Time to Consider Reentry, Moving Up and Training


A survey recently conducted by the American Staffing Association showed that 40% of unemployed U.S. adults (excluding retirees) are currently seeking work and 72% of those are confident that they will find a job within the next year. With the current low unemployment rate in our area, the opportunities of unemployed individuals with good skills finding positions are indeed excellent.  The improved job market is also a good time for those under employed to explore job opportunities both in their current field and in other fields.
The ASA survey showed that 73% of the unemployed not currently seeking employment would be willing to work in a new field if training were provided.  Those considering reentering employment should consider training opportunities available online, at local colleges, at local providers such as America’s Job Center and at local businesses.  Employers are increasingly willing to provide on-the-job training for entry level positions.  Entry level positions frequently have the potential for promotions once skills are learned and demonstrated through work performance.  It is a wise idea for those new to the job market as well as those considering reentering the workforce (whether unemployed or retired) to consider new fields.  Second and third careers can be extremely rewarding!  With the current low unemployment rate and numerous employers seeking to hire, this is an excellent time to consider your options.

Julia S. Aguilar

Holiday Season is the Perfect Time to Apply for Jobs

Many people seeking employment or considering making a job change decide to wait until “after the holidays” to apply. The truth is there are significant advantages to applying during the holidays:
1. Jobs listed on Job Boards or websites during the holidays are jobs that must be filled. Jobs that “can wait” or are budgeted to begin in the new year are often not listed until after the first week of January.
2. There are fewer applicants during the holidays so Human Resources, recruiters and others hiring authorities have more time to consider the applications that are submitted. Candidates who are solid, but do not meet all desired hiring criteria may well be called for an interview during this time of slower hiring.  During the interview process, you will have an opportunity to let the prospective employer know why you would be the right person for the job opening.

If you are seeking a job or thinking of changing positions, don’t wait until mid-January.  Take time to check out job boards during the next few weeks.  If you see a position of interest, apply for it!  You may secure the position you are seeking now rather than after the first of the year.  That could very well make for a very Happy New Year!

Julia Aguilar

Make the Right Hiring Decision — Quickly

In a recent forum for staffing firms, we were asked to identify our greatest difficulty in filling positions. An overwhelming number of responses from participants indicated that delayed decision-making from client companies is by far their greatest reason for incomplete or failed placements.

This is a trend we have been noticing frequently in 2015. Our client companies are losing one or more top candidates because other job offers are made while waiting for an interview to be scheduled or for all decision makers to have input. Multiple interviews with a company or summer vacations often stretch the process out for a month or longer. Some candidates just cannot financially afford to wait a month for employment decisions. Others choose to accept the first job offered because they just prefer to settle the question of where they are going to work without further interviews or job searches.

Many of today’s strongest candidates are relocations or recent college graduates. Typically, they are eager and ready to begin work. With the current low unemployment rates, strong candidates are frequently offered one or more jobs. A second factor is the financial need mentioned above. Many candidates just cannot afford to wait if there is a “start now” offer from another company.

Candidates currently employed and seeking advancement opportunities will sometimes wait for a decision from a company they particularly want to work for. Those relocating with a partner or those wishing to remain in SLO after graduation often take the first reasonable offer.

We recommend considering ways to make hiring decisions as quickly as possible. Consider phone, FaceTime or Skype interviews for those managers not available onsite or for out-of-town candidates. Managers may be able to use trusted substitutes to conduct interviews or to make hiring decisions.

The recent forum indicated that this is an issue throughout the United States. It’s important to make the right hiring decision—quickly!

Julia Aguilar

Resumes in Today’s Recruitment World

The majority of resumes submitted today are sent electronically either directly to company websites or posted to job boards and recruitment websites. Since staffing companies and recruiters receive hundreds of solicited and unsolicited resumes, it’s important to make yours one that will be selected for follow-up.

Steps to consider in preparing your resume include:

  • Keep it short and simple! It is not necessary to include your job objective on your resume, particularly if you include a brief cover letter or are applying for a specific position. Brief descriptions of key responsibilities from prior jobs are helpful; detailed job descriptions are not. One page resumes are preferable.
  • Apply keywords. Applicant-tracking systems scan resumes for keywords that match the company’s job descriptions. Scanners are limited in the number of words it reads. Therefore, it is preferable to use nouns instead of verbs: For example, “sales representative” is preferable to “generated sales” or “marketing assistant” is preferable to “prepared marketing materials”. Avoid abbreviations whenever possible. This includes using “bachelor of science” in lieu of B.S.
  • Use 1 to 1.5 inch margins on both sides.
  • Align all text to the left.
  • Use easy to scan, easy to read sansserif type font. Courier, Arial, Times Roman, Helvetica all are appropriate. Use a 12-point font as anything smaller does not scan well.
  • Introduce major sections of your resume with words in all uppercase letters. This typically works better than underlining or italics.
  • Limit listing of volunteer activities/ hobbies/interests to those that could potentially be related to the position for which you are applying. An exception may be made for those with limited work experience.
  • Do include relevant professional awards. Recent graduates may also include scholastic awards.
  • Do not include your picture.
  • After completing your resume, preview it to make sure it appears as you planned. Delete any out-of-place characters or indentions. Check and double-check spelling and word usage. Spellcheck does not always catch incorrect word usage.
  • Check your resume by e-mailing it to yourself or a friend at a different e-mail address to make sure it’s perfect. It’s recommended that you e-mail it to a “check” e-mail address using a different Internet Service Provider.

Julia Aguilar

Moving On Up!

A very positive trend for workers seeking or considering upward job mobility was reflected in a recent article in The Tribune. The article, “More People in U.S. are Quitting Their Jobs” stated that it is becoming more common for people to quit their jobs — a 17 percent increase in the past year. This is a key trend for job opportunities–one which has not been seen very often since 2008. The trend is apparent in the restaurant and retail industries and will likely emerge in other industries.

Most people quit jobs to take higher-paying jobs. This trend will bring opportunities for workers in two areas: job opportunities to replace those who “quit and moved on up” and higher wages to increase retention of those hired and those currently in positions.

It will also bring new career opportunities for those who “move on up” and more satisfied and motivated employees for employers hiring those “moving up” as well as those hired or retained at higher wages.  It is indeed a positive trend for all: employers, job seekers, current employees and the U.S. economy!

Julia Aguilar

Women Are Different

Sometimes the best of intentions to treat male and female executives (or senators) exactly the same can cause memorable incidents. A story from today’s New York Times described Representative Kevin McCarthy’s gift of a too large windbreaker with the words “Chairman’s Table” written on the back to Senator Lisa Murkowski. The windbreaker was for a man and far too big for Murkowski–McCarthy’s aides apologized and said they simply ran out of women’s sized jackets. Murkowski said she gave the windbreaker to her husband and said she took no offense. She added, “But I did think that was something telling. We are not thinking about the women.”

This reminded me of the gifts given at a corporate meeting I attended back in the mid-90s. When I arrived in my hotel room, there was a too large golf shirt waiting for me as my welcome gift.  Very few women were attending the meeting and all attendees were given the same gift.

What made for the memory was a call from my husband the next morning telling me that it must be a very successful meeting as I had just received flowers from corporate. The flowers were actually sent to all spouses just as the large golf shirts were given to all attendees.   I’m sure much consideration was given as to what gifts to give to attendees and spouses–particularly, equal treatment for all.

Today’s article reminded me that though much has changed over the past 20 years, there is still room for more change.  Women are different.  Remember, one size doesn’t fit all.

Julia Aguilar

Where the Jobs are in 2015!

Whenever we are asked what field has the most job openings, it’s an easy response, “Accounting”. Year after year, we see significantly more positions available in accounting than in any other field.
A quick review of our recent job postings shows that slightly more than half of the openings are accounting related. Openings include all levels of Accounting: entry Accounting Assistants, Accounting Administrative Assistants, AP, AR, Payroll Managers, Controllers, CPAs. Positions are in a variety of industries including manufacturing, distribution, wine, medical, real estate and tax.
Opportunities in the accounting field are likely to continue as the volume and complexity of government regulations and financial reporting continues to increase, tax laws become more complex, international business transactions grow, and current accountants and accounting managers retire.
For those thinking of a re-entry position, a career or job change, or deciding on a college major, accounting is definitely a field to consider.
Julia Aguilar

Impressive SLO High School Students

I recently was part of the Rotary interview team to select high school sophomore and junior students to attend Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) camp held in Ojai and sponsored by local Rotary Clubs each year. As a long-time Rotarian, I’ve known of RYLA for years. We’ve heard enthusiastic attendees year after year describe their experiences and how RYLA camp changed their lives. I truly did not understand the value of the camp and the great leadership training opportunity Rotary is providing until I listened to the responses of the students competing for this year’s awards.
It was truly amazing to listen to the responses from students concerning their college aspirations, their community involvement, their school involvement, etc. I was also impressed by the questions they asked us concerning Rotary and leadership. In the end, I wished every student who had been selected for the interview process could be awarded the opportunity to attend.
Ranking students was truly quite a task! Congratulations to those selected to attend. I’m sure they will be among SLO’s community leaders of the future.
Julia Aguilar

You Never Know Who May be the Decision Maker!

I recently read an e-letter headline advising job applicants to: “Speak to everyone on the elevator.” This is good advice for job applicants because you do not know whether the person riding in the elevator with you is the person who will be interviewing you or the person who will be hiring you or someone you will never see again.

Far too frequently, I have met applicants in the elevator or in the hallway on the way to our office for a job interview who look down to avoid eye contact rather than simply smiling, nodding or saying “Hi”.

Years ago when I was a Human Resources Director at a small newspaper, I had an arrangement with the receptionist who greeted applicants when they arrived for job interviews. The receptionist marked the application with a red pen if the applicant was disrespectful or rude to her. Rarely is there a job applicant who is rude to an interviewer, but it is far too frequent for an applicant to be a bit too nonchalant or, in some cases, a bit disrespectful to someone they do not consider to be the decision maker.

Smiling, nodding or saying “Hi” to those you meet in the elevator or the hallway is a particularly good idea when you are on the way to job interviews! You do not know who will be the decision maker!

Julia Aguilar

To Hire or Not to Hire

To Hire or Not to Hire
One of the benefits for employers of using temp-to-hire placements is that you have the opportunity to observe the worker on the job before you make a longer-term hiring decision. If someone isn’t a good fit in the position, you have no obligation to retain them. You don’t even have to tell them you are not hiring them as that is the responsibility of the staffing agency.
Questions to consider in determining whether or not someone is the right fit for the long term include:
1. Does the individual have the right basic skill set?
2. Is the individual interested in learning about your business?
3. Does the individual volunteer to take on additional responsibilities?
4. Does the individual fit your company culture?
Skills testing is typically completed prior to placement. However, observing an employee’s performance on the job provides an excellent opportunity to determine the worker’s aptitude and skills.
Asking questions about the business and volunteering for additional responsibilities are strong indicators that the employee very much wants to stay with your company for the longer term.
Perhaps, most important, does the employee fit your company culture? If the employee is comfortable communicating both on an informal and a formal basis with other employees, it is likely they will be the right fit for the position and for the company culture.


Julia Aguilar