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    Five Tips to Choose the Best Job Reference

    Two Roads  May 22 2015 09:40:56 AM

    References serve as a powerful tool during the hiring process. Hiring managers often contact references to find out what a candidate can truly accomplish and what they?re like to work with. Having a great reference to back up your skills is imperative, but not everyone knows how they should go about getting one. Here are five tips to choose the best job reference.

    1. Create a list of people who you believe will say positive things about you.
    Former supervisors, coworkers, managers and even clients are typically the best choices. If you do not have any work experience, expand your list to include volunteer assignments, college professors, and internship supervisors.

    2. Narrow down your reference list to 4 or 5 people.
    The most effective references are those who?ve had the opportunity to experience your personality and witness your accomplishments first-hand. Senior positions will require 5 to 7 references. Choose work references that will speak highly of you, and will attest to all that you were able to accomplish. Omit potential references who might sound unprofessional, or those with whom you did not have a great working relationship.

    3. Ask for his or her permission.
    Never use a reference without asking for his or her permission. Regardless of how you perceive your relationship with the reference, not every person is comfortable giving recommendations for employment opportunities. While in most cases your colleagues will be flattered to serve as references, it?s always respectful to ask for their permission first.

    4. Make sure your reference?s information is thorough and correct.
    Once you?ve secured a job reference, collect their contact information. Record their full name, current title, phone number, email, and work address. These details will be required by most employers during the interview process. In the case of work-only references, stay away from listing things like home numbers, personal emails, and cell phones. Privacy is an issue, and the hiring manager may not be aware they are reaching out to a personal account. This looks bad for everyone, and is unprofessional on your part.

    5.Coach your select references, and keep them updated throughout the process.
    Give your reference a current resume and update and/or remind them of your achievements, skills, important projects, etc. Preparing your references will ensure they provide a more relevant reference and recommendation.

    Always be willing to use your references, and remember to say thank you. Saying thank you

    Read more staffing advice at the Two Roads blog by clicking HERE

      Three Tips For A Successful Phone Interview

      Two Roads  April 29 2015 09:29:41 AM
      In today’s job market, more companies are investing time in to a preliminary gauge on whether a prospect should be invited to a face-to face interview. Phone interviews are in fact a REAL interview, so here are three tips to help you be prepared.

      1.Treat the phone interview the same way you would an in-person job interview.
      Focus and be prepared with knowledge of both the company and the job. One benefit of having a phone interview is that you can have company materials in front of you for handy reference. A suggestion is to have the company’s website on a computer in front of you along with the job description you are applying for. Have your materials ready to go a few minutes before your scheduled time so that you are not typing or distracted during your phone interview.

      2. Be prepared to take the call in a place that is quiet environment and has good reception if you are using your mobile device.
      You want to make sure that the interviewer knows you are taking the interview seriously and background distractions are a sure turnoff. Plan to be in a space where you are able to control the ambiance and the noise around you. Having a phone interview in public places such as coffee shops and restaurants are absolutely not recommended.If you do not have a quiet space available in your home, check with your local library to see if they have a meeting space you can reserve for free.

      3. Eliminate any distractions while on the phone.
      For example, turn off your computers’ speakers, find a babysitter for your children, put your dog outside, etc. You only focus should be on what the interviewer is saying. Do not split your attention!

      Once you have closed the phone interview, send an email to the interviewer thanking them for their time, and remember to follow up with them to ensure a second interview.

        Career advice from Mark Cuban and Derek Jeter  March 17 2015 10:23:34 AM
        As  reported in Business Insider:

        In December, two worlds collided in New York City. "Shark Tank" star and billionaire tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban sat down sat down for a conversation with recently retired Yankees captain Derek Jeter.

        For fans of business and sports, it doesn't get much better than that. The event was hosted by Brandon Steiner and produced by his well-known sports memorabilia company, Steiner Sports.

        While Cuban, the business titan, and Jeter, the baseball legend, come from different industries (though Cuban does own the Dallas Mavericks basketball team) the men were in agreement on a number of things. Namely, the idea that, to be successful in business, you have to be hungry, passionate and willing to work your ass off to accomplish your goals.

        Here are some highlights from the discussion:

        Get up and hustle.
        Steiner asked Cuban about what it takes to be a success. "Find something you love, be great at it," Cuban said. "No one quits something they're good at."

        In true, profanity-laden Cuban fashion, he expanded on what it takes to eat and sleep your business, and get your hustle on:

        Crush the competition.
        Being the professional athlete, you might think Jeter would be the first to speak up about competition and doing everything it takes to win. Not when he's in the room with Cuban, who is notorious for his opinions about dominating in business.

        "Business is the ultimate sport," Cuban said. "Unlike sports, you often don't even know who your competitors are. ... Your character is really tested when you're challenged ... when someone is chasing you, when someone's fighting you.

        "You come into my industry, I'm gonna kick your ass," Cuban added. Of course.

        Be prepared and be willing to do the hard work.
        To launch a business and take on your competitors, entrepreneurs need to do everything it takes to be prepared. On the field and off, Jeter said his biggest fear is not being prepared.

        "Just because you want it doesn't mean it's going to happen," Cuban said. "You always need to learn. You need to do the work. ... The minute you slow down, someone will pass you by."
        Keep your team motivated.

        Not every one of your employees will share all the same passions as you. The trick is twofold: Hire people who are passionate and driven, then have a mutual understanding -- for each individual -- about what each of you wants to accomplish, Cuban said.

        "It takes time to get to know the people you lead," Jeter said. "Treat everyone fairly, but you have to get to know everyone separately. Its about the right chemistry."

        Stay humble.
        "I'm close with my family," Jeter said. "Even at this age, I still never want to do anything to disappoint my family."

        See the original article on Business Insider HERE.

          The most dreaded question in a job interview

  February 20 2015 12:09:21 PM
          You are sitting across the table from the person who has the power to hire you and they ask, “Tell us why you were let go from your last job?” Yikes.

          It’s the question that you bump into every time you have an interview and each time it’s asked you stumble around for the answer.

          Don’t fret. Here are some tips on how to prepare so that the next time you run into it you won’t feel like the interview is going sideways with no hope of recovery.

          1. Be prepared for the question and work out the answer well in advance of an interview.

          2. Make a list of all of the reasons you were unemployed for that time and be prepared to also identify the things you accomplished while you were out of the job market.

          3. Even if you were let go from your last job, chances are you can still come up with a few positive things that happened at with your last employer. What projects did you work on that highlight the skills that will be helpful to your prospective employer?

          4. Talk about what you learned from the experience you had with the employer who let you go. It’s admirable when a person can take a look back at a bad experience and describe how it gave them a better understanding of something or provided insight into something they needed to learn.

          5. It’s never a good idea to put 100% of the blame on the previous employer. The person interviewing you wants to know that you are capable of getting through a difficult time and ended up with some significant expertise.

          Read the original article HERE at the

            LinkedIn cofounder has advice for those seeking to switch careers

    February 17 2015 12:27:43 PM
            The process of finding a new job is intimidating.

            From meticulously reading over your resume, to expertly crafting a cover letter, to worrying about whether or not you'll make the right first impression, it's a stressful situation to be in. That process can become even more overwhelming if you're switching career paths.

            But changing your career may not be as hard as you think, says Allen Blue, the co-founder and vice president of product management at LinkedIn.

            Blue made a significant career switch himself — long before co-founding LinkedIn, he designed scenery and lighting for stage productions.

            Here are some of the key takeaways from our conversation.
            • Other people can be the key to success when changing career paths. "In the end you never make that career switch alone," Blue told us."People will help you make that transition. And the people you know right now will help you find those people. That's the main resource that matters." People will help you learn new things, explore new positions, and give you your first job in the new space, according to Blue.
            • It's okay if your previous experience doesn't line up with your new career choice.  Blue said he had no idea what he was doing when he transitioned into the tech and business space. In fact, many early LinkedIn employees didn't. Social web apps weren't nearly as big as they are today back in 2002, so the LinkedIn team had some room to experiment and figure out what worked."There was lots of room for failing and starting all over again," Blue said. That may not be the case in sectors that are already well-established, but don't let the fact that you may not have experience on paper discourage you.
            • Companies may even benefit from hiring someone with a different background. People with different experience may be able to attack problems in new ways, Blue explained. He recalled a human resources survey from Google he came across last year. The survey found that standards such as GPA scores didn't matter much when it came to success — it was more about personality traits like determination. But what was interesting, however, was the fact that engineers within Google took the survey to learn more about the company's HR practices. And the method they used produced some compelling results, even though they approached it in a different way than someone in human resources might. "Having people come in and think about problems differently is actually super valuable," Blue said.

            Read the original article at here:

              Top 10 States for Tech Workers Willing to Relocate

      December 10 2014 02:33:47 PM
              Using data from, reveals tech professionals' 10 most desirable states to relocate to.

              1. It's probably no surprise that California tops the list of most desirable job-relocation destinations.  According to DICE, Silicon Valley topped the list of highest paid talent in 2014.

              2. New York, second on the list, tops all East Coast relocation destinations.  "Silicon Alley" salaries rose 5% last year, and the choice of tech jobs is expansive.  Like California, the cost of living is high, but salaries are equally at the top end.

              The remaining eight spots in order are:

              3. Texas
              4. New Jersey
              5. Illinois
              6. Georgia
              7. Pennsylvania
              8. Virginia
              9. North Carolina
              10. Florida

              To read the original article in all its glory, click HERE and read it at

                Fatal Job Interview Mistakes

        November 25 2014 12:35:32 PM
                Monster Contributing Writer Catherine Conlan looks at five fatal mistakes interviewees make that could  prevent them from landing a job.  Read the original story HERE
                Could one of these five fatal mistakes be keeping you from landing a job?

                If you’re being called in for interviews but can’t quite seem to land a job, it’s time to take a look at what might be holding you back. Here are some ways you might be falling short in job interviews.

                You let down your guard
                While it’s important to connect with interviewers, you don’t want to get too friendly, says Jeff Altman, host of Job Search Radio. He recently had a candidate on the final long-distance interview before being flown in for the in-person interview, and it was going very well. The area head and candidate were getting along great, laughing and joking with each other. Then the area head asked a question and the candidate replied, “I'll give you the answer at the whiteboard when we meet."
                “There was no meeting,” Altman says. “The candidate was rejected. He had confused the camaraderie of the moment and lost track of the fact that this person was still evaluating him and had every reason to expect an answer.”

                You wave red flags
                Obviously, you don’t want to lie in a job interview. But if you’ve made it to that stage, you need to keep in mind that hiring managers are looking for red flags, so don’t show them any.
                For example, if you ran your own business only to have it fail, talk about the success it did have when times were good instead of focusing on what went wrong. “A business owner who failed to renegotiate a lease and lost access to his facility is not a good explanation as to why you want another job,” says Robert Meier, founder of Job Market Experts.

                You don’t pay attention to detail
                We’re not talking about proofreading your resume for typos -- that should be a given. “One small mistake that's made all too often is not accounting for time zones when doing a phone or video interview,” says Chris Brown, director of human resources at InterCall.
                He says he scheduled to interview someone located in California at 1 p.m. Eastern, 10 a.m. Pacific, but the interviewee logged in for his interview at 1 p.m. Pacific, clearly not accounting for the time change. The interviewee missed the call. “This simple mistake knocked him out of the running for the position,” Brown says.

                You talk about retiring

                While retirement is a natural topic of discussion for workers of a certain age, this kind of “honest dialog” can be a detriment, Meier says. Talking about retirement can make it seem like you’re counting the days until you can stop working.
                He also encourages military veterans to avoid using the word “retirement” to describe the end of their service. “The word ‘retirement’ should be banished from your vocabulary.”

                You fail to follow up
                “Sending a thank you to the interviewers after an interview is good form and shows courtesy, respect for their time, and genuine interest in the job,” says Trevor Simm, founder and president of OpalStaff. “Plus, it keeps the lines of communication open with the employer. Always follow up after interviews.”

                  Study: Women with more children are more productive at work. Men too.

                  Mark Gottschalk  October 31 2014 12:16:20 PM
                  The Washington Post reported on a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis that concluded that mothers outperformed childless women at almost every stage of the game.  In fact, more kids equaled more productivity.

                  ...the authors found that within the first five or so years of their career, women who never have children substantially underperform those who do. (The difference in productivity between women with one child and those with no children is more muted using a different ranking for research. But in both cases, mothers with at least two children perform the best.)

                  While the news is mostly about the moms -- who have routinely been discriminated against in the workplace due to perceptions of decreased work effectiveness -- the effect wasn't limited to women.  Fathers of multiple children were more productive than fathers of one child and childless men.

                  For men, fathers of one child and those without children performed similarly throughout much of their careers. But men with two or more kids were more productive than both groups.

                  The study does indicate that young children take a toll on work, but the increased productivity over the long term more than offset this effect.

                  But as any parent knows, the days are long and the years are short. That’s the case here, too. Mothers tend to be more productive both before and long after the birth of their children. When that work is smoothed out over the course of a career, the paper found, they are more productive on average than their peers.

                  Honestly, the result shouldn't be a surprise.  Parents have responsibilities to their kids that they take seriously.  Providing financially for children, typically through work, is a gigantic one of those responsibilities.  Singles or childless couples (excluding unique exceptions) have far fewer people depending on them and are thus freer to focus on their own needs and desires -- and the ability to act on them.  Parents feel obligated to set good examples for their kids. Reliability, dependability, and hard work are just a few of the bits of character they usually try to impart.  There is also the looming need to financially provide for them today and, if able, into their college years.

                  I think it's important not to misinterpret cause and effect here.  Simply having another child won't make mothers or fathers more productive.  Rather, in the domain of the more privileged women and men looked at in the study -- who have "careers" as opposed to "jobs" -- additional children are presumably well planned for.  And these parents might be more driven or more organized innately in ways that let them handle both home and work roles more effectively than most of us.

                  Click HERE to read the original article.

                    Trend of US onshoring from China continues

            October 24 2014 03:13:25 PM
                    Ferret, an Australia Manufacturing, Industrial and Mining Directory, cites a report today about the trend of onshoring -- i.e. bringing back home to the US -- manufacturing work from China:

                    A new report by management consultancy firm Boston Consulting Group suggests the number of US firms onshoring from China has risen for the third straight year.

                    AFP reports that BCG’s Made In America, Again survey investigated the views of 252 respondents, senior executives from companies in a variety of manufacturing sub-sectors.

                    Overall, 16 per cent of executives from companies currently manufacturing in China said they were already actively onshoring. The inaugural 2012 report saw 7 per cent giving this response.

                    “These findings show that not only does interest in repatriating production to the US and creating American jobs remain strong but also that companies are acting on those intentions," Harold Sirkin, the report’s co-author, said.

                    Fifty-four per cent said they were interested in re-shoring, about the same as last year.

                    Click here to read the report.

                      Earnings for Full-Time Workers Rise 2.5% in Q3 2014

              October 24 2014 03:05:53 PM
                      Median weekly earnings of US full-time wage and salary workers rose 2.5 percent year over year in the third quarter to $790 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today.

                      Women who usually worked full time had median weekly earnings of $715, or 82.2 percent of the $870 median for men.

                      For workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher, the median was $1,170, and for workers with a high school diploma only the median was $681.

                      Among occupations, workers in the management, professional and related occupations posted the highest median weekly earnings at $1,326 for men and $980 for women. Earnings were lower in service jobs where the median earnings were $585 for men and $467 for women.
                      Read the original article at HERE