Tag Archives: 24seven

3 Ways to Use Soft Skills to Get the Job of Your Dreams

soft skillsSo you don’t have the 2 years of work experience the job you’re applying to recommends? Don’t give up just yet! 24 Seven’s recruiters have actually found that more and more companies are beginning to assess candidates based on the soft skills they possess, not just their past work experience. Some of the most valued soft skills include the ability to learn quickly, a desire to work with others, and a clear communication style. So how can you show your hiring manager that you have these skills without simply stating the obvious?

Know what a soft skill is

I’m sure you can guess how important “soft skills” are in the workplace. But first let’s discuss what “soft skills” actually are…

Wikipedia describes soft skills as a term often associated with a person’s EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, interpersonal skills, managing people, leadership, etc. that characterize relationships with other people.”

Basically, when a hiring manager is assessing you for your soft skills, they are seeing if you are someone that can adapt, learn and fit into the corporate culture of the company. In fact, if you fail to display your soft skills you may not get the job, even if you are the most qualified. Some examples of said soft skills are:

  • Time Management
  • Communication
  • Team Player
  • Leadership
  • Positive attitude
  • Work ethic
  • Adaptability
  • Problem Solving
  • Fast Learner
  • Personable
  • Responsible

Now let’s dive in to 3 ways to use soft skills to get the job of your dreams.

#1 Tell a story

People are more likely to connect to a story that’s personal, and you have a number of chances to accurately tell your story to your hiring manager through your cover letter, your resume, and your interview.

Your cover letter is the first thing your hiring manager will read about you. When you are writing, imagine this as your first conversation. Use your past experiences to create a story that highlight your soft skills. For an example of this, our friends at The Muse used:

“I not only executed all updates on schedule, but I also took on the responsibility to train and mentor two new employees.” [1] The key soft skill here is this person’s ability to train and mentor new employees.

#2 Highlight your soft skills unconventionally

You may not have the traditional work experience your employer is looking for, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect showing any soft skills you do have. Once again be sure to include specific examples of where your soft skills came into play on your cover letter or resume.

If you managed a team, organized a project timeline, or effectively communicated goals be sure it’s on your resume. Instead of simply stating what you did in your past employment, use adjectives to elaborate (ie: independent, detail-oriented etc). This will weave a story, but still keep it short and sweet.

soft skills for your dream job

#3 Create a killer conversational interview

Conversational interviews are the most successful because it’s not the standard Q&A. You’re speaking on an engaging yet professional level where you have the best opportunity to convey your soft skills. Come prepared with examples of past successes that again highlight skills beyond the functional nature of the position.

Let’s not forget the importance of the way you non-verbally communicate the second you enter the building. When you first arrive, thank your interviewer for having you and express how excited you are to be there. This shows you’re personable, which is a key soft skill.

When the interview begins be an active, not passive listener. Self-confidence is an important trait. If you are a person that is shy, fake it ’til you make it. Practice your answers at home, but be sure not to sound too rehearsed. And finally, be sure to ask questions that show you’ve been listening and done your research which shows your communication and adaptability skills.

Good luck!

 

We want to hear from you. What are your soft skills? Drop us a line in the comments. And don’t forget to download our Training Position Paper!

[1] https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-nonboring-way-to-show-off-your-soft-skills-in-your-job-search

Written by: Annie Gardner (24 Seven Demand Generation Coordinator)  & Brittany Johnston (24 Seven Marketing Assistant)

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The Perfect Match

 

conversationheartsWith Valentine’s Day fast approaching it seems everywhere you look there are ads for dating sites geared towards finding the perfect relationship. It’s the season of love and over at 24 Seven, we recommend taking a closer look at another very important relationship, the relationship you have with your career. I saw an ad for a popular dating website that talks about finding the right match with compatibility testing. This led me to the question, is finding a corporate match like finding a romantic match? When we spend on average 50 or so hours a week in the office, should we apply the practices we use to finding a partner, to finding a job?

A quick Google search can let us know almost everything about a person without actually meeting them. Details about someone’s personal and professional life are both readily available. Researching someone before a first date is a way of determining right off the bat what you have in common and if the possibility for a meaningful connection (the ultimate goal) is there.

The cultural fit or compatibility that we are looking for in our partners, we need to look for from our jobs too. The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health recently stated that, “In the current research, we test the idea that emotional fit with culture (EFC) is linked to psychological well-being – i.e., being satisfied with oneself, having positive feelings, accepting one’s body and having no symptoms of depression.” Emotions impact how well people perform tasks, how engaged, creative, and how committed they are to the project at hand. The job hunt falls along these lines, both for candidates and managers alike. When you get your first interview, do as much research as possible, as you would before a first date.

It’s important to determine whether or not this new company is going to make you feel at home. Go to the company’s website and read their “About Us” section. Learn about their core values, how they were founded and what cultural ideals they uphold. After a scan of the company page, check out reviews on websites like Glassdoor. Of course these reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, but keep an eye out for any common themes that run throughout.

Another important outlet to check out is the company’s social media presence. Much like vetting a potential date, vet the company. Check out their LinkedIn and the types of employees that work there. Also look at their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. This should give you a sense of the types of communities and trends that are important to organization.

When you get to the interview remember it’s a two-way street, while the interviewer is trying to determine if you’re the right person for the role, it’s also an opportunity for you to figure out if the company’s culture is right for you. To determine if you’ve made a match ask questions such as:

  • What will my average day look like?
  • What is your favorite part about working here?
  • What is your least favorite part about working here?
  • How long have you been working here?
  • What is the attire?
  • Will I be part of a team or working primarily on my own?
  • Do I report to you consistently or will I have scheduled meetings to check in?
  • Are there training and/orprofessional development programs or incentives.

Also, while you are in the office make sure you take note of the environment around you. How are the desks laid out, is it an open office plan or will you be sitting alone? Is it silent and everyone has headphones on or is it noisy and everyone is working and chatting?

At the end of the interview go home and think about everything you’ve learned about the job and company. Is this a place where you could be happy and productive? Will you grow with this company, much like you would grow and mature in a relationship? These are all important facts to consider before you accept their offer of “going steady”.

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Black Friday is Coming!

coloredpresents_holidayNovember is here and the holiday season is officially underway. Lists of presents to buy are being made, Starbucks Holiday cups are back and the trends are in. The National Retail Federation reported that retail sales this holiday season are expected to rise 3.7% and consumers plan to spend an average of $805 on holiday merchandise, comparable to the $802 spent last year.  These numbers mean that retailers are optimistic to see holiday gains. With all of the steals and deals out there here are some tips to get the most bang for your buck.

According to The Center of Shopping, about 95% of Holiday Shoppers plan to make purchases in a physical store. Doing a little research online before venturing out there can help you ensure you don’t overpay for that perfect gift. If you are brave enough to fight off the masses this Black Friday, make sure you check out Blackfriday.com before you step foot in a store. This website compiles a list of all the Black Friday ads from various retailers and updates information as it becomes available.

If you’re planning to shop online, check price-comparison websites to guarantee you don’t spend more than you need to. Amazon is one of the best and continually turns up the lowest prices and the longest lists of results. Google Product Search is another option that provides a local shopping option to find stores near you. Price Grabber is our final recommendation that not only has a search option but will also show you weekly deals.

Once you find the product, before you purchase, do a quick online coupon search! We recommend checking out couponcabin.com, which has over 100,000 active coupons and deals. Retailmenot.com has coupon codes for 130,000 stores and a weekly email newsletter that features coupon codes from the site’s users considered to be the best.

Make sure you capitalize on free shipping! If it isn’t offered on the retailers website check out freeshipping.com which will help you with shipping but also give you cash back deals and the occasional coupon, what’s not to love about that?!

And if you’re like me and prefer to peruse the shops in pajamas from the comfort of your bed, then Cyber Monday is your favorite shopping day of the year! Cybermonday.com has deals not only on the day of, but also all year round with hourly updates.

General Tips:

  1. Make a list.
  2. Create a budget and stick to it!
  3. Research before you buy.
  4. Take advantage on any and all offers online and in-store!

Happy Shopping!

http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/christmas/money-saving-holiday-shopping-tips/get-no-cost-holiday-shipping

http://www.neamb.com/shopping-discounts/10-best-ways-to-find-holiday-deals-online.htm

http://www.thecenterofshopping.com/news/holiday-shopping-patterns

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Mind the Gap

24 Seven recently released it’s annual 2015 Salary & Job Market Report, which emphasized the existence of a Skills Gap and its negative repercussions on companies. The Harvard Business Review also addressed this and reported that last year, 35% of the 38,000 employers surveyed stated that they are having difficulty filling jobs due to lack of talent. This skills gap is a trend that can be tracked across both businesses and business periodicals alike.

You may be thinking what does this mean for me?

Are the skills that I possess in demand? 

Do I need to completely rethink my career path?

shutterstock_69073516 (2)While Employees recognize the demand for skills and that having up-to-date skills improves hireability, they may find the skills employers listed as “in-demand” surprising. Employers are actually looking for range far beyond pure technical skill level. In fact, 75% of the hiring managers surveyed stated that soft skills are increasingly more important in the market. Some hiring managers went as far as to say that they would be willing to overlook functional skills (those that can be trained), favoring a candidate who possessed the right soft skills. And what is this magic combination of soft skills? According to the study, hiring managers are looking for creative, collaborative critical thinkers that are able to learn new things and develop coworker relationships.
Here are a few suggestions to increase your hireability:

  1. Huffington Post suggests thinking exponentially about your talent. The only thing you can count on in today’s workforce is that it is in a constant state of flux. You have to be able to adapt and continually learn the most you can from every stage of your career (even the less glamorous parts may be valuable down the line).
  2. Invest in your Social Media. Take the time to update your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google + and the rest. With the increasing dependence on the Internet, it’s important to make sure your media is up to date and that you have a web presence!
  3. Stay positive! It’s important to keep a positive attitude and not lose hope. The application process can be brutal but something will come! Employers want to see that you are enthusiastic and excited to get to work- not frustrated and angry. And if an interview goes poorly don’t beat yourself up, use it as a learning experience to see where you can improve for the next one. And I promise there will be a next one!
  4. Stay current. Even if you’re not working right now stay up to date with what’s happening in your field. Follow influencers on LinkedIn and your favorite companies on Twitter.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Recruitment and Staffing firms are trained to help! They will know how to ensure that you’re best qualities shine and help you through every step of the process.

Most importantly, deep breath, stay positive and have faith that you’ll end up right where you need to be!

 

 

See:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanne-beliveaudunn/are-you-investing-in-the-_b_8142198.html

https://hbr.org/2014/08/employers-arent-just-whining-the-skills-gap-is-real/

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Overheard from Inbound:

IMG_1203Hubspot, the well known marketing software platform, kicked off its annual conference, Inbound, last week with the largest showing to date. Nearly 15,000 sales and marketing professionals attended the 4 daylong conference, held at the Massachusetts Convention Center in Boston. Inbound brings bright minds together to discuss the pillars and best practices of inbound marketing, a concept that Hubspot has built its enterprise on, as well as explore the future of the business climate. With the tagline “Come Together. Get Inspired. Be Remarkable.” there is a very strong sense of community at Inbound; the conference provides a unique opportunity to meet and network with peers, and learn from other professionals in the field. It’s also a really good time!

This year’s conference boasted an impressive array of speakers; from comedians Aziz Ansari and Amy Schumer to the Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, Chelsea Clinton, as well as entrepreneurs Sophia Amoruso (Founder of Nasty Gal) and Jonah Peretti (Co-Founder and CEO of BuzzFeed), to name a few. This year’s conference was definitely one for the books, but, for those of you who couldn’t make it, 24 Seven’s team has provided some exciting takeaways.

There was much to learn over the 170+ educational lectures, with topics ranging from “The 30 Minute Marketing Plan” to “How to be a Disaster on Twitter” but the seminar that resonated the most with our team was, Dr. Carmen Simon’s address “Neuroscience of Memorable Content”. Dr. Simon is a cognitive scientist and co-founder of Rexi Media, a company focused on educating businesses about different ways to transform presentations. Dr. Simon began her talk by unnerving the roughly 500 marketers in the room stating that, “People forget up to 90% of the content we share with them.” Essentially, our customers only remember about 10% of what we put in front of them.

In the marketing space, this statistic presents a huge issue and the question arises, how can we create something that WILL be remembered?

First you need to decide what you want the customer to walk away with. Develop the answer to this and you have the goal of your marketing agenda. Simon explained that attention paves the way for memory, so, when we pay attention to something, we commit it to memory, and we then make a decision.  We have to break through habituation, or the process of a diminished cognitive response to a frequently occurring stimulus, and get our audience’s attention. She pressed for attendees to remember that habituation kills marketing.

Modern audiences are overexposed to stimuli, with social media at every turn and numerous devices at our fingertips. How, then, can marketers make sure that audiences aren’t looking elsewhere? In order to ensure your brand is remembered, Dr. Simon stated, change the stimuli and add elements of surprise to keep things interesting. People forget things when there is too much similar content, so create some differentiation to ensure your story is the one that’s recalled. Simon noted that people are also more likely to remember something they have a personal connection to. Content that is interactive and evokes a reaction by involving the viewer will be more successful. Don’t overwhelm your audience, keep it simple.

Want more? Check out http://www.inbound.com/ for more information. Our team at 24 Seven hopes to see you there next year!IMG_1280

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