Six Top Business Trends for 2018

by Laura Labovich on February 6, 2018

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This next year will see the growth of key trends in the workplace including an increased desire to hire candidates with stronger ‘soft’ or social skills; greater reliance on sophisticated technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI); continued opportunity for remote and flexible work options; greater support for work/life balance options; and more ‘human-centered’ benefits to lure the best talent.

The importance of ‘Soft Skills’:
Businesses will continue to seek candidates with strong ‘soft skills’. ‘Soft skills’ include good communication skills, effective collaboration and team skills, creative problem solving, flexibility, adaptability and a positive, up-beat attitude. Job seekers who place an importance on acquiring or enhancing their Improving overall leadership skills will reap the rewards, as the best leaders draw on these ‘soft skills’ to lead effectively. Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, will continue to be a strong factor affecting hiring practices in the future. According to a Linked In survey, the top four ‘soft skills’ in highest demand in 2018 will be leadership, communication, collaboration and time management.

Better technology in the workplace:
Although the media is full of sensational stories about robots replacing humans in the workplace, the reality is that new technology and machine learning can actually enhance the employee experience, freeing people from tedious, repetitive tasks and allowing them to use critical skills and creativity to solve business challenges. For example, the global ‘chatbot’ market — chatbots are interactive AI-powered chat windows on websites that are replacing entry-level workers, such as help desk staff – will experience exponential growth in the next five years, according to Credence Research. Businesses can use AI and machine algorithms to better identify compliance risks, improve forecasting and create more effective data mining. AI can also provide better quality workplace data, allowing people to work smarter, with less effort. If you apply for a job these days, chances are your CV is first scanned by an AI program, which allows a recruiter to consider only those applications that fit the job criteria.

Flexible and remote work arrangements:
Employees are demanding more flexibility in when and where they work. This trend has been growing in recent years and will continue to increase in 2018. A Gallup poll showed that 51% of US employees would change employers if they found another company that offered more flexibility in working hours, and 37% said they would change companies if they could work from home or off-site for at least part of their work week.

In addition, a recent Staples study showed that 43% of employees say the ability to work remotely is fast becoming a business necessity, and that only 32% of employees spent their full working week in a conventional office. Some experts estimate that this next year will be a tipping point and by the end of 2018, half of Americans in the workforce will work remotely. In addition, companies that offer remote work options will experience improved staff retention and greater match between talent and open positions.

This trend will also help the corporate bottom line as companies no longer have to maintain costly offices: with the simultaneous rise in co-working and shared workspaces that offer group services, such as reception and mail services, businesses may be able to opt out of renting central office locations in favor of shared or temporary office space, or have remote teams that are geographically or even globally dispersed.

Another trend is the rise of hybrid living and working – or mixed-use — spaces. These are sites where companies have a worksite but employees can also rent units in which to live, or have these units provided as part of their employee package. Mixed rental spaces have increased approximately 25% over the past seven years, according to Axiometrics, a company that tracks housing trends.

Improved work/life balance:
This next year will see more employees turning away from stressful, high-demand jobs to seek a better balance between work and personal life. Flexible and remote work arrangements are one way of finding that balance. The increase in contract-based work, temporary and assignment-based jobs will also give people more control over their time.

Improved employee experience in the workplace:
Job roles are being redefined, with AI and better technology taking time-consuming or tedious tasks away from employees, freeing them up with more time and energy so they can strategically tackle business challenges. Business leaders can focus on building relationships and developing and mentoring staff, who, freed up from more mundane work, are likely to be more enthusiastic, motivated, engaged and passionate. Companies will also need to get more creative about their points of difference in the benefits and perks they offer their employees to retain top talent. Examples include free fitness classes or gym memberships, healthy lunches, massages in the workplace, free snacks, tuition reimbursement, health insurance and paid parental leave. Another trend that will continue to improve employee experience in the workplace, according to Fast Company, is stronger focus on addressing unequal pay and workplace harassment issues.

A shrinking permanent workforce:
According to Deloitte Insights, this next year will see a continued shrinking of the permanent workforce as businesses hire fewer direct employees and rely increasingly on an ‘augmented’ workforce (using contingency workers and technology to supplement the workforce). Some businesses are even outsourcing their entire staff to agencies known as Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs). The advantages of using a PEO are numerous: PEOs can handle the human resources, payroll and administrative functions of managing a workforce, while ensuring that compliance and job standards are met.

If you are a job seeker and these trends are any indication, you can look forward to a happier, more enjoyable work life. However, you may also face a shrinking permanent workforce, so thinking about up-skilling to become more valuable as an employee and/or getting more training is a good idea. Keep up to date on technology in the workplace. Consider, for example, getting some basic programming skills under your belt. If you don’t have time to take a class, go online! There are numerous online training sites for coding, or outlets to improve your soft skills, such as leadership or teamwork. Continuing to improve your ‘soft skills’ can help your chances of getting a job in the future, as these skills become more important to employers in the workplace.

“ONO” (Open to New Opportunities) Hashtag

by Laura Labovich on January 18, 2018

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No one would dispute that LinkedIn is the best site on which to get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers. At present, approximately 90% of recruiters use the site to find and screen job candidates. However, as LinkedIn gets crowded, people find it increasingly difficult to stand out and get their message to their target audience.

In addition, LinkedIn only displays the first third of your profile headline in the first search on a candidate. You read that correctly: the 120 characters you sweated over crafting to a fine art have been whittled down to just 32 in a quick search. So, while you have 120 characters in your headline, only 32 characters will actually show up unless someone opts to drill down into your complete profile.

With only 32 characters working in your favor, how do you get the attention of recruiters and hiring managers in such a rapidly shrinking space?

A group of LinkedIn influencers devised one solution: the hash tag #ONO – an acronym that stands for ‘Open to New Opportunities.’ #ONO uses only three characters to communicate that you are seeking a new job or new clients.

Lynda Spiegel is a member of the hashtag #ONO founding group. She is a LinkedIn writer and speaker on job search, recruitment and human resources best practices.

Spiegel writes, “There’s no shame in being unemployed – it’s a condition most of us experience at least once throughout our careers – but it’s not a compelling reason for someone to hire you.”

“But, when you are looking for work, you want to do everything possible to make your job search go faster,’ said Spiegel. If people don’t know you are searching, they can’t help you.

Ideating the right solution to this problem, Lynda Spiegel and Deb Helfrich, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Mindfulness E-Learning Solutions, were brainstorming the terms people could use in their job search on LinkedIn. ‘I realized,’ said Lynda, ‘as a former HR recruiter myself, that never once did I search with the term: ‘Looking for New Opportunities.’ Those are not keywords that recruiters use.’

She mentioned to Deb that candidates and recruiters appear to be working at cross purposes. Deb suggested starting a hashtag that could bridge the divide and serve as a platform that both job seekers and recruiters could use to communicate effectively.

For recruiters to be willing to use it, however, the new hashtag would have to be short and punchy. Deb suggested shortening ‘Open to New Opportunities’ – which she often saw used in job seeker profiles – to #ONO. Then, she argued, recruiters might be willing to include this hashtag in their searches, as it uses few letters and could generate a list of candidates who were also using the same hashtag.

#LetsWork is another hash tag similar to #ONO that’s gaining wider usage on LinkedIn. Like #ONO, #LetsWork uses fewer characters in a LinkedIn headline or summary and, seeing as how adoption has been more of a slow drip, may not alert employers to that fact that one of their employees is actively job hunting.

If you search on either term in LinkedIn, you will find that many people are using these terms. Even together, these two terms only take up a small amount of the available headline real estate. Lynda said the #ONO hashtag is ‘still too new to [determine] traction.’

Greg Johnson, of AKA Recruiting, adds a cautionary note. Greg said, in a LinkedIn post, putting any mention of a job search on your profile is a ‘double-edged sword.’ He says that ‘people should worry less about hashtags and headlines and more about the other 99.9% of the work they need to put into their job search.’ Using hashtags, he said, doesn’t excuse a job seeker from still doing the hard work.

“No hashtag or LinkedIn headline alone will do anything for you,” said Greg.

He went on to say that ideally a job seeker will do both – use hashtags, while also building and utilizing his or her network, and continuing to job hunt.

If you’re a job seeker looking to find work, you’ll find it useful to know some terms that recruiters and hiring managers use to advertise their job listings. Try searching LinkedIn using hash tags #TopTalent #Recruiting or #NowHiring.

Using #ONO and #LetsWork may also find you someone like Mike Barthel. Mike is a Talent Acquisition Expert who is using both hashtags to identify right-fit talent. Mike posted recently on LinkedIn that he was offering to ‘share his own network of connections to help get great people back to work.’

A recruiter sharing his own network with anyone looking for work? You probably didn’t get a better present than this during the holidays.

Google for Jobs

by Laura Labovich on July 26, 2017

computerGoogle is constantly releasing new tools, as well as updates to improve existing ones, in order to make information as easy for consumers to access as possible.

Recently, the search engine expanded into the job search market with Google for Jobs. This tool takes the search for employment to another level, creating a means for average users to not only search for jobs, but also find jobs that specifically meet their needs.

An Organized Job Search

Job search websites can be confusing and disorganized for the user, as postings could be out of date, duplicates can exist, and the selection may not be as specific as you want it to be. Moreover, with so many different job search sites, it can be an overwhelming experience to search for a job online because how do you know where to start or which site to rely on? Well, fret no further. Google created Google for Jobs to overcome these struggles and make life easier for all the world’s prospective employees.

How Does It Work?

Much like Trivago (the popular hotel rate comparison website) filters through all the hotel websites out there to amass a list that is most relevant to your travel needs, Google for Jobs acquires, compiles, and sorts information to meet your job search needs. The search engine combs through the whole of the Internet to gather information across millions of job listing sources, such as actual job search websites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Monster, companies, social media, and more. Then Google takes that information and removes duplicates, eliminates anything that is dated, and indexes what remains into categories that will make your job search simpler.

Where Do I Start?

Getting started with Google for Jobs is easy; all you have to do is open a Google Search window and type “jobs” or “internships” into the search bar. A blue box labeled “Jobs” will appear with your job opportunities listed underneath it.


This is a very generic search, and the results will be tailored to the area you are searching from and feature all industries. In order to narrow down your search you’ll want to provide some parameters and specify your search query. You can also click on the blue box to enter the official Google for Jobs area and get the full experience of this great tool!

Narrowing Down Your Search

Google for Jobs allows people to specify their job search guidelines based on:

  • Industry
  • Title of Position
  • Postdate of Position
  • Type of Work
  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • Internship
  • Contract Work
  • Location of Company
  • Company Type
  • And More!

In a Google Search window you can start narrowing down your employment expedition by expanding what you type into the search bar. For example, if you were look for a publishing job, instead of simply typing in “jobs,” you could search:

  • Publishing jobs
  • Publishing jobs near me
  • Publishing jobs Chicago
  • Publishing jobs Illinois
  • And So On!

Your more-specified Google job listings will show up in that same area with the blue “Jobs” box:

jobs detail

You can also specify your search within the Google for Jobs area that (as mentioned) you access by clicking on the blue box, or the blue area with the arrow below the first few results.

Other Important Features

Within the Google for Jobs area there are many extra tools to help you with your employment endeavors. You can turn on job alerts to have Google email you when new positions related to your specified search are posted. Google for Jobs populates your search with some suggested job types or parameters if you have not specified any. If you find a position that appeals to you, by clicking on the listing’s button Google will direct you to wherever the original posting came from so you can apply to it. And if you have a dream job at the top of your list, you can search specific companies through the “employer” section found on the top left.

Simplifying The Job Search Process

Hunting for a job does not have to be a complicated endeavor. Google for Jobs has created a efficient way for you to maximize your job search so that you find the jobs you want as easily as possible. Explore the tool today, and for more job search strategy and career strategy assistance, contact the experts at The Career Strategy Group. We help you find a job faster!

The Future of the Remote Workforce

by Laura Labovich on June 7, 2017

The Millennial workforce is working from home in increasing volume. It is a trend that has been growing for years and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. A recent study from Polycom shows that almost a full third of employees around the globe are regularly working remotely, and almost two-thirds have some sort of flexible work schedule. Clearly, the concept of the workplace is changing both rapidly and dramatically.

This change has brought about a lot of positives: productivity is up and stress is down. Two-thirds of managers agree that remote workers have seen increases in productivity, while a full 82% of employees report lower stress levels. Giving your employees the option of working remotely has been shown to reduce attrition rates, decrease overhead costs, and increase employee happiness.

The new challenge then becomes: how do you keep your employees connected and engaged as part of a cohesive team? Not surprisingly, communication is key. With almost 80% of employees working on a team with someone based in a different office, developing inclusive communication strategies and workflows is essential to ensuring your team is up-to-date.

Chat apps like Slack or Skype have become essential office tools regardless of whether your employees work remotely or not. Many companies are now using online collaboration apps like Google’s G Suite to increase productivity and coordinate document organization. Hardware can be a great route as well. Installing something like a Nucleus home intercom system in conference rooms can keep workers at home connected and maintain face to face communication.

Talent Aquisition folks: if you’re looking to draw a younger workforce as part of your recruiting process, a flexible work schedule is a key benefit. Over two-thirds of millennials reported that a work-from-home (WFH) benefit would “substantially increase their interest in an employer.” For job seekers looking for a more casual work environment, WFH might be just the opportunity you need to gain their attention.



Are Layoffs Coming?

by Laura Labovich on May 30, 2017

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Did your last layoff take you completely by surprise? Were you carrying your box of staplers thinking “why did this just happen to me?” You’re not alone.

Perhaps you didn’t know that you could be looking for signs. There are both subtle and obvious signs that a company may be about to embark on a reduction-in-force. Consider if your company is doing any of the following:

  • Your publically traded company takes a significant hit (a large decrease in value);
  • Your company shifts from keeping hoards of inventory, to streamlined operations keeping only the minimum on hand;
  • Your company ordinarily hires 30 students every summer, but cuts the college intern program in half;
  • They impose a hiring freeze altogether;
  • Business is slow! (You find yourself taking long lunch breaks and returning to less and less work.)
  • The company’s annual picnic is canceled, the New Year’s party is shelved, and front office staff begins to hoard office supplies;
  • If your boss asks you to cross train another employee on your job functions (big red flag).
  • If your boss suddenly requests that you hand over your complete client list or a status report on all the projects that you’re working;

Search for Trigger Events

If you are suspicious, pop over to your favorite search engine and type in “ACME Incorporated” “bad news,” substituting your company’s name for ACME Inc., of course. If anything pops up, look at the date on the article: a recent article may signify what is called a “trigger event.”

If you get too many results, it may help to be a little more specific. Instead of something generic like “bad news,” try appending search terms to the trigger event you are specifically concerned about such as:

  • Decreased earnings
  • Revenue reduction
  • Layoffs
  • Mergers
  • Acquisitions
  • Seeking buyers
  • On the market
  • Bleak/negative sales forecast
  • Downsizing/down-sizing
  • Closing/closures
  • Consolidating
  • Shutdowns/shutting down
  • Ending operations
  • Closing operations
  • Ending production
  • Moving production
  • Fired/quit/resigned
  • Departing/departed/departure

If your favorite search engine happens to be Google, visit the Google Alerts page and automate the useful searches you created so they can be delivered daily, weekly, or “as news is discovered” right to your inbox, without you having to mine for it. That way, you’ll be the first to know when something noteworthy happens.

The Takeaway

No job is 100% secure and you will likely not be working at one company your whole career. Those days are long gone. So, job changes are becoming more commonplace than they once were.

On the bright side, exciting new opportunities are being created every single day. Modern day workers change jobs on average every three years, and those same people change professions or fields every five years.

So, keep your resume up to date, revise your LinkedIn profile and keep your Facebook page free of beer-swilling photos. You’ll be ready for the search if, in fact, a layoff does occur.