize trends and patterns, as well as improving your written and verbal communication skills. Reading also helps improve soft skills, such as cultivating an appreciation and empathy for others.

Communication skills, both written and verbal, are more important than ever. These skills include things like listening effectively, being able to persuade, explain and work with others, as well as providing useful feedback.

If 2020 is the year you plan to move up the career ladder, let Helpmates help you do so. Take a look at our current career and job opportunities and contact the branch nearest you if you see something that interests you.

Never Refer to Yourself as Unemployed. Here’s Why.

Most of us will be unemployed at least once in our working lives. Employers are aware of that. So it should be okay to describe yourself as unemployed on LinkedIn or on your resume and cover letter, right?

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Well, no! Unfortunately, there is still a stigma that is attached to the word “unemployed,” a stigma that still prejudices hiring managers, even if they have been unemployed at some point themselves.

It shouldn’t be that way.

The fact is that many people these days have gaps in their work history for a variety of reasons. Employers are always looking to streamline their workforces and so layoffs have become more common. Those who remain are expected to shoulder more of the workload, and companies are filling the gaps with contingent labor.

In this day and age, according to some career experts, people can have multiple careers and multiple jobs within those careers. It has, in fact, become much more commonplace for people to have gaps in their work history.

But old ways of thinking die hard, and the prejudice against the unemployed still exists, although it may not carry quite the negative connotation as in the past. But research has shown that it doesn’t matter how someone lost their job, whether they were fired or laid off, the stigma still attached to his situation.

The unemployed are looked at less favorably than those who have a job, even if their skill levels are the same.

For this reason, some career experts advise people to avoid using the word “unemployed,” instead substituting something such as “between jobs.” The word unemployed has too much negative psychological baggage, denoting defeatism. Because of this it can even affect the job candidate’s self-image and self-esteem, impacting their job search.

What to do If You Are Unemployed

If you are unemployed and looking for work, don’t try and hide it. Many job candidates try to disguise the fact or equivocate about it, but they don’t fool employers and they only come across as dishonest. The fact is, you shouldn’t be embarrassed about it.

Explain what happened, and then focus on how you have been using the time since you became unemployed, how you have maintained your skills and knowledge. For example, have you volunteered your time doing work-related projects, taken classes or attended conferences, traveled, or something else in the meantime?

This will help to achieve two things – the first is showing your tenacity and resilience in the face of adversity, as well as your dedication. Even though you have lost your job, you have continued to work to advance your career and prepare for the time when you are rehired.

Lessen the Fears of the Employer

One of the main concerns companies have about the unemployed is the erosion of their skills. By emphasizing the work you have been doing during your unemployment, you also help to reassure the employer that you have maintained your skills.

Another way of keeping up your skills if you don’t have a full-time job is through temporary work. Working as a contingent employee has several benefits. As mentioned, it helps you maintain your skills. But you also will be working at companies that could be future employers if they like your work. And you get to meet new people in your profession who may also be able to offer leads on jobs.

So if you now find yourself between jobs, contact Helpmates as part of your job search. We can help you find temporary work while you look for full-time employment. We also can help you find full-time work.

Take a look at our current openings and apply to those that interest you.

Why It’s Okay to Follow Up After an Interview, But Not After Sending an Application

We’re always telling you to follow up a few days after a job interview. So, is it OK to follow up after sending in an application for a job advertisement? Unfortunately, no.

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 Why? Because the two situations are quite different. During the application stage of the hiring process, the employer is likely receiving hundreds of resumes from job candidates. The company really doesn’t want applicants following up because at this point it really serves no useful purpose.

In fact, it may hinder your chances of being considered because you may seem overbearing and impatient. You are essentially taking up valuable time that the hiring manager needs in order to look through the stack of applications. If the employer is interested in you, they will contact you to arrange an interview.

Your call will do little to increase your chances for consideration. You will still be just one applicant among many voicing his or her interest in the position.

Resume and Cover Letter

This is why the resume and cover letter are so important. If you have crafted them well, there will be no need to follow up with a phone call because everything important that you need to say will be contained in these application materials. A follow up phone call would simply be redundant.

That is also why it is essential before putting your resume together that you have thoroughly researched the company to learn about its mission, values, goals, and operations so that you can describe how you would add value to the business and impact the bottom line.

It is also important to thoroughly review the job description to understand exactly what skills and experience the company is looking for. You will then know what skills and accomplishments to highlight in the resume to show how you are the best person for the job.

After the Interview

It’s important to note in this context that the exact opposite is true if you have interviewed at the company. You must follow up with a thank you letter. In fact, your chances of getting the job will decrease if you don’t follow up.

At this point you are more than just a face in the crowd. You are under serious consideration for the position, and you need to express your appreciation for the opportunity to interview.

Again, if the company is well run, the hiring manager will let you know at the interview of the next steps in the hiring process and the schedule they will follow, so you know where you stand and what to expect. (It’s also perfectly fine – and is, in fact, a good idea – to ask what “next steps” are before you leave the interview itself.) If, however, two weeks or more have passed since the interview and you still have not heard anything, you should call.

Do you want a new start in the New Year? Helpmates has many terrific opportunities (temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire). Check out our job board and contact the branch nearest you for more information.

When the Job Interview is Going Terribly Wrong

It’s every job candidate’s nightmare – you’re at a job interview and things are not going well at all. You are a little more nervous than usual because this is a job that looks really good and one that you really want. But you are having trouble gathering your thoughts and articulating them clearly and cogently. You have stumbled through a few answers and begin to feel a little dampness from the sweat clinging to your collar. What can you do to get things back on track?

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We did some digging and found a few suggestions. We also came up with some of our own. Take a look below.

  1. Keep calm.

Yes, easier said than done. But if you want to recover, you need to stay cool and poised. Take a few deep breaths, maybe pop a breath mint. Put the past behind you. Don’t rerun previous answers in your mind or obsess over the way you answered them. You need to give your complete attention to what is going on now and the questions yet to come.

Don’t get spooked by the demeanor of the hiring manager either. Some people are not as emotional as others, so if the interviewer isn’t very responsive or emotive, it could just be the person’s personality. Don’t automatically take it as a sign they’re unimpressed with your responses.

  1. Mirror the interviewer’s mannerisms.

For example, the interviewer may be someone who tends to use their hands more when they talk and raises their voice from enthusiasm. Or, conversely, the interviewer may be someone more phlegmatic, talking more slowly and staying on an even keel.

In either case, take your cue from the interviewer’s demeanor, and try to push the tenor of your responses in a direction that is more in line with theirs.

Body language is also important. Lean forward slightly to show enthusiasm. Make eye contact with the person, and avoid actions like fidgeting or toe or finger tapping, as this can be distracting and give the impression of insecurity.

  1. Connect to your strengths.

As part of your preparation for the interview, you should have a few anecdotes and examples of your strengths, skills and accomplishments. Try to work these stories and examples into your answers.

  1. Acknowledge a misstep and move on.

If, for example, you begin to answer a question and realize that it is not the approach you want to take, don’t be afraid to admit the misstep and start over. The larger error here is to be so fearful of admitting you took a wrong turn that you continue plowing ahead with your original response, even though it’s not where you want to go.

Admitting you made an error may actually impress the hiring manager because it demonstrates a maturity and self-awareness about your performance.

  1. Make a phone call afterwards.

If you leave the interview still feeling that it did not go well, all may not be lost. If there was a third-party involved in helping to arrange the meeting or make an introduction, call them and explain your situation. They may be willing to advocate on your behalf by providing additional explanation or information to the interviewer/hiring manager.

  1. Use the thank you note.

You can also take advantage of your thank you note to ameliorate your situation. If there is some particular information you failed to provide during the interview, make reference to it in the thank you note and provide it there. Or if you feel you botched an answer to a particular interview question, use the thank you note to take another stab it.

Whatever you do, don’t apologize or otherwise call attention to what you perceive to be a poor performance. For one thing, your perception of your performance may be completely different from that of the hiring manager. Focus on being positive, correcting errors, expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to interview, and your interest in the job.

If you feel your interview went poorly, talk to your Helpmates recruiter soon after. We may be able to talk to your interviewer to get their feedback and, help plead your case.

Don’t have a Helpmates recruiter yet? Call the branch office nearest you and make an appointment to talk to us.

Job Searching During the Holidays: Make it Ho-Ho-Ho, Not Humbug

Although hiring activities may slow during the holidays, they certainly don’t stop. Companies are still reviewing applications and scheduling interviews. They still need to fill openings and maintain their operations. Forging ahead with your job hunt over the holidays will give you a head start on all those people who take a break from their search for employment during this time of year.

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Many companies post their job openings before the holidays, even though they won’t make any hiring decisions until the new year. So, you will again have a jump on all those people who have stopped looking.

Moreover, continuing your job search will enable you to keep the momentum going on the job-search work you have been doing, rather than letting it slow and perhaps even become non-existent.

So, if you are thinking of suspending your job search during the holidays, we urge you to think again. Here are a few tips on making the most of your job hunt over the holidays.

  1. Make a schedule and stick to it.

With all that is going on over the holidays – shopping, family gatherings, holiday parties – it is easy to lose focus and let the job search slide. One way to keep up your efforts is by making a daily schedule, where you block out time that is devoted exclusively to your search. It is best to do it the same time every day so you get into a routine.

Doing this should help prevent procrastination or avoidance because you have a definite time and date set up to do it.

People currently employed should especially make a job-search schedule because you will likely have vacation time available, some of which you can use for your job search if you plan well.

  1. Renew connections.

The holidays present a great opportunity for networking. You can send a card or email to your contacts with a holiday greeting. Then also mention that you are searching for a new job and would appreciate any information they could pass along.

If you don’t feel comfortable bringing up the job search with the holiday greeting, your card or email is also an opening to get reacquainted and to set up more conversations where you can bring up the topic later.

  1. Use holiday gatherings to network.

Whether the gatherings are work related or not, they are also great opportunities to do some networking and letting people know about your job search. Attend as many as you can. Talk to colleagues and any other professional connections, as well as friends and family, about your search.

  1. Use volunteer events.

Around the holidays there are also many opportunities for volunteering – with church groups, charities, and others –which can also be used as networking opportunities.

  1. Update your search materials.

This time of year is also a good opportunity to make sure your resume is current. Naturally , each resume you send out will be tailored to the particular job you are applying for, but you can still make sure your work history is up to date and that you have plenty of examples of your accomplishments to draw from when you need them.

It’s also a good time to review your social media presence and to make sure that it is current. Do you have a current picture of yourself posted on LinkedIn? You can also use the time to write a few blogs or engage in a few discussion groups to enhance your professional reputation and make contacts.

Our Clients Always Need Great People Every Day of the Year

Whether you’re looking for work during the holidays for some extra stocking-stuffer money, or you’re looking for a new full-time position, contact the Helpmates office nearest you for more information on our job opportunities.

Prepare for Your Career Talk with Your Manager

Have you ever discussed your career hopes with your manager? No? You’re not alone: too many employees, unfortunately, are not having these kinds of conversations with their supervisors. Many supervisors do not talk about career development with their employees during the performance review process.

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So, if you want to move ahead in your career, you need to take the bull by the horns and start the process yourself – and you don’t have to wait for your performance review to do it.

Preparation

The first step in this process is preparation. You need to have some idea about where you want to go before talking with your supervisor.

Begin by considering a few career issues. First, think about where you want to go with your career. As part of this, think about your values and whether they match up with your career goals. Review your strengths and weaknesses – how can you put your strengths to use in advancing your career, and what skills do you need to work on to move ahead?

What are your short-term and long-term career goals? For example, short-term – within the next year or so – do you want to move to another type of job or take on more responsibilities in your current position?

Longer term goals may be a bit more difficult to specify simply because of the time frame involved. But in general, you should be able to talk about what you want to accomplish in your career.

After you have contemplated all of these issues, develop a plan of action for achieving your goals.

Meeting with Your Supervisor

The first thing to do when you meet is to get some sense of how committed your supervisor is to helping you. You can begin by telling her that you want to talk about the next steps in your career, that you would like to advance within the company but are not sure how to make that happen.

Run through your achievements at the company during your time there and emphasize how much you have enjoyed working there. Then, observe the kind of feedback you get to gauge how supportive your supervisor is.

Talk to her about your goals for the coming years, giving her a general idea of where you would like to go professionally. For example, do you want to get involved with managing people or work more with clients? Also, discuss the skills you would like to acquire, as well as the knowledge you want to gain, and make sure to do so  within the context of how this can benefit the company.

If you are interested in a promotion, you have to let your supervisor know. You could ask her for ideas on what your next step should be. If the response is unbridled enthusiasm, you are off to a promising start.

On the other hand, you may simply get a blank stare, with little in the way of support or ideas. In this case, you will have to forge your own path if you want to stay at the company. Start by looking at other departments that can use your particular talents and where you can expand your knowledge and experience.

Check with colleagues at the company about possible opportunities, such as assignments or projects that you could get involved in.

Talk to your supervisor about what you would like to do and ask her to give his support to your efforts. If your performance has been noteworthy, she should be willing to do that. Review what your investigation has turned up and, working together, decide on a few possibilities that would be a good next step for your career and the best course of action to take. Ask your supervisor to take the appropriate actions to help you get started.

If you’re not sure where you want to go with your career, consider exploring a bit by working as a temporary associate with Helpmates. We have many terrific opportunities that can allow you to try out different industries and companies. What’s more, many of our assignments can turn into an offer of employment with our client (so long as both you think it’s a good idea).

Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

 

 

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