Can I Wear a T-shirt to a Job Interview?

Our first thought when hearing this question is “Heck, no!’ But then we realized: the workplace is much more casual today than even five years ago. Many people wear t-shirts on the job, so it’s an understandable question: why couldn’t you wear one on a job interview?

Buena Park Job Interview

Well, today, you probably could, if you’re a woman and the shirt is made of a dressier weight fabric such as silk or a fine knit and you wear a work-appropriate jacket or blazer over it. Or if you’re applying for a job in a warehouse/distribution center. And then the t-shirt must be very clean and free of graphics.

We provide those ifs and caveats and suggested jackets to wear because it is important to dress well for a job interview. Why? Because dressing (more) professionally (than you normally do) shows that you take the entire process seriously. Work is a serious business: an employer is going to hire you to solve his company’s problems and he wants to know if you take that task seriously. Dressing professionally signals that you understand this.

That doesn’t mean you need to wear a suit and tie (if male) or a skirt suit (if a woman). It does mean you should dress well for an interview and that definition will vary depending on the company’s day-to-day dress code as well as the role for which you’re applying.

If you don’t know what the company’s dress code, it’s perfectly OK to ask the recruiter or hiring manager.  (You can do so when asked to come in for an interview: ask if the company’s dress code is professional, business casual or casual.)

Below are different interview outfits to wear for your interview depending on the dress code.

Men

Professional: A suit and tie. If you don’t have a suit, a pair of nice slacks and a blazer (such as khaki slacks and a navy blue blazer). Shirt should be collared and long sleeved. Shoes should be dress shoes.

Business casual: You don’t need to wear a suit, but you should wear nice slacks, a collared long-sleeve shirt and a blazer. Take a tie along and if you see men wearing ties, duck into the men’s room before your interview and put it on. Save the polo-like shirt for when you start working there. Shoes don’t need to be dress shoes, but they shouldn’t be sneakers and they should be clean and/or polished.

Casual: If you’re going to be working in an office, you really can’t go wrong with a blazer. You can wear a nice polo under the blazer with nice chinos/khakis. You can wear a short sleeve shirt, but long-sleeved is better. You can ditch the tie. No sneakers.

If you’re interviewing for a warehouse/distribution/labor position, chinos/khakis and a polo or collared short-sleeve shirt are appropriate. Work boots, so long as they are clean, are fine. Jeans, so long as they are absolutely clean and not faded, ripped, or excessively baggy/loose also are fine.

Women

Professional: a skirt- or pant suit is appropriate. No prints.  Darker colors (navy, black, grey) are best. Blouse should be solid or have small stripes. No florals. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum. Stud earrings are best; if you wear dangling earrings, they should be short. One bracelet at the most (if you wear a watch, skip the bracelet). Necklace should be single strand and not too long.

Pantyhose no longer are required but polished heels (no more than three inches high) or professional-style flats are fine. Keep perfume to a minimum (none is best).

Business casual: A more casual-style skirt- or pant suit is fine, as are slacks and a short-sleeved blouse, knit sweater (this is where you can wear that refined t-shirt) under a blazer or jacket. A simple dress also is appropriate and it’s a good idea to wear a jacket or cardigan sweater over it (jacket/blazer is best). The dress should be a solid print; slender stripes are OK but stay away from bold prints/florals. The dress should not be one you would wear to a party or for a night on the town. Keep the stilettos at home. No jeans.

No sneakers with the slacks. Keep jewelry and perfume to a minimum (none still is best).

Casual: khakis/chinos and a short-sleeved blouse/nice sweater/knit t-shirt is OK. If wearing a sleeveless sweater, wear a cardigan over it. A skirt and blouse is fine but it shouldn’t be a denim skirt/going out skirt and shouldn’t be too short.

If you’ll be working in a warehouse, etc. jeans are appropriate, so long as they are exceptionally clean, not faded, ripped or torn and not excessively baggy or tight. A polo-like is best; if wearing a t-shirt, stay away from graphic tees. It should be clean and not ripped. Clean work boots or clean sneakers are fine.

Are you looking for work in the Orange County/Los Angeles region? Helpmates needs you! We have many temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities waiting to be filled! Take a look at them and if you find a few that appeal to you, contact us or follow instructions on the job description.

All I Want for Christmas is a Great 2018

Chances are good that you want your career/job situation to be the greatest it can be. With Christmas and the season of giving gifts upon us, it’s understandable if you’re hoping that this coming year will give you all you hope for and desire.

better career in 2018

And it can, so long as you realize you are the one who will deliver that gift. In other words, effort and some sacrifice on your part are what will help you obtain the career goals you dream of.

Happily, you really need only two things to make your job situation/career great this coming year.

So write a “Dear Santa” letter to yourself and ask yourself for these things:

  1. I will give myself the gift of additional training/education.

No one wanting to build a career – or stay employed – should think he or she can sit around and do the same old, same old every year and not feel the consequences at some point.

Additional training/education/certification always is going to be critical to success in the job market of tomorrow. Technology is changing such that artificial intelligence more than likely will (disrupt the employment prospects of millions now-employees in the next few years.

(Just some of the careers/jobs that could be affected: dermatologists, lawyers, sports journalists, financial reporters, retail clerks, border patrol agents, middle managers, pharmacy technicians, program software, and  more.)

Bottom line? The next time your boss asks if you want to go to a seminar on such and such, say yes (and then ask if you also can get certified in it).

  1. I will give myself the present of learning how to be a better “political” animal in the workplace.

Office politics exists. The most successful among us learn how to make their way through it with grace and skill because those who rise to the top are able to:

  • Be friendly – but not too much so – with everyone.
  • Stand up to bullies without becoming a bully themselves.
  • Take bad news stoically.
  • Give bad news with kindness yet firmness.
  • Know when to take a stand and know when to stand back.

Some people appear to easily navigate the politics of the workplace. Others struggle. But all of us can learn how to improve our own skills dealing with it.

Success truly comes easier if you can promote yourself and your “causes” fairly with your boss, clients and co-workers. Learning the “art” of office politics can be a terrific gift you give yourself this coming year.

Would another great Christmas gift to yourself be a new job? If you’re looking for work in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas, take a look at Helpmates’ current job openings.

Want to Make Sure You’re Happy at Work? Choose the Right Job AND Company

Since most of us spend more than a third of our waking hours Monday through Friday at work (one arguably could make the case that it’s more than a third after adding on commuting time and the business of getting ready for work in the morning), all of us more  than likely want an enjoyable one-third day. Maybe even a great one-third day. Certainly not a miserable third.

Many of us, therefore, may think we need to find the perfect career or certainly perfect job in order to be happy.

Southern California Jobs

But even perfect jobs/careers have their bad sides. We know of one physical therapist, for example, who loves treating her patients. The other four hours of her day typing up notes and treatment plans? Not so much: she truly hates the paperwork part, so much so that she’s seriously thinking of changing careers.

So the first thing we need to realize is that we’re not going to be happy for all eight-plus hours on all five days per week.

But we can work to make work pleasant most of the time. Here’s how:

Plan for it.

What we mean is this: you’re not going to stumble into happy circumstances on the job. Instead, you need to know what kind of working environment you enjoy along with the work you like to do. You also may want to consider the personalities of your coworkers.

Another real life example: we know of one woman who took a job in a cube farm that was dark most of the time because her colleagues who worked near the wall of windows on the southeast side couldn’t see their computer screens most of the day because the sun shined right onto them.

She also noticed during the two interview she had with the hiring manager that her future colleagues seemed to keep pretty much to themselves most  of the day. The room was dark and exceptionally quiet.

A voice inside her told her she would be miserable but she took the job knowing she would enjoy the actual work and believing its great benefits – quitting at 2 p.m. every day in the summer, five weeks of paid vacation a year – would make up for the quiet, dark room.

She was miserable and ended up leaving the job within six months (before summer and before she qualified for even one week of vacation).

So ask yourself some questions:

  • Do you like working alone or as part of the team most of the time?
  • Do you need windows?
  • Do you need an office where you can close the door and concentrate?
  • How do you feel about colleagues in an open office playing their radio/streaming music quietly? Televisions on the wall?
  • Ask your boss how she prefers to manage people. Autonomy-with-guidance-as-needed or is she someone who checks on progress every day? Does her management style jibe with how you prefer to be managed?
  • And so on.

These questions may sound trivial, but if you were to talk to either of the women mentioned above, you’d understand that the trivial – the details – are critical to being happy at work. Even the work you love to do can become a burden when the where, how and some of the what makes you miserable.

If you’ve found yourself stuck in a position that you thought would be a great fit work but you found soon enough comes with aspects that make you despondent, consider taking on a temp-to-hire position through Helpmates Staffing. These are temporary assignments that allow you to take work in a position for about three months before signing on more permanently (if both you and your on-site manager agree). These types of temporary positions are a terrific way to “test drive” a company’s and department’s culture to see if you enjoy not only the work, but also your colleagues and work environment.

Take a look at some of our current job opportunities. (Use Advanced Search and click on Temp-to-Hire under Employment Type.)

How to Get the Most Out of Your Recruiter

We’re recruiters and we love it! For all its many ups and downs, it’s a career that helps candidates find work and our clients find great employees. Our hearts just go zing! when we help someone find a new position. After all, without work, we can’t support our families, we can’t realize our dreams, we can’t help our children become all they can be.

Los Angeles recruiters

So we fully understand that “a job” really is more than that: work can give us meaning and provide us the opportunity to work at something greater than ourselves. It also can provide community as well as income.

So in a very important way, jobs are our lives in the sense that without work, we can’t truly live. And that’s why we think working as a recruiter is one of the greatest careers out there because our work has a massive impact on individual lives.

(In fact, the American Staffing Association [the trade association of the staffing industry; Helpmates is a member], has a whole section on the benefits of recruiting/staffing as a career: Staffing as a Career – A Whole Opportunity Awaits. If you’ve ever wanted to sit on our side of the desk, we hope you check it out.)

Not All Bright Lights and Glamor

Still, working as a recruiter in the staffing industry is intense. Our days are extremely busy day. As in incredibly, astonishingly, exceedingly, unbelievably, absurdly busy.  On any given day we could:

  • Need to find 20 people to head to work at a distribution center. Tomorrow. Oh, and the client called us about it at 4 p.m.
  • Need to fill 10 administrative assignments this week. We only have eight great admin professionals available, so we need to interview several more so that we can fill our clients’ needs.
  • Three temporary associates called in sick at the last minute, and we need to replace them ASAP.
  • We have two great accounting professionals coming in for an interview with us before we send them out on a terrific permanent job interview.

And that’s all while fielding lots of phone calls and dozens upon dozens of e-mails from our clients and candidates.

What to Look for in a Recruiter/Staffing Service

Looking for work is stressful enough; don’t make it harder by working with a service that makes your job search more nerve-wracking than it need be.

When looking at different staffing firms, look for:

  • A firm in which most of its recruiters are Certified Staffing Professionals (CSPs). CSPs are certified by the ASA and the designation shows that the recruiter has the expertise and commitment to adhere to the highest standards of professionalism. The exam is comprehensive and takes considerable study before a recruiter can pass. It’s a true mark of distinction and all of our recruiters here at Helpmates are required to take the exam and pass it!
  • A commitment to treating all candidates with the utmost respect and understanding. This actually can be rated. Inavero’s Best of Staffing surveys asks both staffing service clients and candidates to rate their staffing service and then Inavero tallies results and provides its Best of Staffing award in the two categories. Only two percent of staffing firms in the U.S. and Canada win these awards and Helpmates has been placed on the “Best of Staffing” list for eight straight years. Winning the candidate (called “talent” by Inavero) satisfaction award is a sign that our candidates feel we treat them with the respect and consideration they are due.
  • Look for a service with recruiters who have stayed with the company for at least three years. The staffing and human resources industries are well known for their internal employee turnover rates. So when you find a service with recruiters with several years’ tenure, you’ve found a firm that treats its internal employees right – a very good sign for you! Here at Helpmates, our average recruiter tenure is 5.1 years and our turnover is less than half of the staffing industry’s rate.

How to Get the Best Out of Us

If you’re looking for work and contact one of our offices, we want to make sure you have the best experience possible, so we want you to know this:

We truly want to help you find work. Really. Honest. Truth!

But we do have constraints and the biggest one is this: our primary job isn’t to find people work; it’s to find our clients the best workers.

Remember, our work on your behalf costs you nothing. If our main purpose was to find you work, we’d have to charge you for it. We need to make a profit: Helpmates is a business, after all.

So our clients pay for our work and therefore our top priority is to find them the best candidate for a position. Yet right up there with that priority (as in, thisclose) is finding you work.

However, unless you have the skills and background our clients need, we won’t be able to place you. You could be the nicest, the hardest working, the most devoted person in the world, but if you don’t have the skills or experience our clients need, we may not be able to find a position for you.

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t help you.

What does that mean? If you have flexibility and are willing to take positions for which you may be overqualified; if you understand our client-stipulated constraints; if you understand that even temporary assignments are real work, should be treated as such (yes, put your time with us on your resume) and can lead to more permanent work; if you’re open to learning new skills (such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) on your own time, without pay (we provide the software so that you may do this at home); we will work very hard to help you.

After all, if you do the above, you’re showing initiative and you’re showing a great work ethic. In other words, to paraphrase Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, you’re helping us help you and so don’t be surprised if we go out of our way to help you as much as we can!

In the meantime, take a look at our current temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities at some of Orange and Los Angeles counties’ best employers. If one appeals to you, follow the instructions on the listing or contact us! We look forward to helping you find a great position.

Are These Momentum Killers Affecting Your Job Search?

You’ve put hours into crafting the perfect resume, and have tailored it to each application and position. Your cover letter shows personality, enthusiasm and helps highlight the key reasons an employer should choose you over the competition. You’ve even aced your job interviews.

Now it’s time to sit back and wait for the offers to roll in, right?job search advice

Not quite.

You could have the perfect resume, the most eloquent cover letter and you could have finished the world’s best job interview, but still end up without a job offer. When you’ve put in the time and effort to build real momentum in your job search, waiting for the phone to ring — and not getting the call — can be frustrating.

But there’s good news – you can prevent a loss of momentum during your job search by avoiding these common four (4) mistakes:

Mistake #1 Following up incessantly. If an employer says you can expect to hear about their decision within seven days and 10 days later your phone (or email) is still silent, it can be frustrating. Your frustration is understandable! But outside of a quick follow up email or voicemail checking in, you should avoid any type of recruiter “pestering” with follow ups.

While many employers hope to have decisions in a timely manner, sometimes every day business (or other matters) simply get in the way. Maybe the right team members were unable to connect and discuss the candidates, maybe an urgent business matter required “all hands on deck” and pulled decision makers away from discussing your position.

Regardless of the “why,” your actions are what matter here. One follow up within a few days of when you were told to expect follow up is acceptable. Anything beyond that (including calls, emails or social media messages) will have a negative effect on your chances (and could eradicate any goodwill or momentum you had going for you after your interview).

Mistake #2 Going on a few interviews, then doing nothing. Without a doubt, you should be proud of a strong job interview. Review what went well, what could have gone better and identify what you can bring to the table for the next interview.

Yes, the next one.

A strong interview isn’t a sign that you should stop your job search efforts. There are many factors that can influence whether or not you land the job. Many of them are out of your control. So while you can and should reflect on successful interviews and interactions with employers, don’t take your foot off the gas pedal! You should spend time each day (or however much time you can) to search for jobs, prepare resumes and continue applying to jobs that are a match for your skills and career goals. (HINT: The Talent Relationship Managers at Helpmates can help you with this part of the process – we’ll search for opportunities that match your skills and goals and will help you prepare for those interviews!).

Mistake #3 Getting a little too presumptuous. Interviews go well. Job offers may be expected. But you should never assume anything. As mentioned previously, there are many factors that can influence whether or not you get the job.

You may have made a strong impression, but a great interview doesn’t guarantee you the job. So while you may be excited about the prospect of joining your new potential employer, now isn’t the time to “act the part.” Acting as if you’ve already got the job can be a major turn off to employers. Talking about the job as if you’ve already landed it on social media is one way to kill your momentum. Adding recruiters or other employees on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter can also be a major turn off (even if you especially hit it off during the interview process, hold off on adding employees on personal social media sites — LinkedIn is okay — until after you’ve been offered and have accepted the position).

Mistake #4 You change your salary expectations. Confidence can help you impress during job interviews and leave a lasting, positive impression. Overconfidence, on the other hand, can immediately land your resume on the “discard” pile.

For some job openings, recruiters choose to interview or follow up with candidates based on a range of criteria. Sometimes that criteria includes salary expectations. In a state of excitement and overconfidence following a strong job interview, it can be tempting to assume you’re at the top of the employer’s list and as a result, should demand a higher salary.

If you’ve already discussed salary expectations (either the employer has stated the possible salary range and you have agreed, or you have shared your own salary expectations), do not accept a job offer under the condition of a salary that falls outside of that range. Not only could this lose you the job, it could tarnish your reputation. After all, the employer has invested a great deal of time into sourcing, vetting and interviewing you, only to be thrown for a loop at the final hour. Be respectful of expectations and what has transpired during the interview process.

If you’re really hoping for a higher salary, start your job off strong, ask questions, set goals for yourself and discuss them with your manager. Then, track your successes and quantify your performance. At your first employee performance review, you’ll be prepared to justify and negotiate a raise.

Avoiding key mistakes is essential to a successful job search. The Helpmates team can help you stay on track and land great jobs that align with your goals. We work with top employers in Los Angeles, Irvine and 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.

10 Ways to Stand Out on Your Temporary Work Assignment

Temporary work assignments offer excellent opportunities to expand your skill set, get to know different industries and employers and advance your career while taking advantage of short-term, flexible work arrangements.

Employers are continuing to take advantage of the benefits temporary workers offer them as well. This means that professionals across a range of disciplines can expect more opportunities for temporary work assignments in the coming years. Sure, the length of your temporary assignments may vary, but each offers an excellent opportunity for you to not only benefit your career, but to make a great impression. And standing out while making a great impression will help you land the best temporary work assignments with the most desirable employers.

How to make a great impression on temporary work assignmentsMarch blog 1

Try these 10 steps to stand out on your next temporary work assignment (for the right reasons!) and boost your career:

  1. Always arrive for work on time. This is one of the most basic pieces of job advice out there, yet it always bears repeating — because many employees don’t arrive to work on time! For the purposes of any job, “on time” usually means arriving about five or 10 minutes early. If you like to say hello at the water cooler, drop off your lunch or do any small tasks before getting started on your actual job duties, 10 or 15 minutes early may be more appropriate. Arriving “on time” means starting work on time. So take the necessary steps to ensure you’re starting work on time every day.
  2. Ask questions and be engaged. Even for experienced professionals, every job comes with a bit of training. Take notes, ask questions and show that you’re truly interested in learning the right way to do things at your employer.
  3. Be a “team” player. Show a genuine interest in your coworkers and be friendly. Even for a one week or 30-day assignment, being approachable and friendly is always appreciated, and is more likely to earn you a favorable review.
  4. Show that you’re flexible. Sometimes the exact nature of a position evolves or changes, or an employer notices another need after you’ve begun your assignment. If you can be adaptable and step up to help in a new area (even one that you didn’t expect), you’ll make life much easier for your employer.
  5. Present yourself professionally. There are a few elements to this – avoid getting caught up in any office gossip or politics (which can happen, even on shorter assignments) and also be sure to dress appropriately for the position and office where you’ll be working. If you arrive on your first day and notice everyone else is adhering to a certain standard, show up on your second day with something that’s more in line with the team.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It may be tempting to try and do everything yourself to make a good impression on temporary work assignments, but sometimes asking for help is the best way to make a good impact. No one expects you to know everything!
  7. Don’t wait around for next steps. If you’ve finished a task or series of tasks, don’t wait around for your manager to find you and tell you what to do next. Instead, seek him or her out, share that you’ve completed your tasks and ask what else you can do to help.
  8. Be polite. Saying “please” and “thank you” goes a long way in every aspect of life, but especially in an office.
  9. Pay attention to details. It can be overwhelming when you’re inundated with details on the first days of a new temporary work assignment, but pay attention to them. Write them down, add meetings to your phone or calendar – do what it takes to ensure you aren’t missing key meetings or crucial details.
  10. Learn about the company. Your Helpmates recruiter will provide you with information about your next company, but take the time to not only read what they provide, but to do your own research as well. Showing up to your temporary assignment with some knowledge about the company and its goals will show that you value your time with them as much as they value your contributions!

Helpmates works with top employers across Southern California, and we have a range of temporary work assignments that can help you reach your goals. Search our available jobs now or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to (Quietly) Conduct a Job Search

Three out of four employees within a given company are actively searching for a job. It’s definitely a candidate’s market right now, and employers are hiring. But searching for a new job while working at your current one can feel like a challenge.

Use some discretion during your job search.

Conducting a job search with discretion while you’re employed requires some extra steps, but it’s far from impossible. Follow these steps to protect your privacy and stay under the radar during your job search:HM2

  1. Update your LinkedIn privacy settings. One of the first things you should do when preparing for your job search is update your LinkedIn profile to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward. But as you’re making updates to your LinkedIn profile, you may be broadcasting your changes and intentions to your connections. To keep your changes under wraps, visit the Privacy & Settings page by moving your mouse to the top right of LinkedIn (where your photo is located). On the expanded menu that appears, scroll down to “Privacy & Settings” and click. Scroll down to “Privacy Controls” and turn off your “Activity Broadcasts.” You can also change other settings if you’d like to take another step to protect your privacy (this can be particularly effective if you’re connecting with hiring managers or recruiters – “Select Who Can See Your Connections” is the setting to update in that instance).
  2. Be careful when networking. Spreading the word about your impending job move can help you build some momentum and increase your network of contacts. But proceed with caution – once you start telling others about your job search, you are essentially “all in” and have no choice but to move forward. Additionally, how you present yourself during networking opportunities is important. Stressing that you’re happy in your current job but open to new opportunities can help demonstrate your aspirations without sounding desperate or negative about your current company.
  3. Think about references. It is nearly impossible to share references from your current employer during a job search. Be careful when compiling references for your new career opportunities. A trusted colleague at your current employer (absolute certainty at this person’s discretion and support is essential) or supervisors or colleagues from previous employers, can help fill the gap left by any current managers. Also, it’s important to note that many employers understand and appreciate that candidates are searching for new opportunities while still employed. Discuss this fact openly with new potential employers — they will often make job offers contingent on positive references. From there, it’s up to you to have a strong conversation with your current boss (and persuade him or her to provide you with a good reference) when you eventually get an offer. As in many areas of business, clear and open communication here is essential.
  4. Partner with a recruiter. Finding a new job is in and of itself a full-time job for many people. If you’re working 40 hours a week and simultaneously looking for a new job, it could be too much. When you partner with a staffing firm, your recruiter will help you polish your resume, prepare for interviews and most importantly — will look for job opportunities that match your goals. Your recruiter will operate with discretion while searching for your next great career opportunity, so you can focus on continuing to do a great job at your current employer.

Here at Helpmates, we help talented professionals like you find great jobs in Southern California. Visit our job board or contact your nearest Helpmates office to take the next step in your career.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/stock images

Keep Your Job Search Focused This Summer

Summer is an exciting time for many of us – nice weather, vacations, family gatherings, outdoor activities and more. But while the season brings with it many fun activities, those activities could be considered distractions when it comes to your job search. HM_JuneBlog1

Finding a job during the summer requires focus

If you’re looking for a job, it can be easy to get distracted by summer activities and lose sight of your end goal. But while hiring generally slows down in the summer, it also ramps up quite a bit in the fall – the effort you put forth now can help set you up for success in the long term. The good news is that you don’t have to give up on fun entirely during the summer season – these tips can help you stay focused (while giving you some room for fun, too):

  • Schedule your day. Even if you can only devote a few hours each day toward your job search this summer, stay committed to those several hours. Schedule out your days and identify key goals and tasks you’ll accomplish each day. Something as simple as breaking things down into steps can mean the difference between landing a new job and starting over again in the fall.
  • Keep networking. With better weather comes better networking event locations – take advantage! Various networking groups will hold outdoor and other events during the summer, offering a fun way to enjoy the summer while moving your job search forward as well.
  • Stay professional. Summer temperatures are hotter, but resist the urge to wear casual summer clothes to networking or other professional events. Stay professional when you’re meeting with potential employers, recruiters or at networking events.
  • Remember it’s summer. Your schedule isn’t the only one that’s jam-packed this summer – chances are that hiring managers have summer vacations, family gatherings and other events too. Keep this in mind and be patient if you don’t hear back from employers in the most time efficient manner. Stay focused, follow up and be patient – it will pay off in the end.
  • Consider volunteering. Many nonprofit organizations hold fundraisers and other events to take advantage of the good moods and spirit of giving that come along with the great summer weather. Spending a few hours each week helping these organizations is not only a great thing to do for your community, but a great way to expand your network and build your skill set.

Looking for jobs in Southern California this summer? 

Helpmates is hiring! We match professionals like you with great jobs in Southern California. Search our currently available jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to get started.

3 Critical Salary Negotiation Tips

Spring is often called the season of renewal. And with the spirit of spring, you might be thinking about the next step in your career (hint: We’re hiring!). As you think about where you’d like to take your career this spring, one important factor to consider is salary.

Don’t be nervous about salary negotiation.shareasimage
While there are many factors that can influence our job satisfaction and contribute toward reaching our career goals, compensation ranks highly for most professionals. These salary negotiation tips can help you land competitive compensation:

  • Rehearse the conversation multiple times. You’ve already gotten through the hard part by the time you’re ready for salary negotiation – congratulations! But you may feel indebted to the employer or nervous about discussing salary. The key to combat nerves is in rehearsing how the conversation might go. This can help you avoid language that may minimize your accomplishments or diminish your case for a higher salary (phrases like “only,” “just” or “think” can give that impression).
  • Consider presenting your desired salary in a range. Have a number in your head for the ideal salary you’d like to earn? Research shows you’re more likely to get it if you put it into a range. Here’s an example: Aiming for an annual salary of $45,000? Ask your employee for a salary “Between $45,000 and $50,000.” Choosing the right high and low anchors here are key – choose your desired salary as the lowest number, and be more ambitious at the high end, within reason (who knows – you might even get it!). Of course, each situation is unique – if your new employer appears to desire flexibility, a range could be perfect. But if you sense that the appearance of more preparation will serve you better, be armed with a specific number (say, $45,750). The key is to be perceptive and prepared.
  • Remember to look ahead. You’ve put in your time on research and have prepared a well thought out case for your new employer. But…you didn’t get the salary you expected. It’s important here not to be wounded – look ahead to the future. There could be several factors that determine the salary your employer is able to offer right now, but how you react here can make a major impact on whether you get a raise or promotion down the line. Keep the conversation open ended in this case – before you leave the meeting with your boss, be sure to ask something like, “I completely understand – can we revisit my compensation in six months?” Even better, ask the employer what you can do in the next six months to add additional value to your contributions. This small question will demonstrate your commitment to providing value and results for your employer. Plus, you’re taking ownership by setting up a measurable way to determine whether a salary increase is reasonable in the future.

Take your career to the next level this spring – Helpmates can help you reach your goals! Search our available jobs with top employers across Southern California, and submit your resume directly through our website.

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