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 acolvonen@cfstaffing.com




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 tweetybird12@hotmail.com. 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.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Don't miss another job posting





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Monday, February 6, 2017

21 words to never include in your resume

Article originally published on Glassdoor

We have all heard the saying, “You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is perhaps most true when it comes to a job resume. While many companies use screening software to initially evaluate a candidate’s resume, recruiters are largely the first people you must impress.
“The language or content of a resume can definitely tank a job seeker’s chances of landing their dream job,” says Jamie Hichens, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at Glassdoor. “You have a limited amount of time to catch a recruiter or hiring manager’s eye – use it wisely.”
Filling precious resume space with verbose language or overused buzzwords can certainly backfire. Therefore, we tapped a group of HR and resume experts to give us the inside scoop on the 21 words and terms to never include in your resume. Scan your CV to make sure you’re not guilty of including these red-flagged terms:
1. Unemployed
“Your employment dates already show if you’re unemployed – you don’t need to highlight it,” says Hichens.
2. Hardworking or Hard worker
“We hope you are a hardworking individual who shows up to work on time and is self-motivated, but you don’t need to call it out,” she adds.
3. “Ambicious”
“Misspelled words [like this one] should never appear on your resume,” says Elizabeth Harrison, Client Services Manager and Senior Recruitment Partner at Decision Toolbox. “Read your resume numerous times, print it and take a pen to it and have someone else read it. One misspelled word can completely eliminate an otherwise strong candidate from consideration because it demonstrates lack of attention to detail.”
4. Microsoft Office
“Popular resume templates and HR pros prompt job seekers to include a list of strategic skills on their resume,” says Glassdoor expert Eileen Meyer. “From Java to Final Cut Pro, speaking Arabic to spearheading 150% growth, be sure to include not only the relevant skills that make you a perfect fit for the role, but also the skills that make you stand out. Take note, command of Microsoft Office is not a skill. It’s a given.”
5. Objective
“Is your career trajectory pretty straightforward and lacking major gaps between jobs? Then you probably don’t need an objective statement,” contends Glassdoor writer Caroline Gray. “If your resume is self-explanatory, there’s no need to take up valuable space with anything that’s redundant. Also, if you’re submitting a cover letter with your resume, that should be more than sufficient in addressing your objective for your application.
6. Synergy
“Words like ‘synergy’ and ‘wheelhouse’ are completely overused lingo,” insists Hichens. Steer clear.
7. Reference Available Upon Request
Having “references upon request” at the bottom of your resume is a sign that a candidate is overeager. If a recruiter wants to call to know more about you, they will reach out directly. There is no need to point out the obvious. As one HR expert said, “everyone assumes we want references, but honestly, we can ask.”
8. I, She, He, Him, Her
“Talking in 1st or 3rd person reads weird – did someone write your resume for you? Just state the facts,” says Hichens. For example write, “Led a team of 4” not “I led a team of four people” or “Jamie led a team.”
9. Rockstar
“It’s been overused in the last five years,” insists Jennifer Bensusen, Technology Lead and Senior Recruitment Partner at national recruiting firm Decision Toolbox.  “Unless you are truly a singing superstar, applying for a wedding singer or entertainer role that is!”
10. Dabbled
Bensusen says do not use “technology or systems you have touched or were exposed to but really don’t know.”  For example, stay away from sentences like, “… a Software Engineer who dabbled with Python in college seven years ago but has been developing in .NET professionally since.” In this case, don’t add Python to your resume if you’re not a pro.
11. On Time
Again, a candidate being on time is an expectation. “[Instead] craft a well thought out, concise resume with interesting content on accomplishments, KPI success or significant highlights with bullets on what you did,” advises Bensusen. “Did you create efficiencies that saved the company big bucks?  Did you hire a stellar team that accomplished world peace?”
12. Expert
“Stay away from the word expert, unless you truly are,” says Bensusen.  Otherwise, “be prepared to be peppered with questions regarding your expertise.”
13. Can’t or Won’t
Negative words should not be included in a resume. “Resumes should demonstrate what you can do and not what you can not do,” says Harrison.
14. Unnecessary personal information
Harrison advises that your “date of birth, family status, personal interests etc. should be avoided on a resume. These items do not pertain to the qualifications of an individual for a position.”
15. “I know HTML, Photoshop…”
“Skills are the most common resume lies,” writes Heather Huhman, career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended.  “Although you may think that having every skill listed in the job description will get you the internship, that’s not always true. Telling the truth about your skills can set you up for success in your internship. You can still land the internship by being honest, and can gain valuable training and learning experiences on the job.”
16. Hobbies
“Content that does not relate to the job and does not address what qualifications a candidate has for a job can absolutely eliminate a candidate who may have accomplished many of the tasks that job is looking for, but was not articulated in the resume,” adds Harrison.
17. Generalizations
“Substantiate your accomplishments with numbers,” says Nicole Cox, Chief Recruitment Officer at Decision Toolbox. Some recruiters prefer to see actual numbers (such as “cut manufacturing costs by $500,000”), while others prefer percentages (“cut manufacturing costs by 15 percent”). Either way, provide enough context to show the impact. If your objective was to cut manufacturing costs by 10 percent, make it clear that you exceeded the goal.
18. Accomplished
Instead of saying you are accomplished, show it. “Accomplishments are currency when it comes to resumes,” advises Anish Majumdar, CEO of ResumeOrbit.com. “The more you have, and the more applicable they are to the job you want, the greater your perceived worth. This can have a big impact not just on whether you receive an interview, but how much you’re ultimately offered. Front-load the accomplishment, then describe how it was achieved. For example, ‘Improved customer satisfaction 30% within 9 months through re-engineering support processes and introducing new training materials to staff.'”
19. Stay-at-home Mom 
Like personal information, do not feel obligated to explain gaps in your resume. “Personal information about age, relationships or children can expose you to discrimination,” warns Cox. “Employers aren’t allowed to ask for that kind of information, and you shouldn’t offer.” However, if you’d like to address a gap because you are re-entering the workforce, Cox says, “You can be creative, such as putting Domestic CEO as the title and listing ‘Successfully managed procurement, budgets and scheduling.'”
20. Responsible for…
“Often, careerists will write, ‘Responsible for’ at the beginning of a statement where a more powerful lead-in would energize; e.g., instead of, “Seasoned sales management executive …,” write, ‘Regional Sales Manager for Largest Revenue-Generating Area, exceeding competitors by 25-55% in revenue growth, year-over-year’,” says master resume writer Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter. “In other words, strengthen the story through muscular verbiage and results. Lead with strength and energy.”
21. Results-oriented
“While many other words are misused or diluted by overuse, these are the weakest and most abused,” says Barrett-Poindexter. “If your resume language or content is weak, unfocused and/or rambling, you can obliterate your chances of landing that dream role.”

Have questions about your resume? 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

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