Jobless Claims Rise But Labor Market Continues to Strengthen

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Last week, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose. Despite the increase, the underlying trend continues to point toward strengthening labor market conditions. The claims report also showed that the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 31,000 to 2.54 million in the week ended July 19.

According to the Labor Department, for the week ended July 26, initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000. Additionally, the prior week’s claims were revised to show 5,000 fewer applications received than previously reported.

Although the weekly claims rose, the four-week average of claims, which is considered a better gauge of labor market trends, fell 2,500 to 297,250, the lowest level since April 2006. An analyst with the Labor Department stated that there were no special factors influencing the state level data. Claims continue to remain at levels that are consistent with strong job growth. Additionally, the data will have no bearing on July’s nonfarm payrolls as it falls outside of the survey window.

According to a Reuters survey of economists, the government is expected to report on Friday that payrolls increased by 233,000 in July. Although the anticipated number is lower than June’s large gain of 288,000 jobs, it would still mark the sixth straight month that employment has expanded by more than 200,000, a stretch last seen in 1997.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve officials acknowledged the improvement in labor market conditions, but still pointed out that there is a “significant underutilization of labor resources.”

 

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Using Professional Recommendations

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In today’s online world, most customers will read reviews prior to purchasing something. A testimonial is a great way to get a sense of what you are purchasing before you actually use the product yourself. While product reviews are there to help boost the likelihood that you’ll buy a product, a testimonial or professional recommendation can work in the same way for employers. Having a third party endorsement is an effective way to market your skills during your job search and to help sell yourself to a potential employer. Take a look at the ways you can receive endorsements and boost your hiring chances:

1. On LinkedIn
LinkedIn serves as the most obvious choice to highlight your testimonials, due to its built-in recommendations system. Once you have completed your LinkedIn profile, it will fall towards the top of the search results if someone Googles you. As recruiters, hiring managers and other professionals check candidates online, they will see recommendations at the front and center. Be sure to ask former managers, co-workers or professional connections to provide you with well, though-out recommendations on your page.

2. On a Personal Website
A personal website is another great location for testimonials. If you don’t already have a personal website, then you should consider making one. According to Erin Greenawald, a personal website helps you stand out, control your branding, showcase your skills, network and to be found more easily by others. In addition to all of those benefits, it is an excellent place to show off the amazing things that others have said about you.

3. In your Cover Letter
Though it is slightly less conventional, your cover letter can still serve as a good place for a testimonial, but only if you have a great one. One way to integrate a positive testimonial into your cover letter is to include a quote from a previous manager or client as evidence of your passion for your area of expertise. Be sure that the testimonial is incredibly strong and only use this tactic sparingly, using no more than one quote or recommendation per cover letter.

After receiving positive feedback from a former manager or professional connections, compile them all into one place such as an email folder. When it is time to add a new testimonial to your website or to find someone who is able to recommend you, you will have an idea of where to look and how to get started.

 

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Gigats Employer Review of Acuity

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Gigats reports valuable information regarding industry growth and companies to work for. The Insurance industry continues to grow stronger and provide a variety of job prospects. On the list of the best insurance companies to work for, is Acuity. Read below for the Gigats Employer Review of Acuity to determine if it is the right company for your perfect job match.

Acuity rated as one of Fortune’s Top 10 Great Workplaces for Millennials, as well as earning the title as the number one Best Medium Company to Work For. Acuity is a nationally recognized company specializing in property and casualty insurance for consumers and businesses in the United States. Acuity has earned many accolades for its financial strength, innovative technology, workplace environment, and community philanthropy. The company receives a 3.3 rating on Glassdoor.com and 62% of employees recommend the company to a friend. With a turnover rate of only two percent, Acuity retains motivated, experienced, and dedicated professionals who develop long-term relationships, contributing to an excellent work culture. The company offers a variety of career opportunities in the growing industry of insurance and provides excellent benefits.

Acuity receives excellent reviews from employers and news outlets due to its excellent work opportunities, culture, and benefits. Visit Gigats.com  to see what excellent opportunities may be available with Acuity and other top companies.

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3 Steps to Become the #1 Job Candidate

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Making your way to the top of a hiring manager’s candidate list takes a lot of effort. While many believe it comes down to technical skills or experience, sometimes the key strategies that will help you land the job are simple, good, old-fashioned social skills. Your attitude, the way you present yourself and the network that you develop will determine your ultimate success during a job search. Complete these 3 simple steps in order to turn yourself into the #1 job candidate:

1. Ask for Advice
When attempting to present themselves as mature job-seekers, many candidates will shy away from asking for advice or appearing novice. The good news is that you can still maintain an aura of professionalism and confidence while receiving advice from a network contact. By asking a contact for advice, a piece of information or their thoughts in general, you successfully engage them in conversation and you make them more likely to want to help you.  Ask questions regarding recommendations on organizations that may be a good fit, information on business strategies, and how you can make yourself a more valuable candidate.

2. Follow up
After your contact provides you with their help and advice, be sure to follow up and thank them. Demonstrating that you appreciated their help can open the door to a second opportunity to ask them for additional names, enlarging your network and potential leads. Be sure to follow up with your contacts in a timely and courteous manner. Successful relationship building is a two-way street, so pay it forward and provide information for the same contacts that have helped you in the past to maintain the network connection.

3. Maximize your “Halo Effect”
A “halo effect” occurs when our overall impression of a person influences how we feel and think about his or her character. This can occur when you receive a recommendation from a trusted colleague, co-worker, employee or friend. Employers are interested in knowing as much as they can about a candidate, and will seek out recommendations for this reason. When provided with a reference, employers will tend to assume that the individual has the necessary work-specific skills, personal traits and strong work ethic that they desire, because the recommendation came from a trusted source. Because of this effect, it is important that you spend time during your job search on improving and developing your network.

Despite all of the realities of the modern job market, people help people get jobs. While your skills set, market knowledge, work ethic, and other great talents have a large impact on you finding a job, an extensive personal and professional network can help you become the #1 candidate in a hiring managers eyes.

 

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5 Year Anniversary of Minimum Wage Increase

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Yesterday marked five years since the date of the last raise to the federal minimum wage. On July 23, 2009, Congress raised the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. Since that date, the minimum wage has remained flat, while the cost of living has steadily increased.

Since the increase, the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index has increased by nearly 9 percent, excluding volatile food and energy prices. In some circumstances, food and energy prices have jumped even more than that. For example, beef and gasoline are up 40 and 45 percent, respectively, since July of 2009.

During that time, the average hourly earnings of private-sector employees have risen by roughly 10 percent, barely keeping up with inflation. However, many low-wage Americans have not received that same modest raise, with roughly 1.5 million Americans earning the federal minimum wage in 2013, according to the Labor Department, and many made only slightly more.

Over the years the expense of various, common items has risen while the wage has stayed stagnant. For example, a gallon of milk now costs 21.2% more than it did in July of 2009, and one dozen eggs is up 30.3%.

Presently, a full-time, minimum wage employee will only earn about $15,080 per year. Placing that number into perspective, the current federal poverty line for a family of four is considered $23,850, causing labor advocates referring to the wages as “poverty wages.”

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The 6 Types of Interview Styles

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As a job seeker, you never know the type of interview setting that you may walk in to. Because there are many different types of interview styles, it is important to be aware of each before you put yourself out there. Prior to attending the interview, try your best to gather information about the interview itself from the interview scheduler. Ask who you will be interviewing with and if you will be meeting them separately or as a group. Also, determine if you will be expected to take and tests, or prepare any presentations. Taking the necessary steps to determine what the interview may be like can allow you to mentally prepare for whatever scenario you may encounter.

Depending on the industry that you are applying in, interview methods can vary greatly. Some interviewers will focus on just one style, and others will engage you in a combination of several different interview types. In order to successfully prepare for an interview, understand each type of interview setting and the intention from the interviewer’s perspective:

Standard:
During the standard interview, an interviewer will likely ask you to tell him or her about yourself. They will ask common questions such as, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and “Why are you here today?” For this type of interview, come up with well-thought-out, specific and truthful answers for common interview questions, prior to going to the interview. Doing so will allow you to have a strong, concise response ready to go.

Behavioral:
The behavioral interview will focus on the past so that employers can attempt to predict future work behaviors. In this setting, interviewers will ask you to describe specific scenarios, such as a time when you didn’t get along with a colleague, and give personal anecdotes about past failures or successes. To answer these types of questions effectively, choose on example, briefly describe the situation, how you handled it and what you learned from it.

Situational:
Situational interviews are often confused with behavioral interviews because many of the questions seem similar, however there are some differences. Typically, situational questions concentrate on future performance rather than past performance. In a situational interview, the interviewer will give you a dilemma and ask how you would go about dealing with it. Employers are looking to see how you would solve a problem and are attempting to measure your expertise. Be honest, specific and directly address the problem by describing your solution for the scenario and the actions that you would take.

Case:
Case interviews tend to be reserved primarily for the consulting industry and aim to focus on how you would solve specific business issues. Interviewers often use quantitative questions that allow you to show the interviewer how you think. The interviewer will be looking for insight into your thought process, so talk aloud as you consider your answer and create an interactive conversation.

Presentation:
In a presentation interview, employers will challenge you with a business issue and ask you to present solutions to one or more employees. Typically you will receive a certain amount to prepare, and a certain amount of time to actually present. The best thing to do in this scenario is to put pen to paper immediately and to begin establishing a solution quickly. The logic and contents of your thought process will be what is most important in this setting, so don’t worry about being fancy.

Panel:
A panel interview is when you are interviewed by multiple people at once. To effectively answer questions during this process, use the techniques mentioned for behavioral, situational and case interviews. Anticipate questions from all of the different interviewers and don’t be surprised if the questions cover several different interview styles.

Regardless of the type of interview you have, always remember the basics of interviewing such as maintaining eye contact and demonstrating that you are engaged in the conversation. Although there are many different types of interview situations, there are ways to prepare yourself for each scenario in order to effectively demonstrate your qualifications. In every case, sell yourself to the employer and be yourself in order to show the interviewer that you are the best job candidate.

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9 Steps to Better Social Media

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According to a recent survey conducted by Career Builder, 51 percent of employers that research job candidates on social media networks have come across content that caused them to reject a potential candidate. Like it or not, when you are in the market for a job,  your “professional” image on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media networks can actually trump your “private” image. Lynn Sarikas, director of the MBA Career Center at Northeastern University’s D’Amore McKim School of Business says, “It is critical that all your online activities are consistent with your professional brand. They have become part of your professional presence, and need to be consistent, positive and professional.” Just as you carefully edit and proof your resume and cover letter, you should avoid overlooking the social media component of your brand. In order to ensure your social media activity doesn’t ruin your chances of getting a job, complete these nine steps:

1. Edit your pictures
When it comes to social media photos, “If you wouldn’t want your mother seeing it, don’t put it up there,” says Amanda Augustine, job search expert at career website TheLadders.com. Avoid posting photos of excessive drinking or outrageous parties and remove any photos that may put you in a bad light. Additionally, check your settings so that you are able to control who can tag you in photos.

2. Boost your privacy
According to NextAdvisor, 30 percent of Facebook users don’t have their profiles set to “private” status. Changing your profile to private, allows you to tighten the security settings on your accounts that aren’t connected to you career. Another way to keep potential employers at bay is to come up with a creative user name for Facebook and other social media accounts. You might consider using a nickname or your first and middle names instead of your professional name.

3. Think before you post
Augustine says, “Once you publish a comment, status update, photo or video, it’s there forever- even if you delete it later.” She suggests only using social media to “enrich your career, rather than derail it.”

4. Keep everything in context
As a job seeker, know where to post content that fits a particular situation. For example, Facebook is a great venue for sharing day-to-day details about your life, while LinkedIn should be reserved solely for your professional life. Avoid divulging too much personal information on your LinkedIn because it may cause concern for an employer.

5. Accentuate the positive
According to Geoff Webb, the global digital talent manager at HR consulting giant Aon Hewitt, your social media profiles should play up the positive facts of your professional and personal lives. Consider which elements of your life are more engaging and what people find more endearing about you when you begin to generate content.

6. Maintain your cool.
A 2014 survey by Jobvite found that 65 percent of recruiters frowned upon job seekers who sprinkled their posts with profanity. Avoid posting comments or status updates that bash former or current colleagues, bosses or other individuals that you have encountered professionally.

7. Watch your words
Just as you should avoid profanity, you should also pay close attention to your grammar and spelling. In fact, the Jobvite survey also found that recruiters were more turned off by grammar and punctuation errors on job candidates’ social media profiles (61 percent) than by references to alcohol use (47 percent).

8. Search yourself
Go to Google and type in your own name. What are the results? What you see is what hiring professionals see, so if you notice something that is unflattering, attempt to delete it. Andrea Eldridge, co-founder and CEO of computer repair service Nerds on Calls, suggests creating a Google alert so that you will be informed whenever a new mention of your name occurs on the web.

9. Avoid controversy
A final rule of thumb to follow on social media is to avoid any hot-button topics such as politics or religion. However, don’t shy away from engaging in conversation and posting content altogether. Instead, share content or news that an employer posts on social media or ask thoughtful questions on a company’s social media site in order to put yourself on the radar.

Monitor your social media use in order to ensure that you demonstrate a professional demeanor on and offline. Follow the nine steps above in order to clean up your pages and to avoid losing a job offer over silly, social media content.

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Gigats Employer Review of Orbitz Worldwide

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Gigats’ job hunting tool box allows job seekers to learn about relevant companies, positions, benefits and perks. We provide detailed information regarding the companies that top the charts as the best of the best and allow you to determine if they have the right job match for you. Take a look at the Gigats Employer Review of Orbitz Worldwide to see the various opportunities and benefits available and if they are the right fit for you.

Rated as one of Glassdoor’s 25 Best Companies for a Work-Life Balance, Orbitz Worldwide lands on the list at number 5, boasting flexible working hours, cutting edge technologies, challenging assignments and constant learning. Orbitz Worldwide is a leading global online travel company that uses innovative technology that allows users to search for a broad range of travel products and services. Orbitz receives an overall Glassdoor rating of a 4.0 and 86% of employees would recommend the company to a friend. In addition to providing one of the best work-life balances in the nation, Orbitz provides a variety of excellent benefits, including medical, dental and vision coverage, a 401k retirement program,a travel discount program, a reward and recognition program and more. Orbitz offers a variety of great employment opportunities, including positions related to customer service, management, finance, marketing and more.

Orbitz rewards its employees with excellent benefits, an impressive work-life balance, and great opportunities that stretch across a spectrum of industries.  View Orbitz Worldwide employment opportunities at Gigats.com along with hundreds of other top companies and begin your customizable search for the perfect job match.

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10 Ways to Lose the Job Offer

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Recently, Business Insider asked hiring managers and career experts to explain what behaviors could potentially sway them against a candidate during a job interview. Without realizing it, there are small, subconscious things that you may be doing that could ultimately cost you the job offer:

1. Being ill-prepared
A job candidate who arrives to the interview late, frequently checks their phone throughout the interview or fails to ask questions demonstrates disinterest in the position. If you fail to put effort into preparation for the interview it will be quickly noticed by the interviewer, jeopardizing your hiring chances.

2. Neglecting the details
Martin Yate, author of “Knock ‘em Dead Social Networking: For Job Search and Professional Success” said, “I always want to see the heels of a candidate’s shoes- most people drive and have scuffed right heels- not polishing shoes shows a lack of attention to detail and self-respect.” Though not every interviewer is going to pay close attention to the scuffs on your shoe, many will notice if you arrive to the interview clean and well put tougher. Additionally, your job search materials should be well tailored and serve as an accurate demonstration of your written communication skills.

3. Focusing on job security and not job duties
Job candidates who site job security as their reasoning for wanting a job turn an interview off to the prospect of hiring them. “I don’t have that [job security] to give- you’re secure when you do the job well and clients or metrics are happy,” says Sean Tucker, managing editor of the American Academy of Actuaries in the District of Columbia. Instead of focusing on the prospect of job security, address the specific job duties and demonstrate how you will meet the needs of the employer.

4. Asking the wrong questions at the wrong time
A spokeswoman for the Cambridge, Massachusetts- based marketing platform HubSpot said, “Asking too many questions about money or title too early,” is a sure fire way to lose the employment opportunity. Hold off on asking specific questions about salary, benefits or similar details until you have already received the job offer.

5. Displaying limited emotional intelligence
Hiring managers will look for an indication that you have “good kindergarten skills” according to Rich Sheridan, CEO and chief storyteller of Menlo Innovations. In other words, interviewers want to know if you play well with others? Do you share? Can you think out loud? Do you smile and make eye contact? Master the simple, emotional intelligence skills that demonstrate your ability to fit in with a particular company culture.

6. Being elitist
If a job candidate is rude or abrupt to administrative staff or junior-level staff that they encounter while on site for an interview, hiring managers will find out. Acting unkindly towards individuals other than the interviewer will be a sign for the hiring manager what your true character is.

7. Failing to clean up after yourself
If you are offered a glass of water during the interview, then be sure to ask where you can put it or what you should do with it as you get up to leave. Chances are the interviewer will tell you to leave it, but by asking you demonstrate thoughtfulness and good manners.

8. Being a negative Nancy
Jaime Klein, founder of Inspire Human Resources points out, “We spend more time at work than at home with family and friends. Therefore, we need to enjoy our time at the office. We screen out negative candidates who speak disparagingly about former organizations, colleagues or leaders.” Negativity can be contagious and many hiring managers will avoid hiring an individual if they pick up on a pessimistic attitude during the interview.

9. Showcasing all-around rudeness
In a regular interview setting, avoid interrupting the hiring manager or speaking rudely in any way. In more unique settings, such as an interview over lunch, be sure to eat politely, conscientiously order and thank the individual who treated for lunch. Candidates who are rude will very quickly lose the interviewers interest and scrap their chances of being hired.

10. Forgetting to send thank-you notes
Many hiring managers find it unacceptable for a candidate to fail to send a thank-you note following the interview. Following up after the interview allows candidates to stay at the forefront of the hiring managers mind and to demonstrate their gratitude for the opportunity to interview.

Avoid committing the small, simple mistakes above during your interview process in order to ensure that you demonstrate your value as a job candidate to the employer. Eliminating the errors from the process will allow you to position yourself as the most ideal job applicant and receive the job offer.

 

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Jobless Claims Fall Unexpectedly

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Last week’s jobless claims report presents evidence that the labor market recovery is gaining traction. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, with the initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropping 3,000. The number now sits at a seasonally adjusted 302,000 for the week ended July 12, according to the Labor Department.

Claims tend to be unpredictable around the period after the July 4 holiday, when automakers normally shut down plants for retooling. However, there were no special factors influencing state level data according to a Labor Department analyst.

In the last five months, employment has grown by more than 200,000 jobs, a stretch that hasn’t been seen since the late 1990s. The news of the continued growth lead Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to caution that the Fed could raise interest rates sooner and more rapidly than currently envisioned if the labor market continues to improve faster than anticipated by policymakers. Currently, economists do not expect the U.S. central bank to start raising interest rates before the second half of 2015.

Last week’s claims report showed that the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell 79,000 to 2.51 million in the week ended July 5, the lowest level since June 2007. Additionally, the unemployment rate for people receiving jobless benefits fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 1.9 percent during the same period.

 

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