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What Our Team Learned From Our SWOT Analyses

When you hear the term SWOT Analysis, you probably reflect back to a business course you took in college or to the general acceptance of a SWOT Analysis as a tool for analyzing and planning for a business. It is a widely used tool that helps identify an organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses, followed by external opportunities and threats. This week, we took a slightly different spin on the SWOT Analysis and we had each of our team members complete her own personal SWOT Analysis. Then, we came together as a team to debrief and discuss each others’ responses. Here are some of the things we learned!

 

A major takeaway was that our team members realized that they had more strengths than they had initially written down. When hearing what others were saying about themselves, it reminded them that they, too, had that strength or a similar one. We each underestimated the different types of strengths we really did have; we needed to push ourselves to think more critically about ourselves, and realize that we had more strong qualities than we thought!

 

On top of that, we saw a surprising correlation between our strengths and our weaknesses. We noticed how most of them fit together and were very much the same basic attribute, just at different ends of the spectrum. For example, having high urgency but also being impatient, being personable but also distractible, or being empathetic but lacking assertiveness.

 

In terms of our weaknesses, as a member of the team would discuss their awareness of their individual weaknesses, it would help us all to be able to point out that specific blind spot. With that, we found the areas where we could most support that teammate and encourage growth beyond those weaknesses. It created a positive twist on our supposed weaknesses; being able to identify and share them allowed for the whole team to be aware, and help us tackle them in the future!

 

We also were able to identify that, very often, one person’s strength may be another’s weakness. For example, while one team member may view their attention to detail as a strength, another may come at it from an opposite viewpoint, feeling like they pay too much attention to detail. It highlighted how unique our perspectives were, and how our views on our skills can vary depending on how we look at them.

 

While these exercises are stimulating and insightful in the moment, the most important part of them is how you take action on what you learn. So what’s next? For us, each team member has picked one weakness she would most like help with and our team has committed to helping her develop beyond it. Our goal is to build a culture where people never feel the need to hide a weakness but instead, put it on the table as something to work on. The second action item for us is to create a “Wall of Strengths” showcasing each team member’s strengths. Our aim is to consistently consider “What is needed for the task at hand?” and “Who has the best strength for this?” By doing this, we hope to inspire collaboration, learn from one another and maximize the impact of our team as a whole.

 

Last but not least, we want to know, what’s your Personal SWOT Analysis story? Are there additional take-aways you can suggest?

Building Your Resume: Top 3 Do’s and Don’ts… From A Recruiter!

When starting a job search, perfecting your resume should be your first priority. It is one of the first things the hiring manager will see, and it is your chance to give them a snapshot of yourself in terms of your past successes. Your resume should work to show your past experience, the skills you have learned, and what type of candidate you are. Follow these essential do’s and don’ts to make sure that your resume is ready to go!

Image result for stock photo resume writing free

DO include your contact information.

There’s nothing worse for a recruiter than when they’re thoroughly impressed or intrigued by your resume and wanting to move things forward, then realizing they have no way of contacting you. Your resume should include your email, phone number, your address/location, and your LinkedIn. A lot of people tend to forget to add these simple yet crucial pieces of information. As much as you do need to focus on the bulk of your resume and the experience you’re choosing to highlight, don’t let it stop you from remembering to give the recruiter/hiring manager a quick and easy point of contact! 

DON’T make it too long/list out every task and responsibility you have had at every single job.

Your resume should be no more than a page long. Remember, while your resume is your way to brag about yourself as a candidate, you only want to pull out the most important and relevant aspects of your past. More likely than not, the hiring manager looking over your resume is looking over multiple resumes a day, and may even toss your resume to the side if it’s over a page! Make the recruiter’s job easier and craft a resume that is short and sweet, highlighting all of your main strengths and accomplishments.

DO use descriptive and relevant action words to highlight the skills you’ve learned.

Use your resume bullet points to paint a picture of the role you played in your past jobs and what skills the position taught you. Be sure to choose descriptive words that are geared towards the skill you’re trying to highlight, whether it be management, communication, technical, creative, teaching skills, etc. For example, in a leadership or management role, instead of using nondescript words like “did,” try using verbs like “conducted,” or “administered.” Make that extra effort to paint a clear image in the recruiter’s head of your workplace successes! 

DON’T lie.

It’s not worth it, for a number of reasons. It can be really detrimental to your future employment opportunities if you get caught lying on a resume, especially if it results in you being terminated from the job. On top of that, you could be setting yourself up for failure by giving hiring managers a false impression of your capabilities, and not being able to execute those skills like your resume suggests. Be honest, highlight your true strengths and let the employer see those qualities for themselves!

DO read over and double check for typos/formatting errors before sending it anywhere.

No matter where you are sending your resume, take an extra minute or two to check for any spelling mistakes and, most importantly, formatting mistakes. A lot of the time when you convert your resume to a PDF, the layout changes and it may need to be readjusted. A spelling or formatting error could show a lack of care on your part. On top of that, make sure the contents of your resume stay consistent throughout, keeping your experiences in order and looking as neat as possible!

DON’T send in the same resume to every job you can

Take the time to tailor your resume to the job you are applying to, in terms of your skills and experiences. Especially if you are a candidate with varied types of experience, pick and choose what experience is the most important to highlight for the specific job. Look over the job description and pull out key skills that the company is looking for. Tweak your background and specific bullet points so that your duties and work successes emphasize the same skills that the job is looking for. Putting that extra thought into each resume you submit will be much more beneficial than aimlessly sending in the same resume to every job you apply for.

5 Questions You Need to Ask Your Prospective Employer in an Interview

When preparing for an interview, it’s important to put time and energy into crafting well thought-out answers that show that you are capable of the role. Of course, you want to make sure you stand out as a candidate within your answers. While your responses to the interviewer’s questions do matter, many people tend to overlook the importance of that very last question that every employer will ask you:

 

“So, do you have any questions for me?”

 

The worst mistake you can make in an interview is to not ask the employer any question at all. There is always something that can be asked, whether it is a question that shows the employer your interest, or one that gives yourself more insight on the environment itself within the company. This is your chance as a candidate to ask some thought-provoking questions to your interviewer. If you’re having trouble figuring out what to ask your employer, check out these five questions for ideas on what you can ask before wrapping up an interview.

 

 

  • What are the opportunities to grow from this position? In what areas will the company need people to grow?

 

Not only does this show the interviewer that you have personal goals and the drive to work your way up within a company, but it can also provide you with some insight on what it is like to be an employee for the company. Is it a company where employees and their specific roles remain stagnant, or is it a company where employees are encouraged to work harder and given incentives to succeed? On top of that, by asking about areas in which the company needs growth, you also demonstrate that you are thinking about the best interests of the company as well as your own ability to fulfill those needs.

 

 

  • How would you describe the culture of the company from your experience as an employee here?

 

Asking a current employee in the company about their experiences can give you a more thorough idea of what you really will experience working there. A lot of the times, the answer to this can show you the extent to which the company prioritizes building relationships between teammates, such as going out to lunch together or celebrating achievements as a group. While it may not be crucial for a company to prioritize a more “fun” environment among the employees, it is always more reassuring to know that you would be welcomed with open arms and have the opportunity to build long-lasting friendships while there.

 

 

  • What does a typical day look like in this position? Does it stay consistent or will my tasks vary day-to-day?

 

This question is crucial in order to paint a picture of what your role will consist of and if it is truly something that you are fit for. Whether you are looking for a more structured role or a role with more flexibility/spontaneity, the employer’s answer to this question can confirm whether the role is a position you would thrive in. On top of that, it will show on the employer’s side how prepared they are for your potential addition to the company and the role you would play.

 

 

  • What are the company’s goals and expectations over the next five years?/What are the company’s long-term and short-term goals as of right now?

 

To strengthen your potential as a candidate and show a more genuine interest on your end, this question will show the employer how you prioritize having a true understanding of the company. On top of impressing the employer, it will also give you information regarding the company’s work ethic. They might be a company that is constantly setting ambitious goals, and pushing their employees to work their hardest, or they might be more laid-back and let employees work at their own pace. Either way, it will give you a deeper look into how they organize themselves and what they expect of their company.

 

 

  • How does the company measure success overall and specifically in my role?

 

This thought-provoking question will allow you to further understand the role and its expectations. It is important for you to feel confident that you will succeed in a role before taking it, and the answer to this question can give you some insight on company expectations.Taking all of these questions into account while preparing for an interview will help set you up for a successful interview, both for you and the interviewer.

Developing a Five-Star LinkedIn Profile

In today’s world, many people overlook the extent to which recruiters and employers are using LinkedIn as a tool to find potential candidates. It can be easy to think that you are only being looked at as a candidate when you are applying to jobs and finding potential employers, when in reality networking profiles like LinkedIn allow for employers to find you. Having a well-developed profile that is consistently updated is a crucial first step in opening up the doors to all kinds of potential opportunities. That being said, take the time now to pull up your LinkedIn profile, follow this checklist, make any necessary tweaks, and last but not least, be ready for success!

 

Your Profile Picture

Having a profile picture on LinkedIn is necessary; it makes your profile much more likely to be clicked on because of the personal touch it adds to those coming across your profile who may not know you. Ideally, you want the photo to be as high-quality and professional as it can be, a clear image with good lighting. You should be dressed in work attire, either business casual or business professional. If you have not had the chance yet to get professional pictures done, throw on a nice outfit and grab a buddy to take pictures of you somewhere with a clean and simple background!

                                       Cailin Flannery

Your Header

Like your picture, your header would be one of the first aspects someone would see on your profile (and even before they click on your profile). One of the most common mistakes people make is using headlines that are extremely generic and do absolutely nothing to differentiate you. Make sure to revamp a boring heading, like “Student at UMass Amherst,” into something descriptive and exciting, like “Driven Marketing Student at UMass Amherst seeking a Summer 2019 Internship Opportunity.” Just from tweaking your heading, recruiters and employers now know a little bit more about your unique qualities and what you are looking for!

 

Your Summary

There is a little more freedom when it comes to your LinkedIn summary and what you would want to include. On a basic level, you should at least include who you are, what your past work and school experience has been, followed by what kind of opportunities you are searching for or career goals you have. You want to use this space to give potential recruiters or employers more insight on who you are, deeper than just your 5-10 word header. Here, you can include your strongest qualities and where you have had the opportunity to utilize/strengthen them, and even where you are today in regards to your career and how you have gotten to this point. Be honest, and don’t be afraid to brag a little and show off how unique you are, because this is your chance to show everyone what you’ve got to offer!

 

Experience

When filling in your past experience, make sure to add more detail other than just where your past jobs have been and how long you worked there. It is important to know where you have worked in the past, but it is even more important to get a sense of what your days really consisted of during your time there. A lot of the time, recruiters are seeing your profile before seeing anything else, such as your resume, so you want to include detailed bullet points under each job describing what kind of tasks you performed on a day-to-day basis. For example, describing experience in a customer service position can go from this…

  • Helped customers find items         

…To this.

  • Greeted and assisted customers while responding to inquiries in person and through telephone calls           

 

Use strong action verbs and be specific, each bullet point should be able to highlight a skill you learned and improved upon while at that specific job.

PROTIP: Currently looking for a job? Let recruiters know you’re seeking opportunities by going to ‘Settings and Privacy’ under your account, then making the switch under ‘Job Seeking Preferences.’

                                             

Last but not least, BUILD YOUR NETWORK!

Don’t be shy! Whether it be a work event, a school event, or even a small interaction you might have had with someone, make the effort to reach out and connect with them on LinkedIn. You never know where your next opportunity could come from, and just one connection could lead you to hundreds of potential ones!

Upcoming Seminar: Competing For and Keeping Talent

Catch ‘Em & Keep ‘Em

Competing For and Keeping Talent

June 19, 2019   9:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Franklin Professional Staffing and MindsetGo are pleased to announce a two-hour seminar on Strategies for Recruiting, Motivating and Retaining Talented Employees as part of their HR & Leadership Series. We have a multigenerational workforce, and it is essential to understand which each generation is expecting from an employer. It is no longer a one size fits all market; employers have to adjust to their employees and focus on talent management.

Studies have shown over 60 percent of job seekers will review Glassdoor and other forms of social media before they agree to a second interview. Web presence and employee reviews are your first sales pitch to a prospective employee.

Are you like the many hiring managers who struggle to find the right candidates? The majority of us have made the mistake of hiring for the sake of hiring and not taking the time to hire the employee that will be the best fit for the organizational culture.

This seminar will discuss solutions and challenges to the following:

  • How do companies sell themselves to a candidate before, during, and after the interview process
  • Develop a culture that will make your present and past employees rave and brag about your organization
  • Learn strategies to uplift your company culture
    Build strategies to implement during the interview process to hire the right employees
  • Understand how to set and communicate your organizations’ core values and priorities
  • Learn the secrets to creating a demand for your organization so that employees are knocking on your door
  • Gain critical insights that explain why potential employees “Ghost” and how to overcome this
  • Develop strategies that use reviews, assessments, internal communication to increase retention
  • Hear about how employers are using the most effective ways of recruiting and managing the “trophy generation”
  • Learn the five critical recruiting KPIs to report to Senior Leadership that will establish your seat at the strategic planning table

 

Panelists

Mark Altman (bio)
Founder & Trainer
MindsetGo

Melissa Glenny (bio)
Founder & President
Franklin Professional Associates

Josh O’Gara (bio)
CEO
O’Gara Financial Services

Seating is limited.

Register Now

 

Franklin Professional Associates, Inc. and MindsetGo Partnership Announcement

Franklin Professional Associates, Inc. and MindsetGo Partner to Launch New Approach to Onboarding and Training

Leominster, MA – May 14, 2019 – In a move to create more comprehensive solutions for their client’s onboarding and training programs, Franklin Professional Associates announces a collaborative enterprise with MindsetGo.  Franklin Professional Associates, specializing in staffing and recruiting, is on a mission is to empower companies to greatness by helping them to find and attract top talent while also connecting them with resources to help them fully capitalize on the investments in their workforces.

The MindsetGo and Franklin Professional Associates partnership will focus on delivering content centered on engagement, retention and recruiting strategies for employers.

The MindsetGo mission (mindsetgo.com), according to Founder and President Mark Altman, “is to address more than just behavior; it is a holistic approach to shift mindsets, inspire the learning process, build confidence, and apply new-found knowledge to both personal and professional lives.”

Franklin Professional Associates, Inc and MindsetGo. will offer customized employee and leadership assessments that synergize with MindsetGo’s training and coaching development programs.  In response to the various challenges for clients and their employees, Franklin Professional Associates and MindsetGo intend to solve ongoing corporate problems like employee engagement and retention.

The 80/20 rule applies here,” says owner, Melissa Glenny. Meaning, 80% of long-term success with a new hire will be determined by the first 20% of the process. Many companies lose some of their best employees because they fail to grasp this. Companies do best when their program involves assessing their internal leadership in addition to each new hire so they can ensure a cultural fit and build a development plan.

 

MindsetGo (Mindsetgo.com), located in Westborough, MA, specializes in strengthening relationships, incorporating influence and mastering the art of presentation; through training, coaching and motivational speaking.

 

If you would like more information about Franklin Professional Associates, please contact Melissa Glenny at 508-654-6243 or email mglenny@franklinprofessionals.com.

Career Planning: Top three tips to get Unstuck

  1. Stop saying “should”

Here’s the danger of shoulds when planning your career, or your life for that matter. Every time you believe that you should do something, you are implying that you neither want nor need this, but somehow you feel required to do it. These shoulds will create dissonance in your heart and mind which will drain your energy and take your focus off of what is truly going to guide you towards your vision. If you base your plan on being accountable for the shoulds, you are limiting your opportunities as you make your career decisions. It would be like driving a car with your foot on the gas and the break at the same time. The goal is to eliminate as many shoulds as possible or as Tony Robbins cleverly states it, “Stop shoulding all over yourself!”. Shoulds need to either be reclassified as a need or a want, or else be taken off the table entirely.

  1. Get clear on what you need

If the goals that you are setting are based on what you really need and want out of life, you will have the belief, clarity and motivation that will make you more likely to achieve them.  If the goals you are setting are meeting someone else’s wants or needs, or based on your shoulds, you will probably find it frustrating to try to attain them.  It is extremely important that you take the time to explore and identify your actual needs. Once you have identified these, you are now beginning to identify what it means to be successful by your true personal standards.

In career planning, it’s important to have a vision and set clear goals in order to align yourself with your longer-term vision. Your wants and needs are the foundations on which you set realistic and attainable goals.  It’s critical to categorize your needs and your wants because it guides you through a powerful process that will help you prioritize your goals and most importantly, shake out the shoulds that we often mistake as true needs.

  1. Prioritize and plan

It’s time to prioritize your goals based on the needs and wants that will be satisfied with your career. Very simply, your needs are the things that are essential to survival. This is a very personal area and most people significantly over-estimate what they truly need. Your wants have more to do with enriching your life. Remember, you can’t enrich something that has fundamental bare spots.

I recommend taking pen to paper for this process and be ready to revise. The trick to doing this effectively is to “ask like a two-year-old”. That goes like this: “Why….why…why…”  You’ll be setting out to prove to yourself that something is truly a need, or not.  True needs are aligned with our natural priorities. Understanding them and putting them in their proper place is fundamental to the pursuit of happiness.

If you are feeling stuck or unsure of what direction to take in your career planning, use these 3 simple guidelines to get unstuck:

  1. Formally write down what you NEED to live at survival level.
  2. Clarify what you WANT as well as when and why you want it.
  3. Eliminate the SHOULDS that you have become tied to.

Now, you can define your career plan to support your basic needs and work calmly towards satisfying your wants.

 

 

Synergy 101: How to improve collaboration among your team members

6285993 - group of young business people talking on business meeting at office.According to IGI Global, the definition of collaborative synergy is: “an interactive process that engages two or more participants who work together to achieve outcomes they could not accomplish independently, in an open, integrated process (operational, procedural and cultural) that fosters knowledge collaboration, influenced by a transformational leadership that encourages participants to expand connections beyond typical boundaries and achieve required… outcomes.”

In a nutshell, synergy is the most ideal form of collaboration among members of the same team. To achieve synergy among your employees, it’s important to foster that “open, integrated process” by giving them opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills required to succeed both on their own and on the team. Here are some ways you can create a more synergistic workplace environment:

What Types of Collaborators Are They?

First and foremost, it’s important to determine what type of collaborator each member of your team is, because not all collaborative styles are the same, and you can tailor your management strategies to meet each employee’s unique needs. Central Desktop developed a typology of 9 different collaborative styles, ranging from more introverted Stealth Ninjas, Siloists and Dinosaurs to the more outspoken and extroverted Ringleaders, Socialites, Taskmasters and Skeptics, to name a few.

Central Desktop offers a quiz that you and your employees can take to figure out what each of your collaborative styles are. Once you understand how each person on your team approaches collaborative situations, you’ll be much better equipped to help them succeed in your organization.

Equalize Contribution Opportunities

On a typical workday, you don’t have a lot of free time to sit around and throw out ideas in an endless meeting. The problem with team meetings limited to an hour or so is that not everyone will get the opportunity to contribute ideas, especially those who are more quiet, introverted, or need time to mentally process their ideas before verbally offering them up for the group’s consideration.

In order to level the playing field for team members who might be more hesitant to immediately throw out ideas or offer criticism, you should expand your feedback channels so ideas, criticism and other discussion-related matters aren’t limited to a single meeting every day (or even once per week). To accomplish this, you must reaffirm to your employees that you’re always open to new suggestions and that they should either email you about anything they come up with after the designated meeting time or they should contribute their suggestions to a dedicated comment box (which can be a digital space where you accept feedback or a physical box where they can leave handwritten suggestions – it’s up to you).

Open Yourself to Criticism

One of the primary reasons collaboration suffers in some workplaces is that people are overly sensitive to criticism, which either leads to people silencing their thoughts in fear of backlash or amplifying conflict among coworkers. To overcome this obstacle, it’s your job as a leader to serve as a role model for receiving criticism.

You can start by explaining the difference between constructive and destructive criticism, then directly tell your employees that you’re always willing to listen to criticism (even if it involves you). For best results, follow through on this promise by directly addressing how you’ll resolve your employees’ complaints, or explain why you can’t or won’t do anything about it – clear communication is vital.

Don’t Be “Too Slow” To Hire

Recruiters today are finding themselves in a highly candidate driven market.  In order to hire the people you need, you may be required to adopt different strategies and tactics to effectively attract and hire new talent.

A 2017 recruiting trends report from Top Echelon, based on input from more than 5,000 recruiters, pointed to two key sources of stress for recruiters:

  • Sourcing qualified candidates (35%);
  • Clients who are too slow to make offers (30.8%)

Being too slow to make offers and hire employees is particularly troubling when the most common complaint  is that “there aren’t enough candidates to pick from.”  Clearly, moving quickly to make a hiring decision and extend an offer is critical.

Use Social Media

It’s also critical for employers to have a firm grasp of what appeals to today’s most sought-after candidates. Millennials are projected to make up over half of the workforce by 2020 and they are currently the most sought after employees.  Ashira Prossack, CEO of Millennial Mastermind, a consulting firm that helps bridge the gap between employers and millennials, says that “Companies and recruiters must reevaluate their hiring strategies to attract this younger generation of workers.”  That means moving beyond traditional recruitment methods to connect with candidates on the platforms they use the most.  You need jobs to be posted on multiple social media sites rather than relying exclusively on job boards.  Because this generation lives on their mobile devices, they expect to be able to apply for jobs quickly and easily through their smartphones.  Therefore, creating a mobile-optimized app to maximize recruiting efficiency is a top priority.

For HR professionals, a good starting point for determining the type of adjustments needed is to conduct an internal audit or analysis to determine:

  • Average time-to-hire, by position or job category:
  • Number/percentage of opt-outs or incompletes during online application process;
  • Ratio of accepted-versus-rejected offers and reasons for rejection.

In each of these areas, it can be helpful to analyze results based on various types of jobs, such as by department, by manager, by position, for hard-to-recruit positions, by type of application (email vs. desktop vs. mobile), ect.

Recognizing that time-to-hire is critical in a candidates’ market, anything that HR can do to help streamline the applicant review, interview and offer process can go a long way toward boosting the odds that your most desired candidates are likely to accept your offer.

 

Is innovation important for managers?

Innovation is a hot business buzzword. Companies need to be innovative to stay competitive against other brands, to meet customer needs, to attract and retain the best talent. But is innovation necessary for35671863 - light bulb lamps management, or is it restricted to business owners, C-suite executives, creative marketers and product design teams?

Here are two important reasons to cultivate innovation in your career as a manager.

1. Innovative people are good problem solvers.

Innovation is just a way of doing something differently. The reason some of the most successful businesses – whether from an employee culture perspective or sales and revenue perspective – are described as “innovative” is because they don’t stop to get distracted by what other people are doing. They see a need and they work to fix it. Companies like Apple and Tesla don’t ask “Why won’t this work?” Instead they ask “How can we make this work?” and turn difficulty into opportunity. This same trait is extremely valuable in all levels of leadership and can help you manage everything from deadline challenges to interpersonal team relationships with an open mind and positive attitude.

2. Innovation nurtures creativity.

Creativity and curiosity are valuable in any business or industry. They help keep individuals from getting bored and complacent and businesses from getting stagnant. Creativity, fed by an innovative spirit, can help people bring a new perspective to a project or help transform a business process to help a department run more efficiently and effectively.

Managers have the responsibility to supervise work quality, delegate tasks, track project deadlines and keep teams running smoothly and efficiently on the day-to-day operations that make a business work, so it can seem like innovation has no place in the time-honored techniques that make managers successful at meeting their goals. But innovation is important for personal growth, as well as flexible and authentic leadership. Whether it’s reading a new business book every month, joining an art class to push you outside of your comfort zone or going away on an annual inspiring conference, make cultivating innovation a part of your work life.