Peak Performers Staffing Featured in local Newsletter

Recognition from Local Newspaper

The Crestview Neighborhood Association recently featured Peak Performers in their monthly newsletter. The text from the article can be found below.

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

People with Disabilities Face Hiring Challenges

People with disabilities face an unemployment rate that is double that of the national average. In times of high unemployment, they’re often the first to be let go and the last to be re-hired. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a quarter of all adults in the US have a disability. These might be observable and obvious–such as paraplegia or blindness–or they might have non-observable disabilities, such as ADHD, PTSD, diabetes, or epilepsy. Additionally, many conditions come as a result of age or injury. It’s likely that many people reading this article have a disability or will acquire one over the years. Helping advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities is paramount for creating a more inclusive society and helps protect all of our jobs.

Disability Impacts Chart from CDC
Disability Impacts All of Us

Local Nonprofit with a Vision: Professional Opportunities for those with Disabilities

Peak Performers, an Austin based nonprofit, was founded in 1994, several years following the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). At the time, the majority of jobs that were available for people with disabilities were sheltered workshop environments where those individuals would perform light industrial, janitorial, and assembly activities. These workers were often paid sub-minimum wages and might have required regular supervision from a job coach. Peak Performers wanted to offer something different: professional opportunities for skilled people with disabilities. “I was inspired by my foster brother. He was blind but went on to become a very successful accountant,” recalls Charlie Graham, founder and former CEO of Peak Performers. “Being blind did not stop him from becoming a Chief Financial Officer.” “Our vision is two-fold,” adds Bree Sarlati, current CEO. “To change what it means to be a job seeker with a disability, and to challenge the preconceptions that make employers reluctant to hire someone with a disability.”

Growth and Transformation

Unlike many other nonprofits, Peak is completely revenue-funded and does not apply for grants or solicit donations. Unlike other staffing firms, over 75% of their workforce has a qualifying disability. Peak started off like most staffing companies do: supplying low-wage mailroom and clerical roles. Over the years, their customers began trusting Peak and requesting increasingly hard-to-fill roles: auditors, contract professionals, program specialists, and purchasers. In 2014, Peak began filling information technology roles to fill the demand of existing customers. Then in 2020, while most recruiting agencies were shrinking, Peak saw it’s temporary headcount swell to nearly double as the Texas government turned to its now longtime staffing partner for one of its largest challenges yet: the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Peak has over 100 attorneys working for the Texas Workforce Commission.

Unique Business Sense

There are many advantages to hiring people with disabilities: reduced turnover, advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives, and the availability of an underutilized talent pool, especially during a time when employers need talent. People looking for jobs and employers with staffing needs can find out more at peakperformers.org.

Now Hiring in Austin – Hot Jobs August 16, 2021

Austin Growing Rapidly: More Jobs Heading to ATX!

This just in: Austin is growing really, really fast. In fact, according to the recent census data, we have seen 21.7% growth in the last decade. As a large MSA, Austin was second in Texas only to Fort Worth which grew 24%. Similarly, we saw surrounding bedroom communities such as Round Rock, Pflugerville, and Georgetown grow rapidly.
With this growth will come more people needing jobs. If you know someone who just moved here, be a friend and send them to Peak Performers. (Also, send them our guide to Austin Job Seeking Resources.) We’re happy to consider them for one of our many open jobs, and they’ll get a chance to expand their professional network in Austin. Right now we’re recruiting for everything from Auditors to Enterprise Data Architects.
*A complete list of our open jobs found at https://www.peakperformers.org/jobseeker/office-jobs/

This is a chart showing Austin's growth according to the census
Austin grew 21.7% in the last decade. Chart showing Austin’s growth

Now Hiring in Austin: August 16, 2021

Grant Accountant Job! Do you have experience with Texas Grants Management Standards and 3 years of experience working in accounting operations? If so, we’re looking for a Grant Accountant. Pay is $27 / hour. https://www.peakperformers.org/jobseeker/office-jobs?rpid=p92E4Wjozr4 

Auditor Jobs! Are you an Auditor? Do you want to work in compliance, investigations, or records review? We are filling multiple positions with multiple agencies. Pay ranges from $20 – $28 DOE. https://www.peakperformers.org/jobseeker/office-jobs/ 

Grant Coordinator 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 Post Secondary Education Grant Coordinator. Pay is $29 / hour. https://www.peakperformers.org/jobseeker/office-jobs?rpid=qxikIpMlKmw 

Enterprise Architect 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 

Purchaser Jobs! 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/

Peak Performers’ Co-CEO, Bree Sarlati, Recognized Globally by Staffing Industry

Austin, TX – Bree Sarlati, Co-CEO of Peak Performers, was recognized by the Staffing Industry Analyst’s annual “40 under 40” list. Founded in 1989, Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) is the leading global advisor on staffing.

These 40 professionals exemplify passion, integrity, creativity and the perseverance that is needed to connect people to new opportunities amid COVID-19 and beyond,” from SIA’s website.

Bree started with Peak in 2012 and has worked in every part of Peak’s business: payroll, marketing, recruiting, staffing, and office management. Bree joined the leadership team in 2017 and under her leadership, she has lead a series of organizational transformations and grown Peak’s book of business by 40%.

In spite of these troubled times, Peak Performers is a success story: we are a local, medium-sized business that continues to grow and offer much needed jobs to hundreds of people,” Bree commented after the award.

Peak Performers was started in 1994 by Bree’s father, Charlie Graham, who now shares her title as Co-CEO. Peak assists over 60 government agencies and last year employed over 770 people in temporary and temporary-to-permanent positions. Peak Performers employs people in administrative, professional, accounting, and information technology jobs.

Peak has been most recently assisting the Texas Workforce Commission in recruiting for dozens of roles to help with the processing of unemployment claims during the COVID-19 crisis.

Peak Performers is a rare nonprofit staffing firm: there are only a handful of similarly structured organizations in the country. As part of their nonprofit mission, Peak is setting a new standard of employment for people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions by helping them get professional roles. Skilled job seekers with ADA-qualifying conditions receive job priority for Peak’s positions and over 80% of their workforce have an ADA-qualifying condition. Peak’s vision is two-fold: to change what it means to be a job seeker with a disability, and to challenge the preconceptions that make employers reluctant to hire someone with a disability.

Our mission now is especially important. In the best of times, people with disabilities experience an unemployment rate double that of the national average. That’s why we’re committed to helping people succeed through meaningful employment opportunities,” said Bree.

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

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.

Applicant Tracking Systems

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

Modern-day recruiters are flooded with resumes from candidates applying for their jobs.  Additionally, recruiters have access to countless resumes online through places like Monster and Indeed.  For this reason, similar to how you use Google to find what you’re looking for online, HR departments are relying on Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to find the candidates they are looking for (using keyword searches, mostly) and to “save” promising candidates for future opportunities.

In this article, let’s take a deeper dive into the world of recruiting and the tools that they use (Applicant Tracking Systems).

Why it Matters

Many larger organizations get an even higher volume of resumes and have fewer recruiters to sift through them.  Additionally, large companies or public sector departments often have tight deadlines and must rely on their recruiters to find the best candidates very quickly.  It is estimated that recruiters for larger organizations spend less than 6 seconds on each resume.

Imagine for a second that you are asked to find the best qualified candidate and you have a hundred resumes to review. How would you go about this task?

First, we start by using keywords from the job description and matching those to what’s found in the resume–very similar to how you might find something on Google.  The results are returned to us as a “relevancy score.” Basically this means that the computer is trying to figure out how relevant a candidate is to the job we’re trying to fill.  Many recruiters might only look at the first few results (the ones on the top of the page).

Ultimately, recruiters are there in order to go through the resumes and then recommend a few of the most promising candidates to their hiring managers. The recruiter may not make a hiring decision but is influential in choosing who gets invited to interview.

Resume Optimization in 5 Steps

Now that you know why it matters, I’m going to tell you how to prepare your resume in 5 steps to make you stand out.

1) Print the job description

What I recommend to job seekers is to print the job description and read it aloud. Next, ask yourself what the recruiter is looking for and how will they find it when they have a lot of resumes to go through. Now, take a highlighter and highlight those words and phrases.  Recruiters are generally asked to find candidates based off of hard skills (tangible skills such as experience with a particular software or a unique named skill set, such as accounting) and soft skills (things like being team-oriented or being organized).

2) Insert keywords into your resume (multiple times)

Now take those keywords and put them in your resume if they are not there already.  I recommend finding multiple places to insert them.  Typically, I find it helpful to put them in a breakaway skills section under the objective summary and build them into each work experience where you used them. Including keywords multiple times will help increase your “relevancy score” according to the computer, and it is also what the recruiter will first scan for. But remember, your goal is to optimize and present your experience as favorably as possible–not to trick the recruiter by misrepresenting your experience or stuffing your resume with keywords.

3) Update your objective summary

Many recruiters skip right past this bit on the first read through.  That’s because it often boils down to under-qualified job seekers trying to talk their way into a job or job seekers saying everything that they say in their resume again…except in paragraphs as opposed to bullets. Use the objective summary to specifically call out this job that you’re applying for and make it a true summary of why you are the best qualified candidate for this role.  Additionally, use this section to address any concerns that a recruiter may have that might get you screened out without your providing further explanation: for example, returning to the workforce after a long work hiatus or applying for a job from a different state (here at Peak we work predominately with local candidates or those who have already moved to the area).

4) Move pieces of your resume around

In my jobs, our clients are typically more focused on direct experience as opposed to education.  When a candidate sees that there is no education requirement and yet puts their education front and center, it simply slows down my eyeballs from getting to the part of their resume that’s relevant to the job.  Again, put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter and think what is important and then figure out how to put it on the first page or as close to it as possible.  Also, relevancy score is often affected by how close the desired keywords appear to the top of the page.

5) Remove/minimize extra content

Many, many job seekers have a notion that they have to have a resume that is one or two pages long.  (I work primarily in within the public sector within Information Technology staffing and resumes for positions we fill tend to be much longer than this.)  However, I think where this conventional wisdom comes from is recruiters who are used to sifting through hundreds or thousands of resumes for a particular job. This means (theoretically) that the recruiter has to read less content in order to get the gist of a candidate. Having a resume that’s short and sweet is great…if it gets to the recruiter at all. More important is making sure that the resume is specifically targeted to the job using keywords, includes an appropriate objective summary, and is arranged in an order that is relevant. Where you can cut or minimize content is by removing all that extra stuff the job doesn’t call for.  Are you applying for a java developer role but you spent the last 6 months in retail while you went back to school? I don’t need to know about your time working retail except to know what you’ve been doing for the last six months and why you were doing it.

Are you looking for work? Don’t forget to check out our jobs!

 

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.

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.

Celebrating 27 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Passed by Congress in 1990, and eventually signed by President George H.W. Bush, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the nation’s first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, transportation, telecommunications, and many other spheres of civil society.

The legislation provided many of the civil liberties and protections of the Civil Rights Act to people with chronic medical conditions. Prior to the ADA, job seekers with noticeable disabilities were very often dismissed for certain positions due to the erroneous perception that they could not perform the tasks at hand. It would be naive to say that workplace discrimination no longer exists, but it would also be remiss to discount the significance of the ADA.

Of all the obscure national days to celebrate, this is certainly one not to miss. And in honor of the landmark legislation, we created this infographic to highlight the impact it’s had on all of us.



Peak Performers is Austin’s preferred staffing and recruiting firm for contract work 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.

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A recruiter’s review of 3 job clubs in Austin

Looking for work is hard. It’s even harder if you try to do it alone.

The job club model is designed to utilize the collective power of a group to help job seekers find and keep employment opportunities. Each group tends to have their own culture and flare, but they all typically include weekly meetings, networking, resource sharing and guest speakers who provide a wealth of information on the job search process.

Our recruitment team benefits from staying connected to various job clubs in Austin, and we thought we’d share some insider information on our three favorite groups in the area.


Background

According to the group’s official website, the Launch Pad Job Club (LPJC) was “created in 2001 and was facilitated by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The job club was formed to support the thousands of unemployed tech workers who were displaced by the Dot Com bust.” During the last recession, attendance grew upwards of 300 weekly attendees. These days there are typically 60-80 job seekers and volunteers.

Full disclosure: Peak Performers is a sponsor of LPJC, but they did not pay us to write nice things about them. We actually paid them.

Atmosphere

It’s impossible to talk about this group without mentioning Kathy Lansford Powell. She founded and has galvanized the group since its inception. Her energy and enthusiasm have trickled down throughout the volunteers and programming alike. We’ve found that this tends to be a more experienced crowd with a wide range of skills and backgrounds. While the membership is professional and serious about the job search, the meetings tend to be fairly casual and light-hearted. You’ll want to stay alert though — recruiters often visit the meetings and lurk in the crowds.

Highlights

While there are several other job clubs around Austin, the LPJC can proudly say they were the first in Central Texas. Their signature program is called Leap to Success, which offers the talents of members to area non-profit organizations for free, short-term projects. This is a great way for job seekers to keep their skills fresh, increase their network and feel good about giving back to some incredible organizations in our city.

How to get connected

Contact   Website  Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter   YouTube

Meetings

LPJC meets every Friday, typically at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex in East Austin. Newcomers are encouraged to arrive by 9:30 for orientation, and the main agenda starts at 10:00 AM and usually lasts until noon.


Background

Like many groups across the country, the roots of what is now HiredTexas sprang up following the recession in 2008. It originally began as a career assistance group but has since grown into a full-service job club offering learning opportunities, job search assistance, peer support and a wealth of community connections. A full narrative of the group’s history can be found here.

Atmosphere

HiredTexas has a family-like and hospitable atmosphere, and new members are quickly welcomed and encouraged to get involved. The “5 pieces of inspiration” shared by the group facilitator help set the tone for a week of motivated job hunting. There is also a potluck networking lunch that occurs the second Tuesday of each month. HiredTexas meets in a church building, but there is no direct religious component to the programming.

Highlights

The group recently revamped their website, and we’re big fans of the clean look and updated content. They offer an abundance of resources, including unique forums designed to meet the needs of an evolving workforce. The personal marketing support forums include a Career Assessment, Marketing Plan, Resume, LinkedIn profile and picture, and Interviewing. Forums for Networking Effectively, Informational Interviewing, and Negotiating the Offer are in also development. They also offer free classes on Computer Fundamentals and the Microsoft Office Suite products. If you’re in need of motivation, you may benefit from joining a Career Action Team to keep your job search accountable.

How to get connected

Contact   Website  Facebook   LinkedIn  Twitter   YouTube

Meetings

HIREDTexas meets every Tuesday from 10 AM until 12:00 PM at Grace Presbyterian Church (Round Rock). The meeting is generally divided into three parts: guest presenter, networking, and various forums.


Background

The Austin Job Seekers Network (JSN) began as a ministry of the Hill Country Bible Church in 2009. Craig Foster is a dynamic and engaged leader, and he has grown the group to involve thousands of participants throughout the years. They are now an independent, non-profit organization offering a comprehensive approach to caring for the whole job seeker. JSN normally runs 90-100+ job seekers and volunteers each week.

Atmosphere

Prior to attending for the first time, our team heard many positive reviews about JSN from job seekers and recruiters alike. The weekly meetings are professional, interactive and full of positive, encouraging energy. Keep in mind that the meetings are hosted in a church building, and there is a clear religious component to the messaging. They are a faith-based group; however, people of all faiths are welcome to participate, and many do.

Highlights

According to a leading job search expert, JSN is considered one of the top 5 job clubs in the United States. The group offers compelling keynote speakers, small group training on a variety of job search topics and workshops on career direction and life calling. Our favorite thing about JSN is that they have a section of the running agenda dedicated to the “donut people.” When someone has good news to share (often in the form of a job offer), they bring a box of donuts to celebrate and offer their good news to the rest of the group.

How to get connected

Contact  Website  Facebook  LinkedIn  Twitter  YouTube

Meetings

JSN meets every Monday morning from 9:00 to 11:30 AM at the Hill Country Bible Church Lakeline on 620 near 183. Newcomers are encouraged to arrive twenty minutes early to sign-in and meet with a coach.


We can’t possibly list all of the resources associated with these groups, so you’ll have to check them out yourself. Each group is free to attend and all are welcome. We’d love to hear your own thoughts and experiences in the comments section below. Have you benefitted from the job club model?

 

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Preparing for your interview at Peak Performers

Welcome to Peak Performers! We are Austin’s preferred staffing and recruiting firm for contract positions with State of Texas government agencies. As a nonprofit, we’re also driven by the mission to create a new standard of employment for qualified applicants with a disability.

We’ve compiled some information to help you know what to expect at your interview appointment. If you haven’t submitted your resume to be reviewed by our recruitment department, you can do so by clicking here.

Getting to Our Office (4616 Triangle Ave, Suite 405)

We are conveniently located in a commercial and residential development known as The Triangle, just off of North Lamar Boulevard. If you come at lunchtime, we’re auspiciously situated next door to Hopdoddy (although we recommend eating your burger after the interview). Our office is directly across the street from a five-story parking garage. There is free, accessible parking on the street and in the garage. We’re also conveniently located near stops for several major bus routes, including the 1, 801 and 803.

The Interview

The entire interview and registration process typically takes 1.5 to 2 hours. Prior to your arrival, you’ll receive an email with a link to our application paperwork. To save you some time, we recommend filling it out ahead of time. If you don’t have access to a computer, you’re also welcome to arrive early and fill it out at our office. Please keep in mind that the online paperwork takes most people 15-20 minutes to complete.

When you arrive for your appointment, you’ll check in with one of our friendly front office coordinators. While it’s not completely necessary to bring a copy of your resume to the appointment, it might be helpful if you have an updated or specialized version. If you’ve been invited for an interview, we most likely have a copy in our system already.

Once you finish the initial paperwork, you’ll interview with one of our staffing consultants so they can determine the best fit for your individual goals, skill set, and level of experience.

We recommend dressing to impress and being prepared for a professional interview. We are committed to using a fair and standard set of interview questions for each candidate. While we cannot guarantee job placement, our staffing consultants work hard to create the best match for you and the agency clients we serve.

During our registration process, you’ll be asked if you have a disability or chronic medical condition. We understand that this can be sensitive information and many people are reluctant to discuss their disability or medical condition (especially in an employment situation). Keep in mind that the answer you provide is completely confidential. At our company, we recognize that disabilities have little to no bearing on an individual’s skills and capabilities. In fact, we give a job placement priority to qualified candidates with a chronic medical condition.

Skills Assessments

Following the interview, be prepared to complete a standard set of computer-based assessments. These evaluations are important to help us find the right match for each position. If you’re not satisfied with your test results, we also offer free tutorials that can be completed at home. When you feel more confident, you can schedule an appointment to re-test and we’d be happy to use your best set of scores.

Becoming a Peak Performer

Once the registration process is complete, your information is then entered into our system. At that point, you are encouraged to text in your availability (512-453-8833) once per week. As we receive new job openings, our staffing consultants search our database for qualified and available candidates. If you are matched with a job, a staffing consultant will reach out to you to discuss the position in further detail.

Congratulations, you’re on your way to becoming a Peak Performer!

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