How to Select Good References

November 14th, 2011

Many job candidates are so busy polishing their resume, creating the perfect cover letter, applying for jobs, researching companies, and preparing for interviews that they fail to put much thought into choosing their references. While selecting good references may seem like icing on the cake, choosing and using the wrong one can mean a job that was essentially “in the bag”, surprisingly fell out of reach.

1. Think strategically before choosing. Choose references that will be your strongest advocate, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a former boss. Sometimes colleagues in other departments may be the better choice.

2. Choose references from various areas. Your goal should be three to five references, but don’t choose references from only your former employer. While two or three references from former employers who can speak highly of your work ethic and accomplishments are advised, add an education (i.e. professor) and character reference who can speak about your educational background and personal attributes. Former coaches, business acquaintances, and customers are also fine choices. Avoid listing family members; although we’re sure they would say nice things about you.

3. Skip the letter of recommendation. Most hiring managers don’t put as much weight on those “to whom it may concern” letters of recommendations. In the communication age that we’re in, most would rather speak with your reference directly.

4. Ask before listing. You must get permission before listing anyone as a reference. While most people will be flattered to be asked, you need to be sure.

5. Keep your references updated. Your references should have a current copy of your resume, and be knowledgeable about your accomplishments and key skills. Inform your references of the types of jobs you are pursuing, and specific positions if possible.

5 Ways to Help Your Job Search Before You Get Out Of Bed

November 7th, 2011

Job-hunting is stressful, and sometimes it makes you want to just hide under the covers. Luckily, there are still productive things you can do even while cowering in bed. While you sit there in your pajamamas, beef up your job search with some of the following:

1.) Polish your LinkedIn profile. You should have a clear and professional headline. Completely fill out your education and job history. Complete the skills section, so that potential employers looking for your skill-set can find you. Make sure you’ve included your resume, and that it is up to date.

2.) Are you skills a little rusty? Get back up to speed with free online tutorials. There are tutorials online for all kinds of skills from typing to PowerPoint to programming or learning a second language.

3.) Get on Twitter. No, we don’t want you to give a play by play of your breakfast and coffee. Instead, post links to informative articles about your industry, and tweet hellos to professionals in your field.

4.) Read the whole business section of the paper, not just the classifieds. Stories there can tell you what companies are new to the area and who might be expanding. These are companies that might need new employees soon. Most job openings are never posted. By researching on your own, you can find potential openings.

5.) Beef up your job search with Google. Do a search for "Your City" plus "jobs" or "your profession needed". The results may contain blog entries, news stories and other results you won’t find on the job boards.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match

November 3rd, 2011
As a hiring manager, you might feel as if finding the right employee is like searching for a soulmate: sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince. Working with a staffing service can eliminate the frogs. If the service does its job, the only candidates you’ll interview are the ones you want to “take home to mother.”
Authenticity: Online dating has its share of losers who claim to be young, hot millionaires, and online resumes can be equally misleading. A staffing service weeds out the fakes. It authenticates a candidate’s background and verifies the person’s education, work experience and skills. A service only presents you with honest, reliable candidates. Integrity is non-negotiable.
Compatability: A staffing service helps you find candidates who play — and work — well with others. Every work group has its own personality. An agency understands the attributes you’re looking for to fit your organization’s culture, and it connects you with individuals who have those attributes.

Good Looks: A staffing service doesn’t screen out applicants who aren’t good looking, but it does find applicants who make you look good. A couple in love turns heads, and a fully-staffed, well-functioning team gets people’s attention. You deserve the credit you’ll get for putting the team together.

When it comes to finding the right partner, it’s a jungle out there. Don’t take chances with blind dates, and don’t go it alone. A staffing service can help you meet your next match.

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