Top 10 Career Transition Questions: #8 Is Your Network Strong Enough?

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Blog post by Barton Career Advisors Founder and Managing Partner Chris Barton

This video blog is part of a series addressing some of the most compelling questions for those that are beginning a career search. During the last 6 years, we have been asked hundreds of questions related to career transition and best practices. Here we are distilling those queries down to the 10 most critical need to know responses. Here is #8 of 10, discussing your power of your network.

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Does your resume represent you?

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Blog post by Chris Barton, Outside-In® Team Member and the Founder of Barton Career Advisors (an Outside-In® Partner)

This blog is part of a series addressing some of the most compelling questions for those that are beginning a career search. During the last 6 years, the team at Barton Career Advisors has been asked hundreds of questions related to career transition and best practices. We have distilled those queries down to the 10 most critical need to know responses. Here we discuss the ever-important professional resume document.

Do my resume and search materials reflect the most current trends in professional branding and have I adequately conveyed transferable skills that can be leveraged in other industries or roles?

This is an incredibly important matter when it comes time to start marketing yourself for a new opportunity or when you need to craft a solution to get out of a company or role that is less than optimal. While no resume will ever be the sole solution to open doors for new gigs, it is absolutely critical that the document is a confirmation of the accomplished professional you have become.

Imagine getting the opportunity to meet with an influential leader that could help you in your career path. Next, envision that you have adequately impressed that person through a phone conversation or coffee chat. The logical next step then would be that they ask you for a copy of your resume. “Hey, shoot me a copy of your resume so I can forward it to our CEO.” How are you feeling now? Getting “on stage” for opportunities is really hard, so you do not want to treat the resume as a mere formality. That document is the marketing brochure for a very important product, you.

Resumes have evolved over the last 10 years. It used to be sufficient to tell the reader three things. 1. What kind of job you want (an objective) 2. A chronological career list with job titles and 3. Your contact details. Unfortunately that quick and dirty approach is not nearly enough anymore.

You are competing with a marketplace of job seekers that have literally grown up with a personal social media brand. Not only does your resume have to speak to the quantitative nature of your contributions to your profession, it must also show a crispness in demonstrating that you really understand “you” as a resource and solution. Once you have achieved an accurate, compelling digital document, creating linkages to your online profiles will provide the finishing touches. If necessary, get the professional help you need to do it right.  While it may cost a few hundred bucks to do a resume professionally, imagine what it will cost if you get it wrong.

To read more of the top 10 career transition questions from Barton Career Advisors, click here.

Submit your resume to Placers by emailing it to

About Barton Career Advisors

Barton Career Advisors was founded in April 2009 with the purpose of making career services and professional branding accessible to everyone. This purpose inspired our founder, Chris Barton to create a new career services category and market that is accessible to professionals of all levels. We live our purpose each day as a relationship-based outplacement and career coaching firm, offering premier career transition services to corporations and individuals throughout the US and Canada. Visit the BCA website at

A Lifetime of Junior Achievement

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Our President & Founder, Chris Burkhard was honored last night as a Distinguished Alumni by Junior Achievement of Delaware during the organization’s 26th annual Delaware Business Leaders Hall of Fame induction. In a Facebook announcement leading up to the event, JA shared, “We are excited to feature Chris Burkhard of Outside-In® Companies this year, with a new category of recognition, The JA Distinguished Alumni Award. He is the epitome of what Junior Achievement stands for.” Chris, a self-proclaimed “JA Kid”, has experienced virtually every role in Junior Achievement, from student to his current alumni status. We interviewed Chris to hear about his JA journey that led him to earn this award.

How did you get involved with Junior Achievement?
Burkhard-srpicMy dad was on the Junior Achievement of Delaware board for 20+ years. When I was 13 or 14 and a freshman in high school, he volunteered me to go to a JA program at Newark High School. That was where it all started.

Tell us about what it was like to be a JA kid.
I wasn’t much of a student at the time, I did OK, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t all that excited about being dropped off for the program. But I ended up really liking it. I liked being a part of the company program where we built a company, designed a product and then sold it. I also distinctly remember that I didn’t like the manufacturing part of the program. I recall not wanting to go to the first couple meetings and I definitely didn’t want to tell my mom that. But, like I said, I ended up really enjoying it.

Do you remember the company or product that you created?
We created and sold Birdhouse Kits. In those days, there were about 30 kids in the program who were broken up into small groups, each of which created their own company. I can’t remember the name of our birdhouse company. And as the Head of Marketing in the group, it’s really driving me crazy!

How is the program different today than it was when you were a student?
The program has really come a long way. Back in the day, the company program was more ‘templated’. There were a bunch of questions and we filled in answers. Today, the program encourages the kids to think and process through the decisions you really have to make when you start a company. Looking back, I realize that the program was modeled more after big, public companies. The concept of an entrepreneur wasn’t the same back then. I also remember that we issued stock certificates in the program! Today, it’s equity shares.

What roles have you held in JA?
I started as a student in the program. Next I was a volunteer in the classroom for may years – I taught 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders. I even taught with my kids. I became a board member around 2003, Chair Elect 2010-2011 and was the Board Chairman in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Now I am what they call “Chair Emeritus Council.” Over the years, I worked on growing programming in Cecil County, entrepreneurial innovation in other parts of Delaware, and was on the leadership council of the board for many years.

If you had to sum it up, what has ‪#‎JA‬ done for you?
JA helps kids figure out who they are and what they want to be — and it must work because look at me, I’m a “JA kid”. I was a teenager when I was first introduced to JA, and just like any classic teenage boy, I was into sports and girls. I wasn’t all that interested in going to a school program that my parents wanted me to go to. And I didn’t yet appreciate what my dad had accomplished as an entrepreneur. But after going to a few sessions, JA became the first thing I tolerated as a teenager. A few years later, I began to build an appreciation for my dad and what he accomplished. Fast forward to today, and now building businesses and working with the next generation of JA kids is a passion.

You know the concept of “flow” and how when you lose track of time doing something you love? That’s how I feel when I watch the kids as they start to ‘get it.’ I see how much the kids learn and how much harder it can be than school, but how it can be that much more interesting to them. I have come to understand that the schools have their hands full and when you see these kids learn something that the school environment does not teach, it’s really amazing. I had a parent tell me that the most her son learned in high school was through his JA experience. That’s what it’s all about. When you put a mentor and a child with curiosity together and start to see the kids respond with interest – that’s what it was all about. Finally, it was really fun to hang out with my daughter while she taught a JA program. Perhaps I’m passing the torch, but if not, JA has been a great family experience for me.

What do you hope for JA in the future? What do you hope for the next generation?
Today, the teenagers that sign up for JA are the ones that are smart, the ones that are trying to do well and get a leg up. This is great. But we also have to reach the Chris Burkhards who aren’t interested and don’t think its cool. How about the kids that don’t know about the program and don’t have families that will sign them up? Also, as JA expands the way the program is delivered through technology and race to make the concepts easier to consume, I hope we don’t forget the power of the volunteer. As we develop online and create better tools, I hope JA doesn’t forget the connection between the kids and their mentors.

About Junior Achievement of Delaware

Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement (JA) of Delaware offers in-school and after-school experiences for students in grades K-12.  JA experiences focus on seven key content areas: business, citizenship, economics, entrepreneurship, ethics/character, financial literacy, and career development. Junior Achievement of Delaware serves all three counties in the State of Delaware, as well as, Cecil and Salem counties in Maryland and New Jersey respectively.

If you’re interested in volunteering or signing a student up for a JA experience, please visit Junior Achievement of Delaware’s website here.

How do you handle peak hiring?

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Guest blog spot by Outside-In® Team Member Alex Patton

Last quarter, an average of 221,000 jobs were added per month, which means many companies experienced and are experiencing increased hiring. After a recession and many years of slow or stable growth, companies with or without HR teams have been able to handle the steady hiring. But now, for companies that are experiencing fast-growth, those same teams are entering unknown territory. Some don’t have the time to add more recruiting to their plate. Others don’t have their recruiting process ironed out and the increased hiring shines a spotlight on those gaps. And, many aren’t sure whether to hire new recruiters to their staff because they aren’t sure when the peak hiring period will come to an end. No matter what the recruiting challenge is, companies are left to wonder, “How do we handle peak hiring?”hiring peaks

If you’re thinking, “this is too much for us to handle, let’s outsource” — then you may consider an RPO solution to meet the needs of a new office, new product, or quick growth. While Recruitment Process Outsourcing can be quite effective, it’s not the best solution to jump into when you need quick results and expect it to take all your pain away immediately. Getting the internal support and dedication to fully engage with your RPO partner is important and takes time, and it also takes longer to implement this type of outsourced solution.

The good news is, if you are experiencing a spike (whether you expected it or not) you are not alone. There were five million hires in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, adding to more than 10 million in the previous two months. So, how are companies handling all that hiring? The contract recruiter model is well-designed for peak hiring. An on-demand recruiter with experience in your recruiting niche, is used to coming into an unknown environment and is able to get up to speed quickly. Additionally, at CBI Group, our contract recruiters have their own technology “tool-kit” to utilize and are backed by our Outside-In® team and therefore able to rely on our recruiting and research teams. As an alternative to a complete outsourcing model like RPO, on-demand recruiters can be project-based support that fully integrates into your team and culture.

The inevitable peaks and valleys of hiring can create an unbalanced workforce. A specialized recruiter can provide unmatched flexibility and expertise for just about any situation, including hiring spikes. With varying levels of experience, industry expertise and cost, strategic approaches to talent acquisition partnerships can help shape your business immediately and down the road.

Want to discuss your hiring strategy for peak hiring?
Request a meeting and we’ll schedule time for you to chat with one of our talent solutions experts. We guarantee a phone meeting within 3 days.

How does our contingent workforce plan compare?

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Last week, our President Chris Burkhard discussed on his Outside-In® Guy Blog the latest job market trends of increased job creation, low unemployment rate and high voluntary turnover. “Mark my words,” he warned, “…what we see is real. If the economy holds up we are entering a new era in employment. Get ready for turnover. Be prepared for job postings to produce less. Get conditioned to recruitment and talent being critical business issues that hold back your business.”

As the economy improves and the job market favors employees more and more, it’s becoming ever-more important to have a workforce plan. What talent is critical for your business to grow? What is your plan to attract the talent you need? To engage and retain them? What percentage of your workforce is temporary? What percentage should this be, and does your plan create cost savings? What is the top priority for your plan this year? What are the most important metrics to measure for your program? These are all questions you should answer to create a workforce plan.

Often, when building a plan, talent leaders look to the market for best practices and benchmarks. “What do others do?,” we wonder. Let me share some insights from 2015 Contingent Buyers Survey (Staffing Industry Analysts) about what others are doing with their contingent workforce, specifically.

For which skill sets do organizations spend the most money?

The top 3 skill sets that buyers of temporary staffing services reported spending the most money on are Information Technology, Engineering/Design, and Industrial/Logistics/Transportation Personnel.

What is the average contingent worker assignment length?

The average contingent worker assignment length is 12 months. With survey respondents reporting lengths anywhere from 2 weeks to more than 18 months. Most assignment lengths are 12 months, more than 18 months or 6 months, respectively. Very few said assignments averaged 5 months or shorter.

What is the top priority for contingent workforce programs this year?

The top 3 priorities for 2015 contingent workforce programs are the following:

1. Providing excellent customer service to internal stakeholders.

2. Reducing/ controlling costs

3. Tie: Globally integrating CW program; Implementing VMS

Approximately what percent of organizations’ workforce is made up of contingent workers?

About 4 in 10 fell somewhere between 9 and 20%, with the average response of 15%. The leading response was 9-10%, followed by 16-20% and 11-13%. If you’re overwhelmed and thinking, “I have no idea what my workforce breakdown looks like, rest assured that 13% had no idea either.

What are the most important metrics to measure contingent workforce programs?

The metrics that are most important to contingent buyers are Cost (bill rates compared to other suppliers), Efficiency (Time-to-fill) and Quality (Performance grading of assigned candidates).

How does your workforce plan compare? While comparing your organization to others can be helpful in understanding your own company, it does not always lead to obvious answers for what you should do.

Want to talk out your talent plan as we enter a new phase of employment?

Email and we’ll schedule time for you to chat with our workforce planning expert, Chris Burkhard. We guarantee a phone meeting with him within 3 days.

Top 10 Career Transition Questions: #7 How do I get people to care about my story?

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Blog post by Barton Career Advisors Founder and Managing Partner Chris Barton

This blog is part of a series addressing some of the most compelling questions for those that are beginning a career search. During the last 6 years, we have been asked hundreds of questions related to career transition and best practices. Here we are distilling those queries down to the 10 most critical need to know responses. Here is #7 of 10, discussing your unique selling proposition.

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