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Creating a Healthy, Energized Workplace

April 12th, 2016

How do you generally feel when you enter your workplace? Happy to be there or dread walking in? The unfortunate news is that only 50% of employees are happy at work. A critical element that boosts morale and performance is wellbeing. Organizations that support a wellbeing strategy develop healthier, energized employees who thrive.

Ohio ranked 47th in wellbeing out of 50 states in Gallup’s 2015 State of American Wellbeing Report. The data to rank the states was compiled according to five key areas of wellbeing: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. These areas of wellbeing will be discussed at the Cleveland Business Connects Amplify event in April to help our local business raise our ranking. The event spotlights top business leaders sharing the latest information on transforming work cultures through wellbeing programs.

With plenty of room for improvement in our home state, how is your organization doing— is there a wellbeing plan in place or is it missing from the culture? In most cases companies without wellbeing programs do so by accident, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Small activities can be added to produce a big impact and create an energized, engaged workplace.

Get Started

There are simple lifestyle changes you can incorporate in your workplace that will not break the bank. Anyone who wants to work in a healthier environment can become a wellbeing champion. Start by compiling a mix of activities from each of the five wellbeing areas (below) and gain support from senior management. Then work with other co-workers who are enthusiastic about promoting wellbeing. Begin with a small pilot and add more from there setting up a wellbeing activity every few months to support employees and drive performance.

The beauty of addressing the five wellbeing areas is that it is a mind-body approach where each area reinforces the others to produce greater employee energy and engagement. Taking an integrated approach that cares about the whole person and positively impacts multiple areas of a person’s life, heightens employee engagement. Research shows engaged employees give 57% more effort and are 87% less likely to leave.

The mind and body work together to improve results in physical wellness. For example employees in a physical wellness program to stop smoking may have difficulty succeeding if they have a lot of dissatisfaction in their work role. While employees who have opportunities to focus on their purpose and career growth, might be more receptive to a physical wellness challenge. And employees who are offered social wellbeing activities to enhance teamwork might be more motivated to participate in a physical wellbeing nutritional program.

Bring your workplace into a new generation of wellbeing with updated activities. Here are sample ideas from each of the five wellbeing areas for a jumpstart:

  • Purpose / Career Wellbeing: select one month to focus on personal strengths and talents. Ask each person to identify their top strength and incorporate it in their job with approval of their manager. Highlight successes and encourage this to continue throughout the year.
  • Social Wellbeing: bring in fruit, veggies and a blender for a healthy juice bar to socialize; creating today’s version of the water cooler. Or add a pool table if you have the space.
  • Intellectual / Financial Wellbeing: create a growth opportunity day a couple times each year where employees are able to plan ahead to do whatever work that inspires them in the company for the day and after share what they learned.
  • Community Wellbeing: Select a cause and do it as a group, such as clean up your community waterfront or park area together coordinated by the local park system– it builds pride and a cohesive team.
  • Physical Wellbeing: bring in a masseuse for neck messages every month; or add a treadmill desk and have a signup to use it.

Incorporating whole person wellbeing into your culture can not only provide a better work experience, but also create a healthy, energized workplace with a sustainable impact on business performance.


In 2016 Improve Workplace Wellbeing & Your Bottom Line

December 28th, 2015

Wellbeing is gaining momentum as a significant driver of performance and profit. Today’s successful businesses understand a connection exists between the health and wellbeing of their employees and the health of their bottom line. The research is well documented— workplace wellbeing raises morale, attendance, engagement and productivity (Gallup and MIT).

What is workplace wellbeing? Wellbeing is evolving beyond physical health to a whole-person (mind and body) approach. Wellbeing encompasses five key areas of wellness: Occupational, Intellectual, Social, Emotional and Physical Wellness. When companies touch all five areas of wellbeing, workers and organizations thrive.

Three steps to promote a culture of wellbeing:

1) An easy first step into wellbeing is to measure employee engagement, a primary indicator of wellbeing. Wellbeing and employee engagement go hand and hand as two powerful forces for high-performance. Engaged employees are committed to the organization, emotionally attached to their job and excited about accomplishing their best work. Find out where your workplace stands with an engagement assessment.

2) Identify a priority area of wellbeing (select one of the five) and set organizational and individual goals around it. Solicit employee ideas for wellbeing activities and incorporate them. For example, if you begin with occupational wellbeing, bring in a workshop to enrich career satisfaction. Or if you start with physical wellness, do a lunch and learn health series on hot topics.

3) Communicate, encourage and reward participation in wellbeing activities.  Recognize employees for their wellbeing achievements to reinforce its value, increase involvement and help wellbeing spread.

Trying out one small component of wellbeing can be a trial run to see how your employees respond. If it’s successful, add another offering a few weeks later and hopefully work up to a more comprehensive program. Even if you don’t have the resources to implement a complete wellness program, taking these initial steps will show your employees you value their wellbeing. Support your workforce in meeting their mind and body needs and you’ll gain more energized, engaged employees who come to work strong each day. 

Sunny Klein Lurie, Advanced Performance, Inc.


Why Resilient People Are Happier

September 12th, 2015

Why Resilient People Are Happier—and How to Be More Like Them

There are people in life who show exceptional resilience. They have the strength and the passion to go on even in the face of adversity. Below are eight habits of extremely resilient people.

Start with one and continue to add on as you go, but at least begin down the path of increasing your resilience. Resilient people lead happier and more successful lives. Don’t you want that, too?

 1. Get the Support You Need

People with exceptional resilience typically have a big safety net—many loved ones and friends to turn to when times get tough. Having others who accept you for who you are and who are there for you during good and bad times strengthens your resilience. Don’t have much family or many friends? Get out there and join a group, club, or team—start connecting and making friends. 

2. Realize It’s Just Part of Life 

Resilience comes with knowing that life isn’t perfect and that, yes, there will be drama and trauma in your life at one time or another. Your ability to view a tragedy as an isolated event instead of what your future has in store for you is what will set you up for success and greater resilience in the future.

3. Make Healthy Choices

People who are extremely resilient typically take care of themselves. They exercise daily, get the rest they need, address their own needs and feelings regularly, and make an effort to eat healthy. If you take care of yourself—even walking 20 minutes a day can take your stress down a notch—you will be less likely to fall apart during those times in your life that are filled with stress or tragedy.

 4. Remember to Laugh

Even during the worst times, exceptionally resilient people still laugh and find joy. Laughter can reduce the pain you feel, both body and mind, and help to minimize the issue at hand. Yes, the bad things will still happen, but you can lighten that load by finding your sense of humor.

 5. Be Nice to Others

Exceptionally resilient people enjoy helping others. They find great joy in random acts of kindness that lift the heart of not only the receiver but also the giver. On the flip side, it is equally important to receive and appreciate kindness from others who are trying to help you during a tough time—showing gratitude is also a big part of resiliency.

6. Get the Ball Rolling

Resilient people face life’s obstacles head-on. When confronted by a crisis, they immediately ask themselves, “What are my choices and solutions for this?” They collect all the information they can, come up with a plan, and then face the pain or anxiety directly with action. Even when faced with the worst of tragedies, such as a death in the family, resilient people collect, plan, and act until things are back to normal.

 7. Look at the Bright Side

Resilient people have a knack for always find the silver lining. Even though they are not immune to pain and anxiety, their eyes are wide open—they are able to see the good even during the worst times. Resilient people literally see each moment in life as another opportunity and another chance. Their glass is definitely half full.

8. Don’t Make the Same Mistake Again

Resilient people learn from their mistakes instead of making the same ones over and over. They ask themselves what went wrong and come up with a strategy to prevent the mistake from happening again. They get excited about doing things in a new way or approaching things differently, and this is what helps them endure unhappy times.

Written by P. Economy from Inc.

Posted by Sunny K. Lurie, Fast Focus Careers


Get Engaged and Accelerate Your Success!

August 20th, 2015

Not engaged as in married –- engaged as in work. Think of how happy you’d be going to work each day saying to yourself, “I want to,” not “I have to.” The difference? It’s being engaged in what you do at work. What does “engaged” mean? It’s feeling motivated at work, routinely applying your strengths and interests in your job, being committed to performing well and curious to learn and grow in your field. Unfortunately, statistics reveal 71% of U.S. employees are not engaged in their work.

Gallup research shows a strong connection between employee engagement and performance. The more actively engaged we are the more likely we are to have less sick days and raise productivity, quality, customer service and job satisfaction. A significant factor in feeling engaged is the opportunity to routinely use our strengths on the job. People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged and three times as likely to report an excellent quality of life (Marcus Buckingham). When employees are engaged and thriving in their overall lives, even during difficult times in their organization, they are likely to maintain strong work performance. That is why more corporate wellness programs are including employee engagement in their wellness and wellbeing initiatives.

It is 2015 and we are never going back to thinking employees are “hired hands.”  Progressive organizations understand that healthy, high performing companies focus on the “whole person” at work. They appreciate the mind-body connection and the impact opportunities for growth and use of strengths and interests has on engagement and individual and organizational success.

So who is responsible for helping us become more engaged? Employers may help and that is great. However, ownership of engagement, satisfaction and career success is also on our own shoulders. Going after our goals with healthy enthusiasm for a more fulfilling life is up to each of us to make that happen.

Whether you are a business owner, manager or employee you may be thinking, “how can I become more engaged or how can I help my employees?” The answer involves uncovering and applying individual strengths as described in the following three steps.

1) Clarify skills/strengths that help you feel strong. Begin by brainstorming what you do well, what triggers your enthusiasm and motivates you. Also, you may want to complete the quick online Strengthsfinder assessment of your top five strengths (www.gallupstrengthscenter.com).

What is a Strength?

Activities that energize you, that you are drawn to and feel easy and natural doing.  Strengths are made up of talents, skills and knowledge. Talents you are born with; skills and knowledge you obtain through learning and practice. Here are some examples:

Strength        Specific Use

Verbal –          Negotiating contracts
Social –           Interacting with people to plan events
Technical –     Resolving computer challenges
Artistic –         Selecting color and fabric to design a room

 2) List your work responsibilities and top priorities and find areas to apply your strengths. Identify 1-2 strengths you want to incorporate and match each with a current or new responsibility where you can contribute to your goals and/or organizational goals.

For example, if your strength is writing and you would like a chance to do it more often, look for a new or existing opportunity or project involving writing in the organization. Specify ways you can assist, possibly for the corporate blog or customer newsletter.

3) Have an open discussion with your manager to suggest ways to build 1-2 strengths into your work. Plan out the discussion. Remember, the object of this exercise is to help improve your job satisfaction AND fulfill a need for the organization.

Here are sample phrases you might want to use in your conversation. “I’m looking for opportunities to build on my top strengths to ensure my maximum contribution. I’ve found a couple ways I can align my skills with some of our current goals. Before I go into detail, what are your thoughts on giving this a try?  My key strengths are ____.  My ideas to apply and build them are _____.  How does this sound? What suggestions do you have for me to use my strengths more often?”

Note- this is not a discussion about your weaknesses. Those are much more difficult to improve because weaknesses typically make us feel depleted. The point here is that it’s much easier with less time and effort to concentrate on developing areas where we feel strong. The end result is to set goals and expectations every week based on your strengths. Step three may be the most challenging, however being bold and speaking up is essential to advancing your career.

Best of luck on getting engaged and accelerating your success!

– Sunny Klein Lurie, PhD. Advanced Performance, Inc; Fast Focus Careers


Misconceptions about Employee Engagement

June 28th, 2015

Listen, I get it. Your employees have a good job that “most people in the world would die for. “They’re only working 40 hours a week. They have healthcare. You’re matching their 401k contributions. You even PAY them for time OFF.

This is the fault of the Millenials, isn’t it? Just one more example of this entitled, me-first generation infecting the workplace. Why don’t we just give everyone a trophy for showing up on time? Better yet, if they’re not happy, they should just get another job, right.? Heaven knows in this economy, there are plenty of people who would be willing to take their place.

It’d be nice to help employees be engaged, sure, but it’s not necessary. Ultimately it’s the epitome of a first-world problem, an indulgent luxury, and a darn shame that we even need to address this softest of all soft skills. But indulge me for a moment to review some common misconceptions out there about employee engagement…

1) Employee Engagement is just another perk

No. If I gave you a choice between a sharp saw and a dull saw, which would you use to cut something? What about between a computer with more RAM and one with less RAM? Is there ever a scenario where, all other things being equal, you don’t choose the better performing tool?

And if that’s the case, it should apply to employees as well, i.e. you would always choose the better performing employee. I shouldn’t have to make too strong an argument that an employee engaged in their work is going to produce better quality work than one who is not engaged1.

Engagement isn’t a perk you trot out to entice potential recruits, or wield in lieu of bonuses. Engagement is a primary motivation, the state of existence in which employees operate. They’re going to be motivated by something; it might as well be the intrinsic nature of the job. Stop thinking of engagement as a perk and think of it more as a core cultural element.

But going back to that false dichotomy from earlier (the choice between an adequate employee and a great employee all other things being equal), all other things aren’t necessarily equal, are they? Generally, when choosing between a good tool and an adequate tool, you take a value/cost ratio into account. You might not need a top-of-the-line tool, just one that you can afford that still gets the job done.

2) Engagement isn’t a learnable skill

DecisionWise

Wrong. Let’s play Desert Island. You get transported to an island in the middle of the ocean with 50 other people. What skills do you bring to the table that make you a valuable member of the castaways? Some medical know-how? Maybe you’re an engineer and you can help create an aqueduct. I’m a consultant that specializes in employee engagement so I’m probably the first to be cooked for dinner3.

When it comes to survival, literal or figurative, most would say employee engagement is not a priority investment. Not to say it wouldn’t help, but as I said earlier, it has the reputation as a perk, a soft squishy management tactic, and something only companies with more money than sense would throw resources at. So yes, employee engagement training tends to come across like a luxury – a “less expensive version of a company yacht.” Right? Not so fast.

One of the quickest of quick wins in business is correcting this misperception. Being a skill in which you can train is actually employee engagement’s strength because it means ANYONE CAN GET BETTER AT IT! I know because I’ve seen it hundreds of times. And the best part is any amount of investment will show dividends. You can’t say that about a ping-pong table in the breakroom. Rather than thinking about employee engagement as a frill, it should be considered an essential component of unlocking your company’s full potential.

Employee engagement, at its most basic, is just making life a more fulfilling experience. It’s not a waste of time but rather a more efficient use of it! Wanting to be engaged is a natural part of the human condition and, therefore not exclusive to any one type of person or job. Do you know those days when you can’t wait to get out of bed? Would you like more of them? I don’t think so.

By David Mason
Posted by Advanced Performance, Inc.

and Fast Focus Careers


Spreading Introductions

April 5th, 2015

We’ve heard about Random Acts of Kindness spreading around the world. Recently, I was the lucky recipient of a random act of kindness when a car in front of me at a drive-through paid for my coffee –wow, impressive! Right after this happened, a light bulb went off. What if more people applied acts of kindness to the workplace, helping job seekers connect with potential employers? Having a personal introduction inside an organization is a huge advantage to career changers.

In fact, referrals are the number one source companies use to find outside hires, and over 70 percent of people find jobs through leads from others, according to the top professional network platform LinkedIn. Access to the right people and companies is vital for a successful career change, especially as the market place becomes more challenging. A few moments of time connecting people to your network is a powerful act of kindness.

Many of us have made introductions in the workplace. What I’m suggesting here is to consider doing it more often. Not only will positive things come back to you when you extend a kind introduction, but you may also significantly help someone gain employment and improve their life.  Introductions require no money and are simple to do.

Consider This:

1.  Look for opportunities.  Put up your antennae to become aware of friends, family or colleagues who are changing careers and ASK if you can help and who they’d like to meet.

2. Get specific to identify their target organizations, jobs, people and industry. The more specific you are about whom to meet and what companies the person wants to work, the better. Consider who in your network is inside a company or industry they seek. Think about business owners, professionals and first-rate companies you know. LinkedIn and Facebook friends are perfect for finding people – look through your lists and groups. Maybe you have a neighbor working at the desired target company who knows the department recruiter. The idea of “six degrees of separation” for reaching anyone on the planet is alive and well.

3. Call or email the contact to make an introduction. It’s more impactful if youpersonally introduce the two parties rather than just supply a name. The rest is up to them.

True example. Recently, my cousin Terry was looking to leave his entry-level tech position. He made a list of 12 local organizations he liked who were hiring web developers.  To avoid sending in his resume blind, he asked me and others to run his list through their network and LinkedIn contacts. It turned out Terry found connections inside three companies. One person helped Terry reach the hiring manger and he was invited to interview. Over the next couple months they brought Terry back for several interviews and eventually he was offered a job.

Do an experiment. Try it for a month. See how many introductions you can make in the workplace and what you feel. You never know; some day when you need an introduction for your career, reciprocity for all your kind acts will be fully rewarded back to you.

Please forward this message to your contacts and help introductions spread!

By Sunny K. Lurie, Fast Focus Careers


Stand Out in Your Interview

January 16th, 2015

You’ve just landed a job interview for a position you really want. Congratulations. Now, you know you only get one chance to impress, but how exactly do you do that? Given all of the conflicting advice out there and the changing rules of getting a job, it’s no wonder that job seekers are confused about how to best prepare for and perform in an interview.

What the Experts Say
One common piece of advice is to “take charge” of the interview. John Lees, a career strategist and author of The Interview Expert: How to Get the Job You Want and Job Interviews: Top Answers to Tough Questions, says this advice is misleading: “The reality is that the interviewer is in control. Your job is to be as helpful as you can.” Claudio Fernandez-Aroz, a senior adviser at Egon Zehnder International and the author of Great People Decisions, agrees: “You need to help interviewers do the right thing since most of them don’t follow best practices.” According to Fernandez-Aroz, who has interviewed more than 20,000 candidates in his 26 years as a search consultant, most interviewers fall prey to unconscious biases and focus too heavily on experience rather than competence. It’s your responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen. Here’s how.

Prepare, prepare, prepare
Most people know they need to show up to the interview having done their homework, but both Fernandez-Aroz and Lees agree that people rarely prepare enough. “You can never invest enough in terms of preparation. You should find out as much as possible about the company, how it’s organized, its culture, the relevant industry trends, and some information about the interviewer,” says Fernandez-Aroz. He also advises researching the specific job challenges. This will allow you to demonstrate you have what it takes to fill the role.

Formulate a strategy
Before you enter the room, decide what three or four messages you want to convey to the interviewer. These should “show the connection between what you have achieved and what is really needed to succeed in the specific job and context,” says Fernandez-Aroz. Lees says the best way to do this is to draft narratives ahead of time. “People buy into stories far more than they do evidence or data,” he says. Your stories should be concise and interesting. Make sure they have a good opening line, such as, “I’m going to tell you about a time that I rescued the organization.” Then, learn them like the back of your hand. Know how they begin and end so you can relay them without stumbling or sounding like a robot. Whenever possible, use one of your stories to answer an interview question.

Emphasize your potential
“No candidate will ever be perfect, and you will be no exception,” says Fernandez-Aroz. Instead of harping on where your resume might fall short or letting the interviewer do the same; focus on your potential. This is often a far better indicator of future job performance. “If your past achievements are not directly related to the job, but you’ve demonstrated a great ability to learn and adapt to new situations, you should very clearly articulate that,” says Fernandez-Aroz. For example, if you’re interviewing for an international role but have no global experience, you might explain how your ability to influence others in a cross-functional role, such as between production and sales, proves your ability to collaborate with different types of people from different cultures.

Ace the first 30 seconds
First impressions matter. Lees points to psychological research that shows that people form opinions about your personality and intelligence in the first 30 seconds of the interview. “How you speak, how you enter the room, and how comfortable you look are really important,” he says. People who perform best in interviews start off by speaking clearly but slowly, walk with confidence, and think through what “props” they will carry so they don’t appear over-cluttered. Lees suggests rehearsing your entrance several times. You can even record yourself on video and play it back without the sound so you can see precisely how you are presenting yourself and make adjustments. The same applies to phone interviews. You need to use the first 30 seconds of the conversation to establish yourself as a confident, calm voice on the line.

Don’t be yourself
Lees calls the “be yourself” advice “demonstrably untrue.” He says, “It’s a trained improvised performance where you’re trying to present the best version of you.” Bring as much energy and enthusiasm to the interview as you can. But don’t oversell yourself. Because there’s an oversupply in the talent market, employers are wary that people are exaggerating their experience and skills. “If you’re going to make a statement about what you can achieve, you need to back it up with hard evidence,” Lees says.

Be ready for the tough questions
Many people worry about how to answer questions about a pause in their work history, a short stay at a recent job, or other blemishes on their CV. Again, the best approach is to prepare in advance. Don’t just have one answer for these difficult questions. Lee suggests three lines of defense. First, have a simple, straightforward answer that doesn’t go into too much detail. Then have two additional answers ready so that if the interviewer follows up, you have something further to say. For example, if you didn’t finish a degree that would’ve been helpful to the job, be ready to answer an initial question with something like, “I felt it was better to go straight into the work world.” If the interviewer pushes further, be ready with another level of detail, such as, “I thought about it carefully. I knew it would carry negative connotations but I thought I would learn a lot more by working.” Lees says, “The key is to never be pushed so far that you are left high and dry without a smart answer.”

Be flexible in the room
Even with all of the right preparation, you can never predict exactly how the interview will go. “You need the radar working in the room. A good candidate knows how to tweak the performance to play to different situations,” says Lees. Ask yourself: Do I need to supply better answers? Do I need to work on my tone? Do I need to just shut up? “A lot of interviewers like to hear themselves talk and you should be willing to let them,” says Lees. Adapt to the circumstances.

When it’s going poorly
There are times when it’s clear the interview is not going well. Perhaps the interviewer is not engaged or you stumbled over answers to some important questions. Resist the temptation to agonize over what’s already happened. “That’s a surefire way to get lost,” Lees says. Instead, focus on the moment. “Concentrate on answering the current question as if it’s the first,” he says. You can also redirect the conversation by acknowledging the situation. You might say something like, “I’m not sure if I’m giving you what you need” and see how the interviewer reacts. “You just have to be sure you aren’t digging a deeper hole,” says Lees.

Written by: Amy Gallo, contributing editor at Harvard Business Review.

Posted by Sunny K. Lurie, Fast Focus Careers

 


Take Action for Your Career

July 23rd, 2014

Life comes at us fast. The best-laid plans get pushed aside when more urgent items arise. One way to stay on top of things is to keep an active to-do list.  Plans are not straight lines that work exactly as they might appear on paper, said Sunny Klein Lurie, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Fast Focus Careers. Having a to-do list you refresh often gives you a greater advantage to take action and get things done for your career.

Remember, Dr. Lurie added, with no specific targets, it is tougher to achieve end results. Keeping goals visually and refreshed as often as possible, you can avoid getting sidetracked.
Your to-do list should reflect the top four actions that must get done today. By designating these actions as priorities, you are more likely to get them done in a timely manner. Don’t fret about checking them off in perfect order. That’s not realistic, Dr. Lurie said.

The best way to ensure you accomplish the items on your to-do list is to make it a ritual in your life. The more you make it a ritual, the better the probability that you will follow through with it. If you have to decide continuously what to do throughout the day, the more difficult it is to make it happen.

Keep your to-do list manageable.  Plain and simple, if your list is too long, it is difficult to achieve, Dr. Lurie advised. Be realistic about how much and what tasks you have to do. Consider your schedule for the day and what availability you have to complete additional tasks.

How to avoid procrastinating

Many people with great intentions at the beginning of their day slowly lose momentum. The biggest obstacle is avoiding action. There are a few ways to handle items you avoid, Dr. Lurie suggested.

Plan ahead to do the most challenging item at your peak performance time when you have the clearest thoughts and most energy to get through it faster.

Attach a personal incentive that gets you in the right frame of mind to do the work. For example, as a quick warm up to get ready for the task, go ahead and read entertainment news for a few minutes if that is something you enjoy doing. The point is to find a couple of activities that are more fun than work just to get you going.

If you hit a roadblock on accomplishing an item on your list, walk away for 10 minutes. Go outside, grab a snack and come back with renewed energy. If you really need a boost to make it through your list, consider a quick call with an upbeat person you know. Optimism is contagious.

By Terri Mrosko with Sunny Lurie, The Plain Dealer, Employment Section

Posted By Sunny Klein Lurie, Fast Focus Careers


How to Follow-Up On Your Resume

June 18th, 2014

By Herberger

Career Image blogCareer Image blog

Don’t rush it

Wait approximately two weeks before you follow up. It’s safe to assume the hiring manager is busy – particularly if they’re amidst a hiring campaign. They will have received numerous applications. Give them time to have reviewed the documents you sent before you start back in about your own application.

Call

The best way to follow up with a resume is to give the right person a call. It gives you a chance to show them your personality, your impeccable manners, and that you’re a motivated individual.

What if you don’t know who to call? If you have the name of the company, chances are you can find the name of the hiring manager somewhere online. If you can’t find a name, contact the company and ask to speak to the person in charge of hiring for the open position – don’t give up quite yet.

What if you get their voicemail? Easy – call back. Don’t leave a message until you’ve gotten their voicemail at least twice.

Call in the morning. You’re more likely to reach someone before their day has become a tangled mess of meetings and emails.

If calling isn’t an option, email or a handwritten note are both acceptable. They will still show initiative and bring you to the forefront of the hiring manager’s mind.

Don’t just ask if they received your resume

This is your chance to truly impress the manager. You should express your interest in the position and the unique skills you can bring to the company. Make sure that you’ve reread the job description and researched the company. Just like your cover letter, what you say should speak directly to what they’re looking for.

That seems like a lot to say but remember not to take up too much of their time. The point of the follow-up isn’t to have an entire phone interview, it’s to bring your resume to the top of the proverbial pile and have it looked at again. You want to express your enthusiasm but be brief and respectful of the manager’s schedule.

Written by Team ZipRecruiter. Photo by Herberger
Posted by Sunny Lurie, Fast Focus Careers


Job Hopping is More Acceptable

May 5th, 2014

Long-term employment is becoming less popular in a modern world characterized by: lay-offs, mergers and acquisitions, instant dissolution of global businesses and an increasing dependence on global workers.

Gone are the days when employers could expect to have a pile of resumes containing job for lifers with uninterrupted tenures, (especially as research suggests that the average employee is changing jobs perhaps every 3 to 4 years). In the good old days, employers could simply discard candidates with multiple short tenures on the basis that they were job hoppers, but these days, a large proportion of the candidate pool is comprised of job hoppers and employers need to be better at analyzing job hoppers in a modern context.

One of the first things that employers need to do is let go of the prejudice surrounding job hoppers as there are many positive aspects to this type of employee; I have outlined three of the most positive ones below.

1. Adaptability

Job hoppers can gain more experience and skills from each new environment they work in, so more roles, environments and sectors means more experience. As well as this, job hoppers may have honed their relationship building skills, being able to quickly integrate into teams and build rapport. And using their skills in different jobs and environments will have helped to keep their skills sharp.

2. Signs of ambition and high achievement

Job hopping can also be a sign of ambition. In the old days and especially in larger companies, career progression could be done from your arm chair or office chair. Climbing the corporate ladder meant going upstairs to the next floor. But, in today’s environment not only are employees more ambitious, (largely due to a harsher economic climate), many employers and jobs do not have advancement opportunities and if an employee wants to progress he or she needs to change companies. So job hopping shows initiative and a willingness to progress.

3. Not afraid to take a risk

Job hopping can also show that a candidate is courageous and not afraid to take a risk. Many employees stay in roles they are not happy with because it’s the path of least resistance and they are not comfortable with the risks associated with moving. Job hoppers are often bold enough to take the risk of making the move. It means they may be more flexible and may be prepared to take on new roles in your company.

There is an obvious criticism of job hoppers in that they may be unsettled and aimless, but, many people go through a phase in their career when they are simply searching for the right role and this is commonly seen at the start of one’s career; so, don’t frown too hard on graduates who change roles very frequently in the first five years as they may just be looking for the right fit and who knows your company could be it. This can also happen to candidates who are in career transition. Just make sure you interview them closely to ensure your role is right for them.

Also, don’t over look the fact that job hopping could be simply as a result of the difficult climate and the job hopping may have largely been out of their control, e.g. relocation, redundancy, mergers and acquisitions, reduction in permanent contracts, etc. In these circumstances, job hopping does not necessarily suggest a lack of commitment or focus, which means they can still be an asset to your business.

So, it’s no longer suitable for employers to immediately consign job hoppers to the resume bin, as job hoppers characterize our industry and employers need to be able to understand and assess job hoppers in the context of their individual circumstances and then appoint the one most suited to the role.

Written by Kazim Ladimeji, Recruiter.
Submitted by Sunny K. Lurie, Fast Focus Careers



Dr. Sunny Lurie photos by Perkoski