Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Five Ways To Secure a Better Raise

1. Arrive 30 minutes early and be ready to work within 15 minutes. "Early is on time, on time is late, late is unaccaptable." Don’t always ask for over time, especially if you spend any time on the Internet for personal reasons or take personal calls at work. The firm does not dock your pay for it do they? Give them a freebie once in a while.

2. Before the end of the day ask your boss if there is anything that they would like done before you leave. Even if no is the answer they still remember you offered.

3. During your first 90 days, every Friday go in and ask your Boss how you are doing. It reminds them weekly of your performance so when it comes time for your annual review it is not based on the last few weeks. From 90 days to 6 months make it biweekly and from 6 months to a year make it once a month.

4. Sign up for extra-carricular activities in the firm. Join sports teams, food drives, social committees etc. This makes you very visible and paints you as a team player.

5. Stay away from any and all gossip. It can only hurt you in the long run. Politely tell the grapevine you want no part of it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Give An Agency A Chance

Job seekers are not always so quick to work with an employment agency. They feel agenices are pushy, unethical, ask for too much information, and that they are only in it for the money. In other words, agencies don’t care about you. At Steffan & Co. we really try to make you feel special, wanted and needed. Please read our testimonial. But, remember that working with an agency is a two way street.

An unofficial fact is that 80% of the jobs in DC are handled through employment agencies, whether they are temporary or permanent. We are a necessary evil to some and a Godsend to others. The following are a couple of tips to help ease the pain of working with an agency.

In order to help your agency out and allow them to make you a priority, start by responding to their calls and emails as quickly as possible, taking care of the necessary paperwork and testing (if required) as soon as possible. If you are not able to complete this first step within 2-3 hours let the agency know when you will be able to complete it. Contact is key. Keeping in constant contact lets us know that you are interested and you're not just "testing the water." If the agency is prepared to schedule you for an interview, then do it within 24 hours if possible. Agencies and their clients often do not have the luxury of time and therfore will not wait for you to make time for them. If you are not able to interview within 2-3 days of submitting your resume it is best to wait until you do have the time.

Proofread! Proofread! Proofread! Not only should you review your resume but have 2-3 others proofread it as well. DO NOT RELY ON SPELLCHECK! Spell check does not know the difference between "their, they're and there" or "your and you're." A great tip to find spelling errors is to read the resume backward. Your eye can play tricks on you. If you are reading and anticipate a certain word, you will see it spelled correctly (even when it is wrong) simply because you are expecting it. Taking time out for revisions is time lost getting your resume in front of the client. Make sure to include a list of 4-6 supervisory references with your resume. The references you provide should be notified that they are being used as a reference and to expect a phone call.

Honesty is the best policy. Always be upfront with an agency about any terminations or jobs not listed on your resume. The agency can help explain gaps in employment. Let the agency know if you are interviewing elsewhere, waiting for an offer or have already accepted another offer. Additionally you should provide a list of other agencies you are working with or have submitted your resume. It will save time and reputations (not just ours, but yours as well) in the long run.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Objectives Bring Objections

There are many resume experts who will tell you to include an objective on your resume, but is it really necessary in the real world? We at Steffan & Co. say no. In our many years of recruiting we have lost more interviews for qualified candidates because their objective had nothing to do with the job they are applying for or it is just “fluff”. If you have to have an objective make sure you change it for each individual job you are applying for. For example, do you really think an appropriate objective for a secretarial candidate is "To obtain a managerial position?" Too narrow an objective can also hurt you. An example would be sending your resume to a firm looking for a real estate legal secretary with an objective that states you are looking for a litigation legal secretary position. Instead of an objective consider using the space for something that adds to your experience or skills, such as a summary of skills, educational achievements or extracurricular activities.