The Emerald blog

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Showing Gratitude in the Workplace

As we enjoy the Holiday season, many use this time of year to reflect on what they’re grateful for in life, be it family, friends, good health, or simply having a roof over your head — some even take to social media to post one thing they’re grateful for every day in November. While we gear up for the holiday season and for the end of the year, it’s a great time to tell your co-workers that you are grateful for their efforts, support, and hard work over the last year.

On average Americans spend about a third of their lives working, so it seems imperative to practice gratitude in the workplace. Scientists have extensively studied the mental benefits of gratitude, and unsurprisingly, they have concluded that expressing and receiving gratitude results in higher levels of happiness and satisfaction. In the workplace, showing and receiving gratitude on a regular basis results in higher productivity and overall happiness of employees, contributing to a better work culture. In a study by the Harvard Medical School, researchers found that a group of fundraisers were more successful after receiving gratitude and praise from their supervisor:

“Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania randomly divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had. The second group — assigned to work on a different day — received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not.”

The moral of the story? Now is the time to take a moment and recognize a co-worker for the work they do, or give them a pep talk when they need help and support – it could make a huge difference in their day and it will contribute to a more positive environment. If you make a habit of showing gratitude on a regular basis, it will be contagious, and your whole work environment will change for the better.


How to Overcome Your Job Search Fears This Halloween

Are you spooked by the mere thought of finding a new job? Are you haunted by past experiences of lengthy applications and interviews that go nowhere? A job search can be intimidating, daunting, and sometimes downright terrifying. If you are making a career change, or have recently graduated, or moved to a new city, these transitions can be especially difficult, but have no fear — no matter your circumstances, we’re here to assist you and give you some tips on how to make your search less scary, and more merry!


Have a Clear Purpose and Goal

Take some time to think critically about the next steps of your career before you start applying willy nilly to jobs online — employers and agencies can tell when you’re not invested or truly interested. What are the key skills and strengths you possess that will be helpful in your next job? What are you passionate about? What types of companies would you like to work for? The more time you take to hone in on your strengths and focus on what matters to you in your next job, the more success you will find.


Stay Positive!

Have you ever looked at a job and questioned whether or not your fully qualified? It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not qualified enough. Maybe you don’t meet every single ‘preferred skill’ on every posting you see, but if you read about a position that you are genuinely excited about, and you believe you can perform the job duties, don’t talk yourself out of applying! Stay positive, and go after what you want.


Treat the Job Search like a Job

If you’re serious about finding a job, set aside blocked out time for you to work on your goals. It’s easy to look at jobs boards and dream about what could be…but your dream job will never happen if you don’t put in the time! When you’re working on your resume or an application, reduce the  distractions around you, and set clear goals and deadlines for yourself.



Some say it’s all about who you know, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your connections and ask for help during you search. Perhaps a friend of a friend works at a company you’re really interested in working for, or perhaps you have a friend in recruiting. Reach out to these valuable connections you already possess, because chances are, people are willing to help!


Simple Camping Meals for Your Next Adventure!

Hot dogs roasting on an open fire… mosquitoes nipping at your feet… ahh yes, it’s camping season! One of the toughest parts of camping is the planning that’s involved: scouting out a location, packing up your gear, and most importantly, the food! I’ve collected some of my favorite meals for camping that are easy to prepare, and will leave you free to relax and enjoy your time getting away from it all — plus your camping crew will be super grateful for your mad cooking skills. Let’s dig in!

Cowboy Casserole

This dish is the ultimate one pot meal to feed a small crowd. It has 5 delicious b’s: beans, bacon, beef, barbeque sauce, and biscuits! If you want to make a vegetarian friendly version, I’d recommend getting some tempeh or tofu and marinating it in BBQ sauce before cooking. Either way, it’s a delicious and filling meal to try out.

What you need:
• Large skillet or dutch oven
• ½ pound bacon
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 2 cans baked beans with pork
• ⅓ cup BBQ sauce
• 1 package biscuit dough

Grilled Barbeque Chicken and Veggies

Foil packet meals are the easiest, no-mess solution to making a hearty and delicious camping meal. Might I suggest this grilled barbeque chicken and veggies recipe? You can use practically any veggies in your fridge, but this combo in the recipe is a winner. This meal is simple, healthy, and delicious. You can even be super savvy and prep the ingredients before leaving, with everything packed in the cooler. Ready, set, go!

What you need:
• Outdoor cooking stove or campfire with cooking grate
• Aluminum foil sheets
• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (use your favorite)
• 1 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
• 1 bell pepper, cut into thin strips
• 8 asparagus spears
• salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
• extra virgin olive oil

Roasted Apples

So simple, yet so delicious! Roasted apples are an easy treat for your whole camping group to enjoy. Core and slice your apples, then transfer them into foil to keep the apple shape. Sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon to your liking, and then add about one tablespoon of butter per apple. Let your apples sit on hot coals for 5-10 minutes, until softened. Let them cool off a bit and then dig in!

What you need:
• Apples
• Cinnamon
• Sugar
• Butter
• Foil

Peanut Butter Cup S’mores

Behold, the final evolution in camping desserts: the Peanut Butter Cup S’more. Peanut butter and chocolate is the ultimate combination, and when you pair it with a freshly roasted s’more, it’s pure heaven! If you have stones lining your fire pit, lay out the graham crackers with the peanut butter cups on top, and let them warm up a bit while you toast your s’more, then assemble and enjoy!

What you need:
• Graham Crackers
• Marshmallows
• Peanut butter cups (I like Trader Joes’ dark chocolate variety)
• Roasting sticks, or some scavenged tree branches!

Fourth of July in Portland – Beer, Blues, Fireworks, Oh My!

This year the fourth of July awkwardly falls on a Tuesday — but don’t let that get you down! There is plenty of fun to be had throughout the weekend and on the fourth itself. We’ve rounded up the best events in and around Portland just for you!

Estacada Timber Festival

Looking for a non-traditional 4th of July a little off the beaten path? Estacada is where you want to be. You’ll enjoy timber competitions, chainsaw show offs, axe throws, food vendors, live music, and a firework show!

10 AM – 10:30 PM Tuesday, July 4
Estacada Timber Park, 30878 N.W. Evergreen Way, Estacada
$5 admission, $10 for parking |

Portland Craft Beer Festival

Did you know Portland holds the title of “Best Beer City in the World”? Help celebrate the craft breweries that make our city so unique! You’ll only find beers, ciders and wine that are crafted right here in Portland.

Noon – 10 PM Friday, June 30, Saturday, July 1 (ages 21 and over) and noon-7 p.m. Sunday, July 2 (all ages)
The Fields Neighborhood Park, 1099 N.W. Overton St.
$25 (re-entry all weekend + beer tickets) |

St Paul Rodeo

Looking for a genuine rodeo? You can find one right here in Oregon! The St Paul Rodeo is celebrating its 82nd year, and it attracts some of the best rodeo talent in the country. The 30 mile drive from Portland is well worth the time!

Various times Friday, June 30 – Tuesday, July 4
St. Paul Rodeo Grounds, 20025 Fourth St. N.E., St. Paul
$16 – $30 |

Blues Festival

The Blues Festival is a Portland classic. Five days of fantastic musicians right on the waterfront, a fireworks show on the 4th, food vendors — what’s not to love? Plus you can buy weekend passes or single day passes.

Friday June 30 – Tuesday July 4,
Price Varies |

Electric Vehicle Day

Calling all green energy fans! Pioneer Square will be full of electric vehicles on Saturday, July 1st — the event is free and open to the public, so if you’re downtown on Saturday, it’s worth checking out.

Saturday July 1, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Free! |

It’s Oregon Wine Month!

Which industry in Oregon has grown explosively in the last ten years, but hasn’t sacrificed quality in the process? That would be the Oregon wine industry. According to the Oregon Wine Board, the number of vineyards in Oregon has doubled since 2005, but 70% of Oregon wineries produce fewer than 5,000 cases a year — in other words, most local winemakers value quality over quantity.

Now is a great time to sample some local wines, because May just so happens to be Oregon Wine month! There are great events and deals abound — make sure you take advantage and support a growing industry that’s contributing to our economy in Oregon. Here’s our roundup of events in the next few weeks:
Mother’s Day Benefit Weekend
@ Lange Estate Winery | price varies – wine flights, live music, food vendors!
18380 NE Buena Vista Drive, Dundee, OR 97115
Sat May 13th – Sun May 14th, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Paetra Wine & Seafood Pairings@ Olympia Oyster Bar | free entry, purchase items a la carte
4214 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217
Thurs May 18th, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

NW Industrial Beverage Crawl
@ Boedecker Cellars | $15 entry, includes wine flight + live music!
2621 NW 30th Avenue Portland, OR
Sat May 20th, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

RMS Sparkling Wine and Truffle Popcorn Tasting
@ ROCO Winery | $15 – $20
13260 NE Red Hills Rd, Newberg, OR 97132
Sat May 20th, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Memorial Day Weekend Celebration
@ Sokol Blosser Winery | $20 entry, includes wine flight
5000 Sokol Blosser Lane, Dayton, OR 97114
Sat May 27th – Mon May 29th, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

How to “Adult” During Your Job Search

Hiring managers and recruiters often know within seconds if a candidate if worth their time — as staffing professionals, we unfortunately see candidates make common errors and missteps on a daily basis. Don’t ruin your chances of landing an interview by making a small, easily avoided mistake! Here are some basic, but often overlooked ways to be more professional and successful during the initial stages of your job search.

1. Use a professional and simple email address. Ditch any emails that don’t include your name, even if it has sentimental value, or even if it’s the one you’ve always used.

2. Have your voicemail set up! We cannot emphasize this enough. Even though many people prefer to text nowadays, it is imperative that you have your voicemail set up with a short personal greeting (no one likes an automated robot voice). And don’t forget to clear out your voicemail — if a hiring manager calls and your voicemail is full, they will move on to the next candidate.

3. Make sure there are zero errors on your resume, cover letter and application materials. This is one is pretty straightforward, but as a job seeker, it is vital to your success. Read everything out loud, and have a trusted editor look over your materials as well.

4. Manage your social media accounts responsibly, because chances are, employers will research you online. If you’re worried about any social media content you’ve posted in the past, make sure your accounts are private, and also think before you post!

5. Closely read and follow all directions on job applications. Even though applications can be tedious and take time (no one enjoys re-writing their entire work history), it’s often the first test for employers to make sure candidates can follow directions and have an attention to detail. Be thorough and take your time!

We guarantee if you stick to these basic tenets, you will increase your chances of getting a call back. Happy job hunting!

Networking Roundup!

It’s springtime in Portland — the sun is making occasional appearances, and everyone is crawling out of their winter Netflix caves. It’s also the beginning of networking and conference season. If you’re looking to make a job or career change, attending a conference or a networking event can provide valuable insight, or help you make the right connection to land your next gig. We’ve rounded up an array of upcoming industry events, so all you have to do is show up!

PDX Women in Tech (PDXWIT) – Happy Hour Networking Event
Tue, April 25, 2017 | 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM | Free!
Squarespace Portland, 311 Southwest Washington Street, Portland, OR 97204

Portland’s Silicon Forest Startup and Tech Networking Mixer – KNW Media
Wed, May 17, 2017 | 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM | $18-$37
Location TBA

The Science of Networking with Vanessa Van Edwards
Tue, June 6, 2017 | 5:15 PM – 8:00 PM PDT | $20+
Ecotrust, 721 NW 9th Ave #200, Portland, OR 97209

Small Biz Salute: Portland – Presented by UPS
Wed, May 3, 2017 | 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM | Free!
Union/Pine, 525 Southeast Pine Street, Portland, OR 97214

2nd Tuesday Communicators Mixer – Public Relations Society of Portland
Tue, May 9, 2017 | 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM | Free!
Rogue Distillery and Public House, 1339 Northwest Flanders Street, Portland, OR 97209

Portland Jobs Past and Present

Everyone knows Portland is a desirable place to live, and it’s growing rapidly. As a result, the city is going through many changes — increased traffic, new start-ups and businesses opening, and higher home prices, just to name a few. Whether you’ve accepted these changes, or are still clinging to Portland past, there’s no denying this growth presents great opportunities for job seekers and employers alike.

We have more people moving here with more diverse backgrounds, further adding to the talent pool. From 2014 to 2015, Portland grew by a whopping 111 people per day. Because the economy is doing well, and with Oregon’s unemployment rate at a record low, it’s also a job seekers’ market. According to a report on, industries seeing the most job growth are Professional and Business Services, Retail, and Healthcare. The same report also states that 44% of available Portland area jobs are for Healthcare, Technology, and Sales workers. Employers in Oregon are having some difficulty filling vacancies, so job seekers in general have the upper hand, but especially in Technology, Medical and Sales fields — so if you’re looking in those areas, you’re in luck!

Now let’s re-wind: Over 100 years ago, Portland was also experiencing a large boom, albeit a slightly different one. After Portland played host to a Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in 1905, a world’s fair, Portland became much more nationally recognizable (kind of like the 20th century version of Portlandia). Newly built railroad networks made it possible for people to travel freely and relocate out west, looking for new opportunities. Portland’s population proceeded to double, growing from 90,426 in 1900, to 207,214 in 1910. Like many cities during this time, the most job growth was occurring within industrial and agriculture sectors — timber, railroads, and farming reigned supreme in the early 1900s Portland.

Today Portland is still idealized as a place with opportunity, innovation, and growth. Now more than ever, we’re happy to be a part Portland’s expanding job market and talent pool!

Common Myths and Misconceptions about Staffing Agencies

At Emerald, we consider ourselves very lucky because we get to place awesome candidates with awesome companies. Since 1978, we’ve been contributing to Oregon’s economy and putting people to work while fulfilling our clients’ staffing needs. Some job seekers come into our office with misconceptions about staffing agencies and how we operate. Let’s set the record straight! Here are some common ones we’ve heard:

So you’re like a temp agency, right? Do you only have temporary positions?

We are a full-service staffing agency, so we offer direct-hire, temp-to-hire and temporary positions. Our goal is to find you a position that is a good fit for your situation!

Do I have to pay to sign up with you?

Nope! We are a free resource for you during your job search. Our clients pay us and trust us to find great candidates for their open positions.

I can’t take a pay cut, so I don’t want work with a staffing agency.

Working with a staffing agency does not mean you’ll be making less money. We staff for entry level positions, all the way up to executive level positions, and everything in between. When you meet with a recruiter, you will discuss salary requirements, and we always try to meet those requirements as best we can.

So when I come into your office, is it a real interview?

When you interview with a recruiter at our office, it is definitely a real interview. We don’t expect you to be in high heels, or in a suit and tie, but we do expect professionalism and punctuality, just like any job interview. When we meet with you, we are investing time in you and your job search. Be prepared to answer questions about your job history and have a clear idea of what you want your next step to be — whether it’s landing an entry-level job right out of school, or making a career transition.

I’m afraid I’ll just be a number.

We know the job search can be tough, and we’re here to assist you in whatever way we can. Sometimes the process moves very quickly, and sometimes it takes more time. Here at Emerald we don’t take job placement lightly, so we don’t want to place you somewhere you’re not excited about — ultimately we want to find you that perfect fit.

Winter is Here, Bring on the Cheer!

Winter weather has finally arrived in Portland (maybe we’ll even have some snow stick on the ground) – now the holiday festivities can really begin! Here’s some upcoming events you won’t want to miss.

Festival of Lights at the Grotto
December 7 – 30, 2016

Christmas Festival of Lights

St. Johns Winter Beer Festival
December 9 – 11, 2016

The Sixth Annual St Johns Winter Beer Fest

26th Annual Tuba Christmas Concert
December 10, 2016

26th Annual Tuba Christmas Concert Presented By SmartPark

The Nutcracker at Keller Auditorium
December 10 – 26, 2016

Nutcracker 2016

East Portland Holiday Bazaar
December 10, 2016

Lights on Peacock Lane
December 15 – 31, 2016