Category Archives: Tips

How to Renovate Your Resume in 3 Steps

how to use the same resume for every jobUntil I started really job searching, I had no idea you could renovate your current resume to fit the needs of multiple jobs. I thought you had to pick and choose what you shared to make it fit each job you applied to. While this is true to some degree, you also don’t want to downplay your work experience because it all matters. But maybe not every descriptive bullet point does…

Include every professional job

Just because you’re applying for a creative director job, but have a teaching background doesn’t mean you’ll be ruled out. Especially in today’s world, employers want to hire someone who is well versed and multi-passionate. Maybe the company is looking for a creative director who can teach training classes, in which case your teaching background comes into play nicely.

It’s more likely now that hiring managers emphasize whether or not a person will mesh with the team and company culture. Whereas in the past, getting a job was strictly based on experience and education.

In fact, during my interview at 24 Seven I connected with my hiring manager because we had both taught at some point in our professional careers. Despite the fact I was interviewing for a marketing position, I still included my teaching experience which allowed me to highlight seemingly unrelated skills that would, in turn, benefit me for the position. Being a teacher requires patience, quick thinking, adaptation skills, and ability to multi-task, which are all things that can be applied to marketing.

Modify the bullet points

The section of your resume that will need the most renovation is in your job descriptions. As I mentioned above, through teaching I was able to adapt quickly to changes in the environment so as a bullet point I said something like, “implemented lesson plans which strengthened my ability to adapt quickly to students’ receptiveness”.

What this means is I was able to quickly figure out what was working and what was not, which is easily applicable to marketing since you are constantly testing new strategies. You can take just about any professional experience and relate it to the position you’re applying for.

Resume bonus tip: incorporate the verbiage and skills that are found in the job description on the bullet points of your resume.

Prioritize community involvement/extra-curricular activities

Hiring managers want to see you’re involved in other things outside of work. A volunteer program, personal blog, YouTube channel, etc. are examples that should be permanent members of your resume regardless of what job you’re applying for.

This shows you’re dedicated and go above and beyond what is expected of you. Think about it, would you want to hire someone who only shows the bare minimum of what he/she does? Companies want to see it all. They want to know they’re investing in good talent. So, show them what you got!

Having a plethora of experience ranging from professional to personal provides you the opportunity to show off your soft skills. Hiring managers love someone who takes the initiative to better oneself or the community.

What job have you always wanted but feel your resume is holding you back? Tell us in the comments!

Written by: Brittany Johnston (24 Seven Marketing Assistant)

 

Yay! You Got the Job Offer. Now, About Those Benefits…

questions to ask about benefitsPOS and EPO and HSA… oh my! What does it all mean?! With so many choices and legal lingo we’re not familiar with, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Stepping into your first job, (or new job), is a daunting task in itself and the last thing you need to do is worry about picking the wrong benefits plan after you’ve taken the job. But no need to fear, 24 Seven is here with 5 questions you should ask about benefits before taking the job.

What is your personal benefits plan?

It’s always good to ask what plan your person of contact is on because odds are, they did their research and found the best benefits plan so you don’t have to. HOWEVER, what works for one person may not work for you, so it’s best you ask for several opinions if possible. For example, some companies might offer Aetna with different plan options such as POS, EPO, and HSA.

Upon being hired I immediately asked HR (human resources), “Ok, what plan do you have and why did you choose it?” because it’s important to see what those around me had done. An answer that may surprise you might be a benefits plan that doesn’t even fall under the umbrella of what the company offers. With more and more options becoming available, health care plans like Obamacare or Oscar may work best and be more affordable for you.

How do I know if something is in-network or out-of-network?

In-network, out-of-network, potato, patato same thing right? Wrong. If your company’s benefits only offer an in-network plan, that means you need to find doctors, specialists, dentists, etc. that are covered under the umbrella of your provider, (i.e. Aetna). This can be especially confusing for those of us who just moved, (like me). Luckily I’m not tied to any particular doctor in my home state so I’m open to options. If you do have trusted doctors from your home state or your current state you will need to check to make sure they’re in-network so you’re covered.

Now the big question, how do you figure out what’s in and what’s out? You call. Not the answer you were hoping for I’m sure, but unfortunately that is the only way as of now. You can also Google your health care provider to find any helpful bits on their website but cross reference the information to make sure it’s up-to-date. Blue Cross Blue Shield provides great insight on their FAQ page.

company benefits soft perks

Does your company offer any soft perks?

“Soft perks” are words I had never heard of before 24 Seven. If your company already offers them, welcome to the club, it’s a really nice club to be in. If not, read on…

Soft perks are added bonuses the company offers like discounted transit, in-house yoga, free lunch, pet care, etc. The real benefits of soft perks, (no pun intended) are happier work environments, additional compensation, and incentive to work harder. I mean who wouldn’t love to take a yoga break from keeping their dog company while eating free lunch… all at work?!

If you can’t get the salary you desire, the next thing to look into is benefits and soft perks. If your company offers free lunch, that’s a necessary expense you no longer have to pay. The same goes for a gym membership, that’s something that will no longer cost you or something new to look forward to, for free!

Is there a 401K plan and does the company match the contributions?

This is HUGE. Many young people don’t take retirement seriously and why would they? They’re young! Eventually, all good things come to an end and we need to face the reality that while we’re young we need to save, save, save. As we get older the risk of health issues increases along with countless other joys, all of which need to be covered by money.

No money, mo’ problems.

In brief a 401K plan is basically a retirement fund your company offers that you pay into but can’t touch for a certain amount of time. The best case scenario is your company offers a 401K and matches your contribution. This means whatever percent of your paycheck you choose to contribute, the company matches some if not all of it. There may be limitations so be cautious. (Don’t worry we’ll get into more financial advice next month, so stay tuned!)

How did the company choose the current benefits plan?

This is a great question that not many people would think to ask because why would it matter, who cares? Well, you should! For all you know your potential employer may have picked the cheapest plan for the company which doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest for you. On the other hand the company may have picked this particular plan because the founder uses it personally, then transferred it over to the business. Word to the wise: whatever the founder is doing is what you want to be doing, (not only in regards to benefits packages). The reason why a company chose a particular benefits plan is just as important as actually picking a plan. It says a lot about who you’re working for and it may foreshadow how your future with the company will look.

What would you love for your company to offer? Sound off in the comments!

Written by: Brittany Johnston (24 Seven Marketing Assistant)

 

3 Ways to Use Soft Skills to Get the Job of Your Dreams

soft skillsSo you don’t have the 2 years of work experience the job you’re applying to recommends? Don’t give up just yet! 24 Seven’s recruiters have actually found that more and more companies are beginning to assess candidates based on the soft skills they possess, not just their past work experience. Some of the most valued soft skills include the ability to learn quickly, a desire to work with others, and a clear communication style. So how can you show your hiring manager that you have these skills without simply stating the obvious?

Know what a soft skill is

I’m sure you can guess how important “soft skills” are in the workplace. But first let’s discuss what “soft skills” actually are…

Wikipedia describes soft skills as a term often associated with a person’s EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, interpersonal skills, managing people, leadership, etc. that characterize relationships with other people.”

Basically, when a hiring manager is assessing you for your soft skills, they are seeing if you are someone that can adapt, learn and fit into the corporate culture of the company. In fact, if you fail to display your soft skills you may not get the job, even if you are the most qualified. Some examples of said soft skills are:

  • Time Management
  • Communication
  • Team Player
  • Leadership
  • Positive attitude
  • Work ethic
  • Adaptability
  • Problem Solving
  • Fast Learner
  • Personable
  • Responsible

Now let’s dive in to 3 ways to use soft skills to get the job of your dreams.

#1 Tell a story

People are more likely to connect to a story that’s personal, and you have a number of chances to accurately tell your story to your hiring manager through your cover letter, your resume, and your interview.

Your cover letter is the first thing your hiring manager will read about you. When you are writing, imagine this as your first conversation. Use your past experiences to create a story that highlight your soft skills. For an example of this, our friends at The Muse used:

“I not only executed all updates on schedule, but I also took on the responsibility to train and mentor two new employees.” [1] The key soft skill here is this person’s ability to train and mentor new employees.

#2 Highlight your soft skills unconventionally

You may not have the traditional work experience your employer is looking for, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect showing any soft skills you do have. Once again be sure to include specific examples of where your soft skills came into play on your cover letter or resume.

If you managed a team, organized a project timeline, or effectively communicated goals be sure it’s on your resume. Instead of simply stating what you did in your past employment, use adjectives to elaborate (ie: independent, detail-oriented etc). This will weave a story, but still keep it short and sweet.

soft skills for your dream job

#3 Create a killer conversational interview

Conversational interviews are the most successful because it’s not the standard Q&A. You’re speaking on an engaging yet professional level where you have the best opportunity to convey your soft skills. Come prepared with examples of past successes that again highlight skills beyond the functional nature of the position.

Let’s not forget the importance of the way you non-verbally communicate the second you enter the building. When you first arrive, thank your interviewer for having you and express how excited you are to be there. This shows you’re personable, which is a key soft skill.

When the interview begins be an active, not passive listener. Self-confidence is an important trait. If you are a person that is shy, fake it ’til you make it. Practice your answers at home, but be sure not to sound too rehearsed. And finally, be sure to ask questions that show you’ve been listening and done your research which shows your communication and adaptability skills.

Good luck!

 

We want to hear from you. What are your soft skills? Drop us a line in the comments. And don’t forget to download our Training Position Paper!

[1] https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-nonboring-way-to-show-off-your-soft-skills-in-your-job-search

Written by: Annie Gardner (24 Seven Demand Generation Coordinator)  & Brittany Johnston (24 Seven Marketing Assistant)

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Learn More Spend Less:

Death_to_stock_photography_weekend_work (9 of 10)So you have your new job and so far it’s going well. However, as you get started you realize “Hey, I think I may be into learning how to code.” This is great! Coding is an in demand skill and you’re investing in yourself. You go! That being said you’re current position is as an administrative assistant and you have no idea how you’ll afford an entry level coding class. Before you hang up your coding hat and slink back to your job, check out some of the websites that we researched and found for you! Whether you want to learn graphic design or English composition, Not only will they teach you what you want to learn, they’re’ free! Here are our favorites:

  1. Cousera boasts over 1500 classes and 140 partners from colleges across the globe. All courses are offered for free, but there is an offer to pay a fee to sign up for the “Signature Track.” This option provides certificates when you complete the classes. The courses are approximately four to ten weeks long, with one to two hours of video lectures a week. Coursera offers a mobile app for iOS and Android operating systems.
  2. Code Academy is an online interactive platform that offers free coding classes in 9 different programming languages like Pytho, JavaPHPJavaScript (jQuery,AngularJS), and Ruby, as well as markup languages HTML and CSS. For people who want extra support, Codecademy also offers a subscription-based service called Codecademy Pro, which costs $20 a month and gives you an adviser and unit quizzes.
  3. EdX is made up of weekly learning experiences. Each exercise is composed of short videos broken up with interactive learning exercises. This allows for students to immediately practice the concepts from the videos. While EdX does offer certificates of successful completion, they do not offer course credit. Course credit is up to the sole discretion of the school. There are a variety of ways to take courses, including verified courses where students have the option to audit the course (no cost) or to work toward an edX Verified Certificate (fees vary by course).
  4. Digital Tutors, now Pluralsight states that it offers close to 4,000 courses in its catalog, has more than 750,000 individual subscribers and more than 6,000 corporate clients. The company has seen rapid growth in recent years, and has been named on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies, ranking the #9 Top Education Company.
  5. Skillshare’s courses focus more on interaction than lecturing, with the primary goal of learning by completing a project. The main categories of learning are creative arts, design, entrepreneurship, lifestyle and technology, with subtopics covering a myriad of skills. Skillshare offers a membership model, for $9.95 a month, as well as an open platform, where anyone can learn and anyone can teach. The Free Membership option gives learners the ability to watch a limited amount of class content each month at no cost.

It’s that time of year again! To weigh in on training and other company offerings at your organization, participate in our annual survey for your chance to win $500: CLICK HERE!

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The Perfect Match

 

conversationheartsWith Valentine’s Day fast approaching it seems everywhere you look there are ads for dating sites geared towards finding the perfect relationship. It’s the season of love and over at 24 Seven, we recommend taking a closer look at another very important relationship, the relationship you have with your career. I saw an ad for a popular dating website that talks about finding the right match with compatibility testing. This led me to the question, is finding a corporate match like finding a romantic match? When we spend on average 50 or so hours a week in the office, should we apply the practices we use to finding a partner, to finding a job?

A quick Google search can let us know almost everything about a person without actually meeting them. Details about someone’s personal and professional life are both readily available. Researching someone before a first date is a way of determining right off the bat what you have in common and if the possibility for a meaningful connection (the ultimate goal) is there.

The cultural fit or compatibility that we are looking for in our partners, we need to look for from our jobs too. The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health recently stated that, “In the current research, we test the idea that emotional fit with culture (EFC) is linked to psychological well-being – i.e., being satisfied with oneself, having positive feelings, accepting one’s body and having no symptoms of depression.” Emotions impact how well people perform tasks, how engaged, creative, and how committed they are to the project at hand. The job hunt falls along these lines, both for candidates and managers alike. When you get your first interview, do as much research as possible, as you would before a first date.

It’s important to determine whether or not this new company is going to make you feel at home. Go to the company’s website and read their “About Us” section. Learn about their core values, how they were founded and what cultural ideals they uphold. After a scan of the company page, check out reviews on websites like Glassdoor. Of course these reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, but keep an eye out for any common themes that run throughout.

Another important outlet to check out is the company’s social media presence. Much like vetting a potential date, vet the company. Check out their LinkedIn and the types of employees that work there. Also look at their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. This should give you a sense of the types of communities and trends that are important to organization.

When you get to the interview remember it’s a two-way street, while the interviewer is trying to determine if you’re the right person for the role, it’s also an opportunity for you to figure out if the company’s culture is right for you. To determine if you’ve made a match ask questions such as:

  • What will my average day look like?
  • What is your favorite part about working here?
  • What is your least favorite part about working here?
  • How long have you been working here?
  • What is the attire?
  • Will I be part of a team or working primarily on my own?
  • Do I report to you consistently or will I have scheduled meetings to check in?
  • Are there training and/orprofessional development programs or incentives.

Also, while you are in the office make sure you take note of the environment around you. How are the desks laid out, is it an open office plan or will you be sitting alone? Is it silent and everyone has headphones on or is it noisy and everyone is working and chatting?

At the end of the interview go home and think about everything you’ve learned about the job and company. Is this a place where you could be happy and productive? Will you grow with this company, much like you would grow and mature in a relationship? These are all important facts to consider before you accept their offer of “going steady”.

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