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Temping Tips

Posted on Apr 09, 2018

It is largely up to you how much you intend to gain from temporary employment. You can do a little more than just showing up for work. Depending on the job and company, there may be ways to maximize the opportunity. Even if your main goal is to generate income, why not seize each temp job as an opportunity and learn as much as you can? 

Take the time to learn
Learning what’s required of you and to getting up to speed on the assigned tasks is your first responsibility on any temporary assignment. Adjusting quickly is advantageous for both the employer and you. The time to look for additional learning opportunities comes after you’ve settled into your role. 

Take notice and observe
Quietly observe co-workers to learn what their roles are and what kind of skills they use. Take notice of what works better in this company than in other workplaces in which you’ve been employed.

Learn transferrable skills
Try to learn skills you can apply in other roles and businesses in your field of interest. Learning as much as possible about a chosen field will make you far more valuable in the marketplace.

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Weighing Job Offers

Posted on Apr 07, 2018

You were beginning to give up, to think you’d never get a really good job. You’d done all the right things and followed all the rules of the smart job hunt: exemplary research, networking, Internet search, resume and letters, interviews and even carefully crafted thank-you notes, but for weeks nothing happened. It was hard not to feel sorry for yourself and even more of an effort not to let self-doubts get you down.

Finally, however, not one, but two interesting job offers came your way. They each had positive aspects along with some negative ones. How could you intelligently distinguish between them? This is when a good decision-making system comes in handy. Here is one exceptionally helpful method:

1. Draw a chart.

2. From the following list, choose the six work needs that are most important to you:

A. Good pay and compensation: Consider stock options, regular raises, incentives and bonuses. If you’re moving to another city, does the money cover increased living expenses? Be sure to compare apples to apples here. Clarify issues like the vesting period of stock options.

B. Benefits: Consider both tangible benefits, like healthcare and in-house daycare, and intangible ones, like an enjoyable place to work. Wherever possible, try to attach dollar values to benefits so you will be comparing apples to apples.

C. Hours: How important is flex time or being home for dinner?

D. Time off: Is it important to be able to work part-time and take summers off?

E. Commute: How long will it take, and how much will it cost? Can you get there without a car?

F. Interesting tasks or subject matter: Can you use your skills in your new position? Will you be involved in a field that interests you?

G. Advancement possibilities: Are there good opportunities to move up and increase your earnings?

H. Organizational culture: Is the company staid and focused on traditional ways, or is it open and progressive? Which is better for you?

I. Coworkers: Are they the kind of people with whom you want to spend your days?

J. Company reputation: Is the organization well-respected and known for quality work and good management?

K. Industry future: The biotechnology field may be a good bet, but carbon paper probably is not.

L. Personal values: Does the company contribute to the community, make environmentally sound products and provide useful services?

M. Family-friendly environment: Is it easy to keep in touch with your children during the day? Can you attend important school events?

3. Place your top six work needs in priority order on the chart’s vertical axis. 

4. Along the top of the horizontal axis, note the two jobs you are considering; below each one place a plus sign, minus sign and a question mark. 

5. Starting with your most important work need, fill in the plus block for each job with a number from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest). Then add up the numbers to see which job has the highest score.

Always keep in mind that the most important element in career decisions is to thoroughly know yourself and your needs. What may look good to someone else may be a disaster for you. 

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Working with IT Recruiters

Posted on Apr 04, 2018

Sooner or later you’re going to get a call from a recruiter — or call one yourself. You’re an Oracle pro? A Java genius? More than likely, you’re already inundated with calls. All that attention can be daunting. Do you even want to work with a recruiter? What should you expect when working with one? Before you decide you want a recruiter on your side, check out these answers to common questions about working with recruiters.

Can a recruiter help me sort through my options?

Look to a recruiter for advice on your career, but remember, it’s your career, not the recruiter’s, and the ultimate decision about what jobs you seek is yours. Recruiters can help you determine where your skills fit into the marketplace or whether you need additional training. They have their pulse on the market and on what’s hot and what’s not, and that’s a valuable asset to you.

Do I need a certain amount of experience to work with a recruiter?

IT recruiters typically work with people with several years of experience, but that varies, depending on an individual’s expertise and education, the field and the recruiter’s own areas of specialization. As you would expect, the more experience you’ve got — and the greater demand for it — the better off you’ll be finding a recruiter. If you’re just getting into the industry, you may have a rough time getting a recruiter to talk to you; companies don’t want to pay a recruiter to fill an entry-level job when they’ve got stacks of resumes available to them. Still, just because one recruiter tells you he doesn’t want to work with you, that doesn’t mean another one won’t be interested. Just like finding a job takes time, so does finding the right recruiter.

What if a recruiter asks for an “exclusive”?

If you’re a hot candidate with skills in serious demand, a recruiter may ask for an “exclusive.” That means the recruiter would represent you for a period of time — a week, let’s say — with the understanding that you wouldn’t be working with other recruiters during that period. If you want to be a recruiter’s top priority, give them an exclusive.

What qualities should I look for in a recruiter?

Look for a recruiter who’s honest. Meet with the recruiter. You want someone who’s a good listener and will respond to your phone calls or emails. Consider whether they know your particular industry segment, too. Be open and be honest about what you want.

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Be True To Your Agency

Posted on Apr 02, 2018

Job hunters often feel they must embellish their skills to land a job, but when you sign up to work with a temp agency, exaggerating your skills may work against you. You could end up in the wrong position. So during your first meeting at a temp agency, be honest.

At the initial interview with a temp agency, you will be asked such questions as:

  • Have you worked in an environment that involves professional executives?
  • Have you worked in an environment that requires you to support many people versus just one executive? 
  • Are you more comfortable in a laid-back office that only requires casual dress, or do you prefer to wear a suit every day to the office.

Your answers to these types of questions will let the agency know about your soft skills. Since these are not already covered on your resume, your honesty here is essential to where you will be placed. Hard skills, such as experience with computer software and typing, are easy to test and help you get your foot in the door. Soft skills, the people skills and experience you’ve gained in different offices, may indicate whether or not you’ll last on a certain assignment.

By being dishonest with your agency, you are preventing them from giving you a good placement. And a bad placement doesn’t do anyone any favors.

Room for Error

What if you feel you’ve been honest with your temp agency representative, but the assignment you’re sent on still isn’t a good fit? The agency should take you off the job but not leave you hanging. It’s important to step back and accept such a critique of your work habits, especially after a job does not work out. Just view it as free advice that you can use to make yourself a better full-time employee down the road. Being armed with such information helps prep you not only for your next assignment, but also for your overall career goals.

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