Friday, March 26, 2010

Résumé Q & A: Top Questions Asked by PrideStaff Field Associates

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And when it comes to your career, your résumé often makes that first impression for you.

Are you confident your current résumé is up to the challenge?

If not, don't worry--you're not alone. Many of our Field Associates are unsure about the quality of their résumés, or ask for our help in improving its content. In fact, each year we answer thousands of résumé questions. We've compiled this list of 10 of the most popular ones, as well as our answers, to help you put your best foot forward.

Q: Do I have to include a career objective?
A: Although this is not a crucial element of your résumé, an employer will be impressed if you have a concrete idea about what you want to achieve in your career.

Q: How do I decide what achievements to include in my résumé?

A: If you've accomplished many goals over the years, this task can seem overwhelming. Use the PAR formula (Problem, Action, Result) to analyze each achievement. Here's how. For each job, jot down your significant accomplishments. Then for each achievement, identify the problem you faced, the action steps you took and the measurable (quantifiable) results you achieved.

Once you've analyzed your achievements for each job, prioritize your list and include the ones that are most important to the position you are seeking. Keep in mind that your résumé should contain the accomplishments you're most proud of, while your cover letter should contain supplemental achievements that may be of interest to the decision maker.

Q: How long should my résumé be?

A: The absolute max is two pages, though one is preferable. The length of your résumé should be determined by how much you've achieved in your career. If you're an accomplished professional, you may need two pages; if you're fresh out of school, limit it to one. The absolute max is two pages, though one is preferable. The length of your résumé should be determined by how much you've achieved in your career. If you're an accomplished professional, you may need two pages; if you're fresh out of school, limit it to one.

Q: Should I include references?

A: References should not be listed in your résumé. Instead, include the simple statement: "References available upon request." Just make sure that you have a copy of those references handy at the time of your interview.

Q: What are keywords, and how do I use them?

A: Keywords are specific words or phrases used to describe your experience. Often, they are specific buzzwords used in a particular job or industry (e.g., someone looking for an administrative job might use keywords like "MSWord," "administrative assistant," or "word processing"). Recruiters use keywords to search through résumé databases, job websites and business networking sites to identify potential job candidates. In a nutshell, keywords put your skills into focus for a recruiter and help him determine, at a glance, whether or not your skills match those needed for an available job.

To use keywords properly, first identify which ones make sense for your résumé. Use job postings similar to your interests, or research industry trends online, to generate a list of 10 or 15 strong, descriptive and applicable keywords. Then, incorporate those buzzwords into the career summary, job description and/or professional qualifications sections of your résumé.

Q: Do I need more than one version of my résumé?
A: Yes. The better your résumé matches an available position, the more likely you are to get a call for an interview. So customize your résumé when needed. Start by developing a base résumé--one that is generic enough to use for any job for which you might apply. Then, you can tailor and save different versions as your job search progresses.

Your base résumé should first be created in an ASCII text format (you can use NotePad or WordPad to create this .txt file version). Use this .txt version for all your electronic submissions, where you have to cut and paste your résumé to submit it, to ensure your résumé will retain its formatting on the receiving end. For printing or attachment purposes, convert your ASCII file to a Microsoft Word version. Using MSWord you can easily format margins, fonts, etc. to make your printed copy look clean, professional and polished.

Q: What should my résumé NOT contain?

A: As a general rule, leave any references to religion, sexuality and school grades off your résumé. In addition, do not include a list of references, photos, or an explanation of why you left your last job.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stink Over Perfume at Detroit Workplace ‎

NEW YORK, March 16, 2010

Stink Over Perfume at Detroit Workplace

City Employee Sues, Wins $100,000 after Complaints About Colleague's Scent, Room Deodorizer

(CBS) Sometimes scents can be overpowering. A Detroit woman sued the city after she claimed she couldn't work due to her colleague's perfume.

CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano reported on "The Early Show" that city employee Susan McBride complained she was "chemically sensitive" and a co-worker's perfume and room deodorizer made it difficult for her to breathe and do her job -- so much so that she suffered migraines, nausea and coughing.

Ann Curry Thompson, McBride's attorney, told CBS News, "You can't come into a workplace loaded in one of these so-called designer perfumes that broadcasts itself across the room."

McBride won a $100,000 settlement. Detroit city employees in the three buildings where McBride works are now being warned not to wear scented products, including colognes, aftershave, perfumes, and deodorants, or even use candles and air fresheners.

Thompson said, "When you have a stated policy in the workplace, it gives an employee something to point to."

Joelle Sharman, a labor and employment lawyer, said on "The Early Show" an employee would have to prove that a scent actually had a health effect on his or her person to make a case.

She said, "If I triggered a condition that caused substantially something to interfere with your ability to perform in the workplace, if I interfered with your ability to work or ability to breathe, then, yes, and you reported it to your employer, then the employer would have to respond."

"Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith asked if an employer has the right to tell a person they can't use cologne or perfume.

Sharman responded, "A person doesn't necessarily have a right to wear perfume, but the person does have a right to be able to breathe in the workplace. So if an employee comes into work and says to his or her boss, 'I can't breathe, this perfume is triggering a condition that is affecting my ability to breathe in the workplace,' and reports to his or her boss, the boss has to reasonably accommodate that person."

Smith said as he read up on the case, it looks like the boss didn't respond to the complaints.

Sharman added, "The boss did not engage in the interactive process. Had he just communicated with the employee, explored the options, all of this may have been avoided."

However, an employee shouldn't just say another employee stinks, Sharman said.

"I don't think that would be the appropriate approach," she said. "I would go to a person's boss and say, 'The smell is affecting the way I'm breathing. It's causing an allergy or it's affecting my breathing. It's interfering with my ability to work. Can you accommodate me, please?'"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Twenty percent of employers say they increased their headcount in the last three months. Thirteen prevent reduced headcount while 66 percent reported no change and 1 percent were undecided.

Employers are expected similar results for the upcoming quarter. Twenty prevent of employers plan to add employees in Q1 2010. Nine Percent will decrease headcount while 66 percent anticipate no change and 6 percent are undecided.

With a large number of annual salary increases taking place in the first quarter, 45 percent of employers expect to raise compensation levels in the next three months. Thirteen percent say the average raise amount will be 4-10 percent, while 1 percent anticipate an average raise of 11 percent or more.


Comparing selected industries, hiring is expected to increase in information technology, manufacturing, financial services professional and business services, and sales in the coming year. Thirty-two percent of IT, 27 percent of manufacturing, and 23 percent of financial service employers plan to add full-time permanent employees in 2009, followed by 22 percent of employers in professional and business services and 21 percent in sales. Health care employers are also planning to expand staffs at 21 percent followed by 18 percent of transportation employers and 15 percent of retail

When asked what areas employers plan to hire for in 2010, one-third pointed to technology followed by 28 percent in customer service. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) plan to add sales people, 18 percent will add in research/ development, 15 percent in accounting/finance and 14 percent in marketing.

Even as companies continue to watch their spending, they still plan slight increases to salaries in the coming year. Fifty-seven percent of employers report their companies will increase salaries for existing employees in 2010, down from 65 percent in 2009. Thirty-six percent expect to raise salaries of existing employees by 3 percent or more, while 11 percent anticipate increases of 5 percent or more.

Twenty-nine of employers plan to increase salaries on initial offers to new employees, down from 33 percent in 2009. Nearly one-in-five (18 percent) employers will raise salaries on initial offers by 3 percent or more while 7 percent anticipate increases of 5 percent or more.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Employers are taking advantage of the large number of top talent in the current labor pool to strengthen their work force. Thirty-seven percent of employers say they plan to replace lower-performing employees with higher performers in 2010. When asked to grade their current work force, 25 percent rated them an “A” 60 percent a “B”, 15 percent a “C” and 1 percent a “D”. Less than one-half of a percent felt their current staff was a failure.

The economy required companies to make some tough decisions about their businesses, which had a negative impact o their brands. Close to four-in-ten (37 percent) employers plan to put a greater emphasis on social media in 2010 to create a more positive brand for their organization. One-in-five employers plan to add social media responsibilities to a current employee, while close to one-in-twelve (8 percent) plan to hire someone new to focus or partially focus on social media.

Companies needed to scale their businesses to market last year and four-in-ten employers say they were forced to lay off workers. Among those who had lay-offs in 2009, thirty-two percent of employers now say they plan to bring back workers and the-in-ten are either doing it now or plan to do so in the first six months of 2010.

Companies plan to continue providing employees with greater flexibility in hopes of maintaining a better work-life balance. Thirty-five percent of employers say they plan to provide more flexible work arrangements in 2010, compared to 31 percent last year. Among those who will offer flexible work arrangements, these arrangements include:

Even as companies look to the new year and toward growth opportunities for their businesses, many are still choosing to trim perks and benefits. Thirty-seven percent of employers say the will cut perks and benefits in 2010, up from 32 percent who said they trimmed in 2009. Perks and benefits employers plan to trim in the new year included bonuses, medical coverage, suspended 401k matching and office perks such as coffee, tea and condiments.

Companies understand the intellectual capital mature workers bring to their organization and 27 percent say they are open to retaining their workers who are approaching retirement. Sixteen percent say they are likely to rehire retirees from other companies in 2010. Additionally, one-in-ten are likely to provide incentives for workers at or approaching retirement age to stay on wit the company longer.

At the same time, workers have expressed interest in postponing retirement. Thirty percent of employers report they have received request from workers approaching retirement age to stay on with their company, up from 22 percent last year.

While employers still plan to be cautious regarding the number of full-time employees they add in the new year, many will turn to freelance or contract employees to help keep their businesses moving forward. Three-in-ten employers anticipate hiring freelancers or contractors in 2010, up slightly from 28 percent in 2009. Six percent expect to employ more freelance workers or contractors than last year, while 15 percent expect to hire the same amount and 10 percent plan to hire fewer.

Employers will continue to turn some of their focus to the environment in the new year. Eleven percent of employers say they plan to add “green jobs” in 2010 the same amount who said they added them in 2009. “Green Jobs” are positions that implement environmentally conscious design, policy and technology to improve conservation and sustainability.

Employers have identified having a diverse work force as an important measure of success as they begin to rebuild their businesses after the economic downturn. One area they plan to focus on is building a bilingual team. Four-in-ten employers said they plan to hire bilingual candidates in 2010 and half said that they had two equally qualified candidates; they would be more inclined to hire the bilingual candidate.

While employers are inching away from cost containment and more into growth, one area they still plan to save money on is business travel. Forty-three percent of employers say that in their organizations there will be less business travel in 2010 than in 2009.

Manufacturing grows in Feb., jobs gauge rises

NEW YORK – The manufacturing sector expanded in February for the seventh straight month while a measure of employment jumped to the highest level in more than five years.

The pace of manufacturing growth was slower than in the previous month, and fell short of economists' expectations.

The Institute for Supply Management, an industry trade group of purchasing executives, said Monday its manufacturing index index read 56.5 last month, slightly slower than the 58.4 reading in January. It was also slower than the 58 level expected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

ISM said its employment measure grew for the fourth time in five months, accelerating to 56.1 in February from 53.3 in January. February's number is the highest since January 2005.

"With these levels of activity, manufacturers are seemingly willing to hire where they have orders to support higher employment," said Norbert Ore, chair of ISM's manufacturing survey committee.

A pickup in business investment in equipment and software, increases in exports and slower cutbacks of inventories is helping drive production gains.

Of the 18 industries ISM surveys, 11 reported growth, led by machinery, paper products and apparel. Five declined, led by wood products, furniture and primary metals; two were unchanged.

To Get Hired, You have to be one of these Two People

The job market is not really that difficult to understand when you look at why employers take on new staff. The company will have a need that cannot be fulfilled by the current organization and thus there is a job opening. If you can understand what need you can be the solution to, you will be on to a winner. Every business out there has a common goal: to make money. This can be achieved by getting people that can generate more money, or by getting people that can cut costs and save money. The question is; which type are you?

Money makers

Sales people are the best example of money makers. They are hired to generate more customers and orders that will go straight to the bottom line. If you are in the money making category, it is fairly straightforward why you are needed. You have to convince the employer that you have generated cash in the past and will do so in future. By using specific examples and quantifying your achievements, you demonstrate what you are capable of.

Money savers

If you are in this category, it will be harder to justify exactly how you will make a difference to the profits of your potential new employer. Anyone in accounting or finance would be a potential money saver. Managers can cut costs by automating processes, reorganizing teams, establishing better focus and so forth. However you saved money for your current or previous employer, be prepared to deliver the story in the interview. Again, be as specific as possible and quantify how much you saved and exactly how you implemented your idea.

Call to action

Have a good think of how you deliver value to your new employer. Do you make or save money? Whichever it is, does the prospective employer know exactly what you do and what the impact would be to their bottom line? The more specific you can be, the better your chances in an interview. Look back at your professional experience and analyze your jobs. How much did you make/save in each role and why? When you prepare these case studies and back them up with figures, you will be way ahead any other candidate going in for the same job.