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Shut Down the Negative Job Hopper Perception in Your Next Interview

November 21st, 2016

Since your first job in high school, you’ve been told that it’s best to spend some time at the same company for a while because it looks good on your resume. While we may still be hearing that advice, and even thinking it ourselves, the career path is different for everyone and so-called “job hopping” is becoming more regular.

A Negative Perception

There is a negative perception connected to job hopping. Among other reasons, three main concerns are:

  • Commitment Issues
  • Impatience
  • Doesn’t Play Well with Others

While it’s easy to see why these could be concerns of your hiring managers and interviewers, you can help them see that there can be other, respectable, reasons why job hopping occurs.

Shut Down Negative Perceptions

When you interview for a job, the hiring manager may not bring up these concerns specifically, but you can still shut down the unspoken perceptions by communicating the strengths that you’ve gained along the way as a job hopper.

  • Adaptable

Each time you start a new job, you are starting over. These transitions aren’t a piece of cake and it’s important to communicate your adaptability in the workplace. New systems, procedures, new people – you’re good at adapting to the new environment and finding your place at the company.

  • Thrives with Challenges

Job hopping really isn’t a bad thing when in fact you’re doing it to stay challenged and to meet each challenge head-on. You absolutely want to dispel thoughts that the reason you’re job hopping is because you felt challenged at previous jobs and you weren’t comfortable rolling with change at the office – whether it be new systems, new bosses, or new team members to work with. Instead, gently assure your interviewer that you want to stay challenged in the workplace, continuing to grow as a professional.

  • Passion for Fulfilling Work

Some hiring managers may see a job hopper as someone who doesn’t easily get along with others, someone who isn’t a team player. In your interview, be sure to speak to examples of your ability to work as a member of the team. If your motivation at work lies beyond your coworkers, explain that as well. Your career is about doing fulfilling work to the best of your abilities, and making friends along the way is an added bonus, but not a reason to stay in a particular position, just to log hours there.

Interviewing and Job Hunting Advice

For more interviewing insights and job hunting advice, or to find amazing job opportunities, contact Concorde Group, a leading staffing agency in Westchester, NY.

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Do You Have the Correct Networking Mindset?

October 26th, 2016

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One of the biggest buzzwords in the career world is “networking.” Despite its popularity, few people begin knowing how to really network effectively. There are two key factors you need to understand when you go to a networking event.

Be Yourself

Age-old advice for making friends on the playground is relevant to the world of networking, too. Go into any networking event with the intention of being yourself and making connections that feel natural.

Being genuine will be refreshing to your fellow networking friends and just like how you would want to help a friend, this approach will end up helping you in the long run. If you are trying to be someone you aren’t, you might see success in the short term but it won’t be beneficial in the long term.

Don’t Come On Too Strong

Don’t go into a networking event with a huge agenda. One pitfall you want to avoid is spewing out your resume and skill set when you begin meeting people. If you are too rehearsed in giving out your resume, you will only be remembered as the person who was too desperate and was too self-involved.

Remember, you want to make casual friends, not apply for an unlisted job. People don’t want to hear your resume, they want to make connections. As you continue to go to networking events, you want to be excited to see some of these people, and you’ll want them to be excited to catch up with you, too.

Help Others

As you begin to make friendly connections, look for ways that you can help them. Maybe you have a skill that can help them at their office, or maybe you know of someone else who can fill a need. Be a resource for others and remember that every side project or favor you do is giving you experience.

For every opportunity you seize to help others, there is a chance that those people will also want to help you as well. Networking often works as a give-and-take. If you see a job opening that works for a colleague, share it with them and even offer to serve as a reference. Those types of favors will pay off when you need them.

For Job Leads, Look Here

As you enjoy your networking events, visit Concorde Personnel. You can create a relationship with a professional staffing agency in White Plains that can help you find a job, while you immerse yourself in your local networking scene.

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5 Tips to Nail Your Next Phone Interview

July 27th, 2016

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The hiring process has gotten longer over the years. It’s rare to have just one interview anymore. Instead, companies are taking advantage of technology by having preliminary, although just as important, interviews over the phone or using a video call service.

In this post we’ll talk about ways to feel confident in your phone interview, allowing you to make a lasting impression – without even meeting your interviewers face-to-face.

1. Be Prepared.

You might be able to hold the interview in the comfort of your own home, but that does not mean that you should split any focus. Be just as prepared for this interview as you would be for an in-person interview. The people on the other end will be able to tell if you came prepared or slacked off before you got on the call. Have a notebook ready with talking points or for taking notes, and have your resume out to reference. Good preparation is the start of a great phone interview!

2. Find a Quiet Location.

Nothing is worse in a phone interview than having a lot of noise in the background distracting from your conversation. Phones are sensitive to noise, a public space will probably give away your location to your interviewers on the other end.  They should not hear friends or family members having a good time, nor should they hear a coffee drink being artfully prepared.

3. Dress the Part.

Of course, this is optional. You could do a phone interview in your pajamas if you’ve nailed all the other points. However, many job candidates find that dressing to impress actually helps them feel put together and in a professional mindset for the interview.

4. Walk Around and Project Your Voice.

Having a phone interview gives you the option to walk around and talk with your hands in a judgment-free zone. Go for it! You need to be able to communicate your enthusiasm and expertise over the phone, so if you keep yourself lively, people will be able to hear your passion on the other end.

5. Smile!

Next time you’re on the phone, listen for the difference in your voice inflection when you smile versus other times. It changes, and people want to hire happy people. Plus, smiling, even to yourself, keeps you engaged in the phone interview and helps communicate the enthusiasm and drive you have for the job position.

For more helpful insight on finding a job and navigating the job market, contact Concorde Personnel. As a leader in staffing in Westchester, we have a number of great career opportunities that match your skill set!

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You Have a Gap in Your Resume – Why It’s OK!

June 30th, 2016

August 4th

Traditional job search wisdom says that a gap in your resume is a deal breaker for hiring managers. The gap is viewed as a period when you were either unemployable or too disengaged to look for work in a meaningful way. The reality of that gap period, of course, is often much different, but resumes are not great storytellers. Luckily, you can overcome this obstacle to employment and possibly even use it to your advantage. Take advantage of these strategies to bridge your resume gap.

Switch to a Skills-Based Resume

Most resumes are organized as a chronological timeline of your employment history. In this configuration, gaps are glaring. Instead, switch to a skills-based resume that emphasizes what you can do rather than when and where you have done it. Focus on the hard and soft skills that you possess that are most relevant to the position you’re trying to secure, and mention how those skills have produced positive results for past employers. When a hiring manager sees your resume they will be more focused on your future than your past.

Create a Positive Spin

A gap in your employment doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you used the time productively. Maybe you dedicated yourself to picking up new skills or to volunteering with a worthy cause in a meaningful way. In that context, your gap was more about personal and professional development than laziness. Even if you took the time off to do things irrelevant to your career, you can stress that now that you’ve fulfilled your lifelong dream of traveling through Asia or writing a screenplay, you’re ready to throw yourself back into the world of work. A potential employer will be more willing to accept a gap in your past than a gap looming in your future.

Be Open and Honest

A gap in your employment is likely to come up during the job interview. When answering, be honest about why the gap happened and what you did with your time. A dishonest answer will raise red flags at best, and expose you as a liar at worst. In anticipation of this question, prepare your answer in advance so that you don’t get flustered in your interview. As much as possible, try to frame your gap as a positive, or at least as unavoidable. Finally, deliver your response with confidence. If you don’t view your gap as a negative trait, your interviewer might not also.

We’ve shown you one way to frame yourself as a candidate who is not unqualified. But you need to make an equal or greater effort to frame yourself as a candidate who is uniquely qualified. Learn how to do that by working with The Concorde Group, a leading staffing agency in Westchester.

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Is Your Cover Letter Ready for a Job Search in 2016?

April 27th, 2016

June 3

Your resume and cover letter are equally important but completely opposite kinds of documents. Your resume is basically an outline of your skills and experiences. It gives hiring managers an easy way to scan your credentials. Your cover letter is where you make the case for why you’re fit for the job and better than any other candidate. It frames your credentials in the most relevant and enticing way possible. That’s why it’s so important to craft and revise the document carefully. Watch out for these common mistakes:

  • Bad Writing. Your cover letter must be impeccable. Typos, grammar mistakes, and awkward phrasing all make you look unprofessional. If you don’t consider yourself a strong writer, have a friend or family member help you edit.
  • Too Long. The goal is to make the biggest impression in the least amount of time. You cover letter should not be longer than one page, and should ideally be only three paragraphs. Make sure every sentence communicates something important.
  • Too General. It’s never a good idea to rely on a stock cover letter. Start each one from scratch, and be sure that the language and details you include relate directly to the company and available job. Show them your the best fit for this
  • Being Humble. Your cover letter is not a place to qualify your credentials, downplay your accomplishments, or be brutally honest about your strengths and weaknessses. In the short window of time you have, make yourself look as good as possible, just make sure you don’t lie.
  • Being Arrogant. The opposite is just as big a problem. If you were a totally perfect, one-of-a-kind professional, you would either have a job or have recruiters beating down your door. Don’t make it sound like you deserve a job without being fully vetted.
  • Over Explaining. You may be tempted to describe why you quit or were laid off from your past job. In most cases, this information is irrelevant and will only hurt your case. Focus on the positives and focus on the future.
  • Bad Formatting. Something that looks great on a printed piece of paper may not look great in an email, inside a form, or posted on a social network. Make sure that you format your cover letter so that it makes an equal impact across platforms.
  • Stopping Short. Most cover letters end with a pledge to follow up with the employer. End yours the right way, and then actually follow up. This helps demonstrate your interest in the position and keeps your name fresh in the hiring manager’s mind.

A great cover letter is important, but remember that it’s only one piece of the puzzle. You also need to have a polished resume, and turn in a great interview performance. Find resources to help you through every step in the process by working with The Concorde Group, a top staffing agency in Westchester.

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Is Your Online Job Presence Ready for Your Job Search?

February 24th, 2016

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As a job seeker, you need to put your very best face forward at all times. That means submitting carefully crafted and edited employment documents, acing your job interview, and acting professionally at all networking events. It also means you need to clean up your online presence.

The simple fact is that many of us have information that is “less than professional” floating around online. And while it may not be embarrassing, it’s not the kind of thing you want a potential employer to see as they evaluate your credentials and character. Here a few tips to help you clean up your online image:

Search for Your Name

It’s now standard practice for any employer to do a basic internet search of a candidate. Visit the major search engines and do the same – you might be surprised at what comes up. Information that you thought was lost in your past or buried deep in the list of search rankings might show up in the top few spots. Look at both sites and images.

Check Your Social Media

This is an area that trips up a lot of job seekers. You might not like the idea of an employer going onto your Facebook profile, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. If they are able to view photos of you getting wild on a vacation or acting in a way that calls your character into question, it’s going to reduce your standing as a candidate.  The first step is to remove any embarrassing photos and information. The second step is to set all but the most basic information to private viewing. Make sure you don’t overlook any old profiles that may have sat dormant for years.

Watch Out for Your Friends

You may not have posted anything embarrassing online, but that doesn’t mean your friends and family haven’t. Don’t make the shortsighted mistake of only cleaning up your own profile. Scrutinize your entire presence on social media, even if it takes some digging. Get rid of the content you have control over, and politely ask friends and family to remove anything you don’t have control over.

Turn Negatives into Positives

There is some information that it’s simply impossible to scrub off of the internet. If you find embarrassing information that’s permanently imbedded, the solution is to bury it. You can do this by establishing profiles on additional social media sites, starting a blog or personal website, and getting active on message boards and professional sites. Over time the embarrassing content will fall in the rankings and eventually become invisible to all but the most determined searchers.

Cleaning up your online presence is not something you should do, it’s something you MUST do. To learn about other job search essentials, connect with the team at The Concorde Group to work with a top staffing agency in Connecticut and Westchester.

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Stay Connected to Your Job Networks Without Being a Pest

February 15th, 2016

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Networking is a crucial component to getting a job. Hands down, who you know is going to make a difference in if you get the job, or not. Sometimes, even the most determined HR executive is going to choose someone they know over someone with a stellar resume. However, there is a fine line to cross. Asking friends and family, or other connections, for a job on a regular basis gets annoying. How can you stay in the back of their mind without pushing yourself on them?

Use the Right Networking Tools the Right Way

When networking, stay connected using the right tools and methods. You can do so without overwhelming your network. Here are a few key ways to keep the connection without burning the bridge.

  • Take a few minutes out of your day to use social media. Using websites like Facebook and Twitter keep your name and information in from of those you want it to be in front of. However, you are not pushing yourself on that recruiter. He or she keeps your name in mind but your message does not have to be an asking-for-a-job message.
  • Be social without just throwing your name around. Sometimes you will need to put yourself out there. You will want to schedule a meeting with a top recruiter or HR manager to discuss options and let them know you are looking for a position. What you do not want to do is to push the envelope too often.  Going out to lunch once every few months is enough.
  • Talk to those who like you. There is no benefit to talking, working with or trying to network with people who do not like you for some reason. They are unlikely to hand over your name in a discussion with an employer. Rather, spend your time building networks with those who do like you.
  • Become a resource for the other person. In other words, you will want to ensure you are offering them something. You may become their go-to person for industry news, for example. They learn something or better themselves by talking to you. You become valuable and they keep you in mind because of it.
  • Do ensure you are not overdoing it by watching the way the person reacts to you. If you notice, he or she stops responding to you or is not willing to meet your eye-to-eye, take the cue.

Networking is a critical component to building a successful career. Those who are looking for a job may easily overdo it, though. This happens when people get into positions where they simply need a job. However, pull it back and use networking effectively. It will make a significant difference in how successful you are with finding a job as well. Get your name out there and keep it in the back of the mind of the right person and you will land the right job if it is out there.

For more support with your job search, be sure to check out the resources at Concorde Personnel today! We welcome your comments below.

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Small Business Web Design Tips That Appeal to Customers and Attract Job Seekers

February 8th, 2016

July 21st HR Managers

Designing a website for your company is more than just creating one that attracts the right customers. It also has to take into consideration the job seekers you are hoping will apply. Candidates should benefit from visiting the site to learn about your corporate culture and any career opportunities available as well. It is possible to create a website that serves the needs of all of these potential visitors, but doing so requires more than just putting up your average three-page website.

Attracting Customers with a Website 

Most businesses need to use their website as a tool for attracting customers – this could be your first and primary tool. If this is important, use these tips:

  • Stand out with your design. Ensure your site is different from everyone else’s.
  • Use images and lots of them. You do not want the website to load slowly, but you do want to use images to attract customers.
  • Make sure the site is easy to navigate. One of the biggest drawbacks of a website can be making it hard to find products or services.

If your website has personality and properly markets your brand, it will do well with customers. This makes it easy to meet your business goals.

A Website Focusing on Job Seekers

A business website can also appeal to those who are looking for a job. If you are hiring and are seeking employees to fit key roles, or just want to make sure you are accessible when the very best applicant is looking, design your site with job seeker benefits. Here are some tips.

  • Do not just say you are hiring. Most applicants will not apply unless there is potential in getting hired. If your site does nothing more than say you are hiring, it is not doing enough.
  • Provide information about the positions available. You should list information about the skills, experience and even the pay for the potential employee.
  • Ensure there is a way for candidates to apply to you. Provide a specific email address. Some companies allow applicants to apply for positions on the site by submitting resumes.
  • Use a hiring page to convey your needs, but also to encourage those with skills to apply. You will want to ensure the best apply, not just anyone. A hiring page can provide all of the information an applicant needs to answer the question, “Should I apply?”
  • Use your company blog to discuss working aspects of your job. This is the ideal place to discuss what it is like to work with your company. It is also a good way to get traffic to your hiring page if you are looking for candidates.

For applicants, finding a hiring page that lists positions and hiring requirements is like getting all of the information they need to know if they should apply. Hands down, this is one of the most effective ways to ensuring you get the best applicants.

Your business website needs to meet the goals and needs of any person visiting it. Just as you do not want to lose that value customer who stops by, you also don’t want to lose the top notch employee who is looking for a position. Make it work for all.

 

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4 Skills to Showcase to Stand Out to Hiring Managers

January 26th, 2016

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. You’ve listed a vacancy, and the resumes have begun to pour in. As you read through the stack, you notice that the majority of the candidates have degrees from solid colleges, skills that are relevant to the position, and experience working in the industry. Basically, everyone is equally qualified. When this dilemma presents itself (and it often does) hiring managers have to look past hard credentials and evaluate candidates based on character and personality – soft skills. There are the four soft skills that you will want to showcase in order to stand out from all the other candidates:

Manageability

You might be a top performer, but if you are hard to manage, you will only be a disruption to a team. Hiring managers want to know that the person they hire can take direction, respond to criticism and feedback, accept assigned roles, and defer to the decision of superiors. Candidates can demonstrate this skill by highlighting instances when they met goals and earned extra responsibilities.

Communication

You can have tons of great ideas, but if you can’t communicate them, they don’t do anyone any good. Conversely, if you can’t hear and digest the ideas of others, then you will cause a lot more problems than you solve. Hiring managers will hesitate to hire anyone who can’t communicate clearly in all formats and all settings. Candidates can demonstrate this skill by submitting a polished resume/cover letter and turning in a great interview performance.

Cooperation

You don’t get hired to work on your own; you get hired to work as part of a team. That is true regardless of the position or setting. If you can’t be a team player, you will hold everyone else around you back and put the biggest and most important plans in jeopardy. For obvious reasons, hiring managers don’t want to hire people who can’t work with those around them. Candidates can demonstrate this skill by highlighting team accomplishments and describing their individual contribution.

Resilience

You might do great when things are going smoothly, but if you fall apart in stressful situations you’re not much of an asset to a company. In business, the unexpected is inevitable and stress is unavoidable. Hiring managers only want to bring someone onboard who can perform during the good times and the bad. Candidates can highlight this skill by describing moments of adversity and how they overcame them.

Rather than explicitly stating that you have these skills, prove that you have them using anecdotes, metrics, and demonstrations. Those carry a lot more weight with hiring managers. Find more resources to help you catch attention by contacting the Concorde Group.

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What Does “We’ll Keep Your Resume on File” Actually Mean?

December 28th, 2015

All job seekers have heard it before – “We’ll keep your resume on file.” Most of us interpret this as a polite way to say “Thanks but no thanks,” but there is always the tantalizing possibility that someone will reference your resume in the future and offer you a job out of the blue. So what does this overused phrase actually mean? Should you look elsewhere or hold out hope? It all depends on the job and the company, but usually this phrase means one of three things:

“We Like You as a Candidate, but Not for This Job”

There are some job seekers who have a lot of impressive credentials and interpersonal skills but simply aren’t the best fit for the job they’ve applied for. In this case the hiring manager may be legitimately interested in keeping you in the recruiting orbit, but doesn’t have a job to offer right now. You should only come to this conclusion if you have had at least one interview that you felt went well and received warm sentiments when you reached out to the hiring manager subsequently.

“There Was Never Really a Job Available”

Too often recruiting is more about optics than efficiency. Companies will often initiate a perfunctory recruiting process knowing the entire time that an internal candidate will be tapped to fill the role. That means you likely haven’t been vetted very closely and the offer to keep the resume on file is simply a polite sentiment. The good news, however, is that while you didn’t dazzle, you didn’t make a bad impression either. You should feel welcome to apply for future opportunities and can use your previous experience to demonstrate a longstanding interest in the company.

“Please Do Not Contact Us Again”

After an interview, it’s appropriate to follow up once but not more than that. There are a number of professionals, unfortunately, who haven’t learned this lesson and incessantly reach out to hiring managers post-interview. They will often get the resume on file line simply as a way to sever the string of contact. If you proved yourself to be a bit too eager (be honest with yourself), you should give up on this opportunity and look elsewhere. Use the experience as a learning opportunity and find a better way to demonstrate your enthusiasm.

No matter which of these responses applies to you, one thing is clear – you’re going to need to continue your job search. Don’t be deflated, just do things better. Access resources from The Concorde Group to help you find superior job opportunities in Westchester NY and get your foot in the door faster.

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