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Reading, PA 19605

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Creating Safer Passwords

 

When it comes to passwords, we’ve got a lot to remember!  Afterall – EVERYTHING needs a password. You’ve got accounts for your banking, electric service, wireless phones, cable, email accounts, online shopping accounts, gaming, Facebook, other social media… the list goes on and on.   So how, to you manage them all?

Years ago, a nice piece of paper would work.  Today it’s got to be different – and for good reason.  With cyber crimes on the rise and identity theft increasing, we must take every precaution to be safe online.

How many of you use the same password for multiple sites?

Do you use your name and a number code?

These are easily guessed by hackers.  There are hacking software programs that you can get that work on the premise of words found in the dictionary and number combinations.  Crazy, right?

So, we’ve got to get creative.  First things, first.  Find a safe way to store your passwords.  Many of these apps are available on your phone or computer for free.  Some offer premier subscriptions if you want to go that route, but it’s not required.   These services help you keep all of your passwords organized, help you identify vulnerable passwords and even offer a password generator to help you randomize your passwords.  Some suggestions:

Dashlane, Password Safe, 1Password, RoboForm, MSecure, PasswordBox, Keeper, oneSafe, Lastpass

When it comes to passwords themselves, if we aren’t using a password app to save our information, the least we can do is come up with clever ways to change our passwords to make it harder to be hacked.

  1. Make your passwords at least 8-12 characters long.
  2. Use special characters like (, %, or #.
  3. Don’t use words found in the dictionary, so avoid using passwords like graycat12
  4. Mix caps and lowercase letters.
  5. Use the first letter in a sentence to create a unique password that would be easy for you to memorize, but not someone else. I went to London in February and met 3 people.  Iw2LiF&m3p
  6. Don’t share your passwords with anyone. Seriously, just don’t. Relationships change, things happen.  Keep your information to yourself.
  7. Use different passwords for all accounts.   We all get in the habit, it’s easier.  But try not to use the same password for multiple sites.  It’s just not as safe as you could be.
  8. Use a password generator. They are on the internet, just google them.

Share this information with your parents and children.   Be safe out there!

Tips for improving Work/Life Balance

Here’s our recap of the tips we shared all month.  To see each one again, go to our Facebook page – there’s a picture album collection of all our tips!

Tips recap

How to Make Yourself a Better Applicant

Employers literally receive hundreds of resumes for jobs from potential candidates on a daily basis. How do you make yourself stand out from the rest and be a prime candidate in order to get an interview? The first thing you will want to look at is your resume, as this is really a hiring manager’s first impression of you. This is also the document that employers will scrutinize and analyze in order to get an idea of who you are, as well as your level of skills. There are countless resources on the Internet that can be helpful when writing an effective resume. You can also do a search for samples of resumes to give you an idea of what a professional resume looks like.

After you successfully obtain an interview because you were noticed by not only your work history, but also your ability to prove your sharp grammatical and writing skills, you’ll want to be just as impressionable when you obtain a face-to-face interview. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That’s why, in many cases, it is still important to dress professionally for a job interview, regardless of the type of job you are interviewing for. Although it is becoming more socially acceptable, exposed tattoos and facial piercings are still not very appealing to an interviewer when you are applying for a position where you’ll be in the public eye.

Always ensure that you not only look the part, but act professionally and respectfully when you are on the hunt for a job. Being too pushy, lazy or hostile can quickly get you disqualified for the job you want, let alone an interview. While it is acceptable to follow up regarding how your interview went and so on, remember to find the balance between getting feedback and being overly persistent – it is a fine line that you won’t want to cross. You are not the interviewer’s only candidate. Remember what we said in the beginning of this blog – employers literally receive hundreds of resumes on a daily basis.

Be communicative. Employers will most likely schedule qualified candidates who respond to an email quickly, in a few minutes or so, as “a high energy person who is engaged”. Someone who does not reply for two or three days may imply that they are less energetic and engaged, or even not all that interested in the job. It’s important to show you’re energetic and a quick study, especially if you’re a mature job seeker or one who has been out of the workplace for a few years.

Getting noticed by potential employers is not as hard as you might think. Your application materials have to be perfect, of course, but you’ll also need to actively market yourself in a professional manner…to make yourself the better applicant.

 

This post was written by Stacy Hafer, Clerical and Professional Recruiter.

What Not to Wear (to an Interview)

How many of you think that an interview at an employment agency, is different than going to a company for an interview?   Show of hands?

hands raising

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m here to tell you that it’s different… but not really.

When going to an interview, whether it be directly to a company or to an employment agency, you should dress appropriately.  Some things are NOT okay.  Like shorts.  Even if you’re applying for a shipping position, shorts are not appropriate.   You should come to the interview dressed like you want to get the job.  Interviewers are looking at you to see if you know how to dress, and we can coach you if necessary.  Here’s a great visual of what NOT to wear when coming into our office (or any office for an interview for that matter):

What not to wear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to more professional positions, there’s a line between Business Casual and Professional – and you should know it.  Regardless of whether you’re interviewing for an entry level administrative position or a higher level purchasing position, you should be dressed professionally.  It’s better to be OVER-dressed than under-dressed.

See the difference?

 

 

 

 

Busin Cas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re unsure… go online – google it.  Most times you can find appropriate answers to questions like this.  With information literally at our fingertips, there’s really no excuse.  Make a good impression.  Dress Appropriately!

 

 

 

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Stretching to Avoid Injury

Wait… is this work or a workout?

This information could apply to both.  So let’s dig in.

What are the benefits of stretching?  

  1. Stretching awakens the body by increasing blood flow.  Can help fight off fatigue.
  2. Stretching promotes a strong body. increases strength.
  3. You can improve posture and balance by stretching regularly.
  4. By warming up the muscles, you can help prevent repetitive motion injuries.

How do you stretch? 

There are basic stretches that you can do for whole body or just upper body.  Here’s some links to proper stretching:

Hand/Wrist Stretches – from Healthline

Body Stretching – from Real Simple

Everything You’ll Want to Know about Stretching

Will I really feel a difference?  

Sure!  The moment you start stretching, you’ll start to feel a little more awake, more re-charged.  Stretching gets you ready for what you are about to do, whether it’s walking a trail or twisting caps onto bottles.  The body handled the activity better after stretching.  While there are some studies out there that question whether pre-shift stretching works, there are companies out there who swear by it.

One of our clients has pre-shift stretching for all workers.  This program is beneficial for several reasons.

  1. This helps employees get prepared to start their shift.  It helps them get into the mindset required to do a good job.
  2. Stretching helps by preparing the muscles they are going to use to be strong and solid during their work.
  3. The company is showing the company that they take the safety of their employees seriously.  They care about their employees and want them to take care of themselves.
  4. Stretching may help prevent repetitive motion injuries.

If you’re an employee, ask your safety committee to consider a pre-shift stretching program.  If you’re an employer, consider looking into a pre-shift stretching program.  You’re employees might feel silly at first, but the results are worth it!

At Champion Personnel, we take safety seriously.  We want our employees to be safe at work and we expect our clients to provide a safe working environment for all employees!

Remember…

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Effective Housekeeping

Effective housekeeping?  Like good dusting and vacuum techniques?  Not exactly.   By effective housekeeping, I am referring to the process of maintaining a clean and safe environment at work.  This takes everyone, but it starts at the top.  Management needs to be responsible for creating and maintaining a safety program.  There should be thorough on-site training before employees are put to work. Part of that includes cleaning and organizing to prevent injury and risk.  The National Safety Council has created a list of 11 tips for effective housekeeping.  This information is pretty useful but it’s a long read.  I’ve taken the list and paraphrased and condensed it for an easier read.  The link to the full article is at the bottom of the article.  I hope you find this information useful at work and at home!

 

Here’s the list:

  1. Prevent slips, trips and falls  Inspect the floors.  Are there things sitting around, places where the floor changes height?  Carpets lay flat or bunched up? Is it slippery?  Railings in place?  Look at the area through the eyes of a child.  What could they get hurt on?  Accidents happen at any age. Keep floors clean and dry.  Make sure carpets are down flat. Mark areas where you have step up or step down. Don’t assume people are paying attention.
  2. Eliminate fire hazards  Store hazardous materials in a safe place. Keep quick burning materials away from ignition areas.  Post all exits clearly.  Keep exits open and free from clutter.  Have a safe place to extinguish cigarettes outside (if smoking is permitted on the property).  Have fire extinguishers available and clearly marked.
  3. Control dust  Dust can be explosive if it builds up.  Have a method of cleaning up dust, with either a vacuum system or someone sweeping and wiping surfaces clean.
  4. Avoid tracking materials  Work-area mats – which can be cloth or sticky-topped – should be kept clean and maintained. This helps prevent the spread of hazardous materials to other work areas or home.
  5. Prevent falling objects  When placing items on a shelf, put heavier items on the bottom.  Don’t stack too many things on top of each other.
  6. Clear clutter  It may sound silly, but clutter can build up quickly.  Why is clutter so bad? When your workspace is a mess you have less room to move around.  This can promote cuts and injuries.  
  7. Store material properly  Make sure lids are on and secure. Unused materials and equipment should be stored out of the way of workers.  Make sure to put tools and equipment away properly when not in use.
  8. Use and inspect PPE & tools  Personal protective equipment is designed to keep you safe.  If you aren’t using it, you’re at risk for all types of injuries.  Think about a loud facility.  Ear protection is designed to minimize damage to your hearing.  It may not sound like a big deal now, but long term exposure can damage your hearing.
  9. Determine frequency  How often should you be sweeping? Mopping?  Can you go a week?  Does it get too dusty after two days? Should you be cleaning after every shift.  Each industry is different.  Do what is appropriate for yours so you are keeping clean and safe.
  10. Create written rules  Don’t assume people know what to do. Write it down.  Hand it out. Post it in a visible spot.  Having policies eliminates confusion and creates accountability.
  11. Think long term  Housekeeping should be a continual occurrence.  Keep records, maintain them, train employees and check the procedures regularly to make sure no changes or updates are needed.

Safety Council 11 Tips for Effective Housekeeping

 

If you see something, fix it, clean it up, report it.  And remember…

 

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Champions of Safety

Are you liking these sunny days?  I know I sure am.  June is here and with it comes warmer weather and the potential for risk.

Here at Champion Personnel, we take risk management very seriously.  We can’t do it alone, we need you!  Employees and the companies we work with all play a part in safety.

Before we work with a new client, we require a facility tour.  This helps us get a good look at where our employees are going to be working and what the environment is like.  Is it hot, loud, slippery?  Do the employees wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)?  We look at the floors to be sure there are clear paths with no hazards.  We look at the exits to be sure they are clear and visible.  If it gets hot, how do employees stay cool during the work day? We ask if safety training and orientation is provided.   This is so important as we want our employees to be safe at work.

Before any employee starts a new position, we review the position, the job details, the expectations and we review safety PPE requirements.  This is not optional!   The more an employee knows about a new position, the better they will do and the safer they will be.   Between what our office offers and what the client company offers, together we provide all PPE for our employees, with the exception of steel-toed shoes.   Knowing our employees might need help with a pre-employment purchase of steel-toes, we offer an option to make it easier for them to get the required shoes/boots.

Even with these processes in place, we are going to do more.  We are the in process of adding a streaming safety video in our lobby. We are brainstorming for ways to reward employees for weeks that pass with no accidents.  We meet monthly as a committee to continue discussions on how to be more pro-active regarding safety!

The National Council on Safety recognizes June as National Safety Month and coming later this month will have more information and educational options from the National Safety Council as well as ways to stay safe this summer at home or at work!

With the warmer days in June, remember to…

  1. Use sunblock when outside.
  2. Stay hydrated, even if working inside.  Water is preferred over soda and sugary drinks.
  3. Don’t leave children or pets in a car with the windows up – closed up cars get hot FAST.
  4. Find shade if outside and on break.
  5. Wear light colored, lightweight, loose fitting clothing.
  6. Know when you’re overheating and tell someone.  Don’t wait.
  7. Click on the Heat-Related Emergency Guide to read more!

 

 

Heat Safety Guideline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Champion Personnel is committed to safety.  Remember to …

 

 

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