Dude, where’s my job? Job seeking advice for recent grads!

Looking for Work for Recent Graduates:

So you’ve graduated—now what?  Maybe you’ve moved out on your own or maybe you’re looking to.  Maybe you’ve already got your foot in the door with an organization, or maybe you’re bussing tables to make ends meet.

Fear not—employers are looking for energetic and enthusiastic young people like you who are ready to change the world! And there are tons or opportunities out there for the eager recent grad.  

5 Tips to Get Started

1) Start somewhere:

It may not be your dream job right away, but it helps get you there.  Every job you get from making hamburgers to answering phones teaches you something about yourself and about your talents.  Don’t be afraid to try something new and make professional contacts along the way! (PS: Peak is a great place to start in entry-level professional positions.)

2) Be flexible:

Chances are you’re young and mobile.  Take advantage of that. Your first or second job may be located on the other side of the country or maybe even in a different one—sounds like a fantastic adventure! Besides asking yourself when can you start…maybe ask yourself where you can start?

3) More jobs offline

You may spend most of your time online but your future employer may not.  Have you thoroughly researched a company before applying there? Have you looked for personal referrals and people who might know people?  Have you networked with anyone besides through Linkedin?

4) Always follow up

Even if you don’t end up taking a job after an interview, give the hiring manager the courtesy of a personal phone call or email to thank  them following an interview or offer. Be grateful for every opportunity whether it lands a job or not.  Always be positive, and leave the door open for future opportunities.

5) Avoid job hopping

Even if you don’t like your job, try to resist the urge to “job hop.”  A prospective employer may be less likely to consider you for a new position if they perceive that you are less committed and dedicated for the long-term.

Did you know we’re always hiring at Peak?  Have you read about what we do?  Start your career with Peak Performers by sending us your resume.

Best Job Hunting Websites in Austin

Top Job Hunting Websites for Austin Texas

There are a lot of job hunting websites out there.  We often get asked which are the best ones to use? Short answer: all of them.  It is so easy to get your resume multiple places that you might as well.  The bigger task then becomes managing all those resumes and the correspondence you may receive from recruiters.  

Here’s one recruiter’s take on the top job search websites for job seekers to get noticed in Austin, TX.  

ZipRecruiter

ZipRecruiter has taken the hiring market by storm. They aggregate many millions of resumes and are a great starting point for getting recruiters to call you. Also, since ZipRecruiter “scrapes” resumes from other online platforms, it’s possible your resume already has some visibility on this platform.

Indeed

There are a lot of other platforms recruiters use that tie into it. Many Applicant Tracking Systems can already search Indeed and many other commonly used recruiting tools like Ziprecruiter or Mightyrecruiter access it’s immense database effortlessly.  Indeed boasts 200 million unique visitors every month and is used in over 60 countries.

Google Jobs

Known for disrupting marketplaces and aggregating hoards of data, Google recently rolled out an updated job search platform that seeks to solve the problem of the same job being posted multiple places.  Does it work? Usually. This is a great place for discovering jobs posted on other platforms or directly on company websites.

LinkedIn

Increasingly, LinkedIn is being used by recruiters to search for living, breathing resumes.  In the recruiting community, some rely on it so strongly that they’re advocating the discontinuation of the resume  If you know someone — or know someone who knows someone — LinkedIn can be a valuable networking tool. You can draw extra attention to your resume when you connect with a contact and/or send them a personal message through the LinkedIn platform. A LinkedIn profile can direct the viewer to specific credentials and expertise, and often the most regular users of the site are those who are currently employed but entertaining other options.

Glassdoor

Glassdoor wins points for most insights into companies — but, you can find jobs on it too!  Employees past and present are encouraged to post anonymously about their employment experience: including wages, other benefits, work environment, and their personal experience.  As with all online review platforms (*cough* Yelp *cough*), the voices of those who had a bad experience can often drown out the silent majority who had a good or fine experience, but Glassdoor does seek to mitigate this by collecting as many reviews as possible.  Still, take what you read with a grain of salt and use Glassdoor to get an idea of what you’re walking into with a company.

Work in Texas

WorkInTexas.com may not be the most user-friendly interface but you will often be required to create a profile if you’re filing for unemployment benefits in Texas.  Don’t think this tool can’t be valuable, though. Your career advisors will use it to help match you up with potential jobs, and recruiters like me peruse it regularly for candidates that have recently joined the job market and may not be visible on other platforms yet.  Also, since many job seekers do not fill out complete profiles, WorkInTexas.com provides a unique opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

If you’re looking for work in Texas, don’t forget to send your resume to Peak Performers!

Peak Performers Employee Appreciation Event:  PEAKnic

PEAKnic 2018

On Thursday  May 17th, 2018, Peak Performers celebrated their employee appreciation event, PEAKnic.  Aside from the wordplay—there was much horseplay and balloons and painted faces and sidewalk chalk and sandwiches.  What a party!

Banner from PEAKnic 2018, our employee appreciation event
It was great to have our temporary workers attend our employee appreciation event!

Balloon hats from Peak Performers temporary staffing associates at appreciation event
What great party hats!
Picture of man raffling off winners at employee appreciation event
Charlie gets into the action announcing winners of a drawing.
Picture of two Peak Performers staffing agency temporary personnel sitting and wearing party hats
Associates Jesse and Marilyn at the event.  Look at all those sandwiches in the background.  Will there be leftovers?
Hiring manager saying goodbye to temporary staffing agency personnel
Staffing consultant, Cheryl, is sad to see our guests go.  Next year, Cheryl!
Picture of Peak Performers staffing agency office in Austin TX filled with people for employee appreciation event.
A full house and fantastic event.  Thanks to all who came!

Over 50? Looking for a job?

Tips for Austin Job Seekers over 50

It’s hard finding a new job or transitioning careers, especially when you might be thinking more about retirement.  Things can be extra challenging these days competing with tech savvy millennials who will work for lower wages and can relocate easily—however your future is still bright!

Here are 5 tips to compete in the job market!  

1) Stay positive, stay current

Employers can sense energy and enthusiasm—they appreciate perspective but don’t want someone stuck in the past.  Make sure to stay positive and in the present both on paper and in person.  Remember that you want to highlight your past and not live in it.

2) Get techie

Realistically, most of your work will be done on a computer from now on.  Most likely you already use a computer on a daily basis but maybe it’s time to learn some new skills.  It’s likely in your new job you will be using Google Docs, Quickbooks, Salesforce, or another cloud-based, collaborative application–so maybe it’s time to do some research and familiarize yourself with the software currently prevalent in your career field.

3) Update your resume

Have you been in one job for ten years?  Twenty?  Probably time to update your resume.  Did you know that your local library may have resume writing classes?  Have you looked at resume writing tips online?  Also, don’t forget to tailor your resume towards each job you apply for.

4) Network and use Linkedin

Linkedin is not only a great way to look for jobs but also to reconnect with former colleagues and friends in the field.  Many of your best job leads will come from personal referrals.  So tighten up that resume and get online to connect.

5) Leverage your experience

You’ve been there and done that.  Don’t forget to show it on your resume and talk about it in the interview.  Most employers value experience, perspective, and a long list of things you’ve done.  While ideal resumes should be tailored specifically to the job you’re looking to get, don’t be afraid to point out all the ways you’ve changed the world!

By the way, have you heard about our mission at Peak?  Do you think you might be a Peak Performer?  Send us your resume!

Finding the job you LOVE

Advice from Peak Performers founder and CEO

For many of us, growing up is a time of exploring ideas and our relationship to life – to others around us and the universe in which we live.  It’s a big and complex universe with an enormous number of choices to be made.  Many of us spend the first 25+ plus years of life just figuring out which choices will aid our survival the most (and which ones are most harmful).

Most schools emphasize getting to college as soon as High School is done and that often means entering the full time workforce at the age of 22, 23 or later.  And it can be a big parental (and personal) disappointment when you discover that you actually dislike the kind of work for which you have been trained – at enormous cost.  And if you graduate with debt the shock and disappointment can be personally devastating.

How can you know what you love to do, until you do it?

So finding the job, the work you love, is a bit tricky.  It’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem.  How can you know what you love to do, until you do it?  You may find that even the greatest job at the best company in the world can send you into your pillow crying if your boss is mean.  Or you may find the menial tasks of your chosen profession drive you to a boredom not experienced since Middle school.

The days of going to work for one employer in one city, in one trade or profession are gone.  The odds are very good that you will not work any one place for 30 years.  

Job Sampling

Job sampling, and temporary work, in today’s “gig” economy is the most beneficial way for you to find out:

  • Where you want to work
  • What kind of work you really enjoy
  • How your skills can be best deployed to help an employer
  • How and where you get the most personal job satisfaction.  

Work is no longer just about the paycheck

For the first decade of working, I had no idea what kinds of jobs I loved, so I sampled multiple jobs, employers, and job types.  From highly technical and precise map making, to highly imprecise and social sales jobs. 

Prior to creating Peak Performers, I had jobs in…

  • A car wash, making dirty cars clean (until the next time it rained)
  • Mapping possible hydroelectric dam locations
  • Selling Persian, Turkish and other exotic rugs and expensive carpets
  • Selling electronic stereo equipment and home electronics
  • Mapping the back side of the moon
  • Analyzing the right level of staffing for large plywood manufacturing plants
  • Grinding steel plates in a machine shop (that lasted one day)
  • Selling insurance and annuity products to elderly people
  • Helping people with disabilities develop work skills
  • Helping minority and women owned small businesses get government contracts
  • Helping low income and minority workers get re-trained and placed into new careers
  • Helping older workers get trained to change occupations and helping minority youth access the workforce 

I finally settled on helping people with disabilities develop work skills as my ideal type of work.  That was after having 15 jobs!  Some lasting years and some only months.  

To give another example: our family dentist began his post-university career as an electrical engineer.  He is a highly social person who likes talking to patients.  Electrical engineering was not a good fit, to say the least.

Finding What you Love

No one really knows what they LOVE to do until they have done some various things.

No one really knows what they LOVE to do until they have done some various things.  Employers are no longer expecting you to give them your whole life and they are no longer guaranteeing you a lifetime job.  That’s a good thing for people seeking a well-balanced, happy and prosperous life because you don’t want to commit for the next 30 years either.

So, looking at the reality of today’s job market, all jobs are, in effect, temporary.  And you as a candidate can make the best of this opportunity to look around and sample different jobs, in different sectors for different employers until you find the job you LOVE.  

The whole box of chocolates might look inviting, but there will be one in the box that’s better than all the others.  It’s up to you to find it.

-Charlie Graham, founder and CEO of Peak Performers

Are you looking to try out a career field? Why not consider one of our temporary jobs?

Master your elevator pitch

Tips for crafting an elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is a 30 second (or less) speech meant to pique the interest of a prospective employer.  30 seconds is not a lot of time but can be a great way to grab someone’s attention to learn more about you. Here are tips to have a killer elevator pitch:

Clarify your job target.

Describe your field and the type of job you’re pursuing.  The best job applicants know what they’re applying for and tailor their pitch to the position.

Tailor the pitch to them, not you.

It is important to remember that the people listening to your speech will be listening for “what’s in it for me,” so be sure to focus your message on their needs. Use benefit-focused terminology so that an interviewer can see you have the experience and skills to make an immediate positive impact on the business.

Put it on paper.

Write down everything you would like a prospective employer to know about your skills, accomplishments, and work experiences that are relevant to your target position. Next, remove extraneous details that detract from your core message. Continue to edit until you have just a few key bullet points or sentences. The goal is to interest the listener in learning more, not to tell your whole life story. A good rule of thumb is that a person can say about 150 words in one minute so try to keep your pitch to 75 words or less.

Format it.

A good pitch should answer three questions: Who are you? What do you do? What are you looking for?

Read your pitch out loud.

The best editing you can do is to hear how it sounds out loud.

Practice, practice, practice (then solicit feedback).

Rehearse your pitch in front of a mirror or use the recording capabilities of your mobile device, so you can see and hear how you sound. Continue to fine tune your pitch until it no longer sounds rehearsed. When you are satisfied with your pitch, try it out on a few friends and ask for honest and constructive feedback.

Nail it with confidence.

The best-worded elevator pitch in the world will fall flat unless it is conveyed well. When you give the speech, look the person in the eye, smile and deliver your message with a confident, upbeat tone.

Looking to get your foot into the elevator door?  Peak Performers offers a wide variety of temporary staffing opportunities.  Whether you’re an experienced professional looking to shift into a new role or a new job seeker seeking to start your career, temporary positions can be a great way to get started.

6 Tips for Resume Writing

Your resume gets you the interview . . .  you get the job!

Resume writing can be a long process with lots of conflicting advice.  As a recruiter for Peak, a staffing agency in Austin, I’d like to share some of our recommendations and then also share tips from other top websites. One thing that recruiters and hiring authorities agree on is that the purpose of your resume is to provide a snapshot of your experience and skills with an emphasis on how they relate to the job you want.

Tailor your resume.

This can be hard, especially if you are submitting your resume to a lot of different places. Making your resume specific to the job really does help it jump out to recruiters.  Are you applying for an Administrative job?  You need to say explicitly how you’ve worked in similar roles before or had experiences in different roles that exposed you to similar environments.  Your resume should include relevant experience like answering the phone, responding to customer questions, generating reports, coordinating schedules, etc.  Are you applying for a technical role?  Be detailed about the kind of technologies you know and experience you’ve had.

How long should it be?

This varies. On the Information Technology side of things, I look at a lot of highly technical candidates. An IT professional’s resume should reflect the technologies they’ve worked with and the environment—it’s not uncommon for me to see 5-10 page IT resumes. On the Office Professional side of our business, resumes are being reviewed for less technical roles and successful applicants will focus on experiences but also keep it briefer, around two pages in length.  Regardless, I recommend that job seekers build multiple versions of their resumes of varying length and details to submit depending on the job and the organization.

Make it readable but not ostentatious.

Remember tip #1? Tailor your resume.  We work with state agencies and many are more conservative in the kinds of resumes they’re looking for.  They’re screening for experience and hard skills first and will get to know you during the interview.  On the other hand, if you’re applying to work for an ad agency, your tailored resume should probably be flashy.  Know your audience and write to that audience.

Don’t date your experience or credentials.

It can be tempting to go all the way back in your work history, especially if you’re a late career job seeker. However, conventional wisdom holds that you do not need to date experience in your resume that is older than ten years. If you possess relevant but dated experience, include it in an ‘other relevant experience’ section omitting dates. Note: also remove graduation/completion dates from schools/training that you have attended.

Avoid unnecessary personalizing details.

We recommend not disclosing anything in the resume that is overly identifying in a personal, non-job relevant way.  No photos of you, your spouse/partner, your kids, your pets.  Avoid mentioning your political affiliation, your religion, your heritage, your favorite ice cream flavor…just ask yourself if it’s necessary for the hiring manager to see this side of me on paper?

Read it out loud.

Ready to hit the submit button?  Take an extra ten minutes to read your resume out loud.  You are your own best editor and reading your resume aloud will help you catch awkward phrasing, extra words, and sometimes even misspellings.

Was this helpful?  You can read our other two articles on resume writing (Professional email address resume tips) and (What’s in a name? resume advice).  Ready to send us your tailored, pitch-perfect resume?  You can do so online.

Don’t just take our word for it.  Many recruiters have different opinions on this subject.  Here are some tips from Monster and here’s what Glassdoor has to say.

November: Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes Awareness

November is Diabetes awareness month.  Diabetes is estimated by the CDC to affect 12.2% of adults (More info) and yet it’s also estimated that 23.8% who have it are undiagnosed.  This represents a huge portion of the US population affected by this invisible disability.

What is it?

Diabetes is a metabolic condition where normal blood sugar levels are not being properly regulated by insulin.

Diabetes is broken down into type 1 and 2.  Type 1 is caused by the pancreas’ inability to produce enough insulin—the cause of this condition is unknown and often appears early in people.  Type 2, by contrast, is where cells fail to respond to insulin properly—this is typically referred to as “adult-onset mellitus.”

As you can see from the video, the cause for type 2 diabetes is up for debate.  While conventional wisdom attributes its cause to overeating and not enough exercise, many prominent researchers in the field are suggesting a misunderstanding of the causes and proposing radical new dietary solutions.

Diabetes in the workplace

As noted in the video, discrimination has been reported in workplaces and many suffering from the disease are reluctant to come forward.  However, diabetes can normally be managed in the workplace and seldom affects job function.

The American Diabetes Association recommends several “reasonable accommodations.”  First, individuals that need to take breaks to check insulin levels be allowed to do so.  Second, individuals suffering from neuropathy as a result of diabetes may request, depending on the needs of the job, a chair or stool to sit on while performing their job function. (More info)

Let’s work through this:

Do you know someone suffering from diabetes?  Here at Peak we offer hiring preference to individuals suffering from disabilities, including diabetes.  Submit your resume online to be considered for job opportunities.

After the Injury: famous figures and the rest of their story

After the Injury: The Rest of the Story

Last week we talked about the different types of spinal cord injuries in our effort to align with the national Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.  This week, we wanted to focus on famous people with spinal cord injuries and what they did after their injury.  Enjoy!

Christopher Reeve

Perhaps most famous for his role in the 1978 version of Superman as Clark Kent, Christopher had a long list of famous titles he appeared in.  Somewhere In Time, Street Smart, The Remains of the Day, and The Bostonians represent some of his iconic screen appearances.

Christopher was paralyzed in a horse riding accident.

After the injury:

Following his injury, Christopher used his influence and charisma to raise awareness about Spinal Cord Injuries and to promote Stem Cell Research.  He also continued to direct, appear in television shows, and even wrote a bestselling autobiography. (Learn more…)

Curtis Mayfield 

Curtis Mayfied was an R&B Artist and social activist.  He became famous for his songs “People Get Ready,” “Pusherman,” “Superfly,” as well as his work with the Impressions.  Mayfield’s song “Keep on Pushing” was at one point banned from several radio stations during in the civil rights era when it became the song of choice for Freedom Riders.

 Curtis became paralyzed after a light on the stage fell on him during a live performance.

After the injury:

Despite his injury, Mayfield continued recording.  His last album, New World Order, was sung line by line while he lay on his back.  This album would go on to receive multiple grammy nominations, including Best R&B Album and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. (Visit his site)

Chuck Close

A photographer and artist, Chuck Close is perhaps best known for his extremely large and detailed portraits of people.  His work is described sometimes as “photorealism” and “hyperrealism” and are mesmerizing when observed close-up.

Chuck suffered a spinal artery collapse that left him paralyzed.

After the injury:

Chuck Close continues to make art to this day! He continues to paint and has recently focused on making prints and woven tapestries. His wall-sized tapestries of people typically involve over 17,000 individual threads and many different colors woven together. (Watch the artist work)

Jill Boothe

A competitive downhill skier, Jill Boothe was a favorite for the 1956 Winter Olympics.  She was also featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

 She suffered a skiing injury during the 1955 Snow Cup event.

After the injury:

Jill, a media darling, was featured in two movies about her life, The Other Side of the Mountain (Parts 1 and 2), and later went on to have an impact on her community as a a special education teacher.  She would also go on to become an accomplished landscape painter as well. (Learn more about Jill)

Are you close to someone who has suffered a spinal cord injury?  We want to help with the rest of the story.  Submit your resume online.

 

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Peak Spotlight: Spinal Cord Injury Awareness

Peak Spotlight: Spinal Cord Injury Awareness

Life Altering, Not Life Defining

Like Jack in the video, many adults come by their disability later in life.  It could be the result of an accident (like in Jack’s case), genetics, or the byproduct of a another illness or condition.  What really resonates to us at Peak about Jack’s story is the sort of fearlessness that he expresses and the desire to find his next big thing.  He may not be able to windsurf any more but he can find another passion, another outlet for his drive and figure out his unique way to change the world.

 

This September we wanted to focus on spinal chord injury (SCI) awareness.  Did you know that 12,500 new cases are reported each year? Fortunately, SCI does not usually affect cognitive function; however, you may need certain accommodations at work to help you on your new path.

Types of Spinal Cord Injury

There are two types of SCIs, complete and incomplete.  Range of motion and mobility will often vary significantly under both categories.

SCIs are typically categorized as follows: Anterior Cord Syndrome (damages to motor and sensory passageways), Central Cord Syndrome (damages to the central cord that carries signals to the brain), and Brown Sequard Syndrome (damage to one side of the spinal cord).

They may also be called: Tetraplegia (loss of control of all limbs), Paraplegia (loss of lower half of limbs), and Triplegia (loss of movement in one arm and both legs, typically caused by an incomplete SCI).

Back to Work

SCIs seldom affect the mind but it can still sometimes be difficult to find work.  Fortunately, the rise of office professional and IT roles (such as the ones we staff) and work from home opportunities make it increasingly realistic to find a career after a life altering SCI.  

Do you have a question about getting a job with an SCI?  Do you know someone who’s looking for work?  You can reach us here at Peak via email or call us at 512-453-8833

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Starting a resume from scratch

Whether you’re newly to the workforce, newly seeking a job, or simply unhappy with the results you’re getting with your existing resume, have you thought about starting your resume from scratch? It may seem intimidating, but the good news is that there are many, many websites out there that are great resources. And your new resume may provide the boost your job search needs.

It’s easy to find articles about improving and optimizing your resume–but what about a site that actually creates your resume for you? I call these the “plug and play” options. Welcome to my master list!

Personally, my favorite in terms of user experience and final product is The Ladders. The Ladders takes it a step further and helps you with the actual content of your resume. You can also upload an existing resume, have The Ladders instantly assess it, and follow its guided process for improving key areas.

Have you considered starting your resume over from scratch?

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Join us for a job fair!

Join us for an in-house job fair next week! Wednesday, May 25 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Peak Performers office (4616 Triangle Avenue, Suite 405).

This opportunity is perfect if you:

  • Have been thinking about registering with us
  • Know someone you want to refer over
  • Registered with us in the past and want to re-activate your application


This is your chance to get in the door FAST. We’ll be conducting the application process from start to finish, so come prepared for an interview and with your resume in hand. We’ll see you there!

RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/work-with-the-state-job-fair-tickets-25577276322