Tag Archive for: Wayne PA Professional Staffing Agency

This is How A Temporary Job Can Benefit Your Career

Employees today have more choices than ever before. With the unemployment rate at historically low levels and the flexible work economy thriving, you have options for building your career that you may not have realized. One of those options is a temporary job. While temp jobs may have had negative connotations in the past, they’ve gained new status as flexible ways to improve your skills and build a stronger resume in a shorter amount of time.

The New Work Reality

The American Staffing Association (ASA) says there are more than three million temporary and contract workers engaged at staffing agencies each week. American companies hire almost 17 million of these workers each year. Some of their statistics illustrate how temporary jobs have new validity in today’s economy:

  • 76% of temp employees work full-time.
  • Almost half say it’s a good way to get a permanent job.
  • Nine of 10 say temporary jobs make them more employable.

These workers cite the flexibility of the temp job as something both highly attractive and the primary reason for choosing these positions. The research from the ASA also says the average wage is $17 per hour for temp workers but some make more than $100 per hour depending on their skillset.

The benefits of temporary jobs are myriad. They include:

  • As the ASA data shows, flexibility is the key driver for workers snagging lucrative temporary jobs. A temp job can flex with your life; if you need a special schedule or only want to commit to a specific timeframe for working, a temporary job gives you options that you may not have with permanent employment.
  • For workers that may not have the experience to land a full-time permanent position, a temporary job is a good way to add skills to your resume quickly. Ultimately, these temporary positions may lead to an entirely new career.
  • Temp jobs can expose you to an entirely new network, adding new business connections and exposure to new people. It can also add new references to your resume or LinkedIn profile that you didn’t have before.
  • A temporary job could also get your foot into a company where you haven’t been able to make headway. Many of these jobs can go permanent, but again, you have the power to pick and choose your next steps.
  • Temping in a position allows you to try it before you buy it, exposing you to the workplace culture while you get to know a company before making a long-term career commitment.
  • A temporary job can also close or eliminate gaps in your resume when you cannot work full-time.

Today, temping is the new normal. Millions of workers now take advantage of the benefits of contract employment for the flexibility and high pay these roles offer. It’s a positive step toward shoring up your career and will allow you to learn and modernize your skills. If you haven’t considered contract work, maybe now is the time.

The Top Stack team will work closely with you to determine your career goals and see if temporary work can get you on the right track. We specialize in partnerships to help you succeed in the job market. Contact us to learn how we help you today.

4 Tips for How to Set and Achieve Goals at Work

Goal setting at work should be part of a long-term strategy to keep you engaged in the job at hand. It’s important both for ensuring you’re meeting the company mission but there is also the satisfaction of achieving your personal career goals. This article will give you some pointers on how to make goal-setting an ongoing part of your daily routine.

Set the Baseline

Setting goals at work requires you to understand the basic interconnections that make up your immediate team. Consider how your goals affect the overarching framework as well as your personal tasks. How will your efforts contribute to the department you’re in? How will achieving your goals meet the mission of the organization? When setting annual, quarterly, monthly, or even daily goals, considering how your efforts will affect everyone around you will help keep you motivated and engaged. Write all this down and move to step two.

Engage Your Boss in Goal Setting

Next, speak with your direct supervisor about your goal-setting process. Have a candid conversation about your career goals and contributions. Share your current accomplishments and how these new goals will lead you on the career path you’ve been aiming for. Your boss should be thrilled you’re working so hard to hit your personal goals and should recognize that your efforts will only make them look better in the long run.

Methodically Control Your Fate

Mapping your long- and short-term goals require that you consider the reality of the work world. The simple truth is that some things are out of your control. Try to plan enough to counteract any factors that are out of your reach, while continuing to forge ahead by knocking down the tasks you can control. For example, do you have goals that are affected by other departments or employees? How will those factors potentially inhibit your efforts to achieve your goals? Try to set up a workaround and plan for how to still get to the end of the finish line even if external factors exist that could derail your efforts to succeed.

Where Do You Want to Go in the Future?

The ultimate exercise in goal setting is to determine not where you are now but where you want to go in the future. Today, most people switch jobs several times in their career path. Start to think about what your goal is beyond the current job you’re in, whether it’s a promotion within your existing company, a new credential, or a job somewhere else. All of these long-term goals can be achieved when you map out your immediate tasks and think about the big picture. Creating goals at work will help you find clarity on what happens beyond the day-to-day work. It will help you begin to envision your long-term career path while setting a series of tasks you’ll need to knock down as part of the steps to getting there.

If you find that part of your long-term strategy is finding a new career path, contact Top Stack. Our goal is your goal – finding the best job to move you toward your long-term career success.


These 8 Resume Writing Tips Will Help You Get a Job

It’s crazy, but that little Word document called a resume is still very important to your job search. Employers use resumes to get to know your career history and a good one can get you an interview. Having a resume with typos, or one that lacks keywords that seem to fit the job you’re applying to, will cause the hiring manager or recruiter to discard you as unfit for the role. Here are some tips to get your resume noticed.

  1. Keywords
    Keywords are important words that crop up in the job description you’re applying to. Take those key action words and work them into your resume. This will help employers searching on job boards to find your resume. Each resume you send should use keywords specific to the job you’re applying to. Pay particular attention to the words in the qualifications section of the job description.
  2. Look at other resumes to improve yours
    Try doing an online search for resume examples of people in your industry. There are so many resume samples out there; it can be helpful to determine what some popular styles are in your field.
  3. Common resume best practices
    Do not make your resume too long or you’ll lose your audience. Each section of the resume should be concise and full of action, with concrete examples of achievements in each job. Focus on the most key and relevant information that will impress future employers. But also use numbers and metrics that show your accomplishments.
  4. Use a simple but professional font
    Skip Comic Sans and instead go for Times New Roman or Arial. Keep your font size no larger than 12 points. Selecting a clear and readable font will also ensure applicant tracking systems (ATS) can easily read your resume, so that nothing will be lost.
  5. Put the most relevant information first
    Resumes are typically chronological, but they should be brief. Start with your last job and work backward. While you may have extensive work experience, try to encapsulate everything into just a couple of pages. Hiring managers do not spend more than a few seconds to a few minutes looking at each resume, so give them the concise version of your work history with the high points right on the top of the front page.
  6. Use action language
    Power words are important on a resume. Earned, completed, accomplished and achieved are all action words perfect for the average resume. Speak in very concise language with short sentences that emphasize your accomplishments. Reduce words by cutting out anything unnecessary.
  7. Skip the Objectives section
    Trust us, the employer knows your goal is to find a challenging new job. Save space on your resume by eliminating this section and go straight to the heart of your experience and expertise.
  8. Margins matter
    Use a one-inch margin all around the page. Single spacing is fine unless you have too much white space. You can increase the margins, too, if this is a problem but don’t go over two inches.
  9. Edit and proofread
    There is nothing worse than sending out a resume with a typo. Go through several rounds of editing and then ask your friends and colleagues to take a look. There are online proofreading and spelling tools you can use, but there is nothing like the advice from an objective third party.

The Top Stack team is standing by and would be happy to take a look at your resume. Contact us today.

Not Sure How to Answer an Interview Question? Here’s What to Do

It’s going to happen. You’re going to run into an interview question you can’t answer. You may have prepared extensively for the interview, gotten plenty of sleep, and went in primed to rock it. But then there’s a curveball question and you draw a blank. What should you do?

  1. Slow down and take a breath.
    You can control the interview process by using a stalling tactic. For example, try saying, “That’s a good question,” or use some other phrase to acknowledge you’re thinking about it. Tell the interviewer you’re thinking about it. While it’s natural to want to fill the silence with words, try to just sit still with the silence for a moment as you try to work out the question. You can also ask clarifying questions. Then move to step two.
  2. Solve the problem out loud.
    Sometimes interviewers want to figure out how you think, so they deliberately ask questions that require you to figure out a problem and provide a solution. After you’ve taken a moment to clarify the question and get control of the conversation, walk through the steps necessary to come up with the answer. For example, if you’re asked about a particular process you don’t have a series of steps for, describe the steps you would likely take to accomplish your goal. Try to frame the conversation in steps, such as, “First, I would probably do X,” and finish with “Lastly, I would.” That will help frame your conversation for the interviewer.
  3. Redirect the conversation to something you do know.
    If you’re asked a question you can’t answer, try redirecting the conversation into an area you know. Try to think about crossover skills you bring to the table, even if you don’t have the specific skill they’re asking about. That approach is better than admitting you don’t have the skill or just cannot answer the question. Talk about how you would use your existing skills to solve the problem or how you’re a great troubleshooter able to learn new things quickly.
  4. Have a fallback answer, just in case.
    If you get a question that requires a definition you simply don’t know or an explanation of a concept you haven’t learned yet, try to work through it if you can. If you simply can’t answer because it’s a term you’re not familiar with, try expressing that while you haven’t learned about that concept yet, you are very excited and eager to learn more about the industry. You can also say you don’t know, but you’re going to Google it as soon as you leave and learn it immediately. Then, when you do your interview follow up, make sure you email the answer to the question to show your ability to learn and your eagerness for the job.

Working with a recruiter is one of the best ways to prepare for your next interview. Recruiters work closely with their clients and can fully prep you for the questions you’ll be asked or at the very least the interview team you’ll meet. They are your best tool to help you land the job you’ve been dreaming about. Contact Top Stack to take the next step in your career.

When Should You Ask for Help at Work?

Some people are built to never ask for help. Their pride may prevent them from ever reaching out a hand in need. Or, they may just really have their act together to the point they get through work and life without ever crying “Uncle.”

But being too stubborn to ask for help when you’re not sure what you’re doing at work could ultimately affect your performance and the teams you’re trying to help. Here’s how to know when it’s right to ask for help at work.

Hello, I’m Completely Lost

It happens. You may have missed the memo or the project you’re working on could be outside the scope of your personal experience. If you’re in a position where you don’t understand the goals of the project you’re working on and the steps in how to get there, it’s time to reach out to someone in the office to seek some assistance and clarification. Why in the world would you torture yourself and waste your time trying to figure out what’s going on? This is especially true if you’re new to the company. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and admit you’re a little lost. It’s better than wasting time going down the wrong path.

Suggested way to ask for help: “Hey, sorry to bother you, but I was hoping you could help me figure out the details on this project. Could we find some time to sit down and go over it so I’m sure we’re on the same page?”

My Plate is Overflowing

If you find yourself overworked and bogged down, it’s time to ask for help. You may have over committed to all the cool projects coming down the pipeline. Or, you may find that one project got too big too fast and you have to reprioritize. No matter the issue, you must recognize when it is time to say that you are buried by your work. Saying you’ve reached your limit is no crime; everyone has limits to what they can do in a day. If you don’t ask for help now, you’ll likely miss deadlines or turn in shoddy work. Now is the time to delegate to other members or your team or go to your boss and ask for help.

Suggested way to ask for help: “I hate to do this, but I need help. I’m totally overwhelmed and need help with a couple parts of this project. If you have any extra time, is there any way you can help me out?”

Oops I Made a Mistake

To err is human, right? You may be a superhero, but the truth is everyone makes mistakes in their lives and in the job. That’s why it’s important to own the mistake, ask for help if needed, and fix the problem. Don’t think sweeping the issue under the rug is the best approach. It can be humbling and embarrassing to admit your mistake, but do it now before that little snowball turns into an avalanche.

Suggested way to ask for help: “I feel terrible, but I completely messed up. I’m sorry for the confusion, but can you help me with XYZ to get us back on track?”

Top Stack is standing by to help you with your job search. All you have to do is ask. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Tips for Following Up After Submitting a Resume

You can feel powerless after submitting a resume. You’ve done the work of creating a clean, crisp resume you feel represents your best work. The job description seems to fit your skills. The company even checks out well on sites like Glassdoor. But once you hit the send button on the electronic submission of your resume, it’s just a waiting game where all the power rests in the hands of the employer.

Or does it?

Here’s What to Do After You’ve Sent Your Resume

Today’s resume application can feel cold and impersonal. Sending a resume into the void without even the name of the hiring manager makes for a potentially awkward process if you’re trying to follow up. However, sites like LinkedIn allow the job poster to add their profile picture and a link to their page. Check the ad you submitted to see if the job poster took this friendly approach. See if you can, first, connect to the poster. Send a note with your request that alerts them to your application and thank them for allowing you to share your credentials.

LinkedIn is generally a good resource for job applicants, because you can find the job poster or perhaps someone in the HR department in your connections or through a simple search. While you don’t want to come across as a stalker, you can certainly try to follow up on your application, whether you applied on LinkedIn, a job board like Indeed, or perhaps on the company website.

It’s perfectly appropriate if you haven’t heard back in two weeks or so to reach out to check on the status of your application. There are several ways to do this:

  • Email gives the hiring team a record of your correspondence; so many prefer this method of contact. Generally, tracking down an email isn’t hard; most websites have some sort of electronic contact information. Make sure your subject line is concise. “Following up on (date) resume submission” is a good subject line to use. The body of the email should include the name of the job you applied for. If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, the salutation should be, “Dear Hiring Team:”
  • Some people choose to send a paper letter at this time to follow up. This isn’t a bad idea, because it’s an unusual approach in today’s electronic submission process. Use a standard business-style format and the same kind of content you’d use in a professional email. Make sure to include your contact information in the signature line.
  • A phone call could also work. Try these either first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, when people are not usually stuck in meetings. If you haven’t been able to find out the name of the hiring manager, just ask for the HR department when you call. Try calling twice before leaving a brief message with the job you applied to and your name and contact information. Offer to clarify any information they might need and thank them for their consideration of your credentials. 

One important caveat is to check the ad you applied to; sometimes they will say not to call the company directly. If this is the case, follow their request.

One way to take the guesswork out of the hiring process is to work directly with a recruiter at Top Stack. We take our candidate and client relationships very seriously and work hard to keep you in the loop at every step in the process. If you haven’t worked with a recruiter before, it’s a free service that will give you a leg up on other candidates who are blindly submitting an online application. Contact us to talk about your future.

Stand Out at Your New Job With These 5 Easy Tips

When you start a new job, you probably want to stand out. You worked hard to land the work and it’s natural you’d want a reward for doing if. The first 90 days in a new job is a time of excitement and learning, as you make new friends and learn new workflows. The last thing you need is to stand out for the wrong things. To start your job off on the right note, here are some things you should do in the first 90 days.

1. Fake It Till You Make It

It’s normal to be nervous in a new job, but no one needs to know it. Go in confident in your abilities to do the job, even if you feel, deep down, you’re not prepared to pull it off. The last thing you want to do is let your managers know you don’t have confidence in your own abilities. Faking it till you feel more comfortable is a good idea, because you don’t want your boss to start to regret their decision to hire you. So, go into the role having faith in the abilities that brought you this far.

2. Allow Enough Time

Go into a new job recognizing it will take some time before you feel like you have mastered the position. Think about what led you to this job and why you left your last position. You are going to have a learning curve, so cut yourself some slack and allow enough time to adapt, learn, and thrive in your new role.

3. Get to Know the Culture

Culture is everything in a new job. It’s probably at least partially why you went after the role to begin with. But you know how people are let go from jobs because they “just didn’t fit in”? The idea that fitting into a culture is just as important as being able to do the work is an important one. Understanding the cultural norms in the job is important. So, make sure you make the effort to go out to lunch with your co-workers and get to know them. Talk to people and get to know them. Make sure you spend more time listening than talking so you can learn the ins and outs of the organization and what cultural norms you should conform to.

4. Be Positive but Realistic

When you start a new job, it’s easy to promise everything to everyone. But don’t over promise and despite your enthusiasm for the job, be realistic about what you can deliver in your new job.

5. Be Proactive and Meet With Your Manager

Don’t wait for your annual review to find out how you’re doing. Set the standard when you walk in, that an environment of back-and-forth feedback is important. Ask your manager how you’re doing after the first week, first month, and certainly at 90 days. That way you can adjust your behaviors based on real-time feedback instead of waiting for a long-term review.

Finding your next job is just a phone call away. Contact the team at Top Stack to get started.


3 Ways to Turn Stress into Productivity

Stress is a strange emotion. It’s a psychological trigger that can lead to increased anxiety, but also more activity. On one hand, the studies show that stress can cause all kinds of health problems, like depression, heart disease, and insomnia. Chronic stress can wreck your health.

On the other hand, stress can inspire some of us to produce our best work. Which is it for you? Since everyone experiences stress, perhaps there’s a way to turn this negative emotion into a positive. Here’s how to turn something stressful into higher efficiency and productivity.

Harness Your Stress by Recognizing

An article in the Harvard Business Review suggests the first step toward conquering stress is to simply acknowledge its existence. It suggests that stress has several positive attributes we can benefit from. Being stressed reminds us of the cliché, “if it doesn’t kill you it’ll make you stronger,” and that is certainly true. But to reap the benefits of being stressed out, we must acknowledge the impact it is having on our lives. The Harvard article says that stress causes the human response of fight or flight; our heart rate and blood pressure can increase along with other visceral reactions. Understanding that what’s making you anxious is the dopamine being released in your body is just one way to use those feelings as a motivator. But recognizing these reactions can stop these physical responses. This allows you to take a more deliberate approach to your reaction to the stress you’re under.

Change Your Approach

Once you recognize your stress, you can take steps to master it. Taking steps to use stress as a challenge to help you achieve more is a good way to manage it. One study found that people who view their stress as a challenge instead of a negative problem hampering them were able to maintain their energy and focus without getting sick or emotionally exhausted. Taking stress and using it to help you overcome hurdles will give you control over your feelings of being overwhelmed by negative emotions. Instead of viewing stress as a negative, use it as the impetus to help you increase your performance and productivity.

Now Get Motivated

If you’re not experiencing stress, the body will not trigger the heightened energy that comes from stress. That’s why the final step toward conquering stress and using it to your advantage is to leverage it to get motivated. Could stress push you to meet a deadline or prepare for a last-minute meeting? The energy that comes from being stressed implies activity – which is exactly what stress can spur you on to. Stress can cause you to take action, completing tasks in record time. If you are a procrastinator, you’ll instinctively understand how the stress that comes from a deadline can motivate you to get it done.

So, use your stress, don’t let it paralyze you. By acknowledging your stress and recognizing it for the tool that it can be, you could increase your productivity and turn a negative into a positive.

To learn more about how you can turn stress into productivity, contact Top Stack. We can help you take control of your career.

4 Ways to Turn a Setback at Work Into an Opportunity

Whether you’re in management or a lower position, a setback at work can be frustrating, depressing, and can even make you want to quit. The setback could be a raise or promotion you didn’t get or a maybe a project that went wrong. Maybe a personal emergency forces you to take some time off. All these things can force a loss of confidence and dampen your enthusiasm for the job.

How can you cope with these or other job setbacks? How can you get back on track?

Feeling Down? Exercise

Daily on-the-job challenges can leave you feeling overwhelmed. But something as simple as taking a walk can improve your perspective and even help you problem solve. If you have a desk job, taking a 10-minute walk after lunch will improve your mood. Remaining active is always the best way to cope with any stress. It will also keep you moving ahead in the job, no matter the problem or setback that’s getting you down.

Rethink the Problem

A landmark study showed the power of positive thinking on the brain and our emotions. Positive thinking can help you persevere through a problem and even improve your health. Scientists say that avoiding negativity may help people avoid the physical damage that comes from stress. From a mental perspective, staying positive helps people make better life decisions while focusing on long-term goals. If you’ve had a setback at work taking the time to find your perspective, reframing the problem in a new way may be exactly what you need to keep moving forward. While today didn’t work out, what long-term goal are you hoping to achieve and what do you need to do to still get there?

Sit Down and Take Stock

Your self-confidence can take a big hit when something goes wrong at work. You can lessen the impact by sitting down and taking stock of how far you’ve come. What is it that you’ve done so far to accomplish your goal? Instead of wallowing in the loss, focus on what you’ve gained to date. No one is infallible, and if you pat yourself on the back for the wins you’ve accomplished, maybe the setback won’t seem so insurmountable. Let’s face it; life is hard and it has its ups and downs. It’s how you fight through the adversity that builds the most character.

Try Something New

Say you’ve been trying to solve a problem and it just isn’t happening. It may be a struggle with a staff member you’re managing or trouble with a difficult boss or a less human-centered problem related to the tools you use. What happens if you stop flailing away at the issue and take stock for a second. Get creative and try to think outside the box. Do you have a peer network you can share the problem with? Sometimes stepping outside accepted practices or seeking the help of a mentor is all you need to jump-start a new, fresh approach to solving the problem. Mix things up and get back on track!

Sometimes the setback is insurmountable, and you know it’s time to find a new job. When that happens, contact Top Stack. We can keep you moving forward.

4 Daily Habits To Help Make You More Successful

Have you ever noticed how some people just get more done? These high producers seem to be at the top of their game, which seems to be multitasking and checking things off their to-do list.

If you’re not one of the most highly productive people, you might be envious of these task jocks, which make life look a lot easier than it may feel to you. What is their secret? Are they doing something every day to make them more efficient? What daily tasks can you do to improve your success in your job and life?

  1. Make a list and check it twice – or 20 times.
    Hyper efficient people almost always write down a list of things they want to accomplish that day. Sitting quietly with a cup of coffee while road mapping the day helps most people stay more efficient in accomplishing their goals. For anal-retentive types, crossing things off your list is also kind of addictive. It shows you’re making progress on your day when others may have stalled. For those of you that are technology-inclined, you can also make notes on your phone or download an app to help you list and accomplish tasks throughout the day.
  2. Work out before work.
    If you’re not a morning person, you may hate this suggestion, but seriously, if you work up a good sweat before you go to work, you will get your frustrations out and be calmer in the office. You will also think more clearly. Also, working out naturally produces adrenaline, so you’ll feel more energized. Like sitting quietly and making notes and task lists, a workout before work is something you have control over. When you get to work that may be a different story.
  3. Practice mindfulness and the art of singular focus.
    When you get to work, it may be easy to get overwhelmed with the chaos of having so many tasks, people interrupting your train of thought, angry customers or whatever you have to deal with as part of your job. The practice of mindfulness requires the person focus only on the task in front of them. Instead of stressing over all the things coming up, what is the one thing you’re supposed to work on now? If you’ve made a task list, you should know what’s next, right? Mindfulness fosters a sense of clarity, organization, and calmness in your mind. While most of us multitask, using the practice of mindfulness will keep you from being overwhelmed with how much you have to do. The most successful people only check these communication tools a few times a day to minimize their distractions. This helps them focus on the task at hand, which can be completed more quickly if your train of thought isn’t interrupted. Being responsive is one thing, but it can destroy your attention span and slow down your primary tasks.
  4. Limit access to communication platforms.
    If you’re trying to focus on the task at hand, having a Slack or IM pop up, an email or even having someone stick their head in your doors is distraction that will make you less efficient.

Contact Top Stack about ways to improve your performance on the job. We’re here to help!