East Texas Volunteer Opportunities for Employee Groups

East Texas Volunteer Opportunities for Employee Groups

Want more engaged employees this holiday season? A 2017 Deloitte Volunteerism survey found company-sponsored volunteering boosts morale, contributes to a more pleasant work environment and improves brand perception. Volunteering is good for everyone, and the holidays are the perfect time to give back. These East Texas nonprofits have volunteer opportunities for your work team.

PATH Community Homes

Just from August through December of last year, Tyler’s People Attempting to Help (PATH) served 6,924 East Texas households with 18,584 members. They provided housing for 45 families and utilities for 435 families. They also helped with school supplies, prescription medication, eye exams, dental services and so much more.

Volunteers make that huge impact possible. In that same time period, 584 volunteers donated 21,729 hours of service to people in need. This holiday season, they need you.

Greg Grubb, PATH’s Executive Director says the organization needs help with the repair, upkeep and renovation of East Texas rental homes. Of the 52 homes PATH owns, 38 are more than 70 years old. “Each time a tenant family moves out, we make the repairs and upgrades needed to provide a safe, decent and affordable home for the next family,” he says. “It’s a perfect team-building opportunity that really helps a family of our neighbors!”

Don’t be intimidated if not everyone in your group is a skilled construction worker. PATH’s Facilities Manager customizes projects to the number of people in each group and the tasks they’re comfortable doing. Both inside and outside work is available.

Contact PATH by filling out the volunteer form on their website.

The East Texas Food Bank

It may seem like there’s food everywhere this time of year, but that’s not true for all East Texas families. The East Texas Food Bank website says one in five East Texas adults are hungry today. The organization’s mission is to fight hunger and feed hope in 26 East Texas counties. They accept food and money donations and use them for programs like these:

  • The BackPack Program – Needy school children receive a backpack full of food so they don’t go hungry over the weekend when they don’t have access to school breakfast and lunch.

 

  • Summer Food – Over the summer those children still need food. This program provides nutritious meals at community locations.

 

  • Senior Boxes – Qualifying seniors receive a monthly nutritious box so they don’t have to decide between heating their home and buying groceries.

All those programs require volunteers. When your group signs up to work at East Texas Food Bank, you might repackage bulk items into individual servings, load backpacks or help with office administrative duties. Their website provides contact information for volunteering as a group.

Habitat for Humanity

This organization helps needy families realize the dream of homeownership. They build new homes and sell them to qualifying families at cost with zero interest mortgages. One of the ways they raise money to do so is through Tyler’s ReStore.

ReStore accepts donations of furniture, appliances and home improvement products and sells them to the general public. Homeowners and businesses donate materials when they remodel and ReStore displays them at their retail location on Front Street.

Retail Director Danny Saenz says, “We like to stage our furniture so it looks like a furniture store, and we also have shelves of merchandise volunteers help display. Ladies do things like put matching end tables with couches to make it look good. For guys, we just need muscle. It helps to have extra bodies to lift doors and windows in our warehouse area.”

Whether your employees prefer to help with heavy lifting or they excel at decorating and design, ReStore has volunteer opportunities available. Find out more on the Habitat for Humanity of Smith County website.

Sources:
https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2407011.jsp https://www.easttexasfoodbank.org/join-the-fight/donate-time/ https://www.habitat.org/volunteer/group-opportunities
https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/about-deloitte/us-2017-deloitte-volunteerism-survey.pdf

Still No Job? 3 Tips for Keeping Your Chin Up

Still No Job 3 Tips for Keeping Your Chin Up

The longer a job search drags on, the harder it can get. Bills pile up. That voice of anxiety that was once just a whisper becomes a steady stream of chatter. While it’s tempting to curl up in a ball and have a pity party, that won’t solve the problem. Being proactive can help you stay positive.

Be A Professional Job Hunter

Uncertainty can be devastating to the mind and emotions. If you stay up late because you don’t have anywhere you have to be, you’ll sleep late and feel lethargic. If your job search is sporadic you could end up on an emotional roller coaster, swinging wildly between hope, disappointment and boredom.

Taking charge of your situation begins in the mind. Quit thinking of yourself as a person without a job. Instead, treat your daily job hunt like an actual job.

Plan your day and stick to that plan. Set an alarm and establish a routine. Get dressed in the clothes you would wear going to work. Then spend your time on tasks that will get you closer to your goal.

Research how to make your resume the best it can be. Learn how to write a cover letter that makes employers want to read your resume. Sign up for online training to improve or add skills. Until you find a job, be excellent at looking for one.

Volunteer

When you’re working full time you don’t have much free time on your hands. Use this chance to offer your skills to organizations or people who need them and can’t afford to pay for them or need volunteer help. Volunteering will help you stay positive, and it might help you find a job.

Volunteering connects you with people in your community. You sign up to make a difference and meet others who want to do the same. You’ll find yourself with stronger community ties and a larger social network, which is valuable.

Volunteering provides mental and physical benefits. Being out of work is stressful. A long, drawn-out job search creates feelings of anxiety and sometimes depression. Helping others improves your physical and psychological well-being. A Harvard Health article suggests volunteering could lower blood pressure and provide other health benefits.

Volunteering hones marketable skills. Many opportunities come with training that looks great on your resume. Volunteering will also help you keep current skills sharp while between jobs. Add community and volunteer work to your resume.

Find Help

When you’re looking for a job in the Tyler or Longview area, contact an East Texas staffing firm. At Brelsford Personnel we have decades of experience helping job seekers find the right fit and we have opportunities that aren’t posted anywhere else. We know the Tyler labor market, and for job seekers our services are free. See what jobs we currently have available or submit your resume today.

Why Brelsford Personnel Supports Coats for Kids

Why Brelsford Personnel Supports Coats for Kids

When you donate to PATH’s Coats for Kids program, you do so much more than help a child stay warm. You make a difference in their future.

Brelsford Personnel is proud to be a drop-off location for the Tyler coat drive because we know it’s not just about outerwear. We support PATH’s program to invest in tomorrow’s leaders and show we’re a community that cares.

Tyler’s Most Outstanding Citizen

This year, like every year since 1952, the Tyler Chamber of Commerce presented the W.C. Windsor Award to Tyler’s most outstanding citizen under the age of 40. This year’s recipient was Yaziri Orrostieta.

The 34-year-old University of North Texas graduate has a master’s in business administration in international marketing with a certification for doing business in Mexico and Latin America.

Yaziri is marketing director at Heritage Land Bank and when she’s not working, she’s making a difference.

She has served on the board of the Hispanic Business Alliance, chaired the entrepreneur committee of the Hispanic Professional Association of Tyler and was an advisory member of Tyler Police Department’s Hispanic Outreach program.

Why does this young professional feel so driven to give back? When Yaziri was a child, she came to Tyler from Mexico with her family. Her parents struggled, and sometimes they needed help to provide for their children’s needs. Yaziri says PATH and Coats for Kids played a part in both her professional success and her heart for the East Texas community.

“It wouldn’t have happened if this weren’t a giving community,” she said when she received her award. “I’ve always said the reason I give back is there was some day, some leader, one day that chose to give, and my family was a beneficiary of that giving heart.”

Coats for Kids and Tyler Business

PATH Executive Director Greg Grubb says Yaziri’s story isn’t the only one. “My staff gave me a report about a young man who managed a large restaurant in town whose mother died in Mexico,” Greg said. “His father brought him to be raised by family here. His family worked hard and they paid their taxes, but he needed a coat. He didn’t have one coming from Mexico. He says the PATH coat drive is where he got one those first few years.”

Greg tells of another business owner who contacted PATH wanting to know how he could help. Volunteers explained how he could offer his business as a coat drop-off location or sign up to help with coat distribution. Then the businessman revealed why he was so driven to participate. He said when his family came to town, the only way he got a coat was through Coats for Kids.

“Coats for Kids is about more than just keeping somebody warm, which is important,” Greg finished. “It’s the act of kindness that’s the really touching part of this.”

How You Can Help

East Texans can participate in the Coats for Kids drive in a variety of ways.

  • Provide coats — Drop off a new or gently used coat at drop-off locations like Brelsford Personnel. You can also click the “Donate” button on PATH’s page and they’ll buy coats for you.

 

  • Help prepare for coat distribution – PATH starts setting up for the November 17 coat distribution several days ahead. Every year they hand out more than 1,000 coats, and that takes work. You can volunteer to help with moving, sorting, lifting and setup.

 

  • Volunteer November 17 – At North Tyler Development Academy PATH sets up 10 stations, each manned by volunteers. They call families one at a time and talk to them about sizes and color preferences. Then they go to the coat storage area and choose the best ideas for that family, usually bringing back armloads of coats. It’s a meaningful, uplifting experience to help so many families in need.

The best coats to give are the heavy, insulated type. During months the weather is only cool and damp, kids can get by with layers. What they need for bitterly cold days is an actual winter coat.

The coat you donate could go to the next Yaziri, the next Tyler business owner or young professional. They’ll be leaders tomorrow, but today they need you. Your contribution can make a deep impact. Bring donations to Brelsford Personnel at 3600 Old Bullard Road Suite 301, Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm.

 

Looking for Work? Find Out How Low Unemployment Numbers Affect Your Search

Looking for Work? Find Out How Low Unemployment Numbers Affect Your Search

If you’re thinking about finding a new job, now might be the best time to do it. The national July jobs report showed employers added fewer net jobs last month than economists forecast, but unemployment still dipped near an 18-year low.

That means there aren’t as many people looking for jobs, so employers with openings have a reduced number of candidates to choose from and you have less competition for the position you want. Learn how that might affect your job hunt.

Referrals Matter More Than Ever

When unemployment is low, employers need to make every hire count and retain current staff. Recruiting software manufacturer iCIMS wanted to know factors contributing to a good hire, so they conducted surveys and studied data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their resulting Modern Job Seeker Report found employees who were hired because of a referral were more likely to stay put.

Employers often ask their current employees if they know someone who would be a good fit. They’re more likely to hire based on a referral than on a resume submission because those hires tend to align with current culture and don’t move around.

In the iCIMS report, 70 percent of the employees surveyed were still in the role for which they were hired. If you know someone already employed where you want to work, ask for their help in getting the job.

Higher Wages, More Perks

In July of 2018, wages were at an all-time high with an average of 22.65/hour. A tight labor market and strong demand for goods and services means employers are willing to pay more for top talent.

Employers aren’t just using increased pay to sell themselves to candidates; they’re emphasizing company culture with perks like flexible scheduling and competitive benefits.

Expect Additional Scrutiny

Employers want to fill vacancies quickly, but when the applicant pool is small and getting smaller, they aren’t just looking for bodies. They may ask you to attend more than one interview to make sure you’re the best fit. The whole team might want to evaluate your skills and qualifications before making a final decision.

Industries Adding Most Jobs

Not all industries are hiring at the same rate. When you’re applying for a high-demand position, you have an advantage, but it might be harder to find work in sectors that show signs of a struggle.

According to last month’s report sporting goods, hobby, book and music retailers are losing jobs. Two sectors showing growth are construction and manufacturing.

Even though the housing market has shown a decline in the last three quarters, employers in the construction sector added 19,000 jobs last month across the nation. Manufacturing added 37,000 jobs. Healthcare employment, professional and business services and food services are also up.

Find a Job in East Texas

What East Texas job are you looking for? Brelsford Personnel has employers seeking administrative assistants, customer service representatives, accountants and more. Search our online job postings today.

Sources:
https://www.businessinsider.com/us-housing-slowdown-economy-2018-7
https://www.icims.com/sites/www.icims.com/files/public/hei_assets/Modern-Job-Seeker-Report%20Final.pdf
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/business/economy/jobs-report.html
https://www.businessinsider.com/us-jobs-report-july-2018-2018-8
https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2018-07-20/how-a-low-unemployment-rate-may-affect-your-job-search

3 Must-Haves for the Ultimate Cover Letter

3 Must-Haves for the Ultimate Cover Letter

Job seekers put a lot of work into the job hunt and resume preparation. Without a great cover letter, employers might not even look at your resume. At Brelsford Personnel we’ve seen thousands of cover letters, so we have a pretty good handle on what gets results. Read on to discover how to catch that potential employer’s attention, highlight your qualifications and land the interview.

Three Brief Paragraphs

A good cover letter is no longer than three short paragraphs. Hiring managers and staffing agencies are busy. You put your education, work history and volunteer experience in your resume, so you don’t need to list it all again in your cover letter.

Use what you know about the employer and the job description to choose which of your skills to highlight. While you want to let potential employers know your capabilities, at this point you might not have enough information to state you’re the perfect fit. Stick to a short summary of what you know you can do.

These Cover Letter Sections

At the top of your cover letter, put your contact details. Include your name, street address, phone number and email address. If your LinkedIn profile is complete and updated, you can include that as well.

Beneath your contact information, create a section with the date, hiring manager’s name, the company address and phone number and the contact person’s email. If at all possible, address your letter to a person and not the generic “To Whom it May Concern” or “Sir or Madam.”

Grab attention with a first paragraph that tells how you heard about the job, why you’re interested and what professional experience you can contribute. Use the second paragraph to provide specifics on how your skills fit the job description. For example, if the job description states the employer wants an administrative assistant with technology and communication skills, succinctly explain how you used tools like Microsoft Office Suite, WordPress and Outlook to effectively communicate in a previous role.

Use your third paragraph to thank the potential employer for considering you and to request an interview. Wrap it up with “Sincerely” or “Respectfully,” then your name.

Extra Information If You’re Relocating

If your job change coincides with a move to East Texas, mention why in your cover letter. Employers are edgy about hiring someone who might not stick around, so if you have family ties, you’ve already bought a home or you have other strong reasons to want employment in the area, let them know. Tell when you anticipate moving and when you’re available for interviews.

More Job Search Resources

Find advice for writing your resume, dressing for interview success and acing the interview on our resources page. Then check out our online job postings today.

Sources:

https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/CoverLetters.html
https://resumecompanion.com/how-to-write-a-cover-letter/
http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/16/pf/how-to-write-cover-letter/index.html

East Texas Jobs for College Students

East Texas Jobs for College Students

If you’re enrolled at Tyler Junior College (TJC) or the University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler), you don’t have much summer left. Before long you’ll be back in the classroom focused on homework and exams. Most college students also have bills to pay and need to work a part or full-time job. We’ve made a list of some of the best East Texas jobs for college students.

Jobs on Campus

Both TJC and UT Tyler offer employment for students, with some positions available in individual areas of study. The biggest difference between student assistant jobs and work-study jobs is where the funding comes from.

On-campus positions provide hands-on experience that’s great for references when you’re applying for your first job after graduation. You receive a regular paycheck even for work-study jobs and can apply those funds to your tuition or other expenses.

At UT Tyler students can work up to 19.5 hours a week and are paid twice a month. Student employees at TJC can work up to 18 hours a week. You might work in the campus library, get hired by your major’s departmental office or even work at the college fitness center.

Off-Campus Jobs for College Students

College kids in Tyler and Longview typically apply for restaurant and retail positions to make the cash they need to get through school. There’s a growing need for East Texas retail workers at places like The Village at Cumberland Park. Restaurant jobs usually let students attend morning classes, study in the afternoon and work in the evening when eateries experience peak traffic and tips are most likely to be high.

Area Starbucks locations are almost always looking for baristas, and they pay between $7.84 and $8.68/hour. The Starbucks College Achievement Program offers qualified employees assistance in paying for college.

Schedules change every semester, so flexibility is helpful when you’re working on your degree. If you have a reliable car and you don’t mind putting on the miles, Uber advertises you can make your own schedule and work as a driver. If you’re willing to work late nights and weekends you can bank some cash, then cut back on hours when you have to study for finals.

During the summer, East Texas students pick up extra money working as counselors in places like Rose City Summer Camp. The program pays $1,350 for the second half of summer, which is just starting. If you’re working toward a career in education, some of the Tyler and Longview elementary student learning centers hire tutors for summer positions.

Find a Job in East Texas That’s Right for You

Brelsford Personnel is looking for qualified Office Assistants, Bank Tellers and more. Browse our online positions or email employ@brelsfordpersonnel.com .

Sources:
https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/college/T014-S001-10-great-part-time-jobs-for-college-students/index.html
https://www.uttyler.edu/careersuccess/studentemployment/index.php
https://fairygodboss.com/articles/high-paying-jobs-for-college-students

 

Learn to Play Big at This Tyler Event for Professional Women

Learn to Play Big at This Tyler Event for Professional Women

The road to professional success is full of challenges, especially for women. It helps to have a mentor who has faced those challenges and come out on the other side.

This May 17 the Tyler Executive Women’s Network (TEWN) is reaching out to young professional women to offer support. Tyler’s former Mayor Barbara Bass is leading the event and Kim Lewis is the keynote speaker. Kim Lewis is known for being lead designer of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” and she was born in Tyler, Texas.

Why Women Need a Mentor

Mentors help women succeed in business despite the unique challenges they face. When asked in an interview if she had experienced being mentored, Barbara Bass said when she was starting her career, there were not a lot of professional women.

“They were mostly guys who had daughters,” she said, “And they were being great dads by taking where I was and thinking what they would want if I were their daughter. They guided me and made recommendations, and I had doors open because they were so generous with their time.”

Ms. Bass was one of the original members of TEWN, an organization that started 35 years ago when Tyler didn’t have many female executives. The group helps women network with other professional women because mentorship provides these benefits:

  • Female mentors can relate – Each woman has unique hurdles to overcome. Sometimes men have difficulty understanding a woman’s thought processes and outside responsibilities. A woman mentor is more likely to have been through similar situations before.

 

  • Mentees benefit from the mentor’s experience – When women interact with other women who are further along in their career, they have someone who can help set goals, give specific advice and make introductions to other related professionals.

 

  • Mentors offer outside perspective – Sometimes it’s hard to see one’s own strengths and weaknesses. A mentor can see potential pitfalls while they are still in the distance and nurture strengths the mentee may not realize she has.

 

  • The relationship offers mutual benefits – While the focus is often on the mentor providing support, encouragement and advice and the mentee growing personally and professionally, it’s more than that. Both parties learn through sharing thoughts, ideas and professional challenges. Both gain career discernment or lifelong friendship, often both.

Learn to Play Big at This Tyler Event for Professional Women

What is Playing Big?

The theme of this year’s reception is “Playing Big.” When asked what that meant, Barbara Bass said the event’s theme is based on the book by Tara Mohr.

“Playing big is about getting over your fears, about not holding yourself back,” said Ms. Bass. She said throughout her lifetime she has noticed when presented with an opportunity, women tend to think they’re not qualified enough, that they need more skills, or that someone else is more deserving of the role.

She says playing big is about, “What we do to face the fears, most of which are unfounded, to look at ourselves and get beyond the inner voices we hear that are giving us false information.”

For example, when a woman sees a job posting for which she has all of the qualifications, she might not apply because she assumes someone else is already more capable. She doesn’t give herself a chance at success because she is afraid of failure.

The book by Tara Mohr counsels women to identify the inner voices that whisper they’re not qualified and dissect that message. She suggests looking at what might be the worst case scenario. In the above example, it would be not getting the job. She encourages women to face their fear, set their goal, look at what they need to do to achieve it, and then go for it.

Tyler Executive Women’s Network Connects Mentors

When women gather at events like the TEWN reception, they share their stories and encourage each other to play big. “When I was mayor and was at events all the time,” Ms. Bass shared, “I started seeing a lot of professional women who are our future. I saw them go through the same angst of trying to figure out how to deal with family and work. What I realized is that the more experienced businesswomen were not telling their stories.” TEWN provides them with the opportunity to do just that.

The organization has monthly lunch meetings and once monthly Serendipity after work. Women don’t have to be a TEWN member to attend the May 17 reception.

Brelsford Personnel Supports Women

Brelsford Personnel has always focused on finding the best career fit for each individual looking for a job in East Texas. Driedra Brelsford is past TEWN president and has served on the board of directors because she is committed to helping women find professional success. She encourages women to attend the reception May 17 at the Holiday Inn on South Broadway. Find more information or register to attend here.

Missy Ticer is a content writer and East Texas resident who found her dream job. Content is exclusively for use by Brelsford Personnel.

Sources:

http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=m7yks7zab&oeidk=a07ef7lmkjl8150ae0c

https://www.careersingovernment.com/tools/gov-talk/career-advice/on-the-job/women-workplace-benefits-mentorship/

https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Big-Practical-Wisdom-Create/dp/1592409601/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524833140&sr=8-1&keywords=playing+big

5 Tips for Protecting Your Business from Cyber Attack

How to Protect Your Business From Cyber Attack

Recently both KETK and KLTV reported on a Michigan audit that should concern employers everywhere. Auditors planned a covert cyber-attack to discover their vulnerability, and the results were stunning. They sent a fake phishing email to 5,000 employees and almost one third of them opened it. A fourth clicked on the link that, had it been real, could have downloaded malware. One fifth put in access or other personal information. No matter what the size of your business, cyber security should be a top priority.

One problem employers have is you can’t always control what your employees are doing online. Attempts were successful not because an insider had malicious intent, but because people just got in a hurry. Distribute these tips as a reminder for long-term employees and an onboarding tool for new hires.

Know Your Vulnerabilities

Here are the most common types of cyber threats:

  • Phishing – Cyber attackers send fake email to try and fool recipients into providing information. It may look like it came from Bank of America or Tyler Water Utilities. It may have the appropriate logo and the same font that business uses. Recipients click on the link provided and the site prompts them to enter their passwords, account numbers or other personal information.

 

  • Malware – This type of program looks like it came from a trusted source. It prompts users to install fake antivirus software or download an update and often instructs them to click past security warnings from their antivirus or browser. Viruses, Trojans and spyware are all forms of malware. Some lurk on your computer and record keystrokes; others hide in the background and store credit card numbers. Imagine the damage if malware goes undetected while it steals your clients’ financial information.

 

  • Ransomware – This is a type of malware that takes over your computer, network or server and denies access to your data until you have paid a fee. Cybercriminals charge Bitcoin to remove encryption, and the price can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. It’s typically delivered as part of a phishing scam or as an email attachment. The files can’t be encrypted without the key provided by the attacker, so if you don’t have a recent backup you either have to pay up or lose your data.

 

  • Botnets – It sounds like sci-fi, but Botnets are networks of infected computers under an attacker’s control. The infected computer functions normally, but works to corrupt as many devices as possible.

How to Protect Your Business From Cyber Attack

Communicate With Staff

This is perhaps the most important thing you can do to protect your data, but it requires an ongoing effort. Your employees are busy doing their jobs, so they aren’t always thinking about cyber-security. Train them not to open unexpected attachments, and then remind them regularly. Set a reminder on your calendar to have a cyber-security refresher course.

Viruses often arrive in email that looks like it was sent from family members, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. The email might have genuinely come from that person without their knowledge.

Avoid files with the extension .exe, but all extensions can hide a virus. Unless the attachment is expected, call or text the sender to see if it’s legitimate.

Test Their Knowledge

Find out which employees are paying attention and who needs additional training by sending your own phishing attack. Show employees what just one click can do and, if they continue to repeat their mistakes, implement repercussions. Test them once a month using one of these phishing simulators.

Safeguard Passwords

Remind employees to keep their passwords in a safe place. A post-it note on their monitor is not a safe place. Security is about control, and the only way to absolutely control who uses your computer is to be the only one who can log in.

Regularly Update Your Anti-Virus

Cyber-attackers continually develop more sophisticated technology. They make money at it, and they’re very intelligent. Regularly updating your anti-virus software makes it equipped to handle threats as they evolve.

Brelsford Personnel stays consistently up to date on the challenges faced by East Texas employers. When candidates work with us to find a job, we make resources available like our Employee Cyber Security Handbook. Contact us to find out more.

*Missy Ticer is a blogger and East Texas resident who found her dream job. Content is exclusively for use by Brelsford Personnel.

8 Characteristics Great Managers Look for in College Grads

8 Characteristics Great Managers Look for in College Grads

Michael Klazema

[Courtesy of Glassdoor.com]

Are college students ready for the challenges of the modern workplace? Many employers say no. A recent survey revealed that only about 50% of managers felt recent graduates were prepared for full-time work. By contrast, 87% of college grads felt they were ready to enter the workforce. These drastically different numbers show that there is a gulf between the expectations of employers and recent graduates. This discrepancy poses challenges for recent grads seeking jobs and for businesses that wish to hire young workers.
No matter which group you fall into, knowing the characteristics that successful managers look for from recent college graduates is beneficial. If you are a hiring manager, keeping an eye on these characteristics can help you identify the cream of the crop. If you are fresh out of college and trying to land your first job, boning up on these hard and soft skills can give you an advantage.

Here are eight characteristics that managers want to see from recent college graduates.

1. Strong writing skills

When PayScale surveyed nearly 64,000 managers for its 2016 survey, 44% of them said recent college graduates lacked proficiency in writing. No other hard skill was mentioned more often. While programming and other tech-related skills are often listed as the most valuable skills a person can have, writing is viewed as a more universal skill. Between emails, proposals, reports, project documents, and memos, even people in non-writing roles need to be able to write. College grads should add a few more writing classes to their schedules if they want to prepare for full-time work. Many managers look at cover letters more to assess writing skills than to learn additional details about a candidate.

2. Public speaking abilities

Written communication skills may be what managers are missing the most in recent college graduates, but verbal communication skills remain important. Just like writing manifests itself in many different fields, public speaking is essential for presentations, meetings with clients and customers, and other professional tasks. These responsibilities are not exclusive to any one industry, making them an important part of every recent grad’s repertoire.

3. Team mentality

Back in school, teachers would occasionally pair students with people they didn’t like much, or at least didn’t ordinarily work with. The justification was, “Someday, you aren’t going to get to choose your co-workers.” Our teachers were right. You don’t get to choose who you work with, and you need to be ready to collaborate with anyone. Most professionals learn this lesson after a few years in the workforce. Managers hiring recent grads are looking for the interpersonal skills and good attitude that indicate a team player. While every company’s culture is different, most are grounded in team values. Recent graduates should expect reference checks and interview questions about teamwork.

4. A high GPA

The further you get out of school, the less your college GPA matters. For recent graduates without a ton of work experience, though, the GPA may be a point of interest during the hiring process. According to USA Today College, 43% of companies have a formal GPA threshold for the people they hire. For most companies, the threshold is a 3.0 GPA. Occasionally, an employer might demand a 3.5. Either way, graduates should know that hiring managers are looking at their GPAs. Furthermore, many managers are using verification background checks to verify college degrees, attendance dates, and GPAs.

5. Relevant work experience

Businesses committed to hiring recent college graduates aren’t expecting to see candidates with ten years of experience. It’s because of the relative lack of work experience that employers pay attention to things like GPA for younger candidates. With that said, no hiring manager is going to ignore work experience altogether. When it comes to screening recent grads, companies are looking for part-time jobs, summer gigs, and relevant internship experience. These resume entries show initiative, commitment, and an ability to hold down a job—all things every manager wants to see in any hire.

6. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills

The PayScale survey identified writing as the hard skill that most managers found lacking in recent college grads. For soft skills, critical thinking and problem solving were the problem areas. 60% of managers surveyed said their younger hires lacked these skills. They want to know the people they are hiring know how to identify problems and challenges and solve them. An interview question to gauge this skill area might be something along the lines of, “Tell me about a time you faced a major challenge and how you overcame it.” Answers that indicate innovation, proactivity, or the resilience to rise above failure and adversity are what managers want to hear. No new college grad should go into an interview without a possible answer ready.

7. Attention to detail

Often, hiring managers have the impression that younger, greener professionals don’t have great attention to detail. This snap judgment is typically made in response to resumes, cover letters, and other communications that managers share with candidates in the lead-up to or immediately following an interview. According to the PayScale survey, 56% of managers said recent grads were lacking attention to detail, probably thanks largely to typos, misspellings, missing attachments, or poor grammar. Some of these issues can be chalked up to writing skills. But new graduates also need to be conscious of the fact that every move they make is being recorded and judged. Submitting a resume or cover letter with one or two typos might seem like a small thing, but it can lead to a bad first impression.

8. Leadership experience

“Recent college graduate with extensive leadership skills” may seem like an oxymoron. Someone who doesn’t have a lot of work experience probably hasn’t been promoted to a managerial or executive role. Still, first-time job searchers can prove leadership skills in other ways. Club president or team captain roles might seem superfluous in the professional realm, but they can add another dimension to a sparse resume.

It’s possible that hiring managers expect more from just-out-of-college applicants than they once did. It’s also possible that many graduates simply aren’t as prepared for jobs as they think they are. Either way, the eight characteristics listed above form a rubric for the ideal recent college grad applicant. Whether you are a hiring manager considering younger candidates or a recent graduate looking for your first job, use these characteristics as a roadmap to make your life easier.

6 Tips for Staying Sane During Your Job Search

[Courtesy of blog.job.com]

You’ve updated and posted your resume, signed up for job alerts, and have consistently applied to jobs. Yet, you still haven’t landed your #NewJob2017. Don’t dismay. Our internet sources tell us that it takes roughly one month to find a job for every $10,000 of the paycheck you would like to earn. For example, if you were looking for a job that pays $50,000 a year your job search could take 5 months.

Below are some ways to help take away some of your job search pain and put your mind at ease:

1. Take a Break

You don’t want to run the risk of job search burnout. Taking some time away from your job search to focus on things like your family, friends and health will help you appreciate all that’s good in your life in order to help lift your spirits.

2. Simplify Things

If you’re finding it difficult to make time for your job search perhaps you have too much going on in your life. Look to rid yourself of distractions like social media and TV which can suck up your free time fast. Also, see if you can delegate some of your household chores or at least save some for the weekend when you’re not so exhausted.

Six Tips for Staying Sane During Your Job Search

3. Meditate

Meditation is a tried and true practice of many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. From LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner to the incomparable Oprah Winfrey, it is difficult to deny the benefits of meditation. While there are many different methods, studies have shown that meditation can change your brain matter, reduce stress and help you make better decisions.

4. Get Outside

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes, when you’re in a funk, all you need is just a change of scenery. Sure, winter isn’t the most pleasant of seasons to be outside if you dislike the cold and live in New England (we feel sorry for you) but it’s scientifically proven that being one with nature is an easy way to boost your mental and physical well-being.

5. Get Exercise

Seeing the pattern here? Like being outside, there are endless mental and physical health benefits to getting your move on. Even if it’s just going for a 15-minute stroll, getting your blood flowing is imperative to feeling happy and healthy.

6. Treat Yourself

Just because you need a new job doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of happiness. Sure, you may not be able to afford eating out, or clothes shopping, or Netflix even, but you can still find enjoyment in some small things. Life is short and you shouldn’t hang on to the idea that you will cheer up as soon as you get a better gig. By finding peace throughout the rough patches builds character and makes you a stronger you in the end.

Six Tips for Staying Sane During Your Job Search