Friday, August 31, 2012

EEOC and their New Changes

The EEOC in June of this year made monumental changes to their guidelines for using criminal records against job seekers.  I was happy to see these changes because it will help my participants in the long run.  Now I do realize that when an employer discriminates against someone it is hard to prove, but now employers cannot have a blanket policy that blocks individuals with criminal records from employment.  Since there is nearly 700,000 people being released from prisons and millions of individuals cycling through local jails or prisons this is going to help them with employment.  There are a few points that will help employers succeed in changing their policies to make sure they are not being discriminatory in their hiring practices.
1.      The EEOC has strongly suggested that employers remove the question “Have you Been Convicted of a Felony”. This question is often used to automatically exclude an individual from employment possibilities.  I agree with taking this question off of an application because just because an individual has committed a crime does not mean that this person is that crime.  The felony question is also used to discriminate between individuals who are African American and not White.  Some places will hire a white individual with a felony more than they would an African American.  Removing this question is a great thing.
2.      To make sure you are in compliance look over your job descriptions and decide what felonies are o.k. and which have restrictions.  There are felonies that can be regulated to not be acceptable.  Someone Convicted of Auto Theft, should not expect to work in a car lot.  Looking at the instances of what the job entails will help you   The new changes to the guidelines will make it to where once there is an intent to hire, then the background check should be performed and if there is a background then the hiring manager should call in the individual and give them a chance to discuss the situation.
3.      Length of time and rehabilitation is also to be taken into account when in the hiring process.  The EEOC suggests a policy that looks at the amount of time that has passed since the event, the severity of the event and if the person did anything while incarcerated to change and better their self.  Without blanket hiring policies that automatically throw a person with a felony out of the running, it is now time to look at the events that surrounded the crime.  It is only to be known by the hiring manager and has to be kept confidential.  If a secretary is the one who orders the criminal history it needs to be received in a sealed envelope to be opened only by the hiring individual, then locked in a cabinet. 
4.      The EEOC is also suggesting that employers develop an individualized assessment per each job seeker.  An Individualized assessment allows an individual who may not be eligible for a job to come in and explain any circumstances or give more information surrounding the crime.  It allows details to be explained about the offense like how long ago it was, how old they were when the crime was committed and what they have done since the crime, any work experience including temp work they have had since the offense.
If society does not want the revolving criminal door, then every employer needs to begin to give a chance to someone who has been convicted of a crime.  In my experience someone just out of jail has the gratitude for the job and the desire to work hard at succeeding, some more than the employees who are working now and not engaged in their job, they are just there.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why are resumes important?

Why are resumes so important?  I was asked this question just the other day.  I was asked to write about resumes, the purpose of resumes, and why they are so important.  A resume is a more detailed version of an application and most times holds more information.  There are two different types of resumes that are commonly used.  Chronological resumes are ones that detail the dates of employment in order from most recent position held to previous positions held.  A chronological resume should not go more than two pages if at all possible.    The Functional resume is a resume that is used to highlight your skills when it comes to a particular position.  Employers are not paying as much attention to Functional resumes anymore because people will use them to hide gaps in employment, criminal records and negative employment experiences like terminations.

1.   1.    Importance of a resume? A resume should highlight your professional accomplishments and will give employers the “WOW” factor right at the heading.  Employers scan a resume for maybe 10 seconds and are looking at the layout, the font, the structure; the skill sets and if there are any spelling or grammatical errors.  A resume is used online also to apply for positions on various job sites so it is important that you know what the employer is looking for.
2.     2.  Mistakes on a resume can take you out of the running for a job even before you knew you were a possibility.  There are people seeking employment who are currently making the biggest mistake on a resume.  That huge mistake is lying on their resume, and by lying on their resume I do mean “dumbing down” their resume.  With unemployment at a high point many people think if they do not mention their higher degrees they will have a better chance at gaining employment.  This is not true in fact employers do all sorts of background checks on individuals.  These back ground checks are credit, criminal and schooling.
3.     3.  Mistake number 2 is to not focus the resume to the specific job being sought.  So many people blast out one resume that has some of the qualifications for the job but is not targeted to the position.  When trying this online, an individual needs to know about Resume Reading Software.  Resume Reading Software will scan your resume, seeking keywords that are being desired and if that resume does not have enough of the keywords, the resume is kicked out of the running for the position therefore it will not make it in front of a real person.
4.      4.  In my mind the purpose of a resume is to make the information an employer is seeking easier to read and easier to find.  Reading an application takes a lot of time and when an employer receives 70 applications or resumes for one job posting, this will make for a long day.  A resume gives the individual more ability to shine and sell themselves to an employer, without having to waste the employer’s time.  Resumes tell a story about the job seeker.  It tells if their work history is stable, if they have had multiple jobs within a year, and some employers can see what kind of worker the individual will be just by the organizational skill putting the resume together.
Remember that a resume should be an honest representation of you and your experience.  It should be tailored to the specific job and should not have any errors.  Even the “omitted errors”.  Employers want to know if you have the skills to do the job, the longevity to stay with them, and that you are not going to be a problem.