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What, "You're Not A Cultural Fit" Really Means...

May 18, 2016

~ CEO of CAREEREALISM & CareerHMO | Recruiting | Employment Branding | Job Search & Career Development Training | Advisor

A LinkedIn follower recently emailed me the following:

...In a recent series of interviews, I had three for one role and was down to the final two candidates. I was told, I was "not the right cultural fit" ! What can I take from that! I have never had that one before!

It can be confusing, and frankly, hurtful to hear a statement like that. That's because, "you're not a cultural fit," is code for, "we can't see your personality and approach to work fitting in with the rest of us."

Culture Club = It's High School All Over Again

One of the biggest challenges in looking for a new job is successfully navigating the 'culture club' throughout the interview process. It can feel like you are back in high school. Each company you interview with will have its own tribe-like feel. Think of all the cliques you used to encounter: the jocks, the nerds, the cheerleaders, the artists, the goths, the rich kids, etc. Each group had a set of beliefs that dictated how they spoke, dressed, and interacted with one another. It was up to you to find the group where you felt you belonged. While I wish I could tell you times have changed, they haven't. We've all grown up, but we are still human - and forming tribes is what humans do. It's our way of bonding so we can work together and be more productive. Now, before you get defensive and cry, "not fair!" consider this...

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Your 30-Second Guide to Interview Dos and Don'ts

Sometimes, it’s the little things that end up being remembered. For interviews in particular, it can be easy to spend all your energy focusing on the big picture, but it’s equally important to know the ins and outs of interviewing etiquette.

To assist with that, this infographic offers great tips for every part of the interview: before, during, and after. There’s even a bonus dining section, which is great for people like me who feel like eating during an interview is just a faux pas waiting to happen.

Interview Tips - Interview Do's and Don'ts - The Muse


Infographic courtesy of Rasmussen.


Source:  Dockweiler, Scott. "Your 30-Second Guide to Interview Dos and Don'ts." themuse. 2016 Daily Muse, Inc. Web. 10 May 2016. https://www.themuse.com/advice/your-30second-guide-to-interview-dos-and-donts#z9iv.

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The goal of a resume is to let a potential employer know why you're the best person for the job. Here are 10 practices that impede that goal.

By | in Career Management, September 16, 2013, 5:47 AM PST


There is one goal for your resume: To show a potential employer why you are the best person for the job. However, there are so many things that can get in the way of what should be a clear message. Here are ten of the most common mistakes made in resumes.

1. Your focus is wrong.

This may be one of the most difficult concepts for job hunters to grasp, but your resume is not something you create for yourself. You create it, format it, and organize it so that it's easy for a hiring manager to gauge your fit with the job he or she is offering. It's important to tailor your resume to each job you apply to. I promise you, no hiring manager is going to study your resume for specifics that would apply to the job at hand. Your resume has to make them obvious.

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The game isn’t over when the interviewer says “Do you have any questions for me?” You still have another chance to sell yourself.


By Catherine Conlan


Lynda Spiegel, founder of New York City-based Rising Star Resumes, once was asked by a job candidate to prioritize the projects that would be assigned to the role in question. The candidate, who was interviewing for a junior marketing position, then offered insights into how she'd address each project in stages to avoid lag times.

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The post-interview thank-you isn't dead, but the way you do it could make or break your chances of nailing the offer.

You had the interview. You’re pretty sure you aced it. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the offer, right? Wrong.

According to Kim Isaacs, Monster Résumé Expert, most applicants don’t follow up with a thank-you letter. "Even if you think an offer is in the bag, you can always improve your chances of getting the job if you send a thank-you letter," Isaacs writes.

But it’s not enough to whip out a card or an email and consider it done. There’s an art to expressing thanks after an interview that can boost your chances of being considered for the job.

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I was blown away that my first article got over 2 million views. I've always been passionate about helping people find good jobs. But my advice in "The Biggest Mistakes I See on Resumes" was just a starting point: the basic stuff we all need to nail to get to that interview. (And remember, the ONLY purpose of a resume is to get you that interview!)

Among the 3,500+ comments, eight questions came up again and again. Since these posts are my 20% time project I can’t respond to each person. But so many people are facing the same issues that I want to address the biggest ones.

One caveat: these are my opinions, not official company policy. My qualifications are that I've personally reviewed more than 20,000 resumes, coached hundreds of high school and college students, veterans, and people of every age on how to get a job, and lead a recruiting machine that has seen over 20 million applications. But there's still a bunch of stuff I don't know, so take what I write with a grain of salt.

Now, on to your questions:

1. Should I have keywords and jargon on my resume?

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10 Tips For Finding Your Perfect Job Fast With LinkedIn

A recent survey of human resources professionals revealed that over 90% of in-house recruiters hired people from LinkedIn. Is it any wonder then that LinkedIn is now the go-to site for job seekers looking for their next great career? For many people, however, LinkedIn is confusing.

Finding Your Perfect Job With LinkedIn

So, here are my 10 best tips that I share with my LinkedIn coaching clients to get you on your way.

1. Optimize Your Profile

What kind of job do you want? Whatever you are seeking, make sure you put those keywords in your profile. Think about it…how does a hiring manager search for candidates? He puts in the job title he is looking for into the search box. So, make sure you have your desired job title in many places on your profile so you come up high in LinkedIn searches.

2. Use A Professional Photo

I’ve worked with many job candidates looking for executive positions who have a casual photo on their profile. To me, that is a big fail! Save those shots for Facebook. LinkedIn is a professional networking site and you want to look your best. Dress according to how much you want to get paid. If you understand this, then get a professional headshot down at your local photographer studio. A pleasant smile will also go a long way. No one wants to hire a sourpuss.

3. Fill Out Your Profile 100%

By completing your profile, you are 40 times more likely to come up in LinkedIn searches. Besides that, it shows that you are taking LinkedIn and your job search seriously. LinkedIn has prompts that show you how you are doing and what you need to do to get to 100%.

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My daughter just graduated college with a degree in Computer Science and landed a job with an insurance company in their IT department. What makes an IT person successful?

I was at a networking meeting the other evening and was asked the typical question “What do you do?” I answered with my normal turn of phrase “I teach leadership and soft skills to IT people. How about you, what do you do?” The returned reply was not what I expected. Instead of the person launching off on a description of his chosen profession, he replied by saying “Wow, my daughter just graduated college with a degree in Computer Science and landed a job with an insurance company in their IT department. What makes an IT person successful?” I answered with the expected list of characteristics such as having a deep understanding of the technology, business acumen, being a team player, etc.

Upon returning home two hours and a glass of wine later, his question still resonated with me. Upon deeper thought, I settled on these twelve attributes.

1. Loves technology
When a person is doing something that he/she truly enjoys, it’s infectious. People can feel it and want to be involved and get swept up in the experience. From an IT perspective, this can be your boss, peers, clients, or staff. Equally, if not more important, is that when you do something you love, you do it better. This shows in the quality of your work, your commitment to the task, and your willingness to take on challenging assignments.

2. Understands data
Data is the life blood of an IT organization and the business it serves. Having a deep understanding of a company’s data provides insights into how all the major software applications are connected. Additionally, from a business perspective, if you understand a company’s data flow, you will understand its internal processes and business model.

3. Understands the business
A major trend in IT is its closer and closer alignment with the business it serves. Even at the CIO level, you can’t just be the head techie, you must be a strong business professional who happens to know quite a bit about IT. This business understanding allows you to better serve the business community and be more innovative on their behalf.

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"It's important to acknowledge gaps in employment history up front, in a resume or on LinkedIn."

The issue of gaps in employment history is a thorny one, and one that comes up all the time in terms of the overall picture your resume provides. When a candidate is applying for a job, a large unexplained gap in their employment history is sometimes a showstopper. And why is that?

It’s sometimes more about what your resume or social media profile implies than what it says explicitly. You want it to show career progression, and not stagnation. For example, if you’ve worked for one company for 15 years (something that is much less common than it used to be, but is still seen a lot), you want your resume to show how you’ve made your mark at that company. You want it to show increasing scope and responsibility. You don’t want to make it look like you’ve been complacent or that you lack ambition.

For example: Your LinkedIn profile says that you’ve been working at Company X as a “Buyer” for 18 years. Chances are, you haven’t been doing the exact same thing that entire time. Chances are, you just haven’t taken the time to fill out your LinkedIn profile and explain the progression that’s probably happened as a buyer within the organization. Have you been doing the same category the entire time? The same spend level? The same-sized supplier base? Have you been working with the same technology? I’m willing to bet not. If you fill in these details, your profile or resume gives the kind of explicit description that might put you into consideration for a position, but it also sends the kind of implicit “I take my career seriously” message that actually lands jobs. You want to convey that you see yourself as being on a path — on a journey with a destination — not stuck in a rut.

In short, your resume shows who you are as a person. And just like that example, having long gaps in your work history sometimes gives employers the wrong impression about your abilities and ambitions. A long unexplained gap in your resume can imply that you’re not capable of landing a job. It can imply that you were “dishonorably discharged” from your previous job and didn’t know how to get back into a position. Worst of all, it can imply that you’re lazy, or that you don’t care about your career.

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Today, more and more employers are conducting phone interviews before inviting job candidates to an in-person meeting. With more applicants available for each opening, employers do not have the time to invest in a meeting for every candidate that simply looks good on paper. Phone interviews make it easier to screen a candidates.

Related: Top 3 Tips For Phone Interviews

Some of these phone interviews may include standard questions that ask about facts, such as your experience and any specific skills you have. However, there are also employers who dive right into some of the most challenging questions, such as giving you a scenario and asking for your response and plan to handle the situation described.

As a job applicant, there are benefits and disadvantages to a phone interview. Some people are well-spoken and are great on the phone, but in person, their nervousness gets to them. Some are more comfortable speaking in-person and lack personality on the phone. Under both situations, it can be a challenge when you don’t have feedback that may typically appear through face-to-face contact.

Regardless of the situation, you need to put your best voice forward to leave the employer with a good impression. This may be the only shot you have at getting a step closer to securing a job offer with them. Remember that the employer may change their mind about inviting you in for an interview if you fall short of their expectations or leave a negative impression on the phone.

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The job market is picking up. We get as many inquiries in our office now from talent-hungry recruiters and employers as we do from job seekers.

People who’ve tolerated unexciting jobs waiting for things to turn around are looking around the talent marketplace. People who’ve been out of work for ages are seeing a little more recruiting activity.

That’s good news, right? It’s mostly good. The danger for a job-seeker is to get sucked into the Vortex.

The Vortex is the force that takes over when you start to get traction in a job search.

“This is cool!” you think. “These guys like me. Maybe I’ll get this job offer and get out of my horrible job.”

If you’re not working, you think “Maybe I’ll get this job and pay off my credit card debt, finally!”

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Crafting the perfect resume has always been one of the most vital and frustrating steps in the job search. From font and format to using “active” verbs, there’s a lot that goes into that single sheet. So much rides on the brief descriptions of education and work history, and often you are left wondering if you really provided a full picture of yourself. After all, a good hire needs more than just experience; personality, outside pursuits, and social influence can be valuable to know before offering employment.

With the increasing ubiquity of the Internet, paper resumes are falling to the wayside. They are being replaced by professional profiles. This online format isn’t restrained by the physical parameters of a page and allows for more information to be shared with a potential employer. Now you can present a well-rounded snapshot of who you are, what you can do, and why you fit a given position.

There are a number of sites on the Internet that provide the framework and marketplace for professional profiles. LinkedIn is a reliable tool for the white collar community, allowing a clean and simple way to display credentials and job background. Their connection feature allows job seekers to reach out to companies that may have been difficult to reach otherwise, giving them a wider span of opportunities.

Shiftgig provides this kind of easy connection and outreach for the service community, with profiles that reflect the values of personality and social influence that play big roles for bartenders, servers and other industry professionals. Facebook, while still seen as primarily a casual social network, has also become a tool for employers to find staff, allowing them a deeper view into the character of a potential hire.

This shift towards the dynamic professional profile underlines the changing values of employers. While experience is still paramount, personal details can be a huge help in deciding which applicant is right for a company’s culture. So, how do you make the most of the online profile? It is a balancing act; you need to provide the right kind of insights without completely compromising your privacy.

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By Kimberly Thompson  |  December 13, 2013     

It's no surprise that unpredictability plays a major role in your job search, and that's why a search is both nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time.

A job candidate who recently landed a position sent me his story, and it is a great example of how your perfect job comes out of the blue. It describes the unique encounters all job candidates experience and how keeping an open mind with tenacity leads to opportunity.  

His story begins with a job loss as a sales manager, and for nine months he diligently searched for employment and decided to settle on a job with one of his former competitors, which consisted of a one-man sales department.

He took the job simply because it was an easy fit, and his family needed the income.

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Recognizing the Fastest Growing Aggie-Owned or Managed Companies in the World

Texas A&M University recognized Emergent Professional Resources LP as a member of the 2013 Aggie 100 honoring the fastest-growing companies in the world, owned or operated by Texas A&M University former students. The Aggie 100, a program created by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship in Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, honors graduates from across disciplines for their entrepreneurial endeavors and success as business leaders.

The 100 Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses with the highest annual revenue growth were recognized at a formal luncheon in the Zone Club on the Texas A&M University campus, Friday, October 25, 2013. More than 700 honorees, families, employees, faculty, administrators, and well-wishers were in attendance to celebrate their success. Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, President of Texas A&M University, introduced the event’s keynote presenter, R.C. Slocum, Special Advisor to the President, who addressed the honorees on topics of dedication, leadership, and commitment.

“Our Aggie 100 honorees demonstrate that the character and traditions developed at our great university continue to play a significant role in their success across industries and generations,” said Dr. Richard Lester, Executive Director of the Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship. “Aggie leaders have proven time and time again that no matter the situation, solid business ideas, strong character, tenacity, and hard work pay off.”

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Succeeding in the staffing services sector is all about building relationships. Houston's Emergent Professional Resources LP likes to build those relationships one at a time.

Making its debut on the Houston Business Journal's Fast 100 list this year, the firm has enjoyed rapid growth, particularly in the past three years. Even in its initial year in business after being founded in 2007, Emergent Professional was off to a fast start, bringing in $1 million in revenue in its first 12 months.

Led by Mark Moseley, president and managing partner, the 10 employees at Emergent Professional specialize in providing executive search and placement services focusing on finance/accounting and information technology professionals.

In a recent survey, the vast majority of chief information officers in the Houston region said they are bullish on IT growth prospects in the third quarter.

"Our growth has remained steady despite the economic recession that began in 2008 and lasted through 2011," said Moseley. "We believe this is due to our commitment to building relationships and providing quality service."

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The times, they-are-a-changing. As a CEO, I've personally hired dozens of people in the last three years without looking at a resume (I use LinkedIn!). Social media has gone from non-existent to a vital part of most people's lives and careers in the last ten years. My parents and their peers often stayed at the same company their entire careers; today, that is virtually unheard of.

In order to help navigate the new landscape in our careers, it's essential to use a new set of guidelines: a new roadmap, with new rules, so to speak. To better understand these new rules, I talked with Dan Schawbel, Gen Y entrepreneur and bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success. I asked Dan to summarize the six key concepts of his new research-driven book, so that we can all use these guidelines in our careers.

Here are six actionable ways to grow in your career in today's world, according to Dan:

1. Become an entrepreneur at work.

After you've proven yourself in your current job, strive to expand your role by taking on new projects that can benefit your company. Look for areas in your company that can be improved and think about opportunities that your company can take advantage of. Do your research and put together a presentation to convince your manager that you can help solve the problem and get them to invest in you. Promote Yourself includes a new study which found that 58% of managers are either very willing or extremely willing to support entrepreneurial employees.

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The Houston area economy is growing faster than anyone realized.

Houston area employers created 118,200 jobs between January 2012 and January 2013, a 4.5 percent year-over-year increase, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday.

There is only one other 12-month period during the past decade that Houston has grown so quickly, said Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research for the Greater Houston Partnership. That was the 12-months ending in June 2007, a time when the local economy was "just growing like gangbusters."

"I can't imagine there is another metro area that is doing as well as we're doing, he said.

Each spring, the Texas Workforce Commission compares its monthly estimates of job growth and job loss with actual employer payroll taxes. According to Jankowski's back-of-the-envelop calculations during the few minutes the eagerly anticipated data was released Friday morning, the Houston area has added more than 20,000 jobs during 2012 than the commission originally estimated.

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Two Houston companies were among the handful of Texas-based companies named to Forbes magazine's list of "America's 100 Most Trustworthy Companies."

Enbridge Energy Partners LP (NYSE: EEP) is on the list in the large-cap category, and Furmanite Corp. (NYSE: FRM) is in the micro-cap category.

Forbes worked with GMI Ratings, a company that specializes in the development of nontraditional risk measures for financial analysis, to compile the list of 100 most transparent and trustworthy businesses traded on American exchanges. GMI analyzed 8,000 companies and scored them based on 60 governance and accounting measures.

All 100 companies on the list have market caps of at least $250 million as of March 7. Trustworthy companies must not have any amended filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC enforcement actions or material restatements. They also must have a positive forecast for equity returns and a minimal likelihood of financial distress.

Enbridge received an accounting and governance risk score of 74, and over the past four quarters, its average AGR score was 84. Furmanite scored 81 and had a four-quarter average of 88.

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Houston and Texas saw their unemployment rates in November drop to the lowest level seen in four years, the Texas Workforce Commission reported Friday.

Both the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan statistical area and the state reported 5.8 percent unemployment, not seasonally adjusted, down from 6.2 percent in September.

This is the first time those rates were below 6 percent since December 2008 — just as the recession deepened — when the Houston MSA reported 5.5 percent and the state reported 5.7 percent, not adjusted.

A year ago, the Houston area’s non-adjusted rate was 7.3 percent, and the state’s was 7.2 percent.

Additionally, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate of 6.2 percent in November dropped from 6.6 percent in October.

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The steady drumbeat of "you're just lucky to have a job" that played through the recession is finally starting to fade and employees may be getting ready to say, "I quit!" and bolt for the nearest exit.

One in three employees (33 percent) say they plan to look for a new job this year and nearly one in five (18 percent) say they'll be looking in the next three months, according to a new survey by Harris Interactive for job-search site Glassdoor.com.

Over at Indeed.com, their survey showed the number of employees making a New Year's resolution to get a new job jumped to 38 percent.

Part of this shot of confidence comes from the early signs of recovery in the job market, like the December jobs report, and part of it comes from the fact that most companies, while more stable than in recent years, are not confident enough to start handing out raises.

(Read more:Economy Adds 155,000 Jobs in December)

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