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Been out of the Work Force for a While? Here are Some Tips for Easing Back In.

March 15th, 2013

You have been out of work for some period of time, and now you have finally landed a new job.  Now what?  You are used to being in charge of your own schedule, coming and going when you decide, and now, starting in one week, you have to do the 9 to 5 grind (a welcomed grind so it is!).  Here are some tips for getting yourself back in work mode.

Get your rest.  It may sound silly, since you were not going to work every f day, but you may have been staying up late and sleeping later than usual during our time off.  Now you need to get yourself back on a work day schedule.  Insure that you get the right amount of sleep for you, about 8 hours or so.  A regular bedtime planned around what time you need to be out of bed in the morning is an important adjustment to make.  You will be more likely to perform your best when rested.

Plan out your first week.  Think about your commute, your meals, when you will go to the gym, who will be getting the kids after school…all these wrinkles should be ironed out before you start your first day of work.  This planning removes stress and allows you to focus on the important task of making a good start at your new workplace.

Share your feelings.  You will undoubtedly have many and mixed emotions about returning to work.  You will obviously be relieved and excited to be employed again.  You may also be sad about leaving the easier schedule of unemployment.  Fear and anxiety are also common emotions people go through when returning to work or embarking on a new journey.  One thing you can do for yourself is to share your feelings with those close to you.  Give them the opportunity to share in your joy and support you in your fear or nervousness.

Don’t dive in head first, at least not right away.  This may sound counter-intuitive  but often times in our zeal to do a great job and impress our new boss and colleagues, we dive right in, head first, and try to tackle everything all at once.  This could work out fine, or it could lead to you getting completely overwhelmed, burned out right away, or making some big mistakes because you don’t know enough yet to do things properly.  Do yourself and your new employer a service, and don’t try to be superman.  Take things a bit slower, at least for the first month or two, until you are certain you know everything you need to know to do it all very well.

If you haven’t yet found your next work situation, ERG Staffing Services can help.  We are expert in placing light industrial and clerical workers in jobs that they are perfectly suited for.  Call one of our professionals today to get started.

Tips for a Successful Interview with a Recruiter

February 15th, 2013

If you have never interviewed with a staffing company before, you may be tempted to treat the experience with a bit more levity than a “real” job interview.  Don’t do it.  This is as real an opportunity to land a good job as any other interview directly with a company, maybe even more so!  Follow these guidelines for a successful experience.

1)      Dress as you would for any job interview.  The recruiter may seem so warm and friendly on the phone that you may think that your interview is more of a “get to know you better” session, which it is.  But it is also a full on job interview, so dress the part.  Don’t go casual.  You want to seem credible, serious and worth consideration, and your attire should say that about you.

2)      Have your resume ready.  Have a few extra copies available too.  Make sure it is accurate, updated, and addresses any gaps you may have in employment.  Be prepared to answer questions about your time between jobs honestly.  Don’t try to hide these gaps.  If the recruiter later uncovers any inconsistencies with your version of your employment history, it will definitely count against you.  A recruiter’s reputation is on the line every time they send who they believe to be a well-qualified applicant to one of their client companies.  They will not risk sending you if they feel you may have been less than truthful on your resume.

3)      Practice your interview skills before you go.  Again, treat this as you would an interview for your dream job, because it may well turn out to be!  Make good eye contact.  Answer questions thoughtfully.  Prepare some concise questions to ask before you go.  Practice mock interviews with a friend if it’s been a while since you last interviewed.  There is no preparation that is too much.  All this work will make you more relaxed and confident, and better able to represent yourself.

4)      Be a helpful source of information for the recruiter.  The recruiter may not understand the ins and outs of the job they are trying to fill as well as you do.  It is your industry, after all.  You are in a unique position to offer some insight into the job their client needs to fill.  And, your advice will be greatly appreciated because it will allow the recruiter to better perform his job.  By striking this cooperative, mutually beneficial tone with the recruiter, you will help yourself because it is in the recruiter’s best interest to get you placed.

At ERG Staffing Services, our staff of highly trained professionals is here to place you in the job you are seeking.  Contact us today so you can begin the process of landing your next position in a light industrial workplace.

Resume Fraud – Don’t Get Caught in an Accidental Lie

January 18th, 2013

You have found what you believe to be your dream job.  You really want this job!  When writing your resume and cover letter, you are struck with the fear that on paper you don’t look as good as you think is necessary to land the position.  You are tempted to exaggerate your past titles, salaries, tenures or skills.  Don’t do it.  It isn’t if you get caught – usually, it’s when.

Sometimes, with all good intentions, you may accidently and completely innocently commit resume fraud.  Here are some items for your resume punch list too help keep your information as above board and beyond reproach as possible.

Google yourself.  Just type your name into the search and see what comes up.  This is what your potential employer is going to do.  Now follow each link.  Do you like what you see?  Are there some pictures on your Facebook page that may not paint the best portrait of you?  Is the data on your LinkedIn profile accurate, up to date, and matching the data on your paper resume?  As you sift through this online portfolio of yourself, make changes where needed so this information is as accurate and acceptable as can be.  Any inconsistencies may lead HR to believe that you are not being honest.  A reported 64 percent of HR professionals did not extend a job offer to a potential employee because they uncovered inconsistencies in dates of previous employment when conducting background checks, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Tighten Up.  When listing dates of employment, list the month and year, not just the year.  You may unwittingly exaggerate how long you were employed at one place – it’s the difference between “2004 – 2009” which looks like 6 years, and “Nov. 2004 to Jan. 2009” which is actually more like 4 years.  If HR researches this, it will appear you were stretching the truth.  List your titles as exactly as you can.  Use the title used by the company and the accepted industry title too if they are different.  If every sales person is called “Vice President”, also list “(salesperson)” so you are not accidentally misrepresenting yourself as having held a higher position than you did.  These may seem trivial, but to HR they are anything but.

Be Proactive.  The standard listing of references is fine, but you can do better.  What you should do is reconnect with all your past supervisors and let them know of your current job search.  You should even attempt to mend any broken fences you may have in your past.  Because in today’s environment of somewhat rampant resume fraud, HR workers are not only reaching out to your listed references, but any other places you have worked.  How do they find this information?  They obtain all sorts of information about you through professional background checks.  So do your best to ensure that when they call, you will receive positive, prepared responses.  Also, have available proof of advanced certifications and education you have, transcripts and any other evidence that your skills are in fact what you are representing them to be.  This will instill confidence in HR right off the bat, and save them some time as well.

Are you in the market for a light industrial or warehouse position?  Why not start with ERG Staffing Services.  Contact us today and we will help you find a situation that best suits your particular skill set and needs.

Interviewing 101: How to Answer “Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?”

December 14th, 2012

If you are fortunate, you are looking for a new job while you still have a job.  More and more likely these days, you are looking for a job because you lost your last one.  If you were laid off due to the bad economy or any other reason, the question in the title is an easy one to answer.  But, if you quit or were fired, then just like Lucy, you may have some ‘splaining to do.  The time to think about how to answer the question is now, before you get asked.  Here are some tips on how to respond gracefully.

First of all, stay positive.  Do not go to the dark side.  Do not start complaining about your old boss, or how disorganized your last company was, or anything of the sort.  Nobody likes a whiner, and if you go off on how bad it was at your last job, the hiring manager is going to bristle imagining how you will talk about his company when you quit.  All companies are flawed.  Complaining vehemently just makes you an unattractive candidate.

Explain it in terms of cultural fit, or lack thereof.  The most graceful way to explain why you are not with your last company without assigning any blame either way, is to say that you and your last employer were simply not a good fit.  Perhaps it was the right company but you didn’t fit the position or department you were in.  Maybe you would feel more comfortable in a small to midsize company culture, and your last employer just got too big.  However you spin it, make it about a bad “fit” and you are able to remain neutral, without assigning blame to your old employer or yourself.

Focus on your skills.  Now that you have established why you were not a perfect match for your last employer, let these new guys know why you are a good fit with them.  Focus on how your skills align beautifully with the set required for this new position.  Point out that the cultural vibe is just what you are looking for and why.  Describe how you can contribute to the company culture and how you feel you already fit in.  Demonstrate similarities in style.  However you can align your strengths with their needs – that’s what you should focus on.

The most important item to remember is to not talk badly about your previous employer.  Think of it this way:  You know that woman who is always gossiping and talking badly about everyone?  Well, you know how you wonder what she says about YOU when you’re not around?  If you are trashing your previous employer, you are that gossip lady.  Don’t be that gossip lady.  Be the gracious host of the party and offer positive information on what you can do for your potential NEW employer.  That’s what gets you lots of friends, and gets you invited back.

In the market for a new job?  Contact the professional staff at ERG Staffing Services and let us begin the placement process to get you into a new light industrial job today.

Job Assessment Test? Don’t Sweat It!

November 16th, 2012

More and more frequently, employers are using assessment testing as a way to narrow down the number of viable applicants for job openings.  These can range from basic skills tests to personality tests or mechanical ability assessments.  Whatever the case, doing well on these will improve your chances of getting through to the next level of interviews and possibly a job offer.  Here are a few things you can do to be better prepared and do your best.

  • Find out what you are up against.  Ask some questions to discern exactly what sort of testing they are requiring.  Also, find out how they will be administered:  will there be group testing, via phone, online or one-on-one in person?  Find out how the test results are used in the hiring decision.  Once you know what you are dealing with, you can better prepare.
  • Prepare yourself.  Look online for practice tests and take them until you feel comfortable.  Ask others you know if they have ever taken the same sort of tests and get their advice and feedback.  The day before the test, make sure you get some exercise even if it is just a walk outside.  This physical activity will help clear your head and give you a better night’s sleep so you will feel completely rested on test day.  The morning of the test, get up early enough to allow yourself a healthy breakfast with some protein to give your brain the energy it needs to function well.  Dress in layers so you can deal with a too warm or too cool testing room.  In other words, remove any potential distractions so you can have the best focus possible.
  • Practice good test-taking skills.  This may sound silly, but the little rules of test taking are rules because they work.  Read questions slowly and completely.  If it is multiple choice, read every answer even if you think you spot the correct on right away.  Generally, your first answer selection will be the correct one – try hard to avoid second-guessing yourself.  Unless you have compelling evidence to change your answer, don’t.  If you don’t know an answer, skip it and move on.  Return to it later if there is time.  Be honest and truthful in your responses.  In personality tests, you will be asked the same question a number of different ways to measure your honesty in responding.  Keep in mind the company culture when responding to situational or behavioral questions.  Above all, take your time and do not rush to just get done.

What now?  If you feel like you really tanked in a certain area of the test, it might not hurt to let the hiring manager know.  There is a chance that he may have the ability to disregard it or not count it too heavily against you. Take a minute to write down the names of the tests you took and any questions you remember.  This will help you later if you want to discuss the test with the hiring manager or if you ever have to take the test again in the future.  Ask for your results.  If you did well, congratulations!  If not, be open to advice and make sure HR knows that you are very eager to take training in your areas of poor performance.

It is in your best interest to seek out improvement in these types of assessment tests.  They will always be a valuable tool for HR managers seeking to hire the best people for the job.

Land the Job with Effective Post Interview Follow Up

October 19th, 2012

It is so easy to get this part wrong.  You have a great feeling when you leave the interview.  The HR Manager says “You’ll be hearing from us.”  And you don’t, at least not soon enough, so you start to second guess every word you said.  You think that if you could just have two more minutes to talk to him, you could solidify your bid for the job.  What is the right way to follow up?  How soon?  How often?  This process is taking too long!

The first thing to remember is that these hiring decisions almost never happen as quickly as the HR Manager would like!  There are usually multiple people who have to meet, discuss and decide on which candidates to consider and which one to make an offer. So, be patient.

Rewind for a moment.  At the interview, you should always ask the best way for you to follow up.  This is such a wonderful question, because it shows you are serious about wanting the job, and it helps you to do exactly what they want you to do as far as a next step.  All this comes from a simple question.  In case you forgot to ask this question this time, here are a couple of guidelines.

Send a thank you note.  The same day as the interview, while all the names and conversations are still fresh in your mind, write out a few thank you notes, one for each person you met with that day.  Each one should contain, briefly, 3 important items:  appreciation for their time, your interest in the job, and your feeling that you are a great match for the position and why.  The keys to success here are brevity, sincerity and accuracy.  Keep it short and to the three points.  Speak honestly.  Get the names correct and check all spelling.

Leave a voicemail.  It is a good idea to make one call in an attempt to speak with the person with whom you interviewed, providing you are prepared for the call.  Odds are you will not get through to this person and will be given the option to leave a voicemail for him.  This is where your preparation comes in handy.  Your script is basically the same 3 point message as the thank you notes, spoken clearly and succinctly, with your phone number and email address at the end.  Do not leave more than one message.  Do not leave a voicemail message that has much more information than the 3 pieces necessary.  Doing this right is effective in keeping you top of mind and in a positive light.  Doing it wrong is curtains.

The follow up process really is simple.  As a matter of fact, simplicity is the key to success.

Contact ERG Staffing Services and we will help place you with the position and company that best suits your skill set.  Our staff of highly trained staffing professionals is ready to connect you with the right people, right now.

Revitalize Your Job Search

September 21st, 2012

As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, you may be feeling an added sense of urgency about getting a job. The holidays are fast approaching as is the end of the year, and these can put some stress on top of an already taxing process. Here are a few ways you can lower your job search stress and stay focused on the prize.

1. Get motivated. Take an honest look at what your motivation is for seeking out the job you are after. Hopefully the answer involves more than a paycheck. You need to have some other personal goals involved with your career choice for you to achieve happiness and long term success. Decide what it is that makes you excited about the job you want, and what you will get out of it, aside from money. Remind yourself of why you chose this career in the first place. Now, tell yourself you can do this.

2. Get a Plan The plan you need has to have a few different parts to it. Make lists of things you need to do immediately, like get your resume updated or re-write your cover letter to be more specific. Then set aside time to do those things. Next list some things you need to do soon, mid-term goals, like reach out to some of your contacts you haven’t spoken to in a while, just to see how they are doing. Then plan a time for those tasks. Lastly, set some longer term goals for yourself, and if you are feeling strong, set a time frame for those too. If you don’t give yourself some goals and a plan to reach them, along with a deadline, you may never really get your ball rolling.

3. Self-examination. Some of us are very introspective naturally and others don’t really like this exercise, but it is important for all of us to do a bit of honest self-evaluation from time to time. What is it you are really good at? What do others see in you? Why are you uniquely suited for the job you want? Write down lists of things you are good at, things about you that set you apart, things you really like about yourself and that others seem to like about you. This is you differentiation list – what sets you apart from the crowd of others that want the same job you do. Many times, the person who gets the job when all other things are equal is the one who believes he should have it the most. Believe that about yourself. Remember the old saying: Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

4. Prepare yourself. Whenever opportunity knocks you want to be able to open the door looking good, feeling prepared and smiling. Go about your days with the thought that “Today I might meet my new boss”. This way, if you get a call to do a telephone interview, you are already in a mindset for success. Dress the part each day when you leave the house. Keep a mental list of past achievements that you can present to an interviewer when asked. Be mindful of items 1 and 3 so if you meet someone at the coffee shop who may turn out to be a potential connection to your next job, you can speak easily about why they should help you connect. Sometimes situations present themselves in the oddest ways and times, and if you are prepared for anything you will never have any regrets about a blown opportunity.

5. Be good to yourself. Remember to take care of yourself so you can stay energized. This process can be long and arduous if you allow yourself to get run down. Get plenty of rest, eat well, get some exercise, stay close to family and friends, and do things you enjoy. Live happy.

Call ERG Staffing for help with your light industrial job search.  Out staff of trained professionals are ready and able to place you in a job that fits your needs.

Avoid These Job Search Mistakes

August 24th, 2012

You work hard to avoid the obvious errors in searching for your next job by proofreading and spell checking obsessively. But there are some other mistakes you might be more likely to make because you think they aren’t mistakes at all. See if any of these open your eyes to some behavior changes you need to make.

  •  Not sending a cover letter. Please don’t cut this corner. You cover letter is an easy and direct way to get the reader’s attention and set yourself apart from the rest of the field. Take the time to write a concise cover letter specific to the opportunity for which you are applying. Spell out why you should be considered in a way that your resume just can’t convey.
  •  Not utilizing your network for help in your search. This group of people you are connected with is an invaluable resource. They can give you leads on job openings, yes. But they are also a tremendous source of information beyond that. Once you’ve written your resume, float it out to a few trusted individuals for some professional critiquing. Ask others to take a few minutes with you to run through some potential interview questions and answers. Keep your profiles updated with all new skills you’ve acquired and education you’ve received, so when your network is looking to refer you they will know your current skill set.
  •  Seeing the recruiter as an adversary. The interview isn’t you against them. You shouldn’t feel as though you need to trick or outwit the person across the desk. Instead, think of them as your partner in finding the right job for you. You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you, so make the job as easy as possible for them. Be friendly and open, and simply demonstrate all the reasons why you are the right person for the job.
  • Information overload. It is not important that you itemize every job that you have every held. In fact, if you are listing past experience that is completely irrelevant to the position for which you are applying, it could end up working against you. Remember that the reader is going through many, many resumes, and if you are wasting her time with unimportant details, you will not fare well. Tailor your resume for each application so that the most recent, relevant experience is featured prominently.
  • Don’t be overconfident in your achievements. It is critical to remember that your past achievements, while an indication of what you are capable of, are not really enough alone to get you hired every time. The prospective employer needs to know what you will do for him. Your impressive education and promotion track record certainly speak to your abilities. Your job now is to demonstrate how these assets will effect positive changes for the company’s future.
  •  Taking your references for granted. You will undoubtedly be asked to provide both professional and personal references. Make sure you stay in touch with the people you’d like to speak for you. Have their current contact information, let them know that you are currently seeking employment and to expect some calls on your behalf
  • Too much follow-up. The last thing you want to do is annoy the individuals who are in a position to hire you. Calling or emailing repeatedly will do just that. Before you leave the interview, ask how they would like you to follow up, and do only that.

Contact ERG Staffing today and let us help guide you through your light industrial job search. Our experienced staff specializes in putting the right people in place as quickly as possible.

Preparing for Your Light Industrial Skills Test

June 22nd, 2012

If you are one of those people who really fear test taking, the best thing you can do to insure success with the Light Industrial Skills Test is to know what to expect, and to spend some time preparing.

First and foremost, make sure you are taking good care of your physical health.  This means getting enough sleep, trying to eat right and getting some exercise.  It also means reducing stress in your life as much as possible.  You can reduce your test anxiety by being prepared.

The test consists generally of 4 parts or sections to help your potential employer understand your abilities to perform the key functions of the job.  The four segments are Math and Reasoning, Inspection, Assembly and Workplace Attitudes.

Math and Reasoning

You will use math and reasoning skills all day, every day in a warehouse. If a container has a maximum weight of 45 pounds and each product weighs 6 pounds, you’ll use these skills to determine the correct number of items to ship.  If you feel you need to brush up on your basic math skills there are many web resources you can turn to.  One such site is Basic Mathematics.com.   Don’t let the primary colors fool you into thinking this is only for little school children.  This site has plenty of problems to challenge your brain and get you back into the mathematical groove.  Another one to try is AAA Math.com which has the site categorized by individual math topics.  You can also find practice tests with answer keys online such as California Basic Educational Skills Test.  Take the time prior to the L.I.S.T. to sharpen your math skills so on test day you feel relaxed and confident.

Inspection

This segment determines your ability to spot defects in products by showing you a sample item and then several “matching” ones.  You must determine which ones do not match the sample.  This is simply a test of your focus on details.  You can practice this skill with a fun website called Spot The Difference.com.  It may seem like it’s all fun and games, but by solving these puzzles you are honing the same skills you will use in the Inspection segment of the test.  It sure won’t seem like studying!

Assembly

In this portion, you will be presented with the scattered components of an object.  You will read instructions and visually assemble the parts to make the whole.  This measures your aptitude at assembling products and following directions.  With this portion especially, forewarned is forearmed.  You may be someone who is gifted at this type of spatial relations work and knowing what is coming is all the preparation you need.  And if this isn’t a special talent of yours, you can improve your visual spatial talents with puzzles.  A surprising way to practice your assembly skills is with the ancient Chinese puzzle game, Tangrams.  There are even tangram apps available for smart phones and tablets that challenge you to recreate the shown picture using all the triangles given.  It is fun and challenging and maybe a little addictive.  But it is also productive in getting your brain prepared for the test.

Workplace Attitudes

These questions will demonstrate your attitudes toward and opinions on a drug free workplace.  Because there are so many inherent safety hazards, it is crucial for employers to hire only workers who can support and live up to this standard of conduct.  Read the questions carefully and answer them honestly.  This part of the test also measures your attention to details.

You may not feel you need much preparation to do well on the Light Industrial Skills Test, and you may be right.  But it won’t hurt to spend a few minutes each day practicing some of these skills.  It will help to keep your mind sharp and probably also improve you test score in the process.  And in today’s ultra-competitive job market, a high score will serve you well.

ERG Staffing Services has many job opportunities in industrial and skilled trades positions. Apply for one of our many jobs today!

Successful Resumes for Light Industrial Positions

May 24th, 2012

You may think a well-written resume isn’t important when you’re applying for an industrial or light industrial position.  After all, they’re not hiring you for your writing skills, right? Well, that may be true, but they do need to see the skills, experience and training they’ll want to hire you for—and the best way to make sure of that is to make sure your resume is written right.

Tips for Resume Writing

For industrial positions, you need to pay attention to what the company is looking for in the ideal candidate—and show them that you have it. In other words, tailor your resume for each application you put in. It’s easier than you might think!

For example:

  • Change the order of your skills and experience to make sure the most relevant are at the top. For many industrial positions, these are the factors that matter the most. Get them to the top of the list to make sure they’re getting maximum exposure.
  • Brainstorm for a few minutes. Ask yourself what makes you a better candidate for the job than anyone else and why an employer should hire you instead of the competition. Make sure these factors are included on your resume.
  • List your qualifications and skills plainly. Depending on the experience and training you’ve had, you may be able to make a significant point just by creating such a list. Don’t exaggerate, but talk about the skills you have that are important specifically to the job you are applying for.
  • Do list the positions you’ve held in the resume. Depending on your experience level, you may have a large number of positions. List only those with the most importance or those that show how versatile your experience is.
  • Keep your resume clean and organized. Don’t use overly long paragraphs or too much wording. Keep it clean by using short sentences, bullets and brief statements. This allows the most important details to stand out.

One last tip: when applying for an industrial position, create a customized cover letter to go along with your resume. Let your cover letter show the prospective employer that you do have an idea of what he or she needs and why you feel you are a good fit for the position. A cover letter is a great place to also communicate that you may have skills outside the job’s requirements but within a company’s needs.

Looking for help creating the perfect resume and cover letter? Contact our staffing specialists for job seeking advice and more! We can help you find the job best suited for your needs and skills.