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Goal Setting and its Importance!

“The moment you put a deadline on your dream it becomes a goal!” Stephen Kellogg

We all know goal setting is important but sometimes, we overlook the importance of setting goals that are mapped out.

Have you ever set a goal and months later recognize that it was not achieved? Or do you recall a time when you achieved a goal and felt a HUGE sense of accomplishment?  When identifying the differences in what helps us achieve our goals, it often is found that a planning phase can make it or break it! Employees who set and achieve their goals are likely to gain a promotion or increase in compensation. Personal goals also help us stay energized and motivated. All around, goal setting is important for everyday growth.

Below are 5 goal setting principals that can help you plan & achieve!

  1. Set a specific goal that is clear and concise: Setting clear goals will provide you with direction. Goals should also be concrete rather than generalized. For example, one of my colleagues had a goal of “increasing social media engagement.” After revisiting her goal, she developed a more concrete goal of “Increasing social media engagement by 10% at the end of Q3.”

 

  1. Find a way to measure your goal: Measuring goals will help keep track of your progress. For example, if you are a Hiring Manager, you may want to measure how many interviews you are conducting weekly.

 

  1. Create steps that include actions: Create a checklist with actions or a simple to do list. Checklists are an easy way to organize and map out your plan.

 

  1. Review your resources: As part of the measuring process, continue to track your progress to see how close you are to achieving your goal. Do you need to spend additional time on your tasks and projects to achieve your goal? Are there additional resources you need? What type of results have you produced so far?

 

  1. Set a deadline: Setting a deadline will hold you accountable for achieving your goals in a timely manner. Provide yourself with a date of completion such as “12/31/21.” There is no greater feeling than reaching your goal prior to your deadline!

Completing these 5 steps will help direct your actions towards goal-related activities.

What type of goals do you want to achieve?

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Pay cut for Work From Home (WFH). Is it worth it?

When it comes to salary, we each seek to receive compensation that is comparable to the amount of experience we have. Often, we aim high, negotiate, and try to achieve our worth. However, in some cases, can less really mean “more”? During the pandemic, millions of employees have strived to work from home, even if it means taking a pay cut. Google recently approved 85% of employee requests to work from home while cutting their yearly salary.

In a survey conducted by the Business Journal, Americans voted that they would take up to a 7% pay cut to WFH, part time. Other studies conducted by Pollfish demonstrated that some employees would shave off up to 25% of their salaries!

Top reasons why employees have taken a pay cut to work from home:

  • Health and SafetyDue to the pandemic, employees may want to have less exposure in the office and throughout their commutes. Working remotely creates a sense of ease for many.
  • Cost Savings when it come to commuting expense. We also save on lunch, and that extra cup of coffee we all tend to need.
  • Tax breaksRemote work may allow us to write off internet, Wi-Fi, and phone services, leading to a better tax return.
  • Work life balanceSaving commuting time allows employees the flexibility to complete personal tasks without diminished productivity.

When considering a pay cut to work remotely, review the dollar amount in cost savings and compare it to the percentage of your pay-cut. Perhaps this can be negotiated to meet both the needs of you and your employer.

Despite the concern that employers had in reference to productivity with WFH, surveys are showing that employees are more productive. According to Flexjobs’ annual survey, 65% of employees were more productive in their home offices that in a traditional workspace. With technology such as Zoom, WebEx, and Google meet, face to face interaction and teamwork are becoming just as prevalent in the virtual world. Employers are also saving money! Does this seem like a win-win situation??

Our stance is that employers should not force existing employees to take a pay cut if they are the main driver for the shift in work dynamic. This blog is aimed at persons considering changing jobs or asking for the shift in their current work dynamic.

Are you willing to take a pay-cut to work from home and can “less actually mean more???

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All the best from the Five Star team!

Interviewing Skills: Asking Questions

Candidates often stumble at the end of an interview when employers ask “Do you have any questions?  Part of preparing for an interview is remembering that thought provoking questions will benefit both the candidate and the employer. An employer’s response to the questions can allow candidates to understand if the company is the right fit. On the other hand, a candidate’s questions will demonstrate their interest in the company.

Keep in mind that how an employer responds to these questions can be a key component of your decision-making process.  Make it common practice to take notes and reflect on the answers given, before making a decision.

Below are 5 questions that may come in handy at the end of an interview:

 

  1. How would you describe a typical day for a candidate in this position? Understanding a “day in the life” will help you determine if this opportunity is aligns to your career goals. Make sure that the description excites you and would motivate you to come to work.

 

  1. What are the attributes that someone needs to have success in this position? Think about the required qualifications and how they match up with your skills. Do you have what it takes to be successful in this role?

 

  1. What are some of the challenges that someone in this position may face? Determine if you are up for the challenge and if you can overcome these obstacles.

 

  1. How would you describe the company culture? This inquiry will deepen your understanding of the work environment and how people interact with one another. Does this atmosphere sound ideal for you?

 

  1. Can you describe the path for growth for someone in this position? Career pathing can help engage and retain employees. Employees who have a clear roadmap will have the tools to succeed as well as longevity.

 

Remember, interviewing an employer is just as important as a candidate being interviewed! As candidates, we want to show that we are committed to learning about the company. We also want to demonstrate the importance of finding the right fit. Candidates who ask questions are more likely to move to the next round.

What questions will you ask on your next interview? Share your top 5 with us!

For more insights to help propel your career, follow us on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/five-star-resume. You can also get more information on our site at www.fivestarresume.com.

 Salary Negotiation: Negotiate with Confidence!

Salary negotiation is a crucial part of the journey throughout career development. As dedicated employees, we want to ensure our hard work is recognized. As individuals pursuing entry level or executive level roles, we each have a “value.” Remember, the goal is to earn as much as we deserve-without running ourselves out of the pipeline! Although negotiating salary can cause hesitation, nerves, and the desire to back down from an awkward conversation- we should remember the following:

“The most difficult thing in any negotiation, almost, is making sure you strip it of the emotion and deal with the facts.” This quote by Howard Baker says it all!

To negotiate with confidence and ease, have your facts ready to go!

Check out my 4 principles below:

  1. Know your worth!

Be realistic! Conduct a compensation analysis of your industry. Remember to ensure the years of experience and education are comparable. Document your research. You can use resources such as salary.com or glassdoor.com to check what the industry standards are.

  1. Show your value!

Answer the following questions and prepare your answers. Have you saved a company cost? By what percentage? Have you increased revenue? What were the key contributions of your recent position?  How will you remain an asset for the company you are applying to? Show employers that you are interested in staying with the company long-term. Demonstrate that you are well-worth the investment!

  1. Knowing what to ask for!

Prior to requesting a comp range, allow the employer to make the first offer. If you are not satisfied with the salary offered, it is suggested to ask for $5,000 to $10,000 higher than the industry standard.  You can negotiate by using the research and notes documented from tips #1 & #2.  Often, employers will meet candidates somewhere in the middle-this is all part of “the negotiation”!

  1. Do it with confidence!

If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will! Speaking with confidence will demonstrate that you know your worth!  The power of language is your key closing factor. Try practicing statements such as:

 “I know I will enjoy being part of your team. Based on the job description and industry standards, a range between ____ and ____ seems to be reflective of this opportunity.”

Remember, how we ask is a critical part of what we will receive!

What tips have worked best for you when negotiating salary?

Please share it with us at FSR! Contact us @ https://www.fivestarresume.com/#contact or on LinkedIn @ https://www.linkedin.com/company/five-star-resume

In-Person or Remote Working- What’s Your Vote?!

The Advantages & Disadvantages of In-Person & Remote Work Settings

Over the past several years, one of the hottest topics of conversation includes the Pros and Cons of working remote versus in-person.  Pre-pandemic, companies were starting to “experiment” with the virtual workspace while allowing employees the flexibility to work remotely. Now, this is our “societal norm.”

Since March 2020, the pandemic provided myself with the opportunity to work remote while comparing my experience to my previous “in-person” life. For 8 years, I worked in a corporate office in Talent Acquisition and Operations while teaching courses at LIM College. Although commuting over two hours to New York City was not the most enticing part of my day, I genuinely enjoyed getting dressed up and engaging with a team. Teaching students in person also created the opportunity for developing personal connections with them and coworkers alike. Flash forward to March 2020 up until the present date, zoom is my best friend and student discussion boards are part of my daily routine.

As a working mom, I am able to continue my career while watching my son go through the many milestones of learning and development. As you can see, I have an internal dilemma regarding which setting offers the most perks and productivity. I have come to the conclusion that “the answer is that there is no direct answer”. At the end of the day, it’s how we overcome the cons and make it fit within our individual job and home-lives.

Check out my pros and cons list for each setting below!

Working from home

Pros:

  • Cost savings in work attire, commute, food and beverages (The temptation of Starbucks & Takeout is removed)
  • Flexibility with work life balance due to lack of commuting (Sometimes))
  • Reduced commuting leads to less stress and also supports sustainable initiatives including climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Convenience and the ability to work from anywhere (On an island maybe someday?)
  • Utilizing lunch breaks to run errands and complete household chores 😊
  • Customizing your own office to match your comfort preferences

 

Cons:

  • Communication gaps (Coworkers may not be easily accessible)
  • Lack of discipline and temptation of social media
  • Lack of team comradery
  • Inability to delegate tasks appropriately (Unaware of how much work a coworker has on his/her plate)
  • Management is unable to oversee hands-on operations
  • Employees may be overlooked for promotions and may miss out on development opportunities
  • Health- Lack of exercise and lack of sunlight (We all need extra vitamin D!)
  • Family distractions
  • Dependency on technology

 

Working in-person

Pros:

  • Team collaboration and the ability to develop in-person connections
  • Hands on training and team delegation
  • Personal connections are easier to develop especially when companies host team building events
  • Exercise and mobility (Walking to the office, meetings, etc.)
  • Awareness of systems and processes through observation of other teams
  • Less distractions- Separation of home and work life

 

Cons:

  • Cost of commute, work attire, cost of food and beverages
  • Travel time can create less time for family and increase stress
  • Lack of flexibility in working in diverse locations
  • Workspace comfort, with offices shrinking, sometimes a dedicated desk can be hard to come by

I would love to hear some of your Pros & Cons!  How do you overcome the cons of your work setting? Share your experience with the FSR Team!

From:

Your remote working mom-Erica Alpert

https://www.fivestarresume.com/five-star-team/erica-alpert/ 

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Resilience: What is it and why is it important?

In this blog we are going to discuss the importance of resilience.

Resilience is defined as the ability to recover from difficult life events. Resilient people make the most out of bad situations and bounce back quickly. Individuals who possess a high level of resilience are less vulnerable to getting knocked down by obstacles and tend to find solutions to problems.

Often times resilience is seen as other traits like adaptability, calm personality and optimism. These traits are a part of the whole, resilience allows a positive approach to work and outlook on life. This enables both better problem-solving and supports maintained motivation.

Some ways to enhance and build resilience are managing emotions, developing personal drive, focusing on goals, creating supportive relationships and making physical wellbeing a priority. An individual that leverages these five linked personal elements, is on his/her way to becoming more resilient.

This trait is not only beneficial in life, it has ties to performance in the workplace as well. The importance of becoming resilient cannot be understated, a study by BetterUp Labs found that “Employee resilience is associated with decreased stress and that people low on resilience are 4 times more likely to burnout”.

Two examples of demonstrating resilience in the workplace are:

  1. After a poor performance review, making note of the critiques provided by your manager and levering that feedback to make changes that enhance your performance in the next year.
  2. Finding a solution to a problem without internalizing emotions causing you to get stressed or lose focus.

 

Lastly, the ability to build resilience is a skill that will serve you well in an increasingly stressful work world as well as in your personal life. Companies stand to benefit from a more resilient workforce. In conclusion, building an organizational culture that encourages and supports resilience just makes good business sense for employers and employees.

As always we would be glad to help you build this trait. Feel free to reach out to us anytime at https://www.fivestarresume.com/#contact

The Five Star Team!

Online Learning Opportunities: Skill building from home

Do you want to learn a new marketable skill or dive into a topic of interest just for fun? Online learning platforms are a great resource and an accessible way to accomplish your goals. There are several online platforms that offer a great option to keep you busy and productive while in the comfort of your own home. We will dive into six of the more popular platforms below.

LinkedIn Learning- linkedin.com/learning/

LinkedIn Learning has big emphasis on technical and web development topics to dive into. With over 600 coding courses and more then 3,000 other courses from business, design, photography or web development you are sure to find something that peaks your interest.

Skillshare- https://www.skillshare.com/

Skillshare is considered one of the most popular learning platforms with courses divided into 3 categories:

  1. Thrive, focusing on lifestyle and productivity
  2. Build, focusing on business analytics, leadership & management, marketing and freelance & entrepreneurship
  3. Create, with a focus on film & video, animation, graphic design, music, creative writing, photography and web development.

 

Skillshare takes a project-based approach to learning. The courses are structured in two parts: a video presentation and then a class project. The classes follow an open model platform which makes it community based and usually ahead of trends.

Masterclass- https://www.masterclass.com/

Masterclass offerings are taught by world-famous experts and celebrities. Each course is comprised of 20 lessons that last about 10 minutes each. With this platform there is the opportunity to join class discussions which offer the chance for questions, feedback and connection with other students.

Udemy- https://www.udemy.com/

Udemy is a platform made of 150,000+ crowd sourced (anyone can upload) videos on topics ranging from design, marketing, IT, business & personal development, photography and music. The site is less of a unified “platform” and more of a portal where students can access courses on almost every topic conceivable. One of the cool features is a recommendation quiz that will give a list of offered courses custom to you.

Coursera- https://www.coursera.org/

Coursera is basically a distribution channel for company and university courses; for example Yale’s popular “The Science of Wellbeing” course and Google’s Python Crash Course. Since these courses are offered by different entities the formats can vary from one-time workshops to professional specializations and even master’s certificates from online universities like Yale, Stanford or Princeton.

Edx- https://www.edx.org/

EdX was founded by Harvard and MIT. The platform is made of real college courses, created and taught by college instructors. are available in a huge array of fields and topics. The courses are geared toward STEM fields, but there are plenty other topics offered like languages, humanities, and arts. Since EdX has a partnership with Universities this platform offers professional degree certificates, plus “micro” degree programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels.

Learning can take many forms. We believe strongly that you can never stop learning. It is apparent by how much we learn from our amazing clients everyday.

Our blog is another great source for learning https://www.fivestarresume.com/blog/

Reinventing your professional self for 2021

What does reinventing your professional self look like? As we continue to face many obstacles throughout the pandemic, many of us have used 2020 as an opportunity for “reinvention”.  Brands have used this period of change to “rebrand” or implement intriguing new services.

Did you know Southwest Airlines now has their own wine subscription service? Or you can now drive thru a “Chipotlane” to pick up food at Chipotle instead of the traditional counter pickup? Small businesses are also pivoting. According to a survey from Small Business Trends, “92% of businesses have pivoted their business in at least one way.”

As individuals, we are our own brand. We have a mission, core values, and of course- strengths. Taking the time to use 2021 as a period of change and reinvention is an exciting opportunity to exercise our strengths in this virtually focused era.

Just as businesses are experimenting with different offerings during this global crisis, let’s think about what we can offer ourselves in terms of our career.

First, let’s think about why we may want to “rebrand” or “reinvent ourselves.” Is it because different industries are booming while others remain stagnant? Environments are changing, the world is becoming more and more digitally focused.  Maybe you want to explore a new passion, acquire a position that is permanently remote, or simply explore a new set of strengths. Overall, there are several steps we can take to kickstart this process.

What are the steps that we can take to reinvent ourselves in 2021?

  1. Assess your strengths: We all have strengths that we are aware of. There are also strengths that we possess and are not conscious of. Assessments such as Skillscan, DISC, and Strengths Finder can help identify your top skills.
  2. Research: Review diverse job descriptions that include your key skills and qualifications. For example, if 3 of your top strengths include “Creativity, Problem Solving, and Strategic Thinking”, you may want to consider a career in Marketing. Skills Matcher on Careeronestop.org is one of many assessments you can use to help determine new careers that match your skills.
  3. Update your Resume & LinkedIn to highlight these skills: Add or highlight skills that were part of your assessment.
  4. Change your objective: If your Resume and LinkedIn was focused on your current career, however your assessment demonstrates skills that are transferable to another path, you can easily shift the focus to the skills and abilities that target that new path.
  5. Get involved! Network with professionals in the industries you are exploring. Attend virtual networking events or connect with professionals on LinkedIn that work in this specific field.

 

Professionals from entry to executive level are switching fields to not only adapt to the new changes, but they are using this time to explore new avenues that lead to overall growth.

If you need help making with this reinvention, our team has a wealth of experience in this area and can help you take that next step. Check us out at www.fivestarresume.com or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/five-star-resume.

Erica Alpert, Career Advisor

Those Pesky Applicant Tracking Systems!

We have all heard of the dreaded ATS. The system that scans Resume’s and decides our fate before any human can look at our document. I want to talk a little bit about why they exist first, because many people voice their displeasure about the lack of human attention to the initial part of the hiring process. In many cases, technological advances arise from a need and usually come with both benefits and negatives. This is no different for the ATS. Let’s discuss the why first and move onto the what after.

Why do they exist? One of the main reasons they exist is because of how easy the application process has become due to technology. We no longer have to fill out paper applications or find out about positions through the help wanted pages in newspapers. This has driven the average reply rate to approximately 250 applicants for every open position and only 25% of which meet the qualifications of the role. Pressed for time and with limited resources both Agency and Corporate Recruiters could not possibly assess all submissions. This led to the development of software that can scan and weed out unqualified applicants. Of course, this process has some obvious issues, including the exclusion of some very qualified candidates from the talent pool.

What are we to do about it? We need to be savvier in how we approach building our Resume. We have to take into considerations just how these systems work and how to give ourselves the best odds at being in that top 25% of resumes that do get a second look. The key words that these systems scan against are usually inputted by the organizations Talent Acquisition team and closely align to key words that can be found throughout the job description. By leveraging key themes used in the job description and key demands of the role throughout your Resume, you can enhance your chances of beating the initial scan.

Also, an important note is to be careful with the Aesthetics of the Resume, as too many design features may hinder the ability of the ATS to accurately parse the data in the document.

As always, we are here to guide you on this journey. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions that you may have. Check out our services at https://www.fivestarresume.com/products/

Follow us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/five-star-resume/

Regards,

John Greenblatt

CEO, Five Star Resume LLC.

Addressing a skills gap to build career success

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. As someone that studied I/O Psychology and spent 6 years as a Learning & Development Manager, I find this to be an important topic.

Let’s start with what is a skills gap. When applying this to your career we can simply define it as the space between your existing skills and the skills that you need to secure your intended career choice. These gaps can occur for several reason, including changes in technology, industry or workforce trends that we are unaware of. It can also occur because we simply choose to change our career path.

The next question is how do we fill these in? Well the first step is identifying them. Our time is finite, so it is extremely important that we determine what we want to do going forward first. Understanding where we want to go will allow us to come up with a plan on how to get there. Our recommendations are the following:

  1. Start reaching out to your network to get a sense of the market and what opportunities are out there.
  2. Conduct a job search. See what positions look most interesting to you and what the skills required are. Then assess your skills and see where the disconnect is (if any).
  3. Connect with your former managers or peers to see what skills they place the most value on.

The next order of business is to figure out just how to acquire theses skills. We recommend the following for doing this:

  1. Look at profiles on LinkedIn or other platforms to see what designations people hold in a specific field.
  2. Assess the job descriptions for technology gaps and either take courses on sites like Coursera or watch some tutorials on YouTube. Most offer free trials, so try taking advantage of them when possible.
  3. Conduct research on Google to see what learning platforms are both affordable and accessible.
  4. Reach out to a Career Coach or Career Advisor (Shameless plug, I know).

There is never a bad time to reskill or upskill, so make sure that you are continually doing so!

As always, we would be glad to help you in this endeavor. Please learn more about us personally and professionally at https://www.fivestarresume.com/#team

Follow us on LinkedIn @ https://www.linkedin.com/company/five-star-resume

Regards,

John Greenblatt, CEO, Five Star Resume LLC.