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Hiring an Intern

Have you considered the benefits of hiring an Intern? Real-world experience for a student is invaluable to their future—and incredibly beneficial to your company! An internship can be part-time or full-time, long- or short-term, and at any time during the year. Many employers think that internships are primarily beneficial to students. However, the benefits to your company are equally important:

  • Interns bring in new perspectives on organizational issues: Interns are not stuck in the “This is the way we’ve always done it” mentality. They can bring fresh, new ideas to your company. Interns are good at questioning processes and can often see a different way of doing things that an existing manager might not.
  • Young professionals are familiar with new technology: Social media, computer programs, smart phones, and iPads; new technology is a piece of cake for young professionals. Even if you are a young entrepreneur, you can always use a hand from a fellow Gen Y tech-savvy professional who is up to date on the newest tech trends.
  • An Internship allows a trial period that could lead to something more: Your company gets the opportunity to screen and work with potential entry-level employees prior to making a full-time commitment. Moreover, if the Intern becomes part of your team they have already screened your company and received on-the-job training, reducing your training outlay and risk of turnover.
  • Interns can help you meet important project or task deadlines: There are always projects or tasks that you need help with or are struggling to complete. Utilizing an Intern offers you an eager helper to meet your most pressing deadlines.
  • Interns are productive, courteous and trying to make an impression: Your company can capitalize on the convenience and flexibility of hiring additional staff during peak seasons, without the issues that often come along with short-term hiring.
  • Your company can gain brand advocates and free advertising: The best marketing tool is social media. You can expand your company’s online presence in an organic way as the Intern posts online about their favorable experience with your company.
  • Hiring an Intern can develop your existing team: Junior-level managers within your organization can gain supervisory experience by working with Interns. By screening Interns, your company can grow its pool of qualified candidates for future recruiting needs.

Hiring an Intern is a great opportunity for your team, and for the future graduate! Aclivity has teamed up with Lew’s List (https://sites.google.com/site/lewslist) and Colorado Universities to identify and recruit developing talent in the Accounting and Finance fields. We would be happy to leverage our connections to help you find the right Intern!

Protect Your Resume and References

Protect Your Resume and References

We have heard from clients and candidates who are displeased with other staffing firms sharing resumes and other personal information without consent. It is important to protect your resume and references – and Aclivity treats your personal information with care!

Did you know that when a staffing firm calls you for an interview, a position might not actually be available? Many times, staffing firms call on candidates to simply fill their database or “fish” for leads. Sometimes, they send your resume to multiple clients, making the selection pool look larger to a client even if you are not right for the position. Providing your resume and references might not always be to your benefit.

A reputable recruiter will ensure that they are sharing your information with your consent, and offering you available positions that fit your interests and skill set. When deciding on your next career move, be sure to find a professional advocate or online service that will protect your privacy.

Here are some tips to consider when sharing your personal information with a recruiter:

  • Ask the recruiter to identify the opportunity clearly, including the client name and job description. You have a right to know where a recruiter is sending your resume. If a recruiter claims he/she cannot tell you the name of the client, or that the company name is confidential, you should immediately disengage and seek out a more reputable staffing firm.
  • Tell your recruiter that he/she will need your permission before posting or sending your resume anywhere. In the worst case, a staffing firm can/will send your (and others’) resume to dozens of companies without your consent.
  • Protect your references. DO NOT list them on your resume, as staffing firms use the information to identify new business opportunities.
  • Ask the recruiter about the staffing firm’s placement success rate. How many of their candidates are placed in jobs? How soon after application? What is their job turnover rate? The answers will determine how much time recruiters spend matching you with the right job; not just any job.
  • When posting at online recruiting sites, avoid posting your resume to multiple job boards. Consider using other sources, such as LinkedIn, personal networking or a trusted recruiter’s website.

Whether you are actively looking for work or just curious about opportunities in the market, share your resume and references carefully. Research the staffing firm or recruiter website and review social media profiles and reviews. Avoid the temptation to restrict your job search to the Internet and speak directly with a recruiter. Ask questions. Make sure you feel comfortable and confident that the recruiter will protect your privacy before you share your personal information. An experienced, professional recruiter can safeguard your privacy while finding you a rewarding career!

For more help finding and landing the right job, contact us. We’re here to help!

LinkedIn

The Value of Using LinkedIn

Becoming a member of LinkedIn can be a great way to network, find jobs and promote your business!

LinkedIn is good company to be in:

  • The LinkedIn community has grown to over 200 million users around the world
  • The average LinkedIn member has an average annual household income of $109,000
  • Two people create a LinkedIn profile every second!
  • Nearly 50% of LinkedIn members have decision-making authority for their companies
  • The people on LinkedIn are there primarily to network or grow their business

LinkedIn allows you to:

  • Show people where you’ve come from and who you are; it’s an online resume that can work for you all day long!
  • Get others to endorse you via online recommendations that back up claims you make about your professional abilities and character
  • Share links, images or documents that demonstrate work you’ve done
  • Get introductions to potential employers, colleagues, or clients in your field
  • Directly search member job postings
  • Join various groups that align with your interests and participate in discussions. Having an interest group in common with another LinkedIn member is one way you can invite others into your network and have access to group job listings.
  • Be more connected than you could have ever imagined. In business, it’s all about who you know. With LinkedIn, you can benefit from the connections of people you know and benefit others with your connections.

To get started on LinkedIn, you’ll need to:

  • Know how you’d like to use LinkedIn. Are you directing people to your website? Are you looking for employment? What you want out of the social network will determine how you use it.
  • Create a login and take the time to create a profile that demonstrates your unique strengths and experience.
  • Check in frequently and make connections to resources that align with your current or desired field.

With a few  basics in place, you can market yourself or your business worldwide!

If you’d like more help getting started on LinkedIn, email amy.mead@aclivity.com to receive information on upcoming training workshops!

Negotiating a Raise

Negotiating a Raise

Most Finance and Accounting professionals are well versed in the technical side of their jobs but are not as skilled at the behavioral and interpersonal side of business. Many employers assume technical skills are a given, so employee skills can quickly become an overlooked commodity. In this culture, Finance and Accounting professionals must develop effective communication and negotiation skills in order to receive performance-based pay increases.

“In business you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”

Negotiating your salary with your employer is a good test of your negotiation and communication skills. Many people dread this often-intimidating process. However, it is important develop these skills for two key reasons:

  1. You would like more money and;
  2. You will be judged by your employer based on how you handle yourself during the negotiations. Most savvy employers are able to make quick, accurate judgments about your value to the company based on how you negotiate.

So how do you negotiate your salary? Consider these tips to demonstrate your masterful negotiation skills and improve your chances of getting an increase:

  • Understand the macro financial constrains that exist: How is your organization doing vs. the overall plan? How is your department perceived? Is your organization’s market growing? How is the organization’s performance vs. its peer group?
  • Remember that there is always budget for salary increases for great employees: Just keep in mind that there is seldom a reason to mention this to your employer!
  • Be able to quantify the value have you added to the company over the last year: What real, tangible cost savings or revenue enhancements can be directly attributed to your performance? It only counts if it has a real dollar impact, not if it “made us more efficient.”
  • Know how your boss is perceived in the organization and how much authority they have: Can they approve a raise without anyone else’s input or do they need to get approval? Are they going to go to bat for you? Why would they?
  • Consider your relationship with your boss: If it’s not great, it needs to be rebuilt before you request an increase. If there is no trust between you and your employer, odds are that you aren’t going to get anywhere in a salary negotiation.
  • Step into the shoes of your boss as you prepare for your negotiation: If you were them how would you respond to such a request? Your chances of success are greatly enhanced if your employer agrees that an increase is fair.
  • Be yourself in discussions: Prepare what you are going to say but make sure it’s in your own words and comes from the heart. If you are new to negotiating, tell your boss that you are nervous. Your honesty will melt all but the most hardened hearts. In certain situations, you could improve your bargaining position by asking for help. Getting your boss on your side of the table when negotiating with the organization can improve your chances of being heard.
  • Keep the negotiations face to face: Don’t use email or text, as these means are useless when trying to convince people to do anything for you. Using text or email will simply demonstrate that you’re not being direct; you’re actually avoiding face to face interaction.
  • Pay attention to non-verbal signals you are giving: Eye contact and hand movements are the most common means of non-verbal communication. Take a pen and notepad into the meeting and take notes if you need to keep your hands busy. Be sure to make eye contact.
  • Talk slowly and ask questions: Be prepared for questions that your boss might ask about why you think you deserve an increase. Answer the specific question that’s asked and listen well to responses that indicate you need to improve (or more clearly demonstrate!) your performance.
  • Plan the timing of your request: What day of the week and time of the day is best for your boss? Drop hints before your request to let your boss know what’s coming. Mention that you would “like to find a convenient time to discuss your compensation” so they can take time to think about it before you meet.
  • Prepare for your scheduled meeting: Do some industry comparisons as a guide or get some coaching from Aclivity or another trusted resource. Talk to colleagues and find out what tactics have worked for them. Write down your thoughts in advance and practice your negotiation with your trusted advisor. Be brief. Make your points and stress that you are seeking fair compensation for the value you provide to the company. If possible, don’t rely too heavily on your notes in the meeting. If you are trying to make more than 5 points, it’s too many.
  • Own your perspective: Truth is a matter of perspective. If you are going to make a point in the discussion that is subjective, be clear that you’re conveying “how you feel.” No one can argue about how you feel and it sounds less threatening than telling your boss what’s “true.”
  • Don’t compare your salary with others’: Don’t use comparisons of your compensation vs. other internal employees as a bargaining tactic. This argument will make you look petty since it attempts to justify your increase by comparing yourself with other people. It also reveals that you have had conversations about confidential topics with other employees, suggesting that you may not be trustworthy. Focus on the value that you bring to the table.
  • Don’t make threats: Don’t threaten to quit or say you will be forced to start looking for another job; your boss will know that’s a possible outcome if they turn you down. Listen and take feedback. Being told “No” this time will make it easier to get a “Yes” next time. If your negotiation is trending negative you could ask to defer the conversation and request their agreement to bring the topic back up again at a specified time. Ask your boss what behaviors, skills or contributions would necessary for them to consider giving you an increase in the future.
  • Don’t justify the raise by talking about your personal expenses: Bringing up your personal finances will be interpreted as a request for your company to compensate for the fact that you cannot manage your own affairs. Focus the negotiation on your tangible value to the company (how you personally make or save them money).
  • Remember that there are other types of “increases: There are a number of other things that you can ask for other than a pay increase which may be easier for your boss to grant. Consider asking for an increase in bonus potential, an extra week of paid vacation, tuition assistance, expense reimbursements like cell phone or home office, a spot bonus for specific tasks well done, or a 401(k) match.
  • Do your research: Communication, negotiation and interpersonal skills can be learned. We all have weaknesses in these areas, but we can compensate for them with a little effort. Learning about effective communication and negotiation methods will also help you “read” your boss—and adapt to limitations in their communication skills!

Negotiating a raise is a process, not an event. Introduce the topic and plan on having a number of discussions. Be patient and demonstrate your value without getting defensive. Let the other party warm to your point of view. Rarely will you go in, ask for a raise, and get it without a bit of negotiation. And, remember that we’re here for you if you’d like advice (or practice!) before your negotiation!

Good luck!

Networking

Networking for Students

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, but who you know?” The saying is true. Ask any senior executive, politician or community leader which single skill or habit helped them excel in their career. An overwhelming majority will respond with one word: Networking.

Developing relationships with a network of other people provides you with professional and personal opportunities—and connects you to people who need what you have to offer. The process of networking for students is centered around making connections during your college years in order to jump start your career and find opportunities for development through professionals linked to your network.

What is Networking?
Networking is all about making personal connections; creating long lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with individuals in a web of interconnected people. Your network might include friends, professors or students in your classes, co-workers or professional mentors. You can network anywhere, anytime—in your personal or professional life, on the ski slopes or golf course, at school or cocktail parties. Your network will provide references for you, and points of reference for you as you grow, learn and develop your career.

Why Network?   
Networking might be initially daunting, but you will find compatible personalities in your networking whether you are shy or outgoing. Consider a few good reasons for networking:

  • Personal relationships enable you/your organization to stand out, rise above the noise and remain at the forefront of others’ minds
  • Relationships are a catalyst for success
  • People do business with (or hire) those they like and trust
  • If you offer others your experience, knowledge and connections, you can help them succeed
  • Networking is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization
  • Networking will undoubtedly provide you with opportunities to learn, share and grow
  • Networking could quite possibly open the door to your next career move
  • Networking goes hand in hand with recruiting. When it’s time to find a job, your network can help you find opportunities you’re well-suited to
  • Networking with accounting societies provides many opportunities for recruiting, including the opportunity to intern during your college years.
  • Every year companies send their top recruiters to colleges to start identifying future employees to court for positions within their company. If you have built strong connections, odds will be good that a member of your network (who is connected to the recruiter’s network) will speak up for you when recruiters ask for recommendations.

Networking: A True Story
A senior-level accountant lost his position during a corporate restructuring and did not want to relocate. He received company-paid outplacement counseling and spent the next few months following the standard process of researching opportunities, making calls, scheduling interviews, tracking listings on online job boards, and sending resumes to employers. This process led to a few new leads every week, but none that were such a perfect match that his interviews brought job offers.

On his way home one Friday afternoon (after another unsuccessful interview) the accountant pulled into his local gas station. The station owner struck up a conversation with the accountant and asked, “How are things going?” Instead of giving a thoughtless reply like, “I’m fine”, the accountant answered honestly. He explained that he had lost his job a few months before and was not having any luck finding a new position close enough to home. The station owner asked what he did, and when the owner learned that this customer was an accountant said, “My sister was telling me last weekend that her company is having a hard time finding a new accountant, and she’s just a few miles from here.”

The accountant had a job interview a few days later. An offer followed within a week. He accepted.

Where Can I Go to Network?
Many professional associations offer networking events, which connect you with a circle of contacts in a particular field or area of interest.

  • You can get information on local networking events from various industry organizations. The accounting organizations below provide networking forums:
    • The Colorado Society of CPA’s: cocpa.org
    • The local chapters of Institute of Internal Auditors iia.org
    • The Institute of Management Accountants: imanet.org
  • Look into student accounting societies such as Beta Alpha Psi
  • Talk to your professors; they can help you make connections with people in varying circles of influence
  • Try a student membership for the Colorado Society of CPA’s: cocpa.org. They can connect you with a mentor that can help you chart your career path and recommend networking opportunities

Tips for Networking Events
When you attend networking events, you are opening the door to making many acquaintances that could grow to become part of your network. It can be a little intimidating to attend social events focused on making personal connections, but you can set yourself up for success by considering the ideas below:

  • The purpose of a networking event is solely to meet potential business contacts and to have them meet you. Go in with an open mindset and be willing to share yourself in a professional, authentic way.
  • Hold your drink in your left hand, because the right hand is the one you will be using to shake hands. A cold and clammy hand does not make a good impression!
  • Put your name tag on your right shoulder. This way, while you are shaking hands, your contact can focus on your name.
  • Do not be afraid to mingle, introduce yourself to strangers and shake hands. That is how people strike up new connections!
  • Searching for conversation ideas?
    • Offer to introduce people, and share a few details about each person during the introduction: “Edgar, this is Mary. Mary is an auditor at Company X and a chess champion. Mary, this is Edgar. Edgar is a CFO at Company Y and a great golfer.”
    • Share your opinions about a great book you have just read or movie you have seen.
    • Ask people to tell you about themselves. Many people like to have an open invitation to choose what they will tell you about their life and experience. They may give you an answer to a question you did not think of asking!
  • Remember to have fun! Networking isn’t just about finding a job, promoting your company or keeping your name “out there.” At the core, it’s really about making personal connections.
  • Don’t forget to stay connected! In a world of text messaging and e-mails it’s easier than ever for people to stay in touch. Distance breaks networks down, so be sure to reach out to your contacts frequently to let them know you are there.

Networking is an important skill in every stage of your career. You can benefit from connections made through your network, and you can help others by making connections for them. Next time you’re looking for new opportunity, put your (or our!) network to work!

Do you want help learning the art of networking? We offer candidate coaching!

Call us! We’re here to help!

Working with Aclivity

The Aclivity interviewing and placement process streamlines the challenging task of finding the right career or candidate. When you join up with Aclivity, you’ll have our national recruiters working together on your behalf—connecting you with the right people and the right opportunities at the right time!

Clients, we save you time and money:

  • We free you from the work of posting and renewing employment ads, reviewing resumes, setting up and conducting interviews
  • We bring resources right to you; offering well-screened, position-appropriate candidates
  • We build your team and meeting your project deadlines – without the hassle of finding the right help
  • We adapt our placement services based on your specific needs. Need help locating qualified candidates, but want to handle the interviews yourself? No problem! Need a short-term consultant? We’ve got one! Our recruiters are flexible experts and will take on the parts of the hiring process that you don’t have the time, or resources, to manage.
  • We get clear on your needs up front! Our recruiters are great at helping you to define your needs, outline your goals, and clarify requirements and prerequisites of the role you need to fill.
  • We understand that sometimes skills aren’t everything! We get to know your company culture—and our candidates’ behaviors and proclivities—to find the right fit for your team. Our candidates are interested in actively developing their skills, and in the right environment, they—and you—thrive!

Candidates, we make your job search easier:

  • We get to know who you are and what you bring to the table before trying to fit you into an available position. It’s important to us that you find a job that fits to ensure that you’re happy and that you’re offering our clients the expertise and professional attitude that meets their specific needs.
  • We represent your interests and needs in a market that can often be impersonal and difficult to navigate without the right personal connections.
  • We leverage our well-developed professional network to market your expertise to a trusted community of successful clients.
  • We offer support throughout your career! Our Career Services include educating you on the ever-changing job marketplace, mentoring you on career development goals and coaching you on creating a resume that highlights your unique experience and skill set.

At Aclivity, we believe in building relationships that endure. That’s why we consistently offer well-targeted connections between candidates and clients. We succeed by helping candidates put their unique skills to work and by offering our clients stable, qualified talent. And, we stay connected over the long term, so you know that when you need us, we’re here to help! Contact us when you are looking for a new job opportunity or star-candidate. Our placement and consulting expertise will help you succeed!

Why Employers Should Use Recruiters

Many managers would say that 90% of their success in their management role depends on the performance of the employees on their team. From this vantage, hiring the right people is a key to any company’s success. When you know you need help—the right help—it can be difficult to spare the staff, time or focus to search for the needle in the professional haystack.

When you need top talent, using a recruiter is a great idea!

  • Recruiters are the right tool for the job: If you need your car fixed, you take it to a mechanic. If you are sick, you go see a doctor. If you need outstanding human resources, you hire an agency that succeeds by leveraging their network of talent to meet client’s staffing and consulting needs.
  • Recruiters help you define what you’re looking for: A recruiter can help you flesh out your position description, understand the market rate for the role you’re filling and connect you to pre-screened, available talent.
  • Recruiters keep employers focused, saving time and money: For companies without a dedicated Human Resources department, finding new talent is not always the best use of time or energy. Recruiters save employers the distraction (and cost!) of hours spent evaluating resumes, managing online postings, scheduling interviews, testing basic skills—and then doing it all again every time a position opens up or turns over.
  • Recruiters know where to look for talent: Recruiters have the data-mining tools, subscriptions and network you need to find the right employee for the position you are filling. Recruiter’s networks develop with an eye for finding, and keeping in contact with, the best available talent.
  • Recruiters are less likely to lose the best candidates: The talent you are looking for should be handled with care. When a recruiter finds the one best candidate for an open position, they have already done their homework. Recruiters know the types of positions or companies the candidate is most interested in. Recruiters know the job market and what your competitors might offer the candidate for a similar role. And, recruiters can encourage the candidate that’s best suited to the position that it’s a good idea to join your team.
  • Recruiters produce risk-free results: Recruiters work on a contingent basis. Though they have no control over the actions you take to ensure the success of a placement, recruiters guarantee their placements. There is no risk since you pay after your needs are met!

When you’re looking for your next great employee, contact Aclivity! Our Five-Star Client Promise (www.aclivity.com) guides all of our actions, guaranteeing you a great recruiting experience. Call us today and let us put our network of Finance, Accounting and IT professionals to work for you!

Resignation Letter

Don’t Forget the Resignation Letter

Found a new opportunity? Don’t forget the resignation letter!

A resignation letter is more than an official notice that you are terminating your employment with your company, it is also a professional means of ensuring that you will leave your employer on good terms. When it’s time to move on to another position, don’t forget to resign at least two weeks in advance with a tactful, diplomatic letter. You will show respect for your employer and better your odds of a positive reference in the future.

To create a resignation letter, use the basic elements below (or search online for a template):

[Company Name] [Supervisor Name] [Supervisor Title] [Supervisor Department] [Company Address] [Company City, State, Zip Code]

 

Dear [Mr./Ms. Supervisor Name],

As of [Date], I will be resigning my position as [Your Title] at [Company Name].

I am very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had during my employment with [Company Name] and offer my best wishes for your continued success.

[Conclude by providing summary information relevant to the next steps that you will take; i.e. offering to help with the transition, or terms for return of key cards or company equipment.]

 

Respectfully yours,

[Handwritten Signature] [Typed Signature]

 

Though you could resign verbally (or leave a Post-It on the computer saying “Goodbye!”), it’s a good idea to take the time to tactfully end your relationship with your current employer. It will give you good practice at communicating in a potentially difficult situation, and will remind your employer that you are a respectful employee.

Need help with your resignation letter? Want to find a new career?

Call us! We’re here to help!

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