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Mastering the Art of Résumé Writing: Take Control of Your Future

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With stiff competition at every corner, finding a job is a daunting process. To increase your chances of being selected, you should understand the hiring funnel. Here’s a quick breakdown of the typical online job posting:

  • 1,000 individuals will see a job post;
  • 200 will begin the application process;
  • 100 will complete the application process;
  • 75 of those 100 will be screened out by either the applicant tracking system (ATS) or a recruiter;
  • 25 résumés will be seen by a hiring manager;
  • four to six will be invited for an interview;
  • one to three of them will be invited back for a final interview;
  • one will be offered the job, and 80 percent of those receiving an offer will accept it.

With odds like these, how can anyone stand out? For starters, make sure you’ve reviewed your résumé. Eliminating common mistakes is the first viable step to getting noticed … and in a good way!

Common sumé Mistakes

The quickest way to put yourself out of the hiring funnel is having misspelled words on your résumé. While the interview will land you the job, the résumé gets you in the door. It’s your chance to make a first impression, so don’t screw it up with easy-to-correct errors. Proofread, proofread, proofread and for goodness’ sake, proofread!

Have someone else look over your résumé to catch any errors you might have missed. (Remember: Computer spell-check functions don’t catch everything.) For college students, utilize the career services center, as its staff members are there to help you. For everyone else, ask a friend, family member, mentor or colleague. Mistakes are a direct reflection of you and your personal brand. Don’t let your first impression also be your last.

With regards to formatting, the rule of the one-page résumé is gone. The important thing to consider is whether your skills are reflected accurately. That said, your résumé isn’t meant to be an essay, so don’t go over two pages. Be sure to use action words and sentences to best reflect your abilities, but if you think it’s not necessary, leave it off. Fluff equals clutter.

For certain individuals, the résumé has evolved into a more creative space. Formatting parameters are usually based on preference, but consider the job for which you are applying. A résumé for a graphic designer will look significantly different than one for an entry-level financial position.

Outside of misspellings and formatting errors, having an objective that doesn’t match the job for which you are applying could cause you to be filed under “undesirable.” Rather than including an objective, list your key expertise and skills. Remember that a résumé is a marketing tool to sell yourself, so be realistic about what you can do and showcase that in the most appropriate light.

A final rule: If you cannot recall the details of a particular situation, leave it off. Assume you will be asked, so if you have nothing to recall, not only would you look unprepared, but devalued. Further regarding details, be sure to quantify and qualify. For instance, rather than writing “Process Accounts Payable,” use “Responsible for $1M in payables monthly.” Your credibility increases simply by adding a measurable value.

Demand Attention

With an abundance of résumés floating around, yours is just another piece of paper to add to the stack, unless you can demand attention. During any given week, 427,000 résumés can be found on the popular job site Monster. In order to garner attention from a recruiter, you will have to find a game changer. Here are a couple tips and tricks to creating a more appealing résumé:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Accentuate your accomplishments.
  • Show progression.
  • Provide empirical data to support your successes.
  • Don’t just say you want to succeed; show how you will.

One strategy I have found to set candidates apart is having a personal website. This nontraditional method grabs attention, and is a creative way to showcase your abilities. Having a unique identifier can give you an edge over the competition, but in some instances, a website may not appropriate for the job.

What’s the Take on Cover Letters?

A good rule of thumb for cover letters is to determine if the company you’re applying at requires one. If it doesn’t, don’t. While some argue that a cover letter is an opportunity to frame your candidacy for the employer and expand upon your interest in the position, it may do more harm than good. Your résumé should reflect enough of your skill set to set you apart. Usually, a cover letter is more fluff than concrete information, and fluff doesn’t hold near as much value.

However, if you must submit a cover letter, it should tell why you are excited about the position. Indicate why you are best for the role, especially if it is not readily apparent from your past experiences. And above all, keep it short.

Writing a résumé is an art. Take these dos and don’ts, apply them and become the master of your fate. A few simple changes could mean the difference between simply being a candidate or becoming a new hire.


Tiffany McGowen

by Tiffany McGowen


Author Bio: Tiffany McGowen, Paycom’s national director of recruiting, is responsible for the oversight of staffing corporate headquarters and growing the nationwide sales force. She has more than 10 years of recruiting experience, ranging from executive-level talent to interns, with a specialty in sales professionals. Passionate about motivation, McGowen is constantly on a coast-to-coast hunt for the best and brightest talent in every market.

reverification

Best Practices for Utilizing Section 3 of the Form I-9

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Best Practices for Utilizing Section 3 of the Form I-9

Employers are used to filling out Section 1 and Section 2 of Form I-9 because it’s required for every employee. However, Section 3 – otherwise known as the reverification process– can be a bit mystifying.

Who should be reverified?

Employees with expiring employment authorization or documentation should be reverified to ensure continued authorization to work in the United States. The need for reverification is determined by looking at the List A and List C documents that were presented when the I-9 was initially completed. The work authorization expiration date entered by the employee in Section 1, if any, also should be taken into consideration.

When should the reverification process be completed?

The reverification process should be completed prior to the expiration date of the employee’s authorization or documentation. The expiration date is found in two places: the date provided by the employee in Section 1, and the date recorded under List A or List C in Section 2. If these dates conflict, employers should use the earlier date to determine when reverification is necessary.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends reminding employees that their documentation will expire at least 90 days ahead of the expiration date. This gives them time to present a List A or List C document or receipt showing continued work authorization. Paycom’s Document and Task Management system helps to ease the burden on employers by providing reminders 90 days prior to an employee’s reverification date.

When should the reverification process NOT be used?

Knowing when you cannot reverify an employee is important, too. U.S. citizens and noncitizen nationals should not be reverified. Additionally, lawful permanent residents should not be reverified if they provide a Form I-551, Permanent Resident or Alien Registration Receipt card for Section 2. An employee’s citizenship status is found in Section 1, as well as at the top of Section 2. Also, List B documents – even if they expire – should not be reverified.

How do you complete Section 3?

To complete Section 3, simply examine the unexpired documents presented by your employee to determine if they appear to be authentic and relate to your employee. Then, record the document title, document number and expiration date, if there is one. Lastly, sign and date this section. You must use Section 3 from the most recent Form I-9, even if the employee’s original form is an older version.  Likewise, if you previously have completed Section 3 for the employee, you should use Section 3 on a new version of the form and attach it to the employee’s original I-9.

 Other instances in which you can use Section 3

Employers also may complete Section 3 when an employee is rehired within three years of the date that the Form I-9 was originally completed. To complete Section 3 for rehires:

  • Confirm that the original I-9 relates to the employee.
  • Determine if the employee is still authorized to work or if reverification is required by reviewing Section.
  • Enter the date of rehire in Section 3 if the employee’s work authorization is still valid.
  • If expired, request the employee’s valid List A or List C document and complete a Section 3 reverification.
  • Sign and date Section 3.

 

Name Changes

You also can use Section 3 to record when your employee has a legal name change. You are not required to update Form I-9 for name changes. However, the USCIS recommends maintaining correct information on an employee’s Form I-9. Similarly, you are not required to request documentation of a name change from an employee, but it is recommended in order to be reasonably assured of your employee’s identity if the government ever asks to audit the Form I-9.

Paycom’s Document and Task Management solution automates employment verification from within the Paycom system to help ensure compliance and reduce your exposure to audits and penalties from Form I-9 violations. Employees and employers can complete the Form I-9 online, including Section 3, utilize electronic signature verification, and securely store completed Form I-9s and supporting documentation within the Paycom system.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Document Management, Featured

Alyssa Looney

by Alyssa Looney


Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Alyssa Looney monitors laws, rules and regulations to ensure that the Paycom software is up to date, specifically regarding immigration law and state law developments in the Western United States. She holds a JD and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys cooking, being active, playing with her puppy and exploring Oklahoma City.

May the 4th

Disturbance in Your Workforce? May the 4th Be With You

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A short time ago in an employee suggestion box not far, far away, this note from a disengaged employee was discovered.

Dear Management,

Being a real trooper, I’ve faithfully served this empire for many parsecs. But lately, morale here is in the trash compactor. I’m close to “storming” out of here! Here’s why:

  • We don’t feel valued. It’s challenging to work for someone who acts like a dictator. (The black cape? A bit much.)
  • We want a comfortable working environment. These uniforms don’t exactly help. (I have to plan bathroom breaks 30 minutes in advance.)
  • We want to contribute, but we’re afraid the boss will choke us from across the room if he doesn’t like what we say. A little two-way constructive feedback could make a death star-sized difference. 
  • I find our lack of training disturbing. With the literal universe at our fingertips, why do we not have an online learning management system?

A disengaged staff is a real phantom menace. Don’t let this happen; awaken your workforce today with our “What Employees Want” toolkit to help you keep the force in your workforce as strong as possible.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, HR Management, Learning Management, What Employees Want

Rod Lott

by Rod Lott


Author Bio: As Paycom’s Creative Services Manager, Rod Lott brings more than two decades of experience in marketing, advertising, branding and journalism. A published author and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he has worked with such brands as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sonic Drive-In and OU.

Paid Family Leave Program

New York to Implement Nation’s Most Comprehensive Paid Family Leave Program

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New York to Implement Nation’s Most Comprehensive Paid Family Leave Program

Private employers in the state of New York will soon be required to provide up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. The new law will apply to all employees of employers covered by the state’s worker’s compensation law and will be completely employee-funded via payroll deductions. Public employers are permitted to participate by opting-in to the program.

Growing Trend

These types of “paid family leave” laws continue to gain momentum. Three other states (California, New Jersey and Rhode Island) provide workers with partial pay during parental leave. Some cities have even joined in on the trend. San Francisco passed a paid family leave program in 2016, and Washington, D.C. also recently approved one that will take effect in 2020.

New York lawmakers championed this law as a pivotal step in the pursuit of equality and dignity in both the workplace and home. “New York enacted the strongest paid family leave plan in the nation to ensure that no one has to choose between losing a job and missing the birth of a child, or being able to spend time with a loved one in their final days,” said New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, upon passage of the law.

Employee Eligibility

The New York legislation originally passed in April of 2016, but the obligations for employers and employees were announced just recently.

Beginning January 1, 2018, the state’s paid family leave program will provide employees with employment protection and partial wage replacement if they spend time away from work to:

  1. bond with a child (including fostering or adopting)
  2. help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service
  3. care for a close relative with a serious health condition

A “close relative” as defined under the law includes a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent (including in-law), grandparent and grandchild. An employee must be employed full-time for 26 weeks, or part-time for 175 days to be eligible for a paid family leave benefit. An employer may permit an employee to use vacation or sick leave while on leave, but may not require its use.

 Employer Impact

The complete 12-week benefit will not be implemented fully until 2021. The amount of paid family leave and the percentage of the employee’s salary paid will be realized over four years:

 

Year Weeks
Available
Max % of
Employee Salary
Cap % of State
Average Weekly Wage
1/1/2018 8 50% 50%
1/1/2019 10 55% 55%
1/1/2020 10 60% 60%
1/1/2021 12 67% 67%

 

Employers will be required to purchase a paid family leave insurance policy or self-insure. The employee will pay the premiums of the policy via payroll deductions, beginning July 1, 2017.

For more information about the phase-in process, calculation of the Average Weekly Wage, or general information on the program, visit the New York paid family leave website.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues problems.

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Posted in Blog, Employment Law, Featured, Pre-Employment, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management

Jason Hines

by Jason Hines


Author Bio: Jason Hines is a Paycom compliance attorney. With more than five years’ experience in the legal field, he monitors developments in human resource laws, rules and regulations to ensure any changes are promptly updated in Paycom’s system for our clients. Previously, he was an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson. Hines earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and his juris doctor degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he graduated cum laude. A fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Hines also enjoys exploring the great outdoors with his wife and daughter.

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