How We Help

Express works with you to help you find that next career. We offer access to our extensive client network, third-party salary negotiation, complete confidentiality, one-on-one consultations, résumé review and assistance, as well as interview enhancement tips.

Learn more. 

Entries in jobgenius (54)

Tuesday
Mar102015

BE A LEADER IN ANY ROLE

You don’t need a big corner office or a fancy title to be a leader. You just need the qualities that all leaders possess. Whether you’re a young intern or a top manager, you can hone your leadership skills now and make an impact on your company and your career.

Good leadership is not only vital to a company’s success, but to every individual employee as well. Explaining and understanding what leadership is can be easier said than done, but the good news is that everyone–from the youngest intern to the veteran manager–can learn the essential skills.

How to Develop Your Inner Leader
You don’t have to wait until you’re in the modern workforce to become an effective leader. In fact, the best time to start learning those modern management techniques is before you even go to your first job interview.

Don Betz is president of the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), and its Leadership Central initiative is designed to provide, deliver, and support leadership enterprises on UCO’s campus. The leadership initiative enhances education through communication training, ethics, collaboration, and more. According to Don, there are some major factors that play into a new hire’s ability to sink or swim when it comes to leadership.

“The most important reason that new hires fail is that they do not listen, they don’t communicate, they aren’t ‘coachable,’ they can’t critically analyze, and they don’t ask the important questions,” said Betz. “Those are basic leadership qualities, and that’s what employers look for.”

Start Early
To learn how to lead even if you don’t hold an executive position at work, volunteer for a nonprofit organization or join a club. These groups, like churches and school organizations, are full of opportunities to lead on committees, projects, or events. They are great starting places for future leaders.

“There are hundreds of organizations on school campuses that can help hone those skills,” said Betz. “In an organization, especially if that organization has a large event, you have to learn to communicate, collaborate, and take on leadership roles. You will be absolutely astounded at what you can learn to do.”

Look for Opportunities
Train your brain to identify every opportunity to demonstrate your potential as a leader in both your professional and personal life.

“Lead by example. Be the first person in and last person out, and hustle harder than everyone else,” said Kyle Golding, CEO and chief strategic idealist for The Golding Group, a strategic planning and business development firm.

Remember not to get ahead of yourself. Don’t give up on big ambitions, but also focus on excelling in your current position, giving as much effort to the present as to the future.

Study Other Leaders
Find people in your office that you admire and study them. Ask them how they developed their leadership style, how they reached their current position, and any tips they can share.

If you are too shy to approach your co-workers or leaders, study the way they interact with others. Or, pick up one of the many books about leadership and give it a read.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re employed or not, you can find examples of great leaders,” Golding said. “Study the way they act, the way they think, and start implementing their ideas. It doesn’t matter if they are in your field or not. All leaders have a style that makes others want to follow them.”

Know Your Stuff
As an intern or a new hire, you can make an immediate impact as a leader by supporting your bosses and the company in reaching goals. The simplest way an intern or a new hire can flex the leadership muscle is by knowing as much about the company as possible.

“Never go in unprepared,” Betz said. “Know your skills, but also study the company and their ideals, values, and goals. Be approachable, be warm, ask the good questions, and demonstrate a good work ethic.”

Keep Learning
Leaders also take the initiative to grow and learn. A good leader has a curious and open mind, and so should you. Leaders think outside of the box, are open to new and exciting ideas, and listen to what others suggest.

You can share those qualities no matter what position you are in. If you want to move up, volunteer to learn something out of your current job description.

“Ask questions, but ask solid questions,” Golding said. “This shows you have an understanding of your role – no matter how small – in the big picture of the company.”

Offer to Help
Needless to say, offering your help is the quickest way to be noticed and appreciated. If your company is facing a challenge, ask how you can help. No matter your role in the company, you can make a real difference.

“Companies look for that special enthusiasm and spark that goes well beyond the resume,” Betz said.

Practicing important qualities of a leader like taking initiative, offering to help, or learning from your superiors will add value to your career and your company. So, take the time to learn these skills and you’ll shine when opportunities for advancement arise.

How do you display leadership skills in your life? Let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Wednesday
Dec032014

BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE – BUT YOUR JOB SEARCH DOESN’T HAVE TO BE

it's_cold_outside_web

Winter officially kicks off in late December, but it’s already getting cold outside. With a chill in the air, this could be the perfect time to heat up your job search techniques and defrost your career.

Don’t let your job search take a vacation just because everyone else might be requesting time off for trips and holidays. And, don’t succumb to the temptation to take a holiday from looking for that perfect job.

For the serious job seeker, Christmastime and snow days mean business as usual. Despite the cold weather, recruiters and companies continue to work on a typical business schedule, and so should you. We know it’s hard to be motivated when egg nog and cozy fireplaces tempt us with the lure of warmth and relaxation, so here are five tips that will help heat up your job search and put you ahead of your vacationing competition.

1. Don’t let the holidays sabotage your momentum.
While winter is traditionally a time for vacations and spending time with family, it’s also a valuable time to stand out to recruiters and hiring managers. The competition for the same job position lessens as others take time off, so you have a real chance to stand out from the competition by maintaining a steady effort during the holidays and winter slumps.

Keep searching the job boards and don’t stop networking. The end of the year is also a time when positions open up for the next year, so you may find great job leads by maintaining your job search momentum.

2. Stay connected.
The holiday season means visits from family and long school breaks. But, that doesn’t mean you need to turn off your email or mobile device the entire time.

Even if you are away from home or welcoming visitors, your mobile device should be on just in case you receive a call from that important potential employer. Make time each day to check your email for responses to applications and return important calls the day you receive them. Family should respect your need to be professional and motivated about finding that perfect job. Of course, there’s a fine line to walk when it comes to cell phone etiquette. Checking your email during holiday dinner may not be appropriate and is likely unnecessary since most recruiters and hiring managers aren’t checking theirs on holidays either.

3. Update your resume and social media profiles.
If you’re stuck at home thanks to snow, ice, or extreme cold, use the downtime to spruce up your online footprint and your resume. Remove old information on your resume and look up industry keywords that highlight your skills. These keywords are vital in today’s job search world as many applications are scanned electronically.

Winter break is also a great time to assess your skill sets and sign up for workshops or trainings to build any skills that you lack. You can also use the holiday time to clean up any old or embarrassing social media entries, renew conversations about job hunting, network, and remind people that you are still eager to work.

4. Network at the holiday events.
Attend as many community and industry events as you can during the winter months so you can network and spread the news about your job search. Because many winter and holiday events are casual, you have a better chance to approach the decision-makers you normally wouldn’t have access to.

Use social events to build a network of like-minded professionals who can send job openings your way or introduce you to others who are hiring. Don’t forget to be on your best behavior at these social events, though. Don’t overindulge or act inappropriately. Winter social events can be great opportunities for contacts, but you can also ruin your reputation if you’re not careful.

5. Don’t discount seasonal work.
Sure, you want a full-time position. But, many companies need extra help around the holidays and winter months. By accepting temporary positions, you get your foot in the door and open opportunities for future work. Working while others are on vacation also shows you are a motivated and eager employee.

Use temporary or seasonal positions to boost your skills, pump up your resume, and make important contacts who can help you with your career down the road.
Most importantly, take care of yourself. Shorter, colder days can lead to the winter blues and it’s an easy temptation to nest and shut yourself in at home. While it’s important to maintain your job search techniques, it’s also vital to eat healthy and get some kind of exercise. Taking care of your health during these cold winter months gives you the energy and focus you need to find that perfect job.

How do you boost your job search when the weather turns chilly? Share your tips in the comment section below.

Friday
Nov212014

6 WAYS TO SUPERCHARGE YOUR RESUME

Your resume is a key tool when it comes to your job search. It forms a potential employer’s first impression about you, usually within the span of just a few seconds. So, what’s the best way to create a positive, lasting impression that will land you the job? Here are six ways to supercharge your resume!

1.  Include skills summary.
Employers see a ton of resumes, so do something to help yours stand out from the rest. Include a brief summary of your top skills. This is your introduction to a potential employer. It doesn’t need to be anything long, but three to four sentences would be a great way to help them identify that you have the skills they’re looking for right off the bat.

2. Keep it focused and relevant.
Your resume shouldn’t be more than two pages long. You want to give an interviewer enough information about your work background and skills to schedule a job interview with you, not force them to read a novel. List the top projects you’ve worked on, share any awards and training you’ve received, and always remember to focus on the results. Also, employers want to know how you’re going above and beyond by volunteering in the community, so be sure to include some examples.

3. Include key words from the job description. 
In reviewing the job description, what specific skills do you have that match what the company wants? Include those skills on your resume. Use some of the key words in the job description. This will help the employer see at a glance how you fit their needs. It also shows that you took time to review their job and you know what’s expected of the position.

4. Include power words. 
There are certain words you can use in your resume that will also attract more positive attention. Employers are looking for individuals who exemplify a strong work ethic, a great attitude, and excellent communication skills. Incorporate words like leadership, professional, experience, reliable, and motivated. See a complete list of power words that will get you noticed.

5. Keep it simple. 
A resume should be simple and clean. Start with a font that is readable. You can also use bold words, shading, and bullets to draw attention to key areas of your resume, but do so in moderation. For example, you can bold your name, address, and contact information at the top of the page or bold different headline sections. Use bullets if you want to make some information more organized, such as your work experience section. These are small ways to update your resume and make it stand out, without being overwhelming. But, be cautious about using graphics and logos on a resume, especially if submitting online because some databases can’t process graphics and your information might not get accepted. It’s better to save those items for your portfolio.

6. Keep it updated.
Be sure to always keep your resume updated. Start with your most current experience and chronologically organize from there. Ensure all dates are accurate, proofread for any typos, and check to ensure all of your contact info is correct.

How do you help your resume stand out from the rest? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Friday
Nov212014

DE-STRESS BEFORE YOUR JOB INTERVIEW

de-stress_before_interview_web

Job interviews can be a little nerve racking. Will the interviewer like me? What if I say something that sounds stupid? What if I don’t know how to answer a question?

To help you gain your interview confidence, take a deep breath and follow these seven tips for conquering your fears and de-stress before your job interview.

1. Get your portfolio together.
Don’t scramble to put this together the night before. No one knows your work better than you, so be your biggest advocate on interview day and have a stellar portfolio. While getting your portfolio ready, showcase your best projects. And, be sure to include plenty of copies of your resume in case someone unexpected joins the interview. On your resume, make sure it’s easily laid out for readability, organized, shows your training/education background, and lists your job history. Also, include a list of references for extra bonus points.

2. Prepare for interview questions.
Expect to be asked questions like:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What can you bring to the team?
  • Do you have any questions about the job?

These are typical questions interviewers use to learn more about you. A few days before your interview, practice answering these questions and watch yourself in the mirror so you can see your facial expressions or ask a friend to listen and give you feedback.

3. Do your research on the company and the position.
Not only will you need to be prepared to answer questions about yourself, but you should also be able to speak about the company and the position you’re seeking. What do you know about them? What do they do? Find out when they were founded, how many locations they have (if more than one), and some interesting facts about the organization.

Also, be able to share about the skills you can bring to the job. What are some specific duties you’re interested in? How do your skills match the job? Also, come up with questions you have about the job. How do you see this position growing with this company? What skills does the perfect candidate have? Questions like these will show that you’re taking initiative in learning all you can about the position.

4. Drive by the interview location the day before.
A big stressor for interviewees is the location of the interview. If you can, do a test run the day before. Get a feel for the traffic and identify just how much time you need to get there. And remember, you will want to arrive at your interview at least 15 minutes early, so factor that into your drive time.

5. Plan your outfit.
What are you going to wear for your interview? The key is to always wear professional in attire on your interview day. Get your outfit prepared the evening before your interview and make sure it is clean and wrinkle-free. Also, include your accessories such as shoes, a tie, or jewelry. Having your clothes ready to go will save you time on the big day.

6. Get a good night’s rest.
Go to bed early the night before your interview. Allow yourself to get enough rest so you wake up feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to face the day. Don’t stay up late trying to prepare, and be sure to set your alarm!

7. Stay calm on interview day.
After you’ve checked in for your interview, use your last few minutes to take some deep breaths, remember what your goal is, and remind yourself that you can do this. Remember to think positive.

Do you have any additional tips for de-stressing before an interview? Share them here!

Monday
Nov102014

JOB POSTS DECODED

Decoding job postings is the very first step in the process of finding a job, and if job seekers don’t understand what employers are looking for, their job searches may be doomed. Unless you’re very familiar with the specific company or HR lingo, it’s easy to feel confused and unsure if you should apply for the job.

Fortunately, most employers use a limited vocabulary in their position descriptions. So, as long as job seekers understand the meaning behind a handful of phrases, they can decipher what employers are trying to communicate. We’ve decoded nine popular phrases to help maximize your job search efforts.

Part Time
If a position is described as part time or PT, then it technically means it’s less than the normal 40 hours a week. According to the U.S. government’s description, a part-time job is one that requires between zero and 30 hours per week. However, many companies consider 10-20 hours part time.

Full Time
On the other hand, full time (FT) is usually considered 40 or more hours of work a week. The government has deemed anything over 30 hours as full time, though. Also, usually full-time positions come with more benefits, such as health and dental insurance, retirement, and paid time off.

Flex-schedule
Flex-schedule or flex-time refers to the ability to work a less than traditional schedule. For instance, instead of working Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., you might be able to work three 12-hour days or four 10-hour days. It can also indicate that the employer allows its employees to set their own schedules.

Tele-commuting
If you’re interested in working from home, this is one of the key words you should look for in a job posting. Tele-commuting is the ability for an employee to complete their work from home, usually by phone or computer.

Self-motivated
Employers who list self-motivated in job postings want individuals who can complete tasks and projects on their own without much direction or pressure from others. Business leaders don’t want to constantly tell employees what they need to do or what comes next, so many employers look for this quality.

People Skills
Almost every job requires employees to interact with other people, whether co-workers, customers, or suppliers. So, the term “people skills” just means you need to have the ability to effectively communicate and get along with others.

Preferred
Job postings usually list some things that are required and some that are preferred. For instance, the job description might say a high school degree is required, but some college is preferred. This shouldn’t cause you to automatically give up on that position. If something is listed as “preferred” it just means it’s something the employer would like to see, not something they must have.

Goal-oriented
Goal-oriented is sometimes another way of saying self-motivated. Someone who is goal-oriented usually wants to have specific goals and is driven to accomplish those goals, often with limited instruction or supervision. This can also mean that a business is looking for someone who’s willing to put in as much time and effort as necessary for a goal to be met.

Team Player
Some jobs are more individually-focused and some require a group effort. If a position will involve interacting with several other employees in order to accomplish tasks on a regular basis, then an employer needs a worker who can get along with everyone and work within a team.

Understanding what employers are really looking for is the first step to landing the job you want. And the good news is that, once you’ve decoded a job posting, you don’t necessarily have to match up to the description 100%. A Forbes article actually recommends that you should “consider applying if you come close to meeting about 70% of the employer’s stated specifications and salary range” because “while the employer wants the person who gets hired to have all (or most) of the skills, experience and background listed, they’re also looking for candidates who’ll be a strong fit with their organizations.” By learning to decipher job postings and apply this 70% rule, you can minimize wasted time and ensure your efforts are going to jobs that are good fits and possibilities.

Have you struggled with deciphering a job posting? What other words or phrases are confusing to you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!