The Roll-out

A blog by the staff of MJ Morgan Group


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What’s the Job Worth?

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How to Measure Whether You’re Paying (or Being Paid) Fairly

Whether you’re an employee who’s actively looking for a job (or considering doing so), or an employer that’s hiring for a position that hasn’t been vacant in a while, the salary question is one that can cause plenty of stress. It’s hard to move past perception — what you think a position or profession is worth — and focus on the reality of the actual, research-proven numbers, so you can make a smart, well-informed decision. Here are a few ways to get a little guidance when it comes to that all-important money question:

Go online. A number of online salary calculators and estimators are very good but require signing up for a site or service (sometimes at a fee). One that doesn’t is PayScale.com; it gives you the ability to look up the median salary for your field, for free. Obviously, it doesn’t account for a variety of specific factors, as each company is different, but it’s a useful starting point.

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/All_People_in_All_Surveys/Salary

Evaluate your current situation. How long have you been at your job? If it’s been a while, particularly 5-plus years — and especially if you haven’t been looking for a job — it’s possible you could be making under the average, especially if you haven’t received significant raises beyond standard cost-of-life increases. Also, think back to your initial offer. Did you negotiate, or just accept the first number? If the latter applies, that might be another clue that you could be doing better. Beyond just looking at your own situation, take stock of what you’ve observed others say about salaries, both in person or on job review sites. It’s a touchy subject to discuss actual salaries with coworkers, it may be easier to discuss whether the company generally pays well or poorly.

Enlist a search firm. Too many people try to figure out what they should be making, while they’re on a job search. This could lead to underestimating your salary requirements and settling for a job that pays too little. Especially if you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, it’s useful to sit down with someone and talk about the full range of options available to you, before trying to take on the search yourself. The same applies if you’re an employer, hiring in a field for the first time in a while (or if you just want to confirm that you’re in the right number range).

That’s where we at MJMorgan Group come in. We can crunch the numbers so all you have to worry about is finding (or hiring for) the perfect position.

 

 


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Office Politics

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Emotions are running high this election season – here are some guidelines for getting through it in the workplace.

With the election season winding up, politics talk is rampant everywhere, including, obviously, in offices. And that’s completely normal. The morning after a hot debate, for instance, it makes sense that employees would bring it up at work, just as they would any huge televised event.

As an employer, your job isn’t to squash that talk, of course. Unless it gets disruptive. Monitor and take seriously any reports of exchanges that are anything less than friendly, and if this becomes a widespread problem, send a communication out reminding people to be respectful. In most cases, this isn’t needed… politics doesn’t go far beyond water cooler conversation. But unfortunately things can escalate and get personal, and you need to be on guard for that.

As an employer, it’s critical that you don’t add any fuel to the fire when it comes to politics. When it comes to talking politics, the mantra should be “The less, the better” — and you should aim for zero. Managers — anyone with direct reports — should refrain from any politics talk, especially as it can make employees uncomfortable (if you’re advocating for a particular candidate, the person who reports to you might feel they have to do the same in order to stay in your good graces – and that’s just a bad situation).

So, those were some don’ts, but here are some do’s: things you can do to acknowledge the election season without being biased or inappropriate:

–          DO recognize that people will be talking politics. Sending out a harsh note telling people not to ever mention it will only make people feel chastised. Let normal conversations be. Just don’t add to them, especially if you’re in a management role.

–          DO reassure people of your company’s security and ways it cares for employees. What does this have to do with elections? Well, financial worry is rampant during election season. People might worry: Will my taxes go up? What will happen to my health care? etc. That’s what makes this a great time to reiterate the strength of your benefit packages and other perks for employees. A lot of concerns that people have during elections just have to do with the fact that they feel they will be abandoned financially. Reassure them so that they know that, no matter who wins the election, the company is there to help them flourish, career-wise and financially.

–          DO encourage people to vote, and make it painless for them to do so. Go beyond your state’s laws that require you to give people a certain amount of time off on Election Day. For instance, note very specifically that you’re aware voting lines can be extremely long, and encourage employees that they shouldn’t be the least bit apprehensive about waiting in line. Going a bit above and beyond to reassure people that they should take all the time the need to do vote on election day — in the morning, lunch break, or evening, whatever works best depending on someone’s individual circumstances — shows that you value employees who take their civic duty seriously, no matter how they vote.

At MJ Morgan Group, we can’t tell you who to vote for, but if you are “ready to leave office” ~ we can help you find you next dream job. One thing we can all agree on; life is better when you love your job. Contact us today!


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Becoming a Better Public Speaker

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Being a good public speaker isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. Even a person who’s extroverted and friendly in real life might be a ball of nerves when in front of a podium and a crowd. Luckily, this is a skill you can work on. Here are a few tips on how:

Practice, practice, practice. Get in front of that mirror, and start speaking. Read a phone book, a menu, anything. Just seeing and hearing yourself speak in an authoritative way, while thinking confident, positive thoughts, will get you accustomed with the task. Then, start practicing with your actual speech. Again, out loud. Too many people prep for a speech in silence. Getting used to actually doing it, verbally, is much better prep. 

Involve the audience. Speak directly to audience members to help create a connection that will make the task seem less daunting and more personal. For instance, if you’re doing a speech about time management, ask, “How many of you have a tough time getting to sleep on time? And why is that – anyone care to share?” The answers could lead to a humorous — and real — moment that will feel like an icebreaker and set you at ease. You might start to feel like you’re just chatting with friends. 

Write down a general list of things to remember. Often in the act of making a speech, you forget points you never thought you would. If you wrote down a small list, you’ll be able to refer to it to make sure you’re not missing anything. Just a few words will do: in the aforementioned speech you just might want to write ‘kids and family; multitasking; digital overload; self-sabotage theory.’ Even if these topics are a part of your written notes or outline, this is an even briefer way to map out the flow in just a few words. And even if you never use them, you’ll feel comfortable knowing you have more than enough material to work with (one of the biggest reasons people fear public speaking is because they think they’ll run out of things to say).

Remember the world is big. Very, very big. And you are very little in comparison. The world will not end if you do not make a perfect speech. And thousands and thousands of people are giving speeches all at the very same time, many bigger than yours. Understand that, while this has been your main focus and source of nerves – the center of your universe – it’s not the center of THE universe. Sounds overly simple, but this type of perspective can be very helpful for a lot of life situations. 

Think like the audience. They aren’t here to judge you. They’re just looking to be enlightened. Spend time thinking hard about this: what things will an audience member be looking to get out of my speech? Why are they coming to it? Keep that goal foremost in mind and give them what they want. This can deflect from the actual nerves and give you something else to focus on. (It’s also something you can ask people involved in the organizing of your speech; they’ll be happy to know you’re wanting to do well.)

Public speaking is an important skill in a lot of jobs, and it’ll help you in other related situations, like one-on-ones with your boss, and interviewing for that new job you really want. If you need other tips on brushing up your job skills, call us today!


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Extra Revenue Stream… and the Chance to Fulfill Your Dreams: The Benefits of a Side Job

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Whether you’re looking for extra money for anything from necessities to niceties, or you are pursuing a passion that your 9-to-5 just isn’t satisfying, a side job can be a rewarding life experience. Here are a few benefits to doing your own thing after hours:

 

You’re meeting new people. A new industry – especially if it’s a personal passion you’re pursuing – brings with it a new set of people. This can be great not just for your social life, but also for networking: you could be meeting people who could help turn your side job into a new full-time career (or could introduce you to people who can).

 

You’re using new skills. A side job means you’re likely exercising different skills than in your 9-to-5 job. This not only builds your resume, but it might also open up opportunities to move up at your full-time company, and be seen as someone who is not afraid to take risks and try new things.

 

You’re staying diversified. We all know that a 9-to-5 job is never completely secure… even if you’re the best employee in the best company. A side job will keep income coming if tougher times hit.

 

You’re taking the reins. You should be proud of yourself – whether it’s helping with the bills or helping you pursue a passion, your choice to take a side job is a laudable one. Others may be catching up on Game of Thrones while you’re toiling away, and some days, things will be tiring and frustrating. But the feeling of knowing you’re shaping your own life is ultimately rewarding and will pay off professionally and personally.

 

 

Finally, just a few potential caveats. You don’t want to take a side job that jeopardizes your full-time one. To that end, make sure it isn’t a conflict of interest (i.e., if your job is in marketing at a software firm, it’s almost certain you can’t moonlight in marketing at another software firm). If you’re unsure whether your part-time job will be a conflict, consult your original on-boarding paperwork or ask HR. And finally, you don’t want to exhaust yourself. If your side job is making you too mentally or physically tired to be effective at your day job, it may not be worth it.

 

MJMorgan offers plenty of full-time, contract and temporary options. Whether you’re looking for yourself or you’re hiring at your company, contact us now.


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Writing a Successful Cover Letter

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There are many aspects of job searching that can be frustrating, and for most, writing a cover letter would be at the top of the list. You may often ask yourself, “does anyone even read these things?” The answer is YES! Cover letters do get read. They are your first writing sample to a potential employer and pull all the pieces of your resume puzzle together. Make sure your cover letter allows you to stand out from the crowd with these tips.

  1. Short & Simple: Do not, we repeat, do not write a cover letter longer than one entire page. Be concise and get to the point. The reader needs to get the most important information as quickly as possible – focus on why you are the best person for the job. Mention experience, mention a personal connection to someone in the company, or lead with one or two other reasons why the hiring manager should consider you and continue reading.

 

  1. Address the Recipient: In the age of Google and social media, it should be easy for you to identify the hiring manager so you can address them directly. And whatever you do, make sure your spell their name correctly. If you can’t find the person, you can do a generic “Dear Hiring Manager,” but leave out any gender specific salutations.

 

  1. Solve the Puzzle: The point of the cover letter is not to repeat your resume, but to connect your resume to the job description. Paint a picture how your experience matches the requirements for the position. Tell a story of how you will bring value to the company and also show a genuine interest in the company and the field.  The goal is to make a personal connection between you, your background, experience and interests with the position for which you are applying. The more you can do that, the better chance you have of making it to the interview stage.

 

  1. Be a Closer: You will want to write a line or two repeating (in a fresh way) why you are interested and thank them for the time. You will also want to mention how you plan to follow-up (yes, you will need to be the one to follow-up). Many applicants focus all of the attention on the start of the letter, but the closing is just as important. Finish all the good work you started.

 

And if you need additional help or another pair of eyes, remember our tenured staff is more than willing to assist you. We know a few things about cover letters (being as we read them all day long). We would love to help you – call us today!


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Tips to Ace a Phone Interview

 

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One of the best feelings after weeks (or even months) of searching for a new job, is finally getting a response of interest.  That excitement can quickly turn to anxiety when you realize they want to schedule a phone call with you ASAP! Now what? We have some tips and techniques that will be sure to help you ace your next interview and make it to Round 2.

  1. Know Your Resume:  You will most likely be asked to take the interviewer through your resume. Be ready to discuss any transitions or breaks in your job history. The interviewer may be looking for red flags so be ready to tell him or her why you may have left an organization. They may ask you about one or two bullet points on your resume. Give brief answers and if you still feel they need more information, you can always ask, “would you like me to provide greater detail?”

 

  1. It’s More Than Your Answers: Your interviewer isn’t just looking for certain answers. He or she will also be judging your self-confidence, how articulate you are, and your overall ability to communicate effectively. Believe it or not, you should stand. Standing up during a phone interview can give your voice a more energetic tone.  Don’t feel you have to rush every answer- there is nothing wrong with taking a moment to collect your thoughts. You want to convene a level of calmness and self-assurance and rushing can make you sound nervous.

 

  1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare:  Besides knowing your resume inside out, try to learn as much about the interviewer and the company as possible. Don’t assume the interview will be all about your job history. You may get questions such as “Why are you interested in working with us?” or “How much do you about our latest acquisition or growth?” The more you know, the more your enthusiasm for the role will shine through.

 

  1. Listen: The interviewer has plenty to say so be sure to listen. Don’t start speaking until the interviewer is no longer talking. You can take notes during the call and jot down ideas that you want to bring up later. You can also follow-up after the e-mail with additional thoughts or questions. Interrupting the interviewer will certainly set a negative tone for the rest of the call.

 

  1. Simple Things:  While these may seem obvious, there a few simple rules to remember. If using a cell phone, make sure you are in an area with good reception and no distractions. Don’t smoke (duh!), don’t chew gum (you’d be surprised), and don’t eat (ever). However, you may want to keep a glass of water handy in case the conversation goes long and you need to wet your whistle. Speak slowly and enunciate. Smile- believe it or not, a smile will project a more positive tone. And, of course, say thank you!

If you need some additional assistance, our tenured staff is more than willing to assist you along the way.  As one of the largest professional search firms and temporary staffing agencies, we know a thing or two about phone interviews and we would love to help you.  Call us today!


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Turn on the Job Seeking Switch

 

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You’ve been daydreaming about that new job for months, maybe years, so what exactly are you waiting for? There is never a good time to start looking for a new job. Turn on the motivation and get into a resume writing state of mind with these 5 tips.

  1. Know Your Goals: Before you start any job search, you should identify your goals. Think about what you want both now and in the future. Focus on writing 3-5 goals based on what you desire from your future profession. Base these goals on what you enjoy doing, how you want to feel, and your skills and knowledge. Pin these goals in a place you can see every day so you can find inspiration each time you read them.
  1. Make Time and Space: Chances are you will begin your job search while you are already employed. Set aside time each week after work hours to focus only on the steps necessary to begin your job search. Work on your cover letter, update your resume, and research future employers. If you work better alone, find a quiet spot in your home. If you like the hustle and bustle of people, go to your local coffee shop. Wherever you choose to work, commit to doing so for a little every week until you are ready to start applying.
  1. Find Support: Job searches can be overwhelming. Preparing for a job search can be even harder. Get help from your inner circle (not your current co-workers). Ask your friends or family members to be an extra set of eyes for your resume. Or lean on them when you feel stuck or frustrated. We all need a little push. Make your support system aware of the goals you set so they can help move you along when you are feeling stuck. You don’t have to do it alone.
  1. Get Social: When you need some inspiration to start or continue a job search, hop online. With a click of the mouse, you will find motivational quotes, resume writing tips, and even tutorial videos on how to find your dream job. Pinterest is a great social media site when you need to capture ideas. Create a private board (we don’t want your current employer to see it) for your job search and pin any ideas that stick out to you. Just don’t announce your plans on Facebook or LinkedIn unless you have already made it clear to your current company that you intend on leaving.
  1. Take a Break: You most likely aren’t going to decide you are ready for a new job and then start applying the next day. Take your time to complete small tasks every day to get to your goal. And when you feel frustrated take a day off and take a break. Your brain needs rest to be creative and you will need all the creativity you can muster to create a breakthrough in your career. Like the wise ones always say, “it’s the journey, not the destination.” With a little time, you will find yourself right where you want to be.

If you need some additional assistance, our tenured staff is more than willing to assist you along the way.  As one of the largest professional search firms and temporary staffing agencies, we know a thing or two about starting a job search and we would love to help you.  Call us today!