Supporting a Major Retailer in Creating Opportunities for Afghan Refugees

Supporting a Major Retailer in Creating Opportunities for Afghan Refugees

Retail talent solutions

Supporting a Major Retailer in Creating Opportunities for Afghan Refugees

A leading multinational retailer enlists their RPO partner, PeopleScout, to extend support for their career coaching program to refugees fleeing Afghanistan.

A New Start

Since 2021, thousands of Afghan refugees have applied for asylum in the U.S. as part of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) following the fall of Kabul. For our client, a major multinational retailers, serving people and communities has always been at the center of their work. So, they jumped at the chance to help their new neighbors by supporting the mission of the Welcome.US coalition and sponsoring programs that aid refugees fleeing Afghanistan to build a new life, including helping them to create a livelihood and reach their individual goals.

Expanding a Career Counseling Program to Refugees

As their trusted RPO partner of nine years, the retailer turned to PeopleScout to expand an existing career coaching program to support Afghan refugees, making them among the first companies to work side-by-side with national resettlement agencies, military bases, the White House, national NGOs and other corporations to shape the Welcome.US platform.

Following previous success with delivering career counseling to military veterans and their spouses, PeopleScout is now supporting new arrivals from Afghanistan in the program to gain employment, explore entrepreneurship and access education support and resources.

The program matches PeopleScout career coaches with Afghan refugee participants. Our coaches are embedded in the client’s culture and act as a seamless part of their team. Leveraging language and translation skills to support Afghan refugees in their preferred dialect, the coaches hold virtual meetings with the participants to understand their existing skills and future goals. Then, the coaches connect them with resources to help them build a new future, typically along three tracks.

  1. Employment
    The career coach assesses the participant’s skills, strengths and past work experience. Then they help participants to build or hone résumés, complete job applications, and prepare for job interviews to help them transition to employment in the U.S.—whether that’s with client’s brands or another organization.
  2. Entrepreneurship
    Coaches connect individuals with the resources they need to start their own businesses.
  3. Education
    PeopleScout coaches help participants enter educational programs or gain the certifications they need to reach their overall career goals.

This emphasis on career counseling allows the participant to drive the program at their own pace, leveraging their coach as much or as little as they like. Refugees can tailor program to their needs and goals so they can grow and thrive in their new home.

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Leading multinational retailer
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Talent Advisory
  • LOCATIONS: Over 10,000 stores in 20 countries

Tips for Working from Home

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, many companies are suggesting – or even mandating – all or certain groups of employees work from home until the spread of the virus can be slowed. For those who may not be used to working from home or being apart from their teams, the switch to virtual work can be quite an adjustment.

If your company is enacting a work from home policy to protect the health and safety of your employees and those around them, here are some helpful tips to stay productive – and mentally healthy – while working from home.

Technology First

If you don’t have the right technology in place, working virtually will not be possible. First, ensure that you have the basics covered: bring your laptop, charger, mouse, keyboard home with you to help make the transition to working from home as seamless as possible. Then, make sure you’re equipped with the applications you need to work from home. That could include messaging apps like Skype or Slack, video conferencing software like Zoom or GoToMeeting. Ensure that everyone working from home is clear on what the preferred methods to stay in contact are for your organization or your specific team. Before beginning to work from home, it’s important to test your connectivity and ensure that everything you need is accessible from home.

Location, Location, Location

It’s important to have a space for working from home that will allow you to set your own boundaries. This means setting boundaries for children, pets, partners, roommates, etc. Encourage them to give you space while you’re working so that you can stay focused. Try to find a dedicated spot in your home that you can designate as your workspace – ideally a location that is not on the couch or in your bed! Treat your home office the same way that you would your actual office and discourage interruptions or intrusions to the best of your ability.

Talk to Me

Communicate now, more than ever. Discuss your working from home performance with your manager and ensure you’re clear on their expectations of you during this time. Make sure you stay connected via email, phone or instant messaging and keep any regular meetings you have scheduled while you’re working from home. Consider trying out video communications if you don’t normally use them – this can help you feel more connected at a time when social distancing is key. Remember that social interactions play a significant role in combating feelings of isolation and loneliness.

When Working From Home, Plan Ahead

Maintain your regular work hours and be sure to be available through phone, email and Skype – or whatever messaging platform you prefer – during that time. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to plan your priorities for the next day to help you stay on top of your schedule. In addition, when working from home it is important to have clear guidelines on when to work and when to call it a day to help maintain work-life balance. Putting your computer away at the end of the day can give you the space to recharge for the next day.

Break it Up

When you’re working from home, breaks are just as important as they are when you’re in the office. In addition, many people may find it helpful to stick to a structured daily schedule. That could include scheduling breaks, time away from your computer, playing with pets and eating meals. If it is possible and safe to do so, try to leave the house, talk a walk or get fresh air at least once during your workday. Avoid getting cabin fever while getting used to this new normal, even though it may be temporary.

Get Connected

Check in with your manager, team and others a couple of times a week if not more. Phone, email, Yammer and Skype – or any messaging platforms of your choice – are all great options to stay connected. In addition, using video chat or screen sharing functionality can help team members feel more engaged while working virtually. Employees who are working from home should know who to contact – like IT or a dedicated support team – if they need help with anything they need to work from home successfully. 

To learn more about ways employers can respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, visit our Resource Center.

Tips for Managing Virtual Employees

While at one time it may have seemed like a fleeting trend, virtual and remote work has proved in recent years that it’s far from temporary. That is truer than ever today, as companies – including PeopleScout and the entire TrueBlue organization – are operating with an abundance of caution to keep employees and clients safe during the fast-evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

As companies and leaders around the world enact work from home protocols, sometimes for the first time, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you are managing virtual employees, here are some helpful tips on ways to promote engagement and business continuity during this uncertain time.  

Communication

When managing virtual employees, ensure your communication is effective and regular. Set guidelines for how your team should communicate with you, each other and those who they support inside or outside your business.

It’s important to continue holding any meetings that you would have before you began working virtually. That includes one-on-ones with direct reports, as well as ongoing team meetings. During the meetings, it may be helpful to discuss the following:

  • How are the tools you use as a team working for virtual workers? Are they handicapped by poor audio on Skype or do they struggle using any tools the team uses?
  • How could I better support you while you are remote?

Use a mix of structured and informal communication methods. Blend structured communication approaches, such as weekly check-ins via phone or video chat, with informal, real-time communication methods, such as Skype, Yammer, Teams, Google Hangouts, Slack, etc.

Structured communications ensure there is dedicated time to discuss the ongoing needs of direct reports, such as performance updates for newly virtual workers or the need for time off or modified schedules during this time where things are changing day-to-day and employees’ health is paramount. Informal, real-time communication methods can address immediate needs, like updates on tasks and deadlines.

  • When working remote, consider using video for one-on-one check-ins and coaching – especially if meeting face-to-face is something that you and your team are used to.
  • Encourage camaraderie through team communication. Newly remote workers may miss the opportunity to interact with teammates on a regular basis.

Keep your virtual employees informed about your business, the current situation related to both coronavirus (COVID-19) and the working from home policy, or other things impacting them during this time. Continue recognizing anniversaries, birthdays and team wins, even if working remotely is new to the team and not a long-term plan.

Expectations and Accountability

If your team is working virtually for the first time, it’s critical to establish clear expectations and accountability for each person. For example, letting your team know that everyone should be available on Skype (or your preferred messaging platform) during their regular work schedule. Depending on the role, you could also ask that each person puts a message on their Skype when they are taking their breaks.

Other examples of setting clear guidelines around virtual work expectations include:

  • Ask employees to create a dedicated workspace in their homes that will maximize productivity and ensure professionalism, e.g. free from noise and distractions.
  • Set expectations with your team on how you would like to review work and when, e.g. on a conference call or Skype, by a specific due date, etc.
  • Track work output, focusing on goals not activity. Determine how you will measure ongoing productivity and provide feedback during your virtual one-on-one sessions.
  • Schedule regular check-ins to gauge progress. Many teams may find daily stand-ups—aka daily scrums or huddles—are essential for productivity, transparency and collaboration. And, they hold everyone accountable for their daily tasks and ongoing projects.
  • Hourly employees should continue to take lunches and breaks, just like they would in the office.

Finally, be understanding that employees may have to navigate a new way of working, schedule and routine. For example, an employee’s children might be home from school, spouses or roommates could also be working from home, or an employee could have pets that are not used to having their owners at home or on the phone while at home during the day.

System Access and Equipment

Ensure each person on your team has the equipment necessary to continue working effectively at home. If they have any questions or issues related to access and equipment, be sure that your IT and support teams are also prepared to deal with what could be a greater demand during this time.

To learn more about ways employers can respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, visit our Resource Center.

Military Training – It Matters

From the time you signed the blank check to the military you have been going through training. At times it seemed like non-stop and repetitive, while at other times it was very challenging. It does not matter which branch you served in, the training was ALWAYS mandatory. Like me, at times you’ve asked yourself this question; “Is this really necessary?” I can tell you now, that not all of that training was in vain!

When it comes to your transition, remember that you’ve transitioned before, from a civilian to a military service member. This isn’t the first time you have had to make a change. This time, however, there is a difference. You have been trained to handle any situation, any time, and any condition. This time, however, you need to let others know that you are trained to do so. You have skills and experience that can ONLY be acquired in the military, through intensive training given in such a way that enables you to retain this in even the most stressful of situations.

Employers need to know this and want to understand what you do, what you have done and what you are capable of doing. This is an action that you need to commit to, it’s time to train the hiring managers! You are empowered to step forward to change the mindset of the hiring managers and you can do so by inviting them to view your training records. These are more valuable than references and really shows the actions you have taken to better yourself and your career. These are official and certified and will go a long way in educating a hiring manager as to what you have specifically DONE. These training documents contain all of the OJT specifics that college graduates do not bring to the table.

On the bottom of most resumes you will invariably find the words, “references by request”. Why should you not include the statement, “Military Training Records upon request”? Many employers may view your resume and look over the past positions you have held at various locations and certainly will see your leadership abilities. However, many of them will find themselves asking the question, “What did they DO?” Training records alleviate a lot of confusion as it spells out specifics in relation to what you are capable of, these are the TRUE skills you bring to the table and these are the very things the hiring manager wants to know if you can and are able to perform.

When applying for positions online, feel free to upload a PDF version of your training documents in addition to your resume and other pertinent documents as it relates to the position. Ensure that you blackout information such as your SS# due to privacy concerns. This may also assist with keyword searches, tags, and filters that many recruiters use to search for candidates thus increasing your chances of being contacted for an interview. Do not miss the opportunity to discuss your training record with the recruiter, this will help him or her understand your abilities and give them a much easier picture to paint for the hiring manager about you.

In summary, you have the training needed to handle anything that is thrown at you. You are fully capable of turning years of training and experience into action during your transition, help the recruiter to understand your skills, to see your skills in a way that will enable them to “sell” you to the hiring manager. Once the right fit comes along, you will be able to put those words on paper into action.

Always Active: Juggling Reserve and Full-Time Employment Concerns

As a career reservist and full-time employee, it is often difficult to achieve a perfect balance between these competing obligations. Employers who value the significance of Reserve and Guard employees constantly find ways to accommodate this dual schedule. Overlapping responsibilities will push one obligation into the other’s space and causing friction points. Employers also seek to improve benefits both tangible and intangible for these hybrid employees. This article will highlight that a service member does have to work a little harder than most to fulfill their end of the bargain, and some of the frustrations that are friction points with the balancing act of these two obligations.

As a Reservist or National Guard member, it is a volunteer opportunity to receive job training, educational benefits, and career benefits through the federal government. Most importantly you are serving your country and that does require time, commitment, dedication, and effort. Time obligations include monthly training and yearly training, as well as larger obligations such as deployments and advancement schooling. Keeping your employer in the loop is a great way for predictability in the schedule, but too many friction points still exist, often with compensatory issues. Federal benefits such as an additional paycheck, healthcare, educational benefits, and retirement funding can add significant weight when considering long-term incentives to continuing service in the Reserves or National Guard.

The monthly requirements of performing military duty usually fall on a weekend. From the viewpoint of the civilian employer, it usually has no effect on the employee. However, for the employee it is 12 days of work with no time off, and can quickly tire and tax the employee who may be coupled with additional family responsibilities and other items that can easily get neglected. Peeling away from the desk or worksite and clocking out on a Friday, getting home to pack bags, and hitting the road while “resetting” yourself for military duty, usually earlier on a Saturday morning is a routine for Reservist or National Guard member. Working until closing time on a Sunday and returning back home to unpack and then “reverse reset” yourself for your full-time job first thing Monday morning can quickly take your weekend and personal time away.

Brings to another subject, compensation. In today’s fast world of performance metrics and constant analysis, how and why would an employer pay for an employee who needs to take more time off than someone who is not a service-member? It would be an added benefit to the service member to be off at least a half-day before or after a drilling weekend. Does that count as personal time off? Also, the annual requirements of training with service members can often confuse employers. As they may view the employee as “being off” it raises questions or concerns if the employee then asks for additional time, or another full week off as “vacation”. Why would the employer grant this person one month off for the year, when others may only receive their 2 weeks and holidays? As a service member, it is not a “vacation” at all, but rather hands-on training, often with longer days and nights, and away from home. Reservists can also bring their own health coverage to the offering table when it comes to calculating and formulating reasonable employment offers, which is frustrating when offers are low and do not include their benefits and value-add to the organization.

In an ideal world, and some employers are able to counterbalance multiple “weights” on this complicated scale. Reserve and Guard employees are compensated adequately during their training time and even deployments. They’re given a workable amount of military days that don’t count against their civilian time. Their years and seniority accrue when they are gone for a longer duration. The organization promotes professional development catering to these Reserve and National Guard professionals. As the military relies more and more on the part-time force to fulfill full-time obligations, civilian employers will need to continue to refine the bridge between the two competing organizations.

How to Identify a Military Friendly Company

When thinking of a military-friendly company, one may ask, what exactly is a military-friendly company? It’s the standard that measures an organization’s commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefits for the military community.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that the military community refers to the people who serve, serve alongside or served: active duty, guard, reserve, military spouses and veterans. These are the people many companies recognize and value. Military-friendly companies value the leadership, reliability, “can-do” attitude, motivation, commitment/discipline, training, work ethic and adaptability. And because employers recognize and value these traits, they provide job training, implement internal veteran/mentorship programs, reintegration support and education and often, partnerships and investments in support of our nation’s military community.

One of the most useful resources to use when in search of a military-friendly company is the list of the Military Friendly Employers and Military Friendly Spouse Employers that can be found on MilitaryFriendly.com. In this annual data, thousands of companies and federal contractors nationwide must have hired military veterans within the last 12 months and complete an exhaustive survey with more than 90 questions to participate.

Another useful resource is G.I. Jobs (which also publishes an annual list of the Top 100 Military Friendly Employers). G.I. Jobs lists sponsored employers that are ready to hire veterans and military spouses. While it may not list all military-friendly employers, it contains a handful that would be a great start. By visiting the G.I. Jobs website, you will be allowed to search by military job title, code, company, title, location and more.

A military-friendly company would be one that is committed to matching every veteran with a role that best fits the skills they acquired while in the military. Typically, what an employer would do, is align the work you performed in the military to a similar job within the company. This would allow for you to have a comfortable, smooth transition into your new role.

More often than not, a military-friendly company has developed partnerships and investments in support of our nation’s military community. This is an employer that has an ongoing commitment to veteran-related causes. To see if a company is involved in any veteran-related causes visit their website. Typically, they will have a landing page devoted explicitly to veterans which will then furthermore explain their commitment to veterans.

To identify more military-friendly employers, join groups on LinkedIn specific to military-friendly employers (by using the list from Military Friendly) and industries of interest. If you attend a college or university, ask their veteran affairs office. Conduct Google, Indeed, or Simply Hired searches. If you’ve graduated college, you may also look at your alumni associations for leaders in the industries that you are interested in or are seeking military professionals.

As a veteran, it is essential to identify these military companies because we are looking for a smooth transition. So. Why choose a military-friendly employer? Simple. Because a military-friendly designation creates a better work environment and lifestyle for the military community. That’s good for veterans, good for their families, the organizations and good for America.

Eight Tips for Veterans Going to College

8 Tips for Veterans Going to College

As a veteran returning to civilian life, the transition can be difficult. Not only does one have to adjust to being a civilian again but also adjust to becoming a student in a classroom. Many veterans plan to attend college soon after their discharge from the military, but where does one start in the process? These eight helpful tips will assist you in the process and give you an idea of the things to look into before you make your next big transition into college life.

  1. Understand what you are entitled to under the GI

Along with receiving benefits, which can be up to 36 months depending on your benefit percentage, it is essential to understand that you are entitled to a monthly housing allowance and an annual books and supplies stipend. Your Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) is typically the same as the military Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents and depending on where your school is located; your MHA is based on the ZIP code of your school. Your yearly books and supplies stipend can be up to $1,000 and will be paid proportionately based on enrollment. It usually is dispersed before a semester begins. For more information, visit Post-9/11 GI Bill Payment Rates for 2017 Academic Year (August 1, 2017 – July 31, 2018).

  1. Part-time school or full-time?

Now that we understand our benefits, it is important to understand how many classes are considered part- vs. full-time and the difference it makes in pay. Usually, students must take a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester to be classified as full-time. You must be registered for course credits that constitute at least 51% of full-time status (for undergraduates, this is a minimum of 6.12 credit hours) to receive the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). In addition, avoid a drastic reduction in BAH, at least one credit hour per semester must physically take place on campus. Lastly, payments are paid at the end of the month based on the number of days enrolled, and the first and last payment is always prorated. For additional information on course credits and Basic Housing Allowance, visit How is Housing Allowance Paid.

  1. Search for colleges with a veteran population

A study shows that 80 percent of student veterans are over the age of 25, and 46 percent of student veterans have children. So, what does this mean? It means that we will stand out in the classroom because the classes will likely be comprised of students who just graduated high school. For some of us, it may be hard to relate and communicate with those students. The best thing to do is search for colleges with a veteran population.  Those colleges will have veteran groups you could join and will bring you closer to others whom you can relate to. Become involved by attending veteran events, workshops and seminars. Volunteer to help with those events if you have time; it will be great for networking. Also, you may have professors who will understand you. Make friends with your professors. Ask questions. Let them know you are a veteran and tell them about your unique situation. They will be happy to have you.

  1. Your military coursework counts as credit

Depending on when you discharged from the military, you may be familiar with the JST (Joint Service Transcript) formally known as the SMART (The Sailor-Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript). The JST will assist the academic institution you are applying for by awarding credit for the military occupational experience and training you completed while serving in the military. Receiving credit for military experience will enable you to complete your degree program more quickly. Now, the academic institutions establish their policies on transfer credit, so the amount of credit awarded will depend on your school’s administration and your degree program, but it does not hurt to try. There is no limit to the number of JSTs you can request, and they are free. To receive your JST, you can register online using the following link: https://jst.doded.mil/.

  1. Apply for financial aid and scholarships

You might be asking yourself, “Why apply for financial assistance if I am using my military benefits?” Answer: Because you are almost guaranteed to be eligible for a grant. A grant will be helpful if you are attending a college that will not be fully covered by the GI Bill. To see how much you would qualify for a grant, you can apply for the FAFSA  (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). After you apply, they will send you information back on how much assistance you are eligible for. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, ask your school’s veterans administrator or financial aid office. Some institutions that provide grants are the VFW, The American Legion, DAV, American Veterans, Pat Tillman Foundation, Yellow Ribbon Program and Veterans with Disabilities – Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program.

  1. Connect with a veteran’s administrator about your benefits

By now, you may be ready to begin applying for colleges. Before you do, there are two things you must remember. 1. Most colleges will waive the application fee because you are a veteran, and 2. Registration deadlines should not apply to you, or you may have your own early and late registration. Because all colleges are different, it is best to communicate with the veteran officer or veteran’s administrator at the college of your choice. Not only will they clarify this information for you, but they will also assist in informing you of all the documents you will need (for example, the JST transcript and DD214).

  1. Your academic advisor is there to help you

If there is anything we will miss about the military, it’s always having a mentor to go to and ask any question we may have or seek guidance on a subject. That is what an academic advisor is there for. Every college will have an academic advisor, that is, someone who is there to help you make a plan and decide what classes to take that are directed towards your goals. Usually, you’re academic advisor will only work with students in specific degree programs, so they will have a clear understanding of the options you may have as far as figuring out your degree plans from the first semester all the way up until you graduate.

  1. Take advantage of the career center

As veterans, it is possible that the only work experiences we have ever had were our military experience. For this reason, we may not be familiar with how to create a cover letter or resume or how to prepare for an interview. This is why your college offers a career center. Take advantage of the career center because it is there to help you. The employees will be able to assist with resume writing, interviews and any other job-related questions you may have. Many times, a college will host a resume or LinkedIn workshop as well as job fairs. Also, the career center would be able to assist you in finding an internship. Even if your major does not require an internship, it is recommended that you take as many as you can.

In conclusion, you are not alone. The college of your choice is sure to have many other veterans in your situation. What’s important is to connect with those veterans and ask for help whenever you feel the need to. Follow these tips to ensure your next mission is a successful one.

Prepare Your Interview Kit

Interviewing can be a stressful and scary process. When you start your job hunt, you can lighten a little bit of that stress by preparing yourself an interview kit.

What is an interview kit? It’s all the stuff you need for a job interview – the clothes, shoes, spare resumes and something to carry your stuff in. If you get the call back for an in-person interview – the last thing you want is to find out your interview outfit is dirty and you don’t have time to dry clean.

First, decide on your interview outfit. This will depend on what industry you’re in and the types of jobs you’re applying for. A great rule of thumb is that you want to dress about one step up from what you would wear to the job daily. Is it a business casual job? Then you’ll want to wear business formal. Is it a job that requires a lot of physical activity? You’ll want to wear functional business casual. If you’re applying to jobs where workplaces have varying dress codes, you’ll want to prepare a few interview outfits.

Make sure your interview outfit is clean and ironed. That way, you don’t have to worry about running to the cleaners or doing ironing at the last minute. Just prepare the clothes and hang them in your closet.

Decide on your interview shoes. These depend on what kind of job you’re applying for. Think about the workplace. Will you need to wear shoes with safety toes? Will you need to wear dress shoes? No matter what they are, make sure they’re clean and in good order.

Next, make sure you have extra printouts of your resume. At your interview, you may speak with a few different people, and at least some of them will probably want to review your resume. Take care of these in advance because realizing your printer is out of ink the morning of your interview will add unnecessary stress. If you’re in a career that generally requires a portfolio or more in-depth CV, make sure to prepare copies of those as well. Plus, if you’re able to offer a copy of your resume during your interview, you’ll look professional and well prepared.

Finally, make sure you have a professional way to carry your interview necessities. This will depend on what you like to carry and what kind of career you’re in. If you’re not the type to carry a purse or work bag, a professional-looking, inexpensive padfolio is a great option. You’ll have paper to take notes, a folder sleeve to store your extra resumes plus spaces for a pen and the business cards you’ll likely collect at your interviews.

If you do like to carry a purse or a bag, make sure you have one that looks professional. It doesn’t need to be expensive, just make sure it’s clean and in good shape. Avoid big brand names or anything that draws too much attention. You want your interviewer to notice you – not your bag.

If you have these few things together, when you get the call for an interview, you don’t need to stress about the little things. You’ll be ready to focus on the questions and showing your best stuff.

Five Grammar Mistakes to Avoid on Your Resume

It’s been a long time since you’ve taken an English class, but those grammar lessons make a difference when you’re writing your resume. Even if you’re applying to jobs where writing isn’t a big part of the job description, spelling and grammar errors, typos and other writing mistakes can make an impact on the person reading your resume. Here are a few of the most common.

Not using the correct style when listing your academic degree

When referring to a bachelor’s or master’s degree, there are two correct ways to write it. If you’re referring to a general degree, lowercase the name and use an apostrophe. When referencing the specific area of your degree, capitalize the name of the degree and don’t use an apostrophe. An associate degree never uses an apostrophe.

  • Correct: I have a bachelor’s degree. I have a master’s degree.
  • Incorrect: I have a Bachelor’s degree. I have a masters degree.
  • Correct: I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. I have a Master of Arts in Education.
  • Incorrect: I have a bachelors of science in business administration. I have a Master’s of Arts in Education.
  • Correct: I have an associate degree.
  • Incorrect: I have an associates degree. I have an associate’s degree.
Using the wrong verb tense

As you write your resume, it’s easy to switch between past and present tense like “work” and “worked” without paying a lot of attention. However, if you do this haphazardly, it looks unprofessional. As you write your resume, use present tense when you describe your responsibilities at your current job, like “Create quarterly reports.” However, if you’re referencing a one-time, past accomplishment at your current job, then use past tense, like “Developed new filing and organizational practices, decreasing costs by 20 percent.”

When describing your responsibilities and accomplishments at any previous jobs, always use past tense.

Using the wrong homophone

Homophones are words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings, like “their,” “there” and “they’re.” Here are a few of the most common.

They’re/there/their: “They’re” is short for “they are.” “There” refers to a location. “Their” means something belongs to them.

To/Too/Two: “Two” refers to the number. “Too” can mean “also” or “very,” as in “I would like to go too if you aren’t too busy.” “To” is a preposition that means “in the direction of,” as in “I reported the error to my manager.”

It’s/Its: “It’s” is a contraction of “it is.” “Its” is possessive, meaning “belonging to it.”

Your/You’re: “You’re is a contraction of “you are.” “Your” is possessive, meaning “belonging to you.”

Affect/Effect: “Affect” is usually a verb. Use it to describe an action like, “My new website design affected leads, causing an increase of 20 percent.” “Effect” is usually a noun. Use it to describe the result of something like, “The certification had a major effect on team productivity.”

Using apostrophes incorrectly

It’s easy to use apostrophes too often or not often enough. There are two reasons you should use apostrophes in your writing.

  • You are using a contraction like “can’t,” “it’s” or “you’re.”
  • You are using a possessive like “managed the team’s finances.”
  • Incorrect: Never use apostrophes when talking about plurals like “managed six employee’s.”
Using incorrect capitalization

When you’re writing your resume, it’s east to start capitalizing words that don’t need to be capitalized. It can get pretty confusing. Read the earlier section on degrees to see when you should capitalize those words. If you’re not sure if something should be capitalized, look it up and look up some example resumes. Here are a few other reasons to capitalize:

  • A proper noun like the name of a company
  • Your job title as a bullet point or before your name, but not if it stands alone in a sentence or comes after your name.
    • Correct: At the conference, Company XYZ President Jane Doe delivered the keynote. Jane Doe, president of Company XYZ, delivered the keynote at the conference.
    • Incorrect: At the conference, Company XYZ president Jane Doe delivered the keynote. Jane Doe, President of Company XYZ delivered the keynote.
  • Names of cities
  • Months and days of the week
  • Names of universities
  • Brands
  • The first word in a bullet point

Five Social Media Steps to Take When You’re Job Hunting

Social media is more popular than it has ever been with billions of people connecting online. When it comes to your job hunt, it can be a valuable tool, but it can also destroy your chances of getting a job. Follow these steps to make sure your social media can work for you.

  1. Google Yourself

If you’re job hunting, you should know what comes up when you search your own name. However, you shouldn’t stop with just one search. Search your name with your city. Search your name with your job title, your industry and your previous employers. Search your email address, and search your usernames that are tied to your real name.

This way you’ll learn what is out there about you or what is out there about people with similar names. If an employer searches your name but unflattering information about someone with a similar name pops up, you’ll want to be prepared to counter that. You may also find old, embarrassing social media profiles you made years ago and then forgot about.

  1. Delete, Delete, Delete

If you found any old social media profiles or any old online posts in your search, now is the time to delete what you can. You may have to recover your login information if it’s been long enough. Take down old profiles and delete all of the information inside.

This is also a good time to comb through any profiles associated with your real name that you still use. Keep in mind that even if you don’t use your real name on a website, someone might be able to find it by searching for your email or a username that you use on a different, public website. Delete any embarrassing posts or pictures and anything too controversial that you wouldn’t want your boss to see.

  1. Get Some Privacy

Next, check the privacy settings on your social media profiles and set them appropriately. Do you only use Facebook to keep in touch with family and old friends? Set strong privacy settings. Do you use your Twitter account to tweet out industry news and information? Make sure anyone searching for you can find and read it easily.

At the same time, remember that on most social media platforms, even the strictest privacy settings don’t hide everything. An employer may still be able to see your profile photo, even if everything else on your profile is private. You want to make sure anything visible casts you in the best light.

  1. Try Social Media Marketing

While you may want some of your social media presence to stay private, social media can actually help you in your job hunt. Professional social media accounts can showcase your knowledge and your commitment to your work. A professional Twitter account that you use to share industry news and engage in thoughtful conversation about industry topics can set you apart and get you noticed in a good way.

LinkedIn is the most important social network for your job hunt, but depending on your industry, other social channels like Instagram, Facebook and even Snapchat can be valuable tools.

  1. Optimize Your LinkedIn Presence

Since LinkedIn is so important in your job hunt, we’re talking about it in its own section. First, you want to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is completely up to date and matches your resume. Don’t let the information get outdated. You also want to use a professional and current photo. Recruiters and interviewers will look at your profile to get a better idea of who you are.

Remember that LinkedIn is more than just an online resume. LinkedIn can help connect you with recruiters. Even if you aren’t actively looking for a job, a recruiter might find you on LinkedIn and contact you with a great opportunity. That won’t happen if you don’t have a strong, updated profile. Even if you’re unemployed, include something as a current position because that will help you show up in searches. In your job title, put the position you’re looking for. In the “Company Name” box, put something like “Seeking New Opportunities.”

Some companies even allow you to apply to jobs directly on LinkedIn. That means the first thing those recruiters will see is your profile. LinkedIn is your opportunity to stand out – so take advantage of it!