Staffing 360: Exploring the World of Staffing From All Angles

10 Great Websites To Learn Programming

Posted by ATR International on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 @ 07:00 AM

Our goal at Staffing 360 is to give our clients and contractors news, information, and advice that is relevant and useful. We’ve often written about the importance of staying up to date on your skills, or developing competency in new technologies, platforms, or programming languages. Just wanted to share the article 10 Great Websites for Learning Programming from Information Week in case you missed it.

The author, Thomas Claburn, rightly points out that:

“You need a foundation, some level of familiarity with the syntax and patterns in whatever programming language or framework you [need to work in]…you need some sense of basic programing concepts and the scope of possibilities. The Web, a labyrinth of code, is full of educational resources that can help you lay that foundation.

We second the author in pointing out the caveat:

“If you want to create your own browser, programming language, or machine learning system, you'll probably be better off enrolling in a reputable computer science program than trying to cobble the necessary skillset together through online tutorials.”

But, if you are a senior IT professional who just wants or needs to learn a particular new language or system, online courses could be a great answer. Similarly, if you are in the early years of your career, this can be a free, in most cases, relatively inexpensive in others, way to add to your skills. If you have that computer science degree and a few years of experience, these kinds of classes and tutorials can be a real option.

Keep in mind also that this not a comprehensive list and is presented in random order not preferential. Different needs and interests will be better served by one or another option. No one of these is the answer to all your needs and none of them may be right for you but knowledge and options are power.

You can get all of Claburn’s comments about learning programming online in general, and each of the sites specifically by reading the full article. For those of you who would like to fast track to the list, here you are:

If you’ve been thinking about learning something new – one of these might be right for you.

Happy learning!

 

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Technical Knowledge Is Just The Beginning For A Successful IT Career

Posted by ATR International on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 @ 07:30 AM

Professional development is something that everyone should consider throughout their career. In the IT world, keeping up with the latest technology, hardware and software is a constant struggle – it’s a fast changing environment with upgrades and innovations coming out all the time. But there is more that matters to being successful in business than just keeping up with the latest tech developments.

The recent IT Skills and Salary Report from Global Knowledge shows the importance of general business knowledge to the overall success and compensation of an IT professional, and they also suggest a path to advancement and long term career success.

Their chart, "Skills Areas Impacting Compensation by Tenure" (page 8), shows the top 5 most frequently mentioned skills include “business skills” and “leadership and professional skills.” (IT security, network operations and IT architecture are the others.) The percentage of respondents who reported these as important increases as they become more senior in their positions and responsibilities. For example, for people in the first 5 years of their career 32% noted business skills; by the time someone has 20+ years of experience that number is 54%.

The study acknowledges that the numbers skew that way in part because of the many IT professionals in management and tenured positions included in the survey population. But that just makes the point: if you want to advance in IT, taking on positions of increasing responsibility, relevance, and contribution, you will need to develop these skills. If you are in the beginning stages of your career, or really at any point where you are considering what kinds of training to pursue, what skills to improve or add to your toolbox, business and professional skills should be on that list, maybe even at or near the top.

What are business and professional skills?

Well, they include:

  1. Managing people and departments: the ability to inspire, develop and lead others

  2. Understanding the company overall: the ability to read financial statements and other reports, to deeply know the product or service of the company (especially if you are in an IT department as opposed to an IT firm), and to understand the business processes involved in running the business day to day

  3. Communicating clearly: the ability to speak to colleagues and clients in non-IT terms, without jargon and acronyms

  4. Building relationships: the ability to work well with others, clients and colleagues – especially in other departments

  5. Managing projects: the ability to think strategically and plan carefully to keep any project, large or small, on time and on budget

  6. Good basic writing skills: the ability to write clear, professional emails, memos, instructions, manuals, etc., using proper grammar and spelling

  7. Seeing the big picture: the ability to see how you, your project, your department, your tasks, fit into the larger picture and to see things from the other’s viewpoint

  8. Being flexible: the ability to deal with unexpected problems, delays or simply changes to the schedule

Whether it is business acumen, interpersonal abilities, or foundational speaking and writing aptitude - these skills can be critical to becoming a great IT professional, instead of just a great technical IT person. But this is probably still only a partial list.

One good way to add to it is to ask people you know or work with what business skills they think are important. Talk to people in leadership positions or whom you admire in your company, and not just the head of IT. Professionals outside of your company are also a good source and will bring a different perspective.

How do you get these skills?

  1. Take advantage of internal training.  This is a great idea.  It's free and shows people that you have initiative and drive.  When those messages about webinars or seminars the company is offering come through, sign up!  Make time for at least some of them – they are just as important in many ways as the actual work you do. 

  2. Volunteer.  Simply volunteering can also be a good path.  The next time they are looking for someone to manage a project, no matter how small, volunteer.  You’ll gain valuable hands on experience.  Offer to write or draft the memo or report; with writing it really is true that practice makes perfect, certainly better.  Volunteer to make presentations or speeches to gain experience and confidence.

  3. Take external classes. If your writing needs improvement take a class on business writing or a refresher on grammar and punctuation at the local college or online.  Seek out a business or financial management course.  Check out the offerings for their IT degrees, many colleges have developed these kinds of courses specifically for IT people.

  4. Join a professional/industry group.  Very often they will have learning opportunities in so called "soft" and business skills for their members. 

Everyone hopes to be successful in their career, not just to make more money (although that’s always good!) but also because we generally want to take on more interesting work and do things that matter and have an impact, in our company and the world. Don’t just hope though. Keep in mind all the skills you’ll need to be truly successful and be proactive about developing them throughout your career.

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Get Rid of that "Objective Section" on Your Resume ASAP!

Posted by ATR International on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 07:30 AM

Does your resume start off with an “Objective” section? It shouldn’t, and if it does, it could be costing you big time.

Your resume is the first impression you make on a hiring manager or recruiter, and you have only seconds of their attention so you want to make it count. Everyone knows that a typo or misspelled word can be disastrous, landing your resume in the no pile. But you might not be aware that the Objective Section can potentially do the same.

At one point, people were routinely advised to start their resume off with an Objective paragraph, something that explained the type of position they were looking for and the kind of work they wanted to do. But times change, and the resume changes with them. Now, an objective is seen by most people as redundant and unnecessary; it’s obvious that your objective is to get a job or you wouldn’t be applying. We don’t mean to be snarky but it’s true.

More importantly, the objective doesn’t tell a prospective employer anything they really want to know about you and why you are the right person for their company. It is wasted space, and prime space at that – right at the top. It would be so much more useful to use this prime real estate to promote your skills and experience and give the person reviewing the resume real information that can help them evaluate your suitability for the role.

Which is why the current advice is to replace your outdated objective with a summary section. Use this section to present your most relevant skills, experience, and accomplishments in a summary format. This is a great place to list technology and programs that you are proficient in and also a good opportunity to tailor your resume to the job description and include key words. Do they ask for a developer who knows Java, C++, or Python? Put that in here and you’ll make it easier for ATS scanning software or human eyes to find those keywords and push your resume to the top of the pile.

Even if you don’t replace the Objective with a Summary, just eliminating it will automatically make your resume more attractive to recruiters by making it more up to date. The Objective section says old and stale to many recruiters, and while they should take time to look beyond it, you can’t count on that. So make a quick change to your resume and get noticed for the right reasons, reasons that will get you to the next step – an interview!

 

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The Must Do's of Phone and Video Interviews

Posted by ATR International on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 @ 07:00 AM

video_interviewThe interview is an irreplaceable part of the hiring process. It is pretty much impossible to get hired without going through at least one interview and usually you will need to pass muster multiple times with multiple people. In person interviews are the norm but phone interviews have been a staple for many years now too.

The newcomer to the group is the video interview, but with employers and job seekers alike looking for ways to save time and money, it’s becoming increasingly popular. Phone interviews, which used to be almost increasingly used as an initial screening tool, are being used more often and later in the process.

Most of us know that preparing for an interview is critical, absolutely critical. Blow the interview and you don’t get the job; it’s as simple as that. So how do you prepare? Is it different preparing for a video interview than one in person? If it’s just a phone interview you don’t have to worry about it as much, right? Wrong.

The first thing to know is that almost everything you would do for an in person interview (sans practicing your firm handshake!) you should do for a phone or video interview. Period.

Now it may seem obvious that you should research the company, the position, and the person you are interviewing with. Also obvious that you should practice your answers and prepare questions that demonstrate your knowledge and interest. But some others might not seem so obvious, like showing up early. Of course it’s a basic piece of advice for an in person interview but for a phone or video interview too? Yes.

1.  Be in the room where you will take the call at least 5 minutes before the scheduled time. This will give you a chance to collect your thoughts, and catch your breath. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you should take the call in the laundry room or pick up the phone after running upstairs or inside from the back yard. This will also give you time to review your notes, the job description, etc. Get yourself in a professional and work focused frame of mind.

How about dressing for the interview? Surely that’s different than for an in person interview? Nope.

2.  For a video interview you should dress the same way that you would for an in person interview. Again, being at home isn’t an excuse for being casual. You want to make the same good impression. And not looking good just from the waist up! Dressing for success puts you in a more professional mood and will help you come across as the talented individual that you are. Which is why we suggest dressing for a phone interview as well. Maybe not the full regalia of a suit, but certainly something clean and not sweatpants or pajamas.

Video and phone interviews also have some unique things that you need to think about, things you wouldn’t ever worry about for an in person interview.

3.  You need to be in a quiet place, free from distractions and extraneous noise. If you take the call in your car, turn it off, roll up the windows and create a quiet space. Be aware that background noise that seems unnoticeable to you can be amplified by cell phones or computer microphones. For video interviews double check that no one will walk behind you. Also make sure that the desk or table you sit at is free from clutter and that nothing messy or inappropriate is visible behind you either.

4.  Make sure your equipment works. Check that you have good reception if you are using a cell or phone, and make certain that it is charged. If you have one, utilize your land line to avoid a dropped call, static, or other interference. Temporarily disable call waiting and/or silence any notifications that you usually get. Test the microphone and webcam on your computer before any video call, and don’t wait until that last minute to do so. If there’s a problem you want time to fix it well before the interview.

5.  Speak slowly, clearly, and pause a little longer to allow the interviewer to interject. On a phone interview, neither of you will have the usual facial or body cues that let you know when someone wants to speak. With a video call, there is a lag time as it transmits. Be sure you speak clearly to avoid mishearing and pause a little longer at the end of a sentence or thought to allow the feed to catch up or the interviewer a chance to speak without having to interrupt you. One last video tip: look into the camera not at the screen. This way you will be looking the interviewer “in the eye.” Otherwise, it’s the equivalent of looking down at the table during an in person interview.

The interview won’t ever be obsolete in hiring and phone and video interviews are only going to gain in popularity since the cost and time saving benefits are huge. Make sure that you don’t make the mistake of not preparing properly for any type of interview you have!

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The 4 Reasons Job Rejection Should Never Be Taken Personally

Posted by Wendy Sun on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 @ 07:00 AM

job search rejectionLooking for a new job can be exciting and hopeful, but also incredibly frustrating when the inevitable happens – you don’t get the job.  It will happen multiple times in any job search, and the longer you look, the more rejections you’ll get before you finally find the right one and are hired. Dealing with the emotional side of job rejection can be very challenging and there is lots of advice out there. Some of it focuses on recognizing if there are things you can do differently next time: does your resume need work or do you need to work on your interviewing skills? Some advice is practical and suggests getting outdoors or exercising, or seeking support by talking to friends or other job seekers.  

One of the most common pieces of advice is not to take it personally. Don’t make your professional self-worth dependent on what happens in an interview, focus on your strengths and achievements instead of dwelling on past mistakes, and keep a positive attitude. But knowing that you shouldn’t take it personally and actually not doing that are very different things. It’s hard not to think the problem is you, especially because most rejection letters include no details and only boilerplate language, if you even hear anything back at all.  

Well, here are a few reasons that it really isn’t you, it’s them, and you really shouldn’t take it personally:

  1. There was an internal candidate but the job needed to be posted in accordance with company protocols. This can be especially true when you submit your resume online and never hear anything ever or get a quick system generated rejection letter. Sometimes positions must be advertised to be in compliance with company rules but with a strong internal candidate in mind, there is little chance of really getting the job.  Don’t take it personally.

  2. They never gave the job to anyone. This happens more frequently than you think. A job is posted but things change. In today’s economy, companies are warier than before about adding new employees and skittish when economic forecasts or results are gloomier than expected. They may have thought they could hire but have since had a hiring freeze imposed, or a reduction in available budget. Don’t take it personally – they might have wanted you or someone else but in the end couldn’t hire anyone.

  3. They don’t know how to evaluate talent appropriately. Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Orwell’s Animal Farm, and The Diary of Anne Frank are among many famous authors and classic novels that were all rejected, in some cases multiple times, before being published. The novel The Help was rejected by over 70 literary agents, HBO and Showtime both passed on Orange is the New Black before Netflix picked it up, and Jennifer Hudson was famously dissed by Simon Cowell and eliminated on American Idol before going on to win an Oscar for her role in Dream Girls.  

    It may actually be true that you are a diamond and they didn’t notice. Their ATS system may reject great candidates because of stringent keywords or you may be dealing with someone too inexperienced or too set in their ways to recognize your value, but don’t take it personally; comfort yourself with the knowledge that you are not alone in being talented but overlooked.   

  4. You just weren’t what they needed or were looking for – no matter how talented and wonderful you are.  It happens in the sports world all the time – one team cuts a player and another scoops him up and pays him millions. Directors screen test multiple actors for a role but only pick one. Kurt Russell wasn’t chosen as Han Solo in Star Wars, Harrison Ford was, and Marlon Brando lost out to James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. Is one a better actor than the other? One more handsome or smart or talented than the other? Aren’t they all great actors who simply were, or weren’t, just right for the part, just what the director was looking for? You can be the Brando of software developers and still not get the job.  Don’t take it personally, actors don’t! (Well, at least they try…)

It is critically important to learn what you can from any job that you don’t get so that you can improve for the next time and do a better job of showcasing your talents and convincing a hiring company that you can help them out. By all means follow all the advice about reviewing your resume for flaws, getting feedback on your interview, etc. But also take the advice not to take it personally to heart because these four reasons are real, not just platitudes. You should feel good about yourself for a lot of reasons, and one of them is because sometimes it really is them, not you. Don’t take it personally!

 

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Watch The Most Stressful Job Interview Ever

Posted by ATR International on Fri, Jun 05, 2015 @ 07:30 AM

Think of the worst possible scenario for a job interview. Getting lost on your way to the interview? Interview questions about how many ping pong balls fit into a school bus? How about interviewing in front of a panel of VPs? Go ahead, come up with your worst case scenario.

Well, chances are, it comes no where near Guy Goma’s experience when he went in for a interview with the BBC. You see, Guy, a graduate from the Republic of Congo, went in for a job interview only to end up on live TV being interviewed about a legal case involving Apple Computers. Yes, that’s right, live on the air.

This horrific nightmare of an interview began with a case of mistaken identity. Guy was calmly sitting in the BBC lobby waiting for his job interview to start when a BBC producer hurried in looking for technology journalist Guy Kewney. The receptionist heard the name “Guy” and pointed in Guy Goma’s direction. And before Mr. Goma knew what had happened, he was sitting under the bright lights of the BBC television studio, ready to be interviewed by host Karen Bowerman. Despite Mr. Goma’s look of sheer panic at the 45 second mark of the video, he does a surprisingly good job of answering the “interview” questions. Let’s hope he eventually got the job.

 




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Tags: job interview

Top-Paying IT Certifications

Posted by ATR International on Thu, May 28, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

Recently, Global Knowledge, a leading learning services and professional development solutions provider, released the results of their 2015 IT Skills and Salary Survey. They received responses from more than 11,000 IT and business professionals in North America, and the survey has a number of interesting findings and information to report. One that caught our eye right away was the 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications.

A few months ago, Staffing 360 talked to Wendy Sun, our VP of Recruiting, about IT certifications and whether they were worth the time, effort, and money for an IT professional to invest. You can read (or reread!) the full article here. So of course we were interested to see what their survey showed. Here are the top 15, along with their median salary.

  1. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) $119,227

  2. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) $118,348

  3. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) $110,603

  4. Project Management Professional (PMP®) $109,405

  5. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) $106,181

  6. Certified ScrumMaster $101,729

  7. Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) $99,701

  8. Citrix Certified Professional - Virtualization (CCP-V) $97,998

  9. Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Routing and Switching $97,038

  10. Juniper Networks Certified Internet Associate - Junos (JNCIA-Junos) $96,734

  11. Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) $96,198

  12.  ITIL® v3 Foundation $95,434

  13. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) $95,155

  14.  VMware Certified Professional - Data Center Virtualization (VCP-DCV) $94,181

  15. Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) $93,856

The list is “derived from certifications that received the minimum number of responses to be statistically relevant.” Note that “variations exist based on respondents' work location, years of experience, and company type (government, nonprofit, etc.),” and that while some certifications pay more, they don’t make this list due to their exclusive nature. Examples of these include Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) and VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX).

What does this mean for you? Well, it gives you another data point as you consider what to do about your own career and plans for further training. You might know right away that one of these specific certifications is what you want to add to your existing skills and experience or this might be validation that you’ve chosen a good path if you are currently pursuing one.

Higher salaries are reflective of supply and demand for professionals with these certifications or with skills in these areas in general. Overall the list includes five that are in security (1, 2, 3, 5, and 13), three in business (4, 6, and 12), and three in networking (7, 9, and 10), which means companies are looking for people that can do these jobs. And when companies can’t find permanent employees to fill a position, they often turn to contractors. If you are an IT contractor, this list is a window, or a bit of a crystal ball, into what opportunities may be available for you in the future.

Whether you already have one of these certifications or are thinking about pursuing one, knowing what employers are currently paying and looking for can help you plan your next career move.

 

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Tags: IT staffing and recruiting, IT jobs, IT Consulting, certifications

What Happens to My Resume After I Click "Submit"?

Posted by ATR International on Tue, May 26, 2015 @ 07:30 AM


Do you wonder what happens to your resume after you hit that submit button?  Do you worry that it’s simply dumped into a cyber black hole never to been seen by human eyes?  Do you sometimes feel like it’s all a waste of time?

In some cases you might be right, but absolutely not when it comes to ATR.  Even though we receive thousands of resumes a year, a real person reviews each and every one.  Actually, during our recruiting process your resume might be seen by 2 or 3 people as we determine if we have the right position for you.  Certainly, we use technology to increase the efficiencies of our recruiting process but no machine or software ever determines your fate.  We developed the infographic below to give you an overview of what happens when you submit your resume to ATR. 



 

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We want to make sure we have the best people to work with our clients and that means we can’t afford to overlook anyone.  We’ve developed a comprehensive recruiting process, TruRecruit, that is ISO certified for quality, and reviewing resume submissions is one part of the overall process.  Because we specialize in IT, we can accurately evaluate your skills and experience and quickly determine whether or not you’re a good match for any of our open positions.  And since we’re always getting new requisitions from our clients, if you’re not a match today, you may be tomorrow.  We don’t file your resume away, we carefully tag it so our recruiters can easily find it when recruiting on future positions from our clients.

We take great pride in the personal attention we give to our candidates and contractors, right from the start. Submit your resume today, with confidence!

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This Is The Font To Use For Your Resume

Posted by ATR International on Tue, May 19, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

resume font helveticaA few weeks ago, Staffing 360 published, 9 Absolute DON'Ts for Your Resume, which included the advice “Don’t use an unusual font.”  We’ve also covered this topic in our ebook, The Comprehensive Guide to Finding Your Next Job, in the resume section. 

This week we read an article, Times New Roman is Bad for Your Career, which sheds even more light on the subject, and we wanted to be sure and share it with our readers.  Now it is doubtful there will ever be total agreement or a definitive answer on which typeface is best, but the article gives some interesting information and opinions from knowledgeable designers.  They agree on one thing:

Helvetica is the best, safest choice for business resumes.

Read the full article and its sister piece in Bloomberg Business for more on the thinking behind it and other advice on fonts.  Or, if you’re a busy professional, just consider taking their advice and going with Helvetica!

No matter what font your resume is in, if you are a technical contractor looking for assignments in the IT, Financial Services, Healthcare, or Medical Device industry, send us your resume.  If you’ve got the right skills and experience, we have openings and can help you tailor your resume for a specific position – fonts and all.


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ATR Named Supplier of the Year for Second Year in a Row

Posted by ATR International on Tue, May 12, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

On Friday, May 8th, the Western Regional Minority Supplier Development Council (WRMSDC) held its 37th Annual Excellence in Supplier Diversity Awards Gala in San Francisco, CA. The Council recognized MBE suppliers in four revenue tiers as well as corporate diversity professionals and programs. For the second year in a row,  ATR International was named Supplier of the Year.

As one of four finalists, ATR was selected based on a detailed review of our achievements and commitment in the areas of community involvement, mentorship, MBE support, growth and development, and operations.

“I am so proud of everyone,” said Co-Founder Maria Novoa. “It takes the dedication of an entire company to win an award like this. It is truly humbling to see what we have accomplished.”

ATR International, Inc. has been serving clients for more than twenty-five years. We offer a wide variety of staffing services with core competencies in providing IT consultants to technology-based organizations. More information about ATR and our services can be found at www.atrinternational.com.

 

Reasons, Supplier Diversity, Business Strategy

Tags: AngeliqueSolorio, SupplierDiversity, ATR International, supplier of the year