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Monday, November 26, 2012

Who Moved My Cheese? The Changing Face of the Staffing Industry

Change is constant and the staffing industry certainly holds no exception. How we manage the hiring process - from top to bottom - has shifted dramatically in recent years, but many of the fundamental rules still remain. It's all about finding the right talent at the right time, place and price. It seems simple, yet there is no elegant formula. Mostly, temporary staffing relies on the grunt work of middlemen. But the efficiency with which employees are staffed is constantly improving, and those companies that fail to adapt may begin to wonder, who really “moved their cheese”?

Culture Shift in Hiring

In the past, staffing firms and departments managed talent in very different ways than we do today. What used to be a paper and pen, pick up the phone and beat the streets process is now far more streamlined and effective - when the right tools are in place, that is.

What separates good staffing firms from great ones is ultimately how easy they can make the hiring process for their clients. Each company has their own secrets, but one pattern is clear: the Internet has changed how our day-to day jobs. Only those businesses that adopt and integrate the right tactics, in this case the Internet, will survive in the competitive world.

Take the airline industry as an example. What once was the task of travel agencies, helping customers to find the best deals from point A to point B, is now automated by online systems that show real-time pricing options. The consumer completes purchasing directly with airlines in many cases, but there are also services like Kayak and Travelocity that aggregate a variety of prices and options for consumers. The leaders in the industry are those that tailor technology to their customers’ needs.

New Tools Shake Up Old Ways

We now have a broad range of tools available for managing billing and staffing projects, but not all tools are created equally. Some big names include Elance and Odesk, but lots of smaller entrants are shaking things up as well.

The big companies have a lot of the standard features like billing and records management. These have become a staple in the industry, helping us to keep payments flowing and staff positioned properly.

But some innovators like NextCrew, which is providing online staffing tools to staffing firms, are hitting the market with some creative tools. Two features that are unique include instant job matching and self-managed staff profiles. These tools are likely to become standards in the marketplace in upcoming years.

Instant job matching used to be something we could only dream about. When companies request temporary labor, we get busy with phone calls and emails to prospective staffers. In other words, it's still a fairly manual process. But with services like NextCrew, a job is posted and everyone who meets the criteria is immediately notified. In many cases, positions get filled with qualified candidates in minutes with little to no involvement from the staffing agency, a relatively hands-off, stress-free method.

The other key factor is presentability. Especially with temporary work, first impressions make all the difference. With self-managed staffing profiles, prospective employees can maintain their own profiles and manage content, much like a social media site. Not only does that lift a burden off of staffing firms, but also it allows them to see their employees as more than just names on a page.
The Change Is Here...

 The management of clients and employees is rapidly changing. The advent of online-based services has made staffing sleek and simplified, but new tools are constantly surfacing. How your firm implements these tools will determine where it lands in this industry. Be prepared, because the cheese is moving and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rise of the Contingent Workforce: Are You Ready?

There's change in the air, and we're not talking about the elections. The nature of the modern workforce is shifting in significant ways. One of the biggest shifts we're seeing today is the rise of the contingent workforce - an entire, large segment of ready-to-work staff who just need or want to work a short-term job.
Businesses are more and more likely to need contingent staffing options to handle unique, short projects. Instead of hiring and training full-time staff, more firms are looking for ways to bring on specialized or temporary staff to meet their needs.
But there's also a trend in workers looking for temporary opportunities as well. From contractors that just need to fill in on some downtime to students looking for jobs to the unemployed trying to keep bills paid - more workers are looking for and ready to fill temporary positions.

Leveraging Technology

One of the keys to successfully engaging this contingent workforce is through advanced technological solutions. One such solution is NextCrew which allows firms to make a job posting and all qualified staff is immediately notified via text or email - no more picking up the phone at the last minute and trying to round up a crew. NextCrew also allows those looking for jobs to maintain their own records and profiles, taking pressure of the organization.
This innovative platform is transforming the workforce by making it easier and easier for firms to actually get the staff they need quickly and efficiently. In the past companies have often found hiring full-time employees easier just so they have staff on hand for emergency projects. This doesn't have to be the case anymore.

Bigger Talent Pool = Better Results

The contingency workforce represents untold, untapped talent. Whether you are a staffing agency or your firm handles staffing internally, one of the keys to a successful project is getting the right people on the right job. The contingent workforce is incredibly mobile these days, and with the right systems like NextCrew in place, it's incredibly easy to bring in specialized staff quickly.
Staff utilization is a critical skill for staffing groups and a contingent workforce can be an excellent source of bringing in the right people fast. It just takes the right tools to manage the process.
And many of these staffers are looking for part time work for extra income. Contingent jobs usually last from a few hours long to several days, maybe a few weeks at most. So these staff can make some extra money, build their resumes, and move on without disrupting their current jobs, if they have one.

The rise of the contingent workforce is happening now and it's not going away anytime soon. The question is, are you ready?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NextCrew Transforms Short-Term Workforce Industry

From event planning to construction to the office: every growing business has the need for short-term staffing. But anyone who has dealt with this side of the business knows just how time-consuming and frustrating it can be. The typical process includes preparing a work order, sifting and sorting through candidates, and contacting them until you have your shift covered. This often takes place at the last minute requiring human resource teams to work after hours to get positions staffed.

With NextCrew, this entire process is streamlined, eliminating most of the steps traditionally required to staff short-term positions. Now you just post a work order and qualified candidates are immediately notified, respond, and can be managed in on one platform. Once a work order is posted, qualified candidates immediately receive an email or text notifying them of the opportunity, to which they can respond with the press of a button. You get notified of their interest and can finalize arrangements all from a single interface.

Post Once and Get Immediate Results

One of the most powerful features of NextCrew is the ease of engagement with qualified staffers. Instead of combing through resumes and profiles, the system automatically connects your work order to qualified staff in real-time. Candidates can immediately start responding to your work order. There's no need to send multiple emails or to pick up the phone. NextCrew connects with candidates in the way they prefer. The result is near immediate results from staff interested in the job. Post once and get the right people interested fast.
Self-Serviced Candidate Profiles

Candidates manage their own profiles, which takes all the pressure off of temporary staffing firms. No more data entry and perusing through page after page of useless resumes. Candidates can login, manage their credentials, contact information, and areas of interest. The result is reduced pressure on human resources staff who typically would have to manage the database of candidates.

One-Stop Work Order Management

Once candidates begin to respond to your work order, you have a number of tools for managing your project. From selection of candidates to communicating with those who have responded to your work order, you can quickly and easily stay on top of your project. The NextCrew platform gives you a dashboard for managing everything from the timing of your event or project to which staff will be on site at the time.
Private Label and Branded NextCrew Sites

For companies who simply want to integrate NextCrew into their brand, it's important to understand that NextCrew is simply a platform. You can provide your candidates and clients the tools available with NextCrew in a completely branded environment. You've worked hard to establish your brand! Use NextCrew to enhance it. You can host the NextCrew platform on your servers or use ours.

Why NextCrew?

NextCrew makes temporary staffing much easier and efficient with a near-social media-like interface. You only have to post a work order once and get real-time updates to the best candidates who can immediately respond with their interest. Staff up a project in minutes, not hours or days. And once you have your project staffed, easily manage your team from your dashboard.

Friday, August 3, 2012

3 Ways to Identify Applicants with the Right Skills

About 31% of 811 small-business owners and chief executives said they had unfilled job openings in July because they couldn't identify applicants with the right skills or experience, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal and Vistage International.

According to a recent article from the WSJ, it's particularly small businesses who are suffering from finding the right person for the job.  As a small business, adding even a few people with the correct skill set could mean substantial growth and profit, but spending the money to train someone with a needed skill may not be in the budget. On the opposite end, hiring someone, paying for their training and not having it work out means the company also loses. So what do you do as a manager or owner? Here are a few ideas to consider in your hiring process:

1. Think outside the box. Whatever way you typically hire your staff, do something different. It's like working out, if you do the same exercise day in and day out, you will always look the same. The same applies to your work staff. Take a look at your job description, is it interesting? "I’ve seen job descriptions in ads in which the company is looking for a person that can be a one-man IT shop.  It’s no wonder that these companies have trouble finding people that they feel are qualified for the position at hand. If this is your company, scale it back! Focus on the essentials only," says Scott Lowe an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner. 

2. Don't be Picky. Have you had the same position available for over four months? Why isn't it filled? Are you holding out for the 'perfect' candidate? Time to re-evaluate your process because you may be losing more money by waiting so long that to hire someone with 80% of what you are looking for. "Often, it's not until someone has truly gone through the interview process, accepted the job, come aboard and worked with you for a little while that you truly start to learn who they are," says article 'Tips for Hiring the Best Employees.'

Of course you need to pick a candidate that is qualified and has passion for your vision but reflect on past candidates and why they didn't 'fit the bill' and what of those items could have been preventable.

3. Temp period. Point #2 wasn't meant to scare you into hiring just anyone. It's not a shot in the dark but there are certain variables you will never predict in the hiring process. Enter the temp period or temp workers. Give your new positions an introductory period where you get to see what someone is like in the office, keep in mind there are growing pains with any person but pay attention to how crisis is handled and what is accomplished. 

"We hire people to a four-month contract position to evaluate how they perform in real situations, assess their cultural fit and see if they have a hint of jerk in them.  After four months, we've historically hired around 20 percent of those put on contract," says entrepreneur Joe Reynolds.

What are some tried and true ways that have helped you hire excellent staff? If you are an employee, what do you think sets you above the crowd?

About NextCrew: is aiming to help business owners find qualified temporary staff. Just register your open shifts or positions today at and organize and find your crew in one place. Browse our directory of local staff specific to your skill need.

Photo by marcobellucci 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Temping your way to Happy

Like test driving a vehicle, temping is your opportunity to 'test drive' a job before you make a serious commitment. Benefits are clear to employers, but people choose to be temps and freelance for a variety of reasons. Combining the benefits with your requirements, you can temp your way to happy!

The unemployment rate resting at 8.2% for the second month in a row the traditional way of finding work isn't cutting it. Many have created their own small businesses and switched their skills to freelance-only contract work. 

While some may say this type of work unpredictable, many are seeing the benefits of choosing path of least resistance. We reported last week that Temp work is on the rise based on June's employment numbers, and we wanted to dig a little deeper and investigate why people are choosing this route in their career path?

Top reasons we found? Money, flexibility, skill-building and potential permanent placement.

The Test Drive
Long time temporary worker David Shea advises on analyzing each placement, "All jobs should be considered independently, and on their own merits, as to what they offer, and what they require of you to change/sacrifice. Be flexible, and you will find yourself more often employed than not."  

Trying a new opportunity as a temp, you have to put your best foot forward and are then an easy and obvious choice if/when your position may become permanent. Michelle Tillis Lederman, founder of Executive Essentials, a corporate training and coaching company believes that doing temp work dissolves an employers belief that certain tasks will be 'below' you and also gives the impression of work ethic and a good attitude. Can we say HIRED?!

Skills Built
Every job will require a different set of skills. Many entry-level jobs are mostly skills you can perfect, while picking up a few new skills as you go. "Having a temp job will often allow you to learn many new skills to add to your repertoire, in addition to honing and increasing your current skills. These sometimes involve soft skills, such as customer service, time management, attention to detail, etc. But often, you'll learn hard skills as well, such as how to operate new technology, or learn new software, which is a great benefit to highlight on your resume," says Shea. A good question to ask yourself is, what will this job teach me? 

FREE lancing
Choosing to be a freelancer, contract/shift based worker means you are in charge. Business depends on your own schedule and motivation. "I chose temping because a permanent position in a corporate environment felt like a noose around my neck. Being with the same company for 15 years seemed like a death sentence to the 20-something artist in me," said Stefanie Petersen, 41 in article "Take this temp job and love it."

Freelancing allows to you follow your interests more specifically. Internet and Fashion Entrepreneur Loren Ridinger gives on her blog the top reasons she chose to do freelance writing. "I get to spend more time with my friends and family (no 9-5). I decide which projects I want and which projects just aren’t the right fit. I can work right from my own home (even in my pajamas!). I can always look for more freelance opportunities. I get to write about the things I love!"

What are your major selling points for temp and freelance work? Why does it work (or not work) for you?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Solution to Unemployment: Temp Work!

Are you unemployed? 
More importantly, how long have you been unemployed?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the Unemployment rate at 8.2% in June. For the past nine months we've been hovering with an average of 8.37% which is admittedly better than 2009 which averaged 9.27% for the year, but it it still not where it should be.

Many reasons are attributed to this unemployment rate include government’s lack of creating jobs and loss of corporate profits by way of consumer sales flat lining. What does that mean? If people aren't buying, retailers aren't hiring.

College graduates reportedly have the worst prospects for employment. Huffington Post's stated that "more than two million college graduates are now unemployed and millions more are underemployed."

So what does this mean to you? Here are a few suggestions to help find a solution to your unemployment:

1. Identify what type of jobs are hiring
"About one-third of the jobs gained in June were in temporary services," reports Christopher Rugaber"Manufacturing added 11,000, its ninth straight month of gains. Health care added 13,000 jobs and financial services gained 5,000."

Based on reports, we know temp work is on the rise! There is an ease that temp and shift work provide, especially for young workers. "Temporary work can be like a paid internship, where an employer gets to try you out without making a long-term commitment. You also get to check out different employers and explore various types of workplaces, which can be eye-opening and can reveal your career passion," says Dr. Bonnie Snyder. "If you do a good job, it's likely that the employer will seek ways to try to keep you on and that you will be the first to get the nod when the economy finally rebounds."

Don't just look at what's hiring now, but look long term and start experimenting with different fields on an entry level basis. Check out the U.S. News & World Report's '25 Best Jobs' - "We’ve ranked them, comparing their projected growth to the year 2020 to their industry’s employment rate." Many careers stick out to us - particularly #1 Registered Nurse, #6 Web Developer, #11 Maintenance and Repair Worker, and #16 Meeting, Convention & Event Planner. 

2. Get involved - Register on
By registering your expertise and availability, this will link you into a network of owners looking for your specific skill. Owners can hire you over the web and hire you for one or many shifts based on their need. Just like a temp agency setting you up with a job, instead you are in charge. 

For example this shift for a Front Desk Representative in Rolling Meadows, IL could be a perfect way to work on your customer service skills. Or apply your event planning skills with this tradeshow event staff posting in Glenview, IL.

It's easy to find different job options and experiment with your strengths to find a career path. Check out our long list of expertise available and register today. Follow our blogFacebook and Twitter for valuable career advice and job postings.

3. Overcome your obstacles
It is never to late to re-evaluate where your career path will take you. It's easy to get into the bad habits of unemployment, but be sure to start with the good ones.

Keep a regular routine, check in with your family for positive reinforcement, and network wherever and whenever you can. That includes online. "With online networking, you have access to more professionals — and will inevitably make faster connections — as your connections expand throughout your industry," says Mona Abdel-Halim

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 6, 2012
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey"
Snyder, Dr. Bonnie. "A Temporary Solution for Jobless College Grads" July 16, 2012
Rayburn, Robin L. "With Forecasts Gloomy, Can We Spread Hope?" July 6, 2012
Rugaber, ChristopherU.S. Employers Add 80,000 Jobs as Economy Struggles July 6, 2012
U.S. News & World Report "The 25 Best Jobs
Miller, Valerie L. "Five Good Habits for the Unemployed" March 29, 2012
Abdel-Halim, Mona. "20+ Online Networking Opportunities for Job Seekers" February 19, 2012

NextCrew is a job maintenance website that allows owners to post open shift-based work and people to provide their expertise by applying for the positions and working the shift. Make some extra money during unemployment. Sign up for shift-based work that fits into your job search schedule so you are making money while finding the perfect job for you.

Photos by: Jbndl & Rebecca Anne 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Introducing NextCrew iPod Giveaway Winner: Lisa Grisolia!

Meet Lisa Grisolia winner of our spring iPod Nano giveaway promotion! Anyone who registered on NextCrew between April - May 31, 2012 was entered to win.
Lisa is from Elmhurst, IL and is a self-employed freelance musician and teacher. 

"I heard about NextCrew from a friend. As a freelance musician and teacher, the majority of my work comes from connections. I'm always interested in making more connections," says Lisa. Being part of NextCrew is a step to making more connections professionally and to post her expertise for shift based music gigs and teaching.

What is Lisa's dream job? "Right now I'm mostly teaching in multiple locations and gigging here and there.  I'd love to have more of a balance between teaching and performing and teach in just one location," says Lisa.

We had to ask Lisa what will be her first picks for her ipod playlist "Midnight City by M83, 1901 by Phoenix, Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes, Simple Song by The Shins and Windows are Rolled Down by Amos Lee"

Check out Lisa's profile on NextCrew to see a good example of setting up your own profile today! 

Congratulations Lisa on winning a new iPod Nano! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Three Reasons to Hire a Temporary Worker

It is no surprise that temporary work is expected to rise this year. It’s flexible and not just for the workers but the advantages are clear for owners.

1. The Perfect Employee
Perfect is not possible, but finding someone who is able to learn is essential. First step into finding a quality employee is to acknowledging perfection should not be on the job description.

Owners are “leaving vacancies unfilled for months and months while they hunt for somebody who could come in tomorrow and do the job. They are passing by people who would take a few days of training to get up to speed. They don't know what it costs to keep these positions vacant or how little it would cost to give people a few days of ramp-up,” says Peter Cappelli, Wharton professor and author of Why Good People Can't Get Jobs.

Many jobs have a specific skill set, but there are also jobs that capable fast-learning person can pick up with apt speed and it’s a hiring managers job to discern them. Best way to decide to to make a specific task list for each position and decide what is train-worthy and what expertise needs to be hired in specifically.

2. Employees Calling in Sick
“Cough, Sniff, I’m sooooo ill. Don’t think I can make it in today.” You have probably heard some version of this sound-effect filled phone message. No manager wants to hear it but every manager should have a backup plan.

In a survey at this time last year, workforce-management firm Kronos found that 57 percent of salaried employees said they would take a sick day even if they weren’t really sick says a report from CNBC.

NextCrew allows owners and HR Directors to search on-call workers ready to fill in for a sick day call in. Search by location and find someone in your local area. Even better, build a capable temporary team that will keep your business running efficiently even during flu season.

3. Business is GOOD!
More clients, customers, orders, and contracts. As managers you have to recognize when business brings success the workplace breeds stress.

“Workers tend to develop classic symptoms when their workload gets too much to bear, such as poor memory, fatigue and bad time management. They also exhibit odd behaviors, working too much or too little in response to the level of stress in the workplace,” says Lauren Hockenson.

Avoiding the need for extra help at work could lead to bad overall morale. There are many ways you can help ease stress of the job, by offering additional vacation time, allowing employees to choose their hours and of course calling in some extra help for smaller by time-consuming duties.

NextCrew has a passion for helping both owners and employees - by posting available temps shifts, owners can directly find local temporary work. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and tell us what you think about temp work.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top 3 Business Linkedin Groups to Join in Chicago

Social Networking has expanded past our personal lives and into our professional ones. When a Facebook or MySpace account was probably your first jump into social media, we now know that Linkedin is the place for your online resume. When we have a question, we now look to our online professional communities and groups for answers. 

If you live or work in Chicago here are a few Linkedin groups you should consider joining.

1. Business Network Chicago (BNC)

Launched on August 7, 2008 this group continues a steady growth each month. With at current count of 8,102 it's one of the largest general business oriented groups in Chicago on Linkedin. The BNC also has events and workshops tailored to getting more involved in social media and face-to-face networking. 

Following the motto of "educate, support and empower" there are a variety of interesting discussions to be apart of. We discovered a recent discussion topic regarding what you think about having a professional profile picture - a topic we touched on earlier this month.

Jean Pickering is the President & Social Media Director of the The Tektite Group and creator of BNC. Jean is responsible for making the group more than just a presence on linkedin, but carries over to Facebook, Twitter, and

Top Industries: Human Resources (13%), Marketing & Advertising (9%), and Information Technology (9%). 

2. Linked N Chicago (LiNC)

Whoever said bigger is better is part of this group. It's huge! Seriously. Numbering at 61,538, you will definitely find answers to any hard questions you would like to bounce off other business minded people. You will will see a wide variety of questions. Favorite of last week was a discussion on peer-reviewing giant, Yelp.

Created by Mary McFarlin and managed by Mary Toomy this group has seen a big bump in the last four months adding 14,902 members since January 2nd. 

Top Industries: Information Technology (10%), Marketing & Advertising (9%), and Financial Services (6%).

3. Chicago Young Professionals 

This is a great way to get started in a group especially if you are a Gen Y or Xer. The one thing to watch out for is that this group has more sales-oriented posts. Just last week there were 74 discussion topics posted/posts and only 41 comments. We wish more young professionals were using this group of now 5,380 people for networking and discussion.

Created by Attourney Jeremy Kissell on Feburary 25, 2008 it's another group that has consistently high growth in membership.

Top Industries: Marketing & Advertising (13%), Financial Services (8%) and Information Technology (7%).

Do you have a specific group to recommend in Chicago? Let us know!

Still learning all that Linkedin can offer for you? Check out these stats. 


As an business owner or manager you can help stay organized by using NextCrew as a source for temp and shift based work to hire at moments notice. Follow NextCrew on Linkedin and click HERE

Numbers as of May 29, 2012. Image:

Monday, May 14, 2012

NextCrew: Vanity URL, Links to YouTube, & more!

We wanted to let you know about a few updates and things happening lately at We are building our database with temp/shift work to apply for. As we build on our end, there are a few features for you to to be aware of:

Vanity URL
In order for owners to find those looking for work we have developed your own vanity URL. Whenever someone registers on NextCrew, your username becomes your URL in this format:

For example, check out our marketing manager's vanity URL HERE (also pictured).


The credentials area of your account is a place for you to post links to items such as YouTube video, other websites, and documents to back up your expertise. Musician? Link a clip from YouTube. Lifeguard? Post your lifeguard certificate. Nanny? Upload your first-aide and CPR certification certificates, and so on.

Utilizing these options allows you to be more organized, prepared and helps develop your online profile on NextCrew (and get you hired!). 

Questions or feedback? Email us today!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Evaluate your talents: Hobbies turned to extra spending money

A hobby is defined as an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure. Immediately what comes to mind as your hobbies? You may not realize it, but you can turn your hobby into paying as-needed work.

We aren’t saying go out and start your own company – there are so many ways to do what you love without that kind of commitment. A hobby is also something you do in your leisure time, not full-time.

Here are a few hobby turned revenue examples for you to think about:
  • Shakespeare said it best, “If music be the food of love, play on!” Vocal, instrumental, or both, music is a talent. Skills as a performer could mean that you could sub for gigs in your local area and qualify you to work in music-related retail shops as an expert.
  • Pets = Happiness. Pets are wonderful and steering your love for animals could be your way of spending time with your furry friends and getting paid. Pet owners are always on the lookout for reliable dog walkers and pet sitters.
  • Should have been born a fish. Constantly at the pool, lake or ocean and can’t get away? Why apply and test for a lifeguard’s certificate? The American Red Cross offers a course and you can find out local certification classes at your local pool or YMCA.
  • Shop ‘til you drop. Well, maybe not literally but shopping to many is a favorite past-time. You could use skills such as finding the best sale and knowing what’s on trend to be a personal shopper.
  • Canon vs. Nikon. The new generation of digital photography has allowed this pastime to be more accessible to all. No longer having to develop your own film means if you own a camera you could be an amateur turned hired photographer.
Hobbies are as the definition says, pleasurable. Doing it probably means you are doing something you love.  “When what you are doing is aligned with who you are and what you’re naturally drawn to, it’s energizing. And not only is doing the work energizing, it also doesn’t drain you like work that doesn’t fit,” says Curt Rosengren speaker, author, and career coach.

Not sure what hobby to utilize or where to start? Identify a potential paying hobby by making a list of what you do in your spare time. Ask your friends and family what they think. Hidden (and some obvious) talents will emerge. Are you at the beginning of your career process (i.e. student)?

You probably are doing this already by thinking about what exactly your interests are for your career path in life. If you are already on your career path, look at it as an exercise to remind you what you love to do.

“When you love your job, you are able to really put your heart into it, which results in staying motivated, utilizing creative energy and doing the best job you are capable of,” says Andrew G. Rosen on

By channeling your hobby as revenue, you add valuable skills to your resume. Brush up your talents and make extra money by adding your hobby (aka: expertise) on  Check out our list of expertise options today.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Hire-Worthy Profile Picture

It’s not hard to pick a profile photo for Facebook - but a different kind of online profile photo is important in your job search and selection. We are talking about your professional profile photo. Yes, you need one or it may be time to re-evaluate your current one. Here are a few reasons (and tips) for selecting a quality picture for your online professional profiles.

  • A profile photo shows you real. Let’s face it – with technology it can be hard for an owner to know what is real versus spam. Uploading a photo is just one of the features that NextCrew provides on their platform for owners and providers. “People want to connect a face with a name,” according to
  • It makes you more approachable. “We do know that folks who have a photo are seven times more likely to have their profile viewed in general than folks who don’t have a photo,” Krista Canfield, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn says.
  • It solidifies your personal brand. If you are job searching, you are probably constantly using your personal brand to find and apply for the jobs you want. “Branding is about creating emotional connections... An online profile with no photo is a missed opportunity to reinforce your brand and engage people,” says Personal Branding Expert, Meg Guiseppi.
It’s up to you the type of photo you chose for a public profile. Consider a few of these tips when selecting one:
  • Mind the Basics! This means good light. A quality camera or phone with a high resolution setting. Clear view of your face that should be smiling, looking approachable and in focus. Background should not take away from main focus (you!). “Your face is the focus, not the background. Again, this is a headshot. That means you posing near the Great Wall is probably not the best choice for a main picture. Is it cool? Absolutely. Professional? Not unless you’re an ancient bricklayer,” says Justin Thompson from CareerBuilder
  • Remember the big difference between looking professional and looking interesting. Professional doesn't mean boring. How are you showing owners your personality? “When taking a ‘serious’ picture, people forget to smile. The resulting photo lacks personality or the subject appears mean and inaccessible. Look at your picture and ask yourself: “Would I want to go to lunch with this person?” says CareerDiva Eve Tahmincioglu.
  • Ask. If you are unsure if a photo would be a good choice, just ask! Reach out to a favorite teacher, friend or colleague. Gain valuable feedback on what you think your photo conveys.

Know exactly what photo to use? Upload it today to your professional NextCrew profile as you begin your job search process!

EXAMPLE: Check out our Marketing Manager, Valerie's profile on NextCrew. 

Top photo by: Rebecca Peplinski Photography | Chicago, IL

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Five Good Habits for the Unemployed

Bad habits come easy with no job, but what about good ones? Being unemployed can be overwhelming but these five tips will help with your daily routine and help you power through each day until you are right where you want to be.

1. Eat Breakfast. Break out your P90x DVD. Read the paper. Make your kids lunch. Whatever it is that gets you up and going is the key here. If you have an activity that you do each morning that makes you get out of bed, do it! Can’t think of something? Find out how to get out of bed fast.

2. Put on your 'work' clothes. No, you don’t have to put on a shirt and tie or dare I say anything that is office attire. Just make sure you have normal daytime 'I can see people in this' clothes on. It is too easy to get stuck in a funk of sleeping in and staying in your pajamas - which ads a somewhat sluggish and sleepy overtone to your entire day. Doing this also means you can run out the door for a quick networking meet up or even to take your job search out of the house and to a coffee shop.

3. Make a MUST do list. Instead of a never ending to do list, why not make a list with two columns? On one side write MUST do, on the other side, write TO do. The must do list should include at least one major benchmark item. For example, you have two positions you found the day prior and today is the day to research the companies in order to be prepared for your cover letter, resume and the potential prep for interview questions.

“Effective to-do lists are limited to specific tasks that can be tackled right away and finished fairly soon,” says Julie Morgenstern, a New York author and expert on time management. With a list that is logical, a particularly productive day can turn into total list domination! Check out Sue Shellenbarger’s article “Conquering the To-Do List.”

4. Reflect. Take a few minutes over lunch or in the afternoon to think about YOU. Focus on the things you know you are good at. Remind yourself you are a unique person with specific qualities that make you special. What are your future dreams? Take a step back from your daily tasks and situation and know that you can do whatever you put your mind to. It's all about The Power of Positive Thinking.

5. Family and Friend Time. When job loss has got you down, don’t let it bring your family life down too. Spend time with those you care about in order to re-charge your mission. Try a new hobby, play a board game or take on a new chore such as cooking dinner with the family. Staying glued to your computer and phone every day until a job offer comes through is not the way pass your time in unemployment. Your family and friends will agree.

“I am learning to be thankful for what I do have and I'm enjoying the little things in life, I'm looking at life in a new way. My future will focus on family first,” says Kristin during her job search.

Make these your good habits during unemployment and you will wake up each day knowing you are on the path to achieving your goals. Good things happen to those who wait and great things happen to those to who do.

NextCrew is a job maintenance website that allows owners to post open shift-based work and people to provide their expertise by applying for the positions and working the shift. Make some extra money during unemployment. Sign up for shift-based work that fits into your job search schedule so you are making money while finding the perfect job for you.

Photos by: LifeSupercharger & john.schultz