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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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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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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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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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