Workbridge Associates: Where People Meet Performance

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Archive: April - 2014 (4)

  • Volunteering at the West End House

    On a rainy day in Boston, our Workbridge Boston office traveled to Allston, MA to bring some sunshine to the kids at the West End House Boys and Girls Club. Founded in 1906 to aid immigrant and urban youth, the West End House provides leadership and life skills, academic support, college preparation, sports, fitness, nutrition, and visual and performing arts programs for just $15 a year. Today, the club has over 1,500 members, many of which are decedents of the original members who came to our country from the Dominican Republic, China, Vietnam, Haiti, and Cape Verde.

    When the crew first arrived, they met with Aviva Berezin, the club's Community Engagement Coordinator, and a curious young girl named Ava. Ava is the self-appointed volunteer greeter at the Boys and Girls Club. She always introduces herself and loves to be with the groups. After learning some history about the club, Aviva went over the Activity Bored with the recruiters.

    For the first hour of each afterschool day, everyone must be in their designated homework “Power Hour”. The WEH takes education seriously, in order to be a member you must be attending school. Workbridge was told that some of the classmates even tattle on each other if a day of school is missed. After homework, the kids can choose from a variety of activities: gym, art, swimming, or music.

    The building is equipped with a huge swimming pool, a music room filled with equipment, an art studio complete with a black light room, a fitness center, full size gymnasium, and a dance room. The team was mildly jealous of the facility. After meeting with some of the teachers, two of whom they discovered are original members of the club, the recruiters split up into smaller volunteer groups. They helped during gym time, with homework for grades 1-3 and grades 4-5, art, and food prep.

    Our recruiters were a little nervous about homework help. After all, none of them had done long division in a very long time. Nonetheless, they braved the challenge and helped the kids as best they could.

    Believe it or not, the West End House serves over 1,200 meals a week to their members and they do it all with only ONE chef, Lisa Smith. It's safe to say she needed some help. Recruiters Liam Pushee and Julia Croyle, along with Marketing Specialist Liz Polom helped prep roasted garlic and applesauce that would accompany the pork chops being served the following day.

    During gym time, the recruiters got a bit of a workout themselves. After playing basketball, they participated in sprints and wall-sits. 

    Usually, when school programs are cut, art is the first to go. This is a shame because the art room was full of creative minds. These kids were full of talent. Occasionally, the art will go on display and even sometimes sold. One girl was working on a landscape piece that was going to be auctioned off.

    Needless to say, the team at Workbridge Boston had amazing time volunteering at the West End House. To find out ways to get involved, visit their website at www.westendhouse.org.

     

  • Workbridge Los Angeles Bakes Cupcakes for Ronald McDonald House

    Recently, Workbridge LA volunteered at Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House. The team arrived with grocery bags full of cupcake ingredients including frosting, festive sprinkles, marshmallows, and spring-themed candies for decorating. They had the entire four-stove kitchen available exclusively for their afternoon of baking. Once the office washed their hands, they dove right into cracking eggs, mixing, and pouring the batter into the cupcake tins. The smell from the freshly-baked chocolate, strawberry and Funfetti-flavored cupcakes was intoxicating.

    Throughout the afternoon, families and children popped in to investigate the delicious smell. While they baked, the team got to know some of the residents. Arseli, a 12 year old girl from Guam, was so appreciative of the care and hospitality that she and her family had received at the Ronald McDonald House.

    Once the cupcakes were cool enough to frost and decorate, the recruiters of Workbridge LA got in touch with their inner pastry chef. The variety of cake flavors, frostings, and decorations meant that there was a cupcake for every child to enjoy. At 5pm, the residents started trickling down to the kitchen. They chose their favorite flavored treat and visited with the recruiters as they ate.

    The Ronald McDonald House serves as an amazing national charitable organization for families and children in need. They provide housing facilities while loved ones are undergoing care. The purpose is to make the families and patients as comfortable as possible during a devastating and stressful time in their lives. A big thank you to the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House for giving Workbidge LA the opportunity to volunteer!

  • Represent Yourself in Print

    Article by Micah Roth, Recruiter in Workbridge Los Angeles.

    As a recruiter for Workbridge Associates, I spend a good portion of my days looking at resumes. I know what works and what doesn't. You could be the greatest developer in the world, but if you can't write a decent resume, no one will be able to tell. Of course, it's not the end-all when it comes to finding a new job, but a well-written resume will absolutely catch the attention of a hiring manager over a disorganized resume for a job seeker with the same skillset. Below, I've compiled a list of tips that will help increase your chances of attracting the attention of hiring managers.

    Suggestion #1: Keep it short and simple.

    Almost no resume should be longer than 2 pages. Don’t forget that this is a specialized document intended to demonstrate quickly and efficiently that you’ve got the required skills and experience to do the job you’re applying for.

    There are a large number of tweaks you can make, including using invisible tables, tab-stops, and columnar sections (if composing on a word processor) to use more of the available space. Mostly, however, it involves cutting out unnecessary content like objective statements, company/project descriptions, and anything that doesn’t directly apply to what you personally did or your specific skills.

    Make each entry on your work history about you, not about the job/company/feature/school. You don’t need to describe what the project was ultimately aiming for or the demographic it targeted.

    Suggestion #2: Be a job seeker of action.

    The resume is a static document, but you are a constantly-evolving entity, always growing and changing, right? Right. So don’t make your resume sound like you were just tagging along for the ride. Every single bullet on your resume must start with an active verb that invokes the concept of you as the prime mover against a feature or an accomplishment.

    Before

    After

    MongoDB brought 150% improvement in efficiency

    Migrated database to MongoDB to improve efficiency by 150%

    Image manipulation

    Created new image manipulation feature featuring ImageAPI

    In-app billing with managed and unmanaged items

    Developed in-app billing functions including managed and unmanaged items

    Suggestion #4: Clean it up.

    Typos, misspellings, and major grammatical errors are unacceptable. Whether you’re a native English speaker or it’s your fourth language, you need to make sure your resume is clean and polished.

    I guarantee there are at least a half a dozen people in your life who would be happy to read over your resume and point out simple errors/flaws. Your nephew in community college, your cousin who happens to be a novelist, your mom who was an English teacher for 30 years - get at least a couple people to read it over before you submit it anywhere. Barring that, spend the $20 a professional resume writer will charge for a once-over. Of course, as recruiters, we can make recommendations if there are serious, distracting flaws, but let us know if you need us to proof read it. Typos, spelling errors, and grammatical errors can create the absolute wrong impression!

    Suggestion #5: The point is that there are multiple parts.

    You are a highly skilled engineer with exposure to a lot of different technology stacks, libraries, APIs, programming languages, development environments, operating systems, platforms, services...the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, a long list of all the skills you’ve acquired and honed is overwhelming, confusing, and sometimes detrimental.

    If you have strong skills in both Java and PHP or programming and management, you may want to consider creating two submission resumes - one that focuses heavily on one, a second for the other. This will cut out inapplicable skills that could get you screened out of a well-fitting job. Again, your recruiter knows which resume is a fit for which job, so you’re adding a lot of value to your own search by creating distinct resumes for each skill stack.

    Suggestion #6: Advanced - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    I have seen time and time again that the design of a resume can make or break the interest of certain hiring managers. There are a handful of incredibly simple things you should do to make an otherwise adequate resume instead look attractive and impressive.

    • Use two to three professional-looking font faces. Ensure to alternate serif and sans fonts: Serif fonts are good for larger blocks of text, Sans fonts are good for headings and standalone numbers. If you go with a monospace font, all your fonts should be monospace.
    • White space is your friend! Use spacing to visually break up information: Invisible (borderless) tables, fixed tab stops, expanding tables to left-align some information and right-align other information on the same line.
    • Use simple horizontal rules or single-sided text borders.
    • Make sure your fonts (faces, sizes, alignment) are consistent.

    Images can be very powerful in a resume, but they can also backfire, so use them sparingly and carefully. You don’t want to create the impression with your resume that you’re more of a designer than an engineer. At the same time, having an eye for design can be very helpful in many industries, so an image-augmented resume can help you stand out from the crowd. Just make sure that any images you include are there because they communicate something more effectively than the plain text would.

  • Telecommute vs Office Commute - Weigh In!

    Article by King Bea, Sourcing Specialist at Workbridge Associates Orange County.

    My 20lb dumbbells sit in the corner of my room, gathering dust and indenting the carpet underneath. The fitness application on my iPhone would be my best point of reference as to the last date of their usage. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever used my dumbbells as more than just a daily reminder to exercise. They're more of a symbol of an idea. Originally, I purchased the pair because I thought owning them would make exercising more convenient and that I could be more productive with my day. Oddly enough, I’ve found that I prefer to boost my heart rate away from home, away from my room, and apart from these cursed dumbbells. (Yes, I’m actually going to bridge the gap between dumbbells and telecommuting, but remember, this is a blog post. An anecdotal one for that matter.)

    Telecommuting can be defined as simply working from home or a remote location, separated from a centralized office space. With numerous studies on work-life balance, environmental benefits, psychological factors, differences of occupation, etc. on the table, the final verdict on remote work is still up in the air. Just like any idea or opinion on best practices and how work should be accomplished, there are those throwing rocks at each other on either side of the fence. What we do know is that roughly 20% of the global workforce telecommutes with India leading the charge. In the US, telework accounts for about 16% of the total workforce; California has both the largest percentage of teleworkers in a Metropolitan area (San Diego) and the fastest growing area for telework (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario). Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley’s percentage is on the upswing. Across the board, telecommuting has sharply increased throughout the United States. From a personal perspective in the IT industry, my candidates are more incentivized to consider a new role if the opportunity offers some form of telecommute throughout the week. Moreover, there is a general consensus that software engineering is an occupation that can be based, in part, away from the office.

    Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, had such disdain for the concept that she eliminated the company policy altogether after being appointed. HP CEO Meg Whitman followed suit thereafter. Both women were proponents of a collaborative and ultimately innovative workspace that could only be realized by being in close physical proximity to your colleagues. On the other hand, Richard Branson, entrepreneur extraordinaire, condemned the Yahoo! move as a "backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever." Both a Stanford and Beijing University study reported an increase in productivity and efficiency in a randomly assigned control group. The New York Times published an article by Jennifer Glass that defends telework in an article entitled, “It’s About the Work, Not the Office.” The rise and popularity of collaboration software such as GoToMeeting and Cisco’s WebX should not be ignored either.

    I am not a true telecommuter since I drive to our Orange County office daily. However, 100% of my work is done for our San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices. In essence, I am using the “work dumbbells” that sit in my room and so far, I have been relatively effective in my role. However, I believe that the quality of my work is partially dependent on those physically around me. I hold myself accountable to their presence. My work ethic is strengthened by an office space and the individuals with which it is filled. What motivates you to pick up the dumbbells? Are you camp telecommute or team office?

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