Welcome to Jacobson Staffing's blog. This blog is a place for you to gain career advice, engage with our firm and stay updated on everything from events we are participating in and industry news.

Can a Career Agent benefit you?

Do actors wait until they want a new role before they work with an Agent?  Never! Does a baseball player wait until he is headed to free agency to connect with an Agent?  No!  Actors and professional athletes always have someone watching out for their best interests.  A good Agent is always working for them – looking for new opportunities, understanding the individual’s goals, and seeking to find the best fit professionally, personally and financially.

A good Career Agent will do the same for you!  Candidates are frustrated by a job market they see as dominated by online portals, anonymous job postings and no responses from companies after their friend gave their boss their resume for a position on their team where they are a perfect fit.  A resume can easily be submitted and lost. Career Agents interview you, understand your career goals, timing, salary requirements, career history and culture you desire.  They work in parallel with clients seeking talent across a wide range of functions within technology. When agents submit you for a position, they stay in touch and active throughout the process.  Your resume is not lost in the application process; instead, they demonstrate why you will be a good fit for the company’s position/organization and follow up for feedback, interviews and next steps.  Your Career Agent will work with you to represent your best interests in terms of salary, benefits and start date and communicate what you need to accept a company’s offer.

Career Agents help you navigate the complexities of a job change and help you position yourself to achieve your career goals and help you through the resignation and transition process. Bottom line, Career Agents help you reach your professional goals better and faster than you could do with just a regular recruiter, or a friend who hands a hiring manager your resume, or applying through a web portal on your own. Your Agents’ goal is to be your life long career advisor and to create a win-win for you and your new employer.

3.5 Reasons why attending an IT Conference every single year can help your career!

Conference Attendees1. Network with your peers. This is an opportunity to meet new people from other companies. It is also important to visit with prior and current co-workers or classmates and get to know them on a more personal level. These are great people to build relationships with for multiple reasons:

a. You may reach out to these people to see how their company is using a new technology or transforming into an agile environment

b. Get non-biased references or opinions about a new technology you are evaluating and thinking about implementing

c. Learn how other companies operate and what makes their cultures great

2. Invest in Yourself! You will be seen by your boss, peers and others that you network with at the conference as a person who wants to keep current with your industry and who cares about keeping up to date with technology and best practices. The educational component of a conference can expose you to new ways to be more productive. Many people who attend conferences return back to work revitalized and more passionate about their work.

3. Hot new technologies.  Take time to meet with vendors. This is a great way to gain insight on what new technologies are available. You also have an opportunity to build relationships with vendors. Those vendors may be the person you need to reach in the middle of a critical project and if you know someone at that company they may be able to help get you connected to the right person to solve your problem. You can also pick up free giveaways or participate in raffles from vendors at many Exhibit Halls.

3.5 Have fun! Attending a conference should be work mixed with fun! Many conferences have activities such as happy hours, late night parties, and golf tournaments. Treat yourself to    an extra day in the city you are visiting. Plan to come in town early or stay an extra day at the at the end of the trip. Mix business with pleasure and keep your career trajectory on track all at the same time.

1485208054_1464718884_move-forward

Keep your Career Moving Forward with these Tips

Everyone wants to move forward in their career, but some people don’t realize that they’re making critical mistakes and sabotaging their own progress. Here are a few things to avoid:

  • Micromanaging is Required on Every Project
    Take initiative with your projects and don’t be afraid to ask questions as they arise, but don’t rely on other people to tell you how to handle every detail of the project. Your boss probably won’t promote you if they feel like you have to be micromanaged every step of the way.
  • Your Ego is More Important Than the Team
    If you want the team to use your idea or you are squashing other teammate’s ideas because you want to do it your way, then you could be sabotaging career advancement. Don’t let your ego get in the way of developing stronger work relationships and building an effective team.
  • Being a Complainer
    Occasionally, complaints can be beneficial if they offer solutions and improvements to the company. When a teammate is always complaining, they can sap the morale of the whole team, which can cause undue stress for everyone involved.
  • Bad Communication With Employees and Customers
    Communication is key to maintaining good relationships, and the quality of your communication will get you noticed. If your communication is non-existent or confusing, then it can have a negative impact on the impression that other people have of you. On the other hand, clear and positive communication can show that you are confident, comfortable and a good team player.
  • You Are the “Brownnoser” in the Office
    Trying to impress people too much with flattery often has a negative impact, and your efforts will likely backfire on you. If someone offers too many compliments or are too clingy to the boss, then it will likely come across as disingenuous. It is okay to offer a genuine compliment every now and then, but you need to avoid crossing the line and becoming a brownnoser.

 

Avoid these self-sabotaging habits that often prevent people from getting the promotion or pay increase that they desire. Be aware of your habits and actions throughout the day, and make sure that you aren’t self-sabotaging your career.

1485208098_1464718995_4-elements

Your Resume has these 4 Must-Haves, Right?

Important Elements That Must Be Included On Your Resume

Whether you’re putting together a resume for your first or last job, there are several core elements that need to be considered when you are writing your resume. Modern technology has made it easier to apply to many jobs without much effort, which means that employers and recruiters are inundated with resumes when a job opening is posted. If you want the job, then you need to make sure that your resume outshines the rest.

  1. An Attractive Summary
    You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of the hiring manager, so it is important to include a summary that entices them to continue reading your resume. The first section should quickly summarize your qualifications and is essentially an “elevator speech” on paper.
  2. Contact Information, And…
    Your name, address, phone number, and a professional sounding email address (not lovetoparty@gmail.com) should be clearly listed at the top of the resume. Don’t forget, you don’t want to include personal information such as your social security number, race, marital status, health status, or birth date. This information is not relevant during the application process, and there is no reason for you to add the information on your resume.
  3. Remember the “3 E’s”
    There are three main points that most hiring managers are looking for: expertise, experience and education. It is a good idea to dedicate a section of the resume to each of these topics:
    Expertise shows the unique skill set that you can bring to the company to show that you are the right candidate for the job. Make sure to adjust each resume to align with the job description, because you can re-phrase your core competencies in a manner that speaks to the language used by the hiring manager.Experience should be focused around the accomplishments that you have achieved in your career. Many people mistakenly list their technologies without explaining what they do/did with their skill set. If you have improved processes or saved the company money, include this information.Education provides the proof that you are qualified for the job based on the education requirements that were listed in the job description. The education section is also the perfect opportunity to share information about certifications or continuing education that you received.
  4. Clean Formatting
    Do not send resumes with hard coding. Companies use automated portals and your information can import incorrectly. Most hiring managers are quickly skimming through a stack of resumes and they won’t have the patience or desire to read resumes that are cluttered or confusing. Structure your resume in a way that makes it easy to read and understand, so that the important information pops out if someone is skimming the page. Since the hiring manager will be sorting through a large stack of resumes, it is important to keep your resume succinct. Limit the length to 1 – 3 pages and only share the relevant information. By limiting the length of your resume, it forces you to cut out the “fluff” to avoid over-sharing details that are not applicable to the job.

 

1495554874_Webp.net-resizeimage-e1495465633355

The Four Essential Types of Modern Employee

            The modern workplace is made up of diverse groups of people from a variety of backgrounds who possess an eclectic mix of skills and interests. Gone are the days when everyone in an office tended to look and sound the same. Today, you will find a variety of people sharing a workspace, each with their own unique blend of experiences and beliefs. In response to this new landscape, the archetype of the “modern employee” has evolved significantly. There are four types of employees who have found strong footholds in today’s workplace:

  1.       The Collaborator

The Collaborator is essential in a workplace teaming with such diverse people. They can be identified by their ability to work effortlessly with their coworkers, no matter what individual work styles might be. If you put a Collaborator on a cross-functional group project, they will have the different groups of employees working together harmoniously in no time. Collaborators do well in groups, where they can take inspiration from their teammates. They are energized by others and enjoy helping their groups achieve goals by bringing everyone together to understand the bigger picture.  However, they may not be the best at working on solo projects. When left to their own devices, they may not be as satisfied or make as much progress as they would with others.

  1.       The Teacher

The Teacher is the employee who might be found helping their coworkers learn a new system, even though it’s not their department. They tend to learn new information quickly and take pride in helping others do the same. These employees make patient, thoughtful leaders who naturally build very well-trained teams. However, they may execute a bit more slowly than others, being that their focus is so often on absorbing and disseminating new information. As a coworker, they are always ready to lend a hand to a peer who’s having trouble understanding. This may even be done to their own detriment though, and The Teacher should be careful not to get so caught up helping others that their own work slips.

  1.       The Technophile

Technology has been advancing at a staggering rate over the last couple of decades, much to the enjoyment of The Technophile. These are the employees who seem to be able to use any new tech presented to them deftly. They may be drawn to analytical fields which give them a lot of exposure to the tech they so love, but they can also do equally well in any role which allows them to make good use of their process-oriented minds.  While The Technophile might readily understand the new system IT rolls out, they may be lacking in the soft skills of The Teacher that would be required to help others do the same. Likewise, they may require coaching to lead or collaborate with others. Though technology may be easy for them to understand, people can be far less obvious.

  1.       The Communicator

The Communicator is probably the one you want to double-check your writing before you send out an important email. They are gifted at articulating ideas and tend to be great presenters, even at the highest levels. Like The Collaborator, they generally do well interfacing with a wide variety of people, given their natural ability to understand and communicate with others. If you need someone to pitch an idea, speak directly with customers, or write up a press release, The Communicator will be happy to volunteer. However, when it comes to the more tedious minutiae of work, it can be tough to hold their attention. Communicators are in their element when they are describing or explaining, but may grow weary if they are bogged down with technicalities or are too isolated in their roles.

            You may recognize yourself in one of the groups above – perhaps even in more than one! Each of these four types plays an integral part in a workplace that runs well. More than ever, employees must be adaptable and possess broad skillsets. However, even the most dynamic employees have strengths and weaknesses to think about. The next time you’re working with a team of dissimilar employees or trying to peg down what makes an ambiguous manager tick, try thinking about where they fall as individuals within these categories. Understanding the pros and cons of the four types of the modern employee will help you play to their strengths and offset their weaknesses in any environment.

 

1485208091_1464718975_multitasking

3 Ways Multitasking is Killing Your Productivity

On the surface, multitasking seems like a good idea. Why not do two, or even three things at the same time, instead of one? It may sound like a good idea in theory, but when it comes to real life, multitasking isn’t effective. In fact, it’s probably killing your productivity without you knowing it.

Here are a few reasons why you should not try to multitask.

  1. Our brains are not wired to multitask
    You might think you’re a great multitasker. You probably even put it on your resume. But science says otherwise. It’s a fact – our brains are not wired to multitask. We fool ourselves into thinking we’re a multitasking extraordinaire because we can text a friend and watch football at the same time. In the world of work, you’re probably engaged in higher-level tasks than watching the big game while texting. In other words, your multitasking technique won’t translate into increased productivity on the job. Studies show that multitasking is ineffective because the brain is designed to focus on one thing at a time. Switching back and forth between tasks causes you to miss important details and never allows you to concentrate on a single task. Studies show it can take as long as 20 minutes to get your mind fully re-engaged to a task after being interrupted.
  2. You’re not really multitasking
    We may be able to multitask physically (chew gum and fold laundry), but there’s really no such thing as multitasking when it comes to cognitive tasks. What you’re doing is known as task-switching. Back and forth. Back and forth. Task-switching depletes your mental energy at a quicker rate and never allows you to “get in the zone.” The bottom line, it’s draining and inefficient. Experts say it’s best to do things in batches. Give all your attention and focus to that report, then check email.
  3. You’re prone to mistakes and stressed out
    Switching back and forth between tasks at a rapid rate while trying to focus on more than one thing at a time is a recipe for disaster. Your brain and body are in a state of chaos, which leads to errors and stress. Those are two things that certainly won’t earn you that big promotion you’re working towards, right? Researchers at the University of California Irvine showed that chronic multitaskers had elevated heartbeats compared to their more calm, singularly focused co-workers. The multitaskers were in a constant state of high alert. This state wears on your physical and mental health.

 The lesson is simple – multitasking is overrated. Stop doing it. You’ll be happier and more productive.

1485208100_1464719000_elevator

An Effective Elevator Speech Opens the Doors to New Career Opportunities

When you are looking for a new job, networking is a critical step to help you connect with other people in the industry. You’ve probably heard the saying that you only get a single opportunity to make a good first impression, and networking with an effective elevator speech can make-or-break your job hunting efforts.

What is an Elevator Speech?

This speech is a quick summary of who you are and the skills that you can offer to the company. The process received the nickname “elevator speech” because of the idea that you should be able to convey your message in the time that it takes to ride an elevator. Most potential contacts don’t have the desire to listen to a long, drawn-out explanation, which is why you need to capture their attention within the first few moments of the conversation.

It is important to have your elevator speech prepared in advance because you never know when you are going to meet someone who could be a potential connection for the next step in your career. If you find yourself in a conversation where the other person is asking about you, then you need to clearly convey your message without stumbling over your words and feeling uncomfortable because you don’t know what to say.

Elements of an Effective Elevator Speech

There are several important elements that should be included in your elevator speech:

  • Start with a “hook” or a question.
    You need to make sure to fully engage the other person in the conversation from the moment you begin because you only have a few moments to make your speech. Begin by asking them a question about a common problem, or have a catchy hook that makes them curious about your skill set.
  • Show how your skill set solves a problem.
    Instead of boring the other person with a lengthy history of your education and experience, a better option is to continue the conversation by explaining how you solve a specific problem that many businesses face. Tell the person a boiled down version of your skill set, focusing on the benefits that you can offer a company.
  • End with a call to action.
    Wrap it up nicely with a call to action that encourages them to engage with you further. For example, you might clearly state that you are looking for a new job, and explain the reason why it is time for you to take the next step in your career.

It is important that you limit your elevator speech to 30 seconds or less because you will quickly lose the person’s attention if you ramble on for too long. Also, make sure that you are talking with a normal, conversational tone. It is easy to slip into a robotic way of speaking or to make it sound unnatural when you are repeating the same information over repeatedly. Practice various ways to explain your skill set so that you can make it a natural part of any conversation.

1495554883_stocksnap_ezmdvszorx-1-e1492722377194

3 Things to Avoid When Your Hobby Becomes Your Job

It seems ideal: you finally find a way to get paid for doing something that you truly love! It seems like a dream, being able to make a living performing a function that you are passionate about and have spent countless hours perfecting as a hobby. However, even those among us who manage to land in this enviable position have some potential pitfalls to watch out for. The last thing you want is your hobby becoming a burden, so avoid the following hazards along the way to ensure that your dream job doesn’t turn into your nightmare.

Don’t Fall into a Rut

It is alarmingly easy to slip into an unthinking routine when you are working in a field you know very well. However, this is a kiss of death when it comes to feeling engaged and fulfilled by your work. To keep things fresh, don’t be afraid to try new things, take risks, and get out of your comfort zone a little. Even if you can’t imagine a world in which you’re doing anything other than what you’re passionate about, learning new skills and branching out from time to time will keep you interested and ensure you don’t grow complacent.

Don’t Stop Working on Your Own Projects

One downside of being paid to perform your passion for other people is that you tend to lose a bit of the creative control you have when you’re just doing something for the fun of it. It might run counter to the adage of “don’t take your work home with you,” but in this case, continuing your own personal projects for fun will be key to keeping your interest keen.

Don’t Forget to Take a Break

Taking a break is crucial to avoiding burnout, no matter what your job happens to be. Not only does hitting pause on your work give you the opportunity to become a more capable person through the exploration of other interests, but it gives you the opportunity to restore your passion and catch your breath. It is important to take a break, even when you love what you do. You’ll find that when you return to your work, you will likely have renewed resolve and the energy you need to drive forward.

The takeaway from all of this is that, even when you are lucky enough to turn your hobby into your career, there will be drawbacks. One of the worst feelings is to find yourself losing interest in something that you used to love, so taking care to shake things up, keeping up with passion projects, and remembering to occasionally take a break from it all will be critical. If you are fortunate enough to land in a position to monetize your hobby, make sure to keep the fire burning. As the saying goes: if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

1495554885_stocksnap_skgnyy6pk9-1-e1492722030191

Making the Most of Multitasking with Technology

The rapid advancement of technology throughout the last few decades has led to huge leaps forward in our ability to collaborate, produce, and multitask in the workplace. However, with the influx of new technologies, we are now capable of multitasking even to our own detriment. When your focus is pulled in a hundred different directions by the dings and flashes from your cell phone, your tablet, your desktop, etc. it becomes impossible to fully focus on the task (or tasks) at hand. There is always something vying for your attention, and what begins as an easy way to streamline work and get more done at once quickly becomes a confusing mess of tasks and programs to keep track of. It’s not all bad, though. By optimizing your technology and making the most of your multitasking capabilities, you can maximize the upside to getting it all done at once while minimizing the downside of the never-ending workflow.

  1. Consolidate

Most people are guilty of it: you have multiple programs that all essentially do the same thing. Did you share those notes on Slack or Evernote? Did you send that message from your personal or your work email? When the time comes that you find yourself toggling between your phone’s Google calendar, your desktop’s Outlook calendar, and your work cell’s iCalendar, it’s easy to see how the relative convenience of these applications can become horribly complex.

To eliminate this problem, you need to consolidate as much as possible. Pick the platform that best fits your needs and stick to it. At most, you should only have separate calendars for work and personal events, but the easiest will be to have everything consolidated into one. This enables you to see your day at a glance, rather than having to check multiple calendars against one another before confirming a meeting. This principle can be applied across all your technologies. Wherever possible, consolidate down to just one email client, collaboration platform, and storage service. The simplicity will make your life feel less cluttered and enable you to multitask better by eliminating the need to sort through redundancies while you do it.

  1. Integrate

The ability to integrate services, devices, and platforms into one another is incredibly helpful when it comes to getting more done at once, and you should take full advantage of this to optimize your multitasking. Now that you’ve pared down to just one calendar, integrate it into as many of the services you use as possible, so that you can multitask seamlessly between whatever device or program you happen to be using at the time.

Integrate your calendar into Slack, set up your Dropbox account on your mobile and desktop devices, and wherever possible make sure that you have access to the programs that you need from anywhere you happen to be. This way, the next time you need to send an email confirming a meeting on your calendar while on a conference call, you can do it all from a single device.

  1.      Automate

Automation is where multitasking starts to get really cool. This is when the ingenuity of the new technology available to you is put into practice. Each of the individual programs you use probably has some form of automation built in – the ability to set calendar reminder notifications or email auto-responses, for instance. However, the practice of automation has become far more involved than even these handy individual features.

Services like If This, Then That (IFTTT.com) allow you to consolidate, integrate, and automate the various technologies in your life in a big way. From your car to your weather app, these user-friendly “applettes” allow you to automate your multitasking completely. You can mute your phone upon entering the office, send a text to your spouse when you leave, and have your garage door open when your car is in the driveway without even lifting a finger. Whether you use IFTTT or find other ways to automate your tech to best fit your individual needs, being able to automate your tasks will be the way that you turn the tables from having to multitask yourself to having multiple tasks complete themselves while you focus your attention on the areas that need it the most.

        Your first step should be consolidating your technologies and streamlining as much as possible. Cut out redundant platforms and services and focus your attention on just those that you need. Next, integrate as many of them together as possible, so that you are able to multitask between them from any one of the devices that you use on a regular basis. Finally, stop spending mental energy trying to multitask and automate these optimized technologies to do the legwork for you. Multitasking doesn’t have to be a trial-by-fire splitting of your attention. With the capabilities we have today, it can instead mean getting to focus on just one thing at a time, while you’re still simultaneously “doing it all.”

1469720473_1464718888_dont-just-stand-there

Is Your Job Worth Quitting?

When all is said and done, the decision to walk away from an awful job is yours and yours alone. Below are a few important things to consider before you cut the umbilical cord.

  • Have You Reached Your Potential Here?
    If you’ve genuinely done your best at your current job, frequently going above and beyond the responsibilities of the role, and the only thing growing is not your paycheck but your resentment, then it’s time to assess your professional trajectory and decide whether your career has any room to grow at your current company. Is it worth sticking around a few more years for a promotion? That is not guaranteed.  If you get a promotion, will it boost your level of happiness? Is loyalty holding you back from developing your skills and professional ambitions? It may be time to take your talents somewhere else.
  • Do You Have Something Else Lined Up?
    If you’re seriously thinking about putting in your two weeks’ notice, the first thing to do is breathe. Then take a moment to carefully ponder the obvious questions, starting with: do you have another job lined up? If not, are there any solid prospects in the works? How quickly would you be able to start interviewing? The job market is demanding and competitive — are you prepared for the long haul, given that the average job search can take months? Having the security of the next job can mitigate stress, help you keep your cool and make your exit as graceful as possible, with minimal bridge burning. Then again, sometimes a job (or boss) can be so toxic that a three-month stint of unemployment sounds like a vacation. If you’re truly desperate and willing to join the ranks of the jobless, read on.
  • Do You Have A Cash Cushion?
    If you quit without having another job secured, you wouldn’t be the first in the history of civilization to do so. But beware that this can impact your ability to negotiate your next offer.  Career and financial experts alike recommend that we should always have an emergency reserve at hand, even if we’re happily employed with no plans to leave, because you never really know when the next layoff might happen.  Do you have enough money saved up to fund 6-9 months of unemployed bliss? If you think you’re stressed now, how do you think you’ll feel when your next rent or mortgage payment is due and you can’t pull the dough together? If you’re thinking of quitting in the near future, consider hunkering down for a few months and save as much money as you can.
  • Is Your Health Suffering?
    Too often we put the health of our bank account ahead of our own well-being. Is your workplace toxic to the point that it’s causing you physical symptoms? Job-related stress can cause headaches, hives, anxiety, depression, a weakened immune system and a litany of other ailments. Are you willing to work yourself to the bone while your physical or mental health deteriorates? It may end up costing you in the long run (i.e. in old age), and all that money you’ve worked so hard to hoard could be spent on medical care. Don’t be penny wise but dollar foolish.  Ask your HR department about any perks or benefits that may help lower or cover the cost of some interventions. Benefits often changes from year to year, so don’t assume you know it all. If you’re at the end of your rope and nothing can stop you from quitting, then ask yourself: what health measures will I take in between jobs, and at my next job, if the work-related stressors return?