Ace Your Annual Review!

by AppleOne 17. December 2014

For many employees, the end of the year means that annual reviews are just around the corner. While annual reviews are a part of corporate life, they should not be taken for granted as they can serve as a way for you to reflect on where you are and where you want to be. Below are some steps you can take to ensure you are prepared for and get the most out of your review:

 

Look Back At the Year and Review Your Achievements

Be honest about yourself when you are getting ready for your review. Think about where you have thrived during the year and where you may need some work. What were your top achievements? Could you have done anything different to improve your standing in the company? Think about where you could improve yourself in the next year, along with where you think you are doing things correctly.  Don’t be negative about yourself, just be realistic.

 

Look At the Guidance Your Manager Gave You Last Year and See If You Followed It

One of the best things about annual reviews is that your manager will give you advice on where you can improve during the next year. Before you get advice for the new year, look back on coaching from last year and ask yourself whether you have succeeded in following it.

 

Treat It Like A Yearly Job Interview

Are you planning to move up in your company? Do you want to make the impression that you are ready for a new challenge? Treat your annual review like it is a yearly job interview. Remember to prepare and practice answers ahead of time, and just generally make the review a constructive experience. You will find that things will go smoother when you plan ahead.

 

Consider Whether It Is Time to Move On

Your yearly review is a great time for you to consider where you are and whether it is where you want to be. If you feel stuck in the position you are in, or you are unfulfilled with the company, you may want to consider trying something new. There is no time like today to change things up if you are looking for a new challenge.

Strategies for Happiness (While Job Hunting)

by AppleOne 5. November 2014

Searching for your next career opportunity is a job, and just like any job it can take a toll and your mood and even your physical wellbeing. It is important to have strategies to stay positive and focused, to take care of yourself and to stay connected to your social support system.

Stay Optimistic

Workplace studies have shown that an optimistic frame of mind leads to increased productivity, performance and peer-relationship success. This is especially important in a job search where successful strategies require you to make good impressions on peers and hiring managers. It can seem a little mystical, but research has found that your inner monologue can affect your state of mind. Remember to tell yourself that you will be successful. Don’t allow negative thoughts to enter your mind or prevent you from applying to positions for which you are qualified. Think of yourself as a champion who deserves a great job. This will keep you confident, which other people respond to.

Keep Your Body Happy

Physical fitness is another way to ensure a positive state of mind. It can eliminate stress, and will also help you to project confidence and enthusiasm. Consider your exercise regimen as part of your job search process. Even 20 minutes of exercise three times a week can do wonders for your stamina and your general outlook.

Be sure to eat healthy as well. It can be comforting to let your eating habits go in times of unemployment or stress. Instead, think of this time off from work as a chance to rewire your dietary regime for increased health, happiness and success.

Connect With Others

Unemployment can feel isolating. The workplace is for many of us a major social focal point. We lose touch with others when the routine of work disappears.

Keeping in touch with your former coworkers and reigniting relationships that may have lapsed with old schoolmates, childhood friends and others in your professional network has a dual benefit: you enjoy the wellbeing and mental health that comes with socializing with your fellow humans, and you broaden your chances of creating a connection that leads to your new job.

Send emails, write letters, connect on social media and invite others to coffee and brunch. Reach out to experts in your field whom you admire. Create connections for yourself. People love to talk and love to talk about themselves (obviously!) so if there’s someone currently doing the job you want, ask them how they got there. There are mentors all around you, waiting for you to initiate the conversation.

Keeping It in Perspective

Above all else, treat yourself with respect as you hunt for a new job. Do not call yourself names or beat yourself up mentally. Give your mind breaks from the search. Do things you love and remind yourself of the good things you do have. At the end of the day, a job is a part of your life, but it isn’t who you are.

Become a LinkedIn Power User

by AppleOne 24. October 2014

There is perhaps no tool available to job seekers as powerful as LinkedIn. 

94% of recruiters use it to find and vet candidates, and jobs posted on LinkedIn are seen by three times as many candidates as on Twitter and nearly six times as many as on Facebook. In short, LinkedIn is the career-networking tool of our times, so we’d like to share a few ways to get the most out of it as a job seeker.

 

  • Having a LinkedIn Profile matters.
    Even if you do not use LinkedIn to search for jobs, Recruiters and hiring managers will look you up in order to make a decision to contact you.  If your information is not there or private, they have nothing to get excited about.  This means they may call someone else first or at all

  • It’s not quantity – its quality
    Expect to be told to fill in every section of the Profile.  The more information you provide, the easier it is for people to make a decision with.  Knowing that your information is a decision making tool,  it is OK to skip sections that do not add value.  Knowing that you information helps make a decision, it is wise to atleast include a description of what your background and core abilities are.  Some professionals put this into a well crafted Summary, and others complete the Work History.  Focus on the quality of anything you write.

  • Include powerful keywords in your summary.
    Make sure you use searchable keywords in your personal summary and job title.  Highlight the job types or skills you most want to be known for. Whether it’s “top sales producer” “cutting edge marketing executive” “Photoshop Guru” or or “Medical Billing and Coding” – spell it out so that it’s searchable.
    Be precise and detailed in your summaries of each job entry. Just knowing your job title doesn’t do anything to communicate your value as an employee. But if can provide quantifiable products and processes you improved, revenue you earned and/or saved, accolades, and awards, you are showing recruiters that there is a quantifiable value to hiring you.
  • Join relevant groups and causes.
    In this world of extreme niche networking and long-tail job matching, the more detailed your area of expertise, the more likely you are to be seen and recruited by someone looking for someone exactly like you. Whether its carbon-fiber engineering for fishing rods or mobile app development, there will be a group of professionals that specialize in it – and can put you in touch with firms that are hiring. 

  • Collect skill endorsements and personal recommendations like crazy.
    One of the reasons recruiters and HR professionals love LinkedIn is that it rolls resumes and personal references into a single online document. Resumes are very biased and one-sided – they’re you talking about how great you are. But endorsements and written recommendations on LinkedIn adds the proof via of peer review to the mix. Third party content – from bosses, coworkers, vendors, collaborators, clients and direct reports – show that the glowing things you said about yourself on your resume are backed up by the testimonials of others.

  • Last and most vital – your profile photo.
    Your photo is your first impression of the person they need to solve a problem or opportunity.  The photo must represent you in that light.  These are the most common examples of what hiring managers tell us will turn them away:  fuzzy or dark resolution, head chopped, no eye contact/side glance, in the fun zone, or too flirtatious.

 

What does your resume really say about you?

by AppleOne 15. October 2014

You toil over your resume, pouring your heart and soul into each job entry, ensuring each sentence is crisply worded and the layout is pixel perfect. But you get lukewarm responses, or worse, no response at all. Although there are many reasons unrelated to you directly for not getting a response, let’s read between the lines of your resume through the eyes of an employer.

Mixed Messages

  • THIS WORKS: Each job in the list builds upon the next says you are continually growing your contribution and responsibility level. Include subordinate job titles, not just your most recent.

  • NOT AS MUCH: Each job seems unrelated, jumping from retail sales to accounting, with no obvious cohesion. This can come across as “I’m still finding my way and this next job is another I may leave in a year or two.”

    • FIX IT: Address it by including similar functions or accomplishments to the job you are applying to as a way to demonstrate how your diverse skills make you right for the current position.

  • THIS WORKS: Promotions within a given organization; it says you are able to take on more and excel! o KEEP IT: But even if you have stayed in the same role, promoting added responsibility and different projects can deliver the same message, even without titles.

  • NOT AS MUCH: Short employment spans with multiple companies may say job hopper or that you are unable to find your place in an organization…

    • FIX IT: Instead package your diverse history as a benefit, because what you learned from each job brings huge value to your next role – this is a growth opportunity.

  • THIS WORKS: Clear, concise formatting, clear dates and locations, chronological structure on resume.

  • NOT AS MUCH: Hard to find job titles, no date ranges, and a template that looks like it is concealing something. Functional resumes are fine, but be sure to immediately provide the information the recruiter needs to understand your work history and skills progression.

  • FIX IT: How To Address Resume Gaps   

Quick Fixes

  1. Unprofessional email address. No HaloKiller420@hotmail.com or xxUnicornRainbowGirl@yahoo.com here, folks. We’re grownups with jobs to do. First name, last name, initial if possible.

  2. Resume gaps – although gaps are more common post-recession, be prepared to answer questions. Do not omit project work, personal adventures or other. It is better to have spent time deliberately away from standard employment.

  3. Formatting – Keep your job titles larger as a part of the header. It is the first thing an employer wants to know about each position. Place top contributions as bullet points at the top as a bill board of who you are.

  4. Spelling/grammar errors illustrate that you are rushed, not detail oriented or not well educated…have someone else proof it MANY times. Get it perfect.

  5. Resume not tailored to a specific job opening means you may not be found automated applicant tracking systems and it shows you may be applying to anything and everything – be sure to customize it so all info relates directly to open position.

  6. False/dishonest information is an absolute career killer. Don’t do it.

  7. Overlong may cause a recruiter or employer to lose the key points. It is OK to bullet point your contributions. Keep it short and sharp.

  8. Finally, use a cover note to MAKE IT CLEAR how the position being offered is the absolutely right next step in your career, and demonstrate QUANTIFIABLE value you will bring to it!

The Subject of Employment Gaps

by AppleOne 18. September 2014

One of the harshest realities of today’s competitive job market is that gaps in employment can lead to negative misconceptions by some employers and recruiters.

In this blog, we’re going to do our best to include a couple quick strategies for addressing longer gaps in your resume– and next week’s blog will focus on how to present yourself if you’re currently unemployed.

What is considered a “gap”

There’s no exact science for determining whether or not a gap in your employment needs to be addressed on your resume in some way. Certainly gaps between jobs of a few months are to be expected, but when those gaps extend towards the year-plus mark, perhaps consider addressing them strategically.

The reasons for the gaps are immaterial – and private to you. Whether you were raising your family, battling an illness, traveling the world or trying to find work, we carefully considering how you share your personal reasons for having employment gaps. While it’s against the law for employers to discriminate based on your familial, personal and health history, that doesn not mean it never happens. This is your career -- protect your future strategically. Click here to learn more about addressing medical absences carefully.

Step 1: Resume Formatting

  • Year-Style Formatting

One common solution is switching your resume’s entries from months + years to just years. A gap in employment from February 2002 to November 2002 is easily covered when it appears that you held Job A from 1999 to 2002 and Job B from 2002 to 2005.

  • Functional resume formatting

For more drastic gaps in employment, moving the focus away from employment chronology may be the solution. A functional resume is a resume that is formatted to highlight job skills and experience, rather than places of employment one after another. While disliked by some employers (because of this bit of sight of hand), a functional resume can be the best way to present your case if you have great usefulness but have been out of the workforce for a long time.

Example Functional Resume

Step 2: Share upfront when it is relevant

However, if your employment gap involves career-related volunteering or using skills pertinent to the job you’re trying to get, discussion of that type of resume gap can benefit you.   

Do not discount the value of personal and professional non-paid activities.  If the personality traits, skills used, or accomplishments achieved are transferrable at all, the employer may be even more keen to hire you.

Unrelated Work

What if you were gainfully employed during most of your work history, but had long periods – multiple years, of work unrelated to the job that you’re currently seeking?

What if you were pursuing charitable work or a personal hobby?

Experts are of two minds about it – some recruiters prefer you list only work experience directly related to the position at hand. This keeps resumes short and easy to understand.

But when the activities can demonstrate transferrable contributions and you have “gaps”, then this may be a strategic time to include these periods.

Sure, being a roofer has little to do with managing a sales team, but there are leadership, budgetary, time management and communication skills present in almost every job, so it’s up to you to make this connection in the mind of the employer.

AppleOne recommends doing this by focusing on MSAs – your made-saved-achieved accolades from every job.

Instead of simply listing the when and the where of your work experience, show WHY it matters.

 

Step 3: Answer A Question-With A Question Technique

Hopefully, with a resume that focuses on your strengths and highlights your MSAs, your resume gaps will not come up. But be ready in an interview if they do.

Whatever the reason for your gap in employment, be confident and optimistic as you share it. Perfect a 30-second elevator speech highlighting your volunteering mission, successful recovery, return to school or foray into entrepreneurship. Don’t apologize, don’t dwell, and be sure to bring it back around to why you’re a great fit for the current job you’re interviewing for.

†KEY TECHNIQUE:  Explain the gap with a smile and change the subject immediately back to the interview by asking a question.  What question is not the point, but rather, asking a question redirects the focus of the interviewer.  For example:

“Well, my time away from traditional work has brought future positions even more value to me as you can see, so I understand this position needs someone to hit the ground running, what is the most immediate challenge I would be able to focus on and solve in the first few months?”

The job market is a complex and difficult place right now, and while these techniques are far from a guarantee that you'll land an offer, they give you tools to address resume gaps and boost your peace of mind, which in the end is may be the most important thing. Embodying confidence, trustworthiness and responsibility in your words and body language is the best gift you can give yourself as a job seeker.

Helping Disadvantaged Women Dress for Success

by AppleOne 16. September 2014

We all know that for those looking for work, job interviews is the make or break point. Every day, countless women who are willing and able to work find themselves at a disadvantage – because they lack the confidence and even the professional attire to put their best foot forward. Dress for Success (DFS) is a non-profit organization founded to address this all-too-common challenge.

AppleOne recently partnered with DFS to support their goal: to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. The AppleOne Performance Team (APT) spearheaded an internal ACT-1/AppleOne clothing drive in the Las Vegas market. Thanks to the generous support of many of ACT-1/AppleOne Las Vegas Corporate and Branch employees, hundreds of gently used clothing items and work-appropriate accessories were collected and on their way to women who will hopefully soon be working towards financial independence.

 

 Posing proudly with their bounty of donated clothing prior to delivery to the Dress for Success organization are AppleOne Performance Team members Shari Pratt, April Ballard and Evelyn Farias.

 

 

Photographed at the Dress for Success boutique are (L-R) DFS Southern Nevada Executive Director Paula Lawrence, DFS Mentoring Program Coordinator Eileen Jones, former Dress for Success client/current Image Consultant Volunteer and AppleOne Temporary employee Sherylina Armstrong, AppleOne Las Vegas Southwest office’s Judy Garb and Tarmara Woodard, and APT Director Yvette DeZalia.

More about Dress for Success: DFS helps transition women toward self-sufficiency by mentoring and preparing them so they are confident and at their best during job interviews, and also provides each woman with one suit to wear to the interview. Women who successfully land a job are then given a second suit and up to a week's worth of business-appropriate attire. For more information or to find a Dress for Success Chapter in your market, visit www.dressforsuccess.org.

 

Take the Guesswork Out of Following Up After an Interview

by AppleOne 22. August 2014

Hiring managers agree -- a prompt, enthusiastic thank-you after the interview is a great way to show interest, stand out and communicate your gratitude for being considered. But what's the best way to do it?

Two Steps Closer to the Offer

Step One: At AppleOne, we encourage our candidates to bring a brief prewritten thank-you card to the in person interview and drop it off right after the interview has concluded. This demonstrates forethought and a little extra courtesy in this instant-gratification world.

Step Two: However, this technique cannot stand alone as your follow up.   It will help you stand out immediately, but a traditional follow up should be delivered as well.    

Whether you follow up with a posted letter or an email, it is the contents that counts. If you are emailing, be direct, not overlong and enthusiastically express your interest in the position. 

Example:

After discussing this opportunity and what you need to have accomplished, I am confident that I would do an excellent job.  I am very impressed with you and your company, for example _____.  I work hard every day, I am loyal and take pride in continually improving.  You described that you needed someone that could ______, and I am able to excel in those areas because of my abilities and successes in _____.  I would like to be a contributing employee at your company and I hope you will offer me this job.

Sincerely,

Name
Email Address
Street Address
Phone Number

When to send?

The short answer is ASAP. Drop your note off, your letter into the mail or click send on your email on the same day, while you are still fresh in the minds of the interviewers.

"Recovery Mode"

Some interview pros advocate using the thank-you note as an opportunity to address mistakes you may have made in person. Here's what Monster's career experts have to say:

Perhaps you feel that you didn't make the best impression in the interview. The follow-up is your chance to recover.

"Tell them you're going to provide them with additional resources," McKee says. If you can send documentation of your abilities -- or even get references to send notes on your behalf -- do so.

But if your reason for thinking you blew the interview is something minor, like spilling your coffee, ignore it.

What if you get no response for a week or more?

Forbes Magazine recommends periodic check-ins. Don't pester or be rude, (obviously), but sometimes, the process can get bogged down and a helpful reminder can shuffle you to the top of the pile. From the Daily Muse via Forbes:

Now, this is not about harassment: “Did I get the job?” “Do you have a job for me?” “Did you make a decision?” Not at all. It’s about offering something of value to your contact. And in doing so, you will also (by default) remind her that you’re still out there.

This could mean forwarding an article that you think she’ll find interesting, or congratulating her if you notice she’s been promoted or earned some sort of recognition. Maybe thanking her for a bit of advice that you employed. Keep it simple and brief, and don’t ask for anything back. If that person hears from you and has an update? She’ll absolutely be in touch. Try:

“Hi Sue, We spoke last month about the product manager position at XYZ Industries. In our conversation, you highlighted some emerging trends in food packaging. I noticed this attached article about the same topic and thought of you. No response necessary. I hope you find the information useful!”

Nothing elaborate, and once a month is probably about right if you don’t get much response. But you can be assured that Sue will remember you, and in a good way if you’re helpful and non-pesky in the follow-up.

Make a Connection for the Future

Finally, remember to leverage even unsuccessful interviews as job connections. Reach out on LinkedIn, stay in touch and find out the contact information of others through your interviewer, and grow your network. The answer may be "no" today, but there may be other positions in the organization, or other organizations to which the interviewer can recommend you that will result in a "yes!" next week or next month.

How to create an irrefutable match to the job opening

by AppleOne 12. August 2014

 

Almost every career-seeker blog will advise you to research a company before your interview. But what exactly should you research to stand out, and how?

Research aspects of the company, department, boss and position that will enable you to match yourself as an irrefutable fit.  Don’t leave them wondering if they connected the dots.  For each key aspect you determine about the company, consider how what you have done or know-how to do will help them.  Be as precise and detailed as you can.  The best way to create a match is to document the points and bring them with you as a written document to the interview.  Employers will appreciate hearing you walk through these points verbally as you answer their interview questions.

Research tools

  • Google: read articles/info about what they do, news items about recent developments
  • Company Website/Blog: study mission statement, company info, a blog if they have one
  • LinkedIn: learn about company culture, biz style, notable leaders in organization
  • Facebook/Twitter: company culture, consumer engagement, “voice”

 

Example: a candidate is applying for a marketing position with a cosmetics company. The job description reads:

Fortune 500 Cosmetics Company Seeks Creative Marketing Manager

We’re looking for someone who believes in beauty inside and out. BeautyVision is a 25-year veteran in the cosmetics industry and we’re expanding our product line to include a line of bath products, fragrances and shave supplies to fit the lifestyle of the modern professional male. We need someone to help us grow – you’ll be managing PR and advertising budgets, spearheading brand campaigns and launching an entirely new website.

You’re an experienced marketing project manager with 3-5 years under your belt in the consumer products space. Familiarity with cosmetics industry is a huge plus. Self-starter, ability to multitask across several complex marketing spaces is essential. B.A. required.

Your internet research findings:

  • 1200 employees nationwide
  •  Product: salon-quality cosmetics to consumers
  • Mission: “We believe everyone has a right to feel great about themselves without a big cost.”
  • LinkedIn photos and the company blog: employees look business casual.
  • News: company has recently begun making personal products for men as well as women.

Connect the dots: Make the Match! 

In the interview, the candidate is able to make concrete connections between the company’s business needs and wants, and their matching contribution.  Create 2-3 success stories as a way to put the matching points into action.  Stories are easier to remember, so when time has passed, you will be the person they remember the best.  Make the match – connect the dots. 

Great Job and Good Luck in Your New Career, Michael!

by AppleOne 5. August 2014

Congratulations to AppleOne associate, Michael Chau (seated, far right in photo), for completing his assignment with the City of Orange's Human Resources team! "Michael did such a great job that when he gave notice, they took him out to lunch to wish him well in his new job!" says his recruiter, AppleOne Orange Assistant Branch Manager Angela Camacho. We at AppleOne are so grateful to have the opportunity to bring exceptional people and truly wonderful employers together, every single day!

 

 

Be Worth Paying For

by AppleOne 22. July 2014
Just saying you want the job isn't enough; prove you're worth hiring by tracking your MSAs with an Achievement Journal.
type alt text here

Show (don’t simply tell) an employer why they should hire you

Job seekers always ask us, “Why don’t my job applications and interviewing skills attract recruiters’ interest?” One of the most frequent answers we give is this: the employer wants to know how you can solve a business need, not read a list of skills and tasks.

A tangible and vivid story

A job applicant is in the sales business and the product you’re selling is your own value as an employee. Imagine the applicant-employer relationship like the one between a car buyer and a salesperson of an automobile. 

Here’s the typical applicant strategy: “Please give this car a chance! It’s a team player, a hard worker and really deserves to be your car!”

Versus a strategy based on tangible details: “Consumer Reports gave it an A+ for safety and fuel economy. It gets over 40 miles per gallon, so it will start saving you money the minute you drive it off the lot. And owners of this model spend an average of 30% less on maintenance over five years than owners of competing models in its class, so you know it’s absolutely reliable.”

The difference is the method you’re using to describe your abilities in action.  Tell the story. Give real-world examples like the following: 

  • Instead of saying you know how to use Excel, say that your most recent spreadsheet analysis of Q3 sales numbers allowed you to identify a crucial performance gap and then develop a training plan to address it, achieving an 18% increase in revenue.

  • Instead of saying you “are a team player,” explain how you implemented a project-tracking program that allowed your team to achieve its goals three weeks ahead of time, saving your company $8,000. 

  • Instead of just saying you’re a great salesperson, describe how you met and exceeded your company’s Gold Level sales goals four years running, and won salesperson of the year in 2013.

 

Prove it!

You get the picture. Just saying you can do the job isn’t enough – you need to prove it.  If you have 10 seconds to get an employer’s attention, the first thing they should read about you is your top selling point.  Forms of proof you should save and reference in the hiring process are:

  • Thank-you cards
  • Emails with “kudos”
  • Awards and accolades
  • Performance reports
  • Any ranking reports
  • Positive annual reviews
  • Selections of completed high-quality projects or works

 

At AppleOne, we call these bona fides “MSAs,” which stands for “Made/Saved/Achieved.” Your MSAs are your miles per gallon, top safety rating and mechanical reliability – the hard data that recruiters use to evaluate you against competing applicants. 

Start an Achievement Journal habit

We recommend creating an Achievement Journal. Whether you are currently working (passive job seeker) or are an active job seeker – this is something you should start doing at your job today.

It’s a file of every “win” you earn at work. Got a nice email or thank-you note about a project well done? Put it in the file. Did you help refine a process, like fulfilling online orders quicker, by implementing a system? Jot down how you did it and the hard stats about how much time and money your improvement is saving. 

Update your resume at least twice each year.  The best time to document a vivid story is in the moment.

How do I get started? 

Well, it’s time to go back through your email history and work portfolio and build out an Achievement Journal based on your prior accolades. Dig through old emails and performance reviews for standout material. Reach out to old employers and request letters of recommendation, or request endorsements on career sites like LinkedIn. 

Remember, employers are shopping for the best car, and they’re more likely to believe the positive reviews of impartial third parties (your prior supervisors and coworkers) than they are your own words, since you’re the one selling the car.

Every job has different performance metrics and achievements, and not everyone is a standout superstar every quarter of every year. But by careful data collection and maintenance of work relationships, you can build out your Achievement Journal deeply enough that you’ll be at a distinct advantage over applicants whose entire sales pitch to hiring managers is, “Hire me, I deserve the job!”