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The daytime temps have tipped past 80. Happy hours and weekday friend hangs have become the norm once again. You know the feeling: summer has returned!

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Your personal life might be thriving, but your work life is probably taking a bit of a dip. Navigating a sea of Out Of Office notifications leaves many projects at a standstill and makes scheduling meetings a game of whack-a-mole. Looking for someone in the office on a Friday afternoon? Forget about it. With the school year break, the beautiful weather, and weddings and graduations, it's no wonder the common belief is that companies slow down their hiring in the summer.

But we're here to tell you: the summer can be one of the best times to look for a job!

Why, you ask? A few reasons.

Everyone else takes a step back.

Yes, this answer seems a little roundabout: it's great to job search in the summer... because other people think it isn't? But, think about it. If others have abandoned their job searches under the assumption that it's not a good time to apply, it opens up the field for you. Plus, August is prime vacation time, and Americans are taking more vacation days than ever. There's a good chance your competition would rather be poolside than hitting the pavement for a new job.

To top off a smaller applicant pool, hiring managers aren't caught up in year-end obligations or tax season, so they have more time to review and meet with candidates.

It's Easy Season for networking.

There's no worse feeling than being stuck under fluorescent lights, plodding away on last month's expense report, when just outside your window is a cool breeze and a bright blue sky. Everyone wants to be outside. Now is the time to take a chance on that happy hour rooftop networking event or arrange a lunchtime meeting with an old colleague.

Your own network is essential when searching for a new gig, and taking advantage of the August slow down can be a great opportunity to make connections while getting in some time in the fresh air. It's a win-win.

Taking time off isn't suspicious.

The moment you set up an interview with a hiring manager can be one of confused elation and dread. You've nailed down a time to chat, but what sort of lie do you have to concoct to sneak out of the office unnoticed? Summer PTO requests are expected, so summertime makes it much easier to avoid the fishy, "third dentist appointment." No one was believing that anyway.

You are your best self.

Sunshine exposure increases your serotonin (your feel-good neurotransmitter) levels, so summertime = more happiness. Warm weather, and longer days mean more fresh produce, more exercise, better immune systems, and generally more fun. This season makes all of us the most refreshed version of ourselves, so don't wait to show your best side to a potential new boss.

Nice weather can do a number on morale, and the summer months can leave openings for new employment to come easily. Take advantage of the good vibes and sunshine and find yourself a new position before fall foliage starts to turn. Don't shy away from looking for something new!

 

Posted: 6/25/2019 8:01:12 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


When you're deep in a job search, it's not always easy to find exactly what you're looking for. You've probably considered altering your ever-changing checklist of "wants" to accommodate a less-than-perfect position at a great company (or vice versa), but would you be willing to change the job type you seek?

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2018 was the first year that contract workers at Google outnumbered direct, full-time employees. If Silicon Valley continues to set the trend, it seems that contract work is the future. The flexibility and easy connections to top talent is appealing to companies and candidates alike.

If a new full-time position is on the horizon, it can be very beneficial to your career to consider contract work. We'll tell you why!

1. Get hired full-time

More and more employers are treating a contract term as a trial period rather than utilizing it as a temporary position. Given the chance to prove yourself, you could easily secure your future role as full-time employee in a matter of months. A company may also need more staff but lack the established budget for a new full-timer, instead filling a contract role to prove the payback to the business.

2. Try out a company

This period is as much a trial period for an employer as it is for you. Avoid that usual nagging question during the interview – "Will I like it here?" – the pressure is off! See how you're feeling about the management, workplace, and position. If you aren't sold after the contract ends, you're able to move on to something different.

3. Add big names to your resume

Spice up your resume – let's put something impressive on there! A big name company will attract the eyes of a hiring manager, but full-time employment is tough to come by. A rigorous interview and hiring process (not to mention a huge applicant pool) leaves many worthy candidates in the dust, but contract positions can be a great way to get your foot in the door.

4. Receive full-time benefits

If a lack of time off or health insurance is plaguing your brain, you don't have to worry. Many employers are realizing their contract workers play a vital role in the success of the company, and they've begun to offer benefits comparable to a full-time employee. Also, contract positions available through a staffing agency are sometimes provided with benefits like paid time off, or medical, vision, and dental care.

5. Add new skills, or revamp old ones

Use the opportunity of a new job to bulk up your creative tool belt. Add some new skills, get comfortable with different programs, and familiarize yourself with a different department than usual. Temporary employment is a great time to get some experience (on paper) in a territory previously uncharted.

6. Make new connections

You know what they say: network, network, network! This is an  easy in for a new group in your web of contacts. Even a quick project can get you added the contacts list of a handful of new people. With estimates that over 85% of open positions are filled through networking, it's one of the most important facets of your professional career.

Posted: 5/31/2019 4:29:32 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
- Vince Lombardi

From a young age, most of us are quickly familiarized with the phrases "in a perfect world..." and "practice makes perfect." We spend so much time and energy becoming the perfect student, getting perfect scores. It would be difficult to argue that achieving perfection is the highest level of success, it seems.

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When we were all in school, hitting this target was more obvious – grades, class rankings, and evaluations all told us how close we were to being the "best." But years and years later, here we are, wondering how we measure up compared to others. As a job candidate, are we a "perfect fit"?

Well, there's good news, for candidates as well as hiring managers!

Job seekers – you can't be "perfect"!

Every position has slightly different requirements, and being excellent in school won't always help you here. Show off your skills and display your talent, but don't dismiss an opening just because you don't think it sounds like a perfect match. Apply for positions just outside of your exact skill set and you might be surprised  at what you find – employers are willing to train the right candidate or shape the position to fit your strengths.

Hiring managers – there is no "perfect."

If you're holding out for the "ideal" candidate, it's time to stop. Last year was the first in almost two decades where the number of U.S. jobs available was equal to the number of job seekers. There's no shortage of open positions, so don't continue to tell yourself the next interviewee will be The One – the grass is not always greener. Instead, take a deep look at the habits, strengths, and personality of the candidate sitting in front of you and consider them for your company as well as for the specific position. Are they eager to learn? Diligent? Responsible, adaptable, and talented? They could be the perfect person for your team.

There's no telling what an adjustment to your thinking could do to your professional career or your business. If you're lucky enough to score an interview or meet a great candidate, you should count your lucky stars and stop holding out for something better – nay, perfect.

 

 

Posted: 3/21/2019 10:24:15 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Hi there. Remember us? We’re your friendly neighborhood staffing agency, and it’s probably not a coincidence that we’re located right near the Freedom Trail.

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We meet with tons of job seekers each month, from people first trying to get their foot in the door, to those who are seeking the next of many career moves.  We know you all take great pride in your past professional experiences, and certainly have some great work to show for it!  In many cases, your creative chops are what get you the job.  However, while we spend an abundance of time perfecting our cover letter, tweaking a resume, and prepping for interviews, do we give our work the same attention?

Having seen our fair share of portfolios, we have some suggestions for you.

1) Steer clear of certain websites.

Imagine you're a chef.  You don't use boxed macaroni and cheese and present it as your own, right?  That would be ridiculous.  The same goes for portfolios – don't use a site that doesn't allow you to customize.  Hiring managers can spot an amateur site a mile away.  Sites such as Behance or Dribbble are fine for networking and community support, but it is recommended to avoid using them as your primary portfolio.

2) You get what you pay for.

You may opt to pay for something.  Free websites often look like just that -- free sites.  There are several great portfolio building websites out there that are worth consideration.  Following are just a few:

Squarespace is one of the most popular portfolio building sites, with a plethora of template options and abilities to integrate apps for things such as ecommerce.
Cost: $12/month

Cargo is a similar service, allowing users to choose templates and then customize. Cargo stands apart from the rest due to an embedded video player.  While it once was by invitation only, their Cargo 2 is open to everyone.
Cost: $13/month

Format is a portfolio site with clean and simple templates perfect for designers and creatives looking to show visual work.  While it's a little trickier to master, there's more customization opportunities than with Squarespace.
Cost: $6/month

3) Build it yourself.

Take a weekend (okay, a few) and do some learning. Teach yourself the ins and outs of simple coding, buy a domain, and get moving!  Should you be worried it'll look like an amateur website, stick with the motto:  Keep It Simple.  Let your work shine with minimal navigation and a white background.  Perhaps you’d even like to add coding to your resume before submittal.

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Don't sell yourself short by settling for a subpar online portfolio.  By using a basic template site, you're placing yourself on the same playing field as any average joe with an internet connection.  Roll with these suggestions and prep your portfolio with a website builder that's built for professionals!

Posted: 2/25/2019 3:22:29 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Do you even remember when you got that Facebook or Instagram account? It was years ago, you were in college, high school, or middle school, and your social group in real life . At the time it was a method for staying in touch with friends, posting photos and sharing memes (and Tasty videos). You know, internet fluff.

Later on, you used it as an internet representation of yourself – meeting new people led you to connecting online, making new friends and expanding your social network. Someone could get a sense of the real you immediately upon pit-stopping on your page.

If all of your intentions were social, who would have thought that years later, your career could depend on how you've maintained these accounts? With almost half of employers (46%) checking social media accounts before hiring, it's clear that doing a quick social media cleanup pre-job search isn't just smart, it's necessary.

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The quick and easy solution seems obvious: make all accounts, posts, photos, and details private.

An employer can't be disappointed by what they can't see, right? But the answer is more nuanced than quickly shutting the gate to your entire digital life. Employers are hiring a personality, a person with interests and family and hobbies, and you're a human being who has all of those things. Think of the amount of time you have spent sharing articles on topics you care about or posting about local events or friends' new businesses. These interactions demonstrate many hirable qualities to a company that is looking, so simply be aware of what your online presence is reflecting, and shape it up a bit.

Google yourself. First things first, find out what is already out there. Open an incognito window so a search engine can't factor in your previous searches, letting you see the results as a hiring manager would. Make sure to look through regular search results as well as images.

Adjust some privacy settings. Remove any questionable content – make photos private (you can always make certain photos public afterwards), as well as any posts that are too personal or might be inappropriate for a potential new employer to see.

Check your language. Bad mouthing a previous employer? Red flag. Complaining constantly on Twitter about somebody taking too long in line? Nope. These aren't big things, but keep your tone in mind when posting in the first place. It's one thing to be funny, and another entirely to be negative. 65% of employers are checking out your online presence to gauge your professionalism and social conduct, so make sure you're putting something out there you can be proud of.

Try to post about your interests. Putting up articles and sharing creative content is a great way to show your passion for the industry. Before all else, companies want someone who is passionate about their work and stays knowledgeable about the creative world.

Correct your info. If you have publicly shared your past jobs, make sure the ones you mention on your resume are there. If you don't want them to know your age, remove birthdays and graduation years from public view.

Pay attention to LinkedIn. 79% of recruiters have hired through LinkedIn and it's reputation as the business network of social networks exists for a reason. There, you'll need up to date resume info and descriptions as well as a somewhat professional headshot. This is the heavy hitter in job search successes, so spend some time here.

Change your photo. Unless this is LinkedIn, no need for a headshot, but if your profile photo is pixellated or default image, consider yourself slapped with a "Newbie" stamp – the employer is moving along to the next candidate. Show yourself, use this as an opportunity to show a facet of your personality, and don't just toss up a photo of your dog. This is the first thing they will see, so make it count.

It can be pretty simple to clean up your act on social media when you know a potential job could be on the line, and our best tip is that you don't power wash all evidence of your existence. Leave carefully selected bits and pieces for a hiring manager to find and they will discover a candidate that's full of personality and cares deeply about their industry.

Posted: 8/20/2018 9:28:55 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments