Whether you’re looking for a career change in the New Year or simply wanting to add that new skill you learned in 2015, the Holidays are the perfect time to update that dusty, outdated resume you haven’t touched in a while.
A new year means a fresh start, and for a lot of companies, it means new roles to fill. So if you’re looking for new job opportunities, it is important to spruce up that resume so you can stand out from all those other applicants. Even if you’re not seeking a new career path, improving your resume or C/V can help you set new goals for the new year, look back on past accomplishments, identify skills you may want to brush up on and can even prepare you for when you do decide to make that big career move.
Let us help you get to the next step in your career. Contact your local Jobspring office
Either way, here are 6 simple, easy tips to spruce up your resume over the Holidays:
1. New Year = New Look
Updating your resume and renewing its appearance will give you a rejuvenated sense of confidence and a fresh start to the New Year. If your resume has had the same layout for 4-5 years, it is time to give it a more modern look. It can still have a conventional format, but it should be done in a more contemporary style. Employers notice unique resume designs, so try to make yours stand out as much as possible.
2. Tailor versions of your resume
When developing your resume, be sure to tailor separate versions to fit each career field or job position you are applying for. Employers may spend only about 30 seconds scanning your resume to determine whether your background and skills match their requirements. An effective resume will convince an employer that you have the skillsets and qualifications for the job you are applying for.
3. Optimize your keywords
Use the same keywords from the job that you are applying in the employment sections of your resume and in any online profiles to improve keyword optimization. For example, if your current title is “Business Systems Analyst” but the job title you are applying for is listed as “IT Supervisor” - and it has essentially the same requirements - then consider listing your position on your resume/profile as “Business Systems Analyst (IT Supervisor)” to help clarify what you are pursuing in the eyes of the hiring manager. Another example would be to take keywords from the job ad and replace existing ones in your skills/qualifications and even profile sections with them to match more closely with the position requirements. For instance, if you have “excellent communication skills” listed on your resume but the job ad has “superior communication skills” listed as a requirement, consider changing it to the word “superior” in order to help with the keyword optimization of your target role.
4. List your most notable achievements for the year.
Review your past year’s accomplishments and make a detailed list of the challenges that you have experienced, the steps you took to overcome those challenges, and summarize your successful accomplishments. Spotlight as many achievements on your resume to help you land that interview you have been waiting for. This will also help you be better prepared in the interview when answering those tough questions.
5. Create a killer "Summary of Qualifications"
For your prospective employer, a Summary of Qualifications can influence your chance of being called in for an interview. Functioning as an intriguing film trailer or the summary found at the back of an alluring book, this key function of the resume section is to impress employers and entice interest about your possible talent. It is essential that your Summary of Qualifications appears within the top section your self-marketing document and your list should be no longer than 3-5 key points. First, brainstorm your skills, experiences and abilities. Treat this like a creative writing exercise, where you can refine and limit your summary later. Next, review and critique your summary on an ongoing basis. Is it targeted? Specific? Have a friend or family member provide you with feedback. Lastly, compare your summary of qualifications with your listed work experience. Your summary should accurately showcase what you have done as well as your competencies.
6. Always look ahead and stay relevant.
Write your resume and social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, to be forward-looking documents that showcase how your accomplishments are not only in alignment with your own future goals but the results desired by a prospective employer. Do not include every job you have had in the past. If your employment history is not related to the job you are applying for, then remove it. You also want to remove any work experience that is outdated 15 or plus years, and ensure that you list achievements that are relevant to the role you are applying for. A full-stack hiring manager will not care that you won that national golf championship in 2010, no matter how proud you are of it. Your resume and profile should promote your career goals while your skills and experiences should help you get that desirable job and add value to the next company that will hire you.
The Jobspring Partners team wishes you a Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year! If you feel like your resume needs some sprucing up and you want a fresh start but you don’t know where to start, please reach out to us - we’d love to help!
Game rooms. Unlimited vacation time. Free yoga classes. One year of maternity OR paternity leave. Tech companies these days are offering some phenomenal employee benefits, but not every company can afford to offer such lavish options. Sometimes it’s the simple things at a job we love that we need to appreciate. It’s easy to get swept away in the daily grind of a work day, so here is a list of little perks around the office that are worth being thankful for this holiday season.
Location, Location, Location. Chances are you probably don’t live right next door to your work, so instead of sitting in traffic right at closing time or riding the rush hour train, why not go for a walk and see what’s around? You’d be surprised how many people work in an area they never take the time to explore. Maybe you’ll find a new happy hour or a restaurant you would have never found otherwise.
Speaking of happy hour, they say that an office that drinks together, succeeds together. They don’t actually say that, but a Gallup study shows that employees with a best friend at work are 21% more likely to report that at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day. So if you have coworkers who enjoy being social after a long, hard week, it could make you much happier and productive in the long run.
Snacks on Snacks on Snacks
Nothing gets you through the end of the day 2:45 like a good afternoon snack. According to USA Today, a study by PeaPod shows that while “56%,of full-time employees are "extremely" or "very" happy with their current job, that number jumps to 67% among those who have access to free food.” If your office provides healthy snacks like green tea, fruit, or vegetables it can make you feel better as well.
Your job doesn't offer snacks? Here's a list of open roles at companies that do!
Nothing like a nice secure place to put your car every day. No need to worry about meters, street cleaning, or struggling with a tight parallel parking job! Sometimes, depending on the area, you can even park your car there on the weekend and see a show or eat at your favorite restaurants.
Who has time to wander the streets looking for a blue box? Even with apps and maps, it can be so confusing! Not to mention, who can keep track of all those pick-up times. The fact that you can get mail delivered to work is great, even better when they pick up in your building…It’s especially nice this season, because you’ll need someone to sign for all of those packages you’ll be getting for your holiday shopping list.
Depending on the size of the office, you’re probably going to eat cake every couple of months. Cookies may get delivered every few weeks. Maybe you’ll get to prank someone by taping balloons all over their workspace, or wrapping everything in gift wrap. It’s all fun and games…until it’s your birthday.
Even if your personal workspace doesn’t have a window, there’s probably one a couple floors up. It’s always a good for the mind and body to watch the sunset. Sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy the little things in life. (like the view from our sister office in Dallas, below).
The Jobspring Partners team wishes you a happy holiday season and hopes that you have many things to be thankful for this year. If your job isn't one of them though, feel free to reach out to us after the holiday to find one that will be!
Veterans have more to offer than ever, but finding a job is never easy. Are you a veteran looking for a job, or do you know someone who is? Here are some free online resources that can help veterans make connections and find jobs.
- Military Job Networks (MJN) is an exclusive online networking platform created and enabled only for verified U.S. Military Veterans. With 3,600 online private military occupation groups, verified Veterans access private, virtual spaces for true peer-to-peer networking and knowledge sharing. www.militaryjobnetworks.com
- Hire Heroes USA has built a national reputation of excellence for helping veterans find jobs, currently at the rate of more than 60 veterans confirmed hired every week. They partner with more than 200 veteran-friendly companies to offer relevant and up-to-date job postings on the Hire Heroes USA Job Board.
- VetJobs services are available to assist ALL members of “The United States Military Family” advance their careers and find employment. This includes Officer and Enlisted, Active Duty, Transitioning Military, Reservists, Veterans, Retirees, of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, National Guard, Navy, NOAA and Public Health Service along with Trailing Spouses, Eligible Former Spouses, Widows, Widowers and Dependents and DOD civilians. www.vetjobs.com
- USAJOBS.gov is a free web-based job board enabling federal job seekers access to thousands of job opportunities across hundreds of federal agencies and organizations. www.usajobs.gov/Veterans
- MilitaryHire.com has been developed and is maintained by a team of both military veterans and corporate hiring authorities. They worked hard to create a network where former military personnel can seek careers and utilize their professional skills. www.militaryhire.com
- Military.com joined forces with Monster Worldwide (NYSE: MWW) to accelerate our growth and change the playing field for career and educational opportunities for servicemembers, veterans and military spouses. Monster's vision is bringing people together to advance their lives, which is a great fit with Military.com's "members first" ethos and goal of connecting the military community to all the benefits of service. www.military.com/veteran-jobs
- USTechVets.org is a U.S. technology industry career portal created to connect veterans, including transitioning military personnel and their family members, with meaningful jobs in America's technology industry. www.ustechvets.org
- Another free resource is enlisting the help of a recruiter. While not all specialize in placing veterans, many recruitment firms help guide professionals in their careers and place them at jobs, all at no cost to the candidate.
Work with Jobspring Partners if you're interested in a role in IT, or check out the job board.
For a list of further free resources for Veterans in their job search, please see the White House’s page on “Joining Forces” here.
First and foremost, contracting can be a great opportunity to land your next job, fast track your career, and even give yourself a bit of a raise. When job seekers start a new contract position after switching from a full-time role, it's usually amazes them how quickly the process moves. “Wow… that was fast,” is a common response - but don't move so fast that you forget to ask yourself some important questions first.
While you consider the questions below, bear in mind that those who are critical of contract positions may unwittingly provide false information about these types of positions - anything but a full-time job lacks benefits and stability are among common misconceptions. Jobspring Partners actually offers a health care insurance package and PTO, which is a growing trend in companies that hire contractors. A contract role can be an easy and flexible way to gain employment in a fast-moving IT industry. Have kids? Imagine not being tied to a 9-5 schedule. Trying to get your foot in the door with a large company you already applied to in the past? An alternative path to the inside could be through contracting.
Find a contract or contract-to-hire position near you on our job board.
Be sure to have the answers to these important questions from the company, recruiter, or just yourself before committing:
How long is the contract?
Know how long you’ll be working on this contract. That way, you’ll know when you need to start thinking about the next contract or the next steps to converting full-time. Contract lengths can run anything from 4 weeks all the way to, well, forever.
Is this for a project that has been secured?
Find out if the business is already won by the contracting company because sometimes firms like to start the interview process BEFORE being awarded the business and have the ability to put contractors on. You certainly don’t want to turn down other offers you had when the job you accepted technically doesn’t exist yet. A simple way of asking is: “If I accept the offer, how soon can I start?” The answer you’re looking for should be a something like immediately, on Monday, or right after your two week notice.
Am I going to be hired as a W-2 employee or as 1099?
The main differences come down to taxes. As a W-2 employee, you will receive pay checks with tax withholding already taken, and you’ll receive an IRS W-2 from your employer in January of the following year. If you are hired as a 1099 contractor, you’ll get full pay with no tax deductions, but you are also responsible for paying your own taxes come April 15th of the following year.
It’s tempting to opt for a 1099 since your pay checks are bigger, but that smile quickly goes away when you realize you not only have to calculate how much you owe at the end of the year, but in fact you OWE MORE! You get tagged with self-employment tax which is another 13-14% of your income on top of the taxes you already pay. As a perk, however, you can write off multiple expenses for your work as well (transportation, computers, phone service, etc.) Think about these points before deciding which is better for you.
What happens when the contract ends?
It’s important to know what your options are. Some staffing companies have other projects they will have needs for, and it’s good to know if you might qualify for those. The benefit of using a technology-specific staffing firm is that a great majority of their other clients will have needs that match your skill set so that when you’re done with the current contract, you increase your chances of landing another quickly with minimal downtime.
What is the realistic time-frame of converting temp-to-hire?
If the job is a contract-to-hire position, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of when you might be converting to full-time status. This sets the expectations on both sides, and ensures that you and your potential employer are on the same page. Typically the timeline can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months. If you find yourself in the eigth month with no talk of conversion, it’s time to revisit the conversation with your hiring manager.
What salary should I expect when I accept a full-time offer following my contract role?
Most people get a bit nervous when talking about salary and compensation, but it's important to be aware of what the potential salary would look like if you convert to full-time. While it may be an uncomfortable conversation to have now, it’ll save you a headache down the road. You don’t want to find yourself having worked 4 months into a contract only to find that the salary they are thinking isn't close to what you were expecting. Of course, it’s important to be realistic as well. If you are a W-2 employee getting paid $45/hour, you should be considering a base salary of around $90,000 (inclusive of benefits and such).
Have more questions about being a contractor? Ask a Jobspring representative near you.
For a first-timer, a contract position can look intimidating. Don’t let that stop you from considering the opportunity and asking the essential questions before coming to a decision. Working with a recruiter can take some of the uncertainty out of the equation if you're unsure, but it comes down to getting all the answers you need in order to make the right decision.
You passed the phone screening. You dazzled at the first face-to-face interview. You met and meshed with the team. Now you need to test your skills in the technical interview?
It's true, the job interview process is an arduous task in today’s society. There are many obstacles that frequently catch job seekers off-guard and cause great opportunities to crumble. One of the most important, and daunting parts of the interview process for software engineers is the technical interview. Accurately preparing for one of these is extremely important in order to get an offer from your company of choice. Technical interviews are often quite rigorous and can push talented engineers to new levels of critical thinking and assessment.
So, you ask, "How do I ultimately prepare for the technical interview?"
Work with Jobspring Partners to find a position you want to interview at.
Below is a how-to guide on how to ace it:
- Be Ready to Whiteboard: This is generally a go-to interview tactic for tech companies to evaluate engineers during the interview process. It’s always smart to practice solving technical questions on a white board to see how your brain operates/critically thinks when not in front of the computer.
- Brush Up on Core Principles and Basics: Always make sure to brush up on any programming languages that may be rusty. Expect to be asked questions ranging from the fundamentals of certain languages to some higher-level concepts. For example, if you are interviewing for a PHP job, it is helpful to brush up on the fundamentals of the LAMP Stack and the MySQL Database.
- Bring Code Samples: It’s always a good idea to bring code samples and github profiles with you to the interview. Companies are looking for writing ability and the ability to communicate technical thoughts through code documentation.
- Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions: An important part of the process is to ask questions about the role to show that you are interested and engaged. Make sure to prepare 2-3 questions to ask at the end of the interview that show genuine interest and thought.
- Send a Thank You Note: This is always a good thing to do when you finish any interview process with a company, but it's easy to forget while focusing on the tech. You want the company and the people you met with to remember you for the right reasons. Always address why you would be a good fit for the role and bring it back to the job description and what was covered in the interview.
If you do all of these things, the odds of you getting a final-round interview, or better yet a job offer, will increase significantly. So always remember, preparation is the key to success in landing your dream job.
Article by Brian Moriarty, Practice Manager for Jobspring Orange County
America’s labor force has been swiftly transitioning from a large majority of full time employees to many exploring the world of independent contracting and consulting. It has been interesting to observe people’s changing priorities when it comes to their wants and needs from employers. It seems people are foregoing 401k and benefits for a less demanding and taxing daily schedule that allows for a more self-governing approach to employment.
The burden of working 40-50 hour weeks at one company for multiple years is becoming less and less appeasing to people, especially the younger crowds that are growing up in this ever-changing tech world.
There are some obvious advantages to being a contractor, but at the same time, there are some hidden ones. The obvious:
Flexibility. First and foremost, you can work the hours that suit you and your lifestyle best. The amount of money you make is directly related to the number of hours you work but it’s important to note that companies understand the difference between overtime and extortion, so be careful!
Project-based. Another major benefit of being a contractor is that most times you will get exposure to an exciting project and then leave once it’s finished not having to deal with the maintenance or upkeep.
Find your next contract role in a city near you.
In addition to the obvious benefits, there are also some lesser known perks:
Skills Growth. By being an independent contractor, you will have exposure to a wider variety of projects and work environments, which will accelerate your skillset.
Networking. Being a part of multiple companies a year will also expand your network and will increase your chances of capturing unique opportunities. Besides being an independent contractor for specific companies, people have been carving out personal business opportunities from new sprouting tech companies; another way to further your network.
Recently, Time Magazine interviewed the founders from Airbnb about the tertiary markets that have started to formulate from various companies interrupting the norm, which has essentially created a new labor force. The “Sharing Economy”, as it’s being called, has paved the way for people to line their pockets with a little more green; however, it’s being seen as a full time business opportunity for many. Airbnb has approximately 1,500 employees but their model technically employs many more such as renters, various cleaning services, and home insurers. Nonetheless, the increase in contract laborers has been apparent and there are various benefits that attribute to this change.
The labor force is shifting to accommodate the demand for more convenient solutions to life and business problems. Are you thinking about leaving your full-time job and seeing your worth in this world?
Written by Sara Mauskopf, Director of Product at Postmates. This article was originally published on TechinMotionevents.com.
Now that I’ve been at Postmates for almost 8 months, a lot of people have asked me the difference between Product Management at a larger company like Twitter where I worked from July 2010 to July 2014, or Google where I worked from 2007 to 2010, and at a startup like Postmates. I too was curious before I decided to join a startup.
So first, let me define Product Management at a larger tech company. As a Product Manager, you are responsible for defining a roadmap for your area and ensuring that roadmap meets the goals or objectives you set forth for your team, which should align with the goals of the company. You’re responsible for ensuring the items on the roadmap are prioritized, and that there are clear product specifications for those items. Finally, you work closely with the team to build, launch, collect data/feedback, and iterate to a standard of exceptional quality. Through all phases, including planning, you are working closely with engineering, design, and other key stakeholders across the company. And because everyone looks to you as a leader for your product area, it is important you are inspiring those around you to do their greatest work by setting the right context, establishing a sense of urgency, and working collaboratively.
Looking for a product or project manager role? Check out the job board to see if any positions are a good match.
As it turns out, all those fundamentals remain the same at a startup. In fact, the fundamentals are so important that having experience at a larger company as a Product Manager is one of the best forms of training for startup Product Management. But on top of all that, at a startup you have responsibilities and challenges that do not exist at a larger company. If you are thinking of making the transition from big company PM to startup PM, here are some things you’ll want to know.
1. You’ll often have to do things you have never done before and probably suck at.
Working at a startup, you quickly discover where your personal weaknesses are because on a daily basis you need to do something you have never done before and probably are not good at yet. Executing out of your area of familiarity manifests through needing to do something that larger companies have a person or team dedicated to doing. For example, at a startup you will most certainly not have a user research team that helps you assess how your feature will be received in the market. If you want user research or early feedback on a prototype, you will have to find and interview users yourself. Although it can be daunting to roll up your sleeves and try something you have never done before, it’s also the fastest way to learn how to do it. If you are lucky, you may discover a talent you didn’t know you had!
2. You’ll need gymnast levels of flexibility.
Imagine any company has 5 “fire drills” a quarter. In other words, 5 times per quarter, the average company has to quickly react to something in the market, change a plan due to unexpected data or user feedback, or get in a war room and really focus on a hard problem that has not been given enough attention. At a larger company, those 5 instances are spread out between a lot of people and teams, so you personally probably only experience a "fire drill" at most once per quarter. At a startup, any fire drill usually involves most of the product, design, and engineering team because the team is so small. It’s important at a startup that you can quickly tackle these fire drills, avoid getting thrown off course, and reprioritize your roadmap when needed. Most importantly, you need to mentally be able to deal with plans changing more frequently. It’s ok!
3. You’ll do less talking the talk, more walking the walk.
At a startup, there is nowhere to hide. People who can step up to the plate and tackle the challenges will shine and get even more responsibility. Underperformers who can’t cut it will quickly make their way out. In addition to not needing to worry much about whether your individual performance will be recognized, if you ask any good PM at a larger company they will tell you they spend some percentage of their time carving out territory for their team, evangelizing the great results of their team, and other activities generally thought of as “managing up”. It’s not because large companies are full of evil political people, it’s just because when you have a lot of people working in one place it’s easy to get lost in the noise if you aren’t making it clear what your team works on and the results they have achieved.
You don’t have to worry about that much at a startup. Now, I spend my time working and moving the company forward rather than evangelizing my team internally. With fewer people to communicate with, you can spend more time doing the work, which is great because there is a lot of work to do.
Jobspring is a proud sponsor of Tech in Motion events. Connect with companies like Postmates at Tech in Motion - find an event near you here.
About the Author
Sara Mauskopf joined on-demand delivery company Postmates in July to build and run its Product Management team. Postmates is transforming the way local goods move around a city by connecting customers with local couriers who purchase and deliver goods from any restaurant or store in a city in minutes. Prior to Postmates, Sara was a Group Product Manager at Twitter, having joined the company in 2010. She started her career at YouTube and Google as a Partner Technology Manager (a role that's a mix of partnerships and engineering). Sara graduated with a bachelors degree in Computer Science from MIT.
By: James Vallone and Ben Sanborn
You know how hard it was to find a top contractor, right? Well, now that you have him or her onboard, what are you doing to ensure they stay engaged and retained? Contractors today have a plethora of offers to choose from. Since most work on a temporary basis, they are continually evaluating offers and lining up their next job – even while they work for you. If they have a bad experience with your company, you risk losing them and you risk the potential loss of referrals of other great contractors. (Yes, contractors refer non-competing contractors to companies they know are reliable and great to work for! They also warn others to stay away from bad experiences.) You are not only vying for a contractor’s expertise, but for their loyalty. So, how do you keep contractors engaged and happy?
The best way to do so is to understand what contractors value in their work experience. Most contractors are independent, pride themselves on providing great customer service, love the thrill of fresh challenges, value open communication, want to feel as if they are part of your team, and appreciate clear direction about what your project objectives are and how they can meet them. There are ways to ensure that you create a positive experience for contractors. Here are the top five:
- Onboard quickly and completely. Just because they may not be in the office every day, doesn’t mean they don’t need to know where the bathroom is! Provide a full orientation. Give them a building tour and introduce them to key people they will work with or need to know. Discuss hours, break times, access to the building, and parking. Make sure they have the right technology and equipment to do the job, know how to access systems, and how to communicate with your Helpdesk. If they are not working for an agency, be sure they understand how and when to submit their timesheets and who to contact if they have an issue. You want to make a good first impression. If you don’t, contractors will assume you do not fully value them or will end up feeling less than confident about how to fit in and meet your needs.
- Treat them like a team member. Too often, contractors are left out of the game. While they work for you, treat them like a true member of your team. Be inclusive. This is particularly important if your contractor works offsite. Invite them to company events, celebrations, happy hours. Keep them abreast of internal news and updates. Clue them in about company politics and any pertinent historical info that would be useful to know. You want to make them feel welcome and included. That said, be mindful that some contractors do not want to be down in the weeds more than they have to be. If a contractor doesn’t jump to attend happy hours, be respectful and don’t take it as a negative sign. Many contractors became contractors to avoid the hassle and extra-curricular activities that being an employee entails.
- Dedicate time for one-on-one meetings. Include your contractor in team meetings, but don’t overlook the value of having regular one-on-ones. Weekly check-ins or even just an informal coffee or lunch on a regular basis can help you keep tabs on how satisfied the contractor is with your company and if they are running into any hindrances that they don’t want to discuss in front of the entire team. Contractors want to be included as a team member; keep in mind that that they are not employees though. As an outsider, they can provide you invaluable insight into your culture, team dynamics, process workflows, and input on how you can improve your contractor/company work arrangements. Contractors bring third-party eyes to your internal processes. Don’t be afraid to tap into their perspective.
- Honestly discuss performance. Contractors want to make you happy. They want to leverage their expertise to ensure you get what you need. Unless you provide performance feedback, it’s hard for them to know if they’re hitting the mark. Rather than holding a typical boss-to-employee type performance review, open up a dialogue about performance in general. The best contractors are service-minded and will ask you for feedback so that they can make things easier or more effective for you. Return the favor and ask them as well. Discuss how things are going, what feedback you’re hearing from stakeholders, and any adjustments that need to be made to stay on track.
- Pave the way for future success. It’s not your job to help a contractor line up more work, but if you are pleased with their performance, by all means refer them to other groups within the company. You can be sure they won’t forget your kindness. If for any reason a contract is expected to end before the agreed-upon time, give them a heads up. If there is potential for converting to a perm hire, discuss it with them and offer them the option. You want to keep a positive relationship going so that you have the opportunity to work with them again in the future and to garner referrals from them. One thing companies often overlook is the business development aspect contractors naturally bring. Contractors that have great experiences with client companies become evangelists and often refer other clients to each other. They want you to succeed and are more than happy to help bring you business.
These tips will help you go a long way to creating a positive experience for contractors so you can keep them engaged, retained, and returning to work for you again. By taking a look at what contractors value, you can address their needs and ensure that the project is completed in a mutually satisfying manner.
To learn more about how Jobspring Partners can help with your IT staffing needs, please feel free to contact an IT staffing consultant at any of our locations through out North America.