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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

Learning Something New Everyday

In-person learning is greatly limited nowadays. Before COVID-19, it was already on the decline, but with social distancing in full-swing, it is almost impossible to conduct/attend any form of in-person training. So how will job-seekers gain education for their career when they can't go train anywhere? Well with the tools of digital learning, continuing education doesn’t have to stop just because of limitation on where you can physically go. The online world hosts a zillion certification programs, trade skills, and even college degrees. With that being said, there is no time like the present to try to get more knowledge and skills under that belt of yours.

The Washington Post reported that more than 100,000 small businesses have shut down permanently since March. In July, ABC News announced that nearly 16,000 restaurants have closed permanently. Even though many businesses have been harshly impacted, there are still employers looking for workers, primarily in the skilled trades and technology. Many of these trade skills need some sort of experience or training to even be qualified for them, but in many cases, that can be acquired through online learning, as opposed to in-person training or classes. It really is an extraordinary world that we live in today. Technology has made our lives more complex, but at the same time, it has given people chances they would never have had before. We at Supplemental Staffing want to see everyone succeed, and utilizing the plethora of knowledge available at your fingertips can certainly help you get there.

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Topics: Re-Entering the Workforce, Resume, Training, Skilled Trades

Choosing and asking for a reference

You have got a good cover letter and resume and you now have an interview, but what are you going to do if they ask for a reference? You need to have your references ready, and aware that you are using them as references. Selecting the right people to provide a reference for you, and then asking them to be a reference, can be a daunting task. These individuals can make or break your job prospects, so you need to put as much thought into finding and asking them as you do the rest of your job-hunting process.

The first thing is to make a list of potential references who can speak about your work skills, past performance or character. Family members might give you a glowing reference, but potential employers are looking for professional references. Your list of potential references should include prior supervisors, co-workers or even clients. Next, you should think about your relationship with each of the people on your list. How long have you known them, how familiar are they with the work you have done in the past, how long has it been since you worked with them? What specific skill or character trait can they speak about if you ask them to be a reference? Also, you will want to think about what exactly the reference will say. You will want someone articulate enough to be able to explain what work you did for/with them and how well you did it. A note to remember, you do not have to select your prior boss. You can ask anyone you worked with who had the opportunity to see how you worked. After answering these questions, narrow down your reference list to three or four names.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Resume, Hiring, Interviewing, References

Soft Skills Can Make or Break You

Soft skills are defined as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. So how are these skills going to help you land a job or even a promotion? Let's find out!

Creativity.  Collaboration.  Adaptability.

These are just three of the soft skills employers are looking for and showing you have them could be the difference between whether get the job or not. LinkedIn Learning created a list of the top soft skills employers find most valuable. Rounding out the top five are persuasion and time management.

Creativity 

When you think of ‘creative’ people usually artists, musicians or authors come to mind. But you can be creative in business as well. Think about how most people can be taught how to do a job. A creative person, however, looks at how to do the job better, perhaps in a way that has not been tried yet. A good example is the number of apps that are available to do so many things. For example, it took a creative person to say, what if we made an app so it would be easier for people to track what they eat? Seeing a need and figuring out a better way to meet the need is creativity at its best. Stefan Mumaw, author of six books on creativity, says creativity can be learned, just like any other skill. So if you are looking for ways to increase your creativity, you can try Mumaw’s Creativity Bootcamp training session.  Or you can just begin to think about innovative and better ways to do the same things you have been doing, challenging your mind to find a more “creative” solution.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Gaining Experience, Resume, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Training, Interviewing

OhioMeansJobs – Both online and locally

Did you know that the State of Ohio has a comprehensive job portal called OhioMeansJobs? It is a great place for resources that you should be taking advantage of! Each county in the state also has a local physical center where individuals can use various services. Whether online or in the local offices, you can search for jobs, find information about in-demand careers, partake in training and career planning and even search for schools and scholarships for your training. In Wood County, the OhioMeansJobs Center is part of Job and Family Services in Bowling Green.  In Lucas County, it’s called Work Ready Lucas County (formerly The Source) and it’s in downtown Toledo. If you need to find a specific center, you can use this map. Two of the best services that the centers provide are job training assistance, and resume and interview assistance. Let's discuss how these can help!

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Preparing for an Interview, Resume, Training, Interviewing

Will they call me after I submit my resume?

A commonly asked question job applicants have is:

“when will the phone ring?”

Don’t be disheartened, but the answer is usually: only if they want to schedule an interview.

In today’s world of automated job sites and machine evaluations of resumes, most employers aren’t calling applicants unless they want to schedule an interview.  And even then, the employer might use email rather than a phone due to the natural hesitancy of people to answer unknown numbers.

(Hint:  if you’re looking for a position – take that call from an unknown number.)

It’s nerve-wracking and frustrating to wait for the phone call that may never come. So how do you increase the chances of getting an interview?  You pick up the phone and follow up.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Preparing for an Interview, Resume