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Red Flags to Watch for on a Resume

June 29th, 2015

Evaluating a resume is something of an art form. You have to look past the candidate’s skills and experience and really analyze the information they have chosen to present you with. Hone your skills even further by learning about subtle red flags to watch out for.

  • Too Much Employment – If a candidate has demonstrated a pattern of jumping from job to job every year or two, it suggests they are discontent in their career and unlikely to show your company any meaningful loyalty.
  • A Lie – Sometimes a lie can be spotted simply by looking for contradictory information on a resume. If one is present, it raises serious questions about that candidate’s character and the true nature of their credentials.
  • Meaningless Skills – In 2015, every professional is proficient in Microsoft Office. If you read a resume that lists this as one of the candidate’s skills, it means they are trying to pad out their qualifications and probably can’t make the big impact you want.
  • Focus on Strategy – Strategy is an overused buzzword that appears a shocking number of times on some resumes. You are interested in accomplishments, not approaches.
  • Claims of Expertise – True experts don’t go out looking for jobs; they get recruited by the top global companies. This word indicates that the candidate’s proficiency has probably been greatly exaggerated.
  • Outdated Email Addresses – Today’s business requires nimble adaptability. Candidates still using outdated email platforms probably can’t adapt as quickly as you would like.
  • Inputs Over Outputs – When a resume lists a candidate’s job responsibilities and project participation and fails to mention the outcomes of those, it should make you question what kind of value they can really bring to your company.
  • An Objective Statement – These statement’s can only state the obvious – I want a job at your company – or the irrelevant – I want something besides a job at your company. The presence of one is evidence of a poorly crafted resume.
  • An Extended History – Jobs or internships the candidate had a decade ago are probably irrelevant to the position they’re seeking now. Resumes that look too far into the past suggest the candidate is struggling to align their qualifications with your requirements.

Think back – how many resumes have you seen with these red flags on them? Did you invite those candidates for interviews, and did you end up hiring any of them? Possibly yes, but more likely no. Now that you know how to spot these warning signs early, you can streamline your recruiting process and connect with only the best possible candidates. Further improve your staffing strategies by contacting The Concorde Group.

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5 Tips to Develop Yourself Professionally

June 15th, 2015

Want to know the single best way to get better jobs at better companies with higher compensation? Make professional development an ongoing priority. The skills you learn in school and on the job are not enough to keep pace with the rate of change in today’s business world. If you want to stay ahead of the curve and always be an asset, you have to be proactive and dedicate some of your own time to the cause. Here are five tips to help you get more out of your professional development efforts:

Look for Resources

There are tons of available resources to help you develop professionally. Start by finding out if your current employer offers tuition reimbursement, incentives for picking up certifications, or flexible scheduling while you are pursuing schooling. Then expand your search to identify the courses, programs, seminars, conferences, and professional networks that can aid your professional growth.

Join a Professional Organization

One of the primary missions of many professional organizations is to help their members expand their skill sets. These organizations regularly offer opportunities for members to interact, collaborate, and exchange training. Joining one or more of these organizations provides you with a lot of valuable assets and can give your professional development efforts more form and function than they would have otherwise.

Accept New Challenges

You can do a lot to develop yourself professionally by simply accepting new types of assignments at work. Let your boss know about your intentions and he will be much more likely to accommodate you. Not only does this help you pick up new skills and insights, it also helps improve your standing at your current job and highlights your professional ambitions.

Create a Plan

Since professional development is ongoing, it helps to be systematic about it so that you stay on course. Create a plan for yourself that lists your professional goals in a year, three years, five years, 10 years and so on. Then assign yourself benchmarks, and plan out the steps you will take at each interval to make sure you are on track to reach the next one. Make sure you regularly review this plan, track your progress, and avoid making compromises.

Take on a Mentor

Professional mentors take many forms. It could be someone who had an identical job to yours, a related job, or simply someone who had a successful career. In any form, they can give you guidance and advice based on their own experience. They can also offer you a valuable outsider perspective on your own career, and hold you accountable when mistakes or setbacks occur.

Professional development is step one. Capitalizing on it is step two. When are ready to make the most of the time and effort you’ve put in, contact The Concorde Group.

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Am I Ready for a Career Change?

May 28th, 2015

These days it’s common for people to bounce between companies, move to a new city for work, and even change career several times over the course of their working life. Unfortunately, it’s always difficult to know if now is the time to make a big change or to stay where you are. If you are feeling restless and thinking of doing something entirely different, ask yourself the following questions to determine if this is the right time for a bold move:

Is Work Taking a Toll on You Mentally and Physically?

No one expects work to be a walk in the park. But that doesn’t mean you should come home every day feeling exhausted, depressed, and even in pain. The cause could be something besides the office, however, you spend a huge amount of time working, and it has an inevitable effect on your health. If it’s starting to run you into the ground, it’s probably time to look for other opportunities.

Are Your Skills Out of Step with Your Personality?

We all go to work out of necessity, and most of us strive to be good at what we do. And it’s possible to become really good at something you don’t particularly like doing. Things might be fine now, but over time this internal struggle will start to affect your performance and your mood. Before that happens, think of moving on to something you genuinely like doing, even if you’re not very good at it initially.

Is Your Salary No Longer Enough?

The biggest obstacle to making a career change is giving up a steady source of income and embracing financial uncertainty. But if you have reached the point in your career where no amount of salary, benefits, or perks can make you happy with what you are doing, it’s time rethink your priorities, and your career.

Do You Feel Like Your True Talents Are Wasted?

They say that each of us has a gift, and by and large, it’s true. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get to apply those gifts to our working life. Over time, that can lead you to feel that you are wasting your time, spinning your wheels, and living entirely for the short term. If you have a true talent or passion and you feel like it’s being squandered in your current position, it’s probably time to move on.

Changing the course of your career is a lot easier if you have a partner to help point you in the direction you would rather be heading. Think long and hard about what you want to do next, and then contact The Concorde Group to learn about jobs in Fairfield County and more!

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Become a Better Leader: Avoid These Mistakes

May 15th, 2015

Being a great leader is not about being perfect. In fact, many would argue that you need to try and fail a few times, if not a few dozen times, to qualify yourself to lead. That being said, there is nothing wrong with learning from the mistakes of others before you make them yourself. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of common mistakes that leaders make so you can hopefully avoid making them too.

  • Taking Everything on Your Own Shoulders – As a leader, it is your responsibility to delegate. That doesn’t mean you hand every responsibility off to someone else, but you need to trust that those around you are capable of getting things done.
  • Failing to Set Goals – For every decision you make, you have a desired outcome in mind. Make sure that your team knows exactly what you want and how you will judge their performance.
  • Relying on Quick Fixes – You are a leader because you are willing to put in the long hours and hard work it takes to accomplish something great. Always resist the urge to fall back on a solution that is too fast or too easy.
  • Communicating Ineffectively – Your team looks to you for direction. If you don’t make yourself clear and accessible, you can’t expect to get the outcomes you require.
  • Repeating Mistakes – Even after reading this post, you are going to make mistakes. Make sure you learn from them so they don’t happen in the future.
  • Refusing to Change – Change is inevitable. It’s your job to forecast it, prepare your team for it, and then react to it before it has a chance to affect you.
  • Cutting Yourself Off – Leaders are also members of teams. Remember to keep yourself accessible to employees at any time, for any reason. If you’re too busy, schedule a meeting for later.
  • Being Too Serious – Work is a serious thing, but that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a jail. Leaders often set the tone for the office, so make sure you inject some fun and humor into it when you can.
  • Withholding Praise – If someone on your team does something great, let them know about it, and think about offering some kind of reward. As the leader, keeping your team motivated is one of your biggest responsibilities.

Being a leader is not easy. But if you approach the position with some self-awareness and a keen sense of what your team needs and when, you can push them to be better than they could be without you. Find more resources to help you get the most out of your staff by partnering with the team at The Concorde Group.

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Should You Include a Temp Job on a Resume?

April 28th, 2015

In recent years, companies have increasingly relied on temporary or contract employees to fill holes in their workforce. Over those same years, a tough job market drove many professionals to take on temporary positions. That means there are a lot of job seekers with temporary experience in their past who are wondering if it belongs on their resume.

The short answer is yes. A temporary job is still a job, and you can pick up a lot of valuable skills and experiences spending just a few weeks or months with a company. And since so many companies have turned to temporary workers, they understand this as well as you do.

It’s important, however, to put this experience into context and frame it appropriately on your resume. You can leverage these positions to bolster your credentials but only if you are honest about the nature of the job. Use these tips to cover your bases:

Decide on a Grouping

You can either list all of your temporary positions together under one heading marked “Temporary Jobs,” or elect to discuss each one separately. If you have worked a lot of temporary jobs and mostly want to demonstrate that you have been keeping busy, collecting them together makes more sense. But if you have worked temporarily for a major company in your industry, or had a responsibility that is particularly worth highlighting, it’s perfectly appropriate to single this one job out.

Filter Your Experience

Hiring managers don’t want to waste time reading about experiences that are irrelevant to the position they are trying to fill. If your temporary experience was especially varied, avoid mentioning the positions that have nothing to do with the one you are seeking now. For instance, if you worked as a construction laborer for a few weeks it won’t help you get a job in an office.

Format Correctly

When listing temporary positions on your resume, write down the staffing agency you worked through, the company you worked for, your title, and the dates of employment. Then be sure to designate that this was a temporary position. If you didn’t get the job through a staffing agency, don’t hesitate to characterize yourself as a consultant or freelancer. This can help establish your industry authority.

Highlight Your Achievements

Even temporary workers make a contribution to the company. If there are any achievements you can point to, be sure to highlight them. Just make sure you are not stretching the truth or exaggerating your role. Whenever possible try to cite specific metrics, and be sure to focus on high points that are relevant to the position you’re seeking.

Every detail of your resume must be carefully considered and closely scrutinized. It’s not an easy process. Get the help you need to optimize your resume and your job search by working with The Concorde Group.

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Why Teach Current Employees New Skills?

April 16th, 2015

Employee training is a time and labor-intensive process that can have a number of attendant costs. For that reason, it’s tempting to put new hires through an initial training process but leave everyone else on your workforce to go about business as usual. After all, it they’re getting their work done, why do they need more training?

As pervasive as this attitude is, it’s almost always a shortsighted and incorrect one. The simple fact is that prioritizing ongoing, strategic training with your existing workforce has significant benefits that serve the aims of your business for years to come. Learn about a few, and decide if it’s time to rethink the way you handle training.

Increase Employee Loyalty and Morale

There is a common fear that if employers train their workforce in new skills, then employees will simply leverage those skills to find a better position elsewhere. However, this cynical attitude rarely reflects the realities of the workplace. In fact, employees that receive more training tend to be more loyal to their employers because they feel valued and respected by the companies they work for. This strategy creates a feeling of shared objectives that has a powerful effect on productivity, efficiency, and morale enterprise wide.

Introduce Flexibility into Your Workforce

Hiring managers across industries are struggling to close skills gaps within their ranks and find qualified candidates to fill in their vacancies. The obvious but often overlooked solution is to cross-train your employees. Not only does your workforce become more dynamic and innovative when your team members aren’t confined to discreet roles, but your projects don’t have to grind to a halt when someone leaves. Another employee with overlapping skills can pick up the slack until you find a qualified replacement. This strategy also makes it easier to promote from within, enabling you to refocus recruitment efforts on easy-to-fill entry-level positions.

Work with a Broader Pool of Talent

Recruiters typically look for a candidate who ticks every box on the job description. That ends up disqualifying a lot of talented applicants simply because they don’t posses every single one of the required skills at the time of application. Organizations that prioritize training and professional development are able to be more creatively selective because they know they can mold promising talent into the professionals they require. This expedites the recruitment process while enhancing the overall quality of the workforce.

Building dynamic teams is a complicated process, and ongoing training is only part of the strategy. Find resources to help you meet your other recruitment and retention challenges by working with The Concorde Group.

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How to Write a Solid Cover Letter

March 26th, 2015

If you are struggling to write a great cover letter, you are like most job seekers. These documents are notoriously hard to craft, and if you don’t consider written communications to be your strong suit, they can seem like a big obstacle to getting the job you want. The good news is that all writers and all job seekers can craft a cover letter that sounds great and commands attention if they focus on some basic strategies:

Don’t Summarize Your Resume

This is a common mistake. Instead of just rehashing your education and experience, use the cover letter to show off some of your personality, to mention your passions, and to state explicitly why you are a valuable candidate.

Write With the Company in Mind

You should never send out a generic cover letter. Instead, start fresh with each one, and tailor it to the position you are applying for and the company you are applying with. Sprinkling in company-specific details helps demonstrates your enthusiasm and highlights your level of preparation.

Always Be Concise

The general rule of thumb is that your cover letter shouldn’t be longer than three paragraphs and half a page. Exceptions can be made in certain instances, but you should make it as brief as possible, strip out all redundancies and repetitions, and focus on making every sentence valuable.

Nix the Greeting

Lots of times you don’t have an individual’s name or even a title to address your cover letter to. Instead of falling back on a generic greeting like “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madame,” leave the greeting off entirely and just jump straight into your introduction.

Use PDF Format

You will probably be submitting your cover letter electronically. Don’t risk sending it in a format that the recipient’s computer can’t access. The most reliable cross-platform format to use is PDF.

Start Strong

A recruiter might not read your whole letter, but they will probably read at least the first few lines. Don’t waste this space on a bland, casual, or unfocused introduction. Make a statement right off the bat that will grab their attention and make them want to keep reading.

Close Strong

If the recruiter has made it all the way to the end of your letter, you’ve done something right. Make sure that the last idea you leave in their head is a strong one. Be bold, and, as always, say it as quickly and clearly as you can.

Now that you know how to write great cover letters you need to find eager employers to send them out to. Kickstart your search for Westchester County jobs by partnering with The Concorde Group.

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How to Stay Productive as a Telecommuter

March 12th, 2015

Many people who start telecommuting are attracted to the freedom this type of work allows. But they quickly discover that when you are working out of the office and away from the boss, the lure of procrastination is a lot stronger. Day in and day out, it’s tough to stay productive, to make efficient use of time, and to avoid distractions. If you’re struggling to get more work done as a telecommuter, try these time-honored strategies:

 

  • Make Space – Set up a home office. Whenever you are in that space, you will feel like you are in “work mode.” And, if possible, close the door between your office and the rest of your home. This subtle separation helps keep you at your desk longer.
  • Follow a Schedule – Committing to regular work hours can give your time form and purpose.
  • Prepare for Work – Each morning go through your ritual of bathing, getting dressed, and eating breakfast. After that, work starts.
  • Tidy Up – A tidy desk is a sign of a tidy mind. That’s just as true when you work from home.
  • Disable Distractions – When you really need to focus, unplug the TV, log out of your email, Facebook, and IM, and put your phone in another room. Surround yourself with work and work only.
  • Don’t Quit – When you are feeling brain dead, it’s easy to set telecommuting work aside and call it a day. Even if you feel uninspired, try to be working ahead every single day.
  • Create Lists of Threes – Every day, make a list of things that must be done, things that could be done, and things that you would like to be done. That way you always have something to be working on.
  • Take Breaks – You need to take breaks even when surrounded by the comforts of home. Spend at least 15-30 minutes away from your desk every few hours.
  • Commit to Quitting Time – If you define a time when you will absolutely stop working, you will be more motivated to stay productive in the time leading up to it.
  • Focus on Finances – When your attention begins to wander, remember that all the time you spend not working is time when you are not making money.
  • Equip Yourself – Upgrading to a nicer office chair or wearing noise-canceling headphones when you are concentrating can both help you get more done.

Staying productive when telecommuting is a constant challenge. But lots people prefer it to commuting to a cubicle every day. If you’re interested in pursuing telecommuting opportunities or other types of non-traditional employment, contact The Concorde Group for Fairfield County jobs as well as jobs in Westchester NY.

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How to Negotiate Better in an Interview

February 25th, 2015

If you are entering into a salary negotiation, congratulations! It looks like your job search is over. But just because you’ve secured an offer doesn’t mean the hard work is over. The salary negotiation process can be long, confusing, contentious, and especially consequential if you accept a disappointing offer. Make sure you get what’s fair while staying in good standing with your new employer by following these strategies.

Do Research in Advance

It’s fairly easy these days to figure out what similar professionals in the same part of the country earn, and then factor in cost of living differences. Determine what the average level of compensation is before the first negotiation so you know if the offer is high, low, or about normal. Use sites like Salary.com to find the average wage for your industry.

Highlight Your Value

Clearly you are qualified for the position. But what kind of extra value can you bring to the table, and how will that affect the company’s bottom line? You can make the case that you deserve more because you can offer more, but you need to back it up with concrete statements.

Focus on Professional Matters

You might be eager to make more because you have unpaid medical bills or a kid heading off to college, but it is never appropriate to bring up your personal finances during a salary negotiation. Stick to the level and volume of work you will accomplish when justifying an increased salary.

Value Your Time

It’s common for companies to counter a salary offer by offering more pay for more work. Ask yourself if you have the time and drive to take on the extra work, and make sure that the additional pay is fair compensation for what’s being required of you.

Consider the Total Package

It’s important to look at health benefits, vacation time, tuition reimbursement, and other perks in addition to salary when calculating the value of an offer. And if the company holds firm on salary, you can negotiate other variables to improve the offer.

Be Reasonable

You might be tempted to throw out a wildly inflated figure and then expect to negotiate it down, but this only makes you look unprofessional and unrealistic in the eyes of your new employer. Shoot instead for the mid-to-high range of the average salary.

Remain Professional

No matter how the negotiations go, it’s important to remain cordial, civil, and perfectly professional throughout. If you reveal yourself to be petty or greedy, the employer has every right to withdraw their job offer.

The team at The Concorde Group is here to help you find the right job opportunity, get in front of the hiring  manager, ace the interview, and coast through the salary negotiation. If you’re ready to improve your job search in Fairfield CT, contact us today.

 

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How to Make Better Job Postings

February 11th, 2015

If you have a vacancy and you’re just not finding the right candidates to fill it, the problem could be the way your job posting is written. Use these tips to help improve your current posting and all the ones you write in the future.

Use Relevant Keywords

You might use phrases like “IT Brainiac,” or “Sales Ninja” to add some character to your posting and help you stand out, but ultimately this kind of esoteric phrasing just makes it harder for job seekers to find you. Using relevant keywords ensures you will narrow your candidate field to the actual qualified applicants you are looking for.

Create Attractive Postings

A job posting is similar to a resume. Both need to be attractive, attention grabbing, and easy to read/digest. Make sure you are using bullet points, add your company logo to the top, and consider making a brief recruiting video to connect a human face with your company.

Make Your Expectations Clear

If a job comes with special requirements – lots of travel, working unusual hours, the need to relocate regularly – make sure those points are made clear in your job posting. It helps no one if you try to obscure the true nature of the job you’re offering.

Be Brief

The average job posting is filled with extraneous information. There is no reason to mention that candidates “must be punctual and professionally dressed,” or to recount the entire history of your company. Cut out all but the most important information.

Start Strong

The most important and relevant information should appear at the top of the job posting. If you need to explain or elaborate, you can do that further down.

Mention Compensation

Every job seeker will be wondering about it. If you are prepared to offer generous or at least competitive compensation, say that explicitly. If your budget is tighter, emphasize other types of compensation or perks like vacation time, flexible scheduling, or tuition reimbursement.

Sell Your Company

This is especially important if you want to attract top talent. Try to answer these two questions – “Why would someone love having this job?” and “What do your employees love about working for your company?”

Position Yourself Honestly

If you are a small startup, it’s dishonest to describe yourself as the rival to Google. If you are honest about who you are as a company and where you are headed, you’ll attract candidates who are eager to work in the environment you provide.

Writing a better job posting is only part of the process. You also need to get that posting in front of more promising candidates. Get the help you need to connect with a vast pool of talent by partnering with The Concorde Group, a full-service staffing firm.

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