Great Job Descriptions Hire Great Candidates

10/21/14 0 COMMENTS

In a perfect world, everyone who applies for an open position at your company is well qualified, enthusiastic and a good fit for your work environment.

But let’s be realistic. Many job descriptions are written quickly and come across as vague and unfocused. This approach encourages a high volume of unqualified applicants and also deters some of your best prospects. Because here’s the bottom line: if you want to attract quality applicants, you need to write a quality job description.

Writing a great job description can be a bit challenging, but it’s also easier than it seems. With some additional planning—and possibly some help from the best wordsmith on your team—you’ll have a job description designed to help you hire the best candidates in your field.

How to get started:

Decide what you’re looking for. Start by asking yourself what your company really needs. What type of individual will thrive in your environment? What are your current team’s weak points? What kind of employee would complement and enhance your existing workforce? Answering these questions will help you gain a deeper understanding of what you’re looking for in a new employee.

Describe your work environment. Most job postings spend a lot time describing qualifications and say very little about company culture. Big mistake. The culture of any workplace is extremely important for a prospective candidate. Include a snapshot of what your environment is like in your description. How big is your team? Is this a high-pressure environment or a more laid-back 9-5 operation? Do most employees spend their day working independently or is the workplace highly collaborative? The right candidates will be highly interested in this information and thus, it’s in your best interest to include it.

Be realistic. Another common job description error is to make too many vague requests. Don’t provide a long laundry list of qualifications that you think an applicant should possess. Instead, consider asking only for the most crucial skills. What most companies are really looking for is an experienced candidate who learns quickly and adapts well. If you ask for too many things, some of your best prospects might look elsewhere.

Ann Bedford-Flood

America Is Running Out of Entrepreneurs

10/15/14 0 COMMENTS

America’s biggest problem is that we don’t have enough good jobs. Yes, unemployment has gone “down” to 5.9 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. But that percentage is almost meaningless, as it doesn’t count people who’ve quit looking for work. A staggering 20 million people or more are still jobless or grossly underemployed, and many are deeply frustrated or depressed — they’re not celebrating “declining” unemployment.

More troubling, Gallup Analytics finds U.S. underemployment above 15 percent and only about 45 percent of adults employed in full-time jobs with at least 30 hours per week of work and a paycheck from a real organization. According to the Labor Department, the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population remains at one of the lowest levels since they began measuring this.

The one thing I’d fix right away is this super serious jobs problem, because if we don’t, we might lose our republic and our way of life. And I wouldn’t fix it with more government “shovel-ready” jobs or free money from the Federal Reserve. I’d fix it with millions of new start-up companies and by reviving the spirit of entrepreneurship.

We’ve got our work cut out for us. In 2008, the total number of new business start-ups and business closures per year – the birth and death rates of American companies — crossed for the first time since the measurement began, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (Here, I am referring to employer businesses, those with one or more employees.) Four hundred thousand new businesses are now being born annually nationwide, while 470,000 are dying annually — we are at minus 70,000 business survival per year. This is hugely significant, because small businesses are the main source of new good jobs and new economic energy. Up to 50 percent of all jobs are in small businesses and approximately 65 percent of all new good jobs are created by them, according to the Small Business Administration.

Also significant: A shortage of good jobs leads to social unrest. This is true especially when young males are affected, because joblessness destroys their self-concept, makes them feel depressed, humiliated, and hopeless.

Why was there such unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, this past summer? You could say it was a problem between cops and minorities, but I’d argue this was a jobs problem. As The Washington Post reported, “The unemployment and poverty rates for blacks in St. Louis County are consistently higher than those rates for white residents.”

If all those young men in Ferguson had a good job to go to each morning — one where they could feel pride in themselves, feel productive, and be doing something that matters — do you think they would be in the streets, protesting, rioting, and looting? Probably not.

The fix: American business leaders in cities across the country, as well as local elected officials, must begin right away to find and nurture tomorrow’s most successful entrepreneurs in their communities. America needs at least a million more start-ups fast. This means being as serious and intentional about the early identification and development of entrepreneurs as you are about finding star athletes and kids with high IQ’s.

And the talent is out there, waiting to be found. There are nearly 30 million students in U.S. middle and high schools right now. Early Gallup research reports that about five in 1,000 working-age adults in the U.S. possess the rare talents of entrepreneurship, so that means there are about 150,000 future blue-chip entrepreneurs in fifth through 12th grades now, more in college, and tens of thousands more high-potential adult business builders out there. City leaders should find them all and make their entrepreneurial growth as systematic and intentional as intellectual and athletic growth are. Great business builders are like great scientists or great quarterbacks — they will respond and accelerate with special attention. Furthermore, without it, their potential is at risk of being underdeveloped, or worse, never developed at all.

Americans have accomplished much harder tasks. We mobilized the whole country to win World War II. We put a man on the moon. Good Lord, we ignited the dot-com boom that revolutionized business and led to one of the greatest bull markets in history. We can turn the American economy around. But we had better get on this one fast, because we need millions of good jobs right now.

Jim Clifton

Please join Joseph Chris Partners in Welcoming our newest addition to the team, Angie Truitt!

10/07/14 0 COMMENTS

Angie Truitt joined Joseph Chris Partners as a Partner in 2014. A military brat, Angie developed a talent at an early age for developing and maintaining relationships that would later become invaluable in her career as a recruiting professional.

While pursuing her undergraduate degree in business management with a focus on marketing, Angie began working in retail sales management for The Limited Stores and became the youngest store manager in company history at the time. Shortly after graduation, Angie opted to follow in her father’s footsteps and attend law school, graduating from Baylor University in 1999. Practicing law for 13 years allowed Angie the opportunity to develop relationships with other lawyers and business owners and to become a keen listener, critical thinker, and skilled communicator. Those abilities enabled her to quickly identify the specific needs of her clients and deliver the results they expected and translated seamlessly into a career as a recruiter. Partnering with clients and candidates in the legal field, Angie successfully placed attorneys in new positions with law firms, small businesses, corporations, and nonprofits prior to joining the team at Joseph Chris Partners.

What Angie offers her clients and candidates alike is authenticity, dedication, creativity, and a genuine desire to build lasting relationships. Honesty and trust are key in any successful relationship, personal or professional, and Angie is proud to be a part of a team whose foundation is built on integrity. Additionally, finding just the right person requires hard work and persistence, someone who is committed to producing quality results. Any recruiter can amass dozens of resumes and forward them to a client in the hope that one might be a match, but Angie listens carefully to both her clients’ needs and her candidates’ career goals to ensure those candidates submitted will be a match. Also, attorneys are trained to think very critically, examining each issue to not only solve existing problems but to anticipate future concerns, and then to provide practical solutions. As such, Angie brings a very creative approach to recruiting, adding value for her clients by employing nontraditional search methods when necessary to get the best result possible. Finally, dating back to her childhood and life in the military, Angie has always been successful in forging long lasting relationships that span both miles and years. This skill, or what Angie views as a gift with which she’s been blessed, is the cornerstone of her recruiting practice and what brings her the most professional fulfillment.
Angie loves spending time with her daughter, and when she isn’t supporting her at a sporting event or band concert, Angie can be found at the beach or the gym. She is an avid CrossFitter, has competed in the Tough Mudder, is active in Team Red, White, and Blue, and plans to retire on the beach somewhere, someday.

Please join us in Welcoming Andrea Felt to Joseph Chris Partners!

10/07/14 0 COMMENTS

Andrea Felt joins Joseph Chris Partners as a Special Projects/Executive Administrative Assistant to our company CEO, Veronica Ramirez.

She previously worked as a senior researcher in real estate valuation and counseling where she worked closely with lawyers. Her efforts included researching deeds and sales of commercial properties and preparation of exhibits for hearings and trials pertaining to eminent domain cases. She also assisted with bookkeeping, record keeping and managed fee allocation and served as communication liaison for public sector accounting departments.

Andrea has also worked as an information systems research analyst and consultant, technical support for internal software, hardware and IT systems.

Andrea is a Houston native and enjoys spending time with family and friends. In her free time she loves doing Crossfit, training for half marathons and participating in anything involved with the outdoors.

We are pleased to have Andrea join us as her research, organization and detail orientation skills will help our organization efficiently and effectively serve our clients!

Why headhunting is still the best way to recruit the best talent

10/06/14 0 COMMENTS

How did you find your last job and the one before that? If you are like me, you may have never applied for a role online or directly. I have always been approached about roles or relied upon relationships with trusted recruitment consultants to find the right role for me; people who know me and my skills and know how to match me to roles that offer me progression.

There are more ways than ever for companies to advertise roles and therefore for candidates to apply directly online. This brings with it a plethora of issues for both the candidate and the employer. Because it is so easy to apply directly, either via an online ad or posting, lots of people do so. This means the recruiter (in-house or agency) may receive over 100 CVs for each role they post. As if trawling through 100+ CVs isn’t bad enough, it is often the case that 95% of the applicants are not even ‘on brief’ for the role. As a recruitment consultancy we have tested online postings. It created so much more work with no reward that we no longer do this. Out of 100 CVs only one candidate had the right skills for the role we were looking to fill, but that did not stop the other 99 candidates applying.

And where does this leave the best candidates? Will their CVs stand out in amongst so many applicants, and what about providing feedback to everyone? Does anyone really have the time to provide feedback to over 100 people for each role?

It is usually the case that the best candidates do not have the time to be trawling the internet looking for their next role, because they are too busy doing a good job in their current role. They would rather be approached about a specific role that they can see offers them their next career move, than search job boards. They also benefit from the recruitment consultant selling them in to what they hope will be their future employer.

Applying for a role through a trusted recruiter should mean that you are one of maybe half a dozen candidates being put forward. The likelihood of you being invited in for an interview should be very high. At Sandra Collins Recruitment, we have a conversion rate of over 80% of the CVs we submit being invited in for an interview. This is because we only send candidates who are on brief. We don’t send CVs to our clients without meeting the candidate in person first to ascertain how good a fit they are for any given role.

Importantly, we work with our candidates to find them a role that will offer a career progression. I can’t count how many times I was approached about identical roles for other leading media agencies when I was marketing and new business director at Mindshare. Although it is sometimes the case that people are looking for a sideways move, more often than not, they want progression or at least a different challenge. The best recruitment consultants will have a good understanding of your skills and how these may be transferable to different roles.

Choosing the right recruitment agency is also key for both companies and candidates. Recruitment agencies that just collect and submit CVs, add little if anything to the process. If they are not vetting candidates and submitting only those with the best fit, then companies may as well rely on online postings and cut out the middle man.

Recruitment consultants, who work in partnership with their clients and their candidates and who seek out candidates who don’t even know that they are looking yet, will source and secure the best talent.

Sandra Collins

Should your personal life take a back seat to your professional life?

09/30/14 0 COMMENTS

Early in my career, I was so driven to succeed, that I gave up TV. I thought that TV was a waste of time and that only lazy, average, and below average people watched it.

I didn’t just replace traditional TV with YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, or pirating movies on my laptop. I literally didn’t watch anything. Instead I read a whole bunch of business books like Good To Great, Influence, The Goal, The Essential Drucker, Made To Stick, Never Eat Alone, Linchpin, and Built To Last to try to get an edge in my career. But even reading started to feel like work. I stopped reading fiction even though I loved books like The Alchemist, The Time Keeper, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, and The Celestine Prophecy.

Back then, I was single and single-minded. Today, I’m married with a kid. And I have no shame watching TV anymore. In fact, last Thursday, I watched a record 4 hours straight bundled up on the couch with my wife and I have no regrets. We watch Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder. In all honesty, I didn’t enjoy each show, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I was spending quality time with my family.

Presence > Paying A Lot

There are two ways to watch TV—passively and actively. I realized that my younger self hated passive TV. But it wasn’t just passive TV that I hated. I hated passive living. It’s not about what you do, it’s about how you do it. I can gain enjoyment from washing dishes, folding clothes, and gardening if I’m fully present.

As someone who wants to be a present partner and present parent, I realized that presence is more important than paying lots of money. What’s the point of paying thousands of dollars to fly my family to Disney Land if I’m checking my email every 20 minutes? Instead, a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood in which I’m fully engaged could mean just as much.

My wife and I don’t watch TV passively. We comment throughout the show. We laugh in each others arms. We make jokes from the show our own like “That’s what she said” from The Office. We put the TV on mute and talk to each other during commercials.

The younger half of my brain was like the news commentator who bashes the United States President for going on vacation and playing golf during a war. The other half of my brain was like a kid who finished their homework before sundown and simply wanted to play until the street lights came on.

We never judge a kid for how they chose to play as long as their work was done. But as adults, there is a sense that the work is never done. There is always more to do. And if we don’t do it, we will be behind some illusionary competitor who is an early bird and night owl and just works, works, works.

There is a time for everything—a time to be serious and a time to be childlike. As adults, we’ve forgotten that boundary. In the words of Beyonce and Jay-Z, “I want to be forever young.” I don’t want my childlike spirit to die in pursuit of society’s definition of success. Adulthood and the responsibility that comes with it doesn’t have to mean the death of who we really are.

Prioritizing The People I Love

Will I do that every Thursday? No. But last Thursday, I went to sleep with no guilt, regrets, or feeling of being behind. Are other people in my profession kicking my butt because they worked last Thursday night and I didn’t? Maybe? Maybe not? And guess what…I don’t care. What matters to me most is how my wife and daughter feel about my presence, not what the market thinks. If slow success or less success professionally is the price I have to pay for being a great partner and great parent, so be it.

The moment my daughter was born, I became the third most important person in my household. I thought that as a parent, I was supposed to tell her what to do, but I know who the real boss is now. No boss or client of mine can wake me up at 1am, 3am, and 5am crying and expect to get an immediate response from me. My priorities have changed, not by chance, but by choice.

My goal in life isn’t only to be a successful professional. I also want to be a successful partner and parent. And though my goal to be a successful professional came first in terms of sequence in my life, it doesn’t come first in terms of priorities. My first priority is my wife. My second priority is my daughter. And my third priority is my profession.

I encourage you to prioritize professional, parent, and partner in writing in the way I have above. I’m not suggesting that my order is the right order. It’s mine. What is yours? And do the people you love know your priorities. Them knowing will shape their expectations of you.There are many people who are extremely successful professionally, but suck as partners and parents. And there are many people who are great parents, but aren’t great professionals.

If your career is more important than your family, own it. Oftentimes, we say we’re working hard for our family, when in fact we’re doing it for ourselves. Our ambition and work tends to take us away from the people we say we love. Walter White, the chemistry professor turned meth dealer from Breaking Bad said it best when he told his wife “I did it for me,” as his empire started to collapse.

Does Career Success Alone Make A Successful Life?

There is an American narrative that suggests that if you succeed professionally, everybody will love you and your family will understand because your success will afford them a lifestyle they couldn’t otherwise have. I think that is why many people put their career ahead of family. In addition to that, I think we also want to have an individual sense of achievement whether we have a family or not.

I’m not the only one with this internal struggle. In an interview with David Bradley, Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo and mother of two daughters shared her mommy guilt. Nooyi says “We plan our lives meticulously so we can be decent parents. But if you ask our daughters, I’m not sure they will say that I’ve been a good mom.” A few months ago, Mohamed El-Erian, former CEO of Pimco, left his position for part-time work after he received a letter from his 10-year old daughter that listed 22 important events that he had missed due to work commitments that included her first day at school and first soccer match of the season to a parent-teacher meeting and a Halloween parade.

Given that these people are quote-on-quote already successful, it’s easy to say that it’s easier for them to slow down because they’ve already made it, they have millions, and they are older. But the one thing they can never buy back are those moments and times with their family.

My Dad Growing With Each Kid

I am the oldest of three kids and I can attest that my father got better with each kid. With me, he was pretty absent because I was born during his rise to the top. With his second son who came 4 years later, he reached the top and felt he has more autonomy, so he started coming home earlier and getting involved on weekends. And with the third son who came 2 years after that, he had established himself professionally and started to slow down a little bit. He made it to every baseball game and soccer game he could.

Many people let what they do define who they are instead of letting who they are define what they do. But your day job is likely not your only job. We all have several roles. Everyone is someone’s son or daughter. Perhaps you are a brother or sister. A mentor or soccer coach. These roles don’t pay money, but they give us meaning. As Drake says in his song Trophies, “Ain’t no envelopes to open, I just do it cause I’m supposed to.” How much do these roles that don’t have money attached to them matter to you?

Hopefully the new and future working parents, myself included, can get off on the right foot with the first kid. If not your kids, then your partner. And if not your partner, then whatever other role is important to you outside of work.

Wishing you more happy hours,

Jullien Gordon

10 Things That Will Happen Once You Stop Checking Facebook All The Time

09/23/14 0 COMMENTS

Social media can be a great tool for keeping in touch with people, making new friends, and socializing effectively. Unfortunately not everyone uses it that way. For many, checking Facebook has become almost like a job. They post for likes, see what others are doing, and become almost obsessed with knowing exactly what’s going on everywhere all at once. They play all the games and participate in all of the fads (like quizzes). This may be you or someone you know. If it is then maybe it’s time to quit. Here are 10 things that will happen once you stop checking Facebook all the time.
1. You’ll become less brain dead

I use the phrase “brain dead” figuratively here. When you’re buried in a screen checking Facebook, you’re not paying attention to the world around you. Your animals may need to be fed or to be let out to use the restroom. You’ll do it but only after you’re done on Facebook. You may go places but still be on your phone all the time. If that happens, you’re not even experiencing what you left your house to experience. When you put Facebook down, you put your head up and start looking at what’s going on around you and you’ll be more cognizant of everything. For your hungry pets or your friends who wanted to hang out with you, that’s a good thing.
2. You’ll get more work done

As a blogger, I’m on the internet fairly frequently (read: constantly). My greatest enemy is social media. It’s easy to minimize the tab with the blogging stuff in it and go check Facebook or Google+ for a few minutes. A few minutes turns into a quarter of an hour and before I know it, I’ve lost 30 minutes of productivity. Thanks to smartphones and improving mobile data speeds, you can check Facebook anywhere and that includes at work. When you put it down, you’ll have to do something else to keep from being bored and that usually means doing actual work. If you do put it down then expect your productivity to go up.
3. You can focus on other things

Being on Facebook takes up a lot of time. You can waste insane amounts of time just scrolling through updates. This is especially true since Facebook doesn’t adhere to a chronological posting format anymore. Putting down Facebook means you’ll be freeing up a lot of time. That’s time that can be spent doing other things. You can spend more time with your significant other and make your relationship stronger. You can spend more time with friends and reconnect with them on a different level. You can get on a treadmill and lose a few pounds, get back into shape, and feel better about yourself. The possibilities are literally endless because you’ll be spending time doing what you want to do.
4. You can find out who your real friends are

Having a good internet friendship is easy. Liking people’s posts and commenting on their photos takes mere moments. Someone who comments on all of your photos and likes all of your status updates spent 45 seconds doing it but they appear as though they really care and that they’re a real friend who is interested in you. Once you leave Facebook, a lot of that will disappear. The only people who want to actually hang out with you are people who care about you and who want you around. Leaving Facebook is going to help you find those people really quickly.
5. You will learn the word “like” has no meaning

Audra Rundle made an amazing point regarding this. She states that liking things on Facebook is no longer a matter of actually liking the post. It’s an obligatory action to show that you have seen the post and acknowledge its existence. Many people are too close to the problem to see it directly. Taking a step away can show you just how useless the Like button is now and how few people actually care about the things they like.
6. You will feel more accomplished

The defining characteristic of Facebook is that you’re never done with it. There is always more to do, more to see, and more to engage with. Dealing with that feeling of “never done” all day long can be emotionally and mentally draining. Doing things outside of Facebook can fix that problem. You can finish a book. You can finish planting a garden. You can finish washing the dishes. Pretty much any task in the real world is something that you can finish. We as humans feel almost high on the sense of accomplishment. Don’t rob yourself of that feeling. Get off of Facebook and finish something.
7. You will get rid of the stalkers

Practically everyone who uses Facebook has a stalker. That is especially true if you happen to be a woman. People can look at your photos, your updates, and everything without your permission and some people actually do that. Creepy guys will frequently browse the photos of their crushes. Creepy women will do the same thing (albeit less frequently). People you’re not friends and people you don’t want to be friends with can see your information. Even if they can’t see you directly, they can see who you associate with. Your less privacy-minded friend may post that they’re going to the mall with you. Now your stalkers know where you are.If you leave Facebook, you’ll be totally immune to those kind of creepy people.
8. You will actually feel better about yourself

Studies have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Facebook makes you feel bad about yourself. There are so many reasons for this. When you post a status and no one likes it, you feel like everyone thinks you’re stupid. When you post photos and members of the opposite sex don’t comment on how good you look, you feel ugly. You’re constantly exposed to people who are happier than you, more successful than you, and who have stronger relationships than you. How is that not supposed to make you feel inferior or utterly depressed all the time? Why would you want to put yourself through that? There’s an easy way to stop and that’s taking a break from Facebook.
9. You will feel better about the things you own

Reporter Belinda Goldsmith published a piece regarding some research that had been conducted in Germany about how people feel on Facebook. The end result was that people actually become more jealous and envious of what others have on Facebook. It may be someone posting about their new phone, car, house, or other possession. There are some who get jealous when they see people in happy relationships be it friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, or family relationships. Facebook is a great place to brag about what you have and that means it’s also a great place to read about all the things that people have that you don’t. Like I asked earlier, why would you want to put yourself through that?
10. You will realize that all you ever were to Facebook was a piece of data that viewed advertisements.

We have no doubt that there are people on Facebook who legitimately care about you. However, we also have no doubt that Facebook itself couldn’t care less about you. To Mark Zuckerberg you are a piece of data in his giant database to be mined and exploited. Your job on Facebook is to view advertisements, spend money on Facebook games, and make the site rich. What happens to you aside from that doesn’t really matter to Facebook. You wouldn’t stay in a relationship with a person who treated you that way, so why stay in a relationship with Facebook?

I know this sounds like a Facebook bash post and it definitely is to an extent. However, social media sites were made for a reason and somewhere in the last 10 years, we’ve all forgotten what that reason is. That includes you, me, and even the social networks themselves. It’s not about finding people, or about connecting, and creating lifelong friends anymore. It’s about fads. It’s about chain-liking status updates like a smoker chain-smokes. It’s an addiction and it’s a job and you don’t really get anything out of it. We’re not saying you should leave Facebook for good. That’s a little drastic. However, you should definitely have less of it in your life. You’re not missing much by not going on Facebook 30 times a day.

Michael Blanchette

Happy 14 Year Anniversary Erica Lockwood

09/22/14 0 COMMENTS

Please join me in wishing Erica Lockwood a Happy 14 year JCP Anniversary!
With Great Power “Leadership” Comes Great Responsibility!

This past year Erica has shown true levels of greatness and contribution to the company.
Stepping in where needed and somehow balancing her production and her support in administration, marketing, social media and leadership.
We are all proud of your amazing year!
Thank you Erica for how you have shown up for me, the company and yourself.
Feels great to be at your best, doesn’t it Rica!

Veronica Ramirez



10 Things That Aren’t on Your Resume…(But Should Be)

09/16/14 0 COMMENTS

Many young careerists – even those with a couple of internships under their belt – feel as though their resume and LinkedIn profiles are, for lack of a better word… lacking.

And sometimes this is true – especially when you’re up against someone with three, five and even ten years of at least semi-relevant experience. In that case, how do you compete?

You compete – and win – by including on your resume the achievements, projects and assignments you may have overlooked, or chose not to put on your resume because they were short-term, campus-only related or “not a real job.”

Here are nine great examples (and one thing that probably is on your resume, but shouldn’t be):

Social Media Savviness:

No. You aren’t a guru, ninja or an expert. But you do know your way around Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Your profiles may be the envy of all your friends and colleagues; the number of followers is respectful. Throw in your knowledge of Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Twitter Chats, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook ads – and whatever else you’ve dabbled in so far – and you just might impress the social media novice whose organization needs social help, right now.

In today’s job market, there isn’t a single employer who doesn’t respect someone who took it upon themselves to learn a skill, or master a software program relevant to their organization. Demonstration of expertise using project management, Photoshop, Salesforce, Infusionsoft, Google Analytics – and maybe even a little coding – can take your resume from “meh” to “marvelous!”

Freelance Projects:

Remember that project you did for the business near your campus? Or the couple of weeks you spent at that non-profit solving its biggest problem? Those mini-projects weren’t real jobs, no… but they were real experience. List every relevant project you’ve ever taken on. Display the impact you had on the organization you served (quantify!). Show your entrepreneurial spirit! And you’ll catch the attention of a hiring manager looking for someone not afraid to take on a project alone.

Thesis, Studies and White Papers:

Did you head up a research project? Write an industry relevant thesis that blew your professor away? Did you lead an on-campus or community-based study? Each of these projects shows attention to detail, problem solving and analytical thinking – three skills in high demand by nearly every employer. Again, show the impact of your work; and talk passionately about the mission. Employers don’t only want to know what you did… they want to know why you did it.

Content Creation:

Have you begun blogging? Guest blogging? Have you begun to show your subject matter expertise in a podcast, or a video blog? Maybe a YouTube channel? Have you built a community of followers? All of those things go on your resume! Employers will respect that you are willing to let your thoughts be known, and aren’t afraid to stick your neck out. They’ll get a glimpse of your personality and passion. And – if the fit is right – they’ll develop a bond with the digital you, well before they call for an interview.

Industry Relevant Competitions:

Speaking of not being afraid to stick your neck out: relevant competitions – online, through your community, industry associations, the local chamber of commerce, and your fraternity or sorority – are a great way to punch up your resume. Although a bonus (instant credibility), winning isn’t necessary!

Just show that you have competed for the third consecutive time at the regional business plan competition, for example, and entrepreneurial minded employers will be impressed. These organizations also make for great networking and keyword elements on your resume. An employer might say, “You were in the Alpha Kappa Psi CASE competitions? So was I!” And, just like that, a relationship has started – and an advantage gained.
Anything Leadership:

On-campus clubs, volunteer assignments, part-time retail jobs, heading up a fund-raiser or a committee, campus ambassadorships… anything that shows you were leading from out front must go on your resume. Again, be sure to show your impact; don’t just say you are a lifelong learner, show your impact and talk about what you learned.

Conferences Attended

That person with the three to five years of experience on their resume… have they attended your industries’ annual convention this year? Last year? Ever? Probably not, but perhaps you did – giving you another advantage over the competition. While you were out there listening to Seth Godin, Dan Pink and Matt Cutts, your competition was watching Wheel of Fortune in their pajamas. Who would you hire?

Reverse Mentor-ship:

All that social media and blogging experience you’ve obtained… ever put it to good use? Ever walk a CEO through a Twitter chat? Or set up a WordPress blog for a entrepreneur? Maybe helped get a Mom and Pop shop’s books in order, then show them how to run Quickbooks? Each of these instances of reverse mentor-ship shows you are willing to give back and teach across generational boundaries – a fine, and marketable, skill in today’s workforce.

Bonus: Remove THIS from Your Resume:

When you’re all done with the newest version of resume – when you’ve added all your relevant accomplishments – you’re going to take one more step guaranteed to help you compete better…

Unless you are going into a field where these things still matter (medical, engineering, law, etc.), you are going to get rid of everything that makes you look like a current or recent student. Everything!

GPA, relevant coursework, expected graduation dates – all of it. Why? Because no one hires students. They hire capable, work-ready young professionals prepared to help them achieve their goals and solve their problems. On your resume and LinkedIn profile: Don’t be a student.

How does your resume look now? More professional? More complete? Perhaps less… lacking?

Good. Now go compete.

Mark Babbitt

A Few Ideas to Encourage a More Positive Workplace

09/10/14 0 COMMENTS

A subtle vibe of negativity can spoil an otherwise effective workplace. I’ve seen this impact even the most capable of teams. The dynamic can bring a group of talented contributors to a slowed, encumbered pace. The team becomes snagged on issues that fail to drive performance — and the collective energy of the group fractures and dissipates. We might feel that we personally lack the resources to affect levels of happiness in our workplace. However, we have more ability to do so than we might have previously acknowledged. Research has shown the inherent power of a positive mind set has far-reaching potential to enhance not only psychological well-being — but the achievement of valued workplace outcomes.

Positive psychology explores, and attempts to capture what is “right” within our lives. It shifts the emphasis to experiences that help us build a positive foundation, so we can meet issues and challenges. The psychological resources of hope, self-efficacy, resilience and optimism (Think HERO), can influence how we approach our daily work lives. These resources — which together form the construct of psychological capital — can be integral in affecting our behavior.

As managers, team leaders or individual contributors, taking an active role to encourage a more positive workplace can prove to be a worthy investment. Take a moment to take stock of your own psychological resources and those of others around you. Do you feel capable of meeting the demands of your work life? Do you feel the team possess the tools to meet the challenges that lay before you at work? Does the group feel confident and hopeful? What needs to change to create a more positive environment?

A few ideas to encourage a more positive workplace. (These are simple — yet in practice, we often need a reminder.):

Express gratitude. Recognizing others for their contribution is a powerful resource builder. I’ve seen talented contributors who were tempted to leave an organization, simply because they misjudged their own value. Routinely expressing gratitude can set a powerful and positive tone of deep respect. Remember that two simple words —”thank you”— can have a long-standing effect on work-life happiness.

Take every opportunity to align work with strengths. Utilizing our strengths in the workplace is key to building confidence. This involves routine discussions with your team members, to evaluate if their skills are being tapped. For yourself, make every attempt to incorporate the areas in which you excel, into everyday work life. When weaknesses take center stage — work life can become a miserable experience.

Value the work of others. You may not agree with every idea or plan presented, however respecting what others bring to the table is key. We all work hard to make a difference — try not to rob others of the feeling of satisfaction that comes with contributing.

Communicate, even when it is challenging. Next to public speaking, engaging someone in a difficult conversation, is likely one of our greatest workplaces fears. However, happy workplaces rely on open, diplomatic conversations. So, if you are hesitating to share something important or you are avoiding conflict — think twice before sweeping it under the carpet. (A few ideas for that here.)

Emphasize feedback. Offering (and seeking out) honest feedback is critical to our work lives. However, we must remember that we differ in terms of our feedback requirements and capability to both absorb (and apply) the information. Be cognizant of the individual differences among team members.

Bring balance to the negatives. As human beings, we have the tendency to dwell on negative information (quite possibly an evolutionary byproduct). Often we find ourselves obsessing about a goal we didn’t fulfill — or a relationship that is strained. Build resilience by refocusing your energy on successes, when you feel disappointment or stress.

Practice “flexible” thinking. When considering a new challenge, be sure to explore potential obstacles and generate alternative pathways to effectively manage them. This exercise builds feelings of efficacy in the face of an unexpected turn of events—a common occurrence in our work lives.

Acknowledge the small steps that lead to successes. Often we focus on lofty, larger goals that may take an extended amount of time to accomplish. Identify and celebrate incremental goals along the way, to help bolster energy levels and maintain focus.

Dr. Marla Gottshalk

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