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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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Three Tips to Improve Your Ability to Hold a Conversation with Anyone

October 29th, 2015

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There are few skills absolutely essential for success in business no matter what role you work in. Right at the top of that list is communication skills. Being able to communicate effectively helps you sidestep common problems, identify hidden opportunities, and increase your value to your company. Conversely, having poor communication skills can put your career on hold, even if you have talents elsewhere. With that fact in mind, we have identified three tips that can help anyone hold a better conversation no matter who they are talking to.

Watch Your Body Language

You communicate with a lot more than just your voice. If you are having a conversation with someone but you are constantly fidgeting while your eyes are darting around the room, your audience won’t feel like you are invested and engaged. When you are speaking to someone, be sure to make eye contact, to use expressive gestures (but not too many), and to give the other person your undivided attention. When you are speaking, talk slowly rather than rushing to the end of your sentences. Basically, be the person you wish you were talking to.

Look for Detail

One of the hardest things about having a conversation is that small talk is boring by definition. You have to get through it to connect with a stranger, but you can only spend so much time talking about the weather. For that reason make sure to keep your eyes out for details that reveal something about your audience. You might notice a wedding ring, a pin for a college or sports team, a candid photo on a desk, or a movie reference on an office wall. Make the effort to get to know the other person as a real person.

Study Your Vocabulary

The reason that a lot of people are poor communicators is that they simply use the wrong words to say what they want. They use 10 words when two will do, or try to express big, complex ideas in clipped, confusing sentences. That habit can be a conversation killer, and it can get you into hot water in a business environment. In most cases there is one perfect word that will be descriptive but brief, expressive but appropriate, and surprising but understandable. Study your own word choices, and you will likely unearth some room for improvement.

Communication skills really can be learned, developed, and improved. If you’re not great in conversation now, there is no reason you can’t be later. Start developing those skills, and when you’re ready to leverage them to enhance your career, contact the Concorde Group.

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Create a Complete and Effective Reference List

September 30th, 2015

Hiring managers get paid to be suspicious. Every candidate they vet claims to have extensive experience and impressive credentials. It is the hiring manager’s job to figure out how many of those claims are true. That’s why assembling a list of references is such an asset to job seekers. These references can provide independent, objective conformation of a candidate’s credentials – the kind of information that hiring managers consider closely. Use the following tips to help you put together a complete and effective reference list.

  • Be Brief and Relevant – Rather than listing contacts for every place you’ve worked, limit your list of reference to three or four entries and pick the ones that are most applicable to the job you’re applying for. The best policy is to condense everything to one page.
  • Stick to Bosses – You may have had a close and cordial relationship with former co-workers, but their opinions won’t carry much weight with hiring managers. As you are assembling references, limit it to supervisors and bosses.
  • Don’t Eliminate Friends and Family – Typically, you will not want to put friends and family on your reference list. But if you have a professional connection to them, listing them as a reference is perfectly valid. If, for example, you worked at a family business or had a close friend as a boss, these would be valid references.
  • Stay Recent – It will raise red flags with hiring mangers if your reference list doesn’t include any contacts from jobs you’ve held in the recent past. As much as possible, try to populate your list with the most recent entries possible.
  • Notify Your Choices – You should always notify a reference that you have included them and alert them that they may be contacted. You should then explain the position you are seeking and request that the reference highlight certain aspects of your hard and soft skills. You don’t have to dictate their answers – and they should never be dishonest – but don’t hesitate to give them some guidance to follow.
  • Rotate and Refresh – If you are applying for a lot of jobs, you won’t want to include the same references over and over. They could find themselves fielding daily calls and quickly grow resentful. Try and rotate your entries to avoid this fatigue, and be sure to constantly update your list when new references become applicable. This is a document that should be constantly evolving throughout your career.

Assembling a list of references is an essential part of the application process. But your resume, cover letter, and portfolio need to be just as polished. Learn how to put your best face forward by working with the team at The Concorde Group who can help you find Stamford jobs and more!

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Should You Start Using Video Interviews?

September 15th, 2015

June 7

Thanks to advances in technology, the feasibility of holding video interviews has improved greatly in recent years. And with recruiting being such a time- and labor-intensive process, utilizing video interviews can add a helpful tool to the process. So, should you start using video interviews? Ask yourself the following questions.

Have You Struggled to Attract Top Talent?

Every company is desperate to recruit top talent, meaning that these impressive performers are often being actively courted by multiple companies at once. One way to differentiate your company from the competition is by making the hiring process faster and more efficient, and using video interviews is one way to do that. You can introduce your company and your job offer to the candidate without putting a strain on the candidate’s time or schedule. That’s a thoughtful touch they will appreciate.

Do You Spend Too Much on Travel Costs?

The cost of flying a candidate into town and putting them up in a hotel is significant. And if your company is not shouldering this cost, the candidate is – meaning they will be less inclined to pursue your open positions. Using video interviews is an easy and effective way to eliminate this cost entirely. You get the same benefits of having a face-to-face interview, even when you are located on opposite coasts.

Would You Like to Recruit Internationally?

Some of the today’s top talent is coming from abroad, and recruiting internationally can connect your company with a huge new pool of truly exciting talent. Unfortunately, the fiscal and logistical challenges of trying to interview international talent makes it a prohibitive process for both the candidate and the employer. Video interviewing gives you a fast, cheap and flexible way of connecting with this talent, without trying to coordinate international travel.

Has Traditional Recruiting Become Ineffective?

Just because something is established doesn’t mean it’s effective. This is especially true in the case of interviewing candidates. For decades we have conducted the process in the exact same way – but it continues to produce uncertain, sometimes disastrous results. Video interviewing allows you to combine the features of a face-to-face interview with intriguing multimedia enhancements. Both parties have the ability to send files back and forth, deliver rich presentations, reference information online, and more. In practice, this represents a significant upgrade over the way we currently conduct interviews.

Are you ready to start holding video interviews? If so, you first need to begin assembling a candidate pool. Find resources to help you connect with better candidates faster for White Plains jobs and more by partnering with The Concorde Group.

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Want to Find a Job? Increase Your Networking

July 30th, 2015

May 19

Ask any hiring manager to name the most dependable way to find new hires and they will tell you referrals and recommendations. No matter how polished your resume and cover letter, they can’t make as strong a statement as someone already in a company or industry giving your their endorsement. And to get those endorsements, you need to network more and network better. If you are new to the process or not getting the results you want, rely on these tips.

Introduce Value to Your Network

Too often people approach networking wondering “what can you do for me?” The better approach is to ask “what can I do for you?” Not only will this help you connect with a more valuable group of professionals, it allows you to show off some of the experience and expertise you want to demonstrate to employers.

Try to Make Quality Connections

Rather than reaching out to every relevant professional on LinkedIn or trying to meet every person at a professional conference, try to make meaningful connections with fewer people. It’s great to have a huge network, but if none of the members really know you, they won’t feel comfortable recommending you for a job. Focus your efforts on quality over quantity and you’ll get better results.

Make an Invitation

Lots of networking these days takes place online, but often this only leads to the kind of shallow networking we warned about in the previous point. Make it a priority to actually invite people to meet with you in person, over lunch, at their office, wherever you both feel comfortable. If you buy someone a meal, they are a lot more likely to remember you when they hear about a vacancy.

Stay on Top Of Your Connections

If you wait until you’re actively looking for a job to reach out to members of your network, don’t expect to get a very enthusiastic response. The better strategy is to regularly connect with valuable professionals in your network and keep them informed about the kinds of projects you’re working on or industry issues you’re following. If you’re already out of work, don’t make the focus of your network-building process simply finding a new job.

Connect Your Connections

Networking goes both ways. If you have made connections with exciting members of your field, make sure they’re connected to each other as well. That helps you provide the value we talked about in the first point, and helps all of you ultimately connect with more people.

This may sound unorthodox, but one of the best ways to grow and improve your network is to partner with a staffing agency. After all, these professional recruiters already have hundreds of connections with companies in your field and professionals just like you. Get the process started and begin reaping the rewards by contacting The Concorde Group. We place jobs in Connecticut and more!

 

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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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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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