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How to Improve Your Soft Skills for Your Next Job

Entering a new IT role requires mastering several “hard skills” such as programming, analytical thinking, and coding. These skills are familiar and universal to all IT professionals. However, there is a parallel category of abilities better known as “soft skills” that receive far less attention but are equally as important to excelling in your IT career.

Most people have a shaky understanding of what specific expertise fall under that category of “soft skills.” Simply put, a soft skill is an attribute, ability or trait that enhances someone’s interpersonal communication skills. As noted above, IT is an industry that highly values hard skills; however, there are some soft skills which, if used correctly, can greatly amplify your hard skills.

By blending hard skills with the following soft skills, you’ll excel quickly and establish deeper relationships within your new role:

  • Teamwork – Whether you’re working with clients, contractors or co-workers, being a professional in the IT industry requires a lot of collaboration. When working with teammates or third parties, be sure to bring your own contributions to the table, but also be open to receiving alternate opinions and new ideas.
  • Flexibility – Working in IT means encountering an ever-shifting landscape of novel problems and hurdles that will require creative solutions. To succeed in a new job, IT pros need to be able to quickly adapt to solving new challenges, using new technologies, and adjusting to new workplace norms.
  • Self-Reflection – Starting a new job means coming to terms with a whole new set of professional expectations and standards. Adapting to a new work environment takes a tremendous amount of self-awareness, which can often be tricky. Asking managers and colleagues for feedback to gauge how well you’re meeting expectations is a great way to connect with co-workers and ensure you’re on the right track.
  • Public Speaking – The ability to address a group of peers and confidently articulate your thoughts is one of the most important skills for succeeding in a new IT role.
  • Creativity – The IT industry is at the cutting edge of innovation, which means IT companies are constantly integrating new technologies, new value systems, and revolutionary new ideas. In such a forward-facing environment, the individual that can bring creative solutions and offer alternative paths forward will be a step above the competition.

Just like learning a new hard skill, becoming adept at any of the five soft skills listed above will require patience, persistence, and practice. Unlike hard skills such as programming, however, soft skills such as creativity, flexibility, and negotiation can be practiced in almost any setting and can be applied to many different areas throughout your career. Becoming a stronger communicator and a more creative thinker will allow you to apply your hard skills in new ways that will make you stand out in any workplace.

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How to Keep Your Small/Mid-Sized Business Competitive in a Challenging Job Market

You don’t have to have big brand name recognition to draw in top talent. There are plenty of ways that smaller businesses can differentiate themselves to employees and get candidates excited about coming on board. Here are some ideas to try to see more quality applicants.

  • Quality, Not Quantity: Your small business might not be able to offer a fully stocked kitchen, game room, and six-figure salary for everyone; instead focus on what you can offer. Most employees want a solid salary, retirement savings options, healthcare, and time to recharge. You might not be able to offer employees everything, but you can ensure that what you do offer in employee benefits are the highest quality your company can provide.  Focusing on a good 401k match, comprehensive health insurance, and enough PTO can secure you more hiring wins.
  • Be Flexible: More and more people are looking for flexibility in their working arrangement. One way for your company to stand out is to offer that from the get-go. Remote work and flexible start and end times of the day are preferred by many people and businesses are offering those options to get the attention of job seekers. Not only are companies who offer flexible working arrangements and remote work opportunities more likely to snag qualified candidates, but the overall flexibility can also save your business money.
  • Prioritize Culture: Company or corporate culture is about more than beer pong and standing desks. It’s about keeping employees engaged by making sure they know their value and the impact of their work. Growing a positive, healthy culture is something that money can’t buy but can make a huge difference in attracting and retaining talent.

The most important thing to remember in your recruitment efforts is to focus on what you can offer today, that meets the needs of the talent you are seeking.  Our team can help in your search to fill your staffing needs – we’re connected to some of the best talent and the best businesses in the industry. Contact us today to let us know how we can assist.


Are You a Preferred Working Destination for Generation Z

As of 2019, Generation Z makes up about 25 percent of the US population. Defined as the group born between 1997 and the early 2010s, there are some features of this generational group that make it distinct from the generations that came before them. Here are some things to consider about this group that has already begun entering the professional workforce.

  • More Pragmatic and More Budget-Oriented: Most members of Generation Z grew up during a recession. That means they’re more practical than most members of the millennial generation and also more focused on saving money. This means salary will play more of a role in their acceptance of job offers.
  • Mobile Natives: Generation Z was born into an age of the internet. They are quick learners and are used to engaging digitally. If you want to recruit Gen Z talent, you’ll need to make sure you’re providing a good online application process; you might also consider offering Gen Z applicants their choice of Mac or PC or other digital perks like remote work.
  • Prefer Face-to-Face Communication: As digitally savvy as Gen Z is, they are used to things, including communication, moving quickly. In the workplace, email can be a slower form of communication that slows down their process, so many prefer to communicate face to face for a faster resolution. Creating a space that enables more collaboration and easier communication will be important to this generation.
  • Growth-Oriented: Generation Z works hard and wants to be rewarded for their impact. One of their biggest goals is to advance in a company and meet their full career potential. Gen Z will need acknowledgement to remain loyal to a company.

As the baby boomer generation continues to retire and more millennials step into company leadership roles, it’s important to make sure that the upcoming generation, Gen Z, is considered in the building and improvement of company culture as they will begin to make up a larger portion of companies in the coming years. Attracting and retaining the best talent is important for any brand. You might not be able to make everyone happy all the time, but it’s important to consider the needs of your employees as you shape employment policies. Even your physical workspace can help create the best possible balance for generation Z.

If you’re looking for your next hire, RightStone can help match you with the best talent. Give us a call today.

 


5 Tips to Overhauling Your Resume

Your resume is still the best tool to get noticed by recruiters. It’s a streamlined way to showcase your career and education highlights in an easy format to quickly send off to employers. It’s a good idea to keep your resume updated at all times – even if you’re happy in your current position or only passively looking for a new role. This way if a can’t-be-missed or once-in-a-lifetime opportunity ever comes up, you’ll be ready with resume in hand.

Here’s how to overhaul or improve your resume.

  1. Pay Attention to Format: Whether you’re handing out print copies of your resume or sending them through email and job portal uploads, the top of the page matters most. This is what recruiters and hiring managers see first. Make sure the most relevant information is at the top of your resume.
  2. Get a Second Opinion: Have a resume writer or other qualified person take a look at your resume and ask for input. Whether it’s giving you information on what a 30-second review tells them or offering advice on how to format your experience for maximum impact, you can get a lot out of third-party outlook.
  3. Make it Match: Even if it’s not a highly designed resume, make sure it looks clean, professional and consistent. Ensure your fonts in the header section match the body of your resume and take time to match your cover letter to your resume.
  4. Edit Your Experience: If you feel like your experience section is lacking, incorporate more kinds of experience to fill it out. Everything from volunteer work to part-time jobs to freelance and contracting positions can help make your resume more robust and showcase a broader skill set.
  5. Use More Data and Facts: Describing your experience with qualifying information is key – how many projects did you work on and what were the results? If you oversaw a software installation that improved productivity of a department or entire business unit, note the percentage increase on your resume. Showcasing accomplishments that can be linked to hard data is one of the best ways to stand out and solidify your experience.

Improving your resume can ensure that you are taken seriously as a candidate and can qualify you for the best possible positions. Performing an overhaul or making significant changes to your current resume can make sure it’s ready for wherever your career path takes you.

If you’re looking for your next job opportunity, get in touch today. Our expert staffing professionals can help connect you with the next step in your career.


Offering Remote Work Opportunities Could Allow You to Hire Better Talent

 

Employees often have several deciding factors when weighing their decision about accepting a new position – salary, benefits and commute all rank pretty high on most candidate’s list of priorities. Another factor that’s rising in the ranks of important perks is flexibility. Employees are now more than ever attached to their phones and laptops outside of the office, meaning the boundaries between work and personal lives are often blurred. Having a work-life balance that supports the ability to take time off when needed or work outside the office can be seen as big benefits to potential employees.

Remote work has grown exponentially over the last decade, and more employees are expecting some work-from-home opportunities or flextime in their positions. Offering the option to work remotely either part or all the time is an attractive benefit that could draw in more candidates. This kind of flexibility is also linked to higher productivity and greater employee loyalty. Employers often think they need to have employees in the office to get the most work done or they risk employees slacking off; however, many people thrive when given autonomy, and the tools of today’s workforce mean collaboration is still possible even when teams are geographically dispersed.

Allowing remote workers also means that you grow your talent pool by removing geographic boundaries – if you allow people to work from anywhere, you won’t be limited to only the best talent in your area, but you’ll be open to the best talent from anywhere.

The beauty of the tech industry is the infrastructure and programs exist to help support a remote workforce. Help desk employees can work off-site and use technology that allows them to access a server or desktop remotely, programmers can code at home and cloud-based technology allows many employees – IT or otherwise – to manage their files and workload from places other than at a desk full time.

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If you’re looking to hire the best talent for your company – in-office or remote – contact us today.


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