Monday, July 10, 2017

How to perfect your LinkedIn profile

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Monday, June 12, 2017

7 tips to improve your hiring process

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The no. 1 way to nail a job interview

Article originally published on Forbes
Early in my career, I was responsible for staffing up a new department store. More than 200 jobs needed to be filled quickly, so I sometimes conducted 20 job interviews in a day. It was a crazy time, but one that taught me a valuable lesson about what separates a good job interview performance from a great one.
Here’s what I learned: Most candidates are qualified. Most come to the interview prepared with answers to likely questions. But the candidate who uses compelling stories to demonstrate his or her value is the one who’s most likely to win the job. 
Fortunately, you don’t need to be Garrison Keillor to master this skill. An excellent new book, Get That Job! A Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview  by career coach Thea Kelley features a step-by-step approach to crafting winning interview stories. The book is a short read, but it overflows with smart tips for navigating every phase of the interview process, from the initial prep to accepting an offer.

The Three Cs of a Job Interview
Before getting into Kelley’s suggestions, I’d like to mention the three unspoken questions — commonly known as the Three Cs of Interviewing — that need to be answered in every interview: 
Competence: Do you have the skills, experience and knowledge to do the job, and do it well?

Compatibility: Do you fit with their company culture, especially if it’s significantly different from where you’ve worked before?

Chemistry: Are you someone the employer would like to work with? Businesses, government agencies and nonprofits want to be convinced that their people will enjoy spending a big chunk of their waking hours with you, day after day, in good times and bad.
So, which types of stories best convey this critical information? Ones that tell an employer about a challenge you faced, the actions you took to solve it and the results you achieved. Kelley uses the acronym SOAR (Situation, Obstacles, Actions, Results) to describe this framework.
When using SOAR stories, you don’t just tell an employer “I’m a good manager” or “I’m resilient,” you show it. That feels genuine. Done well, SOAR stories help convince employers that you’re likeable, competent and the best fit for the job.

Here’s a SOAR example excerpted from Kelly’s book from “Rob” talking about how he implemented the business management software, “SuccessSuite.” Note that it takes just a few sentences for Rob to convincingly and clearly convey his value:

Situation: “At the Cooper Company, I realized our business management software wasn’t helping us work efficiently.”

Obstacle(s): “Management initially said SuccessSuite was too expensive. I prepared a presentation that changed their minds.”

Actions: “I researched the options, selected SuccessSuite, learned it, helped configure it and trained our staff on it.”

Results: “Efficiency was increased by 40%.”

How to Prepare SOAR Stories

Kelley recommends you prepare 20 stories or more, so you won’t run short if you go through multiple interviews at the same company. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but here are three ways to quickly come up with a good list:

Study relevant job postings. For each experience or skill mentioned, ask yourself: “What have I done or how have I demonstrated that successfully in the past?” Add those stories to your list.

Collect stories from your resumé, LinkedIn profile and performance evaluations. All of these sources have information that can be crafted into relevant stories.

Create question-and-story flashcards that answer common interview questions. Get a bunch of 3 x 5 cards and on one side write a common behavioral interview question like: “Tell me about a time you had to manage a difficult boss.” Then, on the flip side, write down two or three stories that could answer that question.

Once you’ve come up with a master list, format and type-up your stories using the SOAR framework. Kelley’s tips for strengthening each of the SOAR elements:

Situation: Highlight pain points that resonate with employers, such as situations that had caused wasted time, lost money or missed opportunities before you came to the rescue. Keep this section brief, since it just sets the scene for the next three parts, which are more important.

Obstacles: See if you can think of how you helped your employer overcome a big obstacle, like an economic downturn, a microscopic budget or an aggressive deadline. This makes your story more impressive.

Action: Give just enough detail, without getting too granular. Err on the side of brevity; nobody needs to know every draft you wrote in preparing your big speech. Later, you can always fill in with more information, if the interviewer requests it.

Results: This is the part that impresses employers most, so be specific and quantify your impact. It’s best to use impressive numbers or percentages. But if you can’t, use words like significantly, substantially or dramatically. And if a boss said something memorable about your accomplishments, or your action resulted in an accolade or award, include that as well.

After you’ve completed your outlines, highlight the skills and strengths demonstrated in each story. That way, you’ll know exactly which story to share when an employer says something like: “Tell me about a time that you dealt with a difficult co-worker” or “Tell me more about your software expertise.”

Practice Makes Perfect

No matter how carefully crafted your stories, they’ll likely fall flat if you don’t practice your delivery. So…

Practice different versions of the same story. Sometimes you’ll have ample time; others, you’ll need to make it short. Kelley recommends cutting the story down until you can say it in 15 seconds or less. Then, prepare a longer version in case time permits.

Practice in front of a mirror or take a selfie video to see and hear how you’re doing. Then, practice with a buddy or coach, ask for feedback and implement it.

Finally, schedule practice sessions. Start with a brief period of time, like 30 minutes. Set a timer and when the timer rings, you’re done.

Follow these steps, and hopefully, the next story you write will be about your job search success!

Have questions about interviewing? We want to hear them! Comment below or contact one of our expert recruiters today! Find the closest CFS location to you here.
Read the original article published on Glassdoor

Monday, May 1, 2017

CFS is hiring Business Development Managers

CFS is looking for experienced sales or staffing professionals to join our team as a client-facing Business Development / Account Manager! We have 2 immediate openings:

If interested, please send your resume to

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Resume writing do's and don'ts

There are some general guidelines that should be followed if you want your resume to stand out from your competition. While some rules can be open to interpretation, there are others that almost every hiring manager will agree on. These are the do’s and don’ts of writing an effective resume:

DO Tailor Your Resume
Just as one outfit won’t work for every company setting, one resume won’t work for every job posting. You should tailor it towards the position you’re applying to. Utilize key words from the job posting and have bullet points that reflect similar work experience. Taking a few extra minutes to make these edits will increase your chances of landing an interview.

DON’T Use an Inappropriate Email
In the business world, professionalism is everything. Your resume is no exception! The design, word choice, and email address all play a factor. By no means should you use a work email on your resume, nor can you use an outdated email such as You don’t want this to be your personal brand! Besides, it’ll be easier for hiring managers to contact you if they can associate your name with your email address.

DO Use Numbers/Data
When it comes to the job search process, your word means nothing unless you can back it up. Simply listing off job duties is not enough; hiring managers want proof that you were successful. That’s why you need to add quantifiable accomplishments. For example, instead of putting “Conducted customer outreach in order to increase sales” on your resume, you could write “Conducted over 150 customer outreach phone calls each day, which increased sales by 30%”. The latter is much more impactful.

If your resume consists of open-ended statements, then you should rework it so that it better illustrates your accomplishments. Present the situation/goal, say the actions you took, and discuss the results in terms of numbers and data- otherwise known as the STAR method. Utilizing this method will help you prove yourself to a hiring manager.

DON’T Bend the Truth
Lying on your resume is one of the worst things you can do. Not only is it wrong, but you’ll inevitably be caught. If you say that you’re proficient in specific software and begin a job where it’s required, then you are bound to encounter problems. To avoid such a situation, it’s best to abide by the “honesty is the best policy” mentality. List your skills on your resume, and go into more depth when it comes to the interview phase. Do not say you are proficient when you’re still at the beginner/intermediate level. This will ensure that you land a job that fits your skill set.

DO Check for Spelling/Grammatical Errors
This is a given, but you would be surprised at how many people forget this simple step. Any errors will lead a hiring manager to infer that you’re not detail oriented and that you don’t care about the position. Always run a simple spell check and proofread every single version of your resume. Then, proofread again! It may seem tedious, but it could make all the difference.

DON’T Have too Many Pages
Although there is no page number restriction, hiring managers agree that too much information is a bad thing. Resumes are typically looked at for less than one minute and having more pages will not change this fact, so only include what’s important! As a rule of thumb, you should have a max of 5 bullet points per job description. In addition, each bullet point should only be two lines long. Implementing these restrictions makes your resume stronger and ensures that you include only your best accomplishments.

DO Utilize a Word Cloud Generator
Have you ever reread a piece of work and realized that you’ve used the same word one too many times? Even if you reference a thesaurus, who’s to say you’ve chosen the right words to highlight your skills?

One way to find out is to upload your resume to a word cloud generator. A great one to use is Word it Out. You can upload your resume text, create the word cloud, and then examine the word list to see which words/skills are used most often. You can also edit the word cloud to only display words that show up a certain number of times. If the results aren’t what you had expected or hoped for, you can edit your word choices and try again.

DON’T Forget to Update
No one enjoys updating their resume, but it’s a necessary step if you hope to land a new job. However, the task can be more manageable if you update it consistently, and this helps ensure all important responsibilities and projects are included. If you wait until the end of a job, then chances are high that you might forget something.

Now that you have a few tips to get you started, you can dramatically increase your chances of landing your next job. Remember, editing your resume may seem like a tedious task, but it is a necessary one. Take your time and tackle it section by section. Before you know it, your stellar resume will having hiring managers dying to hire you.

Have questions on your resume? Looking for your next great accounting or finance role? We are here to help! Click here to find the closest CFS location to you and connect with one of our expert recruiters! 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Time for your 60-day checkup

With January and February officially behind us, it’s time for your 60-day checkup. Are you upholding your New Year’s Resolution? Have you started it? Did you utter the word “no” under your breath just now? That’s ok! It’s not too late to get back on track.

Resolutions have a horrible reputation for being broken— but your career goals should never be compromised. Here are 5 key steps that will help you accomplish your goals before you know it:

Be Specific
A common dilemma that we face is making our resolutions too vague. For example, saying “I want to network more” is simply too broad since there isn’t a way to measure your success rate. Instead you could say, “I would like to add 100 people to my LinkedIn profile” or “I would like to attend 2 networking events a month”. Not only are these specific goals, they are measurable as well.

Set manageable/ monthly goals
Once you set specific goals, you need to determine how manageable they will be. Setting your sights high is great, but doing so can leave you questioning where to begin. If you find yourself in this position, you may want to break your goals down into smaller objectives. This helps you create a game plan and a timeline, which will help you reach success.

Consider adding 100 people to your LinkedIn network—that would be extremely overwhelming when tackled all at once. However, when you break that number down and connect with a few people each week, it’s not as intimidating.

Make the time
It’s one thing to say you’ll do something, and it’s another to actually do it. It’s easy enough to push it off until tomorrow or the next day, but next thing you know you’ll be caught in a vicious cycle of continuously postponing your goals. Why is that? We don’t make the time!

If you want to reach your goals, then you have to dedicate the time to work towards them. Allot time on your calendar to work on your resolutions each week and stick to that schedule.

Be accountable
Share your goals—keeping them to yourself won’t do you any good. Your friends and family are a vital resource to you and they shouldn’t be overlooked. They’ll not only help you stick to your schedule, but they will hold you accountable. If you happen to hit a roadblock, they’ll be there to tell you “it’s ok” and help you get back on track. If you crush one of your goals, they’ll be there to celebrate! This support system is exactly what you need to push yourself a little harder, and to hold yourself to a higher standard when it comes to accomplishing your goals.

Be patient
It’s a resolution for a reason. You won’t accomplish your goals overnight, but that doesn’t mean you won’t make progress every day. Focus on tackling one objective at a time, and stay positive. Be patient—good things take time, and they will be well worth the wait.

Are you looking for your next accounting or finance role? We are here to help! Contact on of our expert recruiters to help you in your job search- find the closest CFS location to you here.

Creative Financial Staffing (CFS) is the nation’s largest, privately-held accounting and financial staffing firm. We provide qualified accounting and finance professionals on a temporary and permanent basis across a broad range of industries.

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