Monday, June 6, 2022

Steps You should take Now to find your first “Real Job”!

This is the time of year when graduates are hitting the job market. Whether it is from high school, college, or even a great trade school, they all have one thing in common ~ they are ready for their first “Real Job”!

The question now is how and where do you begin?

The short answer is this ~ do your research, don’t forget to network, and be ready to “sell” yourself!

The key is to approach finding a job much like you did getting ready for exams. Preparation, studying, and a great mind set are what will get you through.

And it all starts with following these tips ~

Make sure your Resume is “Background Check Ready”. The majority of employers will do some type of background check before making their hiring decision. There is simply no point in applying for any job until all the information listed in your resume is accurate and contains no “red flags”. 

You need to:

  • Make sure your resume is “clean”
  • Never list a degree, diploma, or certification you haven’t earned
  • make sure all past employments are accurate
  • Know in advance what your past employers / references will say about you
  • Be ready to mitigate any employment “gaps” or inaccuracies
  • Do a background check on yourself first

Remember, the key to any good resume is to make sure it is first and foremost a way to market You to your new employer. And starting with any kind of discrepancies is not the way to go!

Learn more in “Tips to Help you get your resume background check ready”!

Create Your Professional Online Presence and Clean Up your existing Profiles Are you on LinkedIn? This social network is a must for creating a professional persona. Create a profile that is not simply a list of your credentials. Make it interesting! Put the focus on sharing “you”, what makes you unique, and what drives you (there are a lot of great tips out there to make your LI profile shine). 

Now check out your existing social profiles. Take the time to give them a good, hard look and remove anything questionable that could result in a bad impression of you.   

Asking yourself these questions BEFORE you post anything online is the wise way to go.

  • What do your Social Profiles say about You?
  • Do they show you in a good light?
  • Have you shared things you are not proud of?
  • Do they highlight the best things about you?
  • Would You be Proud to Share Them?

Remember, what you post online can impact your job search. Learn more in “Discover how your Social Media Posts can keep you from getting the Job You Want”.

Bottom line, employers are bound to look! So make sure your social profiles are up to par!

Focus Your Job search - but not too narrowly! Only applying for jobs that fit you exactly, or throwing your net too wide, is not the way to get the job you want.

Instead, create a job search strategy that keeps in mind your goals, skills, and interests. No one job may fit them all. But, as long as you are focused on finding something where you can explore your interests and where you can contribute, you will be adding something valuable to your professional work experience. 

Use Your Connections You may not think you have any, but think again. Did you have any summer jobs or internships? A former supervisor might be the perfect person to help you meet someone who can help you find a job.  

How about reaching out to your family or friends? Let them know you are looking to start your career and they may have some suggestions.

And don’t forget your university’s Alumni network. Many universities forge strong connections among their Alumni. Join and stay active.  

Use your College’s Resources Does your university have a career center? Check it out! You will find a variety of resources that will help you with your resume and job search. Many universities also host job fairs. This is a great way to check out many different companies at once.

Don’t be afraid to get out and network!  

Seek out local professional associations and attend networking events. Be ready to tell people what you do (or want to do) and what you have done to get yourself ready. But don’t forget to listen first! Going in with a pitch without showing a genuine interest in others will put people off.

Research Companies Before You Apply Do your homework. Check out their company website. Make sure you understand the company “brand”, how they started, and what they do. Find them on LinkedIn and other social networks. 

They will be screening you, and you need to screen them in much the same way. Any information you find will also help you prepare for your interview. Learning all you can about your target companies just makes sense.

Pay Attention to Application “Rules” Many jobs you apply for will require online applications. Be sure to follow all instructions carefully ~ remember, this will often be your first impression!

But no matter what method they use to collect their applications, in all cases you need to pay close attention to neatness, spelling, clarity, and legibility. Losing out on a possible interview due to sloppiness or an incomplete application will not get you the interview you need.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Thank You If you are lucky enough to be called in for an interview, then you know that they are at least interested in what they have seen on your resume/application. The interview will simply be the next step in finding out if you are a good fit. This is where your company research will come in handy.

Be sure to be ready with tangible examples of problems you have solved, what you have learned, and why you want to work for them.  Making sure they understand what you will bring to their company is important.

But no matter how well the interview went, it can all be erased unless you remember the Power of a Thank You!

Not only should you thank them in person on the day of the interview, you need to follow up with a thank you email to anyone you met with throughout the day.

Be sure to express your thanks to them for taking the time to meet with you. It is also a good idea to personalize each thank you with any specifics you may have discussed during your interview. Making them more “personal” can go a long way in making a good impression.

Consider Continuing Your Education (Grad School), Taking an Internship, or Volunteering. If you are still not getting anywhere in finding a job, then you may have to consider some alternatives.

If you believe grad school is in your future, then take a look at some programs that will further your professional skills. In fact, it is sometimes easier to simply continue on and complete the education you need before getting a job. You are still comfortable with studying, exams, and all the other things that go along with going to school. 

And if you haven’t already had an internship, it is not too late to find one. This can be a great way to increase your “real world” skills and extend your connections.

Do You Volunteer? Now can be the perfect time to start. Not only will it make you more invested in your community, it is a valuable addition to any resume.

Be Patient Don’t get discouraged. It will take time to land your first job, or even to get an interview. This is not a reflection on you. Just stay focused on being positive.

Most new grads and job seekers will apply for dozens of jobs and many will never even receive a response. Remember, everyone goes through it and we all had to start somewhere.

Check out “Attention New Grads ~ What you need to do to land your first job!” to find information on how to best accomplish your goals!

It takes work to find a good job and how you approach that search can make all the difference. Doing everything you can before you even apply to prepare yourself is key!


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Sunday, April 24, 2022

Can what You post on Social Media effect your Job?

 

Do you post on Social Media? Could what you post be considered “controversial”? Then you need to read this…

The following question was recently asked on Quora, a popular Q & A site, and we think it is worth sharing.

“What types of recourse do I have against people who contact my employers about things I have on Facebook?”.

Posting on social media sites has become more common than ever. And many are not at all shy about sharing their views on practically anything and everything, no matter how controversial the subject.

That is why when we came across this question, we knew it was time to weigh in, and here is our answer…..

“You have no recourse whatsoever. That is the nature of Facebook and other social sites. By using those sites you are choosing to put things “out there” about your life, your opinions, and more. If someone shares something with your employer that you willingly post, then that is on you. And if your employer believes that what you are posting can harm their business in any way, then you may face the consequences of your post. The exception (to this) would be if they were lying or were attributing something to you that you did not post. Otherwise, you have no standing to object. Your best bet is to be proactive instead. Change the settings on your social media accounts to private, “friends only”, etc. Don’t list your employer in your profile or at least make it visible to a select audience. And even better yet, be very careful what you post in the first place. Does it project what you want others to know about you? Will it cause an issue if your family, friends, or even your employer see it? Remember, every single thing you do online projects an image about you. Is it the one you want to share?”.

You can see the original question and other responses here!

Despite what you may think about the “fairness” or “morality” of someone sending your employer information concerning your social media posts, there is nothing illegal about it.

So it is best you face that fact and realize that what you post online can effect you, your job, and even your family.

You may argue that it shouldn’t be that way, but that doesn’t change the reality that it can and does!

That is why you need to understand the potential ramifications of what you post online and learn what you can do to mitigate your exposure.

First you should recognize that nothing you share on Social Media is ever really private!

“How Much of what You Post Online is Really Private? Should You be Concerned what is “Out There” About You? The answer? A Resounding YES!

Despite privacy settings, probably very little of what you post online is truly private. Do you know what friends or “online acquaintances” are posting or sharing online about you?

A hot topic is how employers use information on social media both during the hiring process and in dictating employee conduct. Questions revolve around how much of what is found can be used to either make employment decisions or be used to contain existing employee’s online behavior.

Your best course of action is to imagine anything you post could possibly be seen by a wide variety of people ~ your family, friends, neighbors, teachers, employers, and even those that are strangers to you. Using that as a guide, do you still want to share that post? Asking yourself that question BEFORE you share is the wise way to go.

Discover more about how employers use social media to make both hiring and retention decisions here!

Did you know....Your Social Media posts can get you Fired? "Tweet This"!

It is also important that you realize that what you post can impact your Job Search, future promotions, and even your educational goals.

“Did You Know that what you post on Social Media can have an impact on you not only today but in the future? It can effect your chances at getting into the right school, landing your dream job, getting promoted, or even keeping the job you have.

Your social media sites are increasingly being viewed by everyone from college admissions workers to employers and recruiters. What you have posted there is seen as a reflection of who you really are ~ above and beyond what is found on your application, resume, or even how you conduct yourself in the workplace. And especially problematic are the current prevalence of "keyboard warriors" who have no problem attacking others who disagree with their views, especially when it comes to hot topics like politics, religion, and even the COVID pandemic. 

Posts that show illegal, questionable, or even violent behavior may cause you to be passed over. Comments that attack, degrade, or threaten others put your character, and the possibility of that you may impact the company's image, in question. And if any of your posts or profiles contradict what you may have listed on your resume, this is certainly a “red flag” when it comes time to make you an offer.

Before you apply to college or for any job, you need to ask yourself some hard questions about your social profiles. In fact, they would be excellent questions to consider before you even post!

You should Ask Yourself ~

  • What do your Social Profiles say about You?
  • Do they show you in a good light?
  • Have you shared things you are not proud of?
  • Do they highlight the best things about you?
  • Would You be Proud to Share Them?

Learn more about how what you post on social media can effect your job search in “Discover how your Social Media Posts can keep you from getting the Job You Want”.

Social media sites can be a great way to stay in touch with friends, keep up with current news and sports, and even share and comment on issues that are important to us.

But you need to use it wisely. That means understanding that what you post can have consequences to you, your future, and your job. 


Authored by  


Looking for a Job? API can help you get your resume "Background Check Ready"! Check out our Job Search Services today! 

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Sunday, March 20, 2022

Will Unpaid Work Experience Hinder your Job Search?

Will unpaid work experience cause a problem in the employer verification part of my background check?

This was asked recently on the popular Q & A site, Quora and we were intrigued. So many job seekers have questions and concerns when it comes to optimizing their resume and preparing for the employment background check. Since alleviating those worries is part of our mission, we wanted to weigh in with our perspective and advice.

Here is our answer ~ 

"Unpaid, volunteer, or intern type positions are great additions to any resume ~ especially when they yielded skills or experience that can translate to your career! Including them will not cause any issues when it comes to the employment background check unless you try to pass them off as Paid Positions. That would send off a bright red flag! However, including them as unpaid references will help you as long as when contacted, they have something nice to say. That is why I recommend that you contact any reference long before you list them on your resume. Give them a “heads up” that they may be contacted and ask them if they are willing to give you a good reference. Even finding out in advance what information past employers will give to potential employers or screening companies is in your best interest. This way you will be prepared as to what an employment background check will find!".

Discover more answers to this question here!

Instead of feeling angst when you apply for any job, your best bet is to be prepared. And it all starts with your resume!

“When you are in the midst of a job search, one thing you can count on is that some type of background check will be part of the equation.

Most employers will check to see if you have the education, skills, and past experience needed for the job ~ and your resume will most likely be your first introduction.

Job Seekers Take Note ~  It is vital that Your Resume be “Background Check Ready”! 

Making sure your resume is completely truthful is the best start. The key is to make sure all your information is clear and accurate, and following these 6 tips will help!

  1. Make sure your resume is “clean”
  2. Make sure you never list a degree you haven’t earned
  3. Make sure all past employments are accurate
  4. Make sure you know what your past employers will say about you
  5. Make sure you can mitigate any employment “gaps”
  6. Make sure you have done a background check on yourself first

You can find out more about how to accomplish these 6 goals in “Tips to Help You get Your Resume ‘Background Check Ready’!”.

It is also a smart move to contact anyone you are listing as a reference long before you add them to your resume! This includes past employers and anyone else you list, or who may be contacted, to serve as a reference.

Knowing in advance the information that will be provided to potential employers is key.

Do You know what Your References will say about You? 

Don’t fall prey to one of the biggest mistakes a job seeker can make ~ listing your former employers, supervisors, or professors as references without asking them and knowing what they will say first!

This simple step can save you from the embarrassment of a less-than-stellar recommendation and give your references a most welcome heads up.

In fact, this common courtesy can greatly increase your chances of getting the job.  

Your references will have had the opportunity to gather their thoughts beforehand and will not be caught off guard ~ giving you the best chance of your references working for you instead of against you.

When references are contacted unaware, they often stumble. Dates and titles elude them. Specific projects you may have worked on or tasks you lead are unmentioned. This can lead to an unimpressive reference report.”

7 steps you should follow for getting the most out of your references ~

  1. Make a List
  2. Check it twice
  3. Spread the Word
  4. Fill in the Details
  5. Do a Double Check
  6. The Final Draft
  7. A Thank You goes a long way

While not all potential employers will ask for a list of references, if you follow these tips you will be ready if they do! Find out more about how you can make each of these suggestions work for you here!

But the most important resume tip of all is this ~ Do a Background Check on Yourself before you ever start your Job Search!

Have You ever Considered Doing a Background Check on Yourself?

There are many reasons why you may want to know what is "out there" about you. You may be considering college or buying a home. You may even want to volunteer at your child's school. But the most common reason by far is when you are thinking about applying for a job or trying to get a promotion.

The question then becomes, How and When do you do it?

Many employers use Background Checks as part of their hiring process. Most of these employers are looking for past criminal histories and validation of your employment and education claims. Some also do searches on driving records and social media presence.

Do you know what they will find?

Your best defense is a sound offense. Before you apply for any job, you will probably update your resume, research the company where you are applying – all in the hope of putting your best foot forward. Why not add a Background Check to that list?

Discover how doing a Background check on yourself, with help from a qualified screening company, will help you get the job here!

Being prepared before you start your job search is key. Knowing what is “out there” about you, fine tuning your resume to reflect your skills and accomplishments, and choosing the right references can make all the difference in whether you get hired or not.

So, the time to start is now! Need help? Contact API today. We can answer your questions and help you get ready for your job search.


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Sunday, February 20, 2022

Discover why doing Employment Background Checks is More Important than ever!

It is not easy to find the right employee, especially for a Small Business!

Hiring someone with the right skills, experience, and “fit” is, of course, essential. They need to not only be able to do the job, but to do it well.

But finding that talented candidate is not enough. They also need to be a safe and reliable hire. One that will not jeopardize the safety of your company’s existing employees, your customers, or your assets. 

And the key to accomplishing this goal is by doing a sound Employment Background Check!

When you screen your potential new hires, you are not only making a cost-effective and sound business decision, you are protecting your business reputation. And here are 4 reasons why......

  1. Small Businesses have limited budget for hiring and training
  2. The more “intimate setting” of a Small Business requires safer hires
  3. Background Checks help Small Businesses avoid litigation
  4. Small Businesses rely heavily on their reputation

“Your customers rely on your honesty and integrity, and will keep doing business with you because of it. Having unsafe employees can ruin that reputation. If your company is not taking the time to hire wisely, customers will notice. If your reputation is ruined or tainted by the actions of your employees, it is hard to bounce back. Small Businesses especially have to be vigilant in protecting the good reputation they have built.

By using Background Checks, Small Businesses can avoid making many of these missteps”. 

Find out more in “4 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need to use Background Checks”!

The question then becomes ~ what is the best way to get the quality background check you need?

You may find it tempting to simply go online and use the first "instant" background check website you see. But that would be a mistake!

“You see them everywhere. Ads touting “totally free”, “instant”, or "low cost" background checks. They all promise to get you information on anyone at any time.

Just do an online search for “Background Checks” and you will see what we mean. Over 40 million results pop up from “$9.83 for Unlimited Searches”, “Background Checks - Search for Free!”, to our personal favorite, “Instant Background Checks - 100% Free”! Who wouldn’t be intrigued?

And if you are hiring for your small business while trying to work within a budget and pressed for time, then you might be tempted to give it a try. But take our advice, and Stop Right There!”.

That online background check is simply not enough. It is essential that you take an all-important "Second Step". 

And that step, additional verification, is where a real, quality Background Check shines. Additional verification is vital in ensuring that you get the accurate and up-to-date information you need.

Checking any information found through a database search against real court records is simply good business. It is the single best way to determine whether any record found actually belongs to your subject.

Court records will also be more complete. They will contain identifying information, such as date of birth, of the subject. The court record will also list details of the charges, final disposition, and sentence. If no disposition is listed, then that additional verification will determine if it is an active case where no disposition is yet recorded. Online Databases are often missing the information you need and that can result in major holes in your report.

The bottom line is this ~ there is a definite difference between an Online Database search and the kind of information a real Background Background check will provide.

Find out more about the importance of going “directly to the source” when doing your employment background check here!

When it comes to your business reputation it is vital that you protect it, and that includes making safe hires, and using the right background check company to help you do it!

“It takes a significant time and resources to build a strong reputation and just moments to ruin it. How can people trust that the company will keep them safe if they cannot trust who is being sent into their homes. How can other employees feel safe if they are working next to someone they cannot trust? The loss of control is scary to consider. A person’s position in the company could be threatened because of the actions of another person who wasn’t properly vetted.”

That is why it is so important to know When and How to pick the right Background Check company for you!

“Our advice? The best time to contact us, or any screening company, is long BEFORE you ever need to hire!

Many companies get this backwards. They realize they need to hire, then scramble to find someone to help them screen their applicants ~ or worse, forgo the background check all together.

Meeting with potential background check companies before hand, and choosing the one best for you, will make your hiring process much smoother and more successful!

A good background check company will help you put in place all the steps you need to follow well in advance. This may start with the job descriptions for each position within your company (this is something that we have helped clients with in the past), and should also include advising you on your  employment applications.  

They will also make sure your release forms are compliant, or supply you with one of their own, along with explaining employee rights when it comes to background checks, adverse action letters, etc.

Connecting with your background check company early also gives you ample time to ask any questions you may have about the employment screening process. There should never be any confusion about how and why you are using background checks in your hiring practices.

Going the extra mile to make sure you are completely comfortable with the entire process is the goal of every good screening service ~ and this is especially important to Small Business.

With limited budgets and the settings that often result in close contact among employees and customers, hiring safely is more important than ever. “

You should choose a company that:

  • focuses on your needs
  • uses direct sources for their information
  • is willing to take the time necessary to do their job right
  • understands compliance issues
  • does not promise prices that are “too good to be true”

Outsourcing your employment background checks is simply good business. It will give you access to their knowledge and experience, keep you updated on compliance issues, will help you keep your candidate and employee information confidential and protected, act as a barrier against discrimination claims, and, most importantly, save you time, money, and resources.

Find out more about When and How to choose the best Background Check company for you here!

Making sure your new hires are going to be an asset to your Small Business is vital ~ and doing a sound background check on them first goes a long way towards achieving that goal. And the time to start is now! 

So, before you hire your next employee, Contact Us. We can answer your Background Check questions and help you hire safely and effectively for your Small Business!


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