Recent and upcoming graduates know, first hand, that many “entry level” positions aren’t really entry level – many require some amount of work experience. And for most students the best time to gain that experience is during the summer.
Internships are a great benefit to any resume, but for those who are unable to take an unpaid internship, summer work can provide the same, if not more, benefit, while still allowing you to earn an income. Even if your work experience isn’t as relevant to your desired career as an internship would be (think life guard, camp counselor or painting houses), employers will be intrigued by the skills and experience that you obtained. And since “soft skills” are always in demand, be sure to highlight the things you have learned and your positive attributes by pointing to your accomplishments and by earning recommendations from managers and mentors.
Internships (paid or unpaid) and work experience are the cornerstone of any resume. Whether you favor one or the other isn’t as important as the dedication and ability to learn and grow that you demonstrate to future employers by your willingness to work.
Everyone is on vacation… Companies are waiting until Fall to hire new people… It’s just too hot!
Why should I be looking for a job?
We asked three of our experienced Recruiting and Staffing Consultants why summer is a great time to start your job search.
Pam – Your resume will stand out more
Most recruiting and staffing professionals, as well as corporate hiring managers, are inundated with resumes throughout the year. This is frequently the reason why it feels as though your resume is constantly ending up in what we, in the industry, call the Resume Black Hole. Simply put, your resume may get more attention in the dog days of summer!
Summer is a great time to apply because – and this is backed up by data AND experience – applications dip during the summer months. Corporate hiring managers and recruiting and staffing professionals are more likely to sit down and digest what’s in your resume. And, as the resume is the primary tool with which to market yourself, this can make all the difference in finding the job you want.
Charles – It shows that you are motivated and dedicated
While everyone else is lounging by the pool working on their tan, you’re out looking for a job. That means something to individuals in HR and the Recruiting and Staffing Industry. Recruiting professionals are only able to work with a limited number of candidates, so finding those who are the most motivated and most serious about finding a job can frequently make a difference.
And don’t think for a second that our clients don’t notice either! They are dealing with the same summer shortage of applicants that we are, so your willingness to suit up for an interview in 100 degree weather means something to them as well.
Patti – It’s easier to start a conversation
Anyone who’s ever been on an interview knows the experience can be a little awkward, especially at the beginning. After all, you’re sitting down with a complete stranger to talk about an issue that can and will affect your future, and possibly your life! It’s best to start off on a good foot and make a good first impression.
Summer is a great time for interviewing because easy conversation starters abound. Have any big 4th of July plans? Are you doing any traveling this year? When’s the last time you made it to the beach? Isn’t summertime in Chicago just the best!? These are easy ways to establish a rapport with your interviewer and allowing them to know more about you.
Now put down that margarita, fix up your resume and put on your best summer interview outfit! If you need a place to start, visit our Job Board. Or, if you are a recent graduate, be sure to visit our Recent Grad page. We promise, all of our offices have air conditioning… And, as always, Reach Higher!
We’ve all heard the adage that “it’s easier to get a job if you have a job.” If you are not
working currently and also feel you are not making real progress by just sending out resumes, finding temporary employment through a reputable staffing agency may be just what you need to jump-start your job search.
There are many good reasons for a job seeker to turn to temporary employment. Possibly you plan to start school (or are still in school) and simply cannot commit to something for the long-term. Maybe you are moving to a different city and need income while you get settled and make new connections. In fact, one of the most common reasons candidates choose temping is that it can be a great way to enter the workforce, especially if you have little to no work experience. It is also a terrific way to learn new skills, gain experience and make valuable connections.
Here are some common objections to pursuing a temporary position, and my responses to them.
Why should I take a position with an end date attached to it?
Temporary jobs aren’t always so temporary. In fact, many times you can keep the position for as long as you want. Also, when working with a staffing agency, you may be able to secure a new temp assignments so that you experience little to no gaps in your employment. There is also the often overlooked fact that temporary jobs can often lead to permanent employment! Employers who are looking for temporary workers are, by definition, in need of more help, so if you can prove yourself to be a valuable asset during the term of your contract, many companies will choose to keep you on permanently. This happens routinely at JobGiraffe.
Should I take a job without health insurance, a pension plan or paid vacation time?
It is true that companies frequently do not offer benefits to temporary employees because, as a temporary worker, you are simply not eligible for them. However, many temporary agencies are beginning to add benefits options for their temp workers, and due to recent changes in the law you may now be eligible for benefits offered through state healthcare exchanges. New options (available through the ACA) make it easier than ever to pick up a health plan in the private market, often at reduced or subsidized cost. As for the ability to add to a pension plan, it’s true you will not participate in one while temping, but by working temp you will still be making contributions to your social security account through payroll taxes (FICA) and you will have the ability to make contributions to an existing (or new) IRA account – and both are just as important to your future as having a defined pension program through an employer. As for not receiving vacation time (this is a very common myth), at JobGiraffe, and many other staffing agencies, you can accrue paid vacation time even as you work in temporary positions.
Won’t a temp job look bad on my resume?
Having temporary work in your background is 100% more beneficial than having unexplained gaps in your work history. Most employers have themselves worked temp at some point in their own career or have used temporary workers in their business. They understand that it is simply a fact of life in today’s labor market. Also, don’t think that just because it’s temp work it’s not a valuable experience. Temp positions are often available because an employer requires a very specific set of skills or expertise at a given moment. Highlighting the accomplishments of your temp position is no less important than highlighting experienced gained through a full-time “permanent” position. Never sell yourself or any of the experience you have accumulated short!
Taking a temporary job also reflects well upon your work ethic and your openness to take on new challenges. The adage that “it’s easier to get a job when you have a job” is still around for a reason. Having large gaps in your work history for no specific reason is considered by most hiring managers – rightly or wrongly – as a big potential red flag.
Hopefully I’ve dispelled some of the myths surrounding temporary employment and also touched on many of the benefits: learning new skills, making connections, achieving specific or tangible goals, etc.
Temporary jobs may not be for everyone, but in my opinion they should be seen as an important tool in your toolbox. If you’re looking for work, or want to change your employment situation, talking to a staffing agency about a temp position is a great way to “create your own good luck” and become a more engaged and proactive job seeker.
Now that we have covered the five things that every recruiter will want to know about you, it’s time to talk about what you should be asking them!
As a job seeker, you’ve probably already encountered a dozen articles on what questions you should be asking prospective employers, but do you know the questions you should be asking recruiters? The obvious difference between a hiring manager and a recruiter is that, between the two of them, only the hiring manager is looking to hire you directly. But that difference entirely changes the game.
Here are the five questions you should be asking every recruiter you meet or speak with:
Question One: Do you ever charge a fee to job seekers?
First off, if the recruiter says there is any type of fee – or any cost to you at all – RUN! The best way to know if a recruiting and staffing agency is really on your side is to look at how they are paid. If a recruiting and staffing firm’s goal is to match the right person with the right job, then they should only receive a fee (from the client!) and only once that match has been made. And, some type of free trial period should be included for the benefit of both the hiring company and the new employee. Our incentive as recruiters should always be to match candidates to jobs in a way that produces a good outcome for both our client and the job seeker.
Question Two: Will I be considered for positions other than the one I applied for?
Most recruiting and staffing agencies have a large number of open positions that they are looking to fill at any given time – many of which may never be publicly advertised. Recruiting consultants can use their knowledge of clients, open positions, the local job market and the job search process to guide you towards a position that fits your skills and experience. Your recruiter should always fully investigate the position you originally applied to, but you should also be prepared to be introduced to other clients and new opportunities.
Keep your options open and consider all positions that are available. No matter how much you thought the original position you applied for is the right match for you, there may be even better opportunities available to you through the recruiter’s network of local or regional clients.
Question Three: What will this process look like moving forward?
Since interviewing with a Recruiting and Staffing agency is different from interviewing with a company looking to hire, you should always know what the next steps will be. You should ask your recruiter how and when they plan to contact you; how will they share information pertaining to employers with you; what research will you need to perform; what to prepare and/or bring with on interviews; and how you should organize the process if your recruiter secures multiple job interviews for you.
It is also fair to ask your recruiting consultant how long they think the process might take. It is not unusual for members of the JobGiraffe staff to work with a single candidate for several weeks and even months. The more you and your recruiting consultant can work as a team, the better your chances are of finding the right job.
Question Four: Should I continue to look for positions on my own?
Sometimes a job search takes longer than we’d like. In fact, if you have decided to work with a recruiting and staffing agency, your recruiting consultant may already have discussed this with you. Recruiting Consultants should be your advocate first and foremost; therefore, they should never stand in your way of finding the right job. If you wish, you should continue to search for positions on your own and work in tandem with your recruiter. If you secure an offer on your own, let them know immediately.
Question Five: How will I know when I’ve found the right position?
Hopefully, you will have had a chance to meet with various types of firms and investigate multiple positions. You may even have received an offer to accept a position – or two. If you have received one or more offers, choosing the right position may require some thought. Your recruiting consultant will assist you in organizing the pros and cons of each offer, noting such factors as type of position, industry, potential for learning and growth, travel times and ease of commute, and a full breakdown of the benefits and compensation package. Salary alone should not be the deciding factor as to which position you accept. In some cases, perhaps none of the offers should be accepted, and you should simply continue your search!
No matter the outcome, or whether or not the offer was secured on your own or with a recruiter’s client, a good recruiter will help you to sort it all out and make the best choice. Should you accept and start a position that was not presented by your recruiter, always keep the lines of communication open, because you never know when you may need their help again. A good relationship between a candidate and recruiter can work in your favor throughout your career!
It’s autumn, and those of you caught up in football and the start of NHL hockey and the NBA may not be aware of it, but robotics season is almost here.
For DevilStorm Robotics, the JobGiraffe sponsored team from Hinsdale Central High School, the new “Build Season” will kickoff on January 3, 2015, when the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) announces this year’s challenge. Every year is a different game, requiring robots with different skills and abilities. Once the DevilStorm team finds out the new challenge, they have six weeks to build and test a robot designed to play the new game.
The DevilStorm team is broken up into different divisions, Programming, Mechanical, Electrical, etc., each responsible for a different phase of the completed robot. The team is now in “pre-season”, with members from last year sharpening and adding to their skills while teaching new members what they need to know to contribute to the project. Pre-season is also the time for fund raising and applying for grants.
For now, the team meets every Tuesday, but once Build Season starts, it will be every day for six weeks until their robot is complete.
Everyone at JobGiraffe is excited about our sponsorship of the DevilStorm Robotics team and is anticipating a great season!
Deb Gates has been a member of the JobGiraffe team since 1999 working as a recruiting and staffing consultant in our Vernon Hills office. She also is an active fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and has recently been recognized for her good work in the Chicago Tribune’s suburban online publication (you may find the article about her here). We are very proud of her annual leadership and participation in fundraisers for MS research and would like to commemorate her here, as well as share a little bit of her story.
Deb was diagnosed with MS back in February of 2004 while working with JobGiraffe (which was then known as Paige Personnel Services). Within just a few months of receiving her diagnosis she decided to become actively involved in fundraising for Walk MS, which supports the research of this disease (which, in short, interrupts the flow of information in one’s central nervous system) and affects roughly 2.3 million worldwide. She then made participating in Walk MS a yearly event, and recruited family and friends to participate with her. She just was involved in the most recent walk, which held on May 4th at Attea Middle School in Glenview.
As Deb explained in her Chicago Tribune article, “Walk MS is important to help fund scientific research and to also give back to those in the Greater Illinois MS Community who need assistance… I’m very appreciative of those who spend countless hours fundraising on our [MS patients] behalf as well as those who are involved in organizing the event.”
But the best part is that Deb didn’t stop there. In 2012, when Deb’s family wasn’t able to join her for Walk MS, she created and organized her own bowling fundraising event. How impressive is that!? That year they raised $3,000 for the National MS Society. However, this past year she outdid her self and her bowling fundraising event raised $3,500.
Not only did Deb annually become involved in Walk MS but she has now orchestrated her own annual fun-centric bowling fundraisers that seem poised to raise more and more funds each year. Fundraising for research for MS is essential, as it is a disease that takes on numerous forms for different people and is a disease for which unfortunately there is no known cure.
We are proud of Deb, how she has stayed positive and not let her diagnosis affect her daily life much, and how she immediately began to be involved in fundraising for research for a cure – and has continued to do so for a decade now. We are also proud that the Chicago Tribune online recognized her efforts!