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Job Tips

Job Tips for Felons

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Getting a job can be difficult for anyone, and it’s especially hard for felons. If you have a felony on your record, that does not mean that you can’t get a job and should give up. It does means that you have to work harder at it – which you can do. There are, in fact, good job opportunities out there. Here are some tips to help you get hired.

Polish Your Resume

Before you begin searching for jobs and going through the interview process, it’s important to have a polished resume prepared. There are a few different ways to organize a resume, but your best bet is the functional resume, which emphasizes your skills, education, volunteer work and other contributions over your previous employment. It doesn’t leave your employment history out, though, and you may still be asked to explain gaps in your employment history. But the functional resume plays to your strengths and helps focus the discussion on what you can do, rather than what you have done.

You should be ready to provide a few great references – people who can vouch for your integrity or skills. Don’t put them on your resume. Put their names, contact information, and a one-line explanation of how they know you on a separate document that you can provide if you’re asked for references. Ask their permission before you include them, and make sure they’ll provide a good, honest appraisal.

Look Your Best

When you’re interviewing for a job, it’s essential to be polished and professional. People do judge others on their appearance, often without knowing they’re doing it. The way you look is bound to influence their opinion, so be clean, well-groomed, and dress a little better than you expect to on the job.

The same applies to your speech and manners. No one expects you to speak like a poet or a professor, but they do expect you to express yourself calmly and respectfully.

Be Honest

Many employers do background checks. You don’t have to spill the beans unless you’re asked, but if you are asked about felonies or about an unexplained gap in your employment history, you must tell the truth. Doing so shows integrity and that works in your favor. If you’re caught in a lie, there’s no way you’ll be hired.

Check out Staffing Agencies

It’s a common misconception that all staffing agencies do criminal background checks. Here at Forge, we pursue an active policy to help those with felony records get jobs and get back on their feet. While background checks are required for some jobs, there are employers who will consider people with certain types of criminal convictions. A felony doesn’t have to be a deal-killer.

Like every other job seeker, you can’t expect to be hired right into your dream job. Your goal is to get started in a good job, and if you perform well there, you might be able to step up later to a better position at the same company, or move on to another one based on your good record. Once you’re in your first post-conviction job, you may come into contact with coworkers or supervisors who can provide support and help you progress.

Don’t Get Discouraged

It’s easy to get discouraged and want to give up, but quitting isn’t an option. You have every reason to feel hopeful. There are plenty of people with felonies who have turned their lives around. You might not qualify for every type of job imaginable, but does anyone? Keep a positive perspective, believe in yourself, and know that you have great things to offer.

You’ll make it, and we can help. If you’re ready to take the next step toward a brighter future, please contact Forge Industrial Staffing.

Five Personal Qualities Every Employer Wants to Hire

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Hiring managers are human beings, so they all have personal likes, dislikes, preferences and points of view. But there are five characteristics that every manager wants to see in every new hire. You’ll stand a better chance of being hired if you emphasize these qualities when you write your resume or go in for an interview.

Communication Skills

This is near the top of virtually every manager’s list, and it appears in most help-wanted ads, because it truly is one of the most important skills a worker can have. In any position that interacts with customers or clients, it’s crucial to listen critically and sensitively, to understand not only what the customer says, but also what he means but doesn’t say. (Think about the last time you ate a disappointing meal in a restaurant. When the waitress asked how it was, you probably said “fine.” Did she read beneath the surface and try to make things better for you, even though you didn’t complain?)

You also need to listen to and understand supervisors and co-workers, and you need to be able to communicate your own observations and points of view clearly and diplomatically. Being able to participate in true two-way communication is a real necessity for most jobs.

Reliability

Employers need to know you’ll be there. Everyone has an occasional personal emergency that might throw a wrench in your schedule, but desirable workers make sure those instances are truly rare. Get sufficient sleep so you can get up on time and work effectively when you’re on the job. Have a system worked out to get the kids off to school and picked up in the afternoon. Have reliable child care and transportation worked out. You shouldn’t have to take multiple phone calls on the job every day to make arrangements: these things should all be settled the night before.

Flexibility

The days of bolting on an unending stream of left front wheels all day long on an assembly line are long gone from most jobs. Even in mass production, workers are now expected to turn to different tasks frequently, and in most occupations and work settings, work changes almost constantly. An effective employee can learn new tasks quickly and shift gears easily. In fact, a variety of work is a great thing for most employees. It keeps the job interesting, and having to learn new skills means that your value as an employee is constantly increasing.

Initiative

This can be summed up by the phrase “See what needs to be done, and do it.” Effective workers take the initiative to constantly improve their own skills and processes, correct problems, and call attention to issues that are beyond their ability or authority to address on their own. You don’t wait to be told – you’re a doer.

Cooperativeness

All of the above are part of getting along with everyone on the job: supervisors, co-workers, and customers. No one gets to have everything their own way – even the boss is answerable to someone. Employable workers can accept supervision and criticism, and they’re willing to follow someone else’s procedures to achieve someone else’s goals without complaint. Sometimes this requires teamwork and cooperation with peers. Sometimes it’s following instructions to the best of your ability. And sometimes it means taking initiative, being creative, and doing more than you were told to do.

No one has all these qualities in perfect measure, but good employees try to maximize them for the sake of the job. Let prospective employers know your strengths in these areas, and let them know you understand their importance.

Tips for Working Mothers

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Having a job and being primarily responsible for the home and children is tough. While many men are in this position, it’s more common for women to be heads of single-parent households, or to be the one in a two-parent/two job household who does most of the child care and household chores. The difficulties of this position have been analyzed extensively, but women still find it a tricky balancing act. Here are some me-first tips that can help.

Scheduling

Being in a rush creates enormous anxiety. Not knowing until the last minute what you need to do is often the cause of that rush.

Get a handle on your schedule. Get out a piece of paper, or open up a new .doc file and write it down: awake at what hour? showered by when? what time are the kids up, dressed and fed? when do they leave for school and when you you leave for work? The same goes for the afternoon: what happens when the kids get out of school? where do they go, when, and how do they get there? where and when do they do their homework? When you start supper? When do you serve it? When are you done with clean-up?

Get the whole day down. Include time for weekly house cleaning, shopping and other chores and activities. Then take a look at it and understand that it doesn’t work. There is simply not enough time for everything that needs to be done. Something has to give.

Delegate

If there’s a spouse, show him the schedule and get cooperation. When both parents are earning a living, there is no good reason for one parent to be responsible for everything that used to be considered “women’s work.” (And the amount you earn has nothing to do with the balance of work: it’s the amount of time you have available that counts.) If you’re in a relationship that’s worth keeping, there must be an equal sharing of responsibilities.

When your kids are a certain age, they need to take responsibility for their own personal obligations, and need to start sharing in household tasks. Any 10-year-old can wake him- or herself up with an alarm clock, sweep a floor, and make breakfast.

Guilt? Forget it. These are things kids should do. Your job is to give them responsibility, as quickly and as much as they can handle. That’s how adults are made.

Get Support

Call in the reserves. If you have relative or close friends nearby who can help with child care, get them on board. You might be able to make a sharing arrangement – for example, one mother looks after all the kids while another does the grocery shopping for all the mothers. There may be social services agencies that offer the support in the form of free or low-cost after school programs and child care.

Say “No” More Often

As you’ve taken the above measures, you’ve revised your schedule so that now there’s enough time in the day to get things done, hopefully with a few minutes to spare for yourself.

Don’t give them up just to please others! You’re no longer in seventh grade, and life isn’t a popularity contest. You can be flexible, but your time is worth as much as anyone else’s. Bearing the title “Mom” does not obligate you to sacrifice your mental and emotional health to satisfy others’ pleasure. If you can’t take it on comfortably, don’t do it.

That goes for your kids, your spouse, the organizations you belong to, and your job. There’s an insidious saying, “If you want something done, ask someone who’s busy.” Don’t be that person. Your goal is to be a little less busy.

Feeling Overwhelmed By Your Job Search? Start Here.

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Job hunting is rarely a pleasant activity, but it doesn’t have to be nightmare. Smart seekers who match their job search efforts to the types of fields they want to break into find it easier to establish lucrative connections. Here’s how Forge is changing the way professionals engage with the industrial labor market.

The Unique Problems of Industrial Employment Fulfillment
Light industrial jobs are special because they’re important to a broad spectrum of industries. For instance, an immunology scientist may work in a medical research laboratory. A machine operator or QC inspector might also find work with the same lab’s supply-chain department, but they could just as easily be employed by retail manufacturers or construction firms.

On the one hand, this means there are many viable career paths to follow. It also makes it difficult to craft your resume and build experience that might suit a given position. Prospective employers might also fail to immediately recognize how your particular combination of skills from diverse fields could be an extremely valuable asset.

The Value of Forging Connections
Of course, employment isn’t just about having the right kind of expertise. According to job-market data published in the Huffington Post, networking played a role in a whopping 80 percent of the jobs filled in 2013. In short, even if you’re extremely talented, building relationships definitely matters.

Why do connections matter so much?  Software disqualifies 50 percent of applications before a human being ever sees them. Employers can pick and choose, so you must stand out.

Seeking employment through a reputable network could determine whether your application gets noticed early enough to surmount the initial hurdles. By giving hiring managers the ability to judge your skills within the context of your connections, industrial labor tools like Forge help you make a lasting impression.

Focusing Your Industrial Job Search
In 2015, 66 percent of companies failed to use social media to promote jobs. Still, increasing numbers of employers are using industry-specific networking platforms to find and screen prospective candidates. It’s critical that you network using a platform that caters to industrial labor.
Beginning your job search by posting a resume on Forge is a great way to advance your career. Making yourself more available to entry-level, skilled, permanent and temporary jobs might help you gain experience that you can actually build on as you move forward. It’s also a good way to learn about the labor market and discover the real-world value of your resume in order to gain negotiating leverage for salaries, benefits and schedule accommodations.

Finally, remember that finding a light-industry job is different from working in other fields. While some positions may not require specific skills, almost all companies seek assurances that you’re reliable, hardworking and ready to learn. Get started at forgestaff.com today.

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Five Smart Ways to Stand Out at a Job Fair

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A job fair is a tool that employers commonly use to fill their staffing needs, and it’s a great way for those seeking employment to apply for a variety of jobs in one setting. However, you will most likely be applying for the same openings as hundreds of other hopeful job seekers, so you’ll need to stand out from the crowd if you’re to be successful. The tips below should get you noticed for all the right reasons.

Dress Appropriately for the Job You Seek

While the advice to dress for success is an old nugget of wisdom, it couldn’t be more accurate. You truly get but one chance to make that important first impression on a potential employer, and you need to dress appropriately. Dress as you would for your actual first interview, and be sure to choose clothing that is simple, conservative and appropriate for the job you want.

Polish Your Resume

It’s important that you learn about each company that will be represented at the job fair so that you can create separate, specific resumes that target each company. A resume tailored to a specific company will help you be taken seriously as an applicant. Follow these excellent resume tips for the best results.

Conduct Yourself Professionally

Once you have the opportunity to speak with a representative of a company, be sure to be polite and discuss ways you feel your experience can benefit the company. Use the knowledge you’ve gained about the company beforehand to provide specific examples of the ways you feel you will be an asset. Learn more about how the hiring process works to be sure you’re as prepared as possible.

Address Potential Employers With Confidence

A job fair is no place for you to display any shyness, but you don’t need to be a loud show-off, either. Approach each potential employer with a firm handshake and direct eye contact, introduce yourself with a well-rehearsed pitch that quickly sells you as a potential employee and be sure to address the company representative with respect at all times.

Follow Up

During your time at the fair, you’ll want to be sure to ask each person you speak with for a business card. Make notes of pertinent details of your conversation on the back of it, and be sure to call in the next two or three days to thank them for their time. That follow-up call can make all the difference in the world regarding whether or not you get the job.

A Successful Career Awaits

Follow these tips, and a good company is sure to decide you’re the right one to fill its staffing needs. The right employment opportunity may be waiting for you at job fairs in your area. You can learn more about obtaining the job you want by following these additional helpful hints.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gianna-sengupta/9-ways-to-stand-out-at-a-_b_6084874.html

http://info.theladders.com/career-advice/recruiter-advice-stand-out-at-job-fair

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Spring Clean Your Job Search

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With the advent of spring, many people start a list of chores that need to be completed at home. But, homeowners are not the only people who need to worry about spring cleaning. As someone looking for work, you also need to conduct a thorough spring cleaning every year to keep yourself ready for opportunities that could arise in the months ahead. You should take advantage of spring as an opportunity to update resumes, network with prospective employers, and polish your online presence. Successfully completing a spring cleaning this year can help simplify future job searches.
Declutter Your Resume

Many employees accumulate new credentials they want to add to their resume each year, and busy people rarely have the time to go back to decide which items to remove. While most individuals seeking employment want to write a whole book describing their accomplishments, the reality is that resumes shouldn’t be longer than two pages. To ensure that employers see everything you have to offer, prioritize your credentials so that the most important items are apparent. Each spring aim to declutter your resume so that it’s ready for the next big opportunity.

Refresh Your Job Network

Networking is a critical aspect of finding a job, but most employees neglect this important activity. Finding a job is not as simple as sending in an application because human relationships ultimately drive employment. Therefore, relationships must be nurtured throughout an employee’s career to ensure the steady availability of jobs. Refreshing your network, then, is another good job search tip to follow during your job search spring cleaning.

Clean Up Your Online Presence

An individual’s appearance online can have a significant impact on employability. Many employers check social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Job seekers who have published work demonstrating their expertise are more likely to successfully find an employer. Instead of taking a gamble on an employee who might not be a real expert, employers prefer to hire someone whose capabilities they can verify online. Many employees have had success by creating a website to post some of their best work. Remove negative information from the Internet to prevent losing a potential opportunity. If you’re seeking a job, make sure you clean up your digital presence for future employers who might look online.

Job Search Tips

If you recognize that the process of finding work has changed, you’ll have a significant advantage in today’s job market. Many prospective employees still use old-fashioned methods that are irrelevant in the modern world. Change now occurs at a more rapid pace than it did in the past. As a prospective employee, you need to update information about yourself more often to stay current in a fast-paced economy. Those who learn to adapt to employer expectations can thrive; investing a small amount of effort each spring can yield significant financial returns in the future.

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How to Write Emails Like a Pro

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First came the Stone Age, then the Bronze Age, and finally, the Iron Age. It would be fairly difficult for anyone to argue that we aren’t currently existing in the Computer Age, as these devices seem to have become present in nearly all facets of our lives, from landing airplanes to video chatting with Grandma. Therefore, it’s no wonder that regardless of which industry you work in, computers are part of the job search process.

What does this mean for you?

Well, at some point or another on your quest to find employment, odds are that you’re going to have to write an email. If you follow our email writing tips, your job search is sure to be much easier.

What Not to Do

There’s a handful of common mistakes that people tend to make when emailing a prospective employer for the first time (or the second, or the third). Make sure that you stand out from the crowd by avoiding these kinds of mistakes.

Typos. Typos Everywhere. You have used spell check before sending out that email, right? Of course you have, but be aware that sometimes spell check isn’t enough. Your computer can only search for single words that it thinks are spelled incorrectly, but sometimes that means a word might slip through the cracks. For example, a spell checker won’t recognize “a quip” as being misspelled, even if you were trying to write “equip.” Read over your email, cover letter, and resume carefully.

Where did that attachment go? It might sound silly, but people forget to include their attachments all the time (and then wonder why they aren’t hearing back from a company). Even if you realize shortly after sending the email, pulling one of those “Whoops, sorry, I forgot it!” follow-up emails isn’t doing you any favors. Remember it the first time.

Don’t tell them your life story. Keep your emails short, snappy, and on-point. If you had to print out your email, would your printer run out of ink? You’ve probably written too much. Only say what is necessary in the most clear, concise way possible. Odds are your potential employer is reviewing dozens if not hundreds of messages, so make yours easy for them.
What to Do

Now that you know what not to do, let’s look at a few points of what you should do in 2016. Check back to our 2014 article for more tips, as those writing tips are all still relevant today.

Follow the basics.

You already know that you have to use a professional sounding email address, that your subject line should be clear and concise, that your email should be written as though it was a secondary cover letter, and that your paperwork should have your contact info on each page.

It’s 2016. Go the extra mile.

These days, you have to go the extra mile for employment. If you have any online content that showcases who you are or your abilities in a professional light, share it. This includes online portfolios, images, videos, or any other form of media that presents you in a professional light.

Clean up your social media profiles.

Speaking of social media, take the time to go through your social media accounts and make them presentable, particularly if you use your real name on any of them. Those pictures of you and your roommates partying? Now would be a great time to take them down, and remember, images on services like Facebook can be tagged with your name and easily discoverable from search engines, so if any of your friends have unsavory images of you posted, politely ask them to remove them.

Update your references.

When was the last time you updated the references on your resume? Your high school science teacher and your mom’s best friend aren’t going to cut it anymore.

It’s not all about going digital.

Even if you’ve crafted the perfect email, printing out your application and other documentation and then hand-delivering it can show that you aren’t just another applicant blasting out emails. You cared enough to show up in person.

Q&A: Getting Employment with Forge

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Exactly what is a staffing firm and how does it work for me?

When you sign with a staffing firm, you have initiated a relationship with an agency that already has strong relationships with employers. Forge Industrial Staffing connects qualified candidates with employers offering light industrial jobs. Our reputation is dependent on the level of talent we provide. That’s why if you pass muster, rest assured we will represent you to the best of our abilities and get you to the best companies and temp jobs.

Are there any charges or fees I need to worry about?

Forge has no fees. Forge operates on a contingency basis only. That means the client pays when we fill their open positions. You only have to worry about being prepared to show our clients you’re the best employee they can get.

Why wouldn’t I just look for a job myself?

You certainly could, but the benefits of using a good staffing agency cannot be measured.

Forge can reach hiring managers a lot faster than you can. We also provide a level of  expertise in recruitment that helps avoid mistakes.
1. You’re going to have a difficult time finding temp jobs on the Internet. Almost all positions are channeled through agencies like Forge. A staffing agency is more likely to connect you with a job than you making phone calls and answering job posts.
2. An agency can provide job search tips to maximize the possibility of finding the best light industrial jobs.
3. It’s not unusual for Forge candidates to be hired after proving their mettle. If you are between jobs, going through a staffing agency could be the first step to closing that gap.
How can I increase the chances I will find work with Forge?

While Forge cannot guarantee a position at any given time, here are some job search tips.
• On any day you are looking for work, sign into the office lobby at least one hour prior to a desired shift time.
• Wear appropriate clothing for industrial environments.
• Have your photo ID.
• Be prepared to submit to a drug screening.

While Forge will do the heavy lifting, taking the initiative to be in the office and ready to work greatly increases your chances of finding employment.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Forge can be more than an outlet to temp jobs. Our counselors can be excellent conduits for everything from preparing for an interview to polishing your resume. Use our deep network to see trends, meet the right people and get a huge advantage over candidates using conventional methods to find industrial jobs.

I’m sold. What do I do next?

Check out what Forge can do. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Forge Industrial Staffing. Once you know what you’re getting into, feel out the online application and submit your resume.

 

The Best Skilled Trade Jobs

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In recent years, employers have struggled to find workers for skilled trade jobs. The problem appears to be growing since a report in 2012 confirmed that 53 percent of the country’s skilled trade workers were 45 and older. The report said more than 18 percent were between 55 and 64 years old. In states like Michigan and Indiana, attending a trade school is a good option because these jobs pay well and are needed. Three of the top industrial trade jobs include becoming a welder, a machinist or an electrician.

Welder 

If you decide to become a welder, both Michigan and Indiana offer a number of training programs. As a student, you can choose to become certified. With certification, you may find it easier to obtain employment. Michigan features two accredited testing centers. Be sure to make an appointment to take the test. Acquiring your associate’s degree in welding is another option. Several schools offer education programs, and they will help you get started in the field by setting you up with an internship. Most trade schools have the equipment and materials available to train you properly. You will also learn about the job’s safety protocols.

Machinist 

Industrial machinists repair factory equipment as well as other machinery like production gear, conveyors and packaging equipment. Because manufacturing jobs are increasing, Michigan employers need workers. To enter the field, consider signing up for a machinist education program at Lake Michigan College. The institution’s introduction to machining will teach you about machines, measurement tools and cutters. Indiana University offers machinists training that will teach you about stamping, cutting and piercing.

Electrician

Electricians install or alter electrical wiring in buildings and equipment. There are several levels of this career field. Apprentice electricians work under the supervision of a master electrician or a licensed journeyman. Once you become a journeyman electrician, you will be eligible to work unsupervised. You will also be qualified to oversee apprentices. With time, training and comprehensive knowledge of the National Electrical Code, you can become a master electrician. [6] Michigan State University offers courses in the electrical field as does the Indiana Electrical Contractors, or IEC, association in central Indiana. For this program, you’ll learn through workplace training. Demonstrations, labs and lectures are also a part of the program.

By selecting a skilled trade career, you’ll be choosing an employment area in need of skilled workers. If you become a welder, machinist or an electrician, you’ll likely make a good income.

5 Steps to Make your Workplace Greener

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When it comes to living a green lifestyle, many find it can be difficult to maintain good habits at work. Here are some tips to help ensure that the business you work for is doing everything it can to reduce its carbon footprint.

 Research the Recycling
Talk to the maintenance and operations people at your office. Find out where all of those bottles and cans are going. If they’re not going to a recycling plant, then make it your priority to take them there yourself. Some employees have even made extra money this way, simply by taking bottles and cans to get recycled.

Coordinate Carpools and Public Transportation
Find out if your workplace provides incentives for employees who take public transit. Many offer some kind of subsidy to assist those who aren’t clogging the parking lot with their cars. If public transportation isn’t feasible for you, then figure out a way to carpool with co-workers who live near you.

Create a Clothing Drive
You may be surprised to discover that many of your co-workers throw out gently used clothing that could easily be given to a homeless shelter or donated to another great cause. In fact, it’s even estimated that a stunning 5 percent of all the items in landfills are textiles. Why not make your annual trip to Goodwill even more impressive? By setting up boxes for a clothing drive, you’ll help your co-workers to recycle their clothing. Since you’re doing all the legwork, there’s no reason for them not to bring their used clothes to work.

Use a Coffee Mug Instead of a Paper Cup
It can be difficult to get off the paper cup train, but making an effort to use the same reusable cup every day can inspire others, too. Over the course of a year, you’ll have saved hundreds of paper products by simply using your own mug.

Reuse Paper
Before tossing paper into the recycling bin, consider whether the other side can be reused for scrap paper. Also, when you’re printing out long manuals and other training materials, ensure that you’re using both sides of the paper when you’re setting up the document format on your computer.

Sustainability at work doesn’t have to be a drag. Being green in the workplace can be fun and easy, and it can provide excellent new ways to bond with your co-workers.