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Managing Your Professional Reputation

May 27th, 2016

In our digital age, your reputation is a 24-hour engine, and it’s always working even when you’re not. A generation ago, managing your reputation simply meant monitoring your words and behavior around others and working hard to accumulate a record of accomplishments and skills that could help you climb the ladder. When someone asked, you could show them your resume and work forward from there. But at this point, curious employers and network contacts don’t have to ask. They can simply type your name into a search engine and form an opinion based on what they find.

Is this a positive development? It depends on who you ask, and when. Can it support your success during the job search process? Yes. But it can also hold you back. Here are a few moves that can help you control and make the most of your online reputation.

Look yourself up.

Start your reputation management program by taking the steps a stranger might take to learn more about you. Type your name into Google and check your Facebook settings to determine which of your photos and posts are publicly visible. Knowledge is power, so make this move first.

Address the negative.

If strangers and potential employers can easily find information that embarrasses or misrepresents you, find a way to close this down or rein it in. Tighten your privacy settings, remove some of your awkward past tweets, and reach out to others who have posted or shared negative information attached to your name. Ask them to take it down.

Start building up the positive.

After you’ve addressed what you can and made peace with what you can’t, move on. Start flooding the airwaves with positive press and build up search results that frame you in a glowing, trustworthy light. Start a professional blog, establish yourself as an industry expert, and share news of your recent awards and publications. Use every channel available to you, including twitter and Facebook.

Make an appearance on Linkedin.

If you don’t yet have a profile available on Linkedin, establish one now. Include a flattering professional picture of yourself and the basic framework of your education and work history. You don’t have to share anything you don’t want the world to see, but if you include your name, photo, target job title, and geographic area, employees and recruiters will be more likely to contact you.

Post your resume.

No matter how you decide to do this, make your resume available to anyone who might be looking for it. You can use your personal blog, your website, or your Linkedin profile, but allow visitors and potential employers to glean the information they need without having to ask.
For more on how to create, build, and maintain and online presence that helps you shine, reach out to the Danbury staffing and job search team at Merritt Staffing.

What are your Future Plans?

April 15th, 2016

Regardless of your specific industry or the nature of your target position, there’s a strong chance that your interviewer will eventually ask you about your future plans and ambitions, and when the conversation shifts toward this topic, you’ll want to be ready. Can you share your future plans in a way that’s honest, relevant and interesting? Can you frame your goals in way that aligns with the needs and goals of your future employer? Here are a few tips that can help you ace this aspect of your interview.

Plan ahead.

Since you know this question is coming your way, work out the details of your answer beforehand, so you aren’t caught off guard. A little research can help you frame a response that works for both you and for your potential employer. If this company plans to develop a foothold in a niche market that you understand in depth, or launch a product that lies within your area of interest and expertise, highlight this connection. Otherwise, simply map out a response that’s articulate, clear, and concise.

Don’t sputter out.

Far too often, interviewers encounter candidates (especially younger candidates) who do not seem to know or care what will become of them in the future. When they’re asked to describe their future ambitions, they freeze and fall silent, or they simply gaze two steps down the path ahead and mumble something like “Well….I want a job that can help me pay off my debts.” Don’t do this. Of course you want “a job”; that’s why you’re here. But aim higher and dig deeper. What would you really like to get out of this experience, and where do you see yourself five years from now?

Focus on skill overlaps.

If you hold a degree in accounting, and this is an accounting position, that’s great. But since every other candidate will also hold a similar degree and similar accounting plans, bring another one of your skill sets and interests into the mix. For example, you may also be bilingual. Or you may also be interested in art and design. Or you may also have a science background. Explain how your dual interests and areas of expertise can specifically benefit your employer; this can help set you apart from the rest of the applicant pool.

Focus on your body language.

In addition to your words, your non-verbal gestures should also send the message that no matter where you’re going, you’re determined, energetic, and ambitious. Maintain eye contact and lean forward as your speak. Keep an eye on your interviewer to make sure they’re following along and understanding you.
For more on how to explain your future plans and keep your interview on track to success, contact the job search and staffing team at Merritt.

Prep Your Staff for Temporary Employees

March 4th, 2016

Taking on a team of temporary or contingency employees can help your company thrive during challenging times, and these extra hands can be a godsend when you’re trying to process an avalanche of new orders during your busiest season. But workplaces can be delicate ecosystems, and the arrival of new faces and personalities can sometimes shake up the status quo. Make sure your existing teams are not only prepared for the newcomers, but ready to give them a warm welcome and a helping hand. Here are a few tips that can keep the transition smooth and seamless.

Give plenty of warnings about dates and times.

As soon as you know when your new recruit—or recruits—will start, let affected employees know. But because the start date may be a long way down the road, expect them to forget. Send reminders a few times before the actual day arrives. Along with these reminders, encourage your teams to treat the new arrivals in a way that represents the company well. Request friendliness and proactive outreach.

Provide a place to land.

Don’t leave your new employee idling in the reception area or an empty conference room while you scramble to set up a workspace. Do this beforehand and you’ll cut back on expensive wasted time and general awkwardness. The same applies to HR processing and paperwork; try to get the new person up and running as soon as possible on his or her start date.

Employees should know what’s expected.

If you expect one of your employees to greet the person at the door, and another to conduct his first training session, and yet another to take him to lunch on his first day, make sure each of these employees clearly understands your expectations. Who will be the person’s “boss” or day-to-day supervisor? Who will they turn to when they have general questions? Who will be responsible for distributing and monitoring their assignments?

A little hype can’t hurt.

If you’re excited about your new employee, encourage your current teams to share that excitement. Tell them a little bit about her profile and background, and share some of her expressed interests. This will give them something to talk to her about, and it might preemptively break the ice.

Keep an open door.

If your assigned “coach” or manager finds him or herself at a loss, make sure they know where to turn. Sometimes having a temporary or new employee in the workspace can be confusing for everyone, but if your teams know where to take their questions, the acclimation process will be a little easier.

For more on how to help your new and existing employees connect and start working together as a team, reach out to the Westchester staffing experts at Merritt Staffing.

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