Friday, March 31, 2017

You Gotta Sell It!

I came across a salient commentary on the state of hiring by Paul Davidson in USA Today.  One that business owners and managers should at least peruse...

The Good, a small e-commerce firm based in Portland, Ore., has been besieged by an armada of Silicon Valley tech giants including and Airbnb that have invaded the region in the past year or two and are cherry-picking skilled job candidates.

As a result, it’s taking the company — with seven full-time workers and another seven part-timers — about three months to fill openings, up from two months a year ago, company President Jon MacDonald says.

"There are lots of people just looking to move to higher-paying employers," he says.  At 4.7%, the unemployment rate was near its 10-year low in February, down from 4.9% a year ago, supplying employers a smaller pool of available workers. The tight labor market is making hiring a struggle for most companies, but small businesses face an especially daunting task. While some add or sweeten benefits and salaries, they typically can’t compete with packages offered by larger firms.

Thirty-two percent of small businesses had openings they weren’t able to fill in February, the largest share since 2001, according to the National Federation of Independent Business’ monthly survey, which mostly covers companies with fewer than 50 employees. Seventeen percent of firms cited "quality of labor" as their biggest problem, a 10-year high. And 85% of those seeking workers said there were no, or few, qualified applicants.

"The big firms skim the better-skilled people," says William Dunkelberg, NFIB’s chief economist. That, he says, can contribute to more modest sales growth as key positions stay vacant longer.  The Good, which helps e-commerce companies optimize sales, vies for analysts, strategists and software developers against Salesforce, Airbnb and Ebay. All have opened satellite offices in Portland. In response, The Good has increased starting salaries by 5% to 10% over the past year and plans to offer paid maternity leave this year, MacDonald says.

Thornhill and Associates, a Los Angeles-based insurance firm, also trumpets its less tangible worker benefits. But company President Neal Thornhill says his best drawing card is that he lets employees work at home and set their own hours.

"We may not have benefit packages as competitive as the larger companies, but we provide a better quality of life," he says.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Why it’s crucial to use keywords in your résumé

I recently came across this article by Deanna Hartley of CareerBuilder.  It's worth a read...
When it comes to finding a new job, there’s a crucial step in the résumé-writing process you may not have heard about to improve your chances of making it past the initial round of screening.
“With … more and more recruitment services transitioning to being solely online, HR departments are using different computer programs to scan through résumés and pull out documents based on the frequency of certain words and acronyms,” says Valerie Streif, senior advisor at Mentat, an organization that hires, manages and mentors prospective job candidates.
While you painstakingly perfect your résumé, remember that a hiring manager potentially has to sift through dozens of other résumés and use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to cut through the clutter.
“An ATS scores résumés based on how well their content matches the keywords input by a hiring manager — this is why it’s imperative to incorporate relevant keywords and phrases throughout your résumé,” says Andrew Pearl, partner at Precision Resumes, Inc., a career management services firm. “Without those keywords, you won’t make it past the first gatekeeper in the hiring process. You can have the best qualifications, but if you’re not framing them right and using the most relevant keywords, you’ll miss out on opportunities.”
Keep these tips in mind when writing your résumé to help you get your foot in the door.
Research and identify other keywords to highlight.
Don’t be afraid to borrow language from the job description.
“Recruiters are comparing you against the job description, and often times they’re looking for buzzwords,” says Cristina Lara, manager of global diversity programs at Amazon, and a former national diversity manager for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. “It’s still a good best practice to reframe your work experiences using the language of the job description. This will make it easier for recruiters to mentally align your background with the job, and you’ll increase your chances of having your résumé sent up to the hiring manager.”
Examples of keywords you’ll want to integrate include job title, technical skills and academic requirements, according to Pearl. “Evaluate the posting you’re applying to, line by line, and highlight what appear to be the most fundamental terms,” he says.
“If the job posting is sparse, find other similar job descriptions online and use those as a guide for determining keywords and phrases. Focus particularly on similar jobs in similar industries to make sure the jargon you incorporate in your résumé is on track.”
Master the art of sprinkling keywords throughout your résumé.
Cheryl E. Palmer, owner of executive career coaching firm Call to Career, recommends including a section at the top titled “Core Competencies” where the keywords could be highlighted prominently.
“That way, the keywords are at the top of the résumé and are easily found, [and] you can also judiciously sprinkle keywords in the ‘Professional Experience’ section,” she says.
Remember that context is key.
“Keywords should also be in context with the content — plugging in a list of skill sets in a bulleted list and not actually relaying how you know the skill, or what you did with it, is useless,” says Dawn D.
Boyer, résumé writer and CEO of D. Boyer Consulting.
For example, instead of merely listing “business development,” “marketing,” or “sales,” Boyer advises that you say “Responsible for business development and marketing to 25 Fortune 500 clients, with contract sales resulting in $500 million in revenue within six months of hire.”
Palmer agrees it is more effective to show rather than to tell. “For soft skills, I recommend demonstrating a result rather than simply listing these types of skills,” Palmer says. “Instead of saying: ‘good people skills,’ it’s more impactful to say, ‘Improved staff relations through regular meetings where staff members could clearly define expectations for upcoming projects.’”
Deanna Hartley is a writer for the Advice & Resources section on researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Looking to break into a new role?

Sarah Sipek of CareerBuilder published an excellent column in last Sunday's Greenville News (check it out).  I gleaned several nuggets of wisdom, one of which I thought I'd mention here.

One of the "search hacks" Sarah points out is building a relationship with select recruitment companies.  Here's her take:

"Recruiters are the gatekeepers to many jobs.  Karla Jobling, director at London-based recruiting firm Beecher-Madden, recommends reaching out and making a personal connection.  "Build relationships with one or two select recruitment companies that specialize in the area you work in," Jobling says.  "Take the time to meet with them.  They will approach you with suitable roles when they come up.  Many of these aren't even advertised, and you don't have to do anything - just wait for the calls to come in.""

Our "favorite candidates" are ones who have taken the time to come by our offices, introduced themselves and described their desired career paths.  So, come by and see us.  We'd love to get to know you.