Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Retain Your Position After a Temporary Assignment

by David Jensen, CPRW, CARW, CEIP, ResumeEdge.com Editor

Businesses rely on a hardworking, innovative staff to be successful and profitable. In fact, corporate managers often attend workshops on recruiting and retaining top candidates. After completing a seasonal or temporary assignment with a company, you might wonder how to become the type of employee a hiring manager wants to retain. According to a group of Human Resource professionals, this endeavor goes beyond possessing the necessary skills and experience. It is also something you should pursue long before your assignment has ended. Here are a few tips to help you retain that position:

1. Know What is Expected of Top Employees

Even after a brief tenure with a company, you should be familiar with the organization's culture and working environment. With a clear understanding of the company's mission and what is expected of you, you are much easier to hire. Knowing the expectations includes functioning with little or no supervision and making sound decisions that you are willing to stand behind. It also includes ensuring that you have your tasks and assignments under control.

2. Expand Your Knowledge

Employers appreciate your willingness to continue learning and expanding your skills. Take advantage of training and professional development opportunities (both inside and outside the company). This will help boost your standing as a top performer. If you don't have an official mentor (or even if you do), watch other people in the company who tend to be top performers. Observe how these people function and interact with others. You might even want to ask for tips on how to succeed in the organization.

3. Be Proactive

Sometimes you can spot opportunities to get the attention of a hiring manager. This might be challenging when you are busy with your current assignments, but the effort is always rewarded. At a large advertising agency, an executive often mentioned that it would be helpful to have some case studies to present to new and prospective clients, but he never assigned the project to anyone. Several weeks later, one of the executive's staff decided to create the case studies despite being busy with other projects. He did much of the work on his own time. This employee was immediately revered as a resourceful, top-performing employee and was often awarded some high-level assignments for the company.

4. A Responsible and Trustworthy Team Player

Being a reliable employee that is professional, polite, and punctual might seem like an obvious prerequisite to gainful employment. Still, reliability ranks as one of the top characteristics most admired by employers. The same goes for being a team player. Outside of your skills and talents, employers look at how well you fit in with the organization and how your contribution benefits the company as a whole. Be willing to collaborate and share the successes and failures that come with productivity. Also, when talking about other projects you worked on, use the term "we" instead of "I" as you discuss the processes and outcomes.

If you have been working as a temporary or seasonal employee, you should be familiar with the company's culture and organizational conventions. With a little extra effort and perceptiveness to the qualities of other successful employees, you can elevate your status to someone the hiring manager is eager to keep on board.

Dave has a Master’s Degree in Professional Communication. He is an accomplished consultant with 5 years of experience in résumés, employment interview coaching, and career coaching. After working as a documentation specialist at Novell, he has become an accomplished freelance writer with specialties in SEO articles, press releases, technical documentation, and journalism. Dave is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), Certified Advanced Résumé Writer, (CARW), and a Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP). He has prepared hundreds of résumés for various professions. His specialty includes résumés and cover letters for information technology, advertising, public relations, sales, and graduate school admissions.

To request Dave for your business document, simply choose his last name (Jensen) in the drop down menu on the order page.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


by Vicel Meyer, ResumeEdge.com Editor

Temporary employees view seasonal or part-time positions in different ways. Some think of them as just a means to a paycheck. Others recognize these types of positions as a valuable glimpse into an organization and a great opportunity to get their foot in the door.

Many employers hire seasonal, contract, and part-time workers with the future in mind. This means the position is really a working interview. The hiring manager may already have a budget for a full-time person, and wants to try someone’s skills and fit with the team first with a seasonal or contract position. The employer may intend to convert the contract employee within the first three months, or may expect approval for a full-time position in the near future. This means that putting your best foot forward on the job and treating it as a long-term position will inevitably benefit you. You will gain or sharpen skills, find possible future opportunities within the company, or walk away with excellent references for your next position.

Think of your seasonal or part-time position as a stepping stone in your career. Take inventory of all the skills you’re honing and gaining in your position, whether it is new software you’re learning or improving your secretarial skills. Make sure you revise your resume to reflect what you know and what you’ve learned.

Many seasonal employees find themselves asked to stay longer than expected in the job due to their reliability, professionalism, and perhaps a new need in the company that has just opened up. In fact, many departments rely on each other for referrals of seasonal, contract, and part-time employees to use for their own needs. It is not uncommon for a seasonal employee to start in one department and get cross-trained in several others, meanwhile extending the length of employment.

Even if the position you are in doesn’t convert to full-time now, putting your best foot forward can keep you in the running and fresh in the hiring manager’s mind for future openings based on the great impression you leave. It can also lead to a hiring manager recommending you to someone in his professional network and providing excellent references that you can use in your job search.

You can now look at your temporary or part-time situation with a different mindset. Think of the possibilities of honing and gaining new skills, being considered for future openings, and being recommended to other companies, plus adding excellent references to your job-hunting arsenal.

Vicel received her Bachelor’s Degree from San Francisco State in Psychology, and has over 12 years of Human Resources experience in varied industries, including finance, staffing, insurance, outplacement and shipping industries. She specializes in recruiting from administrative to Executive-level positions. Her resume writing experience has been for clients with backgrounds in I.T., Real Estate, Finance, Automotive and Senior management.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Managing Your Personal Brand with LinkedIn

Everyone knows resumes serve as the quantification of who you are, what you've accomplished, and what expertise you can bring to your next employer. A professionally written resume is a necessity in today's business world that no savvy business person would forego.

But today's business people also need actively managed profiles on the social media sites that recruiters and others are using to find and learn more about potential hires.

LinkedIn is the most popular of these sites. While many people think of it as a Web-based contact management system, it's so much more. In fact, it's really a 24/7 personal branding machine.

The first step to fully leveraging LinkedIn is to think about your "positioning." Since most people will not remember a lot about you, you want to give them one or two nuggets of information to associate with your personal brand. Let's say you're a salesperson who specializes in selling widgets to emerging bio-tech companies. Your profile should be constructed around reinforcing that bit of information so anyone reading it knows that's what you are about: selling bio-tech widgets.

You'll want to populate your profile with keywords that someone looking for a person with your expertise would use when they search LinkedIn for job candidates. This helps LinkedIn serve your profile to them as an option.

Once your profile is configured, you'll want to proactively cultivate your image as an expert. An easy way to start is to join LinkedIn Groups where people with similar interests congregate. Resist the temptation to jump into the conversations you find posted there. Rather, sit back and observe for a week or so, getting a feel for the ways people communicate, then start participating in discussions. Eventually you will want to begin new discussions for others to join too.

These are just a few of the ways you can make better use of LinkedIn for business networking. For more on using LinkedIn and Facebook for business networking, order Jump Start Social Media's reference guides. And if you'd like expert help in setting up your profiles and LinkedIn and/or Facebook, order the professional set-up services which include the guides. You'll be networking like the pro you are in no time.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tell Me Exactly Why You Deserve This Job?

That's the question consciously or unconsciously running through the mind of someone looking through a stack of resumes. That person will often not find the answer if there's no cover letter from you. Resumes list the information about your skills and experience. Cover letters pinpoint why you should receive serious consideration for a particular job. A cover letter helps readers see how your experience relates specifically to what they are looking for in an employee. Instead of making readers interpret your resume, your cover letter does the work for them. A cover letter says, "I know your company and what it does. Here's why you should take notice of my qualifications."

The general manager of a water and power agency who does the hiring sums it up: "Outstanding letters summarize authors' knowledge, skills, abilities, and specifically why they are interested in my organization. They summarize an understanding of how my recruitment process works and references their attached resumes, identifying sections that are responsive to a specific request for information that may have been included in my job announcement."

A planning advisor for a huge oil corporation who scans hundreds of resumes a week looks at it this way: "The more someone can tell me what attracted him or her to my company, the better. I try to get a feel for whether the applicant is interested in our industry, which is sometimes clear in the resume and sometimes not. That is where a cover letter can make a difference. If I get 10 resumes with similar experience and skills, the cover letter prioritizes who I need to speak to. If the resume is strong, then I don't need the cover letter, but lots of times resumes don't answer the questions I have."

Keep in mind that the people who read resumes and cover letters spend mere seconds on them. You could meet every requirement of the job you're going for but unfortunately, your qualifications might be buried somewhere in your resume. The people who are considering you for a job don't like to dig. Readers don't want to search for your abilities among the various jobs you have held or experiences you list.
Resources: Marketing Jobs, Marketing Forums, SEO expert

Resumes are a record of your past and current experience. A well thought-out cover letter selects only those skills and experiences that apply to a job description and company. It summarizes your qualifications for that particular job so the hiring manager doesn't have to search for them on your resume. If your cover letter doesn't showcase the main points of your resume that match their requirements, the hiring manager is more likely to move on to the next candidate. And in this job market, you don't want that to happen.