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Recent Posts

Setting 'SMART' Goals

One of the best ways to advance your career is to have a specific goal to work toward. Last week, we discussed learning a new skill, and that is an excellent example of setting a goal. Having a goal makes it easier to determine what you should be improving on and how much progress you have made. However, not every goal is equal, and there are things you should keep in mind to create effective goals to follow. One of the best methods for setting goals is to follow the SMART method.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Gaining Experience, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Work-Life Balance

How To Learn A New Skill

One of the best ways to expand your resume, excel at your job and improve as a person is to learn new skills. However, the prospect of spending the time and effort to attempt to learn a new skill can often seem daunting. It can become a much more reasonable task if you break it down into a few components that are easier to comprehend and then tackle. Using this guide as a frame of reference can help you get started growing your skillset and becoming a more well-rounded individual.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Gaining Experience

The Top 5 Reasons to Have a Mentor

January is National Mentoring Month, so it is a good time to look at the top five reasons to have a mentor, regardless of your job position.

But first, it is important to know several key points about having a mentor.

  • No matter where you are in your career path, you do not have to go it alone. There are always people who are willing to share their advice and help you along the way.
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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Gaining Experience, Resume, Being a Great Employee, Office Tips

Can working a Temp-to-Hire position benefit your career?

Trying a temp-to-hire job is like auditioning for a play. You can try out a role for a while, see if it fits you and makes sense, and if it doesn’t work, you can always change roles. You can learn some new skills, find new ways in which the abilities you already have can be applied, pick up new networking contacts, and maybe you can find a whole new career when you aren’t looking.

Because it has been such a challenging time for many people with employers forced to cut staffing due to COVID-19 shutdown requirements and more, it is difficult to find a job that you actually will enjoy. But it doesn't have to be hard! Is it time for a change in your career, yet you don’t know how your skills can apply to a different work line? Consider a temp-to-hire position. These are jobs where a company wants an employee to fill a vacancy, which leads to a full-time position. In the long-run, how can this benefit you? Is it worth contemplating?

Here are 5 things to keep in front of mind:

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Temp-to-Hire, Employment Agency, Gaining Experience, Contract-to-Hire, Resume, Changing Jobs

How to know you'll enjoy a job - 6 focuses to consider

Woo! Look at all the options on this job board! But there is a lot there, so how do you confirm a new job will be one that you will actually enjoy? Let's go through the six focuses to consider!

  1. It all starts with the job description.
    Read your job description carefully. It often tells you what type of company you'll find yourself doing. If it describes the new company or department as lively, energetic, with a big focus on teamwork, but you're shy, prefer working alone if possible, and want quiet, it may not be a good fit. If it appears too calm and you like intermingling with co-workers, it may not be the job for you.
  2. Take a look at where the job is located and consider your commute.
    Know the company's name, so you know exactly where the job is: is the position at headquarters or in a satellite/branch location.
    If your commute is 30-40 minutes or more, consider all issues before choosing this position, especially if the commute will be an hour or more. 
    Reconsider if you think a higher salary will compensate for that long commute.
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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Work-Life Balance

Digital Literacy Skills

We recently released a blog about the skills to focus on in 2021; there are also additional skills you can train to supplement and further improve your core skills. These additional skills are known as ‘Digital Literacy Skills’ and focus on being able to properly consume and understand information received from a digital medium. Digital literacy skills can be broken down into three specific skills. Let's go through them now!

Information Literacy

Information literacy as defined by the American Library Association, "is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” The first key takeaway from this and the first step in information literacy is that you must be able to recognize when you require more information than what you currently have. Second, once you have identified the need for more information you need to be able to obtain that information. This is something you can improve by learning good resources for obtaining information, and how to pick out good keywords to make effective online searches.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Computer Skills, Gaining Experience, Being a Great Employee, Office Tips

Skills to Focus on in the New Year

As time goes on, the world always continues to change, but as long as people exist, we'll be interacting with each other. Whether you are looking for a new career path or achieving a new year’s resolution, there are several core concepts that build the foundation of how we manage these interactions. These are the skills we use every day; from ordering pizza to attending an interview.

Self-improvement is a never-ending journey that everyone goes through. The choice is yours to grow and flourish or become stale.

These key skills are all connected to your continued deeper learning. The focus is on flexibility and adaptability. You will need to be able to focus on ways to get along with others through your understanding of skills such as the following:

1. Critical thinking

This skill involves analyzing facts to reach a conclusion. It is based on a rational, logical, objective evaluation of evidence.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Resume, Being a Great Employee, Office Tips

Providing Professional References

We looked at how to request a reference for a job here, so now let’s look at what to do when you are asked to be a professional reference.

First and foremost – Do you want to say ‘yes’?

Keep in mind some companies have policies that only the HR Department can provide information to prospective employers. If the person was a great employee or co-worker, the answer may be obvious. If they were not so stellar and does not perform well in the job, you could look bad for giving a recommendation. 

If you do not want to give a reference, be honest. There are a number of ways to politely decline to give a reference. One way is to say you cannot give a strong recommendation and suggest they look for someone who can praise them properly. Alternatively, you could recommend them on one skill (customer service, for example), but avoid another (timeliness with completing projects).

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Topics: Gaining Experience, Resume, Hiring, References

Making the most of your LinkedIn profile

When applying for a job, your potential employer will check references. What if they want to know more about who you are? It is likely they will check social media; which is why having a profile on LinkedIn can be a great tool to promote yourself.

LinkedIn bills itself as “the world’s largest professional network.” It is a platform that seeks to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” It was launched in 2003 and has been used by more than 706 million individuals for everything from finding a job to finding a provider of services.

Your LinkedIn profile is a wonderful place where you can tout your successes and show recommendations from colleagues, customers, or employers. Think of it as your online resume – plus it's interactive!

Just like your resume, there are tricks and tips to help you stand out among those 706 million users.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Social Media, Gaining Experience, Resume, Changing Jobs, Interviewing, References

Top 8 Characteristics of Good Leadership

Last week we asked if you should want to be a leader.

This week, we’ll look at how to be a good leader, regardless of your actual leadership role or title. 

Anyone can be a leader. The best, work at developing their skills and adopt the characteristics of other quality leaders. The easiest way to do this is to observe several leaders you admireObservation may include following them on social media, reading their books, and attending or downloading any speeches they have given. Watch what they do and how they do it, then incorporate the traits you admire into your own leadership style. 

Next, realize that leadership isn’t just a “top of the ranks” role. The greatest leaders can – and will – work alongside those they are tasked with leading. Leadership is about setting an example. No task is beneath you. You shouldn’t ask others to do anything you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. 

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Leaving a Job, Work-Life Balance