All I Want for Christmas is a New Career!

Have you been naughty or nice this year? The holiday season, despite its colorful decorations and cups of cheer, can be more than a bit stressful, especially if you’re in the market for a new career. Whether you’re not working at the moment or you’re looking to switch into something more suiting to your lifestyle, winter’s cheer-covered stressors may start to take you over.

Companies in the retail and food service world hire extensively throughout the holiday season and just prior to it, but what about your career field? Yes, they’re hiring too, although maybe not as pronounced as shops in the mall and big-box retailers.

The holiday season and New Year’s Day bring a lot of change to several companies. People set new goals for themselves and start looking for ways to improve their careers and vacations are imminent this time of year. This sets you, the job seeker, up for some great possibilities.

Long vacations take place around the holiday season as staff gets ready to travel to see friends and family across the country. This is ideal for you if you’re in the market for a temporary position at a firm or business you’ve had your eye on. Temporary positions help you get your foot in the door, give you the chance to build relationships in the company, and also give you an opportunity to boost your resume with new experience. Staffing firms that specialize in your field can aid you in finding the perfect company to spread your wings.

And despite winter’s chill over most of the country, many companies are still growing and seeking out exceptional new talent to add to their teams. A New Year brings resolutions of losing weight, making more money and similar goals for individuals, but companies also use the beginning of the year to incorporate change and find ways to improve over last year’s shortcomings (yes, many times this means hiring extraordinary talent!).

In short: while most people may be dreading get out of bed and facing the cold face of winter, you have the opportunity to get out there and prove yourself worthy of a new position at a company looking to hire the best of the best.

Take It Easy: Don’t Let Your New Position Overwhelm You Right off the Bat

You’ve tackled and overcome the daunting task of performing the perfect interviews. You’ve shaken hands with the hiring manager, HR manager and a few of your new colleagues. Now it’s time to dive into your new position, and chances are you’re feeling excited and anxious at the same time. Take a deep breath: You’ve got this.

When you start a new career at a new company, the learning curve sometimes seems as though it is a figure-8, curving back on itself as you learn new policies and strategies. Not only does the position itself come with new things to learn, you now have to learn the personalities of your new coworkers, how your boss works and what makes her tick, and the grid of office politics. All of this can easily overwhelm you, creating enough excitement and stress to upset your stomach. Go in with a plan to keep your head level and you won’t regret it.

First, realize that you’re new and you won’t know everything the first day, or even in the first month. Learning curves happen in life all the time, and this is no exception. However, you need to be on you’re a-game at all times, making sure you’re doing everything to the best of your abilities.

Ask the right questions at the right time. Don’t waste time in finding out the answers, being proactive and ensuring you’re following all procedures shows your boss you’re willing to go the extra mile. Smile when you speak and always remember your pleases and thank yous, as small tokens of politeness go miles toward getting the right answers.

Study the interworking of the office and figure out the best way to accomplish your tasks in a timely manner. Connect with coworkers – particularly those working to train you — on a professional level; you’re sure to need help from someone during the first few weeks of your position.

Don’t take on too much; this will overwhelm you more. While you want to exceed the expectations of your boss and new coworkers, you will fail if you take on more than you can handle and end up not completing your assignments.

The first month in a new position shows your management team what kind of employee you will be. A go-getter who is efficient in managing her time and task list, while not being afraid to ask the right questions is often a solid investment in the eyes of the company.

Multiple Offers: Making the Choice

You got the call: the company you interviewed with has made an offer of employment. But wait – you just received the email from another company offering employment. How do you choose the correct company when you’ve received more than one offer of employment? It can be a delicate game of juggling the pros and cons of each.

M O N E Y

Money is often the first thing people look at when trying to decide on the correct position. If one company offers a significantly higher pay than the other, the answer may be right there in front of you. More money is always better, right? Well, not always. Other pros and cons come into the picture, particularly if you know each of the companies could potentially be the right fit.

P E R K S

Look at everything each company is offering, including health benefits, paid time off and offices. Then, look at the smaller things that you’ll deal with on a day-to-day basis. Is there onsite parking or parking vouchers, or do you have to pay to park? What perks come along with each company (cell phone reimbursement, paid expenses, daycare assistance)? What are each company’s values and working environment like?

Sometimes it’s the little things that can make or break your working experience. If one company offers you more money but doesn’t have great benefits or perks, they may fall second on the list to the company with the smaller salary but luxurious perks.

E X P E R I E N C E

If you still can’t decide, decipher which position will give you the best experience and help build your resume. Is one company more well-known than the other (meaning a bit more prestige with the position)? Will you have more responsibility at one than the other? Does one offer more room to grow within the company than the other? All of these factors could make your decision for you.

 

When Potential Outweighs Experience

Take a long shot on a candidate with little experience …

A candidate with solid experience in the field you’re hiring for may always seem like the best bet. But what happens when you have a candidate that you see so much potential in, despite his lack of experience? How do you know when it’s right to take a long shot on a candidate that has little experience, but has everything else you’re looking for? It’s not always an easy decision to make; it could backfire – but it could also be the best decision you’ve ever made for your company.

A candidate with fresh ideas is sometimes a much better candidate than one who has working in the field for such a long time that he has become set in his ways. The candidate with much more potential than experience is often open to new ideas and able to more quickly adapt to changes in the workplace. Here are a few key traits to look for in candidates with great potential:

Desire to Learn

A candidate with a strong desire to keep pushing herself and learn is often a solid choice. Does she state that she is or would like to further her education? Does he mention training courses or other training desires? Someone with a strong desire to better himself is a strong candidate because he will always keep pushing to be better.

Long-Term Potential

Decipher whether or not she has a strong desire for a career at your company and not just a temporary job. Candidates with long-term potential are problem solvers and multi-taskers; they’re up for a challenge and have great ideas – and the right personality – to do the job correctly over the duration of their career.

Ready for New Things

Does your potential candidate display a desire for fresh, new ideas? Does she have a go-to attitude and is she quick-thinking? If so, she may be the person to take your company to new heights. New ideas and a go-getter attitude are pivotal to many careers and are often traits of natural leaders.

Conclusion

This can be a tough decision and it’s not one to take lightly. A candidate with solid experience may not require as much training; a candidate with superior potential can bring new ideas to the company. This may have to be one of those times you rely on your gut instinct, but never be afraid to take a chance on a candidate whose potential is everything you’ve desired for the position.

Rules for the Resume: Formatting

Making Your Resume Appealing to Potential Employers

Your resume is the first thing an employer sees of you; as such, your resume is invaluable. Making it appealing to your potential employer is pivotal in getting your foot in the door. Different formats and templates exist for resumes, but how do you choose what format to put it in?

It comes down to the type of work experiences you’ve had and the type of position/career you’re after. Follow these basic tips for your resume:

Consider a Chronological Format

Most companies prefer a chronological format, in which you list jobs and experiences from the most recent you have had, then going backward. This is a universally accepted format and works well for most career choices and employers. Not only will they see your current position, which will be most relevant to the position you are actually applying for, but they will also be able to track your career growth as they follow your job history.

Showcase Your Skills

There are a few times when another format works better than chronological. For example, if you are a recent graduate or career changer, the chronological format won’t work as well because you may not have a solid listing of experiences or employers to list. A more functional format for you is one which showcases your skills and abilities. Your professional skills are important to list in all types of resume formats, but when you don’t have a solid listing of work experience, your skills and abilities need to be displayed in an effective, eye-catching manner. You may also include your volunteer experiences in addition to detailed descriptions of each work-related ability you have to offer your future employer.

Present Your Projects

Another type of resume format is the project-based layout. This is particularly effective for people who have a specialized title. This format will serve to showcase the projects you have completed in the past while putting an emphasis on your ability to multi-task. Project managers and specialized consultants often prefer this layout as it details the most important aspects of their careers.

Design Tip

There is no shortage of resume designs and templates online and built into word-processing programs. Choose one that is professional and opt away from one that is too colorful or uses an odd font. Note: Some color can make your resume stand out, but choose wisely.

If you’re unsure of what format to go with, we recommend sticking with chronological. We also recommend speaking with a professional, such as your consultant at a staffing firm, who can point you in the right direction as well.