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One of the best things to have in your professional career is a mentor (or a few). Sure, you have a few people that you admire and aspire to be like, but you would never reach out to them. Think again.

It is important to put yourself out there and network. Sitting on the couch and willing for a connection to be made will not work. So put yourself on a limb and invite someone out for the casual coffee meeting.

Follow these few steps and a successful coffee meeting time after time:

  1. Craft the perfect email. It all starts with inviting someone for coffee. Keep your email short. Remember, most people read their emails on their phones. What seems like a concise email on your desktop will read like a novel on your phone. Chances are you are reaching out to a person who has no idea who you are or what you want to meet about. So don’t Stick to these key points in your email: (1) Introduce yourself (2) explain the reason that you would like to meet (3) explain the reason of why he/she will also get out of this meeting (4) name a place to meet (5) give a few times and dates for him/her to choose from. Be sure to follow up on this initial email with an email 2-3 days later and phone call to keep this potential coffee meeting at the top of his/her list.
  2. Arrive 5 minutes early. Once you have a date on the calendar and it finally approaches, don’t take it lightly. Arrive 5-10 minutes early so you are there to greet who you are meeting with when they come through the door.
  3. Do your research. Don’t go into a coffee meeting completely blind. Google the person to find out about their work, follow them on Linked-In, find them on Twitter. You need some sort of common ground to talk about in casual conversation like “I loved that event that your client was a part of.” Research is always impressive.
  4. Have coffee for a reason. Make sure networking doesn’t turn into not working. Chances are the person you want to meet with you doesn’t want to talk about the weather over a cup of joe. Set up a meeting plan to highlight points, projects and reasons for the meeting. Remember, there are two sides to networking: what you get out of it and what the other person gets out of it.
  5. Make later plans. Close out the meeting with a few actionable steps like “I will introduce you to so-and-so” or “Please forward me that invite to the next meeting” and so on. While you both are together, go ahead and grab your calendars to make later plans for your next coffee date a month from now. It’s easier to get in their books as soon as possible than battle

Ever wonder why a coffee date is the norm of all meetings? Jerry Seinfeld says it’s because coffee “obviously gets people talking,” Seinfeld says, “You have coffee and for some reason it makes you talk a lot.” It gives you something to do with your hands, gives you something else to focus on to ease nerves, and is your saving grace if you had a late night. Seinfeld adds, “Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup.”

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CNN money published a recent article about how some companies offer unlimited vacation time for their employees. YES, you heard that right, unlimited vacation time. When we read that, we had the same reaction that you did just now!

This sparked CNN’s interest when this past Wednesday, Virgin Group billionaire business mogul, Richard Branson, announced that his employees can take as much vacation time as they need. Other companies that offer unlimited vacation time are Netflix, Zynga, Groupon, Glassdoor, Evernote, VMware, Hubspot, Ask.com, Motley Fool, Eventbrite, ZocDoc, and SurveyMonkey.

CNN Money reports:

But according to a June survey from the Society of Human Resource Management, less than 1% of employers offer unlimited paid vacation time. The group surveyed 500 human resources representatives from employers of all sizes across the country.

 

While the statistics might be disheartening, American workers are notoriously bad about taking their vacation days. A recent report from the U.S. Travel Association showed 40% of American workers will allow some of their paid vacation days to go unused.

But why is that? Did you know that the “United States is the only developed country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday. By law, every country in the European Union has at least four work weeks of paid vacation,” according to USA Today. Americans get half of that time, and in most cases less.

Who knows, maybe this 1% will set a standard and we will see a lot more vacation time flexibility in years to come.

So what makes us work so hard, and so often? When you can solve this mystery, give us a call!

 

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With nearly 300 photos submitted to the Alternative Staffing Dog Days of Summer Contest, we are happy to announce that Ashley McDonald’s picture of her dog, Willard was the grand prize winner and took home a $150.00 gift basket from Dolittles.

Ashley McDonald and her dog Willard stopped by the AS office to pick up their prize!

We received so many photos, that we couldn’t just choose 1 to be our favorite. So we selected our top ten favorite photos and asked our Facebook followers to vote on their favorite photo by “liking” it over the course of 5 days. Ashley McDonald’s photo received 172 likes!

Before that voting process, throughout the month of August and the beginning of September, people submitted photos of their dogs to Alternative Staffing via Facebook, Twitter and email for a chance to win a gift basket from Dolittles (complete with food, treats, toys, shampoo and a collar and leash, valued at $150.00). Alternative Staffing vowed to donate $1 to the Charleston Animal Society for every photo submitted. With 252 photos submitted, Alternative Staffing will make a donation of $252.00 in honor of everyone who participated in the contest.Dog Days of Summer Photo Contest Winner

Alternative Staffing owner, Jan Cappellini said, “I looked forward to seeing the pictures of dogs that people were submitting every day! It really warmed my heart to see the amount of photos of dogs that were actually Charleston Animal Society rescues. We hope that this contest helped raise awareness for the organization and encouraged pet adoptions and donations.”

Thank you for EVERYONE who participated. Be sure to follow us, because you never know when another contest will pop up!

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Recently the American Staffing Association unveiled the results of the 2014 ASA Staffing Employee Survey, which revealed that 99% of temporary and contract employees who want permanent positions achieve this career objective. Virtually all survey respondents indicated that securing a permanent job was important to them, and half (49%) stated that finding permanent employment was the primary reason for choosing to work in the staffing industry.

The top reasons individuals choose temporary or contract work are related to future employment ambitions, according to the 2014 ASA Staffing Employee Survey results. In addition to being a means to permanent employment, respondents specified three other prime factors in seeking work in the staffing industry: the inability to find a permanent job via other sources (40%), the ability to obtain work experience (28%), and the improvement of professional skills (24%).

The vast majority of staffing employees rate their employment experiences positively. Nine out of 10 temporary and contract workers (92%) are satisfied with their staffing companies; 74% are very or extremely satisfied, the survey found.

“The results of the landmark 2014 ASA Staffing Employee Survey verify that temporary and contract work is an effective bridge to permanent employment,” says Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “ASA member companies are proud to make a real difference in the lives of so many individuals in the U.S. workforce. The results of the staffing employee survey affirm the great value that staffing employees receive from their assignments.”

Other key findings of the 2014 ASA Staffing Employee Survey:

  • Nearly 90% of staffing employees say that temporary or contract work makes them more employable.
  • Work schedule flexibility is also important to staffing employees, with one in five respondents (22%) stating this as a reason for choosing temporary or contract employment.
  • Temporary and contract employees are about as likely to work full time as all adults in the U.S. labor force (76% versus 82%, respectively)—and among those staffing employees who bridged to permanent jobs, 94% work full time.

At Alternative Staffing we strive to provide our employees with the best jobs that will elevate their experience, enhance their resume, and eventually place them in a career. We believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind to!

“It always seems impossible, until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela

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Happy Friday from the Alternative Staffing team! If you are like our office, we like to keep our attire more casual on Fridays. But Forbes recently reported that workers shouldn’t take casual Friday too casual.

While Casual Friday can mean different things to different companies, you don’t want to show up to work in your gym clothes, cut off shorts, or swim suits! You need to wear the appropriate clothing for your workplace and industry.

For example, a lot of Alternative Staffing employees work in warehouses, and there is typically always a dress code for the safety of the employee. But if the workplace embraces Casual Friday, you need to stay within the parameters of what is appropriate and what is not. Do you need to wear closed toe shoes, pants, or long sleeve shirts?

Casual Friday is a time for you to showcase more of who you are…but remember to be professional.

Take a look at Forbes’ 4 tips on how to set the standard for Casual Friday attire in the office:

Tip #1: Define a policy.

HR or management should define and communicate the appropriate/inappropriate attire for casual Fridays (and the summer months) and the consequences for not following the policy.

Tip #2: Meet with employees.

Managers should discuss the policy with employees, answer their questions, provide examples of what is considered acceptable work clothing, and ensure everyone understands what will happen if they don’t comply (such as being sent home to change their clothes).

Tip #3: Be a role model.

If you’re in a management position, dress a step above the casual Friday policy, even during summer months. If jeans are acceptable on Fridays, choose dark colored jeans that are styled to look like trousers. Women can pair these with a colorful blouse and standout necklace with heels, while men can wear a button-down shirt or even a company logo golf shirt with their jeans or khakis. The idea is to look casual, yet polished.

Tip #4: Stand out from the crowd.

It’s time to step up casual Fridays, especially if you want to climb the career ladder and advance into higher-level jobs. Even when you’re given the option to dress casually for work, take it up a notch from your weekend wear. In this tight job market, everything you can do to make yourself stand out will help.

 

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Thanks to the Holy City Sinner for featuring Alternative Staffing and our “Dog Days of Summer” contest.

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We are halfway through the month of August, and we have a half of a month to go! We have received an overwhelming amount of support from our friends and followers. Check out our Facebook album to see the hundreds of dog photos that have been submitted so far. Submit your photo for your chance to win a gift basket from Dolittles. And remember, for every photo we receive, we will donate $1 to the Charleston Animal Society, so spread the news! Submit photos on our Facebook page, send to alternativestaffing@outlook.com or on Twitter using the hashtag #CharlestonDogDays.

Read the Holy City Sinner article HERE.

One Dog Days of Summer contest submission, Dexter!

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The Charleston Regional Business Journal featured the Alternative Staffing “Dog Days of Summer” photo contest in the paper’s “Helping Out” section on August 6, 2014.

We are thrilled to host this contest to raise awareness for the Charleston Animal Society and encourage pet adoptions in our community. Submit a photo of your dog for your chance to win a $150 gift basket from Dolittles. For every photo we receive, Alternative Staffing will donate $1 to the Charleston Animal Society. So send us your photos at alternativestaffing@outlook.com, post to our Facebook page, or tweet using hashtag #charlestondogdays.

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CRBJ Aug. 2014 AS

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The dog days of summer are here, and what better way to celebrate than to help raise money for the Charleston Animal Society. You’re local Alternative Staffing is excited to host a “Dog Days of Summer” photo contest for an entire month doing just that!

This gift basket from Dolittles could be yours (and your dog's)! Submit a photo of your dog today for your chance to win it, and Alternative Staffing will donate $1 to the Charleston Animal Society!

This gift basket from Dolittles could be yours (and your dog’s)! Submit a photo of your dog today for your chance to win it, and Alternative Staffing will donate $1 to the Charleston Animal Society!

Starting today, August 1, 2014 through Labor Day, September 1, 2014, Charlestonians are encouraged to upload pictures of their dogs for a chance to win a “Dog Days of Summer” gift basket from Doolittles complete with food, toys, a new collar and leash, and more dog goodies. For every photo submitted, Alternative Staffing will donate $1 to the Charleston Animal Society.

 

How to submit your photo:

–          Email to Alternative Staffing at alternativestaffing@outlook.com

–          Post to Alternative Staffing on Facebook, www.facebook.com/AlternativeStaffing

–          Tweet using the hashtag, #charlestondogdays

 

 

Alternative Staffing owner, Jan Cappellini's dogs, Prudence and Shameeka, frequent the Alternative Staffing office almost every day. You could say they're our mascots!

Alternative Staffing owner, Jan Cappellini’s dogs, Prudence and Shameeka, frequent the Alternative Staffing office almost every day. You could say they’re our mascots!

Alternative Staffing owner, Jan Cappellini said, “We are such huge animal lovers at Alternative Staffing. In fact, I bring my dogs to work almost everyday, and one of them we rescued right off of Remount Rd. near our office. I have such an unbelievable love and appreciation for the Charleston Animal Society. This contest is a way for us to raise awareness, encourage the community to consider animal adoptions or support the organization with the things they need to keep the animals safe and healthy.”

Cappellini added, “Uploading one photo of your furry friend will make a big difference. So share this with your coworkers, friends and family, and let’s raise money for the Charleston Animal Society together!”

We can’t wait to see your pictures!

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A recent article on StaffingIndustry.com reported that temporary staffing revenue grew at a median rate of 15% year-over-year in June, accelerating significantly from the 10% pace reported each prior month in 2014, according to the latest Pulse Survey Report by Staffing Industry Analysts. The percentage of firms reporting positive year-over-year revenue growth rose to 82% from 73%.

“June stood out as a particularly strong month for temporary staffing on multiple fronts,” said Research Associate Ziv Tepman. “For the first time this year, median year-over-year growth in temporary staffing revenue surpassed the 10% mark, accelerating significantly to 5%. Our measure of new order activity also reached a 2014 high.”

This survey results also follows the recent announcement of the decline of the national unemployment rate to 6.1%. South Carolina’s unemployment rate has remained the same from April to June at 5.3%.

Regardless of the statistics, at Alternative Staffing, we continue to experience growth as we serve more and more local businesses with staffing solutions. We easily accommodate these demands by providing hundreds of experienced employees with manufacturing, industrial and clerical job opportunities throughout the Charleston Tri-County area and Midlands.

To learn more about how your business can benefit from our solution-oriented staffing methods, call us today at(843) 744-6040 for our North Charleston office or at (803) 516-9433 for our Orangeburg office.

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The Beatles said it. Joe Cocker said it. Now Harvard researchers are saying it. Sometimes, you just need a little help from your friends…even at work.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review researched and reviewed how friendships in the workplace are actually quite a fantastic thing for productivity. We found this very interesting, because at Alternative Staffing we’re not just colleagues or friends, we tend to function like a family. 

With employee engagement being at “an all-time low”, friendships (to an extent) are now being encouraged in the workplace.

Office camaraderie is a great way to increase moral and loyalty. Instead of breeding an individualist and competitive environment, relationships help create a team setting where co-workers share a commitment and common goal…success!

An excerpt from the article reads, “Research shows that workers are happier in their jobs when they have friendships with co-workers. Employees report that when they have friends at work, their job is more fun, enjoyable, worthwhile, and satisfying.”

What would you do if I sang out of tune? In addition to all of the incredible professional benefits, work friendships provide a great personal support network. “Whether rooting for each other on promotions, consoling each other about mistakes, giving advice, or providing support for personal situations, comradeship at work can boost an employee’s spirit and provide needed assistance.”

So how do you encourage coworkers to be “friendly”? Set times where everyone can have lunch together, encourage workplace respect and give compliments to one another, set break times where everyone is able to relax and have a little fun in the middle of the day, include all employees on milestones and news within the company, make their opinion matter, and especially create an environment where employees feel welcomed and can be their best selves.

One thing to remember, a happy worker equals a happy client. So if you haven’t already, try to establish a friendly culture in your office and see the productivity skyrocket! Because at the end of the day, all of us get by with a little help from our friends.