Follow These Steps to Create a Great Apprentice Program

Companies are constantly complaining that they cannot find enough qualified people to fill all of their openings, saying that job candidates just don’t have the skills that are needed.

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A survey earlier this year revealed that the problem is worse than ever – talent shortages at a ten-year high, with two-thirds of companies surveyed saying they were having trouble filling positions.

Workers also are frustrated. Only about one-third of college students believe their institutions are giving them the education and skills they need to prepare them for the job market and a good career. More students are complaining that a college degree isn’t worth the high cost.

This crisis is causing some companies to take action to solve it. In an effort to bring workers’ skills more in line with the needs of employers, some companies are establishing apprenticeship programs.

When most people hear the word apprenticeship, they think of an educational program associated with the trades.

But companies are now also using apprenticeships for professional jobs so that they can shape people into the kind of workers they need. Twenty-first century apprenticeships are work-based training programs used in a variety of jobs, including cybersecurity, healthcare, data analytics, engineering, hospitality management, and manufacturing.

Companies that offer apprenticeship programs report higher productivity, innovation and retention among their workers.

How Apprenticeships Work

One salient feature of this new kind of apprenticeship is that it is highly targeted toward specific individuals and specific jobs. These apprenticeships are customized to fit the particular needs of a company. A worker is paid while they get on-the-job training. As the worker advances in skill level, their pay increases proportionally.

While apprenticeships are tailored to specific needs, there are some general guidelines that organizational experts recommend to ensure the programs are as effective as possible. They are the following:

  1. Put together a team to develop the apprenticeship program and get it off the ground. Team members should include a cross-section of company employees, including people who provide services to customers, mid-level management and leadership.
  2. If looking for external support, identify any educational institutions, such as community colleges or universities, or other nonprofit organizations or state apprenticeship organizations that can help run the program.
  3. Have coaches in place to work with those in the program.
  4. Develop clear, measurable goals for the program, as well as determining exactly what skills and core competencies each apprentice needs to master, along with a way to measure these skills.
  5. Create a curriculum that is tailored to the core competencies and skills.
  6. Establish training schedules and wage levels.
  7. Put a process in place for evaluating the program and making changes as needed.

Industry Recognized Programs

If you want your apprentice program to qualify for national recognition within your industry, you can register it with the U. S. Department of Labor. There are three general criteria that must first be met in order to register – identifying a specific occupation that the program is designed for, developing a training plan and listing a training provider for the classroom element of the program.

When you register, you will have access to federal resources and technical assistance, qualify for state tax credits and the program also will offer a nationally recognized credential for apprentices.

It’s not too early to start finding newly-minted members of the Class of 2021 for your job opportunities. Contact the recruiters at the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

The Absolutely, Positively Right Way to Leave a Job

You are at a point where you are giving serious consideration to leaving your job. It could be that the job no longer challenges you, that it has become routine. Or you’ve hit a dead end – there is no avenue for advancement. Or you simply cannot get along with your supervisor. Or you’re just burned out.

Fullerton Careers

Whatever the reason, there’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to quit your job. Here is the right way to do it.

  1. Think carefully

The first step is to think about why you want to quit. All of the reasons listed above are valid. But there are others that are a bit shakier. If you’re angry about being chastised by your supervisor or colleague or because you were passed over for a certain project, these are not good reasons to leave your job. Take a little time to cool off before you make any rash decisions that you might regret later.

Consider if there are alternatives to leaving your job, such as transferring to another department or asking for more responsibility, or working out problems with a coworker.

Also, career counselors advise having another job lined up before leaving your current position. It is much more difficult to find work when you are unemployed because this still carries a stigma with employers.

  1. Letter of resignation

Because of its purpose, the language used in this document should be more formal. You should use the full name and title of your supervisor.

Your resignation letter doesn’t have to be long. It should state your intention to leave, when your last day will be, your reason for leaving, and an expression of appreciation for the opportunity to work at the company. You could also include a few positive remarks about your experience.

  1. Giving notice

This should be done face-to-face, not through email. It is customary to give two weeks’ notice, but this can vary. Your supervisor may ask you to stay longer for various reasons. If this is the case, you should agree to the extended period to maintain a positive relationship. You don’t want to burn any bridges. It’s also possible that you may be asked to leave immediately, so you need to be ready for this. You should also suggest a transition plan for transferring your assignments.

What you don’t want to do is give vent to any vindictiveness over your frustrations about the job or interactions with other people at the company. This will accomplish nothing. You also want to maintain good relationships at the company.

After you have given notice in person, then submit your letter of resignation.

  1. Odds and ends

Make a list of the tasks you need to take care of before you go. This includes things such as cleaning out your files, finishing up any outstanding assignments, and so on.

Delete all personal information on your computer. You should do this before giving notice in case you are asked to leave immediately.

Put together notes covering all of your duties and responsibilities, as well as the status of your current projects and any background information needed to complete them if you are unable to. Get contact information from your coworkers.

  1. Do good work

It may be difficult to concentrate during the final weeks or days you are still at the company. But you need to maintain your professionalism, and that means continuing to turn in the best work you can. This will certainly leave a good impression on your supervisor and coworkers.

Wondering if there’s a better job opportunity waiting for you? Check out Helpmates’ job opportunities. If you see one or more that look interesting, either contact the office nearest you, or follow the posting’s application instructions.

When Terminating an Employee Remotely

With many more employees working from home because of the pandemic, companies have had to make adjustments in the way they do things. Even with the help of technology, working with people in different locations presents unique challenges.

Los Alamitos staffing

One of those challenges arises when you need to let an employee go remotely. Doing it long distance requires some extra measures and preparation. Here are a few tips.

  1. Set up a meeting

When terminating an employee in person, you would usually set up a meeting, telling him or her you have something important to talk about. You would never simply end a conversation with, “By the way, you’re fired.”

The same etiquette applies to remote workers. It is simply bad form to abruptly send an email to the person telling them they’ve been terminated. Set up a virtual meeting first so you can give the person the time and attention they deserve. With remote workers, this may involve taking different time zones into account.

Also, during the meeting set up a time for a virtual exit interview and a timeline leading up to the employee’s exit from the company.

  1. Be open and honest

When talking with the person, be up front about the reasons for the termination. The news will most likely not be entirely unexpected if it is performance related because it will be the final step in a process. The person should be well aware of the issues that led to this point.

You also need to inform other employees about the termination and be ready to answer questions about the impact on them and the company.

  1. Be ready for questions

The employee will probably have a number of questions about their termination, questions related to administrative details such as severance pay and benefits. You may want to have someone from your human resources department sit in on the meeting to answer these types of questions. The employee will also probably have questions surrounding the reasons for the termination.

Again, it is important to be open and honest about the situation. This should help to maintain an amicable relationship with the employee, and he or she deserves no less.

You should prepare for these questions in advance. Put together written notes about everything that is likely to be discussed. This is a good precautionary measure to take in the event that the employee decides to take any legal action against the company.

  1. Be aware of the legal requirements

A remote employee could be in a location far away from the company, and the laws where they’re located could be different from those where the company is located. As a result, the manager needs to be aware of the different legal requirements that may affect the termination.

  1. Determine how equipment will be returned

Often companies supply remote employees with equipment to enable them to do their job and communicate with coworkers. If you are terminating a person, you need to work out a way for the equipment to be returned. This can usually be accomplished by having the employee ship it back, with the company covering the cost.

It is important to plan ahead to work out the details and prepare for different possible outcomes.

  1. Cut off the employee’s electronic connections

Remote employees have access to a company’s digital information from their home. To protect this information, you need to cut off their access to all company information immediately after their termination.

You may also want to make backups for any information available to the person and change passwords.

If you’ve had to let someone go and need a replacement quickly – even if the person worked remotely – contact the Helpmates branch nearest you. We have many terrific temporary specialists ready to get to work quickly, even remotely!

5 Ways to Break Up a Boring Workday

Many of us are working from home right now. Some like the change and prefer working remotely – there is no long commute to work, you can dress more casually, and you don’t have to deal with all of the interruptions that are part of office work.

However, working from home has its drawbacks: the lines between work and personal life can become blurred. And it can become a bit monotonous. After all, when your workspace is only a short walk from our bedroom, the scenery isn’t going to change that much.

Irvine careers

To break up the tedium, people may turn to diversions like social media or even online gaming. But these are not the healthiest sorts of distractions from work because people can become caught up in them, developing behavior that is addictive. Activities meant to be a break from work can end up taking people away from their work much longer than they had intended.

But there are other things you can do to break up the sameness of the workday that won’t hinder your productivity, but may actually help it.

  1. A new location

Organizational experts recommend having a dedicated workspace when operating from home. And generally this is good advice. It helps to separate work from other areas of your life. But working in the same location all the time might become a bit too boring.

For a change of pace, you can use different locations around the house as your home office throughout the day. You can work for a while at the dining room table and then the kitchen table or the front porch or backyard patio. For a little variety, you can add decorative touches to your home office, such as paintings, knick-knacks or flowers.

  1. Physical activity

This is another way to break up a boring workday.

Before the pandemic, people went to the gym, ran, swam, and played a variety of different sports. But many of these things are not considered safe now. The pandemic is especially hard on those who liked going to the gym.

When the weather is colder, opportunities for physical activity are fewer. But there are still things you can do. YouTube is a good source for workout related videos, activities that you can do at home. Facebook is another source for workout videos.

When the weather is warmer, there are more opportunities for physical activity outside, such as hiking, walking and running. Find out where the state parks are in your area and get back to nature while enjoying the scenery.

Also, get in some physical activity when you take breaks during the day. Go for a short walk or do some calisthenics or stretching exercises. Deep breathing exercises also help improve your mood and focus better.

  1. Social activities

Take some time during the day to stay in touch with coworkers. For example, you can schedule a virtual coffee break using Zoom or some other digital network like Slack or Google Hangouts. (Note: these breaks would be in addition to any Zoom/video meetings you have specifically for work-related matters.)

  1. Explore

Try out new ways of doing things to boost your productivity. For example, vary the times you do routine tasks and assignments.

  1. A new hobby

This is another way to put a little variety into your life while working from home. Learn a new skill, how to play a musical instrument, read something new. Many of these things you can do during short breaks throughout the day. For example, you can practice the piano for short 15-minute breaks or work on a painting.

If one of the reasons your workday is boring is that you’ve outgrown your position with your current employer, you may be wondering if it’s time to move on to another company.

If so, take a look at Helpmates’ current job opportunities. If one or more look interesting, follow the application directions on the posting. You also can contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you.

Tips for Getting the Candidate Experience Right, Right Now

Recruiting is a lot different today than at the beginning of the year. One of the major changes is the way in which candidates experience the hiring process. From Zoom interviews to virtual onboarding, there are a lot of adjustments to make for both companies and candidates alike.

Anaheim recruiters

The hiring process may have changed in a number of different ways, but one aspect of it should never be altered. That is the candidate experience. It should always be a positive one for the applicant.

Change in the Landscape

Before the pandemic, job seekers had the upper hand because unemployment was so low. Now, however, the advantage has shifted more toward employers because so many people are now out of work. Employers may become more lax in their dealing with job candidates — and less concerned about making sure candidates are well looked after.

But this would be a mistake for several reasons. First, companies are still looking to fill about five million open positions, which is actually more than in 2014, when employers were really starting to have difficulty finding people. Second, companies that allow a poor candidate experience lose money because of it. Third, your brand will suffer – job candidates tend to talk about their negative experience with others in their profession. And fourth, job applicants are more likely to accept a job offer if they have had a positive experience. They’re also more likely to recommend your company to others.

How to Provide a Good Candidate Experience

  1. Communication

This is most important. You don’t want to leave candidates guessing about where they stand in the process and what the next steps are, or even how many other people are being interviewed. You should find out what questions they have as well.

You should also be honest with candidates. Some HR professionals advise discussing salary up front to be sure the company and the candidate are in the same salary range. You don’t want to go through the whole process, offer the candidate a job, and then find out that salary is a deal breaker. You also need to be honest about the position’s duties – the good and the bad aspects of the job.

Also, respond to all applications, whether you intend to follow up with someone or not. This is simply common courtesy, and it will make a good impression on applicants. Most companies don’t even bother to acknowledge the receipt of applications.

  1. Respect

You need to treat candidates with respect. That means preparing for the interview, knowing the candidate’s background and having questions already drawn up. Sometimes hiring managers show up unprepared, resulting in a haphazard interview.

  1. The hiring process

It should be designed to be user friendly. Too often, companies make candidates jump through a lot of hoops. Applications are long and complicated. The candidate has to interview with too many different people, and the process takes too long.

  1. Get Feedback

To improve the process, you also need to get feedback from the candidates. Find out what they thought of their interview. What kind of impression did they get of the company? Did they feel they received enough information as they went through the process? Did they think they were treated well? What did they like about the process, and what things would they change? What kind of improvements would they make?

Interviews are….a “tad” different now. And this does affect your candidates’ experience with the hiring process.

Helpmates can do all candidate pre-screening for you, from sourcing qualified candidates, to conducting preliminary interviews, to checking references and vetting, sending you (whether via video or in-person) only the top candidates for final interviews.

Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

Acing the Pre-Screening Job Interview

Many employers today perform what are called pre-screening interviews with job candidates. These often are shorter phone or even video chats with applicants to see if it’s worth both the recruiter’s and applicant’s time to bring the candidate in for a longer interview.

Brea jobs

They are becoming the norm, and if you are a job candidate, you should expect to experience one during your employment search at some point.

Take a look below for a few tips on how to make the most of them. Probably the most important thing to know about pre-screening interviews is that you should treat them like any other interview and prepare accordingly.

  1. Do your research

This is basic, common-sense advice that job candidates hear over and over. And yet, some still don’t take the time to research the company they supposedly want to work for. Not doing your homework is a fast way to eliminate yourself from consideration.

If you want to give a compelling answer to the question of why you want the job, you need to know what the job entails, and so you need to study the job description. You need to know basic information about the company, such as when it started, its locations, and mission statement. To impress the interviewer, you can incorporate your knowledge of the company into your answers.

You also should learn as much as you can about the person who will be interviewing you. This is much easier to do now with social media sites such as LinkedIn. Find out about the person’s background – where they were educated, places they worked, what their interests are. This may help you to establish a rapport with the interviewer.

  1. Be ready to talk about salary

The pre-screening interview also presents an opportunity for the interviewer to find out early if you and the company are in the same ballpark with salary. This will save a lot of time and effort if there is an insurmountable gap between you and the company as far as salary expectations.

Again, a little research here will help. Before you begin throwing around figures, you should first find out what jobs like the one you want pay. There are a number of different places you can go to find this information, such as Glassdoor.

You also should provide the interviewer with a salary range, not a definite number.

  1. Show enthusiasm

You need to let the interviewer know how much you want the job, and one way to do so is by showing enthusiasm. You do this by the tone of your voice and the words you use. If you are doing a video interview, you show enthusiasm by the look on your face and the gestures you make.

  1. Put it all together

You have to be able to sell yourself, to show how your skills and experience make you the perfect person for the job. The interviewer is trying to get a sense of who you are and why the job makes sense for you, and you need to help him or her do that.

It helps to practice your pitch in advance with a friend or colleague so it is polished and persuasive.

  1. Have questions

At the end of every interview, the recruiter or hiring manager usually asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” If you want the job, you will have questions. If you don’t, it will look like you aren’t really interested in the position. And you should have questions that show you are thinking about how you can excel in the position. An example would be what skills are needed to be successful in the job, how they measure performance, how the job will evolve in the coming months, and challenges the company is facing.

Then, once you hear the answer, you say something about how X skill you have or experience because of X project fits with the employer’s needs.

  1. Follow up

During the interview you should get contact information from the interviewer and find out what the next steps are. Finally, be sure to send a thank you email.

If you haven’t done so recently, take a look at Helpmates’ current job opportunities. If one or more interests you, follow the application directions. You’re also welcome to contact the branch nearest you to register with us.

Why a Flexible Workforce is No Longer a “Want” But a “Need”

Used to be, many employers used temporary workers, independent contractors or freelancers only sporadically, such as during employee illness, leaves of absence or during the holiday season. But things have changed – savvy employers now use these temporary folks much more strategically.

Los Alamitos staffing

Companies need to make sure their workforces are agile and flexible enough to respond quickly to changing conditions, and to do this, they rely on contingent labor.

They use contingent workers for a number of different situations:

  1. For specific skills

If an employer has a short-term project that requires a special set of skills, they can use temporary workers to handle it. Also, by repeatedly using the same people for these special projects, the company builds relationships with these workers, and managers know they have reliable expertise available when needed.

  1. To handle work regular employees don’t have time for

If there is work that always seems to be unfinished because employees are too busy handling more important matters, companies can use contingent labor to clean up the outstanding assignments.

  1. Surges in demand

During certain times of the year (such as the holidays for retailers and summer for amusement parks), some companies can expect higher demand, and contingent labor can help them handle the increased workload during that time.

Background Checks Even More Important

It takes new hires a good deal longer than contingent workers to become fully productive because they don’t have to be introduced to all of the company’s processes, procedures and culture. They simply come in and begin working on their assignment.

But, as with regular workers, the performance of a temporary worker depends on their skill level. So, it is just as important to know about the temporary worker’s background. That means verifying all of the information on the resume to ensure it is accurate and also contacting references.

This is where staffing companies can help. The company will do the work of screening all the applicants, perform background checks, and will send you only the ones that fit closely with the job description.

It may also help to administer a skills assessment to the applicant to evaluate their technical ability to do the job.

A Blended Workforce

A blended or hybrid workforce is one that consolidates both full-time employees and contingent workers. To get the most out of such an arrangement, a company would probably have to tweak its culture a bit to allow for greater integration of the temporary workers.

A blended workforce culture is one that also incorporates remote workers into its operations to fully utilize the contingent workers, who sometimes may even work remotely.

Communication Is Key

When a company is moving to add more contingent workers, communication is critical. Company leadership needs to inform employees what is happening – the changes that are taking place and why the company is taking this particular course of action.

The company needs to spell out any changes to policies and procedures. It’s also important to assuage concern among regular, full-time employees about the increase in temporary and/or contract workers because regular employees may feel threatened. They need to know that the move is not a threat to their job security, but just the opposite, a way of enabling them to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

Need some flexible workers? Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you to speak with one of our recruiters about your workforce needs.

5 Tips to Help Your Career Thrive During COVID-19

These are uncertain times. The pandemic has disrupted many careers. But whether the pandemic is a career stumbling block or opportunity depends on how you react to it.

Whittier careers

It certainly presents challenges, especially if you have been laid off. But that doesn’t mean you have to put your career on hold, attempting to just wait it out until the situation improves. There are still things you can do to move forward even now.

  1. Perform above and beyond

No surprise here. If you want to move ahead in your career, you have to perform well in your job. Without doing that, nothing else will work.

Don’t let the disruption affect your performance. Established routines may be in some disarray, but you cannot let that affect your focus and your goals. To stay on track, assess your situation, establish priorities and a plan of action. Don’t get sidetracked doing tasks that are unimportant or take on too many projects. Concentrate on the important stuff. Multitasking – trying to do more than one task at the same time – doesn’t work. In fact, it can really reduce productivity.

  1. Don’t be a perfectionist

While you want your work to be superior, you need to also be on guard against perfectionism. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety, which can harm productivity. It can also lead to procrastination and wasting too much time on minor details. Stopping this behavior means realizing that doing something well does not mean it has to be flawless. One good rule of thumb to follow – treat the difficult task as though it were easy, and the easy task as though it were difficult.

  1. Advertise your achievements

Many think that if we work hard, our accomplishments will speak for themselves, and higher ups will notice our work. But it usually doesn’t happen. To advance in your career, you have to increase your exposure and sell yourself and your accomplishments.

Some of us naturally shy away from the idea of tooting our own horn, believing it gives the appearance of egotism or arrogance. But you need to get past this misguided conception. To get ahead, it is important to let others know what you can do and what you have accomplished.

One tip: every quarter, send your manager a report of the things you’ve accomplished in the last three months and how ongoing projects are progressing. These reports can come in very handy come your annual review.

  1. Network

This is essential if you want to move ahead in your career. It’s something you should be doing whether you are looking for a job or not. Making connections can help in many different ways – gaining new information and insights, learning about trends, learning about job opportunities.

You need to go beyond your immediate circle of colleagues and build relationships with people in other departments and in other companies. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn make this much easier to do.

  1. Lend a hand

One of the best ways to build goodwill and good relationships with others is to volunteer to help them. If you take the time to listen to others, try to understand their problems and offer solutions, you will develop a reputation as someone willing to go above and beyond, a team player and a problem solver.

You don’t have to sacrifice time for your own work to do this. You just need to be selective about what extra projects to take on.

  1. Keep growing

Growing in your career doesn’t just happen. In addition to doing the things mentioned above, you need to continually challenge yourself, to take on new and different projects to help you develop new abilities and skills. This may be uncomfortable. You may have to learn a lot of new information, ask people for help, and do things you are not used to, but the rewards will be worth it.

Whether you’re looking for a full-time career position, or a part-time, temporary opportunity, take a look at Helpmates’ current job opportunities and then follow directions to apply to the ones that interest you.

Manager, Heal Thyself of Unconscious Bias

We all exhibit unconscious bias whenever we interact with others. In fact, psychologists have catalogued many different types of cognitive biases that filter our perception of the environment.

Irvine staffing

But, once we are aware of these biases, we can be alert for them and recognize when we are falling victim to them. Managers need to keep them in mind when dealing with their workers to make sure the managers are dealing fairly and consistently with everyone under them. If you are a manager, here are a few biases to watch out for.

  1. Bias in delegating

Do you unconsciously favor some people over others when you delegate work? Do you tend to give the same workers more challenging and interesting work, while assigning more mundane tasks to others? Also, sometimes managers, without realizing it, give more complete and detailed instructions to certain workers, while imparting scant information to other employees, making their task that much harder.

  1. Bias in feedback

Managers may also unknowingly soft-pedal feedback for some workers, delivering it in a more casual, friendly manner, while taking a more authoritarian and judgmental approach with others.

  1. Bias in assumptions

Managers may also not be aware of unconscious bias they have toward people based on their background, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or education.

Other factors affecting a manager’s judgment unconsciously can be a person’s appearance, mannerisms, and speech, such as a particular dialect. These stereotypes can color a manager’s beliefs about a certain employee’s ability. If you’re manager, you need to think about your behavior toward employees, bring your assumptions out in the open, and examine them.

Also, we tend to give more credence to information that confirms beliefs or assumptions we already hold, neglecting data that may contradict our beliefs.

  1. Bias in recognition

A manager may consistently recognize or praise certain workers and withhold it from others for reasons the manager is not really aware of. Again, unconscious bias may be at work influencing how the manager reacts to some employees.

  1. Bias in hiring

Managers unconsciously tend to favor people who are like them. It’s something everyone does. We feel people who look like, have the same backgrounds, etc. us are somehow better. This is a bias hiring managers need to keep in mind when doing job interviews. They need to figure out how to counteract it. This kind of bias can hinder a company’s efforts to recruit a more diverse workforce, leading to employees who generally all think the same way.

  1. Bias in socializing

Again, because we have an unconscious bias toward people like ourselves, we might tend to socialize more with people like us. Managers may be chatting and bantering more with some workers than others because of this bias. This could make some of your team members feel left out or unappreciated.

  1. Bias in mentors

The bias toward people like us can also manifest itself in the choice of people managers look to for advice and counsel. As a manager, ask yourself if you tend to go to the same people for advice simply because you feel more comfortable with them, depriving yourself of different viewpoints and perspectives.

The tendencies listed above are biases related to other people, but we also have many biases about how we perceive the world around us and the information we receive. For example, when examining an issue or problem, we tend to reduce it to general terms and avoid details and specifics. When we make decisions, we gravitate more toward simple solutions rather than more complex ones. We also tend to see patterns even when there is not enough information to clearly establish one. We tend to pay more attention to events that occur more often, even though they may not be any more important than other events.

Helpmates is here to help Southern California’s employers find terrific workers for their temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities. Contact the branch nearest you for more information on how we can help you find great people to help your business thrive.

When it’s Time to Start Your “Plan B” Job Search

When the pandemic hit, and lockdowns proliferated, companies began furloughs and layoffs. You lost your job. Since then you have been operating in job search mode, trying to find a position that will move you along in your career, work that fits the skills and talents you have acquired in your profession and that you find interesting and challenging.

Compton jobs

But it’s been several months with only a few nibbles. Will the situation improve? Who can say? As of early August there were more than 31 million people without a job. The future remains uncertain. It may be time to move from Plan A to Plan B in your job search.

Plan B is expanding the job search beyond those jobs and companies that you really want to a different type of position or even industry to give yourself more opportunity. Here is how to develop your Plan B.

  1. Define your optimal job

Your first task is to make a list of the characteristics that define your dream job. This will help to guide you as you expand your search.

Think about what the perfect job would be like for you – what would it pay, what kind of work-life balance would it offer, how stressful would it be, what would the company culture be like, what kind of flexibility would it offer?

Then think about your skills. List what hard skills you have, the kinds of abilities that are measurable, as well as the soft skills, things like communication skills, empathy, ability to work with others, problem solving.

Look at Plan B jobs with an eye for how they can help you eventually land a job that you really want. Look for connections between the two in terms of the types of skills they use. For example, if your ideal job is in advertising, you could also look for positions in related fields such as public relations or marketing, jobs that will enable you to gain skills that will help you to land a job in advertising.

You also should keep going after the Plan A jobs. Look at the job descriptions for different types of Plan A jobs to learn the kinds of skills these jobs require, so you can pick up these skills with Plan B jobs.

Also, see what type of training you can undergo to help gain the skills you need.

  1. Network

The importance of networking is common knowledge. It should be an integral part of your job search. Try to expand your network of contacts during your job search. The new people you reach out to may be able to give you insights into different industries, jobs you had not considered before, or companies you did not know about.

Talk to them about both your Plan A and Plan B goals. Ask for recommendations and advice or possible contacts at companies. Then work to expand your network by reaching out to these people online. When you talk to someone, always ask the person if there is anyone else you can talk to for information.

  1. Informational interviews

Informational interviews, as the name implies, are just for the purpose of gathering information. They are not job interviews. When you reach out to new contacts, ask them if they have a little time for an informational interview call or video talk. They may be able to give you worthwhile knowledge about companies and jobs.

Before you talk to a person, however, you should do some preparation. Learn as much as you can in advance about the person and their company, so you can ask intelligent questions. Draw up a list of questions beforehand as well to ensure you cover the topics you want.

  1. Consider temporary assignments

If you’ve yet to receive a job offer for the type of position you want in the industry you want and you’re getting worried about finances, consider working with a temporary staffing company such as Helpmates. Temporary work can help you keep some income coming in while you continue hustling for your Plan A position.

In fact, you may find that a temporary position with us becomes your Plan B: many temporary positions often do become regular, full-time opportunities.

Take a look at our current openings and application instructions. You also can register with the branch office nearest you.

 

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