North Bay Fires: Nelson Team Unites

Over the past two weeks, we at Nelson have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for our North Bay team members, families, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. While we’ve witnessed a tremendous amount of devastation and loss, we’ve also been lucky to be a part of communities pulling together to help one another.

The Nelson teams are no exception. Without hesitation, across Northern California, Nelson offices and employees have joined their collegaues and neighbors to help wherever possible – donating to funds and shelters supporting evacuees, reaching out personally to those in affected areas, and volunteering their time at shelters and other places that need an extra set of hands to pitch in this week.

We at Nelson are pleased to announce a commitment of $80,000 from the Nelson Family and company to the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund’s North Bay Fire Relief efforts. In partnership with the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and Senator Mike McGuire, this group has raised more than $6 million so far to help our North Bay Communities – funds that are cruciual not only now for immediate evacuee support and rehousing needs, but also over the next several months and even years as our communities begin to rebuild.

If you would like to join us in contributing, we encourage you to visit the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund website. All donations are tax deductible, and 100% will go directly to support those affected. When you donate, you can choose to support any of the four counties affected: Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, or Lake. You may also designate “all” and your funds will be equally distributed among all four counties.

Caring About Clients and Contract Workers: Emergency Call Center

Immediately upon hearing about the enormous impact of the fires, the Nelson team sprang into action. Though our Sonoma headquarters and branches in Santa Rosa, Napa, and Fairfield were intermittently closed due to fire danger, teams throughout the Bay Area rallied to support those teams and all our workers and clients impacted. Our Petaluma office turned into an emergency call center, where our teams reached out to employees and clients across the area, making sure everyone was safe – and making sure there was no disruption to payroll despite the closure of our corporate office. The San Francisco Business Times covered the Nelson team’s efforts; read more on the SF Business Times website.

A Team United by Action

Throughout the past week, individual Nelson teams and employees have done all they can to support the fire relief efforts. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Nelson’s Petaluma office not only served as an emergency call center for all four offices that closed, they also helped with fire relief efforts. Monica Ramirez volunteered at a community collection and distribution center, providing crucial Spanish-language support to assist families in getting the supplies they needed.

Nelson’s Pleasanton and Pleasant Hill offices rallied a tremendous amount of support, donating 6 SUVs filled to the roofs with 10,000 pounds of cleaning supplies, hygeine products, baby supplies, pet food and toys, gift cards, etc. A special thanks to Shahla Sandoval and Shirine Tavakol, Taylor Andres (and her parents, Michele and Tim McCarthy), Debby Deterer, Teri Barnett, Todd Witkin, and the rest of the Pleasant Hill and Pleasanton Teams for all you’ve done! Also, a special thanks to Rita Deitos in Southern California who helped coordinate an overnight package from our So-Cal friends to help.

Nelson’s Campbell office is collecting supplies for fire victims through Friday, October 20th. If you’d like to contribute, please drop off donations of new clothing, toiletries, or baby supplies to 1901 S. Bascom, Ste. 700 in Campbell. Thanks to Nikki Petty for coordinating!

Nelson’s corporate office employees in Sonoma volunteered for a variety of causes. Ryanne Mandileras served a donated meal to veterans in Yountville, and Tracy Fischer helped sort and distribute supplies at the Napa Valley College evacuee center.

Nelson’s San Rafael office helped in a variety of different ways. Team members purchased new socks, underwear, and personal products to help those who left their homes with only the clothing on their backs. Other team members gave their time in evacuation centers, passing out items and supporting where needed. One employee even went to a site near Bodega Bay and distributed items to workers who were fearful of going to evacuation centers because of documentation concerns.

Nelson’s Santa Rosa office is helping to find volunteers for the Emergency Operations Center in Santa Rosa. Many are also volunteering!

Check out the photos of how Nelson’s employees came together to give to our friends in need in the North Bay:

While these efforts are tremendous, we realize that much work and resources will be necessary to rebuild our North Bay communities. Nelson is here for our friends and neighbors. We’re not going anywhere – together, we will rebuild our communities.

Join Nelson in supporting the rebuilding of our North Bay neighborhoods and businesses by making your own donation to the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund below.

Donate to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund

Though you’re bound to hear plenty of misguided job search tips when you’re actively seeking new employment, outdated career advice doesn’t stop coming once you’re happily employed. Following modern career advice is just as essential as understanding modern job search tips in order to remain competitive and engaged in today’s ever changing employment landscape. In the second installment of our Outdated Career Advice column, Nelson’s recruiting experts cover some modern “on-the-job” career advice.

Outdated Career Advice: Separate Work and Home

In the past, business professionals working in corporate offices rarely discussed their personal lives for fear of burdening co-workers with family affairs. This rule was particularly vital for professional women, who routinely had to go above and beyond to show their commitment to work and the job. Talking too much about home or family matters was interpreted as a lack of dedication.

Modern Career Advice: Blend Work and Home

According to recruiting company experts, most modern work environments are much more relaxed when it comes to discussing work and family matters. People spend a lot of time at work, and it is only natural to build rapport and form friendships there.

Not understanding this changing landscape may cause colleagues to view you as cold and unfriendly, which could negatively impact your career. By forming professional relationships with co-workers, you have the potential to come across opportunities to take on new projects and will be viewed as a team member.

Though work and personal lines can sometimes blur, be sure to maintain clear boundaries. When in doubt about revealing personal information, err on the side of being cautious, particularly if you are a new employee or working for a temporary agency and have yet to establish yourself.

It is common to connect with friends and even managers on social media accounts, but be mindful of what you share if you choose to “friend” your boss. Calling in sick and then posting photos of you and your BFF at the beach might not be a wise choice.

Outdated Career Advice: Get Ahead by Multitasking

In the early days of the Internet, “multitasking” was a big buzzword. Many believed that the better you were at multitasking, the more you could get done in a day. As such, employers wanted to hire workers gifted at multitasking.

Today, the workplace view on multitasking and productivity has changed. Though most people are guilty of checking email on their phones while waiting in line at the grocery store, multitasking in the workplace has gone the way of the fax machine. If you’re working for a temporary agency and trying to prove yourself, talking about your talent for multitasking is unlikely to impress.

Modern Career Advice: Prioritize and Plan Your Work to Get Ahead

From temporary agencies to full time employers, most companies today would rather see that you can prioritize and manage time well instead of multitasking. Evidence has shown that in most situations, multitasking is not more efficient than focusing on one task at a time. In many cases, it can even decrease your productivity and increase your rate of error because you aren’t focusing effectively.

According to recruiting company experts, the new buzzword related to workplace productivity might be “prioritize.” Modern career advice now suggests that by prioritizing your work assignments and focusing on the quality of the few rather than the production of the many, you can accomplish more with fewer mistakes.

Multitasking can make a person look rushed and harried; in the old days, this was viewed in a positive light because it made you “look busy.” Today, being overwhelmed by work and not focusing on a single responsibility may have a negative effect. Modern career advice suggests that success in the workplace is less about appearing busy and more about producing actual results.

Modern Career Advice Requires You to Roll with the Changes

While advice about topics such as separating work from home life and multitasking may have applied to the business world in the past, it is important to be able to adapt to modern environments. Experts from Nelson advise that today’s workers can be a bit more lenient when it comes to compartmentalizing business and personal life. Additionally, those following modern career advice know that prioritizing and accomplishing important work tasks is more important than looking busy from multitasking.

Stay tuned for part three of our Outdated Career Advice blog series: Managing Your Career Path.

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What is Happening?

Does the legalization of cannabis use and sale in California make you, as an employer, worry that your company’s drug testing criteria, discussions, and policies are going up in smoke? Not sure you know how to weed out the changes that will impact you? To be blunt: you are not alone.

Since November 8, 2016, employers in California have been adjusting to Proposition 64: the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Beginning January 1, 2018, this Proposition will also allow the sale of marijuana in licensed stores (for adult use).

Here are the key considerations to help California employers understand the drug testing impacts of this change.

Act Basics

Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative (often referred to as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act), passed by a 57% to 43% popular vote. This made it legal for adults ages 21 and older to possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes, at home or at businesses licensed for on-site marijuana use. Possession on the grounds of a school or other childcare location while children are present remains illegal, as does use while driving a vehicle and in all public places.

The Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulations was renamed the Bureau of Marijuana Control, and became the governing body responsible for regulating and licensing marijuana business. Local governments can still ban the sale of marijuana or “reasonably regulate” its growth, possession, and use. Proposition 64 also includes parameters around taxation, tax revenue distribution, and more, and has many implications for California employers.

Hiring & Screening

Application & Interview

Best Practice:
Much like background checks, it is best practice to only discuss an employment screening component if it is required. Always interview the candidate first; confirm they are qualified.

Regardless of what information the candidate proactively shares (they use drugs, have concerns about test results, etc.), it is important to be clear that an employment decision will only be made based on test results–not ‘hearsay’ discussions. For perspective, if an employer declined to move forward with a candidate because they SAID they DO use drugs, it would be equivalent to deciding NOT to test someone because they SAID they do not use drugs. Focus on quantifiable drug test results.

Pre-Employment Drug Testing

Best Practice:
Have a legally sound drug testing policy and consent form. Understand what constitutes a ‘pass/no pass’ based on the drug panel you are utilizing, and how drug use relates to the position. And be sure to apply your process consistently to all applicants.

If you do not understand a test result (e.g. the results are noted as ‘inconclusive’) make sure you are working with a lab who can explain the meaning of the result (e.g. sometimes ‘inconclusive’ represents a urine test that was below/above normal body temperature ranges).

On the Job

Cause Drug Testing

Best Practice:
Train your managers on what cause means, how to communicate concern about an employee’s behavior, how to document, and the proper steps that lead up to a drug test for cause.

Some symptoms that constitute cause (e.g. slurred speech, dizziness, flushed face, stumbling, etc.) can also be symptoms for other conditions (e.g. heat exhaustion). Ensure your managers have a holistic knowledge of their work environment so they review causes appropriately.

Termination Criteria

Best Practice:
Again–have a legally sound drug testing policy and consent form.Also, understand what constitutes cause criteria, and have a clear internal policy on how to manage an employee suspected to be intoxicated and clear criteria on when/if an employee can then be terminated.

Train managers to document cause behaviors instead of labeling them, and to always note witnesses. For example, instead of noting ‘employee was clearly acting intoxicated,’ document ‘employee had red eyes, slurred speech, smelled of marijuana, was stumbling, and could not follow our conversation with a coherent verbal response. Both I and [name] witnessed this.’

Bottom Line on Recreational Marijuana

Even though recreational marijuana will be legal in California, employees can still be drug tested at hire if it is relevant to their roles and they have consented in writing to an employer’s clear drug-free workplace policy. They can also be tested for cause during employment, if that is clearly defined in a reasonable manner in their employer’s policy. And they can still be not hired (or be terminated) for failing a drug test, if the employer is applying their mutually accepted policy compliantly and consistently. Individuals do have more rights for open purchase and use, but employers still have the right to enforce drug-free workplaces if there are reasonable, compliant methods applied.

Medical Marijuana: Additional Considerations

There are some ADA accommodation nuances employers sometimes need to consider for employees with medical marijuana cards. But generally, if an employer requires a drug-free workplace to mitigate risk, then an employee’s medical marijuana card acts much like a prescription for narcotics; these prescriptions do not entitle workers to be intoxicated on the job.

If employees consent to a drug-free workplace and acknowledge an understanding of why this is important for their roles, and their employer’s policy is clear, then neither recreational nor doctor-prescribed use/intoxication while working is acceptable.

The Future

Employers should keep in mind that we are in untested waters. Legal precedent is scarce, so there are gray areas that will continue to evolve as more people question rights and policies. If you are challenged by an accommodation request, and/or you have questions on how to apply your drug-free policy, a good lawyer can be worth his weight in gold… or ganja.

Lisa Johnson is Vice President of Human Resources at Nelson. Read more about Lisa on our Nelson Team Page.

Nelson was proud to be the presenting sponsor of this year’s three Walk for Wishes events benefiting Make-A-Wish® Greater Bay Area. Through this sponsorship, and through the collective efforts of our teams and networks, Nelson was able to support the important efforts of Make-A-Wish to grant wishes to children facing life-threatening conditions.

Working together, we were able to exceed our goal and raise $31,097. That’s enough to grant approximately three wishes! Overall contributions for the three events totaled a record-breaking $273,217.

The walks and the fundraising events they inspired were a fantastic opportunity for the Nelson community to unite in support of this fantastic cause and enjoy a day of celebrating life, friendships, community, and kids.

Final Nelson Fundraising Totals:

South Bay (Team Cirque du Sore Legs): $6,484
East Bay (Team Golden State Wish Warriors): $10,878
North Bay (Team North Bay Wine Country Winner): $13,375
Total Raised: $31,097

A very special thank-you goes out to everyone who helped make this success possible! Whether you walked with us on event day, made a donation, participated in a fundraiser, or supported us in spirit, you were a very special part of our 2017 Walk for Wishes support. We’re so grateful you could join us in helping make children’s wishes come true.

Event-day Recaps:

Walk for Wishes: North Bay

On August 12th, Nelson came together in Petaluma with other business leaders, friends, and families from across our communities to support the North Bay Walk for Wishes. We were honored to help reveal to a very special young man that his wish to play in the snow was coming true! See below for a few photos from the event, and visit the Make-A-Wish Flickr page for more.

The Nelson team welcomes guests to our sponsor teat area at Walk for Wishes North Bay!

Above: Members of the Nelson North Bay Walk for Wishes team pause for a quick photo photo in front of the Nelson booth.

Nelson helps reveal wish at Walk for Wishes East Bay

Above: The Nelson team helps announce to Frankie that his wish to play in the snow will be coming true!

Walk for Wishes: East Bay

Read Nelson’s full recap of our participation in Walk for Wishes East Bay, and see all event photos from Make-A-Wish here.

Walk for Wishes: South Bay

Unfortunately, the South Bay walk could not take place because of a venue conflict. However, the Make-A-Wish team has informed us that a celebration will be planned a bit later this fall! We’ll share information as soon as we have it; stay tuned for more details.

Nelson’s staffing and recruiting teams truly understand the pulse of the employment industry. In the markets we serve, proactively addressing factors impacting employments trends is a priority.

That holds true for our involvement in Petaluma, where we’ve been working with businesses to serve their staffing needs for nearly 50 years.

When Petaluma local officials and economic experts started investigating the growing need to attract and retain employees, they turned to Nelson’s very own Mary Lynn Bartholomew, the area manager of Petaluma, to better understand the difficulties Petaluma employers are facing.

From the article (by Hannah Beausang, originally published August 28, 2017):

As Petaluma’s booming post-recession development paves the way for new residents and merchants, business owners are struggling to attract candidates to fill jobs across all sectors.

Local officials and economic experts attribute the issue to a complex web of factors, including the city’s low unemployment rate, skyrocketing housing costs and a lack of a specialized educational foundation to prepare the next generation of workers.

“It’s a big issue,” Economic Development Manager Ingrid Alverde said.

Learn more about Petaluma’s employment market on Argus Courier’s website.

For the second year in a row, Nelson appears on the Inc. 5000 list

This week, Inc. magazine included Nelson on its 36th annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment- its independent small businesses. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000.

With a 55% growth rate, Nelson has capitalized on its strong community ties and relationships to foster success. Out of the nearly seven million private companies driving the economy every day, only a small portion have demonstrated remarkably consistent high growth like Nelson for two years in a row. Nelson is now officially ranked amoung top up and coming companies such as SkillSurvey, Gametime, FabFitFun, InfoScout, The Fruit Guys, Mod Pizza, and more.

“The Inc. 5000 is the most persuasive evidence I know that the American Dream is still alive,” says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. “The founders and CEOs of the Inc. 5000 tell us they think determination, risk taking, and vision were the keys to their success, and I believe them.”

This unique accomplishment is truly worth celebrating. The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring all the companies on the list will be held from October 10 through 12, 2017 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, CA. Speakers include some of the greatest entrepreneurs of this and past generations, such as former Ford president Alan Mullaly, FUBU CEO and founder and “Shark Tank” star Daymond John, Dollar Shave Club founder Michael Dubin, researcher and #1 New York Times bestseller Brené Brown, and Gravity Payments’ founder and CEO Dan Price.

“We are positive about the exponential growth that Nelson has been experiencing in the last couple of years,” said Chairman of the Board, Craig Nelson. “We have been driven by growing our business and remaining true to our values for almost 50 years and this recognition reflects our successful journey as a family owned company that is now one of the largest independent staffing firms in the United States.”

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found here.

If your company’s polices allow, you’ve probably already given out all the extra vacation days, gift cards, and bonuses your budget will allow. And selecting the right company swag to give to employees can be a tricky balance; it can be challenging to select company-branded gifts that employees will love, and more about thanking your employees than promoting your brand.

At companies where morale is strong, there is usually some employee demand for company-branded promo items. This labor day, if you’re looking for a fun way to show employees they’re valued, try hosting a labor day barbecue and giving away some fun company swag! Here are a few suggestions that we’ve found go over well – for Labor Day, or any other occasion.

Fidget spinners
Parents may be hoping the fidget spinner craze has peaked, but these items are still in hot demand. Kids and adults (especially ones stuck on long conference calls) alike still look forward to receiving these. If your office is already fidget-spinner saturated, try other fidget devices – and encourage employees to bring them to meetings.

Charging cables
Supercharge your employee-thanking efforts with charging cables. No more forgotten phone chargers or dead phones after long client meetings. In fact, it’s a good idea to stash a few of these around the office anyway!


High-quality water bottles
While most people have multiple water bottles stashed in closets and cupboards, high-quality bottles that keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot always go over well.


What works for your company will depend on your climate, dress code, and more. Note that higher-quality items, like down vests or nicer fleeces, are usually a better way to say “thanks” than cheap t-shirts that get stashed in a drawer.


Which of these options works best at your workplace? You decide! Each company is different – and only you know what your employees will receive best.

Pro tip: offer an option, so each employee gets exactly what they want. It also never hurts to throw in a bonus gift card, team lunch, vacay day, etc.

Interested in talking with Nelson’s team about the best ways to build morale while building your workforce? Let us know! We’d love to speak with you.

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Nelson is proud to support a wide variety of community philanthropic initiatives, including the 2017 Walk for Wishes events benefiting Make-A-Wish® Greater Bay Area. We’re proud that not only is our company a presenting sponsor of all three 2017 Bay Area Walk for Wishes events, but our teams also embraced the cause – partnering with others in our communities to band together to support Make-A-Wish both at the corporate and grassroots community level. 

The first 2017 Walk for Wishes took place on Saturday, August 5th, in San Ramon. This East Bay Walk for Wishes was a huge success! The event exceeded its original $75,000 fundraising goal, raising more than $92,000 so far to grant wishes to children with critical illnesses. Nelson’s East Bay Walk for Wishes team, the Golden State Wish Warriors, raised more than $10,300.

For nearly everyone who attended, the highlight of the morning was the moment when Nelson was able to tell a special young man that his wish was coming true. Carter, age 10, wished to serve his country and go through U.S. Air Force pilot training in Hawaii. Both of Carter’s grandparents served in the armed forces, and having the opportunity to serve his country means a lot to Carter.

Nelson welcomed a C-5 instructor pilot from the United States Air Force to help us tell Carter his wish was being granted. Watch the video below to share the moment when Carter learns he will be traveling to Hawaii for a once-in-a-lifetime U.S. Air Force experience.

A huge thank-you to everyone who donated, volunteered, and walked to help Nelson make wishes come true through our partnership with Make-A-Wish. If you weren’t able to join us in our support of Walk for Wishes East Bay, it’s not too late! Fundraising for the Golden State Wish Warriors will remain open through the end of the month. Nelson will also be participating in two other upcoming Bay Area Walk for Wishes events, on August 12 in Petaluma and August 19 in Mountain View. Please join us!

We look forward to sharing fundraising totals and more event updates from the next two Walk for Wishes events very soon!

Event-day photos: 

Co-captain of Nelson’s Golden State Wish Warriors Team, Alex Maturin (right), signs the “big check” celebrating the team’s fundraising total with Nelson EVP Joe Madigan looking on.

Signing the large fundraising check

The Courageous Carter Club, Carter’s team of friends and family members, celebrates the news that Carter’s wish will be coming true!


Nelson has been named one of the largest staffing firms in the US by SIA.

Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), the global advisor on staffing and workforce solutions, has released its 2017 report on the Largest Staffing Firms in the United States. Ranked by revenue, the report covers firms that generated at least $100 million in US staffing revenue in 2016. This is SIA’s 22nd annual report on the largest US staffing firms.

Nelson is proud to announce ranking 89 on this list, as the company continues to experience growth and national recognition. Last year, Inc. magazine included Nelson on its 35th annual prestigious ranking of the nation’s fasting-growing private companies and Nelson has only continued to grow since.

“This report showcases those companies who have grown their business to the top of the industry in terms of revenue and growth,” said Barry Asin, President of SIA. “The 144 companies comprising the list generated a combined revenue of $80.0 billion in 2016 and their success illustrates the continued growth and adoption of staffing in the US.”

As Nelson continues to grow, the company remains focused on working with organizations of all types and sizes across all industries. “How we do business will always be guided by our principles and values,” said Craig Nelson, Chairman of the Board at Nelson. The staffing company is known for strengthening the next generation of quality talent but also strengthening the communities around them.

Read more about the Staffing Industry Analysts annual ranking of the largest US staffing firms of 2017 here:

Every spring, a new class of college grads is unleashed on the world. And while some grads take some time to relax or travel and reflect on their academic accomplishments, many hit the ground running with their first post-college job search during graduation season.

If you’re a new graduate, there’s a lot to do to prepare for your first entry-level job after completing your degree. From deciding whether you want to live and work in San Francisco or another location to researching first interview tips, good preparation for your first post-college job search is a must in today’s competitive job market. You worked hard throughout college, and you don’t want a lack of preparation to stand in the way of starting your career.

While there are a lot of aspects of the post-college job search that differ from a search for part-time or summer work, many college grads have specific trouble with the interview process. However, there are some tips you can use to help you prepare and succeed in interviews during your first post-college job search. Here are a few favorites from the expert Nelson recruiting team:

1. Do Your Research

Getting your first post-college interview is a thrilling occasion. It signifies that someone liked your resume and that you have an opening to an opportunity to kick off your career. Though there’s reason to celebrate, remember that your work has just begun now that you’re at the interview stage of your entry-level job search.

To begin, conduct research on the company where you’re interviewing. What industry is it in? How many people work there? Is it publicly traded or privately held? In addition to the company’s website, see what sites such as Glassdoor and Vault say about the company. If you show up for an interview and don’t know basic information about the company that’s readily available online, you risk coming across as unprepared; and if you’re unprepared for an interview, hiring managers will assume you won’t be prepared for the job. This research can also help you evaluate whether the company will be a good fit for you.

In addition to preparing to answer interview questions, prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer. Avoid questions that should have been answered in your research process; instead, ask open-ended questions such as “What would success in this role look like?” or “What are the biggest challenges the person in this position will face in the first month?”. These questions are good because they show your interest in learning about the day-to-day realities of the position.

Avoid asking “What’s in it for me?” type of questions. Also, avoid bringing up the topic of salary. If you are working with a recruiter, you can handle those discussions directly with them.

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2. Prepare to Talk about Your Achievements during Your Entry-level Interview

First, jot down about three to five recent notable accomplishments from your academic projects, work, or even volunteer experience, and practice talking about them. Since you’re interviewing for your first job out of college, no one expects that your achievements will rival those of a professional with a 20-year career. They do, however, want to see that you’ve gone above and beyond in school or work, and that you can intelligently talk about these accomplishments.

For example, you can discuss a problem you faced during a class project and what you did to resolve it. You can talk about inefficiencies in the restaurant or retail store where you worked and how you implemented an improvement. Even if these instances seem small, the hiring manager wants to see that you have leadership, problem solving, and communication skills and that you can work well in a team environment.

3. Practice Answering Common Interview Questions

After becoming familiar with the company and preparing your outline of accomplishments, you should be prepared to answer some common interview questions in an engaging yet succinct manner. Common questions include “Tell me about yourself,” “How did you handle a challenging situation?” or “Why should I hire you?”

Knowing what to say and ask is a good starting point but it’s not enough. To truly succeed in your entry level job search, you must practice. This will help you sound natural and relaxed. Have a friend or family member stand in as the hiring manager, and ask this person to throw some expected and unexpected interview questions your way.

4. Understand the Level of Formality an Interview Requires

Even if the company environment seems more informal, it’s better to err on the side of formality during the interview. Remember to put your phone on silent, and put it away. If you’re looking at your phone, the interviewer could take it as a sign you’re not engaged in the interview.  Make sure you do everything possible to avoid these awkward interview situations.

It’s also likely that an interviewer may be from a different generation. Just like in the workplace, generational differences in communication during interviews can create miscommunications and wrong impressions. Err on the side of not using slang terms, sarcastic humor, or informal body language.

5. Be Prepared for a Possible Video Interview

When you’re looking for your first job out of college, any first interview with a company is likely to be a phone screen. But more companies are setting up video interviews (via systems like Skype or Google Hangout) instead, or conducting a second-round video interview. Companies that do this want to make sure you’re a good fit and meet basic requirements before conducting a complete, time-intensive interview.

If you’re asked to do a video conference, treat it as you would an in-person interview. Wear appropriate clothing, silence your phone, make sure your internet connection is strong, your background is appropriate and orderly, and your lighting is good.

6. Follow Post-Interview Best Practices

Immediately after the interview, send a brief email to thank the interviewer for their time, and reiterate any important points from your conversation. It can take several weeks or longer to hear back from a company after an interview, so don’t despair if you don’t hear back right away. Remember, it’s important to be patient during this process.

If you’re offered the position, congratulations! Don’t be afraid to respectfully negotiate the salary you’re offered; some back-and-forth discussion on the matter is always expected. Again, if you are working with a job recruiter, they may offer this as part of their services. In that case speak with them about that before bringing up salary with the hiring company. More than likely, you’ll be asked to fill out and sign some papers to formally accept the job offer.

By partnering with a Nelson recruiter who works with college graduates, you can get the help you need to make the most of your entry-level job search and start your professional career out on the right foot.


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Nelson’s Executives Continue to Contribute to Staffing Industry Innovations

Nelson’s Vice President of Marketing, Christina Russo, was named to the Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) 2017 list of the top 40 staffing industry professionals under the age of 40. The SIA, a global advisor on contingent work and workforce solutions, created this list to recognize the contributions of talented individuals who were born on or after July 1, 1977.

Christina is one of many Nelson executives who have been recognized for their unique contributions to the industry. Last year, Senior Vice President, Kelley Hartman, was named the North Bay Woman in Business award and Joe Prusko, Chief Financial Officer, was named to the North Bay Business Journal’s CFO recognition list.

“I am honored to be included in SIA’s 2017 list of top industry influencers under 40,” said Christina. “As the staffing industry evolves, this new generation of leaders will play crucial roles in ushering in innovation. To be recognized alongside my colleagues for our contributions is a true honor.”

Christina joined Nelson in 2015, when she became the youngest member of the company’s executive leadership team. The programs, processes, and initiatives she has implemented since joining the company have been instrumental in fostering Nelson’s recent growth. Last year, Christina was also named to SIA’s inaugural 2016 Top Millennials in Staffing list.

“This list showed us that there were so many rising luminaries that should have their achievements chronicled,” said Subadhra Sriram, publisher and editor at Staffing Industry Analysts. “We listened and changed. The 40 Under 40 list takes the place of the Millennials in Staffing list and is our way to recognize more stars in the workforce solutions ecosystem.”

The SIA will celebrate the achievements of the list members, including Christina, at an event later this year. To see the full Staffing 40 Under 40 list, please visit

Read more about Nelson’s executive team members .

Top Independent Staffing Company Proves Community Commitment with Social and Fiscal Philanthropic Investment

Nelson announced today that it has been ranked 18 out of 100 participants on the San Francisco Business Times’ 2017 Bay Area Corporate Philanthropists List which was published in a San Francisco Business Times supplement on July 21. Nelson also received special recognition as one of two companies that bettered their position tremendously from previous years due to increased contributions.

The Corporate Philanthropy Awards celebrate the Bay Area’s most generous corporate citizens and recognizes those companies that give their time, talent and resources. The annual list recognizes 100 top corporate philanthropists ranked by local cash giving. It includes for-profit companies that made contributions to Bay Area-based charitable organizations in the following counties: San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma.

Nelson’s Executive Vice President, Joe Madigan, accepted the award on behalf of Nelson at the awards presentation hosted at the Hilton in Union Square. Joe also attended the discussion and networking panel, where he deliberated with other Bay Area leaders about how companies can involve employees to become philanthropic leaders like Nelson.

“Since our founding in 1970, Nelson has led by example when it comes to community engagement and philanthropic support,” said Joe. “I’m proud to work for a company that truly cares about the communities where employees live, work, and play. We are honored to be included in this list alongside so many other companies that share this fiscal and social commitment to the communities we serve.”

Nelson exemplifies it’s company values of empathy, integrity, excellence, and innovation through its actions. A Bay Area Philanthropy Award winner for each of the past four years, the company has contributed more than $4.5 million throughout that time to Bay Area philanthropic organizations and causes.

Read more about Nelson’s values and involvement in our communities.

Outdated Job Search Career Advice You Should Ignore

When you are actively seeking work, it seems like everyone has advice to share. Though friends and family members usually have the best of intentions, they may offer outdated career advice based on what was in vogue during their active job search days.

Finding a new job now is quite different than it was 15 or even five years ago. If listening to well-intentioned counsel has you scratching your head, here are some current job search techniques from the recruitment experts at Nelson.

Outdated Career Advice: It’s a Number’s Game

Years ago when searching for a job, applicants would cast a wide net by applying for every job they could find that was related to their line of work, using the same resume for every application, and/or applying for as many jobs as possible with one target company. Since applications were reviewed individually, any one hiring manager usually wasn’t aware if someone applied for many other positions.

Modern Job Search Technique: Customize

This quantity over quality resume distribution approach isn’t effective in a data-rich hiring environment. Today, recruiters want to see that your experience matches the very detailed requirements of the job opening – and that the job relates to your overall career aspirations. If you apply for multiple positions within one company, hiring managers can see that and may think you’re less serious about any one specific position.

Whether you’re working with a staffing agency or applying directly to posted positions with hiring companies, it’s also important to tailor your resume for each application. Today, resumes are often first reviewed by applicant tracking systems (ATSs) that scan for certain keywords. Instead of using a generic, one-size-fits-all resume, increase your chances of getting past the ATS by using the job ad’s exact keywords or phrases on your resume.  For information on modern resume advice, read about modern resume template resources, and words that you shouldn’t include in your resume.

Another important job search tip you should heed is to invest time in researching the company and position. On your resume, frame your experiences and accomplishments in a way that highlights the similarities between what you’ve done and what they need their new hire to do. By showing you understand the requirements or daily realities of the role, and the structure or goals of the company, you will stand out from other applicants and have a better chance of success once your materials make it past the gatekeeping round and into the hands of a decision maker.

Outdated Career Advice: Go the Extra Step When Applying

Even a few years ago, managers were more likely to favorably view candidates who “went above and beyond” to prove interest by sending printed resumes or dropping by the office to follow up on their application. But that’s no longer the case.

Modern Job Search Techniques: Follow Application Instructions

Now, the best way to impress a hiring manager is with your skills, achievements, and experience – and your ability to follow all application instructions provided in each job ad or description. Getting your resume through the door by circumventing standard protocol is more likely to be viewed as an annoying gimmick instead of a sign of dedication. Depending on the circumstances, hiring managers may also question your comfort level with technology if you don’t follow online instructions.

Printed resumes do still have a place in the job search process. for example, you should still bring printed copies of your resume to an interview or job fair, even if you bring a business card with a printed link to your online resume or portfolio.

Outdated Career Advice: Follow up With a Call

It used to be considered polite to call to thank an interviewer for their time. These days people from all walks of life, including hiring managers, talk on the phone less. Phone calls can be considered somewhat intrusive.

Modern Job Search Techniques: Follow up Via Email

Avoid calling the interviewer to follow up unless the interviewer specifically requests that you do so. Instead, send a polite and brief thank-you email. Another job search tip: if you’ve interviewed with several people, it can be a nice gesture to send individual emails to each interviewer. Personalize each message to leave a lasting impression. And yes, if you use the services of a temporary agency or recruiting company, they too appreciate a brief email thanking them for arranging the interview.

Outdated Career Advice: Dress to Impress

Years ago, dressing for the much-anticipated job interview meant putting on your best suit. It used to be common to hear job search tips about dressing as conservatively as possible and avoiding clothing or accessories that draw too much attention. While this adage might still prove true for a few more formal companies, such as some in banking and finance, it is no longer the norm.

Each industry, company, and even department might have its own formal or informal dress code. To help prove you are a good match for the position, dress the part. Wearing a suit while the hiring manager is wearing jeans could signal to an interviewer that you don’t understand or wouldn’t fit well in the company’s culture.

Modern Job Search Techniques: Dress to Belong

While more-casual-than-expected environments used to be unique to tech companies and startups, more and more companies are embracing the comfort and productivity of a more relaxed dress code. Before your in-person or video interview, it’s important to get an idea of the company’s current dress standards by looking for photos of employees on the company’s recruiting site or employees’ public social media accounts, or by asking employees for advice.

Then, for the interview, dress the next level up. For example, if the environment is business casual, go suite and tie. If it’s casual, wear something business casual (khakis and button-up shirt or a dress that’s not too stuffy). If it’s extremely casual, with employees wearing torn jeans with hoodies, wear something that’s casual but slightly elevated, such as nicer jeans with a polo or button-down shirt. In any case, it’s best to avoid wearing clothes that don’t fit well or have stains or tears, tank tops, flip-flops, and too-short skirts and dresses.

Being Prepared Is a Job Search Tip That Never Goes Out of Style

Though modern job search techniques have replaced outdated career advice, it’s always important to be prepared. Staying current with job search trends will help make you a viable contender when looking for work. After all, hiring managers will gravitate toward those in the know. By following Nelson’s job search tips, you can stay current on modern job search techniques.

For over 45 years, Nelson has provided innovative workforce solutions to help companies efficiently build and manage their teams. And throughout our history, we’ve been committed to involvement and investment in the communities where we live, work, and play.

This year, Nelson is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the three 2017 Walk for Wishes events benefiting Make-A-Wish® Greater Bay Area. Through this sponsorship, we’re supporting the important efforts of Make-A-Wish to grant wishes to children facing life-threatening conditions.

Why We Walk

Many of Nelson’s team members have been involved in various Make-A-Wish fundraisers in the past because of personal connections to the cause. Leading the charge for Nelson’s Make-A-Wish support has been Nelson’s Executive Vice President, Joe Madigan.

Joe’s daughter, Chloe, was granted a wish through Make-A-Wish seven years ago, giving the entire Madigan family the opportunity to enjoy time together with Chloe at Disney World – away from doctors, hospitals, and tests. After Chloe passed away, the Madigan family made it their mission to give back to Make-A-Wish and offer other families the priceless experience they shared. They formed Team Chloe; and their combined efforts have raised over $140,000, much with the support of the Nelson team, family, and extended community. That’s a lot of wishes come true for kids fighting serious illnesses!

Watch this short video below from Joe about his family’s experience with Make-A-Wish, and why they’ve led Nelson’s Walk for Wishes efforts for the past seven years. (Special thanks to SocioFabrica and Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area for footage clips, and to for the music.

Join Nelson at Walk for Wishes 2017!

This year, Nelson is pleased to share we’ll be supporting the Bay Area Walk for Wishes events as a presenting sponsor, helping even more of our teams and communities get involved in what started as the Madigan family’s efforts to support the tremendous efforts of the incredible Make-A-Wish organization. Please join the Nelson team, including Joe and his family, as we come together to Walk for Wishes this August at the three Bay Area Walks:

Walk for Wishes East Bay
Saturday, August 5 | Bishop Ranch, San Ramon
Join Nelson’s team for this event – Golden State Wish Warriors!

Walk for Wishes North Bay
Saturday, August 12 | Shollenberger Park, Petaluma
Join Nelson’s team for this event – Nelson North Bay Wine Country Winner!

Walk for Wishes South Bay
Saturday, August 19 | Google, Mountain View
Join Nelson’s team for this event – Cirque du Sore Legs!

100% of the proceeds will be donated to Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area. Whether you choose to walk with us (registration is free!), donate, or spread the word, thank you for your support. We hope you will join Nelson’s efforts to make wishes come true!

About Make-A-Wish
Make-A-Wish® Greater Bay Area is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that fulfills the wishes of children, between the ages of 2 1/2 and 18, battling life-threatening medical conditions. Make-A-Wish® Greater Bay Area was founded in 1984. In its first year, a total of 27 wishes were granted. Now one of the largest chapters nationwide, they have granted over 7,800 wishes to date and grant over 378 wishes each year.

Employment and hiring trends are in a constant state of flux. One trend that has taken shape in recent years is the rise of temporary work. As a result of economic uncertainty, businesses need to be more flexible and nimble. Offering temporary positions for an array of jobs is now more the norm than the exception for many employers.

Some workers used to shy away from temp opportunities because they preferred the stability of permanent, full-time employment. But as more people understand that no job is truly permanent and the best way to grow your career and salary prospects may be to switch jobs more often, temping can be a great way to explore new interests or gain new skills.

Temp jobs also offer the opportunity for new college graduates to get some valuable real-world experience before applying for those “entry-level” positions that require two years of experience. Temp jobs can also help seasoned pros maintain their skills, transition to a new line of work, or re-enter the workforce after having children or taking a leave of absence.

There are generally two ways job seekers find temporary jobs. Job seekers can partner with a temp agency to find temp work, or a temporary opportunity might pop up during a standard job search. Sometimes, employers work with a temp agency to offer temporary positions; other times, employers offer temporary positions directly to employees.

Temp Roles Have Become Commonplace in Today’s Job Market

This sort of try-before-you-buy thinking lets both the employer and the job seeker determine whether a person is a good fit for a role, and whether a role and company is a good fit for a person’s career. It is costly for a company to spend a lot of time hiring and training someone only to discover six months into an employment contract that the employee isn’t a good long-term match. The same is true for the employee; temp jobs allow a job seeker to quickly learn if a certain job or company isn’t right and then move on, perhaps even with a new skill to add to his or her resume.

How Do Temp Agencies Work?

Staffing companies, also known as temp agencies, often specialize by industry or nature of work. One temp agency might specialize in administrative or office positions while another specializes in tech or IT jobs. Most legitimate temp agencies charge employers, so job seekers don’t pay a fee.

Before talking with a temp recruiter, it’s a good idea for job seekers to know what they’re looking for in terms of payment rate, benefits, and long-term employment opportunity. This helps recruiters identify opportunities that will be a good fit for each job seeker.

College Grads Can Benefit from Temp Services

Working with a temp agency can allow recent college grads to get a foot in the door for their first real job. Temporary jobs can be more accessible to entry-level professionals or those without sufficient experience to qualify for full-time, regular openings.

Let’s say, for example, that you graduated with your degree in software engineering but lack real-world experience. Most full-time openings require at least two years of experience, and you’re unable to get around this requirement. A temp recruiter can work with you to secure an entry-level role that is accommodating to your level of experience. A good temp recruiter can offer expertise and advice about how to reach both your short and long-term career goals. College grads unsure of direction or next career steps can take advantage of this expertise to help them define and start off on a productive career path.

Temp Agencies Offer Networking Opportunities

In both a formal and informal capacity, temporary jobs can help put job seekers in contact with the right people to help find jobs. Networking is an invaluable tool, and contacts can sometimes lead to job opportunities that job seekers wouldn’t have found elsewhere. If a person can excel in their temporary job, then it’s likely that he or she could excel in a full-time regular role. If you’ve made a good impression in a temp role, spread the word that you’re looking for a more permanent role. Add supervisors, coworkers, and temp recruiters on LinkedIn. If you’re interested in a particular role, ask someone in that role to go out for coffee and pick that person’s brain about how they got started – then ask if they have any tips for you or connections who may be hiring. You never know which conversation could result in an interview!

Working with temp agencies can often lead to full-time employment. Instead of hiring full-time employees directly, employers are now hiring temporary staff then transitioning the top performers into more permanent roles. A temporary position can truly be a time to shine. Also, as short-term staffing and freelance positions become more common across the board, the stigma of being a “temp” has decreased dramatically.

Don’t Dismiss Temp Agencies for Valuable Job Opportunities

Even if you’d prefer a more permanent full-time job, don’t reject temp work outright. Not only will your wallet thank you for working with a temp recruiter, but chances are, your resume and professional confidence will benefit, too. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, temporary positions can offer a way to get back into the swing of a regular schedule while providing a sense of job satisfaction. In addition to gaining some valuable contacts and learning new skills, accepting a temporary position can pay off exponentially down the road and can help you navigate your career path.
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At Nelson, it’s our goal to make sure people are prepared, connected, and successful when taking the next step in their careers. To help do that, we provide interview tips, resume resources, and job search strategies to help people like you find dream jobs.

In this post, we explore one of the more sensitive topics that will be addressed during the job search process: salary negotiation. Many job seekers have questions about how to negotiate salary or when to even bring up the topic of compensation.

Why Negotiate Your Salary

Understanding the future impact of current salary negotiations is important. While a difference of a few thousand dollars may not seem like much, it can be significant because your future raises and pay rates may be based on your starting salary.

For example, let’s imagine you’re a 22-year-old entry-level accountant. Let’s also imagine you accept an associate accountant position making $50,000 and work consistently until you retire at age 65, receiving average yearly raises of 4%. If you had negotiated your starting annual accounting salary to $55,000 – just $5,000 higher – you would’ve made about $577,000 more over the course of your career than if you had accepted your original starting salary offer of $50,000.

Many people don’t understand this significance. According to recent research, only 37% of candidates consistently negotiate salary offers, and as many as 18% never do. If you break down those numbers by gender, it’s even more revealing. A university study concluded that only 7% of female MBA grads negotiated their salary offer while 57% of male grads did. That’s a whopping disparity! Though this gender gap has been reportedly closing in more recent years, a recent study found that men are three times as likely as women to succeed at getting more money when negotiating salary. However, the payoff of negotiating your salary can be huge; 75% of those who asked for a higher wage received some sort of increase.

Even for the most outgoing and confident people, negotiating a salary offer for a potential new job can feel overwhelming. Discussing earnings is uncomfortable and requires careful preparation; you want to secure a competitive offer but you don’t want to offend the hiring manager or appear too aggressive. Read on to learn more about the best ways to negotiate salary.

Tips for Negotiating Your Salary 

  1. Avoid Discussing Salary Specifics (Including Salary History) Until an Offer is Made

In most situations, you should avoid debating salary or compensation during the job interview process. But even if you don’t bring it up, the interviewer sometimes broaches the subject.

If you are asked a question about your salary expectations or requirements in an interview, try to politely deflect it by saying that your specific salary requirements would depend on the total compensation package offered and the specific role details, like supervisory responsibilities, that you may not yet have discussed in the interview process, if appropriate). It’s always ok to share that you expect a salary that is competitive with what others are paying for your level of experience and education.

If you are asked how much you currently make, let the interviewer know that you’d prefer to discuss compensation in relation to the potential new role and company. Feel free to point out differences between your current role and the one you’re interviewing for, especially if the new role would be a step up in responsibilities or position title. Don’t feel pressured to disclose your current salary if you don’t believe it will support your salary negotiation process.

  1. Do Your Salary Research

Before you negotiate, do your research. It will help you feel more comfortable and confident in what you’re asking for and prevent fear and anxiety from standing in the way of negotiating what you deserve.

For most careers, salary information used to be a black hole. It was hard to know who was paid what. Thanks to websites like,, and, you can determine what someone with your education and experience can expect to make in a similar position, company, and location. These sites have brought transparency to compensation, so there’s really no excuse for not having at least a general idea of expected compensation for a position.

  1. Have a Backup Plan When Negotiating Your Salary Offer

If you’ve done your research, should have a specific number in mind and evidence to back that number up. Before you make a counter offer with that number and evidence, have a plan B in case the counter offer is not accepted. Deciding ahead of time whether you want to make another counter offer or walk away will give you an edge in negotiations.

  1. Be Realistic in Your Expectations

Although most employers expect you to negotiate your salary, you may not make the best impression if you’re asking for an increase that seems unreasonable. Asking for 5 to 10% more might be a good starting point. However, if you’re going to ask for 35% more, then you’d better have good reasons to support your request.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Brag a Little

Though we’re all taught that it’s impolite to brag, negotiating salary offers is a time when it’s okay to chat about your recent accomplishments. What exactly do you bring to the table? How have you helped other companies generate revenue or reduce operating costs, and how will you translate that experience to this new role? Summarize the achievements you covered in your interview, or bring up new ones you didn’t yet have the chance to address.

By filing away your achievements for times like these, you can be ready to answer the question, “Why should we give you more than our offer?” Don’t assume that the person you’re talking to implicitly knows why you should be paid more.

  1. Consider the Whole Compensation Package and Ask for Other Types of Increases

In addition to salary numbers, think of the total compensation package. Make sure you understand the benefits plan options, including out-of-pocket expenses for things like health insurance. If the hiring manager doesn’t point them out, ask about expected bonuses or retirement savings matches.

Not only will this help you understand how much of your salary will need to go to benefits, it will also help you understand what additional compensation package items may be negotiable. If you don’t know if something is negotiable, ask if it is! Negotiations don’t have to stop at salary; you may be able to negotiate time off, working remotely, bringing a pet to work, or performance-based bonuses (especially if you’re in a sales position).

  1. How to Negotiate Your Salary? Practice, Practice, Practice.

From books to blogs, there’s a lot of advice on how to negotiate your salary. Provided that your request is reasonable ­­– and that you’re asking politely – asking for more money in a job offer is just part of the whole hiring process. However, striking a balance between asking to be paid what you’re worth and not sounding greedy can be difficult and must be done tactfully.

After you’ve done your research, practice with a friend to sound polished, composed, and confident. Remember that negotiating your salary is less about using the right phrasing or tactics and more about being brave enough to ask for what you need. So instead of seeing the negotiations as some elaborate shell game with stare downs and face offs, look at them as just another part of the job search.

  1. Work With a Recruiter

If you’re working with a hiring agency or recruiter, you can be more candid and direct when negotiating your salary. Always be open with your recruiter about your salary requirements. It’s possible they may be able to negotiate a better deal for you, but they don’t want to waste your or their clients’ time sending you out on interviews for positions that don’t match your salary expectations.

If you are working with a recruiter, that recruiter is usually responsible for negotiating on your behalf and will handle the discussion of salary and compensation with the hiring company. Reach out to a recruiter to take some pressure off your job search and ensure salary negotiations for your next position result in an increase.

Nelson is here to help. You can start by searching our current job listings and applying today. Love what you do!


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Find More Resume, Job Search and Interview Tips:

Bad Resume Examples

Best Resume Template Resources

Working With a Recruiter

Attack of the Killer Resume Buzzwords

San Francisco Job Search Tips

LinkedIn Profile Tips


See Nelson Specialties:

Staffing Services

Accounting and Finance Recruiting

IT Recruiting

Engineering Recruiting

Legal Recruiting

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Should you Include Short-Term Jobs on Your Resume?

It happens to just about everyone at some point in their careers. It’s likely happened to you, as well. You conduct research, actively search for jobs, go to multiple interviews, and finally land a job that seems to match your key requirements. Yet several months or even weeks into the gig, you find yourself at odds with your new employment situation.

Maybe you and your new boss don’t see eye to eye on your role at the company. Perhaps the job description and your actual duties are worlds apart. Or maybe the role requires a higher level of skill or experience that you don’t quite have yet. As you decide what to do next, you must consider how to represent this mismatched short-term job on your resume and how to discuss it in future interviews.

What is a Short-Term Job?

What an employer considers to be a short-term job may depend on many factors. There is no standard length of time that qualifies a job as short-term. Companies whose employees are very tenured may seek new hires with a track record of 5+ years at each job and consider a two-year stay short term, while other companies may look for new hires with more variety in their backgrounds and be more forgiving of multiple six-month roles. However, if you’re with a company for less than a year, it is important to address why to maintain a good impression throughout the hiring process with other companies.

There are generally three types of short-term jobs:

  1. Contract or temporary positions. Contract positions or roles found through a temporary staffing agency are not expected to be permanent. Hiring managers and recruiters understand if you’ve had these types of positions and say these types of jobs will not reflect negatively on you as a candidate, so don’t worry about explaining these jobs other than pointing out they were contract roles.
  2. Positions that were short term because you left. It can be a gamble to decide to leave a role after a very short time. On one hand, this action can show decisiveness and an unwillingness to settle for mediocrity. On the other, it can signal an inability to follow through on commitments. This type of position doesn’t have to be detrimental to your hiring potential if you address the situation correctly.
  3. Positions that were short term because the company let you go. More challenging situations occur if the short-term nature of the position wasn’t your decision. Mergers and buyouts can lead to job changes. Businesses may also let good employees go for economic and performance reasons.

Whether or not leaving was your choice, you still need to consider how to best approach short-term jobs on your resume and effectively discuss them with hiring managers. You need to be able to explain what happened, what you learned from it, and why the same thing won’t happen in your next role. Here are a few resume tips and interview tricks to help you navigate this topic with ease.

Leaving a Job off Your Resume

Many career experts and recruiters will advise a job seeker to leave a short-term job off their resume, particularly if that person has a solid work history and the job offers minimal value. If you have 10 to 15+ years of progressive work experience with one not-so-hot, four-month gig that tarnishes your otherwise impeccable career history, then it’s advisable to leave the job off your resume.

Recruiters and hiring managers are human, too. They understand that few people have a perfect career history. Wowing a recruiter with your experience and accomplishments makes it more likely for them to overlook or forgive a three- to six-month gap in employment.

If you do include the short-term gig on your resume, consider offering a brief description of why the position was so transitory – especially if there was an external factor that led to your tenure being brief. Simply list “company restructuring” or “company was sold” in parentheses. Brevity can work in your favor to prevent recruiters from assuming the worst-case scenario.

Including a Short-Term Job on Your Resume

On the other hand, if the short-term gig proved worthwhile, you might consider including it on your resume, after all. Consider what you’ve gained from the larger experience. What new skills did you learn in this short period of time? What did you accomplish or take away from job? Will these add to your viability as a candidate for another position? It’s all about perspective, so try to gather as much useful information as you can to list in your resume. There’s no rule that a short-term job can’t offer value.

Recent college graduates or entry level professionals might also find it better to include positions that lasted less than a year, as gaps in employment history can be more noticeable.

The Interviewing Conundrum for Short-Term Gigs

The above resume tips for addressing short-term jobs on your resume will help you get started with your job search. But when you land a job interview, what’s the best way to address a short-term role? Here are a few interview tips to help.

Be Brief and Move It Along

If an in interviewer brings up a gap in employment or asks why you were in a position for such a short time, then focus on what you learned from the short-term experience to present it in the best light. Though you want to be positive, you still want to be truthful.

For instance, politely and professionally reveal that you and your boss had a different vision of the position and its responsibilities. The two of you were at an impasse, and you left the company with a much better sense of what’s important for you to look for in your next role . If you had another role after the short-term one, share what you learned from your mistake and how you applied that to finding another position – and why the next position was a better fit. This can help you transition away from the negative and back into positive conversation about your work history. Resist the temptation to lambast your former jefe; calling him or her an inept, micromanaging you-know-what will only make you look bad.

Don’t Focus on The Short-Term Role

Though you want to have a concise answer at the ready to explain that short-term gig, it is not necessary or advisable to offer it up unless directly asked. There’s a chance your recruiter might not care enough to bring it up, particularly if the rest of the interview is going swimmingly.

Practice Makes Perfect

Hopefully, you know you should always be prepared when you walk into a job interview. Practicing ahead of time what you’ll say about that short-term job can help you feel prepared to address it in a real interview. Try role playing with a friend to get the feel for explaining it live so you’re not caught off guard if it does come up in an interview.

There’s no need to get overly concerned about short-term jobs on your resume. By using these interview and resume tips, your dream job could still be within reach!

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Find Resume, Job Search and Interview Tips:
Bad Resume Examples
Best Resume Template Resources
Working With a Recruiter
Attack of the Killer Resume Buzzwords
San Francisco Job Search Tips
LinkedIn Profile Tips

See Nelson Jobs Specialties:
Staffing Services
Accounting and Finance Recruiting
IT Recruiting
Engineering Recruiters
Legal Recruiting
HR and Admin Recruiting

Whether you’re actively seeking a new job or just keeping your career options open, it’s essential to have a stand-out LinkedIn profile. From searching for accounting and finance positions to finding roles in sales, engineering, or IT, polishing up your LinkedIn presence is a pre-requisite to embarking on a job search in today’s digital hiring landscape.

Nearly 90 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn as a tool for candidate sourcing. If you’re not on LinkedIn or haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in several years, you’re missing out on networking and career opportunities.  Get the most out of LinkedIn by optimizing your job search with these 8 LinkedIn profile tips.


1. Get Your Profile to All-Star Status

To optimize your LinkedIn profile, make sure all sections, including your recommendations and endorsements, are as complete as possible. LinkedIn makes this easy; on your profile, below your summary, you will see if you have what LinkedIn calls an “All-Star Profile.” If you don’t, LinkedIn will guide you through the process of adding to your profile until you do.

LinkedIn shares that people with All-Star Profiles are 40 times more likely to get contacted by recruiters than people without, so be sure to follow the recommendations.


2. Leverage Your Headline and Career Summary

Though your resume and LinkedIn profile overlap in several areas – education, work history, and skills – a key differentiator is your headline and summary. These sections are the most searched for and reviewed by recruiters and hiring managers.

On a traditional resume, page space often limits what you can say; however, on your LinkedIn summary, your story-telling space is ample – 2000 characters. Tell your career story by including explanations of your career history, changes, and aspirations. Why did you choose the previous roles or companies? What are you looking for next? For instance, did you move into sales after working as a software engineer? Are you an experienced financial accountant looking to transition into management? To increase how often your profile appears in recruiters’ searches, incorporate relevant keywords common in your line of work.

Unless you change it, your headline defaults to your current job title. This is, however, fully editable. Your headline will appear in recruiters’ search results, so you want to make sure it stands out. You have precisely 120 characters for your headline; make each one count. Unless you are an engineer at Google or Facebook, you don’t need to list your current employer. A better use of this space is to use relevant, descriptive keywords.

For example:
Poor HeadlineAccountant for Nelson Jobs

Strong Headline: Senior-level accountant specializing in finance accounting, cost accounting, auditing, and financial controls


3. Loosen Up

Differentiate your resume from your LinkedIn profile by adopting a conversational rather than formal writing tone on LinkedIn. Though you want to avoid being too casual – LinkedIn still isn’t Snapchat, after all – you can lose the stuffiness associated with resumes by writing closer to the way you talk and avoiding overused clichés or buzzwords.

Striking the balance between promoting your skills and presenting yourself in a relaxed, engaging manner can be tricky. Have a professional friend proofread your profile to see if your tone is right. If not, consider hiring a professional resume writer or career coach to assist with this task.


4. Build up Your Skills, Endorsements, and Recommendations

For the best chance of being found by recruiters, beef up your LinkedIn skills section and request endorsements. A complete skills section can boost your search ranking, so add suggested keywords even if they are similar to skills you already have to appear in as many searches as possible. For example, if you are in sales, add account management, relationship building, lead generation, sales management, outside sales, inside sales, team leadership, management, etc. You are permitted to have up to 50 separate skills in this section, and LinkedIn assists you by suggesting related keywords.

The best way to get others to endorse your skills or to write a recommendation is to ask. Reach out to your colleagues and ask them to help! Be sure to offer endorsements and/or recommendations in return. If you’re uncomfortable asking, start by endorsing their skills. Be selective; only endorse a person for 2-3 skills you know are strengths of the person being endorsed. Endorsements can go an extra long way if a hiring manager or recruiter has a mutual connection that has endorsed your skills.


5. Actively Expand Your Network

Your LinkedIn profile is more than just a “LinkedIn resume.” It shows how well-connected you are. An important LinkedIn tip is to reach out and connect with others, including recruiters. LinkedIn prioritizes search results by displaying how people are connected to the person searching. By connecting to more people, you will have more 1st or 2nd connections and appear in more searches, increasing your odds of building a trusted relationship with a prospective hiring manager or recruiter.

Another good way to build rapport and expand your network is to join industry-specific Groups. Whether you’re looking for engineering and tech jobs, accounting and finance jobs, or sales and marketing positions, there are specific LinkedIn Groups you can join to network with others in your field. To get the most out of Groups:

  • Make sure Groups you join are still active. LinkedIn Groups aren’t as popular as they once were, so don’t spend time on groups that don’t have active discussions and members.
  • Focus on the value you can give rather than what you can get. By giving advice or serving as a resource to others looking to make connections, you increase the chances someone else will help you when you need a favor, too!
  • Message Group members directly. If you’re in the same Group as someone, you can message them directly even if they’re not a connection. Use this feature to build your network further.


6. Verify Your Settings

If you want your profile to be public and searchable by anyone, adjust your privacy settings accordingly. By using this LinkedIn tip, you allow recruiters and others who aren’t in your network to contact you. You may, however, receive unsolicited offers, so be prepared to handle those graciously. LinkedIn walks you through your settings, privacy, and visibility in their “help” section.


7. Claim Your Custom URL

Once you’ve created this custom URL, be sure to link to it wherever possible. Add it to your email signature or portfolio page, or provide it in your bio for events you attend or speak at. This will help your profile become more searchable both within LinkedIn and through Google. When a hiring manager searches for you by name and finds that your LinkedIn profile shows up near the top of Google, it will add to the positive perception of your personal brand.


8. Stay Active

The more active and engaged you are on the “professionals’ social media platform,” the better your presence becomes. Like and comment on others’ articles and posts. Share posts that are relevant to your industry or profession. Publish an article to share your knowledge and gain contacts organically while developing your own professional thought leadership brand. Another good way to get more engagement is to ask a thought-provoking, timely question about an article, resource, or trend.

Not only does staying active put your name in front of more people, it also helps LinkedIn and search engines understand that your profile is authoritative. This will help increase how often your profile appears in searches.

Follow these LinkedIn profile tips to make the most of your LinkedIn profile and best position yourself for your job search. While it should not be the only tool you use in your job search, LinkedIn can certainly play a valuable role in increasing your opportunities and helping you make a great impression.

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Do you know the number one reason most Americans leave their jobs? You may have guessed it – employees leave because they don’t feel appreciated. With more than 22 million administrative and office support professionals in the U.S., retention through recognition is what makes Administrative Professionals Day so critical!

We simply can’t afford not to retain these loyal, highly skilled, and dedicated individuals who help make teams and organizations run so smoothly. As a matter of fact, companies with strategic recognition programs reported a mean employee turnover rate 23% lower than companies without any recognition programs.And that’s why Administrative Professionals Week is one of the largest workplace observances outside of employee birthdays and major holidays.

Administrative Professionals Day (Wednesday, April 26th, 2017) is almost upon us!  To ensure you’re not caught unprepared to recognize your valued team members this year, take advantage of Nelson’s 5 easy ways to recognize your administrative & office support professionals – and extend Admin Professionals Day to Admin Professionals Week by thanking your support teams all week long!

  1. Express yourself in writing. In this era of emails and texts, handwriting a thank-you card almost feels like a lost art. But that’s what makes it special! To make the most impact, identify a few specific contributions that the individual being thanked has made, or point out one or more significant accomplishments. Increase the surprise factor by leaving the card in an unexpected location, such as in front of the employee’s lunch in the fridge or in one of their desk drawers.
  2. Enjoy a celebratory meal. Do your admin and office support professionals scream for sushi? Cheer for Chinese? Pine for pizza? Take them out for a meal! Putting in the time to go offsite, whether time allows to take all your support staff at once or in smaller groups, lunch out will be noticed and appreciated by your team. But, if you just can’t get away, an on-site catered meal is always a crowd pleaser!
  3. Give time off. A low-cost way to recognize team members is to surprise them with a bonus vacation day or afternoon off. To make sure employees are able to honor commitments and complete their work, provide a floating opportunity rather than early dismissal on a specified day.
  4. Recruit others to show recognition. Get the whole crew in on your efforts to recognize your admin professionals and support staff! A card signed by everyone is a wonderful first step, but encouraging even a few people to say thank-you in person goes a long way towards making a team member feel valued. Want to go the extra mile? Assign each team member a day (and small budget) to recognize your support staff, and encourage creativity.
  5. Customize a certificate of appreciation. Download Nelson’s free customizable Certificate of Appreciation PDF, fill in the template with the name of the person you’re honoring, their title, and the name of your business, print, and present to your honoree. Pair this with one of the other ideas listed, and you’ve got a unique way to show your appreciation!

For over 45 years, Nelson has understood the value of placing (and retaining!) the right people in the right roles. From providing an admin assistant to cover an employee’s day off to finding full-time, permanent new additions to your team, Nelson can help. With experts in administration, accounting & finance, HR, IT & tech, engineering, legal, sales and marketing, and more, Nelson has the resources to handle all your staffing needs.

Contact Nelson today to learn more about how Nelson can help you find the best talent to meet your needs!

Since the early days of the gold rush in the 1850s, the city of San Francisco, California, has long been a beacon for individuals seeking opportunity and new beginnings. Today’s aspirational job seekers can find an active hiring market in the City by the Bay – everything from IT and engineering positions to accounting and finance jobs.

Yet today’s job seekers who want to relocate to this West Coast urban center must prepare for their journeys just like last century’s gold seekers. An in-demand city, San Francisco offers a high number of employment opportunities, but also a competitive job market. Job seekers from all over the U.S. flock to the city every year.

If you’re starting a job search in San Francisco, you’ll be facing heavy competition. There are some specific tips you should keep in mind to understand the unique San Francisco job market and help you succeed in finding your next role in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Cost of Living
Accounting and Finance Jobs in San Francisco
IT or Engineering Jobs in San Francisco
IT Soft Skills Tips
San Francisco Resume Tips
Working With a San Francisco Recruiter

What Does It Cost to Hang Your Hat in San Francisco?

In addition to practicing your interview skills and getting your resume ready, be prepared to open your wallet. San Francisco continually ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. to reside. Though you can reduce some of your living expenses by getting a roommate, renting outside of city limits, and forgoing vehicle ownership for car-sharing services or public transportation, you should be ready for some serious sticker shock.

On the flip side, the city offers some of the most competitive salaries. It has one of the highest minimum wages in the country, and employers in many industries – including nursing, engineering, tech, and finance – do pay more when compared to other areas. With an average one-bedroom apartment costing $3,400 per month (2015), competitive wages for finance jobs, accounting jobs, and engineering jobs in San Francisco are a must.

So now that you know what to expect from Bay Area living, what can you expect from a San Francisco job search for your particular career path?

Searching for Accounting and Finance Jobs in San Francisco?

New York City may be the financial capital of the nation but San Francisco holds that title for West Coast. Though engineering and tech jobs in San Francisco have been in the spotlight lately, the city remains a financial epicenter.

Firms such as Charles Schwab Corp., Visa, and Wells Fargo have deep roots in the area. The city is also home to hundreds of smaller and mid-sized investment and wealth management firms. A quick search for finance jobs in San Francisco on major job boards reveals 6000+ positions available.

Yet blasting out your resume to an array of employers might not be your best job search strategy. A more savvy approach might be to partner with finance and accounting recruiters in San Francisco. These recruiters are familiar with the hiring landscape and can help you find the right position based on your level of experience, area of expertise, and skillset.

Partnering with recruitment or temp agencies is an option that is too often overlooked by job seekers. Yet by working with finance and accounting recruiters, you can best position yourself in the market and target jobs that match your capabilities. The recruiters job is to find the right fit for you, increase your chances of landing that job and negotiate salary and benefits on your behalf. If you haven’t considered this option, you can learn more about what recruiters do here.

Technology and Engineering Jobs in San Francisco

Engineers and tech industry professionals can also find a wide range of job opportunities in the Bay Area. If you’re in technology or IT and considering searching for a new job, there’s a good chance your skillset is in big demand in San Francisco. Whether you are a software developer, programmer, tester, or database administrator, San Francisco companies are always in need of technical talent. Yet with the high cost of living, you want to find the best position and salary while avoiding a case of finding “just another job.”

Likewise, Nelson’s engineering recruiters are finding that positions in civil, electrical, mechanical, or software engineering are consistently available in San Francisco and that there is a strong need for quality candidates.

Salaries and compensation packages can vary widely, so it is best to have a plan and to find an opportunity that meets your salary needs. Again, reaching out to a recruiting agency in San Francisco can be a viable option, particularly in a job market where you might be overwhelmed by choices.

IT and Engineering Job Search Tips

There’s little doubt that technical and engineering skills can take you far in today’s fast-moving world of technology. But one skill that can really set you apart from other job candidates might not be what you expect: the ability to communicate.

Company leaders report lack of communication skills to be a major problem among candidates seeking engineering and tech jobs in San Francisco. Being able to effectively interact with team members, managers, and clients is a skill that can set you apart in a big way.

Managers want to hire high tech professionals and engineers with soft skills, and job seekers who offer both of these competencies have a considerable advantage with a job search in San Francisco. So put down your phone and brush up on your communications basics, such as minding your manners, maintaining eye contact, and building conversational rapport.

When considering your options, also consider how your approach to finding an IT job may need to differ depending on the firm. The hiring process at some companies may depend on networking and reaching out to connections you have made, as they might prefer to hire from the inside. It could also require working through a recruiting agency, like Nelson, that was hired by your potential employer to find the right candidate. Meanwhile, other companies may follow a more traditional hiring process that requires you to fill out an online application and provide your resume. Make sure you understand the process that the potential employer is taking and tailor your approach accordingly.

Show More and Tell Less

The landscape for accounting, finance, engineering, and tech jobs in San Francisco may be ripe with opportunity, but it also draws top talent from around the world; the city has one of the highest populations of college-educated residents in the country. So despite low unemployment and a high number of positions, the job market is still competitive; so it’s important to make sure you stand out as a candidate. One way to do this is to make sure your resume highlights your accomplishments rather than just your abilities.

Avoid overusing buzzwords or falling into the pitfalls of these bad resume examples. Be specific with your accomplishments and their impacts. For instance, instead of writing, “Five years of experience in developing software for clients,” include what software you worked on, what specific role you played (were you a programmer, a project manager, or both?), and how your contributions led to increased efficiencies or other quantifiable results for the project or your client.

A better example might be, “Led programming team to develop client order tracking system with improved functionality, which increased speed of order processing by 20%.”

It isn’t enough to say you know how to code or are a balance sheet guru. You want to show hiring managers what you bring to the table in a meaningful, measurable way. Both on your resume and during job interviews, you need to prove that you have a track record of producing work that is impactful.

Recruiters Accelerate Your Job Search in SF

Whether you’re seeking a position in finance, accounting, or IT or engineering, the City by the Bay offers vast opportunities. In addition to refining your resume and job interview skills, you can get some job search help by partnering with an accounting and finance recruiter or an IT recruiter at Nelson Jobs. We are specialists in helping great candidates land great jobs in San Francisco. Being strategic in your job search can pay off both in terms of overall compensation and greater job satisfaction. If you are looking to accelerate your career or make a move to San Francisco, reach out to Nelson and see how we can help!