Archives for the month of: November, 2011
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Whether you’re looking for your very first job, switching careers, or re-entering the job market after an extended absence, finding a job requires two main tasks: understanding yourself and understanding the job market. Presuming you’ve already chosen a career and are currently searching for jobs, here are several ways to actually get a job.

Edit  Steps

  1. 1

    Network. The best companies to work for tend to rely heavily (up to 40%) on employee referrals.[1] Make a list of all of your friends, relatives, and acquaintances. Call each one and ask them if they know of any openings that they could recommend you for. Don’t be too humble or apologetic. Tell them what you’ve been looking for, but let them know that you’re flexible and that if they have any suggestions, you’re open to them. This is not the time to be picky about jobs; a connection can often get your foot in the door, and you can negotiate pay or switch positions later once you’ve gained experience and established your good reputation.

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    • Touch base with all of your references. The purpose of this is twofold. You can ask them for leads and you’ll also be refreshing their memory of you in their mind. (Hopefully their memory of you is a good one, or else you shouldn’t be putting them down as a reference.) If a potential employer calls them, they won’t hesitate as much when remembering who you are.
  2. 2

    Volunteer. If you aren’t already, start volunteering for an organization that focuses on something that you’re passionate about. You may end up doing boring or easy work in the beginning but as you stick around and demonstrate your commitment, you’ll be given more responsibilities. Not only will you be helping others, but you’ll also be gaining references. You should emphasize your volunteer experience on your resume, as companies that treat their employees well tend to favor candidates who help the community somehow.[1]

  3. 3

    Work for the UN. The United Nations has a lot of organizations where you can work as an employee, volunteer or you may get an internship with them.
    There are many sites to start your job search there:

  4. 4

    Develop your personal elevator pitch. Many structured interviews, particularly those at large companies, start with a question like “tell me about yourself.” The interviewer doesn’t really want you to go back to grade school and talk about your childhood. This is a specific question with a specific answer…in two minutes or so, the interviewer wants to get you to relax and loosen out your vocal cords, understand your background, your accomplishments, why you want to work at XYZ company and what your future goals are.

  5. 5

    Prepare for a behavioral interview. You might be asked to describe problems you’ve encountered in the past and how you handled them, or you’ll be given a hypothetical situation and asked what you would do. They’ll basically want to know how you’ll perform when faced with obstacles in the position you’re interviewing for. Be able to give honest, detailed examples from your past, even if the question is hypothetical (e.g. “I would contact the customer directly, based on my past experience in a different situation in which the customer was very pleased to receive a phone call from the supervisor”). You might find yourself listing facts–if so, remember that in this kind of interview, you need to tell a story. Some questions you might be asked are:

    • “Describe a time you had to work with someone you didn’t like.”
    • “Tell me about a time when you had to stick by a decision you had made, even though it made you very unpopular.”
    • “Give us an example of something particularly innovative that you have done that made a difference in the workplace.”
    • “How would you handle an employee who’s consistently late?”
  6. 6

    Research the company. Don’t just do an Internet search, memorize their mission, and be done with it. If it’s a retail company, visit a few of their stores, observe the customers, and even strike up a few conversations. Talk to existing employees–ask them what it’s like working there, how long the position has been open, and what you can do to increase your chances of getting it. Become familiar with the history of the company. Who started it? Where? Who runs it now? Be creative, and out do the other candidates.

  7. 7

    Settle down. If you’ve moved around a lot, be prepared to offer a good reason for it. Otherwise, you’ll need to make a good case for why you want to stick around in the area where the job is located. A company doesn’t want to hire someone with wanderlust who still wants to relocate. Be prepared to outline why you are where you are today, how long you intend to stay there, and why. Give specific reasons like “This county has the best school systems in the entire state, and I have a daughter who might find the cure for cancer” or “I was drawn to this area because it’s at the cutting edge of innovation for this business and I want to be a part of that.” The more details, names, and specifics, the better.

  8. 8

    Make a list of work-related skills you’d like to learn. Your employer will be interested in hearing about how you intend to become a better employee. Think about which skills will make you more competent in the position you’re applying for. Public speaking, project management, team leading, and computer programs are usually beneficial. Find some books and upcoming conferences that would significantly improve your abilities. In an interview, tell the employer what you’re reading and learning, and that you’d like to continue doing so. This is a list of the 7 most important job skills, wanted by employers, that a job seeker must have to be sure of landing a good job and just as importantly, keeping it.

    • The ability to find relevant information: Research Skill Job seekers should possess the ability to systematically find relevant information through research not because they want a research job, but in order to do effective searches for the data needed by a particular activity.
    • Logical thinking: Information Handling. Most businesses regard the ability to handle and organize information to produce effective solutions as one of the top skills employers want. The ability to make sensible solutions regarding a spending proposal or an internal activity is valued.
    • IT Skill: Technological Ability Most job openings will require people who are IT or computer literate or know how to operate different machines and office equipment, whether a PC or multi-function copier and scanner. This doesn’t mean that employers need people who are technology graduates. The simple fact that job seekers know the basic principles of using the technology is sufficient.
    • Getting your words understood: Communication Skills Employers tend to value and hire people who are able to express their thoughts efficiently through verbal and written communication. People who land a good job easily are usually those who are adept in speaking and writing.
    • Efficiency: Organizational Skills Organization is extremely important to maintain a harmonious working relationship in the company and the opposite, disorganization costs money. Hence, most employers want people who know how to arrange their work through methods that maintain orderliness in the workplace.
    • Getting on with others: Interpersonal Skill Because the working environment consists of various kinds of personalities and people with different backgrounds, it is essential to possess the skill of communicating and working with people from different walks of life.
    • Career Advancement: Professional Growth Employers prefer to hire people who are able to create a plan that will generate maximum personal and career growth. This means that you are willing to improve yourself professionally by learning new skills to keep up with developments in the workplace. These are just some of the top skills employers want. Take note of these skills which demonstrate how to get the job and be successful in your every job seeking endeavor. From Your-Career-Change.com.
  9. 9

    Cold call. Locate a specific person who can help you (usually the human resources or hiring manager at a company or organization you’re interested in). Call that person and ask if they are hiring, but do not become discouraged if they are not. Ask what kind of qualifications they look for or if they have apprentice or government sponsored work programs. Ask if you can send your resume indicating what field you want to go into. Indicate whether you would accept a lesser job and work up.

    • Reflect after each phone call on what went well and what did not. You may need to write out some standard answers on your list of skills so you can speak fluently. You may need to get some additional training to break into your chosen field. None of this means you cannot get a good job, only that you need to become further prepared to do so.
  10. 10

    Change your attitude. There’s a difference between making phone calls and going to interviews thinking “I’m looking for a job” versus “I’m here to do the work you need to have done”.[2] When you’re looking to get a job, you’re expecting someone to give something to you, so you focus on impressing them. Yes, it’s important to make a good impression, but it’s even more important to demonstrate your desire and ability to help. Everything that you write and say should be preceded silently by the statement “This is how I can help your business succeed.”

  11. 11

    Fit the job to the skills rather than the other way around. Many people search for jobs, then try to see how they can “tweak” the way they present their own skills and experiences to fit the job description. Instead, try something different. Make a list of all of your skills, determine which kinds of businesses and industries need them most (ask around for advice if you need to) and find businesses that will benefit from having you and your skills around. It’s important the nature of the job fits your personality and salary requirements, otherwise you’ll have spent a significant amount of time to find a day job you dread getting up for every morning.[2]

Janet Furr and the Virtuale-Staff
VirtualeStaff is a contract staffing company that helps U.S. businesses reduce expense and retain talent for administrative jobs by recruiting highly skilled employees from, and maintaining infrastructure in the Philippines. VirtualeStaff works with customers to identify tasks that are suited for out-tasking with our workforce skillsets. We recruithire and manage a solution team from our headquarters in the Philippines.

by Myron Curry
Contributing Author

Hiring good employees is not only important to business, it is essential. Employees are the heart and soul of a business; they are the mechanism that makes a business run; they are the breath of life that enables a business to be something more than an idea. A business cannot run unless someone (employees, in this case) is doing the work. Any intelligent business owner should want good employees.

Employers Not the Only Ones to Feel the Effect

Bad employees not only affect an employer by driving down sales, costing the company unwanted expenses due to negligence or simple lack of motivation, etc, but they affect the customer as well. Of course, once a customer has experienced a bad employee, it automatically affects the employer in obvious ways. Although this seems like common sense to most people, it is uncanny how most employers will overlook this fact, whether it s because of time constraints to effectively deal with the problem or lack of better judgment. Whatever the case, it is a fact that sales get driven down and production slowed for a reason. That reason could very well be because of the customer s lack of satisfaction with whatever service he or she had received and that lack of satisfaction stems from bad employees.

Find the Right People to Start With

This is one of the most important things you, as an employer, can do. Getting the right people into your company to start with gets things moving in the right direction at the very beginning.

According to Chairman and CEO, Hal F. Rosenbluth, and Consultant, Diane McFerrin Peters, of Rosenbluth International, the third-largest travel management company in the world, most of us choose our spouse with care and rear our children with nurturing and compassionate attention. Yet, we tend to select the people who will join our company on the basis of an interview or two, and once they have joined, they often find that they must fend for themselves.

This contrast illustrates the disparity between the environments of family and work. But, given the amount of time we must spend at work, wouldn’t we all be happier if we took as much care at the office as at home to create a supportive environment? Wouldn’t we also be far more successful?

The answer is yes.

The Customer Does Not Come First

It s important to remember that if you want quality employees, your company must be of the same caliber. If you expect to attract an employee who thrives to be as dedicated to the business as possible, doing more than what is expected, and putting forth 110% without any consideration being given to the employee s personal needs, thoughts, and desires, you are truly fooling yourself. And, eventually, your business will suffer for it.

It s obvious to most, by now, that benefits and perks play a large part in attracting employees. I need not explain the many benefits that a company should make available to attract a good employee because it should be common sense to most, by now. I will say, however, that attaining a good employee must go much farther than just having a great set of benefits. After all, does a wonderful benefits package actually attract only good employees? Of course not. There must be more to it than that.

For the customer to be served with the best results humanly possible, a more modern approach to the theory of customer satisfaction must be realized which is that the customer should not come first; the employee should. Therein in itself is one of the most successful ways to attract a good employee.

When a business puts its employees first, many things can happen. To begin with, the employee is happy. If the employee is happy, the service that the employee provides to the customer will be far more outstanding than if he or she were not happy. If the service is outstanding, the customer will be happy and that only spells successful results for the business.

This does not mean that an employer must wait hand and foot on the employee. No, it simply means that careful consideration to what an employee thinks, wants, and suggests should be considered. Do not treat an employee as if he or she is a factory robot working on a clock. Treat them as people. Treat them with respect by talking to them as people and not talking down to them as employees . In fact, a good idea would be to remove the term employee all together. One successful company I know of refers to its employees as associates , thereby empowering their associates with a feeling of more respect and purpose.

Employee Leadership and Flexibility a Must

An open, friendly atmosphere is a must in a workplace. Micro managing, as most already are aware of, is frowned upon. This is for a reason. When a work environment is open enough for all employees to contribute and offer ideas and suggestions, without ridicule or negative response, this sparks creativity in an employee and, again, empowers them to contribute more to the business. If everyone feels as though they are a part of the leadership process and not just a worker bee, they will have a satisfying feeling that can go a long way. Micro managing completely kills this system.

An employer must be flexible. Does there really need to be a rigid schedule? Does lunchtime really need to take place at a specific time? Who actually needs a clock to tell them when they are hungry? This line of thinking is what is needed in every faucet of business, as simple as it seems. It makes an employee feel more like a human; it makes them feel as though the business respects them as a person and will put them first. Once that consideration is instilled in an employee s mind, there isn t anything that he or she wouldn’t do for a business. And, when a person looks forward to waking up in the morning to begin working in a place where they feel management gives them respect and thinks highly of them, they will put forth the effort to show appreciation.

Hire Nice People

Experience and degrees are great ways of measuring employees qualifications and potential but ask yourself, are they nice people? A person can be the most qualified, educated, and experienced possible employee on the planet but if they have the personality of a wet paper bag or of a caged wolverine, it s guaranteed they re not going to do much for your business. Those that have to work with them will be disgruntled on a daily bases and begin putting out a poor performance. The customers that receive service from them will be unhappy and I need not say what happens after that.

Hire nice people. Nice people can do wonders for a business. Sound picky? It is. But, when it comes to your business, can you afford not to be picky?

A nice person can learn anything. Nice people are pleasant to be around and are easy to teach. They are notoriously quick to learn. So, even if your nice person does not have the skill set that you are looking for, one might consider the possibility of training. Think about the potential, especially if nice people seem to be rare in your neck of the woods.

How Do You Find Nice People?

This should be obvious. During the interview process, were they down-to-earth or were they focused solely on success, success, and more success? As crazy as it may seem, the total, success driven fanatic may not be the best option. Again, the person who seems more like a person would be the best candidate for hiring. In the long run, they will make your business more successful because they would make the customer, as well as those that have to work with them, happier.

Conduct tests and unconventional interview methods.

Why should an interview consist of one or two meetings in a stuffy room? How can we really find out about a person that way? The answer is that we can t. Instead, how about combining the stuffy office interview one day with another day of playing a game of softball with other, current employees, as Hal F. Rosenbluth and Diane McFerrin tend to do within their company? This would be great for company moral and, at the same time, provide a chance to see how the potential employee reacts in a team environment. If the person is bent on nothing but winning and becomes angry when other teammates drop the ball or do not hit as far as they should, perhaps this person is not the best employee to have around. Chances are that their performance on the softball field will reflect their performance in the office. (31-32).

Go for a drive.

As again explained by Hal F. Rosenbluth and Diane McFerrin Peters, the way a person drives an automobile says a lot about a person s personality. Are they overly aggressive and speed through traffic, weaving in an out of other cars, determined to get to the point of destination no matter what the cost? Or, are they assertive drivers who consider the safety of their passengers and think of alternate routes when confronted with a traffic jam, focusing more on the drive than the destination? (31). Which person would you rather have working for you? Which person would you rather have serving your customers? If you were a customer, which person would you rather have serving you?

Invite your new, potential employee to a company social event. Are they the type of person that talks only of themselves and continuously brags about all of the wonderful things that he or she has done? Do they even talk to anyone at all? These are the folks that either want to gain far more than they are willing to contribute or aren’t willing to gain or contribute. These are the type of people that will bring your company down.

So, some key points to consider thus far:

Consider your employees before your customers. Not only will the employee put out a far better performance due to feeling respected, but your company will also build a reputation as being the company to work for , which will attract other, good employees.

Be flexible. Constraints in the office constrain creativity and work performance. Go for casual clothing, if possible. Let your employee decide when it s time to eat and take a break. Be flexible on your employee s schedule, catering to his or her personal needs. The employee will show appreciation in return, by supplying a good output of production.

Hire nice people. Not one customer in the world, no matter what business you are in, enjoys service from someone with less-than-appreciative attitude. And, your other employees will not enjoy working with them either, bringing down moral and production drastically. This kind of person will not be willing to strive at contributing to your company; they will strive to contribute only to themselves.

Consider the unconventional when interviewing an employee. The more often you can set a scenario that a potential employee will not expect or could find to be an unusual method of interviewing, the better. It will give you a chance to see what that person is really capable of, as a person.

Retaining Good Employees

As important as attracting good employees is, it is just as important to retain them. As always, benefit packages help to retain employees. But, again, this is something that most people are already aware of. Sure, there will be those that will want to stay for the great benefits. But, is that all you, as an employer, can offer? No.

After spending as much time as you should have in attracting good employees, it only makes sense that you would go to certain lengths to keep them. Chances are, if you really attracted a good employee, it wasn t just because of the benefits. And, chances are that your good employee will not stay just because of the benefits. Benefits, although a positive force, are not the end all and can, at times, be a false sense of security to an employer. Not everyone develops his or her retention decision on a benefits package, at least not the smart employee.

Let Them Change it Up Now and Again

Let your people explore your company. Don’t lock them into one, specific type of work, especially if they express desire to try other things. In today s job market, job-hoping, as it is known, is a regular occurrence. If you provide your employees with the chance to job-hop within your company, this is one way of keeping them there. Give them the opportunity to gain new experience, knowledge, and skills. This will only enhance your company anyway, by having an employee that can do and handle more. It also increases confidence in the employee and makes their work more satisfying. The United States military and civil services such as police and fire departments have already figured that one out. They call it cross-training and fleeting-up and it s a great idea.

Communication

Communicating is very important, not only in day to day business, but in retention as well. People need to feel as though they have a grasp on what is going on within the company. They want to know where the company is going and how they will be part of that process. They need to feel they are involved in the company. Being part of any planning processes, being able to contribute ideas for the company, and essentially being heard is all part of communication. Again, this is emphasized in most of the U.S. s military forces as well, even though they conduct themselves in more of a dictatorship.

Know why your people wanted to join your company in the first place and hone in on that. Keep that priority of the employee in consideration, always acting on it and developing it, and the employee will want to continue that purpose with a strong sense.

Talk to your people. Not only should you get to know them, you should get to know what they continue to want and think. And, don t think for a minute that a person s desires and thoughts on particular matters will be the same later down the road as they were when they first joined the organization. Things change, including your employee s thoughts and desires. Keep up with those changes.

Get feedback from your employee s. Find out what they think is right and wrong with the company. Provide a feedback forum. And, most importantly, act on the information you receive from this feedback.

In summary:

Let your employee job hop and provide an opportunity to let them do it within your company, instead of having to go outside the company. More than likely, if they can t do it in the company, they will venture outside to a place that they can. Take advantage of the multiple skills your people can learn within the company. This not only helps your company out, it gives the employee a feeling of more purpose and he or she will enjoy not having to go far to expand their skills.

Keep your people in mind when it comes to information on where the company is headed and what it is doing. If the employee does not feel informed on what is happening, they will not feel as though they are part of the company and, therefore, will not want to stay, in the long run.

Get to know what your people want, when they first enter the organization and periodically throughout their tenure. People s motives and desires change. The good employer is the one that can keep up with those changes. Offer feedback methods and make sure you act on the results.

Above all, remember what it was that got you that good employee in the first place. The concepts mentioned in this article that enable an employer to attain a good employee to begin with are basically the same principals of retaining them as well. It s that simple. Anyone who works for a company that considers their needs, is just, and can remain flexible, as well as provides other good employees to work alongside, will want to continue working in that company. Hiring and retaining good employees goes hand in hand.

Janet Furr and the Virtuale-Staff

Virtual Assistant Expert

VirtualeStaff is a contract staffing company that helps U.S. businesses reduce expense and retain talent for administrative jobs by recruiting highly skilled employees from, and maintaining infrastructure in the Philippines. VirtualeStaff works with customers to identify tasks that are suited for out-tasking with our workforce skillsets. We recruithire and manage a solution team from our headquarters in the Philippines.