Integrity – Still a Thing in 2021?

Integrity - Still a Thing in 2021?

What’s the most important soft skill in the workplace? Communication, teamwork, adaptability and conflict resolution all rank high on the list, but most employers put integrity near the very top. Let’s look at what integrity is and why it’s so highly sought after in all areas of life.

More Than Simple Honesty

People with integrity are honest, but there’s much more to this soft skill than just telling the truth. Basically, everything about them lines up.

When they say they will do something, they do it. Their actions are consistent with what they say they believe. Their choices and activities are driven by a strong moral character. If someone said that person lied, cheated or stole your first reaction would be disbelief because to do so would be completely out of character for them.

Examples of Integrity

Integrity can be difficult to define, but you know it when you see it. Someone who has integrity does things like the following:

  • If he forgets to pay for or breaks something, he points it out and asks to settle up.
  • She keeps promises even when unforeseen circumstances make it hard.
  • He would never consider letting a co-worker take the blame for his mistake or taking credit for someone else’s work.
  • She doesn’t gossip or start drama.
  • He doesn’t take shortcuts that would compromise quality.
  • She works when she’s supposed to, even if she could get away with using company time for personal use.
  • He feels personally responsible for making efficient use of company resources.

Integrity Matters During These Professional Life Stages

Integrity makes a difference throughout the career cycle. During job seeking, candidates show integrity by being straightforward on their resumes and during interviews. When they do, they’re more likely to find work for which they’re qualified and company culture into which they fit. When candidates stretch the truth at this stage they may think they’re just trying to get their foot in the door, but they could destroy all chances of future employment.

Integrity makes all the difference when workers are establishing themselves in a new role. When they show up ready to work day after day and do what they promise, they quickly begin to stand out. Co-workers depend on them and managers trust them.

When people step into leadership roles and continue to demonstrate integrity, their team finds them worthy of respect. They have a track record of honesty, approachability and taking pride in work well done. Because leaders with integrity hold themselves to high standards, they can ask staff to do the same.

Can You Develop Integrity?

People with integrity often credit role models who shaped and inspired them very early in life. If you didn’t have the perfect upbringing, you can still develop integrity by connecting your inner values and external behaviors.

Ask yourself where your morals and ethics come from and identify the ones on which you refuse to compromise. Find people you know who consistently act with integrity and spend more time interacting with them.

Stop making promises altogether, except the ones to which you can be 100 percent committed. If you’re not sure about something just be honest. It’s better to say no to some things than to encourage someone to count on you and not deliver.

If you make a mistake, address it immediately. Admit what you did and apologize, then take steps to reimburse losses or undo the damage. If habits like speaking impulsively or overcommitting keep you from demonstrating integrity, find ways to change those behaviors.

Interview Questions About Integrity

Recruiters and hiring managers can spot candidates with integrity when they ask questions like:

  • Can you tell me about a time you experienced failure at a previous job?
  • What do you do when you make a mistake at work?
  • Have you ever experienced negative consequences for doing the right thing?
  • What do you see as the difference between company rules and company guidelines?
  • Can you give me an example of a time when your integrity was challenged, and how did you handle it?
  • Would your previous boss describe you as trustworthy? If so, why?

Everyone makes mistakes, the key here is to uncover how the candidate responded. Candidates with integrity will answer honestly even if the questions are uncomfortable or the situation could show them in a negative light.

Brelsford Personnel is committed to the highest standards of excellence in screening and selection for our clients. We can help your company hire candidates with the tangible and intangible skills you need. Get in touch to find out more.

How to Encourage Employees to Use Their PTO (And Why You Should)

How to Encourage Employees to Use Their PTO (And Why You Should)

Before 2020, employees typically used their paid time off to travel. They saved it for summer cruises and holiday trips to celebrate with family. Then they came back to work refreshed and energized from the break. While you might have had one or two staff members who never liked to take a day off, for the most part employees were happy to put those days to good personal use.

Now people across the nation are traveling much, much less, even for the holidays. Employees might need a mental health day more than ever, but they don’t feel like they should take one. Jobs are harder to come by, and workers don’t want to appear less dedicated. Plus, when you’re planning a staycation instead of a trip, you can fit it into a weekend since there’s no actual travel involved.

While the number of hours employees are putting in has soared, people aren’t taking time off to rest and recharge, so work quality and innovation aren’t what they could be. Now is the time to review existing policies, communicate changes and encourage employees to take time to use their PTO.

Communicate Empathy

Workers won’t feel comfortable taking time off if they think doing so might damage their chances for future employment or promotion. If they aren’t taking PTO, they may need to know you recognize the challenges and stresses they face.

Fully at-home employees might feel trapped and isolated by a work environment that was once considered a perk but be afraid to step away. Workers who deal with the public have the ongoing knowledge that they could be exposed to infected people every day but not have a way to decompress. No matter where they work, employees might feel pressure to perform which makes it hard to disconnect from their responsibilities. They become exhausted and depressed.

You can help by articulating your desire that they take care of themselves. Encourage them to use their PTO by letting them know you consider people your strongest asset and you’re aware of their hard work. Explain how statistically, taking vacation time results in less stress and greater productivity, so doing so is in everyone’s best interests.

Define Organizational Expectations

Even employees who aren’t fully remote have found ways to accomplish many tasks from outside the office. As a result the lines between business hours and personal time have blurred. Many find themselves staying available nights and weekends and responding to notifications every time they chime.

They might think work is no longer confined to the hours your business is open. Plus, they’re putting off travel until they feel like more options are available, and they think paid time off should only be used for actual vacations.

Encourage employees to think of PTO as time for improving their own mental and physical health or strengthening personal relationships, not just for travel. Redefine it as a chance to pursue a hobby or learn a skill that’s not strictly work related. Ask workers to share creative ways they relax like gardening, painting, woodworking or cycling.

Then, review leave policies and communicate individually with employees about the need to take some of their vacation time. Clarify your expectations for what constitutes regular business hours. Leadership should model expected behaviors by taking their own time for rest and self-care.

Don’t Interrupt Staycations

When workers do take time off, give them space. Managers and business owners who wouldn’t think of calling their staff members while they were traveling out of the country sometimes feel like it’s okay when they know they’re staycationing at home. Respect their time off no matter where they’re spending it. Let employees know if they receive work email or group messaging during that time they don’t need to answer until they’re scheduled to return.

Document Policies

Sometimes managers ask if they can force employees to take PTO. While taking a “use it or lose it” approach might motivate staff, it also has the potential to cause dissatisfaction.

It’s better to define PTO use going forward. For example, your revised policy might require that staff take at least 10 PTO days a year, with five of them being consecutive or allow them to use time in two hour increments when they need to come in early or late.

Some employers are concerned that there’s a “PTO bomb” ticking ominously in the background. They worry once travel restrictions ease everyone will want to take a vacation at once. Diffuse the situation by documenting your policy for prioritizing and scheduling multiple simultaneous requests.

At Brelsford Personnel, experience has taught us successful job performance is directly relating to matching the right environment with the right candidate. Let’s talk about how we can help fulfill your professional, administrative and temporary staffing needs when you get in touch.

Professional Salutations for Work Email

Professional Salutations for Work Email

Email is one of the most common communication methods for businesses and individuals, with an estimated 306.4 billion sent daily in 2020. There aren’t many rules for digital communication with friends and family members, but business email has its own etiquette. When you choose a professional salutation for work email you connect with the recipient and create an atmosphere of respect and collaboration for the rest of your message.

Which Part is the Salutation Again?

A salutation is a few words of greeting or acknowledgment. At the very beginning of an email or letter, it’s customary to address the recipient with a formal or informal hello. You might start a work email with “Dear Dr. Brown,” or “Hi Sharon,” depending on the purpose of the email and your relationship with the recipient.

Do Salutations Really Still Matter?

Digital communication strips away body language, tone and other clues that let others know what you’re thinking and feeling. A professional salutation starts your email off with an attitude of respect, friendliness or approachability, depending on the words you choose. Keeping that in mind, here are a few reasons salutations are still a pretty big deal.

  • Professional salutations make good first Impressions. The salutation of your work email sets the tone for the rest of the email, and it lets the reader know how you feel about them.
  • Your salutation is part of personal branding – When you start every work email you send with a professional salutation, you establish yourself as someone who is competent and polished.
  • Professional salutations establish connections – The wrong email salutation can alienate the reader. No salutation at all seems impersonal. A professional salutation connects with the intended recipient and encourages them to read the rest of your message.

Choosing an Appropriate Email Salutation

The right salutation depends on your relationship with the person you’re emailing. If you’re contacting a co-worker with whom you have a strong, positive relationship, someone who knows your kids’ names and where you went on your last vacation, you don’t need to be as formal as you would writing your boss or a new contact.

The less you know someone, the more formal should be your salutation. If you’ve never met a client, potential partner, company representative, department head or other contact, choose a more formal salutation.

Best Salutations for Work

If you’re writing an individual, it’s always best to use their name in the salutation. Here are a few of the best choices, going from most to least formal.

  • Dear Mr. Jones – Use “Dear” with a last name when you’re emailing someone you don’t know very well or a senior staff member. If you’re writing a woman and you don’t know whether or not she’s married, use “Ms.” Instead of “Mrs.” or “Miss.” If the recipient has a title, use it. In very formal situations, follow your salutation with a colon instead of a comma. For example, “Dear Professor Roberts:”
  • Dear Steven – The salutation “Dear” with a first name works in almost any situation if you know the person and are on a similar level, or if they have encouraged you to address them by their first name. Don’t shorten first names unless they tell you to. In other words, don’t address Steven as Steve or Jennifer as Jenny unless they’ve indicated that’s the name they prefer.
  • Greetings – This salutation is friendly but still more formal than just saying hello. It’s an acceptable choice if you’re emailing someone you don’t know very well or cold contacting a potential client.
  • Hi Meredith – If “Dear” feels too formal, “Hi” or “Hello” is acceptable.

Business Email Salutations to Avoid

Stay away from overly casual salutations like “Hey,” “Yo,” “What’s Up,” or anything that ends in an emoji or exclamation point. It’s also a good idea to avoid impersonal salutations like “To Whom It May Concern,” “Dear Hiring Manager,” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” Those greetings sound stiff, and they also give the impression you didn’t care enough to find the intended recipient’s name.

Should You Always Use Salutations in Work Email?

It’s never going to leave a bad impression to use a professional salutation for work email because a greeting always adds warmth and personalizes your message. However, there are times you can leave it off.

If you’re having a dialogue and exchange emails back and forth along the same thread and the other person drops the salutation or greeting from their email, sometimes it’s acceptable to leave yours off as well. Err on the side of caution if you’re writing clients, administrators or senior staff members.

For more on professional communication, check out our article 5 Email Etiquette Rules Every Employee Should Know. We also provide resume writing tips, interview tips and dress code guidelines on our Resources page.

Workforce Confidence is Up – Here’s Why

Workforce Confidence is Up – Here’s Why

LinkedIn’s U.S. Workforce Confidence Index gathers data on how workers across the nation feel about their jobs, finances, personal investments and other factors that affect their long-term future, and a recent report shows confidence is up. That may seem surprising after extreme shifts in unemployment numbers and sweeping global economic uncertainty. However, when you look at the last month’s data, it’s an encouraging indicator of how Americans regard their abilities to face challenges, find solutions, and become stronger than ever.

What is Workforce Confidence and How is It Measured?

Workforce Confidence is more than an emotional temperature snapshot. It’s often viewed as a predictor of behaviors and outcomes. People who have positive expectations about their ability to achieve career success and grow their personal wealth are more likely to work hard, have high self-esteem and withstand obstacles.

LinkedIn conducts an online survey every two weeks that gathers data from a random sampling of around 5,000 United States-based members who are currently active in the workforce. Their answers are scored on a scale of -100 to 100 based on how they feel about these statements:

  • I feel confident about my ability to get or hold onto a job right now
  • I feel confident about my ability to improve my financial situation in the next 6 months
  • I feel confident about my ability to progress in my career in the next year

When the survey began in April, most of the nation was shut down. Americans were isolated, stuck at home and unsure what the future would bring. Unemployment numbers got worse week after week.

The Workforce Confidence Index was understandably low. But in the past few months, it has been on the upswing.

Industries Feeling Highest Workforce Confidence

Optimism has increased the most in health care, consumer goods, media and communications, entertainment, and public administration industries. Workers in those industries feel good about their job security and long-term career prospects because they faced huge challenges and found ways to overcome.

In March and April healthcare workers dealt with the possibility they could be overwhelmed by large numbers of sick patients, and they might themselves contract an illness and take it home to their families. They met one challenge after another by adding personal protective equipment and adjusting safety protocols so they could keep serving on the front lines. They found ways to offer telemedicine, minimizing exposure risk and making scheduling more efficient. Health care’s October confidence measure is seven points higher than it was in September.

COVID also had a heavy impact on workers in the entertainment industry. States and cities shut down movie theaters, concert halls and venues for months in the spring and summer. Again, challenge led to innovation.

Entertainers who were able to think outside the box turned to live online events, podcasts and online content distribution. Drive-In movies experienced a comeback and theaters rolled out plans to reopen with increased safety guidelines. Media and Communication experienced a seven-point gain in confidence, while the entertainment industry’s confidence measure went up five points.

Public administration is also noticing a confidence rise as many states have recently announced hiring plans as communities open again. The consumer goods industry quickly found ways to help shoppers feel safe by providing curbside pickup and more e-commerce opportunities. Public Administration saw a seven-point gain, while confidence in for workers in consumer goods increased five points between September and October.

Workers in a wide range of industries adjusted to remote work and found themselves optimistic about the future. Manufacturing and Transportation and Logistics also experienced workforce confidence gains.

Agile Mindsets, New Strategies

Each sector that experienced measurable improvement did so because workers and administrators were able to adapt existing strategies or come up with new ones related to their products and services. They stood out by showing they care about their communities, supporting employee health and productivity and taking steps to protect the most vulnerable. The ability to shift and adapt will continue to factor in business success during the months ahead.

Brelsford Personnel helps East Texas employers solve hiring challenges and job seekers find work. Get in touch to find out more.

Create Your Best Job – The Truth About Job Security

Create Your Best Job – The Truth About Job Security

Throughout our Create Your Best Job series we’ve focused heavily on identifying your skills, strengths, passions, and career goals because in our decades of helping people find work, we’ve come to accept a difficult truth: There is no job security.

If you’re looking for work now, it likely will not be the last time. Once you find your best job, continue to add to your skillset so your value to employers grows over time.

Average Number of Jobs in a Lifetime

The Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report in 2019 that tallied the number of jobs people born in the years 1957 to 1964 held from between 18 and 52 years of age. This group, often called the Baby Boomers, held around 12 different jobs in their lifetime.

That number might be significantly more or less, depending on age, ethnicity, education, industry, gender and other factors. For example, data shows that some workers currently between the ages of 25 and 34 stay an average of 2.8 years at each job. Public sector employees have longer median tenure than their private sector counterparts.

Still, whatever way you look at it, gone are the days when people work 40 years for the same employer and retire with a pension. Loyalty isn’t what it used to be. Employers hire and fire based on marketplace changes and demand fluctuation. Employees will readily leave for better pay or more attractive benefits. Local, national and global events change economies without warning.

So actually, there is no job security. The best job security is maintaining a marketable skill set. It’s best to be proactive so the next time you’re looking for work, you’re even more marketable than you are now.

4 Tips for Making Yourself More Marketable

Think of yourself as an actor or actress, currently evaluating scripts to find a job that will enhance your value. Let’s say you land what might be the role of a lifetime, a part that fits you perfectly. You throw yourself into that role and for a season, that character is your reality. However, at the same time, you know eventually the show or play will come to an end, so as much as you love the part, you’re constantly preparing for the future.

As an actor, you hone your skills. You note where you excel, and make a plan for correcting weakness as you see it emerge. And, you keep your ears open for the next opportunity, hoping to find a new job before this one ends.

It’s the same way in the job market. Once you find your current best job, prepare yourself for the future by doing the following.

Constantly Acquire New Skills

Keep track of what skills employers are looking for, and start acquiring the ones that aren’t already in your toolbox. Use online tools to add accreditations and certifications. Take advantage of employer-sponsored education whenever possible.

Learn New Technology

The more you know about computer operations and software applications as they apply to your field, the more valuable you are to employers. Technology influences almost every line of work, and it’s always changing, so it’s always a good idea to keep adding to your knowledge base.

Look the Part

Once you find your best job, don’t give in to the temptation to let things slide in terms of professional attire, grooming, posture and presentation. Maintaining a professional appearance and demeanor helps you look and feel like a winner every day. Both managers and recruiters will take note.

Keep Networking

Stay active in your professional association. Mentor others who currently are where you’ve been. Volunteer in your community. You’ll build satisfying relationships now and have useful connections should you need them in the future.

Why Use Brelsford Personnel

Even if you change jobs every two or three years, there’s still a period of searching and waiting between jobs. At Brelsford Personnel, helping East Texas candidates and employers connect is something we live every day. So perhaps we can help.

The job market can change drastically. But we’ve been a part of area employment for long enough that we’re uniquely qualified to help you know what to expect and how to navigate the waters. If you are ready to pursue a new career or have been caught in a lay-off, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help!

Create Your Best Job – Internet Do’s and Don’ts

Create Your Best Job – Internet Do’s and Don’ts

The fact that you’re reading this says you’ve already discovered that the Internet is packed with resources that can help you find a job. You’ll use online resources at every stage of your job search, from browsing job boards to research, to emailing resumes and cover letters, and following up on those emails. However, every day job seekers make online mistakes that hold them back. Follow these online best practices to create your best job.

Stay Out of Rabbit Holes

The Internet is one of the best ways to research job openings, companies, and positions. It also can be a time sucker. Be thorough, but know when to stop surfing and move to activities that will put you in contact with people who can hire you. Limit online research to no more than 30 percent of the time you spend job searching.

Proof Everything

A large percentage of employers now prefer candidates to complete an online application. It’s great to be able to apply for work from your couch, but it’s also time consuming to fill out each employer’s online forms. There’s a tendency to switch to autopilot or to rush through completing fields. Make sure you proofread carefully before you submit every application.

Follow These Email Best Practices

Often you’ll send cover letters and resumes by email. When hiring managers post jobs, they’re frequently inundated with candidates, so you might only have one chance to stand out.

Use an Appropriate Email Address

If you’re currently employed, don’t use your work email address. Send from a personal address that sounds professional and as simple as possible. If your personal email address uses a nickname or something cute, get another one just for your job search.

Write Compelling Subject Lines

Your subject line might be the most important part of your email because if hiring managers don’t read what you sent, you have zero chance of getting an interview. Here are a few examples of subject lines that get hiring managers to look at your cover letter and resume:

  • Paperwork You Requested
  • Bilingual Receptionist Job – Your Name
  • Referral From Tammy Green, Your Name, Candidate for Administrative Assistant Position
  • Job Application – Accountant Job # 45779 – Your Name, CPA

Craft Convincing Body Text

When they open your email, decision makers should find a clear, concise statement of who you are, what position you’re applying for, and why you’re qualified. Think of this as your two minute commercial formatted for email.

Stick to standard fonts and formatting, with black typeface. Avoid using emoji or acronyms. Don’t get too creative even with your signature line. Keep it simple, but include the following:

First Name, Last Name, Title
Email Address
Phone Number

Some companies prefer to receive cover letters and resumes in the email body, while others prefer candidates to send them as attachments. Follow their instructions, since some organizations block email with attachments to prevent viruses.

Send attachments as a Word document unless the job posting says otherwise. Save your documents with clear file names like “First-Name-Last-Name-Cover-Letter.doc” and “First-Name-Last-Name-Resume.doc” so the hiring manager knows what he or she is opening.

Send yourself a test email to double check your spelling, grammar, subject line, and attachments. Sometimes reviewing one more time prevents embarrassing mistakes.

Check Frequently, Reply Promptly

Check your email at least once a day, and reply to prospective employers as quickly as possible. If you can respond immediately, you may catch them while they’re still at their desk and you’re fresh on their mind. Always respond within 24 hours to avoid missing out on an opportunity.

Don’t Let (Social Media) Friends Drag You Down

At this point, you should have already gone through your social media feeds and removed any posts that don’t show you at your professional best. However, your online contacts might inadvertently make it hard to keep them that way. Let your friends know not to tag you in party photos or any other photos you don’t want prospective employers to see. Also, convey your preferences to that friend who always tags you when he or she posts political rants or inappropriate memes.

Silence Technology for Interviews

Part of technology etiquette involves knowing when you shouldn’t be plugged in. Don’t forget to turn off notifications when you’re heading into an interview. If your phone goes off you’ll be distracted and the hiring manager might feel getting a job with them isn’t your top priority.

Use Care With Follow Ups

Apply the same careful proof-reading skills, politeness, and professionalism to all follow-up communication. Don’t limit yourself to online interactions. After an interview consider hand-writing your thank you note to stand out.

Use Free Brelsford Personnel Resources

Visit our job board frequently for updates and check out our dynamic library of online job search resources.

Create Your Best Job – Networking is Key

Create Your Best Job – Networking is Key

If there were a single thing you could do to supercharge your efforts to create your best job, it would be networking. In all the years we’ve spent matching East Texas job seekers with area employers there’s something we’ve found to be consistently powerful and true: Networking leads to jobs.

Do everything you can to let anyone and everyone know you’re actively seeking employment, and then follow up on every single lead you receive. A huge part of a job search is networking!

Is Networking Really That Important?

Some people were already social networking before such a term even existed. They seem to effortlessly make, then retain connections everywhere they go. You don’t have to tell those people about the importance of networking because they couldn’t stop doing it if they tried.

For the rest of us, networking as part of the job search can be somewhere between an uncomfortable prospect and a necessary evil. We’ve heard it’s a good idea. But we don’t know how best to go about it, and we’re not completely convinced it’s worth the effort. It’s much easier to sit around in our pajamas and scroll through online job postings. Online job searching is important and necessary, but statistically it does not produce near the results as networking.

Networking is the most common way to get a job. Some experts say 70 percent of currently employed people are in their current job because of networking. Others say that number is as high as 85 percent.

Why Networking Works

The biggest reason networking is so effective is that it gives you backdoor access to jobs that might not even be posted or advertised. Employers fill a huge percentage of postings internally, or because of internal connections. Often it goes like this:

Mary has worked as a highly paid expert at your best job for the past several years. Her husband gets transferred out of town. At the water cooler, she mentions she’s about to turn in her notice. One of her co-workers remembers her best friend mentioned a neighbor looking for similar work. She helps the neighbor and the supervisor connect, and the neighbor gets the job.

The main takeaway is this – if so many jobs are never posted, you won’t find them by sending resumes. To find your best job, make your resume and cover letter the best they can be and apply to all the possibilities that fit your criteria, but don’t spend the entirety of your job search hiding behind a computer screen. Networking has been proven to be the best way to get more referrals and secure a new opportunity. We have certainly found this to be true in our agency as a significant number of the candidates we place come to us via personal referrals.

4 Steps to Successful Networking

Successful networking means getting the word out about what you’re looking for and how you’re qualified. Tell everyone, because you never know who can provide you with the contact that will lead to your best job. Work on expanding your network as you search-it is like “dropping a stone into the pond.” Here’s how to do it.

1 – Print Business Cards

Have business cards printed with your contact information. We also recommend including the address of your LinkedIn Profile. Instead, of a job title, include a broad description of your work, such as accountant, marketing professional, administrative assistant, etc. Give cards to everyone you meet.

2 – Reach Out to Contacts

Keep in mind with every job search activity you complete, the goal is to book interviews with decision makers. Your contacts can help you accomplish that goal, but you need to ask for their help. Send a letter or email to your family and friends that says something like the following:

Hi [Person],

I’m writing to let you know about an important development in my career. I am actively looking for a new role and would greatly appreciate your support and insight. I have ——-years of experience in the —- field/industry and am most interested in [state the types of jobs that represent your current interests].

A copy of my resume is attached. I would greatly appreciate any advice, referrals or opportunities you might offer.

I hope everything is going well in your life. Thank you in advance for your help!

Sign your name

(Don’t forget to attach your resume).

3 – Find Networking Opportunities

Use the Internet to find dates, times, and locations for opportunities like these:

  • Networking events – The Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce frequently has “business after hours” events for networking. Eventbrite lists networking events by location. The Tyler Young Professionals Network also hosts networking events.
  • Job fairs – These can provide great leads if you attend the right ones. Talk to a job fair representative to find out if the employers attending are hiring candidates with your skills.
  • Associations in your profession – There’s an association for everything. The people who join are usually those who have become successful at what they do. They want to learn from others who have been successful, and they’re also willing to give back. When you attend meetings and interact with association members, give your two minute commercial and you’ll be amazed at the results.
  • Non-profit organization events or gatherings – This type of event or gathering provides an opportunity to network with a diverse group of people all looking to help others and make a difference. As you join them in their goals, you also can make connections that further your job search.

4 – Don’t Forget Social Media Networking

Social media isn’t just for sharing funny pet videos and vacation photos. It’s also a job networking tool. First, go through your feeds and delete anything you wouldn’t want prospective employers to see. Look at what’s in the background of your photos, and evaluate messages for potentially charged language.

Next, if you don’t already use LinkedIn, create and optimize your account. Make sure your photo is current and shows you at your professional best. Add to your profile all the keywords and skills found in your resume. Then, start connecting with other people you know to build your network.

Follow Up on Every Lead

In our next article, we’re going to talk about how follow up is critical. As you network, make note of every possible lead and stay tuned for more on how to turn those contacts into job interviews.

Create Your Best Job – Your Two Minute Commercial

Create Your Best Job – Your Two Minute Commercial

To land your best job, you need to sell yourself. We advise job seekers to come up with a two-minute commercial, a quick summary of why they’re a perfect fit. It’s also sometimes called an elevator pitch because you can deliver it anywhere, in the amount of time it takes to go up a few floors in an elevator.

Why a Commercial?

“But I’m not in sales,” you might be saying. “I don’t want to sound like a salesperson.” When you craft a strong elevator pitch, you’re not trying to put pressure on hiring managers or make promises you can’t deliver. You’re delivering a quick presentation that positions you as invaluable to their company.

You’ll use a variation of your two-minute commercial in your cover letter, during interviews and when you’re networking. It should take between 30 seconds and two minutes to deliver and show how you can solve their organization’s problems or create more success.

When you give them a memorable snapshot or sound bite that summarizes your professional self, they’re more likely to retain your message. You stand out, you show you respect their time, and you’re more likely to get an interview.

What’s In a Good Elevator Pitch?

Create your two-minute commercial around your unique selling proposition. Identify what makes you better and more qualified for the job than all the other humans on the planet, and lead with that.

Many people feel uncomfortable talking about themselves, but you can motivate hiring managers to listen by focusing on how your unique skills can help them. Explain how what you do can solve a pain point and back that up with examples from your past work experience.

Make it clear you want a job. You’re not just having a conversation; you have a goal. Offer them a way to follow up by leaving a business card or following up through email.

How to Write Your 2 Minute Commercial

Your brief speech should explain who you are, what you do, what makes you stand out, what you want and include a call to action. It might go something like this:

  • Introduce yourself – First 5 seconds
  • Briefly state what you do – 5 to 10 seconds
  • Grab attention by asking a question or stating a problem – 5 to 10 seconds
  • Deliver your unique value proposition and connect it to their pain points – 10 to 15 seconds
  • Share achievements – 10 to 15 seconds
  • State your goal and call them to take action – 15 seconds

Use the above as a basic framework for getting started but make it your own. You may need to spend more time on one aspect and less on others.

Two Minute Commercial Examples

If you’re currently out of work and looking for a job at a networking event, an appropriate two-minute commercial might be:

“I am currently looking for a new opportunity in B2B sales. I have ten years of successful sales experience with a technology firm and a marketing degree from UT Austin. If you know someone who is looking for a sales rep with my experience, I would certainly appreciate a referral. May I give you my card? I am ready to work and excited to find a new career home!”

Or, if you’re sitting in front of a hiring agent, you might say something like:

“I have spent the last five years as the top sales representative out of twenty-five reps for a leading technology company. I will bring my ability to generate revenue and profits to your company. I’m extremely confident in my sales abilities and have a very high level of interest in working for you and your company.”

Use your elevator speech to highlight what you’re good at and illustrate what you can do for them. For example:

“I’ve been the Office Manager at ABC Organization for the past five years. Some of my main responsibilities were planning and overseeing corporate meetings and events, sticking within budgetary constraints by finding the most cost-effective venues and vendors, making sure the office ran like clockwork and serving as the central point of contact for the entire office. I’d like to bring my experience to your company. May I give you my business card?”

Don’t Stop At One Elevator Pitch

Once you’ve created your basic two-minute commercial, develop variations for different situations. You might create one version for career fairs, a second for networking events and a third for use during interviews. The written version you use for online profiles and in your cover letter will most likely be different from the ones you deliver in person.

Delivering Your Two Minute Commercial

A carefully crafted two-minute commercial grabs attention, makes you stand out and helps you sell yourself, but it’s also useful because it helps you relax. Memorize your speech, then use it in response to questions like these:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What kind of job are you looking for?
  • What are you doing these days?
  • What kind of job are you looking for?

Practice giving your speech in front of a mirror. Rehearse until you can deliver it naturally, with confidence and positivity. Practice more with friends and family members so the first time you present it to a person isn’t during a high-stress interview. Soon you’ll be ready to sell yourself in a variety of situations, giving you the best chance to land your best job.

Create Your Best Job – Setting Career Goals

Create Your Best Job – Setting Career Goals

When you don’t love your current job, you spend every day in an unpleasant situation. It’s normal to want out, and to be tempted by any opportunity that might provide an escape. But before you apply for every job out there, ask yourself a very important question.

What specific career goals will your best job help you reach?

When you jump at what seems like a quick solution, the job that’s “okay for now,” you hold yourself back from achieving the future you really want. It’s a major life decision where thoughtful planning makes all the difference. We recommend candidates conduct a self-appraisal.

Getting the Most of Your Self-Appraisal

Throughout history, some of the most brilliant minds have pointed out that we can’t predict the future, but we can invent it. Setting career goals is an important step toward creating your best job. Here’s what you need to know.

Maximum returns follow maximum effort. We’re about to ask you to do some hard work. You may be tempted to skim over the assessment questions and form a vague idea of the answers in your head, but that isn’t going to help you find your perfect job. You’re working to create your best future. That’s worth your best effort.

Start with honesty. We talk ourselves into all kinds of things when we don’t like our current situation, or we’re worried about paying the bills. When you set career goals, be real with yourself about what’s most important for you to achieve. There aren’t right or wrong answers, only honest ones. What do you most want out of your career? Is there a certain type of task you would be happiest performing? Would success mean moving into a management role, traveling frequently, becoming an expert in your field or some other responsibility or achievement?

Know career goals evolve over time. Be honest with yourself, but don’t create undue pressure by feeling you have to plan the entire rest of your life before you can start looking for a job. Identify current career goals, then you can return to them and reevaluate periodically.

Writing is powerful. When you write down your career goals, you create a picture in your mind of the future you want. You have a lasting record of your goal, and you’re more likely to achieve it because you’ve narrowed your focus and specified your destination.

It’s time to get started, so grab a pen and paper. Look within and write down answers to these questions.

Personal Appraisal Questions

  1. What type of person are you? Are you a leader or a follower? A people person or an introvert? Ambitious or laid back? Write a detailed description.
  2. How would your friends describe you?
  3. What do you want to accomplish with your life?
  4. What role does your job play in your life?
  5. How does what you do as a career and in your free time impact others?
  6. What are your accomplishments to date? Which of them matter most and bring you the most satisfaction?
  7. What role does money play in your values? Is it a major driving factor when it comes to work and personal satisfaction, or is it just one of many components in your overall quality of life?
  8. Do you feel like your career is central to your life, or just part of it?
  9. What are your main interests?
  10. What brings you joy?
  11. What makes you angry, frustrated, or unhappy?

Job Appraisal Questions

  1. Describe your job title, responsibilities, salary, accomplishments, successes, failures, and reasons for leaving at previous employers. Start with your most recent job and work backward.
  2. Ask yourself how you would change your job history if you had the ability to go back in time.
  3. What responsibilities did you most enjoy? Which ones did you dislike?
  4. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  5. Are there any patterns in your reasons for leaving?
  6. If you’ve been fired, what was the reason?
  7. What kind of job do you think would be the perfect match for your talents and interests?
  8. If you could have your best job, what price might you have to pay in terms of longer hours, more stress, the need for further education or something else? Are you prepared to pay the price?
  9. What have you done to improve your weaknesses or get closer to your career goals?
  10. How would previous supervisors describe you?
  11. How long do you want to work before retirement?

Apply the 80/20 Rule

The Pareto Principle, also called the 80/20 Rule of Cause and Effect, applies to a surprising number of situations. You’ve probably heard most people wear 20 percent of what’s in their closets 80 percent of the time. In business, 80 percent of sales often come from 20 percent of customers. The 80/20 rule also works in your job search. Often, 20 percent of your actions provide 80 percent of results.

When you worked through the above self-assessment, you may have noticed that some skills, abilities, or habits accounted for the majority of your accomplishments. Those are the talents you want to market to future employers. If a company is looking for someone who does what you’re best at doing, they’ve already identified their need for those talents. You’ll do the work you find most meaningful and be valued for your contribution.

The 80/20 rule also applies when you’re actually looking for a job. If you apply to every job for which you think you might qualify, you waste energy and reduce your chance of landing your best job. Focus on the 20 percent that most closely match your experience, interests and background. Give those 100 percent effort and start booking more interviews.

Create Your Best Job – Do This Every Day

Create Your Best Job – Do This Every Day

The best way to create your best job is to make your job search your full-time job. When we tell people that, they often ask how they can spend 40 hours a week actively seeking employment.

The 5 Stages of a Job Search

Finding a job is a process that involves these stages:

Stage 1 – Identifying target employers and finding out how to contact them

Stage 2 – Submitting a tailored cover letter and resume

Stage 3 – Following up

Stage 4 – Scheduling, preparing for and attending interviews

Stage 5 – Following up on interviews

You might be at the beginning stage with some employers while you go through later stages with others.

What to Do Every Day

Monday through Friday set your alarm and get up like you have to be at work during regular business hours. Get dressed and get started like you have to clock in. Re-read the insight you gained from your review of your previous jobs. Every day accomplish the following:

  • Identify five new targets and how to contact them.
  • Edit your resume and cover letter for each of the five prospective employers. Mail or submit them electronically according to job posting requirements.
  • Follow up on previously sent resumes.
  • If you have an interview scheduled, research the company with which you’re interviewing and practice answering common interview questions.
  • Follow up on previous interviews.

Your main objective is to get face-to-face interviews with the decision maker who can hire you for your target role. Continue the process until you have multiple interviews scheduled and the possibility of job offers.

It’s also helpful to schedule informational interviews. Contact people currently working in the position you want. Ask them to share what they do and how they landed the job in the first place. You’ll receive valuable insight, and they might have contacts in your desired field.

Keeping Track of It All

If you’re sending five resumes a day, things could start to run together. Document your efforts so you don’t lose track or miss a follow-up. If you’re a paper and pencil person, grab your spiral and sketch out grids. If you prefer virtual records, create a spreadsheet. Here’s an example setup.

Stage 1 – Identifying Target Employers and Key Contacts

Create Your Best Job – Do This Every Day

Stage 2 – Cover Letter and Resume Tracking

Create Your Best Job – Do This Every Day

Stage 3 – Follow Up

Create Your Best Job – Do This Every Day

Stage 4 – Scheduled Interview

Create Your Best Job – Do This Every Day

Stage 5 – Follow-Up

Create Your Best Job – Do This Every Day

Brelsford Personnel specializes in helping people find work mostly in these areas of specialization:

  • Accounting and Financial Services
  • Administrative Office Support
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Business Development
  • Oil and Gas Staff
  • Human Resources
  • Legal Support
  • Customer Service
  • Information Technology
  • Operations
  • Healthcare Administration

If you’re looking for work in those areas, experience our fresh approach when you get in touch.