Interview with the 2016 DEMA Educator the Year – Tonya Sakowicz of Newborn Care Solutions

Tonya Sakowicz is the founder of Newborn Care Solutions, a company dedicated to the education of families and training of Newborn Care Specialists and Nannies. As an INA Credentialed Nanny, Newborn Care Specialist, and Parent Educator, Tonya provides consulting and in-home sleep conditioning for her clients, in addition to teaching seminars. Her training focuses on proven strategies, methods, and tips found to be the most beneficial for the newborns and their families.

LATRICIA FRIEND: Congratulations. How does it feel to be selected as the 2016 DEMA Educator of the Year?
TONYA SAKOWICZ: Thank you! It feels amazing, to be honest. I was shocked when I found out I had won, as I had no idea I had even been nominated. Moreover, to know that all the hard work that we have been putting into our training programs is recognized and awarded is amazing. It pushes me, even more, to work harder for our students—now I have not just my expectations to live up to, but the honor DEMA has given my company.

LF: When matching newborn care specialists to client families, what is your key to success?
TS: We do not participate in the matching process other than working with agencies to spread the word to our students about potential openings. Agencies are so happy with the quality of training that our students have that many companies come to us first whenever a position arises because they are proud to send our students to their principals. I believe that is because we work so hard to make sure our students have in-depth, evidence-based and current information. This benefits our students because they are more in demand. It makes me so incredibly happy to see and hear about our student’s success. When one of my students nails a six-month, $175,000 contract, I am THRILLED for them!

LF: How will winning this award affect Newborn Care Solutions?
TS: I think it will drive us to be even better. You do not go around announcing you won “Educator of the Year” and then sit on your laurels. You have to strive to do more with more excellence. So in the end, the biggest effect will be the benefit to our students because it makes me work even harder for them
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Many thanks to Christofle for their on-going support of the Domestic Estate Management Association. Christofle is a platinum-level sponsor of the DEMA convention and provided the sterling silver awards given each year.

Previous Award Recipients:
2015: Bonnie Low-Kramen
2014: Donna Shannon
2013: Association of Premier Nanny Agencies
2012: Charles MacPherson Associates

Photo Credit: DEMA 2016 Convention

Domestic Match logo

Interview with the 2016 DEMA Agency of the Year – Domestic | Match

As a staffing agency, Domestic | Match assists families to find applicants for all household positions – particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, although they place management-level candidates to families throughout the United States. Founder and Director Daniel Wood’s experience extends to all sides of the hiring triangle as a candidate, a hiring manager, and a third-party recruiter. It is this unique understanding of all facets of the private service market that allows Daniel to make effective matches.

Daniel Wood Domestic MatchLATRICIA FRIEND: Congratulations. How does it feel to be selected as the 2016 DEMA Agency of the Year? What was the reaction of your family/friends/colleagues?
DANIEL WOOD: We are absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as the Agency of the Year by DEMA. We truly have a passion for helping others to succeed in their professional careers, and for bringing a degree of relief to our very busy clients. It is an honor to be acknowledged for what we love to do.

LF: You were missed at the convention and Chef Peter Downs accepted the award on your behalf. He mentioned his friendship and professional association with you. How would you recommend candidates to develop a relationship with a staffing agency?
DW: I am grateful to Peter for accepting the award on my behalf. I have known Peter for many years now and have a great respect for his dedication to his employers and the Private Service profession.

It is so important that candidates understand the importance of developing relationships with the agencies that they choose to have represent them. I believe that the foundation of a healthy agency/candidate relationship is based on honesty and clear communication. When we meet new candidates we really want to know what is important to them, and we need them to communicate with us professionally and quickly. The little things are important to us. Does someone take the time to address us by our names when they email us? Do they send a follow-up note after our initial meeting with them? The details matter. That being said, the responsibility of building a strong relationship should not fall solely on the shoulders of the candidate. We enjoy getting to know our candidates and strive to treat everyone with respect.

LF: When matching domestic staff candidates to client families, what are your keys to success?
DW: The keys to our success are simple really, honesty, excellent service, and paying attention to the small details. Honesty is so vital. We feel strongly that our candidates should have a very clear understanding of a potential new work environment before they make a life-changing commitment to our clients. There are challenges with every position; candidates should know about those challenges and decide for themselves if they wish to proceed with an opportunity. Our clients and candidates are busy. We strive to make the hiring process as seamless and simple as possible. Providing excellent service is a must.

Serving a family in a professional capacity is so vastly different than any other employee/employer relationship. Everyone on my team has worked for families in the past. Our clients and candidates seem to value that greatly. We have a deep understanding of the very intimate employment relationships that develop within a private residence.

LF: How will winning this award affect Domestic | Match?
DW: The most immediate affect has been on my team. We all feel so proud to have been selected to receive the award. In addition, I hope that the award will play a role in helping us to connect with even more amazing people from around the country who are in search of new private service opportunities.

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Many thanks to Christofle for their on-going support of the Domestic Estate Management Association. Christofle is a platinum-level sponsor of the DEMA convention and provided the sterling silver awards given each year.

Previous Award Recipients:
2015: Aunt Ann’s In-House Staffing
2014: Robert Hanselman Domestic Agency
2013: Precise Home Management
2012: Distinguished Domestics Services

Photo Credit: Daniel Wood, Domestic | Match

The Inside Scoop: The 2016 DEMA Private Service Professional of the Year – Roger Cushwa

Working with Roger Cushwa in his role as President of the NY Tri-State Chapter is inspiring. He spends over 20-hours each month meeting with members, luxury service suppliers, and potential members – not including our board meetings, ad hoc committee meetings, phone calls with agencies, or emails with the national office.

Roger’s 25 years of service related experience ranges from distinguished military service and former law enforcement officer to being the general manager of a member-focused private club. In 2011, he completed the Starkey International Institute for Household Management’s four-week certification program, followed by his Associates Degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Hospitality/Tourism Management from Horry-Georgetown Technical College.

He is driven to have a positive impact on his Principals’ lives; allowing them the time to enjoy their interests. As an Estate Manager, he has overseen multiple locations, supervising the housekeeping, culinary, maintenance and landscaping staff. He excels at vendor management, gaining favorable contracts with his negotiating skills. Moreover, as with most Estate Managers, he coordinated residential, project construction, and renovation with experience substantial budgets of more than $1.5M.

As the Membership Co-Chair of the NY Tri-State Chapter, I spoke to him about being this year’s recipient.

Latricia Friend: Congratulations. How does it feel to be nominated by your peers as the 2016 DEMA Private Service Professional of the Year?
Roger Cushwa: It is a great honor and extremely humbling when I look at the past winners, and others I know in this profession.

LF: In your role as chapter president, what has made the biggest impact in your life? Professional Life?
RC: The chapter board members that I work with are the best. We have come together as a team, and we work extremely well together. We do not always agree, but I feel that we have had a very positive impact on not only the Tri-State Chapter but the association as a whole. Professionally, it has allowed me access to suppliers that I would have never known about were it not for my fellow DEMA members, and I now have a network of friends that spans the globe. I have made some wonderful friends and this list just continues to grow the longer I am in DEMA.

LF: During your acceptance speech, you mentioned several people in the room and members of the NY Tri-State Chapter board.
RC: I recognized the other chapter board members and encouraged everybody to support their local chapters. As a volunteer board, it is difficult to find folks that want to commit the time and energy to another leadership role. These folks need the support and encouragement of their chapter members to make the association reach the level of recognition and impact in our profession. By doing this, we strengthen not only the organization but every member in private service and making everyone better.

LF: You inspire me. Who or what inspired you to start a career in private service? Your work on the NY Tri-State Chapter board?
RC: Thank you, I was working as a mechanic in Myrtle Beach SC, and a customer left a section of the paper in the lobby. There was an article about a lady who had moved from California to Myrtle Beach, and she attended Starkey International Institute. I remember thinking that this sounded like something I would love to do. I went home, watched the video, and I remember getting chills and goosebumps. I started yelling for my wife to come here, that I had found what I was meant to do. It took me almost five years before I made it to Starkey, which was an incredible experience. I discovered that I have always loved to serve and make people feel special, and our industry is a perfect place for that to happen.

From my first position in Florida, I learned about DEMA and joined the West Palm Beach Chapter. I am passionate about the purpose and benefit of DEMA. This industry is so isolating for the Private Service Professional. So, to have an international association and network of professionals who understand these special needs is priceless. I had known then current Tri-State Chapter President, Steve Feldman, of Renovation Angel for almost three years before I moved to the northeast. I remember, moving to Connecticut and starting my new position on Monday, February 24, 2014, and Tuesday the 25 I was at my first meeting. I supported the chapter and in June Steve asked me to be Co-President with him. I worked with Steve until the 2014 convention and when he stepped down – I became the Chapter President.

I am passionate about DEMA, and I believe very strongly that with all of us working together, we can have a better and more positive impact on the lives of our Principals. The impact that we can have on society can boggle the mind. Imagine if my Principal was able to devote and extra three to five hours a day on curing cancer, creating jobs, reducing the debt, or improving the quality of life for not only all of their direct employees but society as a whole. This is the role that I play. I can give that person the time and space to figure out these problems without having to worry about the houses, cars, cleaning, yard work, and all of the other daily tasks that won’t lead to the cure for cancer, create jobs, or help restore balance to our planet.

LF: How will winning this award affect your work?
RC: I hope that it makes me even more committed to bringing the message and benefits of DEMA to not only Private Service Professionals but also to the Principals that we support. I want every Principal to have the best care possible, and every Private Service Professional to have the best working environment possible.
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Many thanks to Christofle for their on-going support of the Domestic Estate Management Association. Christofle is a platinum-level sponsor of the DEMA convention and provided the sterling silver awards given each year.

Previous Award Recipients:
2015: Gary Cockerham
2014: Sara Recer
2013: David Barrie, Jr
2012: Richmond Schmidt

 

Photo: Matthew Haack, DEMA Co-Founder and President; Roger Cushwa, 2016 PSP of the Year; and Michael Wright, DEMA Co-Founder and Vice President

Photo Credit: DEMA 2016 Convention

2016 DEMA Convention

 

If you attended the 2016 Domestic Estate Managers Association Convention this past weekend, you are probably still processing all the people met, the conversations had, and the knowledge, technology, and products presented. If you were unable to attend, then you missed the best gathering of private service professionals to-date. Participants represented multiple states from across the country, including Hawaii. However, the member that traveled the farthest came all the way from the Principality of Monaco.

As in past years, Career and Job Fair began on Friday, August 26 at 9:00 am. More than 20 firms (placement agencies, a consulting firm, and a resume writing/career coach) spoke in-depth with candidates, gaining the rare opportunity to meet face-to-face. After lunch, Donna Shannon/Personal Touch Career Services spoke about personal branding, Bonnie Low-Kramen/Be the Ultimate Assistant led a much-needed discussion on salary negotiations, and David Gonzalez/EstateJobs.com gave insight into the recruitment process.

The convention officially kicked off with a western-themed cocktail reception on the grounds of the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, AZ. Estate managers, private chefs, nannies, executive protection specialists, luxury service suppliers, personal assistants, household managers, staffing agencies, and several presenters networked among the cacti. Personally, I conversed with friends, colleagues, and first-time attendees, discussing such diverse topics as annual reviews and salary negotiation, evolving roles and responsibilities, and best practices of fractional household/estate management. I overheard several discussions on searching for a laundress and suggested firms to use for background checks (most recommended was Via Integrity). People openly shared requests for and advice on every type of service provider. Of course, many chapter members engaged in good-natured boasting for the coveted Chapter of the Year Award.

This year, the Saturday sessions included two tracks of workshops – one for private service professionals and the other for service suppliers. General session veterans Charles MacPherson, Bonnie Low-Kramen, Kris Coleman, and Dr. Chris Sidford held informative discussions on the future of hospitality, emergency preparedness, international security measures, and medical safety. During the day, workshop presenters included Ray Nugent, Olivia Nugent, Michael Wright, Catherine Brown, Tonya Sakowicz, Steve Feldman, Jay Bakaler, and Matthew Haack.

Rather than holding the standard Awards Dinner on Saturday night, DEMA broke out the casino chips for roulette, blackjack, and poker offering valuable prizes for the participants. Everyone enjoyed the high-spirited fun and excellent food, along with the opportunity to continue networking with each other.

Please extend your congratulations to the recipients:
Agency of the Year – Domestic Match. Chef Peter Downs accepted on behalf of Daniel Woods.

Educator of the Year – Tonya Sakowicz of Newborn Care Solutions

Supplier of the Year – Christofle Paris, a convention sponsor and international luxury brand known for its silver craftsmanship.

Chapter of the Year – Palm Beach, The Flamingo Chapter

Private Service Professional of the Year Award – Roger Cushwa, NY Tri-State Chapter President

DEMA Lifetime Achievement Award – Claudia Allensworth. Andrew Lowery accepted on her behalf.

On Sunday, a panel comprised of Mrs. Green, Steve Feldman, Roger Cushwa, and Brian Bishop discussed recycling and earth stewardship as a function of estate management. Workshops presenters Karen Brooks, Dr. Joel Cohen, Colleen Forgus, Jit Jayakumar Gary Cockerham, Richard Schmidt, Charles MacPherson, Andrew Lowery, Guy Sporbert, and Renate Mousseux spoke on a variety of personal service and managerial topics, from how to hold a proper Afternoon Tea to Managing PSP Expectations.

Throughout the weekend, an exhibition hall was populated with 23 local and national service providers. Many thanks to every company that was represented. Click here, for a full list of exhibitors.

While I am re-energized by the buzz and excitement of networking, fellowship with colleagues and friends, and meeting new members and first-time convention attendees – personally, I need a few more days to process all the conversations, presentations, technology, and energy.

I look forward to next year and hope to see you at the 2017 DEMA Convention!

P.S. I made all of my photos available to the national office and ask that you do the same. Be on the lookout for all the professional and candid shots on DEMA’s website and Facebook page.

6 Ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile

It’s no secret. Recruiters and HR professionals are looking at your profile. Sometimes they do this just to verify that the information on your resume coincides with your LinkedIn profile, at least the basics of the work history. Sometimes they are looking for the rest of your story. Whatever the case, there is a lot you can do to enhance the quality of your online presence and drive more traffic to your profile.

  1. Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics

This is one of the key differences between your resume and your LinkedIn profile. On your resume, key words screen you in, and they only have to be used once. For example, if HR sees “Microsoft Office” in your skill set, you don’t need to repeat that term within every one of your positions in the work history to get past the screening procedures.

However, your LinkedIn profile is in fact a website. As a result, we want to repeat the high value key words and their derivatives in a natural manner. (Note that this is for high value key words – you still don’t need to repeat “Microsoft Office” 10 times.) For example, I am trying to attract job seekers who might hire me to write their resume. My summary includes terms like “effective resumes, resume writing, resumes and cover letters, and resume writer” sprinkled throughout the different paragraphs and sentences. This means that I will show up in more searches because of both the frequency and the variation of the key words.

  1. Write a descriptive, key word optimized headline

When someone searches on LinkedIn, the results won’t show your full profile – it starts with a list first, which highlights your name, headline, and work history basics. That headline is a powerful branding statement. Lead with something that entices the searcher to click on your profile.

Selfish or desperate headlines like “Seeking a new opportunity in Denver” rarely work, especially if you are trying to proactively reach out to managers through LinkedIn. In those cases, it may even drive them away. Instead, think of what you can do for others. Is it building a powerful team? How about increasing revenue? Or solving persistent problems? Whatever it is, never forget to write a value proposition that matters to your audience, be it recruiters, managers, or customers.

  1. Add supporting content

LinkedIn is a great resource to show off your work. It could be an article you wrote, a PowerPoint presentation, an introductory video, or even your full resume. In fact, you can watch a 3 minute video on how to do this from my own LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/donnashannon

Additional content can be added to your summary or work experience. Just remember that it may be publicly available, so remove your street address if you are uploading your resume.

  1. Use your Skills and Endorsements strategically

People ask me all the time if the Skills and Endorsements are valuable or not. The answer is “yes.” We know that they aren’t as valuable as Recommendations because Endorsements are only mouse clicks from your connections, usually generated somewhat randomly. The reason why they matter comes back to the SEO factor for your profile. Every single one of those Skills is a key word. You want to make sure to only keep high value key words in this area and delete anything that doesn’t fit with your target jobs.

  1. Make use of the Additional Sections

People come to your LinkedIn profile to learn more about you. This is where filling in your Causes That You Support, Volunteer Experience, Publications, Awards, and so on can really benefit you. Resumes are getting more streamlined all the time, but the extras on your LinkedIn profile can overcome this problem.

Even if you describe an award within your work history, take the extra time to fill out the optional Award section on your profile. It creates cross-links within your profile and draws more attention to the achievement.

  1. Bulk out your Interests and load up on SEO

On most resumes, it’s not appropriate to list your interests or hobbies anymore, unless they directly relate to the job. However, this is a great section to complete on LinkedIn to give the company insight into who you are and how you would fit within the corporate culture.

There is also another trick you can use in your Interests. One way to increase your SEO with lower value key words is to create a key word blast and then place it in the Interest. A key word blast is any and all variations of some of your key words. For example, here is my Interests:

“Science Fiction, Horror, Karate, hockey, baseball, Private service, domestic staff, luxury lifestyle management, employment assistance, corporate job search, recruitment, resume writer, job search advisement, consulting, writing services, interview coaching, career coach, author, teacher, professional speaker, resumes, job hunting, job search tips, career consultant, job search skills…”

The first few interests are real. When you get to “private service,” you find variations of the same term, such as “domestic staff” and “luxury lifestyle management.” These are niche markets that I serve. I want to show up in these searches, but I don’t want to give up valuable real estate in my summary with these lower value key word variations.

In conclusion, your resume may be your core document, but your LinkedIn profile gives the rest of the picture. Keep in mind that this is not a static document but its own webpage and, as such, it needs the same strategies to attract and drive traffic to it.

is your resume hitting it out of the park

Is your resume striking out or knocking it out of the park?

The job seeker steps up to the plate. You can feel the determination coming off of him like waves spreading across the field. The HR manager pitches the job, a hard fast ball that flies past the job seeker, who just misses it. Setting up for the second pitch now, a deceiving curve ball.  The job seeker swings hard and fans it, catching nothing but air.  It’s all riding on this final pitch.  Another fast ball, but all he does is watch it sail across the plate to have the umpire call the last strike.

Ever feel like that when sending your resume out to employers? When looking for a new job or opportunity, it can feel like the bottom of the 9th and the entire game is riding on your shoulders.

Follow these simple tips to knock your job search out of the park!

Batter on deck

Having a solid resume is very much like having a quality bat. You never see professional ball players at the plate with a whiffle Ball bat; it wouldn’t be able to compete. Nor do you see them trying to swing something they can’t lift.

Your resume is very similar. If your resume is lacking critical information and key words, it acts like a light piece of plastic that shatters on contact with a professional pitcher on the mound. If your resume is overloaded superfluous fluff or excessively old work history, it becomes slow and unwieldy in the hands of anything less than a superhuman.

When writing your resumes and cover letters, be sure to include things like contact information, key skills specific to the target job, and relevant duties. Don’t forget to highlight past achievements, such as sales metrics, customer volume, call volume, awards, and any other quantifiable metric appropriate for your target job.

One of the latest trends in modern resumes is to “get to the point.” Recruiters and hiring managers alike need to understand your strengths and abilities within 30 seconds.  If your resume is filled with too much padding just to be fancy, you can easily strike out.

Gotta swing to be a hitter

In baseball, the Strike Zone is based on the batter’s height and the width of the plate. Every batter’s ideal pitch is different, much like every job seeker’s ideal job is different. When considering different positions, think of each one as their own pitch. Something outside of your strike zone – for example, way out of your skill set, experience, or education – is not something you should swing at. Typically, HR uses those differentiators to determine their top candidates.

HOWEVER, you can’t tell what the top qualifications are just by reading the job description.  In every job posting, there are factors that the employers value more than others. For these reasons, you should apply to any job that catches your interest, especially if you hold most of the skills and experience desired.  You gotta swing to be a hitter!

Transitioning to a new role or industry?  Remember, HR tends to be pretty literal in screening candidates based on key words and qualifications, just like the umpire calling each pitch.  HOWEVER, you can still land a new job by reaching out to the hiring managers directly.  Many successful major league players are known for chasing a pitch outside of their normal strike zone and turning it into a single, double, triple, or even a home run.  The trick is knowing that they can make it work – and then proving it to the world.

Step into the box

Even before seeing a pitch, a baseball player performs a unique ritual as he steps into the batter’s box to get fully focused.  When the pitch comes screaming at him at 90 miles an hour, he is so focused that he can see the stiches on the ball.  As it gets into range, he raises his front foot, twists up from the feet and drives that sucker into the ball. He uses his whole body to drive power into the bat and launch that ball into the stratosphere.

Technique matters for job seekers too. Just doing the minimal effort when applying to a job is like swinging a bat with noodle arms.  If you really want to get an employer’s attention, track down the HR manager or even connect with higher-ups in your target companies using things like LinkedIn. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is very much alive in this day and age. Exercise the muscles of your network to fully engage all of your strengths to hit it out of the park.

 

 

 

 

Spring has sprung (almost)

Spring may not “officially” be in season quite yet, but that all changes this upcoming weekend. Soon there will be fluffy bunnies, robins, flowers in bloom and leaves on the trees that spent their winter dormant waiting for this moment.

We humans have a tendency to “hibernate” in the winter seasons, preferring to stay indoors where it is nice and toasty, binge watching Netflix and feasting during the holiday seasons. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but our homes tend to get kind of gross in that period of time. Thusly did spring cleaning become a thing.

Every spring, you can find spring cleaning messages in advertisements online and on television, even the radio if you can tolerate the commercials.

“Woah, hold on there a minute, James,” you may be saying, “What does that have to do with careers?”

Well, random person whom I have never met, yet seem to be able to voice in a static writing…everything!

We are creatures of habits and patterns. Every spring, we clean up our living spaces. Plants and animals go through changes, so we strive for a change ourselves. Many job seekers start looking for a career shift around this time of year, riding the optimism carried by the bright flowers and birdsongs. However, many job seekers do not apply the aforementioned spring cleaning bug to their resumes and other career documents.

Your resume, cover letter and even your LinkedIn profile can grow just as stagnant in the winter seasons as your living space. You grow comfortable with it. You may no longer see where it may need to be cleaned up and changed. Well, time to dust those suckers off and get to work!

1.    Resume

Even if you have recently updated your resume, you want to make sure it is as current as possible. Did you take on additional responsibilities at your current position? Did you recently leave a position? Did you move? Change your phone number? These are just the basics in terms of editing your resume, but if you don’t address the basics first, you are basically shooting yourself in the foot.

Your current resume should focus on the last 10-15 years of career experience and development or in your current industry. Take a look at some of the job descriptions for the job title you are looking at getting in your next career move. How much experience do they require? What skills are all of the job descriptions looking for? Use this as a road map for updating your resume that you send out to employers.

2.    Master Resume / Application

This is a little different than your resume. A summary of your employment history is modeled after your resume, but includes a few extra details, such as the employer’s address, your supervisor, contact information, starting/ending salary and reason for leaving.

This kind of document is a fantastic tool for interviewing, but also useful for filling out online applications. When it comes time for interviews, have this document with you and ready, and a lot of that pre-interview stress will be mitigated.

Use this template:

Company         Dates Worked

Job Title

Address

Supervisor Name, Title, Contact information

Starting Salary:

Ending Salary:

Reason for Leaving:

 

Example:

 

Private Company, LLC 9/2011 to 4/2014

Private Chef to Mr. and Mrs. John Successful

Confidential Work Location, Any town, USA

Jane Smith, HR Coordinator, 123 Main Street, Any town, USA, (123) 456-7890, jsmith@email.com

Starting Salary: 87,500/year

Ending Salary: 98,000/year plus discretionary bonus

Reason for Leaving: Spouse relocated to San Francisco, CA

3.    Cover Letters

Like a great suit, everyone should have more than one cover letter.  Ideally, you would write a fresh cover letter for each job, or at least have three or four letters that you can easily adapt to job postings.  Have a few that are ready for a quick tweak, especially for an email message.  Do not forget to put in extra effort to customize the letter for your dream job. Including research specific to that employer or situation will help you stand out from the other applicants. This applies to follow-up letters and thank you letters as well.

4.    Reference List

Rather than stating “references available on request” on your resume, have a prepared reference list.  This is a single document that includes three or four professional references and up to three character references. Ideally, you want to select people who would be willing to speak with a potential employer, discussing you, your achievements and the attributes that make you the best candidate for the job at hand.  If a written recommendation letter exists from an individual and you plan to add it to your application package, make a note of it on this list.

 

In fact, when was the last time you communicated with the people on your list?  Now is a good time to reconnect.  Find out what they are up to and fill them in on all the happenings in your life.  If a colleague mentioned writing you a recommendation letter the last time you spoke, then follow-up on their offer.  Make it easy for them by directing them to your LinkedIn profile.

5.    LinkedIn

Speaking of LinkedIn, once you have finished up your polishing of your other documents, your profile is a great next step, especially if you plan to use it you reconnect with your references. With LinkedIn, you can update any of the information you changed on your resume, naturally, but you will also want to talk to people in your network and strengthening those professional relationships. Get recommended, ask your references and others to endorse your skills and do the same for them. Trust me, it goes a long way.

Need more help with LinkedIn? Check out our free and paid webinars on Eventbrite, HERE

 

Just clean up your career documents a little this spring. Follow this guide, and you will be sure to get more out of your resume, cover letter and profile than you have been.

 

 

 

Safety tips for your job search

Scammers are preying on desperate job seekers.  Are you conducting a safe job search?

One of my Denver clients recently called me with an unfortunate but common problem:

“I just got called by the police – they discovered an identity theft ring which had stolen my information from an online job application,” he said, totally despondent and heartbroken.  “I guess I’m lucky because the cops caught them, but I still have to deal with cleaning up the mess they made…”

In the past year, identity thefts and other scams that target job seekers has seen a sharp increase.  It is estimated that 50-70% of job ads on craigslist.com are fraudulent.  Compared to a rate of approximately 30% in 2008, it is easy to see that the thieves are banking on the desperation of the job seekers.

Fortunately, you can easily protect yourself from such scams.

Protect Your Information

One of the common tricks is to direct job seekers to an online application.  While many legitimate companies use online applications, or Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), look out for ones that require too much personal information.

If the application asks for any of this information, do NOT fill it in:

  • ·         Social Security number
  • ·         Birth Date (they should only ask if you are over 18)
  • ·         Bank account information (often disguised as trying to set up your direct deposit)
  • ·         Mother’s maiden name (often needed to establish credit)
  • ·         Previous names used
  • ·         Insistence on full salary history when you apply

If you are still interested in the job after running into these requests, call the company first. Sometimes legitimate companies will ask for these details, especially the salary history.  For example, the private service industry will frequently ask for some of these details, especially since they are recruiting people to work in private homes.

However, if you are suspicious about any opportunity, look for ways to talk to an actual person at the company, even if it is only the receptionist to verify that the job listing is real.  If the company’s name is not listed on the website, definitely run the other way.

A New Twist: Cloned Job Postings

The other day my husband called me to verify a customer service job he saw posted on Indeed.com.  This was for an advanced customer advocate with a stated salary range of over $60,000 – obviously, much higher than the typical rate.  The problem?  The job posting was a clone that led to a dummy application system.

What the scammers did was find a legitimate job in another state, copied it, and pasted into the Denver job listings.  The website with the application used the original company’s logo and descriptions, but it didn’t have the supporting pages built around the rest of the site.

How did I find this out?  I went to the real company’s main website, which I found through Google.  They only had this same job available in Ohio and Tennessee, but certainly not for a Denver call center.  Had my husband filled out the fake application, I’m sure we would be dealing with some identity theft today.

Private Resume Posting

Scammers are also contacting people who place their resumes online.  Generally speaking, do NOT post your resume online unless you can do so in a completely private manner.

For example, when you load up your resume on Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com, you do have the option to list it as “Private.”  This means that your resume will not show up in a general search of the data base – only jobs that you actually apply to will receive your information.

Recruiters pay money to search the data bases, which is also known as data mining.  However, these jobs tend to be high-turnover jobs, such as 100% commission sales jobs.  You won’t be missing many great opportunities by posting your resume privately.

A private setting not only protects you from thieves that pay to search resumes, it will also decrease the amount of spam job listings that are targeting you.  Want to get rid of the pesky “opportunity to own an insurance franchise?” Only post your resume privately.

In cases like Craigslist that offers no privacy settings on resume posting, do not post your resume at all.  If you choose to upload a Word or PDF version of your resume onto your LinkedIn profile, be sure to remove your contact information first.

Don’t Accept Packages

Another twist from scammers is the offer to help someone run their purchasing business.  Usually coming from someone across the country or who “travels a lot,” the job sounds like a great way to make part time money.  All you have to do is receive the packages and ship them forward.

The first few deals may work out.  However, as you “prove yourself” on the job, you may get asked to make purchases on the employer’s behalf, with a promise to pay you back plus interest. Here the scam can run two ways: either you never get reimbursed or the employer asks for your banking information to send you money.

Anytime someone asks for banking information is a bad sign…

Legitimate professional shoppers or art dealers do not operate this way. They already have a network that they use for these services.

Work at Home

While there are many legitimate work-at-home opportunities, you do need to be careful.  Here are some of the common work-at-home scams:

  • ·         You have to pay for training
  • ·         You have to buy materials to assemble items for resale (either you can’t sell the items, or the “employer” won’t pay you for the work performed)
  • ·         Bogus direct deposit forms

If you are serious about a work-from-home opportunity, check out Flexjobs.com.  While you do have to pay to see the full jobs listings, Flexjobs researches each and every job to make sure they are a legitimate offering from a real company.

Check Their Reputation

Before you apply for any job, you should research the company.  In particular, resources like Colorado’s Better Business Bureau, local Chambers of Commerce (including the internet Chambers of Commerce) and local news sources like the Denver Business Journal all carry information on local businesses.  In the case of the Better Business Bureau, they have free information on most of the businesses, whether they are members or not.  Seeing the number of complaints – or a lack of records – are all indications that a potential employer is not on the level.

One of my favorite tools for checking out companies is a simple Google search.  Try “company name scam,” or “company name reputation,” or “company name reviews.”  What I like about this tactic is that it will also reveal real companies that have a negative reputation or bad company culture.  After all, the job may be real, but you may not want it.

Use Common Sense

While the job search may be driving you crazy, don’t let desperation override your common sense.  If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Building and Protecting Your Reputation

As my friend and trusted business advisor Denny Basham of Subsilio Consulting says, “Reputation matters.”  Never has this been truer in business than it is today.  With Google at everyone’s fingertips and reviews available for everything under the sun, both the business owner and the job seeker need to be very conscious of what their reputation is.

 

Why does reputation matter?

In today’s marketplace, it’s very easy to find out a lot of information about individuals as well as businesses.  For job seekers, this equates the need to build positive, online reviews – just like a proactive reputation marketing campaign is important to a business.  One place we see this is on LinkedIn.

It is now standard practice for recruiters and managers to check out a candidate’s LinkedIn profile before offering them an interview.  Some of the main things they are looking for are the Recommendations, the size of the candidate’s network, the Endorsements, and his or her Groups.  All of this additional information gives insight into the candidate beyond just the resume.  Of these, the written Recommendations matter the most.  Endorsements for skills may be valuable key words, but when one of your connections actually writes a paragraph or two about your work, the recruiters will take notice.

Finally, one piece of the online reputation is consistency – if the work history is widely different than what was received in the resume, this reflects poorly on the candidate.  Of course, the work history and a LinkedIn profile shouldn’t be just a verbatim listing from the resume.  However, if dates, locations, company names, and other facts are inconsistent, it makes the job seeker look like they lack attention to detail.

Action builds reputations

Another factor that recruiters and managers check is how involved a candidate is online.  If he or she only has 20 connections and isn’t involved in the Groups, this doesn’t reflect well on how much they are willing to contribute to the industry as a whole.

Whenever you post a discussion or reply to a conversation, you are building your reputation within that Group.  Obviously, intelligent conversation is preferred, but sometimes just being involved is enough.  Of course, if you have something negative to say, don’t say it online!

Defending your reputation

Sometimes, things go sideways and your reputation may be attacked.  This happened to me recently.  One of my clients let me know that a former past connection of mine was tearing apart my work, stating that he would never get a job because he was following my advice.  This was especially hurtful because I have supported this business owner and his endeavors for years – both verbally and online.  Of course, my first reaction was to retaliate; thank goodness I’ve been self-trained to have greater restraint than that.

When faced with a reputation attack, first consider:

  1. The source – does this person have their own reputation problems or history of attacking people? If so, don’t take ownership of their character defects.
  2. Is it true? If yes, take the necessary actions to correct the behavior.  If not, think about what you can do to build on your positive reputation.

Now that the main questions have been addressed, come up with a plan to deal with the tarnishing event.  Your course of action may include:

  • Do nothing and let this person’s own karma catch up with them.
  • Reach out to your network and promote a positive achievement, idea, or action to counteract the reputation hit.
  • Journal writing about the incident. It’s normal to be mad or upset about the situation, but you don’t want to accidentally post a negative attack online or in an email that could come back to haunt you.

One of my mottos for my company is “Act with Honor.”  When faced with a reputation attack, I must keep this commitment first in my mind.  It’s very tempting to react to anger and bitterness with more of the same, but rarely does it lead to positive results – in business or in life.

Angles Mannies logo

Agency Spotlight: Angeles Mannies

When most people think of professional, in-home child care, the image of a female nanny comes to mind.  However, there is another aspect of well-qualified child care professionals that are often overlooked: the male nanny, or “manny.”  To serve this interesting niche market, a new agency has surfaced in the Los Angeles area, Angeles Mannies.

Founded by Daniel Butcher, a previous manny himself, this boutique agency strives to match private employers with highly skilled, dedicated, and multi-talented mannies that are committed to the industry.  Many of the mannies hold special certifications, college degrees, or special areas of expertise.

In today’s Agency Spotlight, Daniel tells us more about this interesting take on the traditional nanny industry…

1. How long have you been in business?

I have been placing mannies with families ‘pro-bono’ for a couple of years now, but decided to make it into a business around June/July 2015.

2. What makes your agency unique?
95% of our placement efforts are focused on 5% of the entire childcare population: Male Nannies. My goal is to showcase the different dimension males can bring to domestic childcare.

3. What types of positions do you place?
We focus on childcare placements for the most part and are open to all kinds of domestic positions. For example, we have placed tutors, chefs, personal assistants, sports coaches and swim instructors.

4. What is your ideal candidate?
Aside from a healthy list of requirements and certifications for safety reasons, we look to employ trustworthy, loyal, professional and creative individuals with a passion for childcare who are looking for a career in the industry, not stepping stones to something else.

5. Do you place across the country or locally?  If so, where?
Currently we are only serving the LA County area.

6. Do you look for any special training or certifications, such as college degrees, private service schools, etc?
We ask that upon hire, there is proof of CPR/First Aid certifications, TrustLine verification (a legal requirement in California for domestic childcare through an agency), and a college degree or equal qualification.

7. Where do you announce your open jobs?
Open jobs are announced to our existing pool of mannies via email. I am also a huge believer in word of mouth within the neighborhood and community – believe me, word travels fast!

8. How should a candidate apply for a job?  Do you want an online application, resume or both?
Both!

9. Do you belong to any professional associations?
I am a member of the International Nanny Association (INA), and am currently looking into Association of Premiere Nanny Agencies (APNA) and the Domestic Estate Management Association (DEMA). I will also be attending the Annual INA conference in Washington, DC in 2016.

10. How can people contact you?
People can contact us in a number of different ways

Phone 661-666-1012

Email info@angelesmannies.com

Website: http://angelesmannies.com/

We can also be found on Twitter and Instagram (@Angeles Mannies) Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelesmannies).

Are you an agency owner? Would you like your agency featured in our Agency Spotlight?  There is no fee!  Contact Donna Shannon at 720-452-3400 to find out how you can be included.  Our Agency Spotlight is provided as a service to job seekers, and is not a statement of endorsement.  All information is  provided by the participating agency.

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