The Skills Section of Your Resume

Most resumes follow the same basic formula. In some order, you list your education, your professional experiences and your contact information. You probably tweak it for the different types of jobs that you’re applying to, but the overall structure stays the same.

One section that we advise all job seekers to include on their resume is a skills section. Many job seekers already have this on their resume, but if you don’t, you should add one immediately. A lot of people think that since they don’t have easily summarized skills like a professional certification, then they don’t have skills worth mentioning. This is not true – there is an infinite number of skills that candidates can present to make themselves more attractive to hiring managers. We know how talented our job seekers are, and we want you to show employers just how awesome you are!

Types of skills

There are two types of skills that can be useful on your resume – hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills tend to be the most obvious examples. These are the actual skills that are required for performing a job. For example, hard skills for construction workers might include knowledge of zoning laws, trade licenses or computer skills. These are skills that are necessary to perform a given job.

Soft skills are personality traits that help determine your professional approach. Knowing your soft skills helps hiring managers to figure out what type of roles is best for you. These skills can include how you communicate, whether you work best independently or in groups, how creatively you solve a problem or that you’re a superior time manager. You may not think of them as skills, but these traits are vital to performing a job well.

What are your skills?

Job seekers should spend time thinking of the hard and soft skills that they bring to the table, as both types should be on a resume. It may also prove helpful to talk to friends, colleagues, and family about what they think of your skills. Are you a creative problem-solver, but don’t think of yourself that way? A close friend would be able to help you realize what makes you unique and attractive to hiring managers.

What should the skills section on my resume look like?

Attractive formatting of a resume is important to keep in mind. Hiring managers want clarity, readability and thorough information. For example, you may want to select an even number of skills and display them in two symmetrical columns of equal length.

Additionally, be selective with the skills you choose to list. A long list will make a recruiter’s eyes glaze over and will make your actual strengths stand out less. Aim to list 10 to 12 skills. This will show enough experience to make you a desirable candidate.

The job market is always competitive. You need to find ways to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Adding skills to your resume is a great way to do so. You can convey to hiring managers how you are more than meets the eye, and that you are the right fit for their job opening.

Are you looking for the perfect job of applying your skills? Browse our job opportunities to discover the best way to use your skills.

Dressing for a Job Interview in Minnesota Winter

For Minnesota employers, first impressions are critical for landing the job. While your clothes shouldn’t be the most important thing, we always advise job seekers to look their best. Whether you’re heading to an interview or attending one of our hiring events, you want to dress to impress.

Minnesota winters can make it hard to feel like your most professional self. Between your giant coat, your Vikings stocking cap, and your salt-covered boots, it can be hard to dress practically and professionally in below-freezing temps. Here are our tundra-tested tips for looking professional while staying warm.

Choose a sharp coat

While we all want to be judged by our resumes, it’s a reality that the first thing your employer will notice is what you wore to the interview. You’re likely familiar with the awkward dance of removing your coat and getting settled before sitting with your interviewer, so your coat will be a focal point. If you can, invest in a professional and classic jacket like a wool peacoat. If a puffer jacket is more your style, choose a neutral color. Even though you know you’ll remove it immediately, always wear a coat in good condition with no holes, stains or tears.

Invest in professional winter shoes, or bring back-ups

We advise interviewees to either wear professional boots or arrive a bit early and change into dress shoes. If you frequently attend professional events or have occasion to dress up, investing in a classic, sturdy winter boot will keep you safe and looking smart. Another option is to bring your dress shoes in a bag – a briefcase or bookbag, not your gym bag – and change before you enter the office. Don’t carry your stinky boots into your interview!

Wear layers to keep cool

We know all too well that interviews can be sweat-inducing events. It may be freezing outside, but the heat in your interview room is blasting and your nerves are cranking up your body temperature. If this sounds familiar, wear a blazer or cardigan that you can remove if you get warm. Have an interview-appropriate shirt or blouse underneath so you aren’t comfortable. If you’re worried about overheating, don’t wear your thickest wool sweater and socks. You’ll give your best interview if you’re comfortable.

Arrive fashionably early

It’s always important to arrive early for an interview, but if you’re worried about the weather wreaking havoc on your professional outfit, add 10 more minutes. Head to a coffee shop or the building’s bathroom so you can warm up, remove the snow from your hair or reapply makeup if needed. Taking a minute to check your appearance in the mirror can give you the confidence boost you need to crush your interview, instead of worrying whether you look like the Abominable Snowman.

Winters aren’t the best part about living in the Twin Cities, but we know how to survive them. Don’t let a little snow ruin your next big opportunity.

Speaking of job interviews, have you checked out our job opportunities lately? We have plenty of openings where you can apply these tips for winter job interviews.

Safety Tips for Driving in Minnesota Winters

Driving is possibly the worst part of our winters in Minnesota. Whether it’s driving to work or driving on the job, chances are you’re dealing with icy roads and snow this winter.

Some of our job opportunities require driving, which adds another layer of safety to consider. If you have to drive for work, the last thing you want is to experience a winter driving disaster while on the job.

We want you to stay safe on the road this season, so we’ve put together some tips to help you perform your job well.

Check your vehicle regularly

Prevention is important to remaining safe on the road. Even if your company has someone managing the fleet, take a moment to inspect your truck before leaving. Remove all snow from the vehicle, especially the windshield, hood, roof, lights truck, and windows. Visually inspect the tires, lights and wiper blades. Always have at least a half of tank of gas to prevent freezing.

Be prepared for emergencies

Carry an emergency kit in your car so that you can be prepared for any situation, regardless of the season. Sample items to put in your kit include:

  • • Extra clothes and a blanket
  • • A flashlight and spare batteries
  • • Non-perishable food and water
  • • A First Aid kit
  • • A bag of sand or salt for ice
  • • A snow shovel and a windshield scraper
  • • Tire chains or traction mats
  • • Jumper cables

If you drive a company vehicle for work, check whether your employer provides these items. If not, create a bag with your essentials so that you’re prepared for every drive.

Go slowly

Sorry to sound like your mother, but we have to say it: slow down when there’s ice. Icy roads mean poor traction, so it’s harder to brake. Follow the speed limit, slow down on bridges and be cautious when turning. Leave enough room between you and other drivers so that you have more time to stop in an emergency. If you do need to stop suddenly, pump the brakes lightly to avoid locking your tires and losing control of your vehicle.

Watch for black ice

Black ice occurs when there is ice on the road in near-freezing temperatures. It looks like a puddle and can be difficult to spot. Since it’s hard to see from the driver’s seat, you have to rely on other clues to know if the roads may be icy. Look for ice on the back of your side-view mirrors, antenna or the top of your windshield. If the cars in front of you appear to be driving over water but no water sprays, it could be an ice path. Pay attention to trees and road signs; if they are icy but the road doesn’t appear to be, black ice may be present.

Taking extra precautions in winter isn’t fun, but your safety is what’s most important. If you’re tired of driving for your job or sick of your commute, it’s time for a change. Check out our job opportunities and let us help you find your future!

New Year’s Resolutions for Minnesota Job Seekers

The end of the year is usually a time for holidays, family and celebration. We hear from many job seekers that it’s also time for reflection. You might be thinking about how you can improve your job prospects in 2020. Is there any part of your job search that can use some extra attention?

We love helping job seekers set resolutions to help them achieve their employment goals.

These tips can help ensure that you head into the new year putting your best foot forward.

1. I will work on my resume

Many job seekers feel that once they have a “final” version of their resume, they are done. That isn’t always the case. It’s important to give it a read with fresh eyes as the new year rolls around. Include any new tasks you completed or skills you acquired since you last updated your resume.

2. I will make a list of ideal employers

Perhaps you’ve heard great things from people who already work at a certain company, or perhaps you’ve done your own research and knowledge of an organization where you want to work. However you’ve got the information, create a list of “dream” employers. Then, create a calendar reminder to periodically check to see if they are hiring.

3. I will work on my interviewing abilities

Make no mistake about it – interviewing is a skill that is acquired and needs to be frequently practiced. It’s very easy to fall out of “interviewing mode” and forget how to discuss your skills and background, your education and what you bring to the table for an employer. Don’t let this happen to you! Work with a friend or loved one and have them conduct a mock interview so that you stay sharp in discussing your work history and potential.

4. I will acquire one more skill

The skills section on resumes is often something that job seekers often ignore, but it is vitally important. Hiring managers look for cultural fits for their companies, so be sure to note if you’re a team player, an independent worker or if you like to work with customers. Always remember to list your professional certifications, which is a big plus for employers.

5. I will take time for myself

Maybe you like to exercise, play video games or catch a game. No matter what your favorite free time activity is, in the new year, take the time to enjoy it. Job seeking takes a lot of energy and commitment, so be sure to give yourself a break and recharge before getting back out there again.

Job hunting is a process that you can’t do overnight. It takes time and commitment, so be sure that as you head into the new year, you are making yourself as attractive to hiring managers as you possibly can. Spruce up that resume, sharpen those interviewing skills, and get ready for a year where you find your future.

Looking for someone to help with those new year’s job resolutions? We’re here to help! Contact our team so we can help you find your future.

Surviving the Holidays When You’re Between Jobs

The holiday season is upon us and for many, it’s the busiest time of year. Unfortunately, you might be struggling to focus on enjoying the holidays if you’re out of work. Whether you’re in the process of transitioning to a new career or you lost your job unexpectedly, it can be challenging to handle the holiday season and all of the traditions that come with it when you’re in between jobs. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to make the holidays easier for you. Everyone deserves to enjoy the holiday season.

Rethink gift-giving

Gift-giving seems like an important part of the holiday season but buying presents for your loved ones adds up. If you want to show your friends and family how much you appreciate them, but don’t want to blow your budget on shopping, get creative. Homemade gifts, sentimental cards and quality time all demonstrate to your loved ones just how much you care about them, and those things won’t cost you a fortune.

Give back

Nothing gets people in the holiday spirit quite like giving back. Being in between jobs gives you more free time to spend volunteering in support of the organizations and causes that you love. There are many great opportunities for volunteering during the holiday season. From toy drives to tree plantings, you can find activities to fill your free time when you’re out of work over the holidays. Bonus? You’ll still be developing job skills. Employers love seeing volunteers on your resume.

Shift your mindset

Being out of work is stressful, but it’s important to stay as positive as possible. Giving in to the negativity will make it difficult for you to enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones. It can even prevent you from getting the motivation you need to find a new source of employment. Think about all of the things that you have to be thankful for, like friends and family. Don’t be too hard on yourself about the things you wish would change. Focusing on the positive can make it easier for you to address areas in your life that you want to improve, like your career.

Take care of yourself

Self-care is vital whether you’re working a full-time job, or you are out of work. Take time to care for yourself by eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, spending quality time with people you love and relaxing with your favorite hobby. When you’re out of work, you have the opportunity to get into a more productive routine and begin making time for the things you want to do, like reading, practicing an instrument or working on a hobby.

The holidays can provoke anxiety for anyone, especially if you have the added stress of being unemployed. Keep your mind focused on the things you’re thankful for and take advantage of the time you have to volunteer, care for yourself and spend quality time with the people in your life.

While you’re enjoying the holidays, Award Staffing is hard at work helping you find your future. Explore our job opportunities today to find your future in the Twin Cities.

Tips for Making Your Seasonal Job Permanent

Seasonal jobs offer employees the flexibility to work for a short time, making quick cash while in between jobs or while on break from school. But seasonal work isn’t ideal for everyone. If you’re working in a seasonal position and you want the security and peace of mind that comes with full-time work, there are a few actions you can take to improve your chances of being hired permanently.

Stay positive

Many seasonal workers struggle to keep an upbeat attitude while they’re working in a crazy workplace. It’s difficult to hide this kind of negativity from employers. To maximize your chances of securing a permanent job after your seasonal job is over, maintain a positive attitude that your employers will notice. The better your attitude is, the easier it will be for an employer to see your potential as a permanent employee.

Carry yourself like a permanent employee

Show an employer that you’re ready for a permanent position by carrying yourself the way you would if you were working full time. Offer to pick up extra shifts, be the first to help your coworkers and be as flexible as possible. When you interact with customers, be engaging and helpful. Quality customer service is hard to find, so show your employer that you have the skills it takes to become a valuable member of the team.

Communicate with your boss

Your actions speak volumes to your employer about your intentions, but you need to clearly communicate what you want. Make sure your boss knows that you are looking for a permanent position, whether part-time or full-time. Communicating about what you’re hoping to get out of a job will help your employer keep you in mind for future openings. If your seasonal employment ends and there are no openings, ask your seasonal employer to contact you if anything opens in the future.

Make genuine connections

It’s easy to keep your head down when you’re working a seasonal job. You may want to avoid interacting with coworkers and managers, but this isn’t the best way to secure a permanent position.  Make it a point to introduce yourself to your coworkers. Try to form strong connections with other people at your place of work, especially permanent employees and people in management. The more you integrate into the company culture and forge strong bonds with others in the workplace, the easier it is for employers to see you as a permanent addition to the team.

If you feel stuck in temporary, seasonal positions, there’s hope. Not every job will turn into full-time employment, but you can maximize your chances of landing the job you want by making the most of the job you have. With the right attitude and a strategic mindset, you can impress your employer and land a permanent position.

At Award Staffing, we connect great candidates with temporary, seasonal and permanent positions in the Twin Cities. Browse our job opportunities today and find your future.

How to Stay Safe Working Outdoors This Winter

If your job requires you to spend time outside during the winter months, it’s important to make workplace safety your top priority. You’ll need to protect yourself from common winter hazards, including hypothermia, frostbite and dangerous slips. To keep yourself as safe, focused and comfortable as possible this winter, follow these simple tips.

Wear the right clothes

Layer up with warm shirts, pants, sweaters, and coats to protect yourself from cold temperatures. By wearing several layers you’ll not only stay warm but also be able to shed layers as needed to adjust to warmer temperatures throughout the day. Wear wool socks and thick gloves to keep your hands and feet warm and to promote circulation while you work.

 It’s much harder to stay warm if your clothing gets wet, so it’s important to avoid getting damp when you’re working. Wear waterproof outer layers, including rain jackets and snow boots, to keep yourself dry. If your clothes get wet, change them as soon as possible. Working in wet clothing when temperatures are below freezing greatly increases the risk of hypothermia.

Take breaks

Breaks are required for workers of all kinds, but they’re especially important for workers who spend a lot of time outside exposed to adverse weather conditions. Take plenty of breaks throughout the day, especially if you begin to feel cold, shaky or weak. Take your breaks in a comfortable, dry place and sip on a hot beverage to warm yourself up.

Rest is also essential when you’re working outdoors during the winter. Being tired while working outside increases the risk of falls and other accidents. Get plenty of sleep before your shift to ensure that you’re well-rested and alert while you’re working.

Don’t forget to eat

When you’re working hard, it’s easy to forget about taking food and water breaks. Make sure you stop working periodically to eat nutritious meals and drink water to keep yourself hydrated. Warm meals, like soups and hot sandwiches, can keep you feeling full and give you the energy you need to continue working in winter weather conditions.

Prepare for the worst

If you work remotely, on a site or spend a lot of time on the road, keep emergency supplies handy. Include flares, candles, matches, nonperishable food, bottled water and emergency blankets in your kit. These supplies can keep you safe until you are able to get help in the event of an emergency, like a vehicle breakdown or unexpected road closure. Even if you never actually have to use your emergency kit, it’s always better to overprepare than to be caught without the necessary supplies in case of an emergency.

You might not be able to avoid exposure to winter weather conditions, but you can certainly do a lot to keep yourself safe on the job. Whether you only spend a few minutes outside while you’re on the clock or you’re constantly working outdoors for your job, these tips can keep you safe and comfortable no matter what the forecast has in store.

Whether you’re looking to move indoors or are ready for a different outdoor job, Award Staffing can help. Browse our job opportunities to find your future.

How Job Seekers Can Overcome the Generational Divide

These days, it seems like everyone is talking about the generational divide. Differences between millennials, baby boomers, Gen X and Gen Z are hotly discussed in the news and in our personal lives. How do these perceived differences manifest themselves in the workplace? Despite what you might read online, employees are happy to work collaboratively with people from different generations. Fortunately, there is much less of a divide than some media outlets would lead us to believe.

What is the generational divide?

The generational divide is a term used to describe the perceived differences between generations. These differences are mainly in political, social and personal values, ideas and beliefs. The years when people grow up has a big influence on their personal development, leading to some differences in the way people perceive and interact with the world around them. While there is certainly evidence to support some measurable distinctions between the values and opinions of people based on their age, the generational divide doesn’t show up in the workplace as much as people would assume.

The truth about generational differences in the workplace

Surveys of workers in the U.S. reveal that generational differences are not causing issues in most workplaces. In fact, despite supposed differences, most workers across generations report that they are aligned with the core values and beliefs of their employer. Additionally, most workers feel positive about working with people from different generations. They feel that there are many benefits of having a diverse team of employees from different generations in the workplace.

Older workers benefit from the new ideas and innovative strategies younger workers often demonstrate. Younger workers learn from the experience and first-hand knowledge that older workers have to offer. A balance of workers from different generations improves work environments and leads to improved conditions and better productivity for everyone.

Finding a generationally diverse workplace

Working somewhere with generational diversity can make you feel more comfortable and help you perform better at your job. To find an employer with age diversity, follow a few basic tips:

  • Do your homework: Pay attention to the environment when you visit a workplace and ask key questions during the interview to gauge whether a company values generational diversity. Ask your prospective employer whether they employ people from many different generations to get a better idea of what to expect from a workplace.
  • Get to know your coworkers: People naturally gravitate towards people in their generation, so you have to be intentional if you want to get the most out of an intergenerational workplace. Make a point to get to know all of your coworkers – not just the ones who are your age – and ask a lot of questions. You’ll be amazed at how much value your experienced coworkers have to offer as you work on projects and solve problems.
  • Be inclusive: Even companies with a diverse workforce often have work environments that aren’t inclusive for people of different generations. Seek collaboration and avoid only talking to people your own age.

The generational divide is complicated, but it doesn’t have to negatively impact workplaces. With the right mindset, you can benefit greatly from working with people from different generations.

No matter your generation, we can help you find your future. Check out the job opportunities available through Award Staffing today!

The Job Seeker’s Guide to Shift Work

Job postings usually have a section listing the shift the employee would work. If you’re unfamiliar with shift work, you might not know what that shift is. If you’ve done shift work before, this could be your signal that this job is (or isn’t) for you.

Shift work is a style of scheduling groups of employees so that different workers are performing the same tasks throughout the day. Workplaces using shift work often have employees working 24 hours a day and for the entire week.

Workplaces that use shift work often provide essential services. Police departments, fire departments, and hospitals all require staff 24/7 to keep their communities safe and healthy. Sometimes employers use shift work to increase productivity. Factories may have workers on duty most if not all hours of the day for increased output.

Common shift schedules

While every workplace is different, there are three common shift schedules:

• First shift: Traditional business hours make up the first shift. First shift workers typically start work between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. They end the day between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

• Second shift: Second shift employees relieve first shift workers. They start their day around 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and leave at midnight or 1 a.m. Second shift is also called the swing shift.

• Third shift: The overnight shift requires employees to clock in around 10 p.m. to midnight and clock out between 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. This is called the graveyard shift because it’s when things are (usually) much quieter.

There are variations on this three-shift schedule. With a fixed shift, one crew is always working the same shift. One crew works the first eight-hour shift, another crew works second shift and a third works graveyards.

On rotating shifts, employees change shifts often, usually weekly. A crew might work the day shift for one week, second shift for another week and then go back to days.

Benefits of shift work

Nontraditional work hours offer flexibility. They can do things they may not be able to with a 9-5 job, like picking kids up from school or running errands when it’s less crowded.

Unconventional hours also mean that commutes are much smoother. You get more time back in your day if you aren’t battling rush hour, which may allow you to take a job a bit further from your home.

Drawbacks of shift work

The drawbacks of shift work are mostly related to the night shift. Shift work can have a negative effect on your physical and mental health. Long-term night-shift work can lead to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and certain cancers. Having an unpredictable sleep schedule can lead to mental health issues. Night shift workers are also at greater risk for accidents.

Shift work can also interfere with your social life if your friends and family aren’t on the same schedule. You may have to miss out on activities because you’ll be at work or sleeping.

Employers sometimes offer incentives for employees to take second and third shifts, such as higher wages. You may also be more likely to get a job if you’re flexible about which shift you’re willing to work.

No matter which shifts you want to work, Award Staffing can help. Explore our job opportunities to find your future.

4 Reasons You Can Be Thankful During Your Job Search

It can be hard to stay grateful when you’re on the job hunt, especially if you’ve been searching for a while. You’re not feeling very thankful, and that’s understandable. With some reflection, you may find you actually have many reasons to be thankful. Taking time each day to focus on the things you’re grateful for will help you tackle your job search with energy and positivity.

You’re gaining experience

Even if it doesn’t feel like it, every cover letter and resume you write is helping you develop your professional skills. You’re learning how to interpret a job posting, how to talk about your experience and how to be a better communicator.

If you make it to the interview but aren’t hired, don’t take it personally. Use it as a chance to consider how you can improve next time. Before you even hear back, write a few notes about how you think the interview went and how you can better prepare for certain questions.

You may not have gotten the job, or even a rejection email, but you definitely got a great experience. Viewing each opportunity as a learning experience will keep you positive during your search.

You have perspective

When you’re faced with the stress of finding a job, you’re forced to focus on what’s important. As you search through job postings and send applications, you’re learning more about what you want to do, what you’re capable of doing and what you’re willing to do.

Perhaps you just fell into your old or current job and it isn’t really what you want to do. Maybe you were unhappy in your workplace and wanted to find a company with a healthier work culture. As you research potential new employers, you’re wiser about what makes for a good job and a good workplace.

You have time

A sudden job loss can be devastating and puts a lot of financial stress on you and your family. While you’re likely anxious to return to the workforce, it’s ok to take a moment to appreciate your time. While you’re in-between jobs, return to that hobby you were always too tired to do. Take you kids for a fun day at the park or the lake. Volunteer for a cause you care about. Taking time to do things you enjoy will help you stay positive and learn more about yourself.

Even if you have a job, knowing that you’re taking control of your future may be the boost you need to get through the workday. You have time to be pickier about which jobs you’ll apply to and interview for while still collecting a paycheck.

You have support

If you’re currently employed but looking for something new, there are resources to help you transition to a new employer or a new career field. A staffing agency can guide you through the process, from creating resumes to finding jobs. No matter your situation, you don’t have to search for a new job on your own.

Award Staffing is here to help you with a successful job search so you can find your future. Follow us to find your next job opportunity today.