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Beef Up Your Resume

It is the age-old “Catch 22”: you need experience to get a job but can’t get experience without having a job!  This is a problem for many recent graduates who are out on the job hunt and finding that their resume just doesn’t have what it takes to land the job they want. Graduates often find that unless they had an internship or valuable experience while taking classes that their resume needs to be beefed up . . . (that is without lying). Here are a few ways to beef up your resume that may help you get the interview that you are shooting for.

  • Focus on Skills – While new graduates may not have a wide array of work experience they do have skills. Even workers who only have part time work experience or internship experience have started honing skills whether it is in customer service or a specialty in the field.
  • Focus on Academic Success – If you are a newly minted grad then you may find your resume thin on experience, so focus on what you have learned including the skills that were required to get through college. Many of your courses probably stressed project management, communication skills, independent working, gathering information from a variety of sources, distilling complex concepts into an accessible argument, clear writing skills and so on.
  • Show Your Motivation – Sure you may be “green”, but if you can show that you are a self starter you may be ahead of the pack. Show that you are gaining knowledge through interning, volunteering or shadowing someone in the field you hope to enter. This shows motivation and drive!
  • Highlight Technical Skills – Again, you may not have coveted experience but if you have technical skills that can help you land a job them list them on your resume. In fact, present links or examples that can show what you know.

Common Resume Mistakes

The ink is still drying on many college student’s diplomas and they are hard at work trying to land their first “real” job. They have completed their classwork, filled out numerous applications and have written a resume to impress the leaders of their chosen field. That resume is the first impression a company will get of the hopeful applicant. Make sure to cross your “T”s and dot all your “I”s before pressing submit or mailing in that resume. Here are just a few common resume mistakes you should avoid made when applying for your dream job.

 

  • Grammatical and Spelling Mistakes – Nothing says inexperience and lack of effort more than a resume that has not been edited and edited and checked and checked. Be sure to proofread the resume for all spelling and grammatical errors. In fact, you may want a job coach who has years of experience to look at your resume before you apply.
  • Using the Same Resume for Each Application – A resume should match the position you are trying to attain. Make a resume specific to the field and even the company that you are applying to. By using a generic resume you are not taking advantage of details from your skills and education that should be put front and center on each job application.
  • Being Too Wordy or Saying Too Much – Employers have limited time to get through the pile of resumes for each position. Get to the point and make it easy for the Human Resources Department to see what you excel at in a glance.
  • Not Being Yourself – While your resume should highlight your education, skills and strengths should also show your personality such as your volunteering. Interests, passions and drive. Discuss how you can do this with a job coach or professional resume writer.
  • Submitting Incorrect Information – We have all done it at some point or other. Make sure you check and double check that all dates, phone numbers and position titles are accurate. You really don’t want an HR representative questioning your accuracy. That would make for a not so good first impression and may take you out of the running all together.

Common Questions about Leaves of Absence

 

Do you have a sick family member, just had a baby, have a medical condition or need to fulfill military service? If so, you may be looking to take some time off from work. A Leave of absence is approved time off work from the management or leadership of our business. It can be granted for many reasons including: active duty call-ups for reserve military personnel, or to attend to the health needs of the employee or of a family member of the employee.

 

Depending upon the type of business you are in, you may be able to informally request time off or you may need to use the FMLA Family Medical Leave Act to have your request approved. Requests for unpaid personal leave are normally made in writing to the employee’s department manager with a copy to the Director, Human Resources, and should indicate the reason and the length of leave requested. If the workplace is more casual, a verbal request may suffice.

 

Here are some common questions about Leave of Absence that you will want to discuss with your employer.

    • Will I get paid while I am on a leave of absence?  Leaves of absence are without compensation with the exception of Long-Term Disability Leave.
    • What if I have to care for a seriously ill family member?  Employees can request a Family Care Leave to care for a seriously ill family member.
    • I have been ill and have exhausted all of my sick time or PTO time and my extended sick time. What do I do now?  Employees can request a Medical Leave of Absence if paid-time has been exhausted and the employee is still medically unable to work.
    • What laws are there about Leaves of Absence? Federal and/or state laws govern a mandatory leave of absence. These leaves include medical absences governed by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), military leave, jury duty and other state-mandated leaves. Whether the laws surrounding these leaves of absence apply to you is often based on the number of employees working for your company and where an employee is working. Your business must grant job-protected leave to eligible employees in these situations.
    • How does an employee qualify for FMLA? An employee qualifies for FMLA leave by working 1250 hours.Here are some reasons an employee might take FMLA leave: Childbirth, adoption and foster care, serious health condition, caring for a family member with a serious health condition, or certain military reasons (including care of a service member).

 

 

 

Time Management Tips

Tick, Tick, Tick. . . 

Does your work day slip between your fingers and make you wonder where the time went by the time you reach closing time? If so, you may need to re-think your time management skills. Learning how to manage your time can be difficult and take some time to learn but here are some expert tips that can get you started.

  • Maintain a Calendar – Carry your schedule with you at all times. This may mean using an online scheduler and project management tool. Be sure to refer to the calendar regularly throughout the day and keep track of how long regular activities take. This may seem tedious but will give you a better idea of how long certain activities will regularly take. You will then be able to plan your time better in the future.
  • Plan Every Morning – Many business leaders emphasize that what keeps them on track all day is a 30 minute review every morning of what the goals are for the day and week, maybe even the month. Having those goals in mind before you start meetings or rushing from activities to activity can keep you focused.
  • Know How to Delegate – Having a trusted employee who can handle some of your daily duties can mean you can attend to more important duties. Someone who can field your email and phone calls as well as prioritizing them can help you stay on task all day long.
  • Eliminate Distractions – Start paying attention to the number of times someone interrupts you when you’re in the midst of an important task. Eliminate those distractions by closing your door or doing work in a separate area. Or set aside a certain time of day when you are free.
  • Start Early – While it might be nice to sleep in or have a lazy coffee, getting an early start is the hallmark of leaders who have time management mastered.

 

Performance Reviews

Whether it is called an annual review, performance review, or a salary adjustment meeting, these workplace events can be stressful for both the employee and the manager. These meetings may seem like a blip on the radar as they usually only happen annually or bi-annually, but they can set the tone for your company and the expectations that you have for your employees across the entire spectrum of leadership. Here are a few tips to help make performance reviews positive and motivational.

  • Prepare in Advance –  Never go into a performance review without preparation. Both the manager and the employee should plan in advance with a worksheet that they can fill out prior to the review that lists major accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses and future goals going forward. This will give both the employee and the reviewer a good way to organize their thoughts.
  • Keep Things Positive – Avoid heading right into the areas where you would like to see improvement. Instead spend the vast amount of time during  the review talking about what went right during the year, accomplishments, and improvements that you have seen since the last review. Everyone wants to know that their hard work has been noticed and find that it is rewarding when a leader in the company has taken note.
  • Talk About Struggles – Every employee, including yourself has some area of the job that they struggle with. Talk about what those are for this particular employee and how the company can be of assistance to guide, mentor or support so that these things are less of a struggle.  This may include assisting with a class on a topic that impacts your company or potentially arranging for a training session.
  • Create Goals – During the review, be sure to talk about future goals that the employee has as well as what you see on the horizon. This is a great way to set your agenda out and let your employee know that you see things moving forward for them. They may have ideas that can build up your business as well.
  • Be Ready to Do a Balancing Act –  Be prepared to be constructive in your discussions but also be ready to hold your ground. The more prepared you are the easier the conversation will go. If you have questions talk to your HR department or representative.

Employee Documentation

As business leaders or human resource managers, documenting employee performance is critical for the health and development of successful companies. Why is it so important to document, document, document?  And how should this be done?  Read on to find out the reasons why businesses should follow good documentation strategies as well as what some of those best practices look like.

It is important to document employee issues for several reasons including: protecting the company, maintaining records for the future managers and for the protection of the employee. Documenting employee issues will protect the company in the future should the employee file a lawsuit claiming discrimination or other legal matter. Documentation will also prevent any new managers from having to start from scratch. Documentation can give insight into issues and conflicts as well as how those issues were resolved. All that documentation also protects and helps the employee as well. In all fairness employees need to be informed when there is an issue so they can make corrective action or add their input about the situation. 

Proper documentation should include the following items:

  • a description of the events or situation
  • a definition of the policy that was violated
  • a review of any previous issues with the employee and how that was resolved
  • designate a mediator or neutral person to discuss the issue with
  • indicate what changes need to be made and a timeline
  • signatures of all people involved
  • comments or input from all parties

The documentation should be a thorough as possible and include differing points of view as well as the final resolution.

Multigenerational Workplace Issues

Baby Boomers and Gen Xers and Millennials. . . OH MY!  Companies today often have teams with a wide range of ages. Age ranges can be wonderful. When every person entering an office comes in with different life experiences, perspectives and views it can add value to a company.  But let’s face it, there are stark differences in the values, communication styles and work habits of each generation as well. Workplaces can, in theory, have employees ranging from 18-80. That is a huge range. Businesses in all fields are quickly becoming aware of issues that have become pronounced due to these age ranges. Let’s take a look at the potential issues and some solutions for bridging this multigenerational workforce gap. 

  • Get to know each person and generation and what their concerns may be. For example, the millennial generation of workers would choose workplace flexibility, work/life balance and the opportunity for overseas assignments over financial rewards, according to a NexGen survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Baby Boomers prefer more traditional classroom or paper-based training. They also have retirement and stability on their mind. Generation Xers prefer to learn on the internet and work well independently. They may be concerned with working their way up the corporate ladder.
  • Negative stereotypes for each generation exist, so try to dispel these and show each what they have in common. For example, Forbes Magazine points out that, “Ultimately all employees want the same thing — to be engaged at work and to have a good manager who acts as a coach and helps them achieve their specific career goals.”
  • Embrace different communication styles. According to Business New Daily, “Preferred communication styles have almost become a cliché: Generation Y sends text messages, tweets and instant messages to communicate, while Baby Boomers and older Gen Xers tend to prefer phone calls and emails. Throw in that younger workers tend to use abbreviations, informal language and colloquialisms, and you’ve got a recipe for serious communication breakdowns. Business leaders should set the example of the company line on communication and create an environment where face-to-face communication is valued and embraced. But don’t ever be afraid to embrace the differing communication methods.

Managing Conflict at Work

Workplace conflict is an unavoidable consequence of dealing with differing personalities and work habits in a workplace. Effectively managing conflict is arguably the hardest thing a manager has to do. Unfortunately, as a manager, if you’re going to do your job, you have no choice. Since avoiding workplace conflict is a near impossible feat, be prepared for how to handle these circumstances in advance. Here are a few suggestions for dealing with workplace conflict. 

  • Stay Calm – Even when provoked, keep a close hold on your temper; stay as calm as you possibly can. Don’t let emotions escalate or drive decisions. However, do let individuals express their feelings. Some feelings of anger and/or hurt usually accompany conflict situations. Before any kind of problem-solving can take place, these emotions should be expressed and acknowledged. Each member of the conflict should have a chance to say what is on their mind in a respectful and safe manner.

  • Deal With the Issues

    First of all, if you are a manager dealing with conflict you should: recognize that there is a conflict, be objective, and be fair and consistent. What will help in any conflict would be a human resources liaison who can moderate and ease the tension. HR personnel are an unfailingly objective third party. Short of calling in HR moderators, it would be helpful if there was a written code of conduct from which to read and guide employees when a situation arises.

  • Document – Whenever a conflict arises be sure to document the event. Who was involved? What was the resolution? If a pattern of conflict emerges, it is possible that one or two employees may turn out to be the “common factor.”  In this case, documenting for potential future incidences or, unfortunately, termination will be needed.
  • Determine Follow Up – After a workplace conflict, whether it is related to work or is personal, it is critical to follow up. You may want to schedule a follow-up meeting in about two weeks to determine how the parties are doing. Did the issue continue to fester? Was it completely resolved? Has it impacted workflow or morale in the office? Determine what you’ll do if the conflict goes unresolved. If the conflict is causing a disruption in the department and it remains unresolved, you may need to explore other avenues. In some cases the conflict becomes a performance issue, and may become a topic for coaching sessions, performance appraisals, or disciplinary action.

BLS Provider CPR (1-day Initial or Renewal Course, multiple sessions available)

(Initial or Renewal Course based on the 2015 AHA Guidelines)
Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. This course teaches both single-rescuer and team basic life support skills for application in both in-facility and prehospital settings. This course is designed for healthcare professionals and other personnel who need to know how to perform CPR and other basic cardiovascular life support skills.

In addition, BLS training can be appropriate for first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, as well as for laypeople whose work brings them into contact with members of the public, such as school, fitness center, or hotel and restaurant employees.

Students must pass a written exam and skills test in order to qualify for a BLS Course Completion Card.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will receive a completion cad valid for 2 years.

Conveniently scheduled on Saturday, please choose the session that works best for you.

REGISTER NOW!

Avoiding HR Issues

Owning a small business can be a major juggling act. Being a leader, chief financial officer, office manager and all the other roles that go into making a successful business can be hard. Keeping all the “balls in the air” can be a tough juggling act, which can cause mistakes – sometimes serious ones. Mistakes in the human resources area can be easy to make if you don’t understand and are compliant with the law.

Here are five of the most common HR management pitfalls small businesses face today and how to avoid making them. 

  • Outdated Employee Handbook – The employee handbook is your guidebook for all employees and company leaderships about work-related policies. These policies could include: discrimination policies, standards of conduct, compensation, benefits, work schedules, security, and vacation/sick policies. Each business is different so the policies laid out in the handbook should be updated regularly and be specific to your field of business. Not having company policies in writing and updating regularly is just asking for trouble.
  •  Staying knowledgeable of Changing HR Laws

    Understanding federal, state, and local labor laws are critical when running a successful small business. Compliance with these laws can be a big headache for small businesses. There are a multitude of regulations, and these laws continue to change rapidly. Have a dedicated employee or HR consultant who can stay on top of changing laws and compliance requirements.

  • Handling Terminations Poorly – No business leader wants to deal with a termination but they happen all the time. Messy fires can lead to unwanted lawsuits. Both performance and policy violations require documentation and a paper trail. “Make sure that you document any disciplinary issues, safety inspections, performance discussions, and the like. These records can save you if done right — or kill you if done poorly or not at all.”(Source: Intuit Books)  This is yet another reason why the well-written employee handbook is needed.
  • Develop a Reward System – Employees want to know how they are doing.

    Recognition of good performance is essential to a healthy workplace; without it, your business could face retention issues. Plan and maintain a reward system that will allow your company to maintain employees that do their job well. It is easier to maintain a good employee than to train a new one. 

  • Weak Hiring and On-boarding System – Too many employers hire hastily because they need the position filled quickly. Spend time weeding out unqualified candidates and on-boarding exceptional ones. Take the necessary time to be sure the candidate feels at home, has a mentor and understand the daily running of the office so they don’t feel overwhelmed or out-of-place.