Working from home advice for job seekers and businesses

For job seekers

Is work from home the new normal?

I get a lot of questions these days about work from home (WFH) jobs. I also get a lot of job seekers that are only looking for remote options. Here’s my perspective:

 

Depends on the job.

If you are an office worker, it is more common for your job to be WFH, as opposed to two years ago. There are many jobs that are obviously excluded from WFH options, such as retail, hospitality, and essential roles. What’s less obvious is that lower-level jobs are often still asked to be done on-site. When an entry/junior -level role is WFH, it’s often used as recruitment perk. Temporary roles are often less likely to be WFH as well.

Hybrid roles are more common.

Often job descriptions are binary…is a role remote, yes or no? There is no middle option. Similarly, you can search job sites for only remote roles. More common now is that offices are now shared, fluid spaces and you may be expected to come into work a certain number of days a week. Managers may not have made up their mind about if the role can be WFH or not. Perhaps also a role may start on-site and shift to WFH once you’re a trusted member of the team. In my opinion is worthwhile to get to the interview to politely inquire about WFH options. Don’t screen out opportunities preemptively.

Willingness to work on-site is now a competitive advantage.

There are a lot of job seekers out there seeking only 100% remote roles. Think carefully about whether you really want to say “no” to all on-site opportunities.

For businesses

How can I leverage work from home for my business?

We get a lot of questions these days about work from home (WFH) jobs. We also get a lot of job seekers that are looking only for remote options. In a recent market research, we’ve found Google searches for “remote jobs” to be DOUBLE the searches of simply “jobs.” So what does that mean for you?

 

How common is work from home?

It is more common for office workers and professionals to WFH, as opposed to two years ago. It’s estimated by flexjobs that 41.8% of jobs are remote. There are many roles that are obviously excluded from WFH options, such as retail, hospitality, and essential roles. Also lower-level jobs are often still asked to be done on-site. When an entry/junior -level role is WFH, it’s often used as recruitment perk. Temporary roles are often less likely to be WFH as well.

What about hybrid roles?

Too often job descriptions are binary…is a role remote, yes or no? There is no middle option. Similarly, you can search job sites for only remote roles. More common now is that offices are now shared, fluid spaces and you may be expected to come into work a certain number of days a week. Managers may not have made up their mind about if the role can be WFH or not. Perhaps also a role may start on-site and shift to WFH once the new hire has been trained. Seriously look at your role and how it’s marketed–marking it as strictly “non-remote” may be driving away candidates.

Is it a disability accommodation?

It can be! Here at Peak, we specialize in helping placing professionals with disabilities. We get a lot of questions about accommodations and allowing work from home is one of the easiest and cheapest accommodations your business can make.

The bottom line…

You will attract more candidates if you advertise your roles as remote or hybrid. There is some evidence that some job seekers are even willing to take a pay cut in order to work remotely. Allowing remote work also expands your pool of potential recruits as it expands your geographic recruiting area.

Peak Performers and Texas Veterans Commission Job Search Give Advice

Upcoming Virtual Job Fair with Texas Veterans Commission

Peak Performers recently partnered with the Texas Veterans Commission to share job seeking tips for veterans and job seekers with disabilities prior to their job fair on September 22nd, 2021.

You can watch the video on Linkedin.

“You are more than your disability. Focus on your capabilities.” -Myles Wallace, Strategic Partnership Specialist at Peak Performers.

By the way, did you know that Peak Performers is a veteran friendly employer? 10% or more of our workforce are veterans.

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Media contact: myles@peakperformers.org – (512) 453-8833 X 116

Cover letters for Austin jobs

How Important are Cover Letters?

The utility of the cover letter will vary between jobs and between job seekers in Austin. While somewhat old fashioned, cover letters are a nice way of introducing yourself and expressing your interest in the job.

At the very least, they can’t hurt.

Cover Letter Comic
Cover letters aren’t always read, but when they are they can have an impact. Comic from amazingsuperpowers.com

Cover Letter Tips

Don’t rely on the cover letter to tell your story. A cover letter may or may not get read. So make sure that it’s supplemental to your resume and a “nice, personalized touch” that will help you stand out between multiple qualified candidates. In addition to a cover letter, I recommend putting in a brief statement at the top of your resume about what kind of role you’re seeking and a summary of your qualifications.

Cover letters can be helpful if you’re not the obvious choice candidate. If you are attempting to switch careers or get back into the job market after an employment gap, cover letters can help you overcome objections or add more context and explanation to your candidacy.

Make sure to customize your cover letter. Too often, when I do see cover letters, they are very obviously copy-pasted from a template. Job seekers won’t bother to customize the thing that’s supposed to be a personal touch! If you’re using “Dear Sir or Madam,” you probably haven’t done enough networking and research into the organization for the cover letter to be truly impactful.

Emphasize your network connection/referral. As a follow up to the previous point, if you have a personal connection into an organization, a cover letter is a great way take advantage of this network. You can name drop your connection, and it increases the odds that your application will get seen and will spark a conversation about you.

Watch for typos on your cover letter. You want a cover letter to be the best representation of yourself. Since it’s a bit of a formal document anyway, if you can’t make it typo-free and grammatically sound, I’d skip it as it may jeopardize your candidacy. Attention to detail is important.

Cover letters are a great follow up. What I also see is a cover letter used as a follow up after you apply. I think it can have a good value used this way!

Cover Letter Templates

It’s still good to have a template even if you don’t think you’ll need to use a cover letter often. All job seekers should have a cover letter template they can customize and send at a moment’s notice. Some employers still require it as part of the application process. Indeed has an amazing  library of sample cover letters. You can also check out this previous article on Peak’s site with tips for writing a good cover letter.

Now Hiring in Austin – Hot Jobs August 10, 2021

Austin Job Market Growing Fast

Austin has almost regained all jobs lost prior to the pandemic as our area continues to see rapid hiring. However, there are A LOT of people still out of work, including: people who took time off to care for dependents, retail and service workers who saw their jobs permanently disappear, and people with disabilities.  People with disabilities are often the first to be let go and last to be re-hired in organizations

Many with disabilities were laid off or voluntarily dropped out due to health concerns, and they can use your help finding their next job!

So who do you know who’s looking for work? Who do you know who has been out of a job for a while and is tentative about getting back to work? Peak Performers can help these professionals find their next job—let’s put people to work!

*A complete list of our open jobs found at https://www.peakperformers.org/jobseeker/office-jobs/

**More information on the Austin Job market can be found on the Austin Chamber of Commerce Blog

Chart Showing Austin Job Growth
Austin has re-gained 96% of jobs lost from the pandemic

Now Hiring! Our Hot Jobs August 10, 2021

NEW JOB! Do you have experience working for a state agency? Do you want to help grant administration, monitoring, and preparing of education material? If so we’re looking for a Grant Coordinator. Pay is $29 / hour. https://www.peakperformers.org/jobseeker/office-jobs?rpid=qxikIpMlKmw 

REMOTE ROLE! Do you pride yourself in examining, investigating, and reviewing financial statements? Do you have a certification as an auditor (CGAP, CFE, CIA, or CPA)? If so, we are now hiring for a remote Auditor IV (Austin-based) pay is $28 / hour.  https://www.peakperformers.org/jobseeker/office-jobs?rpid=_pj35EoBe3M 

IT JOB! Do you have experience working for state agencies and a passion for data modeling, collection, and storage. We’re now recruiting for an Enterprise Data Architect role. Pay is $69 / hour. https://www.peakperformers.org/jobseeker/office-jobs?rpid=s4mfD1bhMbE 

MULTIPLE OPENINGS! Are you a state certified Purchaser? Are you looking to work for the state of Texas? We now have multiple roles and levels open for experienced purchasers. Pay is $22 – $28 DOE. https://www.peakperformers.org/jobseeker/office-jobs?rpid=MxLgDE0si50 

Many more jobs can be found at 
https://www.peakperformers.org/jobseeker/office-jobs/

Virtual Interviews: Tips for Jobseekers and Employers

11 Tips for Virtual Interviews

Virtual interviews have become increasingly common, including with state government agencies in Austin, TX. Before COVID-19, Peak Performers had been transitioning to conducting mostly virtual interviews because of their convenience for all parties. Now, living with the virus, you will find most employers, including Peak Performers, are conducting their interviews via phone or video chat or some combination of the two. Let’s look at some tips for both jobseekers and employers:

  1. Treat it like a normal interview. It’s important to take all interviews, regardless of how they are conducted, with the same level of seriousness. Preparation includes: studying before you interview (jobseekers should research the organization, employers should re-read the candidate’s resume), getting plenty of rest the night before, being well fed before the interview, and cleaning/dressing yourself professionally
  2. Mark your calendar. Prior to the event, make sure that you are prepared to do the interview. You should send out or respond to calendar invites to let the other party know it’s really happening. As an additional courtesy, you can send an email expressing your excitement and providing the other party with another means to contact you if there is connection trouble.
  3. Check technology. Test out the technology to make sure you are set-up and ready to go. If possible, make a test call to a friend or family member. In particular, you should make sure that your webcam and microphone work.
  4. Manage noise. Find yourself a quiet room in your home (not outside). Sounds like a dog barking, garbage disposal running, or someone playing music in the next room may not be something you notice but your interviewer probably will. If you’re concerned about background noise, wear a headset or earphones.
  5. Manage lighting. Find a room with good natural light when possible. Avoid sitting with your back to a window as this tends to turn you into a silhouette. Use overhead lights when natural light is unavailable or insufficient.
  6. Adjust your webcam. Adjust the angle of your webcam so that your head is centered in the frame and the camera clearly shows both your shoulders. Sit so you are directly facing the camera.
  7. Manage interruptions. Don’t forget to silence your phone and computer so it doesn’t interrupt you. Additionally, put a sign on your door and let household members know that you will be interviewing. If interruptions do happen during the interview, such as a child coming in to interrupt you, mute your microphone, deal with the situation patiently, thank the other party for their patience, and return to the interview. We’re all human and working under unusual circumstances—do what you need to do and then get back to it.
  8. Take notes. For employers this is really important, especially if you’re interviewing multiple candidates and need to recall who is who. Jobseekers should also have a pen and paper handy to take note of their interviewer’s name, email, and phone for follow up.
  9. Speak clearly. Remember to talk slower than you might do in person, especially if you are conducting a phone interview. Pause before answering a question to think about it and avoid, when possible, excessive filler words. You want to sound thoughtful and communicate clearly.
  10. Smile often. Remember to smile often, even if you are doing a phone interview. A smile brings a natural enthusiasm to your voice and is particularly important with a video interview.
  11. Look at the camera, not the screen. Finally, when doing a virtual interview, look into the camera as much as possible when talking. This gives the perception of eye contact during the interview.

Peak Performers is committed to helping people find jobs. You can find other tips from Indeed!

Did you know that we’re hiring right now? Also be sure to check out our guide for Austin job seekers!

Austin Job Seeker Resources

Peak Performers is an active part of the recruiting and job seeking community and connected to many organizations and resources that may help job seekers find work. Here is our curated list of Austin job seeking resources:  

General Job Seeker Services

Workforce Solutions is the operational arm of Texas Workforce Commission in providing various job seeker services. Peak Performers does not provide job seeker services and will usually refer job seekers onto Workforce Solutions.

You can turn to Workforce Solutions for services such as:

  • Unemployment benefits
  • Free or discounted training and education opportunities
  • Workplace accommodation resources
  • Childcare assistance services
  • Resume and interview coaching 
  • Career coaching

http://www.wfscapitalarea.com/Job-Seekers

NEW! In response to the sudden rise in unemployment, Workforce Solutions has launched a “Jobs Now” website, which is a manually curated list of jobs that are still hiring despite current market conditions.

Additionally, they hold job fairs periodically throughout the year:

  • Bi-weekly general job fairs
  • Industry-specific job fairs
  • Public sector job fairs
  • Disability-focused job fairs
  • Second chance job fairs
  • Veterans job fairs

http://www.wfscapitalarea.com/CalendarEvents

There are multiple locations in the Austin area, and they’re open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. They accept walk-ins and appointments for job seekers with specific needs.

  • 9001 N Interstate Hwy 35 Ste 110, Austin, TX 78753 (North Austin)
  • 575 Round Rock W Dr Building H, Suite 240, Round Rock, TX 78681 (Round Rock)
  • 3401 Webberville Rd #1000, Austin, TX 78702 (East Austin)
  • 7701 Metropolis Dr, Austin, TX 78744 (South Austin)

Austin Job Clubs

Job seeking can be demoralizing, especially if you’re told “no” over and over. It can be valuable to join a community of other job seekers to keep you motivated and to offer guidance along the way. Fortunately, Austin metro area has three prominent job clubs which you can become involved in. They will often feature speakers, job fairs, and resume workshops. These are free to attend—they ask for donations from previous job seekers and from employer sponsorships.

Job Seekers Network – Meetings in Northwest Austin every Monday

HIRED Texas – Meetings in Round Rock every Tuesday

LaunchPad Job Club – Meetings in North Austin every Friday

Note: currently job clubs are suspended due to outbreaks in the COVID-19. This article will be updated when the job clubs are back in session.

Recommended Job Seeker Websites

There are a lot of websites out there to help job seekers find work and much of your time is going to be spent utilizing these resources. Gone are the days of walking into businesses and dropping off your resume at the front desk. “Help wanted” signs now hang in the digital window.

You should use all or many of these websites to aid your job search. Generally, these websites are free to job seekers and require minutes to start an account.

ZipRecruiter – this platform has taken the recruiting world by storm as it does a great job of proactively finding jobs that may be a fit and inviting you to apply. It is also pulls jobs from hundreds of other websites and centralizes them in one place.

Monster – this platform is used by many recruiters for its advanced search features. It also tends to attract many professional and information technology job seekers. From an employer side, the cost is rather daunting but that tends to attract larger employers looking for hard-to-find candidates.

Dice – this is widely used in the Austin information technology job search community. Dice tends to attract mid and senior -level professionals.

WorkInTexas – this is used in Texas by Workforce Solutions to post jobs. Jobseekers filing for unemployment will be required to build a profile….but take time to do it right—many job seekers don’t fill in all the information! Savvy recruiters use this website because it’s free and because it’s a snap shot of nearly all job seekers available, not just the ones who have their resume up on other platforms.

Glassdoor – jobs are posted to Glassdoor but perhaps more important are the tools to read company reviews and explore salaries. Glassdoor is an important part of your research toolkit so that you spend time engaging with reputable companies.

Austin Chamber of Commerce – in response to the COVID-19 unemployment crisis, the Austin Chamber of Commerce has launched a listing of businesses in Austin who are still hiring. Great for doing some research and discovering companies that you haven’t heard of before.

Additional Job Seeking Resources

Here is a list of other resources that I refer people onto who are looking for work:

AustinUp is a local nonprofit that connects older adults (ages 50+) with employers seeking experienced professionals. AustinUp also partners with AARP in order to connect older adults with a host of other services. AustinUp has periodic job fairs throughout the year as well as regular meetings.

Texas Veterans Commission supports Texas veterans and their spouses who are looking for work and other services. Texas Veterans Commission career advisors work out of Workforce Solutions offices.

Austin Community College Employment Readiness Training is a “boot camp” to help job seekers get ready to look for work. Perfect for those who have not looked for work for a little while and are feeling overwhelmed.

Other Community Resources

There can be other barriers getting in the way of finding a job. Here is a list of some of those local resources:

Austin Urban League is a local nonprofit that seeks to help African Americans and other under-served urban residents with job training, housing programs, and education.

Homeless Veteran Assistance the local VA helps homeless veterans get connected to housing and jobs. Local resources available to help veterans and their spouses.

Dress for Success helps disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and career development resources.

Workforce Education and Readiness Continuum is a branch Workforce Solutions here to connect job seekers to specific resources they will need prior to starting work.

Foundation Communities is a local nonprofit that assists central Texas residents with financial assistance, health insurance, and access to other services to help ensure they are able to start work.

So…What Do You Do?

Focus Your Job Search

“So…what do you do?”

Don’t you hate that question? You get it at parties, you get it at job fairs, you even get it at the dentist! I don’t know about you, but I’m a lot more than just my work. If I’m a job seeker, though, my resume is not the place to tell you who I am.

Employers get hundreds (sometimes thousands) of applications for every position that they post. This creates a mountain of reading that recruiters just cannot do. Often, computers read your resume first and rate it based on how relevant it is to what the recruiter wants. Or, if you’re an overworked recruiter, you read really fast (i.e. 6-10 seconds per resume).

“Who” is a complicated question that gets to the core of our humanity. “What” is a lot easier to communicate. In recruiting, it’s how we evaluate a candidate for further consideration. In this article, I want to get your resume from “Who” to “What.”

Questions to Ask Yourself When Looking for a Job

One of the hardest parts of the job search is knowing where to start. Full time work provides a location to work, equipment to work on, a community to support and direct you, and, in most cases, clear instructions on what to do on a day-to-day basis.

When you are seeking work, that can all go out the window very quickly. Job searchers must now turn inwards and answer a couple of deep questions.

  • What do I want to do?
  • What can I do?
  • What place (where) do I want to do it?
  • What do I expect from my work?

I have found these questions to be the most basic as well as the most troubling. I ask you to ask yourself, because every day that I’m at a job fair I ask job seekers, “what do you do?”

We’ll take a deeper dive into each, but first you need to gather a few tools:

  • A copy of your resume you can write on
  • A pen
  • A highlighter

1) What do you want to do?

For just a minute, I want you to imagine a perfect world where you don’t need to work but instead just want to work. What would you do? I want you to ignore the lightness of your wallet and the anxiety you feel about being around the house all day.

But I’m going to make this harder. You now need to answer this question in three words or less. Write them at the top of your resume where it’s so big you can’t ignore or forget what you wrote. 

2) What can you do?

Now, write down a list that ignores your list of what you want to do. This list is for the things you can do whether you want to do them or not. Here’s where I want to you get really specific and list all of the things you can do.

This is the most important part to recruiters and companies. Many will train you, but they want you to come in being able to meet the minimum job expectations.

Now I want you to condense this list down to just three words. Maybe you can do a lot! That’s great, but what are your key skill sets? What would jump out to me as a recruiter? Write these skills down on your resume.

3) What place (where) do I want to do it?

The easy answer to this is “within a X distance drive.” Let’s include this and then go beyond the physical location. You should also consider things like a welcoming environment, a company with a social mission, a younger/older workplace, a progressive/conservative workplace, etc. These are going to be different for each individual.

4) What do you expect?

Now we’re getting into the nitty gritty of the job details. Realize that expectations may have to be compromised, but it helps to write them down. Start with the most obvious expectation and the reason most of us go to work each day. Here are some things you might expect

  • I expect to make $XXXX
  • I expect XXXX kind of health insurance
  • I expect XXXX other benefits
  • I expect to have some level of autonomy in my day-to-day work
  • I expect to be valued for my creative contributions
  • I expect to work in a team-oriented environment
  • I expect to maintain a work-life balance

We expect a lot out of our work. As well we should. We spend a lot of time there! But get this down into three words.

Edit Your Resume

A common misconception is that resumes should be only one-two pages. A resume should be as long as it needs to be provided that:

  1. It accurately and concisely represents all of you
  2. Is long enough to thoroughly address everything that a job description asks for

We’re going to make a generic resume from which you can start. You will constantly be editing this resume for every single job for which you apply.

  • Highlight: I want you to highlight everything on your resume that points strongly to one of the words that is written above. It can (and usually should) be the word itself.
  • Circle: Anything that may be relevant for a job. Education is a good example; you may well need or should include it on your resume, but often the role you’re applying for does not explicitly require it. Often, these circled items will be listed on your resume but de-emphasized.
  • Cross Out: There’s probably a lot of stuff left on your resume. Cross it out. These are like hoarding shoe boxes or 1980s Christmas decorations or Beanie Babies. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and throw it out.

Want more resume tips? Be sure to check out this article.

Getting to “Who”

It’s not that recruiters and HR managers don’t care about who you are…it’s just that resumes are not the appropriate place for it. “What” is clear and objective. It’s also what catches our attention in a stack of resumes.

Once you get to the interview, show off “who” you are in order to stand out from the other applicants.

Are you looking for work? Check out our open jobs.

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!

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.

Sneak Peak: Featuring Darwin Hamilton

Welcome to the inaugural post of Sneak Peak, an on-going series highlighting the career path of one of our former associates – how they got started, what they’re doing now and what advice they have for current job seekers in Austin.

 

Our Peak recruiters ran into Darwin Hamilton recently at a local community meeting. In a city becoming synonymous with gentrification and displacement, Mr. Hamilton is a 5th generation Austinite. He is also an active volunteer, community leader and board member for several local civic organizations. Darwin was gracious enough to share a glimpse of his journey in his own words.

 

How did you first hear about Peak Performers?

In March of 1998, I was referred to Peak Performers by a case worker with Project RIO of the Texas Workforce Commission. He mentioned that with my skills and resume, Peak Performers might be able to offer temporary job placement with the State of Texas.  

What was your first assignment?

My first assignment was with the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program at the Office of the Attorney General as a Data Entry Operator assisting their accounting department with filing records and mail merging address labels for benefit letters to claimants.  My contract was originally for 90 days, but it kept being renewed. I used my time on that assignment to teach myself 10-Key by touch, update my knowledge of Microsoft software applications, and gain viable office skills and on the job work experience to meet minimum qualifications for Admin Tech classification positions the state had available with the Attorney General’s Office.

What are you doing now?

Today I’m a Senior Accountant III and interim lead of Accounting & Finance – Internal Operations Division of the State Office of Risk Management.  I began working for this agency in May of 1999 as an Accounting Clerk.  It is where I made my career and this May will be 18 years that I’ve spent working for the same agency.

What advice would you give to current job seekers?

The advice I would give current job seekers is to never give up hope, and to be confident in your capabilities and potential. Use every assignment opportunity to do your very best and build a rapport and social capital with some of the people you work with because those very people may one day advocate for your permanent employment with a state agency.

Thank you, Mr. Hamilton, for sharing part of your journey with us. We’re grateful for your presence and service in the community, and we wish you all the best in your continued career with the State of Texas.

Peak Performers is Austin’s preferred staffing and recruiting firm for contract jobs with State of Texas government agencies. As a non-profit, we also give job placement priority to candidates with a disability. To learn more about our company, please visit our website.

Cover photo is used by permission from Texas Advocates for Justice and Grassroots Leadership.
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