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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.

Sometimes Less is More_Crafting a Concise Resume

What is the key to writing a strong Resume? How do we possibly express ourselves and speak to our professional experience in 1 page or less! Well the good news is that in some circumstances we don’t have to. Even though it is now more acceptable to have a longer Resume, there is still a struggle to find balance between telling your story and finding the space to do so. Two factors that are driving this struggle include the average time we stay at a position in the United States (average is between 2 – 3 years) and the diverse expectations of us while we are in that position.

How do we combat the natural inclination to include all of our accomplishments and tasks across each role we have held? The first step is to decide what you want next by deciding what skill you want to continue to develop and the responsibilities you have that do not fit into what motivates you as an employee. After we self-assess, it is important to do something that may not seem natural, we should look for jobs before working to update the Resume. It is important to not only self-assess, but to see what the jobs we are prioritizing are asking of us. This provides us with the opportunity to create alignment between what we have done and what the job openings are asking of us.

After taking these steps, the next thing to remember is to make sure that the accomplishments listed hold meaning to the person that is assessing your Resume. The key to remember is that the Resume is just a tool to pique interest and get you a phone call from the hiring manager. Once you have their attention, you can speak to the diverse responsibilities that comprise your career. It is still important to focus on the points that align to the needs of the organization interviewing you, however this is more of the platform to speak to your career more holistically.

In summation make sure to keep your Resume focused, because as you know, sometimes less is more.

Take the time to learn more about us and see if we can help with your Resume Writing needs at https://www.fivestarresume.com/#team.

Regards,

John Greenblatt

CEO, Five Star Resume

The importance of Mindfulness

I know that we are getting fatigued by the constant reminder of “Covid-19” dubbed also as the “Coronavirus”, but I felt it was important to the cover the topic on mindfulness. This should always be a practice embedded in our daily lives, but I do think it is more crucial now that we practice it.

I would like to share my personal story. My wife and I both work full time, I with this business and my wife full time in the corporate world. We have two children 4 and under, and thus far have been lucky to have full time care for them through a combination of our parents and daycares. This set up changed for us in an instant and for long stretches we have both been trying to work and watch the children and I am not sure if we are doing either effectively, but we are doing our best.

We know of others that are having a much more difficult time then we are. We have family members that own small businesses and can’t open, we have friends that are furloughed and we have colleagues that are just getting by.

The point of this story is that the virus has impacted us all in different ways, so be mindful of what is going on with your friends, colleagues and family. Check in on them to see if they are in need of help, be ok with the idea that some things may take longer than expected and most importantly do your best to help be the solution with stopping this virus.

Carry this over into your career and it will help you grow both professionally and personally.  As always if you need us we are here to chat https://www.fivestarresume.com/#team

#mindfulness, #resumewriting, #careercoaching

Regards,

John Greenblatt

Founder, Five Star Resume LLC.

Mental Health Matters

As I write this, we are entering nearly 100 days into the COVID-19 pandemic. I can speak personally to the mental battle it has been to stay grounded and sane during this time. We have all been impacted by this in different ways, whether it’s the strain of having children at home, or an immunocompromised family member or even just the anguish of not being able to participate in the social activities we are used to. In my opinion, I do feel that this is why social media, although sometimes beneficial, is wreaking havoc on our society. Its creating a false sense of connection and a social platform that is anything but social, however that is an article for a different day.

Let’s jump right into what we feel are some of the keys to boosting your mental health.

  1. Leave the house! Do it safely and keep others in mind when doing so, but this is number 1 by far. This can be in the form of taking a drive, finding a more secluded park to go to or even just walking around your neighborhood.

 

  1. Avoid the working more trap. This is crucial. Now that everyone is working from home, vacations are being cancelled and people are limiting their social interactions, it is easier than ever to shift the focus to working more. Colleagues will do this and they may try to take you with them. Do your best to set boundaries.

 

  1. Remember this will pass. It certainly has been a tough 3+ months and who knows how much longer this will endure, however keep in mind that this to will pass. Life may not be exactly the same, but we should begin to see more normalcy in the upcoming months.

 

  1. Embrace the positive. This is probably the toughest to implement. In a world mired with negativity it may be hard to see the positives. For me personally, I have gotten to see my spouse more and spend more time with my kids. Others may have been able to do projects in the house that they have been putting off. Others may have found that fitness has been reinserted into their lives. Some of us cook more now, because of the lack of availability of eating out. Try to embrace the positives while dealing with the negative impact that this has caused.

That’s all we have for now, but we are always here as a resource to help you through this roller coaster ride. We are excited for the better days that are ahead and are here if you need any guidance!

Check out some more about us and our team. https://www.fivestarresume.com/

Regards,

John Greenblatt, Founder

Job Seeking During the Pandemic

Hello to all job seekers out there who are trying to navigate the job search while getting through the challenges of the pandemic. Although interviewing alone can be “intense”, utilize this time to find your niche in an environment you can call home

One of my biggest tips to anyone on the job hunt is to showcase your personality and let your natural energy shine through. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and find an organization that fits YOU.

While beginning the hunt, consider the following questions and tips below:

  1. Have you updated your resume?
  • Tailor your professional profile and objective to each position you are applying to.
  • Does your resume fit on one page? If not, is it longer for good reason?
  • How many buzz words are included?

 

  1. Do you have a LinkedIn profile and does it shout that you are an A+ candidate?
  • If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, you can create a free account on www.linkedin.com
  • Update your experience, photo, and skills.
  • Add a fun headline! Showcase your personality in the bio. I love profiles that include quotes, activity, and pinned articles.
  • Perhaps request a recommendation from a former coworker or colleague. Employers enjoy reviewing positive references. Now is the time for outreach :).

 

  1. Who can you network with?
  • Brainstorm 5-10 contacts that are in your network.  Send a friendly hello & attach your updated resume.
  • Keep track of your outreach on an excel sheet and follow up accordingly.
  • You can utilize LinkedIn or simply send an email to these contacts.

 

  1. Create an outreach checklist and reel them in!
  • Apply on the website.
  • Search the HR Manager or company recruiter on LinkedIn and send him/her a message after connecting.
  • If there is a general HR email address on the company website, you may want to send a follow up email to this address one week after applying.
  • Contact the company via phone to introduce yourself.

 

Good luck!! 

For questions or assistance on Resume Writing, LinkedIn Profile Development or more, please feel free to contact the Five Star team 🙂 https://www.fivestarresume.com/#contact 

Erica Alpert

Career Advisor

The future of work

Well, we are right in the middle of this pandemic and the hope is that we have reached the peak and will return to some level of normalcy soon. I stress some level of normalcy, because we all know that we will not be returning to the “normal” we knew before this health crisis and truth be told, we may never get back there. The million-dollar question is, where do we go from here?

Here are some of the areas that we believe will change

Working from home will increase. This is going to happen to obviously stop the spread of the pandemic. However, we feel like the main reason that will drive this is that many companies that were resistant to this model, will see that productivity does not fall off when employees are working from home. Here is a CNBC article that reinforces that there can be more productivity when working from home CNBC Working from Home.

Companies are going to need to redesign their workspaces. Over the years we have transitioned to more of an open workspace model and in my opinion this update has mixed reviews. People like the open concept premise because it creates team unity, however there is a loss of privacy which many of us still value. With this pandemic companies will need to rethink open concept designs and come up with creative ways to create unity while respecting distance.

Breakroom meetings, team building events and social gatherings outside of the workplace may be a thing of the past, for now at least. This is going to be a continued challenge as we are for the most part social creatures. We feed off of each other’s energy and part of what motivates us to work for certain organizations is the team-oriented culture.

Human Resources will have a more prominent role in organizations. As we plan a return to work and shape how that looks. HR teams will be at the forefront of working on this with leadership teams. The focus will be on creating employee engagement and recognition programs that meet the new normal. Identifying ways to build more robust virtual training and working with leaders to provide feedback to employees that are dispersed.

Overall work will change for most of us. It is making sure that we understand what will change and the impact on us, that will have us prepared for it.

We are always here as a resource for you if you need help navigating this new frontier, as we do the same on our end.

#Resume, #Career, #Coaching

How you can help!

I think everyone at this juncture knows that we are in the midst of a pandemic that has brought our economy almost to a grinding halt. This virus has come at us rapidly and has definitely instilled a level of fear for our own and our loved one’s safety. Now before I get onto the main topic of this writing, I just want to take the time to truly thank all of those on the front lines, including some of our amazing clients. Thank you to the First Responders, Doctors, Nurses, Factory Workers, Cashiers, Delivery Drivers and all the others that are far too many to mention.

I know at this time our instinct is self-preservation and rightfully so, we need to make sure we remain healthy so that we can help those around us that are not as fortunate. The way we help each other during this time can come in many forms, so what are some of the things we can be doing.

  • Stop the spread. Make sure to follow the social distancing guidelines. Try to be as careful as possible when needing to go out, but make sure to do the things that help with your personal mental health as well.

 

  • Help those on the front line. This can come in the form of monetary or equipment donations. I have seen people using their ingenuity to sew masks, have food delivered to hospitals and check in on their neighbors without making contact. The last one is a step to be proactive and not add to the patient count they are already taking on.

 

  • Build relationships. This is the time to use your downtime, if you have it. Reach out to old/current colleagues to check in on them, make sure they are safe and healthy. If someone reaches out to you just to have a conversation about future opportunities at your company or just to get advice, carve the time out. Its time we help those displaced because of the rapid change to our economy and the businesses that it has impacted. Have those meaningful conversations that you normally would not have because of never ending deadlines and workplace demands.

Now is the time for us to be as helpful as we can. Each one of us have been impacted by this epidemic in some form or another. Its time for us to leverage what makes us great as both individuals and as a society to overcome these challenges together.

As always, we are here to help you in any way we can. #beatcovid, #careerplanning

Regards,

John Greenblatt

CEO/Five Star Resume LLC.

Effectively Working from Home

Technology has been creeping into all facets of our lives and this is truer of our work than any other area. Part of this technological revolution is our newfound ability to work from wherever we choose. This to me is both a blessing and a curse, but that rant is for another article. In this piece we are going to cover working from home and how to do it effectively.

This topic really hits home to me (pun intended), as I worked for a global IT company in which I was almost exclusively a remote employee. When I first made this transition, it was a real struggle, as I needed to adapt to an environment in which I had no direct oversight and many distractions. Looking around I would see home projects that needed to be done, kids that were being taken care of and the next blockbuster movie calling me to watch it.

It took some time, but I was finally able to master the idea of working from home. Here are some of the keys that helped me achieve this objective.

  1. Treat everyday as if you are going into the office. Set an alarm, accounting for some travel time. Shower first thing in the morning and get dressed and no, not in sweats. Walking around in your pajamas, may sound amazing but from my experience it also keeps you in that sleepy state of mind.
  2. Create a workspace that is free of distraction. Pick a room that has no electronics, outside of what you need to do your job. Try your best to pick a room that is furthest away from the noise if you have a busy household.
  3. Leave your house. Work a few ours outside of the house. One of my favorite spots to go, is Panera, but there is a whole host of places that have free Wi-Fi and can supply you with never ending caffeine.
  4. Invest in noise cancelling headphones, this applies especially if you have others in the home while you are there. My kids can be throwing a tantrum and I am at most times none the wiser. Out of sight, out of mind does have some merit.
  5. Make sure to interact with people and don’t be afraid to use the webcam. This can help build a sense of team, even if your coworkers are located thousands of miles away.

 

These are just a few of the tricks I use to make sure that I am remaining productive on the days that I work from home. As always, we are here to help you with all of your career development needs.

Regards,

John Greenblatt

CEO, Five Star Resume LLC.

Digital Communications_Maintaining Professionalism

Let me start this blog by saying I am not a communication professional, nor did I major in it in College. I am writing this blog from an experience stand point. I believe that strong communications are the backbone to many things: having good relationships, acing an interview, demonstrating knowledge and effective networking just to name a few. This specific blog entry is going to mainly cover electronic communications.

I have always been of the train of thought that picking up the phone was the most time efficient and effective way to communicate, however it seems that there will continue to be a radical shift towards electronic communications. This trend does not bother me, and I understand the shift as technology rapidly increases the ability to communicate instantaneously with each other.

What does worry me is that we have become so lightning quick in our communications that we are not truly communicating effectively. Here are my tips for maintaining a strong form of communication in all that you do.

  • First and foremost, make sure you are regularly checking the email that you are using as your point of contact for career correspondence.
  • Keep your communications formal across all platforms. If you worry about grammar in texts and tweets it will translate into appropriate writing when you are professionally networking or addressing correspondence in your job.
  • My most important tip. READ YOUR FULL EMAIL! Countless times I have sent out an email with multiple topics and or questions, only to receive a response to one portion of it. We tend to just answer the last item addressed in the email. Make sure you read everything and respond to it!
  • Read carefully. I have had many communications where there was confusion on the part of the reader because he/she didn’t read the message carefully. Not to say I am not guilty of miscommunicating at times, but this is an area that is very important.

 

The main point is that we always want to look competent and professional especially when it comes to communications that impact our career. Make sure to follow these tips, they will help you with navigating your career more effectively.

Regards,

John Greenblatt

CEO, Five Star Resume LLC.

Networking & Communications

What is networking? Well in the IT sense it means having “linked machines, especially computers to operate interactively”. In the human sense we can take Merriam-Webster’s definition of “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business”

If we think about movies, we can remember the movie Boiler Room and the clever acronym of “ABC”, (Always Be Closing). I would go in a different direction and use the acronym “ABN”, (Always Be Networking). Now, that may not sound as smooth as ABC, however it is just as important, if not more important.  

I think where I see a shortfall in networking, is that people only think it should take place when they need something (a job, a recommendation, help with something, etc.), however networking should be part of your daily life. Leaving a positive impression with anyone and everyone you meet is a big part of networking. Ensuring that people have a clear idea of your character and the way you treat others will help them make the decision of whether or not they want to help you. The message being, don’t just worry about how you communicate or interact with others at networking events, make sure that filters into any communication you have.

An example can include how you respond to someone randomly messaging you about a job on LinkedIn. Don’t just let that communication sit there, let the person know if you are or are not interested, let them know why and see if you can help patch them into your network. Maybe one day, you will be looking for a new position and that person knows someone at that company. If you left a great impression on them and you were thoughtful in your reply, they would be more apt to help you when needed.

The key to networking is to remember to play the long game and realize that everyone you meet could be potentially someone you may help or may help you in the future.  

There are several facets that are crucial to networking. The first being that you want to avoid starting the conversation with what you need or want from the person. It is important to start a dialogue first; ask them how they are or if you know something personal about them (they have kids, just relocated etc.), follow up on it and ask about it.

What I think is most important when it comes to networking and what I consider the number 1 rule is to be genuine. Be kind and build relationships because you care and you want to interact with people to understand their story. A big part of why I love what I do, is that I get to learn about people from all walks of life, I get to hear their interesting stories and I get to help them write the next chapter.

If you ever have any questions about how to network and need guidance. Make sure to reach out to us!