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Become the Candidate Employers Love!

May 16th, 2012

Five hiring managers are seated around a desk, sifting through a stack of more than a hundred resumes for two open positions. This is the first round, so unfortunately, almost every resume ends up drifting into a pile bound for the trash bin.

Every once in a while, one of the screeners will say “Hey, listen to this one,” and share a clunky sentence or humorous resume misstep with the others, who will laugh at the poor applicant’s expense. The mood in the room is lighthearted but also urgent, since the position needs to be filled by the end of the month.

Then one of the screeners holds up the resume in her hands. “Wow,” she says. “Just wow.” The others listen as she reads a few lines aloud and then passes the resume around.  Within a few minutes, the other managers have all had a chance to glance over it, and without another word, it’s placed carefully to the side. “Well, that’s it,” says the hiring manager. “I think one of our positions has just been filled.”

They still have one more position to staff and a stack of fifty more resumes to review. Yours is somewhere in the stack. Will it get the same response?

How to Be the Candidate Employers Love

If you want to be the candidate at the center of unanimous, enthusiastic agreement, make sure your resume contains these key elements.

1. Include a summary, not an objective.

Objectives are out. Instead, head the resume with a very short paragraph summarizing the rest of the content, in other words, summarizing you. Condense your unique self and everything you have to offer into three compelling, readable sentences.

2. Give a real sense of what you’ve done.

Be honest. Be clear. And for pity’s sake, drop the buzzwords. After each job title you’ve held, write a short description of what you actually did. Then insert a few bullet points listing your key accomplishments. Try to attach a number to each accomplishment, as in “reduced customer complaints by 40%”.  But let your history speak for itself. Too much spin suggests you have something to overinflate or hide.

3. Emphasize the story.

Everyone in the resume stack has something to offer, everyone has a degree (if a degree requirement was specified in the job posting), and everyone has basic familiarity with the field. They all know how to show up on time. They all know how to meet deadlines. And they’re all “leaders” and “team players”. But you have something they don’t have. Find it, and make sure it’s woven throughout the resume like a theme.

4. Don’t be careless.

Of course your resume should be typo-free. But this is only because typos suggest a larger underlying problem– that of a candidate who goes through the motions, feels entitled to a job, and doesn’t expect to be scrutinized or held to a higher standard. Typos say: “I can’t be bothered to take this seriously,” which is a death knell for a resume. Make sure your resume is not only typo-free, but comes across as a thoughtful and meticulous work of art.

Your local staffing company at Merritt Staffing are pros when it comes to drafting and editing resumes. We know exactly what employers are looking for, and we can help you polish your resume to an irresistible shine. Contact us today and get the job search guidance you need.

Keep Your Employees Engaged All Summer!

May 11th, 2012

The summer sun is slanting through the plastic blinds of the office and the grey cubicles are bathed in a happy light. Casual Friday hems are moving north of the knee. Beautiful weekends seem to result in a rash of mysterious sick days on Monday. And on some especially lovely afternoons, the office is a ghost town by 4:59.

What’s going on? Summer in the workplace, that’s what. A beautiful season for life, fun, family, friends and fresh air. But not such a beautiful season for bottom lines.

When the summer starts rolling in and you have a business to run, your valuable human capital starts to seem a little less valuable. Daydreams set in, lunch hours get longer, and vacation schedules don’t always coordinate with company needs. So what can you do to keep your team engaged and focused between now and September? Try these helpful tips.

Keep Employees Focused During the Summer Months

1. Pick your battles. Don’t try to win every single warm weather-related conflict. If you really feel that sandals represent a serious dress code violation and undermine productivity, take action. But be realistic and be willing to let some things slide.  At the same time, when you’ve chosen to crack down on a certain issue, stand firm.

2. Control vacation schedules. Make sure you have a protocol in place for requesting time off and make sure your employees understand and follow it. Don’t let the stress of managing overlapping vacations get the best of you, and don’t let it compromise your commitment to your clients and customers.

3. Anticipate trouble ahead of time. If you know that a popular baseball game will happen next Friday and you suspect that many employees intend to leave early, put a plan in place to make sure the work gets done. Announce your plan to your employees well before the afternoon of the big game.

4. Make use of your mobile resources. The magic of modern technology allows us to stay in touch with employees when they’re on the go. So don’t just ignore that phone or Blackberry. Pick it up and reach out. Everyone in the office—including you—can get more done when communication and file sharing happen from anywhere.

5. Recognize that in the long run, employees who feel respected and trusted will work harder, care more, and demonstrate greater loyalty than those who feel oppressed or treated like children. Rein in the urge to become a dictator, and give your employees enough time to balance work and life. If you do this, they’ll pay you back by being better adjusted, better able to make commitments on their own terms, and more likely to think about work when they aren’t physically in the office.
For more help with staffing, retention and talent management, talk to the experts at Merritt. We can help you keep your company goals on track no matter the season.

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