York Thought Leadership Blog

Ask a York Recruiter- The Resume Conundrum

Posted by Danielle Toste on Tue, Apr 8, 2014 @ 14:04 PM

Grab your resume. Set a timer for six seconds. Start the timer and read your resume until the timer goes off. What stuck out from your resume? Were you even able to interpret much from those six seconds? Well, according to many recruiters and hiring managers, on average, they spend six seconds skimming a resume. Yes, you read that right. Six seconds! We wanted to find out if this is true and discover what recruiters look for on a resume. So, we asked a few York recruiters and you might be surprised by what they told us. 

6 Seconds is Not Enough Time to Review a Resume

“I feel like I can get a pretty good gauge on whether or not a person would be a good fit, but of course you need to spend more than 6 seconds looking at the resume,” said Corey Johnson, Manager of Consulting Services at York Solutions. “Things I look for in order to gauge fit are
relevant past experience, experience at large, reputable companies, and long-term engagements versus short 2-3 month contract positions.”

Noel Novacek, Manager of Consulting Services at York Solutions, also agrees that he takes way
longer than six seconds. So, that is a sigh of relief that your resume is getting a decent amount of time being reviewed.

Resume Format is Key

Both Noel and Corey agreed that if a resume has a “clean” look and is organized, this tells the recruiters that the candidate is an organized, detail-oriented person which is an essential quality in an IT professional. It is also recommended that a candidate does not use smaller than 11 point font or a font that is too fancy.

Do Not Use Third Person and Keep the Personal Details to a Minimum

It is a quick way to get your resume thrown to the side. Also, leave out the overly personal information. For example, our recruiters occasionally get resumes that share too much detail
about a candidate’s life. While recruiters definitely enjoy learning more about
who a candidate is, it might be best to save those details for the
interview.  Those extra details may make take away valuable space on your resume where you could be sharing additional professional achievements which are most important to hiring managers.

Triple Check Spelling and Grammar

If you keep your resume professional, free of errors, concise, and relevant to the job to which you are applying, you will greatly increase your chances of your resume standing out which might just lead to a job interview. So, once again, attention to detail is key!

What do you think is most important for an IT professional’s resume?

Topics: ITJobs, IT consulting, Job Search, Employer Insights, Fun, Professional Development, IT Job Search, IT Hiring, Information Technology

Meet York Solutions Employee- Brandi Will

Posted by Danielle Toste on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 @ 09:03 AM

At York, getting to know our employees is the best way to understand who we are. This week, we would like for you to get to know Brandi Will, Director of Marketing for York Solutions and Executive Director for Think IT.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about your role?

BrandiWillMy current role is a dual role as the Director of Marketing for York Solutions and the Executive Director for Think IT Association.  For York Solutions, I am always looking for ways to ensure
we are constantly providing value to our clients, consultants, and members of Think IT.  Additionally, I am charged with budgeting, staffing, and execution of all our Think IT programs and helping to expand what we’ve currently built in the Twin Cities to the Chicago and St. Louis markets.  I have worked for York Solutions since 2003, and I began working for Think IT
in early 2011.  It has been extremely rewarding to watch the groups blossom from starting with just 2 groups to our current 8.  

Where did you go to school at? 

I attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA.  I received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.  Go Hawks!

What drew you to York Solutions? 

I was drawn to York Solutions right away by the friendly people, flexible work environment, and family-oriented culture.  No matter where you start here at York, if you work hard and continually show that you can add value to the organization, you will succeed.

What has been your biggest accomplishment since working here? 

I would say my biggest accomplishmentto date has been organizing and structuring Think IT to what it is today, including building a wonderful team of people that accomplishes great results
for both York and Think IT.

Why do you like coming to work every day?

Working at York is like being a mechanic and working on a car while you’re driving down the highway at 70 mph, and for some crazy reason that excites me!  I also truly enjoy the people I work with and I’m passionate about seeing what we’ve built turn into something special.  Another reason is our unique culture. We’re a work hard, play hard type of organization
where everyone understands the importance of driving results, but we make the entire process fun!

Who has influenced you the most, either professionally or personally?  

Many people have influenced me along the way, but most recently, Dr. Arnold Bacigalupo, our organizational development guru, has really helped me to navigate the path to leadership. 
Personally, I would have to say my family. Every day they motivate me to be a better mother, a better wife, and a better person in general.

How do you spend your time outside of the office? 

With my husband and two small children. We like to go for family walks, trips to the park, and will soon be getting into ballet and t-ball.

 

Topics: Blogs, Employer Insights, Fun, York Solutions, York Consultant Profiles, York Solutions Employees

The 5 Great Myths of Information Technology Professionals

Posted by Danielle Toste on Tue, Mar 4, 2014 @ 11:03 AM

Nerd. Loner. Computer geek. When people think of someone working in the information technology field, at least one of those terms often comes to mind. While some people might fit this stereotype, the majority do not. Here is a list of some of the most common myths about IT professionals.

 

Lack of Social Skills - Movies and television shows have played a large part in shaping one’s impression of an IT professional’s demeanor. They always portray people who are by themselves and go home to play computer games all night. 

In reality, it is quite the contrary. IT professionals regularly interact with many different people. Since IT is needed in all types of businesses, most IT professionals have worked with diverse clients and need to know how to communicate with all backgrounds to complete jobs.

  • Writing Code is All They Do - While some people in this profession sit at a computer all day long and write code, not everyone does. Testers, business analysts, project managers, team leaders and technical writers are just a few professions that do not involve writing code!
  • There is a Mythical Career Path You Must Take - First, get a degree or certification. Then, get hired as a level 1 tech support. Move up to level 2 and 3. Next, become a network or system administrator. Actually, there is no clear, linear path for IT professionals to reach the top. Most careers do not have such a straight line path to success. The ability to adapt and pursue new opportunities is more important than what title you hold.
  • Degrees and Certifications Prepare You for a Role in IT - While school and certifications are needed for specific professions in the IT world, not all require a degree. Being able to implement solutions will get you hired. You might need to consider internships as a way to get experience and your foot in the door.
  • You Can Fix Any Electronic Device – Yes, an IT professional’s specialty is technology; however, that does not necessarily mean they know EVERY device and how to fix it. There is a wide range of specialties within the IT industry, so that does not guarantee that all IT professionals know the same things. Some people know a lot about a lot, but that may have nothing to do with them being an IT
    professional.

Do you agree with our list? What are some other misconceptions you've come across?

Topics: Blogs, IT industry, Fun, Information Technology, York Solutions

Durable Devices: What did you do to it, and did it survive?!

Posted by Briana Perrino on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 @ 12:07 PM


That’s exactly what we asked our coworkers, friends, and the online community, and the responses we got were crazy! We heard about phones in orange juice, snow banks, and of course, toilets; machine-washed phones and iPods; old phones, new phones, and plenty of rice. We’ve just about heard it all! Based on our extensive research, we’re proud to share with you what we’ve learned about the most (and the least) durable devices. 

The Most Resilient:

                This list was surprisingly long; our devices are more resilient than we may expect.  Two themes stuck out, though: first, as we learned in past experimentation, quick intervention is essential if you want to save a waterlogged phone; and secondly, cases are typically more than worth the sticker price. Here’s some of the best stories we heard of valiant device durability:

  • A 1999 Nokia bar phone was (somehow) tossed out a car window onto the Dulles toll road, retrieved, and also dropped down a flight of concrete stairs. It survived both events.
  • For reasons we don’t quite understand, an iPhone 4s in a LifeProof case was thrown at a brick wall and emerged unscathed.  
  • My faithful BlackBerry Torch survived countless drops onto concrete, asphalt, and hardwood floors, as well as a few run-ins with spilled hairspray (really). Eventually the battery did give out, but it could still make a great corded desk phone these days!
  • A Nokia 3110 was the victim of a murder plot by its owner to destroy it by throwing it into the air and kicking it—and it survived, not a scratch or crack in sight. The commenter is even “convinced these phones could survive a nuclear holocaust”.
  • Another Blackberry, a Curve 8310, was dropped off of ladders, down stairs, and doused with whiskey, and lived to tell the tale.  
  • A very brave iPod Nano took not one, not two, but three trips through the washing machine and the dryer and still functions just fine. We would not recommend testing this at home.
  • The endurance award sounds like it should go to a Samsung BlackJack, which survived multiple falls onto the driveway, teething toddlers, small children throwing it, and lots of purse time.   
  • A brand new Android phone (“one of the first”, we’re told) was lost in a snow bank during a shoveling session, recovered about half an hour later, dried out and given the rice treatment, and made a full recovery! Talk about luck.

The Least Resilient:

  • Sadly, there were some stories with not-so-happy endings as well…
  • An iPhone took a swim in a toilet while being used for lighting during a power outage, and then when it was being dried off, it fell and the screen shattered. It did not recover.
  • An HTC One X was dropped on the driveway and shattered…just like that.
  • An iPod Classic (brand new, even) met a similar fate falling from a lap onto a driveway, splitting into multiple pieces and essentially “exploding”, according to its helpless owner.
  • An unidentified older flip phone went through the wash and still isn’t quite itself anymore…
  • Another unidentified phone, as it was being moved away from a glass of orange juice, somehow ended up in said glass of orange juice and did not survive the sugary, sticky onslaught.

Takeaways: Or, Which Phone Are You Least Likely to Kill?

                If we look at our data, there really aren’t many clear winners or losers. It sounds like iPhones really benefit from cases, especially the intensely protective ones, and that Blackberries tend to fare relatively well after repeated abuse. But beyond that, our informal polls and research really reveals just how durable most devices are. The abuse that some of our most treasured devices receive can be really vicious (whether intentional or not), and they put up a remarkable fight!  Cases are probably a good investment, especially if you may be prone to dropping things, and it’s definitely worth keeping your phone away from bathrooms if at all possible. But at the end of the day, surprisingly enough, most phones are built to handle your lifestyle—as messy, bumpy, accident-prone, and dangerous as it may be.

Do you have a phone or device story (good or bad) to add? How do you judge durability in a device? Is it something you consider when you’re shopping for devices? Let us know in the comments! 

Topics: Fun

The Great Escape: How Do IT Departments Handle Vacation Season?

Posted by Madeline Stone on Tue, Jun 11, 2013 @ 13:06 PM

It’s that time of year: everyone’s starting to think about a summer getaway. For some folks, it’s as easy as working ahead a bit and setting a vacation response on their company email. But for IT professionals it’s not quite so easy. How on earth do you disappear for a few days when you’re responsible for the networks and systems your company counts on to function? Though it may seem nearly impossible, where there’s a will, there’s a way. We spoke with our own IT department and our LinkedIn group members to see how they effectively handle this issue. Here’s what we learned:

Interns

Many departments lean on summer interns to make up for increased vacation demand through the summer. Clayton Lee writes on our LinkedIn group that his department “typically has 1-2 interns during the summer”, and that after they are trained in late May, there are extra hands to help out between mid-June and mid-August. This can cut down on the amount of “shared work” and makes great use of seasonal resources (college students looking for summer opportunities) to meet a seasonal demand.

Careful Planning and Scheduling

Whether your department is made up of two people or twenty-two people, maintaining a vacation-days calendar is essential in order to keep everyone on the same page about the team’s schedules. LinkedIn member Shelly Wolfram explains that her department uses a SharePoint site “to track vacation requests so team members are empowered to work out their schedules among peers.”  Our IT team tries to schedule out time off so that vacation days don’t overlap and there’s usually someone always present. If it’s easy to collaborate and plan around each other, it’s much easier to avoid overloading one sorry team member.

Comp Time/ Being Flexible

Some companies allow their IT departments compensation time—so if you spent all Sunday dealing with work issues, with your boss’s permission, you take Tuesday off. This strategy is heavily dependent on company culture, of course, and requires a baseline amount of staff present in the office to handle day-to-day issues. For some, though, it’s the perfect solution.

Our team is comfortable with flexibility: working remotely, taking calls after hours, and the like. Our IT Administrator Miguel Herrera explained that he’s been known to take calls before and after hours, to log into servers from the rainforest with his trusty Internet card, and to even receive a call at the alter before his wedding! (He didn’t take the call, he assured us, but it’s the principle of the thing). He notes that sometimes that’s just the best way to deal with issues that arise during time off—if they can be solved quickly and remotely, he’s willing to take them on almost any time.

Office “Cross-Training”

In smaller departments where interns or other support staff might be a bit of a luxury or impossibility, it’s wise to consider “cross-training” a willing co-worker in another department to be your emergency replacement. Give them the basic tools to handle emergencies, and that way you’ll be able to take some time and know that at least the essentials are covered. Our IT team says that at times when neither of them is in and an issue arises that requires a physical presence—say, plugging something in or pressing a button—they can call someone in the office and give them directions to get it addressed.

“Swap Coverage”

Another tip for small departments: consider making an agreement with another organization like yours to provide support to each other during vacations. Small departments (or the singular employee) at doctors’ offices, law offices, and similar organizations can really benefit from this arrangement, as IT professionals can rest easy knowing they’ve left their responsibilities in capable, typically non-competitive hands.

Above All: Documentation!

One refrain is common among IT departments of any size: write as much down as you can! It can be labor-intensive, but ultimately you should have all critical information about your networks written down. That way, in the unlikely case of a total catastrophe, you aren’t the only source of vital information.

IT Professionals, how do your departments handle the vacation season? Any tips or tricks we might have missed? What are your most successful strategies?

Topics: IT industry, Fun

3 Easy Upgrades for Your Computer

Posted by Briana Perrino on Tue, May 28, 2013 @ 14:05 PM

Has your computer been a little bit sluggish lately? Well you’re not alone. With the rate at which technology advances and our increasing needs, sometimes our computers just can’t keep up. However, there is no need to fear! There are some simple upgrades you can do to help increase the overall functionality of your computer. Here are 3 we recommend:

 

  1. Add RAM (Random Access Memory)

According to York’s IT Administrator, Miguel Herrera, “Adding RAM is the easiest upgrade anyone can do to their computer.” RAM is the most common type of memory found in computers and many other devices. A sign that you are in need of more? It becomes increasingly more difficult to do work on your computer and the processes become very slow. Miguel added that the average user should be okay with 4 gigs of RAM, but he suggests adding more if you plan on doing a lot of multitasking on your computer.

  1. Upgrade Your Video Card

Most off-the-shelf computers can handle HD videos well; however, if you are a gamer, upgrading your video card is probably the best bet to help you play at optimal level. Miguel said, “Upgrading the video card can relieve some of the workload off the microprocessor and RAM. In fact, some higher end video cards have their own microprocessor and RAM to handle all of those fast changing graphics.” There are many choices for video cards and they can be pretty expensive, so be sure to do your research to find the best one to suit your needs.

  1. Change Your Hard Drive to an SSD

For more advanced computer users, consider upgrading to an SSD (solid state disk) to improve overall computer and application start-up time. SSD’s are high-performance storage devices which operate more efficiently than the traditional hard drive disk. Among other benefits, making the switch can reduce the time it takes to launch large applications, like Photoshop, by almost 75% in some cases.

 

These are just 3 of many upgrades you can use on computer. What are some upgrades you recommend? Share your thoughts below! 

Topics: Fun

Get to Know a York Consultant: Ben Leonard

Posted by Briana Perrino on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 @ 11:03 AM

Ben Leonard, a York Solutions consultant, was kind enough to answer some questions about his incredibly interesting career. He shared information about his experience studying in Singapore to helping develop the first high-end inkjet printer for a software company in the 90's. Read more to find out what he had to say! 

 

Did you always want to work in IT?

No, I didn’t always plan on working in IT, but I’ve always wanted to work with new technologies. I started my career as an engineer leading teams developing new digital printers and servers where I was able to work with chemical, electrical, mechanical, and software engineers. In the late 90s I went back to school for an MBA in MIS and Marketing, then the Dot Com Boom happened and from then on I was focused on IT.

What are your areas of expertise?

I have two or three areas that I’ve been passionate about, developing new technical products in competitive markets, working with project managers to be successful on tough projects, and working with organizations to ensure success and acceptance of new technologies with its users. The latter of which was my PhD thesis.

You are currently working as a program manager, what interests or excites you most about program management?

Programs are different then just managing projects because they have a single business objective that requires coordination across many teams, architectures, and business processes. The challenge and excitement of being a program manager is to coordinate and steer the organization towards that business objective through many different levels and groups which could include marketing, IT, operations, legal, finance, etc.

What do you feel has been the most interesting project you have worked on over the course of your career and why?

The most interesting project that I worked on was in the mid-90s leading the technical teams developing the first high-end digital printer for a software company that had never manufactured a digital printer before. This was when inkjet technology and digital printers were transforming the printer industry and the company had a vision to compete with the big printer manufacturers.  

Since this was their first printer, the development not only meant developing the printer, but also transforming the company by helping set up the manufacturing line, new business processes, develop patents, establish field support teams, suppliers, etc. There are many things I would do differently if I ran that product development again, but in the end it was the transformational moment for that company, and it was the first of many products for the company that was eventually acquired by HP for its expertise in developing digital printers

What made you decide to go back to school for your MBA in Marketing and then your PhD? And how do you feel they have helped you in your career?

I truly enjoy learning and applying new concepts and approaches to my job. Each of my degrees was focused on getting better at the common problems I was facing in my job. As an engineer my expertise was around design and robotics, but as I started developing products such as digital printers and servers, I needed to have a solid base in product development and managing information systems. This was the primary driver of getting an MBA with concentrations in both Marketing and MIS. 

My PhD topic had similar origins, as technology teams we were getting good at successfully delivering the new technical product, program, or project but we were not as good at ensuring it was accepted by the users. So for my PhD, my research was to understand the current knowledge on getting organizational and consumer users to use these technologies, as well as operationalize some of this research into models and approaches that we could use.

Regarding your PhD experience at the University of Australia, did you move to Australia solely to attend school or were you there for work as well? If both, what was it like to pursue a PhD and maintain a position as a Senior Director at the same time? And, in general, what was your experience like in Australia?

Actually all of my coursework was in Asia and Europe. When I looked for a PhD program, I wanted to find something that was completely out of my comfort zone.  The University of Australia’s International School of Business offered a PhD program that allowed the PhD candidates to attend the courses for a week every 1-2 months at their offshore campuses in London, Hong Kong or Singapore. I chose Singapore and logged a little over 100K miles traveling back and forth for 2 years. I also took my social network analysis course in summer program at University of Venice. It was a lot of travel, but to work with other PhD students and professors from around the globe was an eye-opening experience in many ways.

Regarding working at the same time, my employer and supervisor were very supportive and flexible with my schedule as long as I could stay connected. Also, you would be amazed how much work you can get done on a 20-hour flight with a few extra laptop batteries.

The IT industry is constantly evolving, how do you keep up?

The tools and teams are evolving fast and for the better, especially for project teams. Our teams are more globally dispersed, but we are more connected than ever. For me it’s about trying to leverage whatever I can from new technologies and being willing to try something new every week. 

What advice would you give someone who is interested in becoming an IT consultant?

I frequently encourage IT professionals to try out being a consultant because it exposes you to so many new experiences, technologies, processes, and colleagues. You get comfortable with hitting the ground running in any situation.

What are your interests or hobbies outside of IT?

I’m an avid marathon runner, but since I’ve got four sons under 15, I spend most of my time either coaching hockey or shuffling my kids between sporting events. I’m also starting to teach college level project management courses at night.

What do you like most about working with York Solutions?

I’ve been with York for two years now and the quality of people is the big draw for me. In addition, York is truly trying to grow the expertise of the IT community around the metro area and increasing the interconnectedness of this community, which helps foster innovation and ideas.

Topics: IT consulting, Fun

The Top 5 Tricks to Teach Not-So-Computer Savvy Friends

Posted by James Sweeney on Tue, Oct 9, 2012 @ 15:10 PM

While you and your co-workers may know all the tips and tricks to maximize productivity on your computer, your best buddy may have no clue that Ctrl+V is how you quickly paste something. Let’s face it, as IT professionals, you can take a lot of these skills for granted. So we decided to compile a list of 5 handy tricks that every computer user can (and should) learn.

Shortcuts 

Looking around for a certain word can be a pain, especially on long webpages or large reports. Instead of wasting time eyeing the screen, just press Ctrl+F and type the word you're looking for. But it’s not just F that’s a handy shortcut key. Here are 5 of the most useful shortcuts to remember:

Ctrl+F- Find

Ctrl+S- Save

Ctrl+C- Copy

Ctrl+V- Paste

Ctrl+P- Print

It may take a couple tries to get used to the shortcut but you’ll save loads of time going through a word doc or webpage.

Using Print Screen 

Have you ever had to show someone what your whole computer screen looks like but didn’t know how? Easy! Just press the PRINT SCREEN button on your computer’s keyboard. This will take a full view screenshot of whatever is active and open on the screen. If you just want to show what’s on your active window , you can press the ALT + PRINT SCREEN buttons.

Free Anti-Virus Programs

If you don’t have any anti-virus programs, there’s a good chance you will (or already!) have a virus on your computer. Yes, even you Mac users! So what can you do to prevent them without shelling out money for Norton or Symantec products? Good news: you’ve got a lot of options. There are over a dozen programs you can install that will help keep viruses away from your computer. Some of the best ones are AVG, Avast!, and Avira. Just click on the links and download and install the program!

Backup Your Files

Yes, a great anti-virus program can help, but things will happen, so you need to be prepared. The easiest option is to buy an External Hard Drive and store all of your files on it. It is suggested you get one that holds at least 250 GB especially if you hold music and videos on your computer. Luckily, memory is cheap and getting cheaper, so if you can, go out and get the biggest hard drive available. CNet has done extensive reviews on the best external hard drives and you can see the cream of the crop here.

Customizing startup programs

If starting up your computer feels like it’s taking forever, you can get rid of some starting programs that you never use. For example, if Skype pops up when you’re starting your computer and you don’t like to use it that often, you can remove it from the startup routine so it will only start when you want it to.

If you’re on Windows XP, click on start, then click on run and type in msconfig. Select msconfig from the search results to launch System Configuration. On the first tab, General, select the Selective startup option. Next, click the Startup tab, where you can toggle on or off startup programs.

Windows 7 users can click here to find out how to do this.

The next time your significant other calls you in the middle of work asking how to do something on the computer, you can email them a link to this post. After all, the more they learn the less they’ll be calling you for help!

Are there any tricks on here that even you didn’t know about? What other easy tips do you teach your friends and family?

Topics: Fun