When it’s Time to “Settle Down”: No More Job Hopping

Is this you? You’re 25 or 27 and have been in the workforce either since graduating high school or college and you’re on your fourth job. You stayed at your first job a year, your second and third jobs 18 months each (well, let’s quibble: 16 months for that third job) and now, well into your fourth you’re getting….restless.

Los Angeles Careers

Stop! Employers tend to be quite open to young people who move from job to job their first few years in the workforce. But around or even before the five-year mark, they start to think twice about hiring someone who sticks around for less than a couple of years at previous jobs, especially if someone has four or more jobs on the resume in those five years.

And the job-hopping stigma is particularly acute for college graduates or for those with certifications/licenses that put them on a more traditional career track. In fact, job hopping, if done strategically – and if the hopper has an in-demand skill – can be a way to accelerate a career trajectory and/or receive considerable salary increases with each jump.

But the operative words here are: in-demand skills and strategic. Most people tend to hop about haphazardly, and that kind of job-to-job movement can hurt you in the long run, especially if several employment stints in a row are less than nine months to a year in length.

Here’s how to stop incessant hopping as you approach your mid- to late-20s.

  • Your youth IS a time to explore.

There’s really no harm nor foul if you start your first “real job” after college or high school graduation and then leave in less than a year. Employers understand this: they know that young workers may not know exactly what they want out of their work life/career. They know that even if the young person was gung ho in the beginning, she may end up finding that the company or career just isn’t for her. So leaving your first job before a year is up is OK.

However, if you enjoy the work, if you like the company, and especially if you come to the realization that this career really is one you want to pursue, you could aim to stay there for two years or so. There’s no harm in sticking around in your first job, either.

  • Remember, no matter how much you love a company, an industry or your job, it will get boring. All jobs do.

Our point? Don’t leave a job merely because you get bored. Or the excitement dissipates. No job is fun all the time. Most jobs have a lot of repetition and same old, same old. This is reality. This is the way of work and careers.

You don’t need to stay if you’re miserable, of course, but it’s often the case that newly minted workers somehow, kinda sorta, subconsciously hoped the world of work would be exciting, fresh and new All. The. Time!!!

So if you leave your first job in eight months because it wasn’t as exciting or interesting as you’d hoped, and then you leave the next one after 14 months for the same reason, and a third job after a year for pretty much the same reason, pause a minute because it may not be the job. It may be your expectations.

If that’s the case, re-read the bullet point just above.

  • How to find “the one.”

Once you’re ready to “settle down” for more than two years after moving between 3-4 jobs by your mid- to late-20s, you want to find a position that you can stick around for more than two years, one in which you can grow and prosper.

You’ve no doubt found what you don’t like about certain aspects of an industry or career, so you know to steer clear of those. You also probably know what you do like, so you want to move toward those aspects.

So before accepting a new position, follow your gut…and your head. Research the company thoroughly online: check out its LinkedIn page, its social media channels, its news releases, etc. Read its website thoroughly. Google its name and see what information comes up. After the interview and before you accept a job offer, ask if you can talk to your possibly-soon-to-be-new colleagues to get a flavor for their personalities and how they enjoy working there.

In other words, because you plan on sticking around for a while, you should aim to find out as much about the company as possible so that you’ll know more about what you’re in for. This way, you will be able to “commit” to your next employer for an I-can’t-believe-you’re-asking-me-to-stay-here-for-more-than-two-looonnnnnng-years time period.

Working as a temporary associate with Helpmates allows you to explore many different industries, companies and even roles within those companies and industries, helping you discover which ones appeal to you for the long term. Take a look at our current opportunities and follow the application instructions on those you find interesting.

If You Don’t Know Where You Want to Go in Your Career, How Can You Get There?

If you don’t know where you want to go, going anywhere will do, right?

But do you really want to “go anywhere” when it comes to something as important as your career?

La Mirada Careers

We know of a truly and genuinely nice man, nearing retirement, who has worked in the cut-throat, exceedingly stressful financial services industry most of his working life. He has made an extremely good living for his family and his wife is quite grateful that his career has made it easy for her to be a stay-at-home mom. But he hasn’t been exactly…..happy in his career.

How did he get into this miserable-yet-lucrative career? He says he pretty much fell into it. He’d wanted to be a journalist in college but he graduated in the midst of the 1980 recession and journalism jobs were hard to find and didn’t pay well, so he took a gig in a bank. And then another position in a financial services firm. Then he got his MBA. Then he got married. Then he started making some serious money. Then they had children and the couple decided she would stay home. More money. More expenses (his children are lucky – and know it – because he and his wife paid for their children’s private-college tuition). And so on. And here he is today, literally counting the days until his retirement.

“If only I’d thought beyond taking that second job because it ‘paid more,’” he says.

Don’t let that happen to you.

No matter where you are in your career – graduating college or high school this spring, a year or two on this side of graduation, five years out, in mid-career, and so on – thinking about where you want to go helps you actually get there.

Yet, unlike the man described above, having a vague “I want to go into this and that” won’t get you far. After all, what if it’s not easy to find jobs in the field you’ve chosen (journalism jobs aren’t exactly plentiful today, either)? What if you meet up with roadblocks? What if you need to postpone the career for a bit and take another job until you find one you want? What if you find you don’t like where you’re headed?

What’s your Plan B? And Plan C? And so on.

But don’t worry, it’s not that you need to map it out completely.

After all, most of us have no idea what will make us happy in the future: we have an “idea,” but we don’t test it out. We think we’ll enjoy being an actress but – oops! – we never thought beyond actually being in a play or movie and forgot how awful it is to actually audition again and again and again and hear no so many times our head explodes from the rejection.

So while you don’t need a step-by-step plan, be careful. Take time to sit with yourself and be brutally honest. You want to help troubled children, but you also love to travel to Europe. Perhaps working as social worker – with its low salary – isn’t for you.

Conversely, let’s say you know exactly what type of career you want and you’ve thought it over carefully, talked to people who work in it, perhaps interned or volunteered within and it feels just right.

Now ask yourself, where do want to be within it in five years? Will you need more education or skills training? Do you want to go into a leadership or management role? How do you know if you’ll be a good fit? What will you do to find out?

And so on.

In other words, don’t wing it: have a plan, yet keep it flexible. Do so, and you have a greater chance of finding work that suits you as well as a career that unfolds as you want it to.

If you’re not quite sure if a field of work is the one for you, experiment with it via temporary assignments with Helpmates. Contact the branch office nearest you and let us know what you’re looking for. If we can help you “try a career” or job, we’ll be happy to do so.

 

You Got the Job Offer! Should You Take It?

You applied for a job opportunity. You were called in for an interview. You aced it. You were called in for another interview. Ditto. The hiring manager tells you she’ll make her decision in a week and in that week you hear from her and she offers you the job!

You’re excited, naturally. Flattered, of course! Proud of yourself, natch!

But just because you’re offered a job in no way means you should actually take it.

careers in cerritos

Take a look below at four things you should consider before accepting any job offer.

  1. Do you know what constitutes success in the job?

In other words, has your potential new boss spelled out clearly what she expects of you? If in doubt, take a look at the job description and go over it with her, asking her for clarification and – more importantly – asking if there’s anything she expects that’s not in the description.

Taking a job with ill-defined expectations can be a prescription for disaster. If your boss says “I’ll know when you’re doing a great job when I see it” also could end up meaning “Your idea of what  ‘doing a great job’ means is not mine.”

  1. Do you think you and your boss and new coworkers will have a respectful, friendly relationship?

If you think you can be respectful but not head over heels in “like” with your boss/coworkers, that’s OK. Respect is far more important than liking each other because if your boss/coworkers don’t respect you, chances are great they won’t “like” you much either.  A lack of respect means they won’t trust you, won’t have your back, will second guess you, etc.

Still, having respect for and liking each other will make your working relationship much more enjoyable and will go far in helping you succeed in the job. But if there’s no respect, your working life will be miserable.

Another important aspect of respect/like: do you think you’ll fit in with your department’s/company’s culture? It’s probably best to go with your gut on this one: what was the vibe of the department when you visited/met with colleagues? If your intuition is saying there are red – or even yellow – flags ahead, it may be best to turn the job down.

  1. Does the position fit in with your overall goals?

Many of us see our career going in a certain direction. While it’s sometimes necessary to go sideways or even move “down” a bit in order to get ahead, if the new position isn’t going to at least teach you new skills or put you in front of new challenges – especially if they can help you move to the next step upwards – it may not be a good idea to take the job.

For example, let’s say you’ve been working in as an account executive in finance but want to move into marketing. It may be a good idea to take a “step down” and work as a marketing assistant in a finance firm that has a marketing department. But if it’s a lateral move with a salary increase to another finance company – but one that has no marketing department and no chance to learn marketing skills – you may want to turn it down.

Which brings us to the last thing to consider when deciding whether to take a job offer…

  1. Money isn’t everything, but it definitely IS something!

We put the salary question last because while money is an important consideration when mulling a job offer, it’s not the most important thing.

As mentioned above, it may not be worth it to take a job that offers no new challenges even if it pays more. It also may be advantageous to your career to take a job that pays a bit less so long as you the new position challenges you and helps you get where you want to go.

Still, you do want to feel that you’re being fairly compensated and you also want to look forward to the benefits package offered. (Remember: if you’re not happy with salary/benefits, the only time you can easily negotiate them is before you accept the job offer.)

If you’re looking for new opportunities – whether temporary, part-time or direct-hire – check out our job openings here with Helpmates. See one or two you like? Follow the instructions on the posting and/or contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

Researching an Employer Before an Interview

We talk a lot here about how important it is to research a potential employer before a job interview. But we’ve never explained in detail about how and why you should do so.

Take a look below for why researching an employer is valuable and how to use the information during your interview.

Cypress CA jobs

  • Start with the company’s website.

You’ll find a true wealth of information there. Check for news releases: this will tell you what the company is proud of and also will tell you if it’s planning on expanding, if it won an award, if it just hired a new marketing manager, etc.

You should look through every tab listed on its homepage. Look at its social media accounts. See what’s new and what its employees have accomplished.

If the company is publically traded, you’ll probably see a menu tab labeled “Investors” or “Investor Relations.” (This section might be under the About or even the public relations/marketing section, and if the company is multi-national, you may have to do some digging around the site to find it).

This section truly a gold mine: companies publically traded on a stock exchange in the United States must file each quarter what are called SEC filings.

You’ll want to check in particular for what are called “10-Q” reports. These are free to download and you will find within them what the company’s profit and loss was for the quarter, what went well for the company and what – well – didn’t go so well. (You may see a link to its annual report in that section and you should read it, but an annual report often only is filled with the positive stuff; quarterly filings tell everything about a company’s financial health. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires it.) The reports also often give an overview of what challenges and opportunities the industry in which the company offers services/products is facing and how well the company is faring inside those industry challenges.

Seriously: read the 10-Q reports. They are fascinating! (And just watch a hiring manager’s eyes widen in admiring amazement when you say at some point in the interview: “I just read your 10-Q for the third quarter and I found it interesting that….”)

  • Set a Google Alert for news about the company.

Go to Google Alerts and type in the name of the company, provide an email address where the alert can be sent and decide how often you want any alerts to appear in your inbox (once a day should suffice, especially if it’s a large company).

Now you’ll see in real time news about the company, such as press releases, news articles, even employee reviews on review sites, etc.

  • If you know the name of the hiring manager, check out his/her LinkedIn profile.

Don’t worry that this could be construed as stalking. After all, you can bet that if you’ve been called in for an interview, the recruiter/hiring manager already has checked out your profile!

If you’re not already a first-level connection, consider asking for one.  (If you’ve already scheduled an interview, the hiring manager should easily accept.)

See if you share any connections and if you know any well, ask them for any insight they might have into the hiring manager’s background, personality, etc.

  • If working with one of our staffing recruiters, ask for insights into the company and hiring manager.

Helpmates’ recruiters will provide you with lots of information regarding the company, the position and the hiring manager before you go on an interview. We’ve worked hard over the 40-plus years we’ve been in business forging great relationships with companies throughout the Orange County and Los Angeles region and we know their needs well. If looking for work, you can rely on us to help you as much as possible. Contact us today.

‘So, Tell Me a Little About Yourself.’

The following questions are so common, there’s no chance you’ve never heard them in a job interview: “Tell me about yourself.” “What’s your biggest strength/weakness?” “Why should I hire you over someone else?”

Common interview questions, all. Yet as common as they are, consider them unimportant at your risk: recruiters and hiring managers aren’t so much looking for a right answer as they want to see how you approach your answer, how you carry yourself and how you handle yourself during your answer.

La Mirada Jobs

In fact, here’s a bit of a secret: most job interviews don’t take place to see if you can do the job (after all, you wouldn’t have been called in if the hiring manager didn’t think you had the skills and background necessary). Instead, the hiring manager/recruiter is looking to see how you will fit in: does your personality mesh with the company/department? Are you thoughtful in your answers? How much do you know about us? And so on.

And, believe it or not, how you answer “Tell me about yourself” is one way your future boss tries to figure that out.

Take a look below for how to answer the above four questions.

Tell me about yourself.

The hiring manager doesn’t want to know your personal history; he really wants to know why you want the job. So give a brief synopsis of your career and then segue into how the job opening fits in with your skills, background/education and career goals. Make sure to provide one or two specific reasons why your skills/background are a good fit: “With my background in social media marketing at a marketing agency for startups, I’m excited to take the strategies I learned there to help a startup’s marketing as part of its internal team.”

What’s your biggest strength/weakness?

This question can be just one (your biggest strength) or the other, or it can be a combination of both (the hiring manager will ask one and then ask you the other).

The old “I have such a great attention to detail it drives my friends/spouse crazy,” in which you try to couch a strength (attention to detail) into a weakness (it’s so great, it’s crazy-making), is too old hat and the hiring manager will be on to your mealy-mouthed answer.

Instead, in the case of a weakness, be honest and discuss something you are working to improve and then give specific examples of how you’re doing so: “I have a tendency to speak to quickly when I’m nervous and that doesn’t help in sales calls. So I’ve joined Toastmasters to improve my speaking skills.”

And if the interviewer asks for your greatest strength? Think of a strength of which you’re proud and how it benefits this particular position: “I’m an excellent listener, which allows me to really dig down and find out what’s really behind a prospect’s objections to a sale. I can then provide him honest and detailed answers that alleviate his concerns, which has helped me close more sales.”

Why should I hire you over someone else?

This is where your deep research into the company’s goals and challenges really pays off. You will answer in a way that shows how a particular skill, experience or educational achievement helps the hiring manager solve his or her problems or reach goals.

For example: “I noticed on a press release on your website that your company just hired a construction firm to add another wing to building so that you can expand your print-on-demand capabilities. I’ve trained people on how to use such printers and I’d look forward to the chance to help train the new workers you’ll need to man them.”

Helpmates can help you find your next full-time position. We work one-on-one with our job candidates, helping prep them for their job interviews with our clients.  Check out our current job opportunities and if you find one or more that interest you, follow the instructions on the job description.

Dealing with “The Gap”

While most of us will work until about our mid-60s, not all of us will work all the time until then: most of us probably will have a gap in our work history either due to illness (ours or a family member’s), raising children, being laid off/quitting outright, or even taking a sabbatical.

Known as “The Gap,” this “hole” in your work history often isn’t looked at kindly by employers. And you can’t just cross your fingers and toes and hope a hiring manager won’t notice it. Instead, you absolutely must have a good reason for it and, most importantly, be able to explain it in a professional manner. Even better: if you can couch the gap in way that is beneficial to an employer, all the better.

jobs in Long Beach

Here’s how to deal with “The Gap.”

  • Above all, tell the truth.

You may think saying you decided to take time away from working so that you could take care of your ill mother (which really is what you ended up doing) is far better than saying you were laid off, but it’s not: a hiring manager can simply contact your last employer to verify dates and it’s easy for her to find you were part of a reduction-in-force or even were fired.

Instead, tell the truth; you were laid off (and then decided to help your sick mother). Or you were fired for cause (and make sure you own up to your mistake). You took time off to raise children. You were ill. You decided to take a year off to travel the world. (Lucky duck!)

  • Talk about the skills you learned while gone/how you kept your skills up.

Many employers are nervous about work history gaps because they think you’ve gone stale or that you’re not up on the “latest and greatest.” So aim while you are not working to take a class or two (online works), work as a freelancer or take on some part-time work or temporary assignments and make sure your skills are current.

  • Explanations for different scenarios.

If you were fired, talk about your responsibility in your firing (it’s never all the unreasonable boss’s fault: we all have some culpability when fired). Reiterate how you’re a changed person and actually better for the lessons learned.

If you took that year-long trip around the world, discuss how it helped you be more compassionate to people different from you, you learned a new language, you started a part-time business online, etc. In other words, show how your travels provided you with new insights, lessons learned and even skills.

  • Repeating because it’s important: keep your skills up-to-date.

We understand how difficult this could be if your time away from work is because you or a family member is ill. But if you’re staying home to raise children for a few years, if you take some time off to try something new and/or travel, keeping those skills/knowledge base up to snuff shouldn’t be that difficult: classes abound online and off and temporary staffing services such as Helpmates can help you find part-time/temporary work while allowing you to keep your skills sharp (and even learn new ones).

Take a look at our current temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities and follow instructions on the job listing if one or more appeal to you.

When You Chose the Wrong Career

It happens: we spend four – or more! – years studying for a certain type of career or profession and then two or three years after working within it, we come to the conclusion that it’s simply the wrong career. For us.

If this is you, don’t panic.  Read below to find out when a career really is the wrong one for you.

Here’s a typical scenario: It’s Sunday afternoon and you start to dread going to work. As in, you contemplate somewhat seriously if the fifth “I’m not feeling well and won’t be coming in today” excuse in three months is going to cut it. (Hint: it won’t.) Once at work, you constantly count down the minutes until quitting time. Your family comments again and again that you look miserable.

Brea Careers

And you definitely are, but before you decide to open up that art gallery you’ve always wanted, understand that you may be miserable not because you’re in the wrong career, but because you’re working for and with the wrong people and/or in the wrong industry.

There’s a terrific saying that’s a cliché but still true: “People join companies but they leave managers.” Your colleagues and manager do make or break your day-to-day enjoyment of the job

If this turns out to be the case, then consider finding another job either in a different department or in a different company within the same industry. Or perhaps you enjoy the tasks of social media, just not in and for the insurance industry? Time to switch to an industry you think you’ll enjoy

But if:

  • You feel that working in this career means you have to compromise your values.
  • You conclude that this career/industry may be DOA in a few years. (Hello, artificial intelligence!)
  • You realize your basic personality simply isn’t cut out for this type of career: not all really personable people are great at sales, for example.
  • You decide that the career you chose for love just doesn’t pay the bills and you’ve crunched numbers and you’ve sadly discovered that the things that are most important to you in life are unaffordable within the career path you’ve chosen.

Then it may be time to change careers.

Still, be careful here. Perhaps a compromise can be made. As mentioned above, it may be more the industry in which you’re toiling and not the career itself. For example, perhaps you want to take your social media skills and help make a difference instead of help sell consumer goods or services. Then it may be a good idea to work for a non-profit.

Or if you’re a lawyer toiling in a law firm, look into working as a corporate lawyer.

If you’ve decided that yes indeed you need a change, before changing careers, consider looking into industries that can use your current skills. For example, in Southern California you could:

  • Take your administrative skills from a distribution center to a college campus, a marketing company, a financial services firm, etc.
  • Move from HR with a retailer to HR in a startup.
  • Change from accounting in a non-profit to within the entertainment industry.
  • And so on.

In fact, moving to a new industry within your career is a great way to ascertain if it’s just your co-workers or industry making you miserable, or if it really is the career. (And if you do discover that if you’ve truly chosen the wrong career, read our blog post on how to successfully change careers.)

If you’re looking to take your skills to a new industry, contact Los Angeles and Orange County’s premier staffing firm, Helpmates. Take a look at our direct-hire, temp-to-hire and temporary opportunities and then follow the instructions regarding applying when you find one or more that appeal to you.

Congratulations on Graduating! Now Get to Work!

Graduation was mere weeks ago. Congratulations on your accomplishments and – if you’ve found one – starting your new “real job.”

Your campus’ career center and/or family and friends may have given you lots of great advice and guidance when it came to finding that job, but how many of these folks told you what it’s really like to work in the “real world”? Not too many, probably, since your and their main focus was on finding a job.

But now it’s just a few days since you started – or will start. Here are two tips to help you thrive in today’s workplace.

Orange County entry-level jobs

  1. It’s called work for a reason.

Sure, you’ve no doubt heard that phrase before. And that’s because it’s true. You will have to show up on time, dressed appropriately, take 30- or 60-minute lunch break (and only 30 or 60 minutes), do just about everything your boss asks you to do (even if it’s not in your job description), get along with coworkers who may come from extremely different personalities and backgrounds/world views than you do, and deal with the public in some form. Plus you have to provide value to your employer: it’s not about your needs and career dreams, it’s about your employer’s goals. Remember that (and help your employer meet those goals) and your employer will help you meet yours.

Here’s an example of what not to do/attitude to take (and it’s a true story): A young woman fresh out of college had been in her new job about six months. She lived near the office and often went home for lunch.

One day she didn’t come back until 2:30 p.m., telling her boss she ended up taking a nap and overslept. Her boss said that was unacceptable behavior and she needed to be back “on time.” “Pay me more,” she said, “and I’ll be sure to be back on time.”

Needless to say, she was able to go home immediately to continue that nap.

  1. Try to learn as much as possible about the company’s goals and challenges.

Continuing on with the “help your employer meet his goals” strategy, understand that the best employees always want to know more about their employer’s company, long-term plans, etc. They are eager to learn new things (take your employer up on workshops, seminars, certification program offers, etc.) and they volunteer to work on projects and tasks not in their job description.

That said, here’s another caveat and another true story: Make sure you volunteer for more only if it doesn’t interfere with what you were hired to do. Don’t, in other words, be the young man who asked his boss if he could do XYZ in addition to his ABC duties. The boss said yes and the young man did the extra work well, but neglected the work for which he was hired, the work his boss needed done. His boss ended up firing him.

This is an exciting time for you: the workplace is a new world and you’re eager to make your mark within it. You will find roadblocks on your way and you may find yourself taking two steps back in order to move one step forward. That’s OK and par for the course. Learn from your mistakes. Never give up. Help others. Be of value. Ask for mentors. Take on challenges and risks. Never become complacent. Thrive!

If you’re looking for a job out of college or high school, contact the Helpmates office nearest you. You can also take a look at our current job and career opportunities. Welcome to the workplace and much good luck to you!

Job Search Strategies for Over-50 Job Seekers

It’s sad and, unfortunately, true: even in this hot, hot, hot candidates’ market, it can still take people 40- and 50-plus a long time to find work, especially if they’ve been laid off or out of the workforce for a few years going back to school,  raising a family or taking care of an ailing loved one.

It can feel as if employers have all the power. After all, they hold the job you want and age discrimination laws or no age discrimination laws, they decide which candidate they will choose for the job (and it could well be someone over 50, just not you).

over-50 jobs Los Angeles

So unless you decide to become self-employed, you’re going to need to come well prepared as you approach your job search. Here are six strategies to help you level the playing field more in your favor.

  1. Ditch the dates.

You don’t really need to put dates on your resume.  (For example: Assistant Director, XYZ Services, 1992-1997.) If you feel you must, go back and list employers no more than from 15 years ago.

  1. Create a functional resume.

Most people use a chronological resume, with their most recent jobs showcased at the beginning of the document. Instead, highlight your key accomplishments and skills at the top of the resume, then follow with an abbreviated list of prior jobs.

  1. Highlight accomplishments rather than responsibilities.

Employers hire people who can do the job. What have you accomplished that show you can do the job?

  • Promoted to branch manager within six months of being hired.
  • Cold called 100 businesses each week, in person (not by phone).
  • Closed $10 million in new accounts in three years. (This one should be prominent!)
  1. Highlight your technical skills.

Employers too often erroneously believe older workers may not be “up” on the latest technologies. Disabuse them of this early by listing up-to-minute technical skills in your cover letter and during the job interview.

  1. Be flexible.

Understand that you may not be able to get a job at the same pay/responsibility level if you’ve been out of work for a while and/or laid off. Let the employer know that you understand that the company isn’t there to fulfill your career aspirations; you’re there help the business succeed and you’re eager to get started and prove your worth in a position that may be at a lower responsibility level than what you’re used to. It’s more than fine to mention that once you have proven yourself, you would enjoy talking to the hiring manager about opportunities for advancement.

  1. Look for work at companies that say they hire people older than 50.

Some companies encourage older workers specifically to apply to work for them. SimplyHired.com, for example, allows companies to specify “people over 50.” Use that search term, plus the city you’re interested in and see what pops up. You also can try Workforce50.com.

Be aware, however: one woman “test drove” those sites and found that searching on them provided “no real advantage” than searching on sites such as LinkedIn and Monster.

Whether you’re just starting out in your career, you took some time off for a valid reason, you’ve been laid off, or you’re a seasoned professional, Helpmates can help you find work! We have dozens of temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities. Check them out and contact us today!

3 Ways New Grads Can Advance Their Job Search

Many new college – and even high school – graduates haven’t yet lined up “real” jobs and, if this is you, you may have started to panic, especially if several of your friends already have jobs lined up. (“Everyone is telling me it’s a great job market out there, so what’s wrong with me?”)

There’s nothing wrong. Your friends may have gotten lucky. In fact, chances are great that your friends with jobs landed them via their network. In other words, they knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who got them an “in.”

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That “in” can be yours, too, but it’s going to take some work and, more importantly, you’re definitely going to have to move considerably out of your comfort zone. As in calling friends and even strangers, asking for informational interviews, approaching companies that don’t have job openings (simply because you want to work there), actually asking for a job (at the job interview), and more.

But, seriously: you can do this. Really. You can! Everyone who has a job had to feel nervous at some point in their search and some more than others. If they could do it, so can you! Believe it!

So, with that in mind, here are three ways new grads can advance their job search….and get a job quickly!

  1. Talk to people! And that includes picking up the phone and calling – or emailing – strangers!

As mentioned above, this is the meat of any job search, and most likely the part of a job hunt that makes most people really nervous. Really, really, really nervous. So nervous that they refuse to do it, and instead head to the job boards, fill out applications and hit send.

And then…. Crickets.

But here’s a secret: you’re young. You’re just starting out. People LOVE to help graduates just starting out! They really do. Why? For several reasons:

  • They remember how nervous they were and understand how you’re feeling.
  • It makes them feel good because they get to bestow their wisdom and experience on you. You’re looking up to them for advice and help and that strokes their ego. That’s not a bad thing: we all need validation and – whoo, boy! – does a young person listening intently to your advice validate you!
  • People just want to help.

So take advantage of this and reach out to friends and even strangers. We explain how below.

  1. Research the companies to which you want to apply before contacting.

We’ve talked a lot about the right way to job hunt before, so we’re not going to go into a ton of detail here. But picking up the phone or powering up the laptop/tablet/smartphone and sending an email (do not text at this stage!) is exceptionally effective when it comes to not only finding a job quickly, but finding a great job quickly!

So decide what type of work you want, look at the companies at which you’d like to work, and do some research to find the name of the person who can hire you in the department. Call or email that person. For example, if you want to work in marketing, that would be the director of marketing. If you’re looking for an entry-level position in finance, that would be the finance director, CFO or assistant director of finance. Don’t be afraid to contact people in the C-suite. They had to start at the bottom, too, and they very well may really admire your chutzpah. Remember: boldness leads to success in the job hunt!

  1. Revamp your LinkedIn profile.

Get a professional, business-like photo of yourself and use it on your profile. Study some websites that help you create a good profile (here’s one and here’s one specifically for new grads).

Once you revamp your profile, ask some business people you know to look it over. Check for typos and misspellings. And don’t be afraid to update it as you job hunt: you may find your search is going in a different direction than you had first thought and your profile should make sure it highlights your skills and background that best fit where you want to go.

Here’s a fella who trains people in how to use LinkedIn for sales. You’re selling yourself as an employee and his techniques definitely are applicable to the job search. He does have terrific free information.  Use his strategies to reach out to potential hiring managers on LinkedIn.

The smart thing to do is to look at looking for a job as if it’s your job. In other words, take some time off after graduation, but don’t take it easy: look for work!

Another great way for new grads to find terrific jobs is to sign up with a staffing firm such as Helpmates. Many of our assignments are direct-hire or temp-to-hire. Even temporary assignments often turn into full-time, regular work. Take a look at our current opportunities and good luck with your hunt!

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