benefits sign

How to Create an Employee Benefits Package to Entice the Right Workforce

By Kimberly Kafafian


“What kind of benefits do they offer?” This has become a buzz phrase for today’s job searchers. Over the last few years, benefit packages have taken a front seat, as employees seek a better work-life balance that salary alone just can’t provide. So how do you create the right package to attract and retain the right workforce? Here are some strategies we use when helping our clients build their benefits offerings.

Strategies for Building a Better Benefit Offering


Understand Your Workforce

Not all employees are interested in the same benefits. You need to dig deep and determine what each demographic is desiring. For example, younger workers may be more focused on a flexible work schedule and retirement plans, while older employees may want to be able to work remotely to care for children and aging parents, as well as have opportunities to phase into retirement. How do you find out this information? Conduct surveys and focus groups to get a pulse on what really matters to your teams, as well as what benefits you are currently offering that are actually being used.

Provide a Varied Offering

You want your benefits package to be attractive to workers of all demographics, so be sure to hit on offerings that provide value to your entire workforce. For example, even if only a portion of your employees take advantage of eye or pet insurance that’s enough of a reason to offer it.

Don’t Overlook Soft Benefits

Benefits don’t have to offer a financial value in order to be valuable. Flexibility as to when you work and where you work is in high demand, as is a great culture. Promote an environment where collaboration and innovation is valued and celebrated both among onsite and remote workers.

Voluntary Benefits Are Appreciated

Everybody loves a great deal, so consider adding voluntary benefits into the mix. Some popular options include life insurance, additional disability insurance, gym memberships, financial counseling, student loan repayment programs, pet insurance, legal counseling, and identity theft protection.

Determine Your Budget

While you may want to create a golden package with all the bells and whistles, first analyze your finances to see what you can afford to allocate to benefits. You don’t want to create a package that you need to cut down the line. That will lead to an unhappy workforce.

Vet Providers and Vendors

Before you make any leaps, do your research to find the right insurance providers and benefits vendors for your business needs. Professional employee organizations could be a good option for insurance as they can help reduce costs. Other things to consider include the vendor’s user experience along with how easy the platform is to integrate into your systems. You want platforms that are easy to access and that provide optimal support.

If you need assistance creating your employee benefits package, our team of experienced HR professionals can help.

From on-demand to year-long support, Monarch helps manage your people, reduce your administrative workload, and free up time so you can focus on business success.

Call or email us to arrange a complimentary consult.

domino effect

Consequences of Non-Compliance with Employment Laws

By Dan Darabaris


Running a small business is challenging. You’re focusing on attracting and retaining workers, generating new customers, keeping abreast of the competition, deadlines, supply chains . . .  The list of your day-to-day tasks and stressors goes on and on. I’ve found that one thing that really stresses employers is complying with employment laws. Knowing what you must do, what you can’t do, how to correctly file paperwork, along with how to submit and store it requires staying on top of ever changing rules and regulations. As an outsourced HR professional, I’ve seen first hand what a mess it can be when small business owners try to handle employment compliance on their own. It’s scary! One mistake or failure to follow a rule can result in dire consequences.

What Happens If You Violate Employment Laws

Federal and state governments take employment law enforcement very seriously. Businesses must educate themselves about the labor laws they are required to follow and know how to properly address health and safety, child labor, minimum wages, overtime, workers compensation, anti-discrimination, mandated leaves, record keeping, and more. Ignorance or a mistake is no excuse for a violation. Failure to comply could have the following, quite damaging, repercussions.


The most common penalty for violating a labor law is a fine. How much you will have to pay hinges on a variety of factors such as which law you violated and the size of your company. Depending upon the violation, you may also have to provide back pay and benefits. It’s important to note that the penalty is for each occurrence. For example, each time someone is paid incorrectly, the government can look back three years, or longer if it is deemed willful. This can mean up to 52 penalties per year for each employee and can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Prison Time

It’s possible that if you don’t have the money to pay the penalties, the court could order you to be imprisoned. If you committed a felony in conjunction with the violation, say falsifying business records to try and cover your violation, you could face prison time on top of paying penalties.

Civil Lawsuits

In addition to the government coming after you, so could your employees. Your workers can sue you for claims related to discrimination in your workplace, workplace harassment, sexual harassment, illegal interview questions, wrongful termination, overtime violations, illegal decisions about medical requests, docking pay, unpaid wages, failure to provide breaks, failure to maintain time records, and more. These lawsuits can be time consuming and quite costly – you can also be required to pay for the employee’s legal fees incurred. It’s important to note that protections from being incorporated do not apply to sexual harassment claims.  That means, regardless if your company is an LLC, the courts can go after personal assets to pay judgments.


A single complaint can trigger an audit by a government agency, and that can snowball if more violations are found. Not only is the audit a time consuming nightmare, it can result in the penalties mentioned above, and also restitution if monies are owed to employees.

Damage to Reputation

Not complying with employment laws can have a negative impact on your business’s reputation. Your actions, or failure to act, can become public knowledge, damaging your relationships with all stakeholders. Workers won’t want to be associated with your business. Customers may boycott your products and services. And investors will shy away.

Business Closure

If the violations are severe enough, government agencies can even shut your business down.

The best way to avoid such repercussions is to be sure to have an experienced HR professional guiding you in terms of compliance.

From on-demand to year-long support, Monarch helps manage your people, reduce your administrative workload, and free up time so you can focus on business success.

Call or email us to arrange a complimentary consult.

what is required sign

What Employee Benefits Are Mandatory?

By Dan Darabaris


Offering a great benefits plan is key to attracting and retaining workers. Today’s talent is not just looking at compensation, but considering the whole package you offer before they even apply! To remain competitive when it comes to recruitment, you’ll want to go above and beyond mandated benefits. Hopefully, you know what those are so you are compliant, but if you’re unsure, we’re going to break them down for you.

Benefits Required by Law

As you’re putting together your benefits program, it’s important to note just what benefits you must provide. Some benefits are state regulated, while others are required by federal law. Generally, there are three types of employee benefits that all employers must provide regardless of where the business is located. These are standard in every state, across all industries. 

Social Security and Medicare

Social Security and Medicare are actually considered statutory benefits that are partly funded by the employer and the employee through taxes mandated under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA).  Both of these benefits are not accessible until later in life. Social Security is available to those that have worked for a minimum of 10 years and have paid Social Security taxes. If you are disabled under the age of 65, you can also receive these benefits. Employers and employees each pay 6.2% of wages up to the taxable maximum of $160,200 (in 2023). Medicare is available to those over 65 who have paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. The current Medicare tax rate is 1.45% of gross wages for the employer and 1.45% for the employee, for a combined total of 2.9%.

Unemployment Insurance

Employers are also mandated to contribute to unemployment insurance at both the federal and state levels. This is a benefit employees may receive as a result of layoffs or wrongful termination. Although contribution to unemployment is required at both the federal and state level, the benefit is administered at the state level, so the amount that each employer is required to pay varies from state to state. Regardless of the amount, every state must provide this benefit for both part-time and full-time workers.

Workers Compensation Insurance

As of June 2023, all states but Texas require that employers carry workers compensation insurance. This benefit covers those employees who are unable to work because of a workplace injury or illness. If the employee becomes injured or ill as a result of their regular job duties, the employer is required to pay for their medical bills and a certain amount of income while they recover. Employers typically have the option of obtaining private workers compensation insurance or purchasing a policy from a state run program.

Additional Mandated Benefits for Employers with 50 or More Full-Time Employees

In addition to the above, organizations employing 50 or more full-time workers must also provide two additional mandated benefits.

Health Insurance

These larger employers must provide health insurance to their workforce with employee contributions for individual health coverage not exceeding a specific percentage of their income. For 2023, that percentage is capped at 9.12% 

Family and Medical Leave

Workers at larger companies also benefit from the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which requires companies with 50 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave with protected job security during a 12 month period for qualifying family and medical reasons, such as the birth of a child, a serious or chronic illness, or caring for a family member with a serious or chronic illness.

State Mandated Benefits

Disability Benefits

A few states also require employers to provide for disability benefits. This benefit applies to workers who miss more than a week of work due to illness or disability. As of June 2023, the following requires employers to provide disability benefits:

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Rhode Island
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Puerto Rico

Paid Sick Leave

More and more states are requiring employers to provide paid sick leave. Although long-term medical leave is provided for under the FMLA as mentioned above, there is no federal law requiring employers to provide for paid leave for short-term illness. So, states and local governments are starting to lead the way, with some expanding the coverage to include the employee’s child, spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or any person whose relationship with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship. It’s important to know what your state and local governments require.

As an HR professional with years of experience, I recommend to my clients to think of the above benefits as the bare minimum. If you want to attract and retain a qualified workforce, your benefits package needs to be much more robust. Think seriously about also offering paid vacation time, retirement plan contributions, employee wellness programs, employee development programs, tuition reimbursement, pet insurance, gym memberships, or unique onsite amenities.

Hopefully this list helps clarify what employee benefits are mandatory. If you’re still confused, we can help you identify the right benefits to offer your workers.

From on-demand to year-long support, Monarch helps manage your people, reduce your administrative workload, and free up time so you can focus on business success.

Call or email us to arrange a complimentary consult.

Mobile I-9 Verification Services Throughout the NJ / NYC Area

Time Is Running Out to Comply with 

In-Person I-9 Verifications for All 

Employees Who Were Onboarded Virtually!



Because of COVID-19 lockdowns, the DHS suspended in-person I-9 verification requirements. On 5/5/23, the DHS announced that this flexibility will end on 7/31/23, and that employers must complete in-person physical document inspections for employees whose documents were inspected remotely during this time by 8/30/23.

Our team of mobile HR specialists will come onsite or meet at a mutually convenient location throughout the NYC / New Jersey area to help you quickly and accurately complete Section 2 of Form I-9 for both onsite and remote employees so you can meet the deadline.

Mobile I-9 Verification Services Throughout the NJ / NYC Area

We Come to You.


The team of mobile HR specialists at Monarch Consulting help businesses in New Jersey and Downstate New York with all their I-9 employment eligibility verification needs. Whether you need to re-verify employee I-9 forms that were inspected remotely, are looking to retain an authorized representative to verify the documents of a remote employee, or simply want an experienced HR pro to make sure your I-9s are accurately completed, we can help.

I-9 Re-Verification

If you took advantage of the relaxed rules allowing you to remotely inspect I-9 documents to determine employee work eligibility, you need to devise a plan to comply with the DHS’s announcement that employers must complete in-person physical document inspections for employees whose documents were inspected remotely during the temporary flexibilities by August 30, 2023. The DHS has outlined what you need to do, but it’s easy to make a mistake – and you don’t want to deal with the penalties that accompany errors. Our HR specialists handle the entire process for you and give you peace of mind knowing that you’re in compliance. And did you know there are other actions that can also trigger re-verification? If the driver’s license or passport used to support I-9 verification has expired, or if the employee’s name has changed, the I-9 must be re-verified – and we can handle that too!

Remote I-9 Services

The pandemic changed the way we work and where we work. Many companies turned to hiring remote employees. While this is a great way to fill open positions, it can be an I-9 physical verification nightmare when those workers don’t live close to your place of business. That’s where we come in. As your authorized representative, we can eliminate the headaches associated with worrying about verification compliance. Our HR specialists, who are located throughout the NYC / New Jersey area, will meet your workers in person, physically inspect the eligibility documents, and ensure that the I-9 Form is accurately completed.

Streamlined I-9 Compliance

Enjoy a smoother onboarding process by letting experienced HR pros handle your I-9 Forms. We will meet your employees face-to-face and correctly fill out the form (there are places where everyone forgets to sign!), saving you time and minimizing your liability. Our specialists will travel to your place of business or a mutually convenient location, inspect the work eligibility documents, surrender the form to you, and coach you on proper storage.

Outsourcing Your I-9 Forms to an HR Pro:

  • Streamlines your onboarding process
  • Eliminates remote worker verification headaches
  • Increases accuracy
  • Minimizes penalties
  • Frees up your hiring managers to focus on other tasks

Whether you need local I-9 compliance assistance or mobile verification, give us a call. Our team of specialists is on hand to handle all your I-9 needs.



filing documents

How Long Are You Required to Keep Employee Files?

By Dan Darabaris


Compliance can be a headache. And when it comes to employees, it’s already difficult to stay on top of which documents you need to maintain on file and where, without thinking about how long you have to hold on to everything. It’s enough to make your head spin! It gets even more complicated because you have to comply with federal laws, state laws, and local laws. And some requirements hinge on the number of employees.

To help you keep track of which files need to stay and those you can shred, I’ve compiled a list you can print out for easy reference.

Suggested Employee Record Retention Guidelines as of May 2023

Personnel and Employment Records

According to the EEOC, you must keep all personnel and employment records for one year from the date of termination. However, retention and record-keeping requirements vary by the type of document and the local laws. As a result, most businesses keep personnel and employment records for seven years. View the types of documents that fall under this category.


Federal law requires that you keep employee I-9 records for three years following the hiring date or one year following termination, whichever is later.

Payroll Documents

The Department of Labor requires you keep all payroll records for at least three years. This includes wage rates, payment dates/amounts, hours worked/wages paid per period, beginning/ending of workweek, overtime, annuity/pension amounts, fringe benefits, and other records.

Benefits Documents

You should maintain all employee benefits documents for six years after employee termination, such as election forms, 401(k) forms, plan termination records, financial statements, and COBRA documents.

Medical Records

When it comes to medical records, different laws can come into play. For this reason, experts recommend keeping them for at least seven years.

Because federal, state, and local laws can all impact retention requirements, I recommend following the 7-year rule for retaining employee files. Some laws, however, require longer retention for certain documents so it’s important to follow the statutory requirements that apply to your industry. 

How to Dispose of Employee Records

When the retention requirement period has expired, you can’t just toss the files in the trash. This could result in theft or misuse of employee information and expose you to investigations, fines, lawsuits, and more.

You should erase and destroy any digital files, and shred or burn any paper files. Hiring a certified document destruction company might be a wise decision.


employee personnel file

What Documents Are Required in an Employee File?

By Dan Darabaris


Believe me, you don’t want to deal with compliance issues. In order to pass audits and regulatory processes, and comply with labor laws, you better have all of your required employee documents filed and accessible. This includes recruitment and onboarding paperwork, employee handbook, training materials, performance-related paperwork, medical information, and employee exit documents.

You need to be aware, however, that simply having these documents on hand is not enough from a compliance standpoint. Because of the sensitive nature of much of this information (such as Social Security numbers, immigration status, sexual orientation, and medical history) and specific laws that are in place, some paperwork needs to be kept separate so it is not accessible to managers or supervisors. I recommend to my clients that they maintain six categories of files for each employee in order to comply with the separation of documents requirements.

Organizing Employee Files into Specific Categories

Following the employee file organization system below will help you maintain compliance.

Personnel File

  • Recruiting documents (job description, job application, resume, cover letter, educational transcripts, letters of recommendation, interview notes, offer letter, employment contract)
  • Records relating to promotions, transfers, layoff
  • Pay and compensation information
  • Education and training records
  • Employee handbook
  • Policy acknowledgements
  • Confidentiality agreements
  • Non-compete agreements
  • Relocation agreements
  • Awards and letters of recognition
  • Warnings and disciplinary notices
  • Performance evaluations
  • Goal setting records
  • Co-worker complaints
  • Termination notice
  • Exit interview notes

Confidential File

  • References
  • Background checks
  • Drug test results
  • EEO self-identification of gender and race/ethnicity
  • Affirmative action self-identification of race, gender and veteran status
  • Child support and garnishments
  • Litigation documents
  • Criminal history
  • Credit information
  • Requests for employment or payroll verification

Medical File (separate file is required under HIPPA)

  • Health insurance applications and forms
  • Medical questionnaires
  • Benefit claims
  • Doctors’ notes, forms, and correspondence
  • Medical leave records
  • Workers’ compensation claims
  • Accommodation requests

Benefits File

  • All benefit enrollment forms
  • Benefit beneficiary designation records

I-9 File

  • I-9 immigration form

Affirmative Action File

  • Affirmative action self-identification of disability form

Having a complete employee file, separated into specific categories, will help your business to be compliant. 


employees using internet at work

Personal Internet Use at Work Policy

By Dan Darabaris


While internet use is necessary for many jobs, personal use of the internet (online shopping, engaging on social media, general searches, watching videos, reading and sending emails, etc.) can impact a company on many levels. It’s important to have a policy in place to protect the organization and let employees know what they can and can’t do on their work computers. 

How Personal Internet Use Can Hurt the Company

Sitting in front of a computer all day, it’s tempting to let fingers wander away from work tasks to something more interesting. Maybe do a bit of shopping or scroll through social media feeds to see what everyone’s up to. The more time employees spend wandering, the less time they’re spending on their tasks. And less productivity means less profits. But it’s more than just the bottom line. When employees visit sites, they expose the company to dangerous viruses and cybersecurity threats that can result in unwanted access to proprietary data, client information or worse. And if employees access graphic materials, there’s also the issue of a hostile work environment.

Implementing a Personal Internet Use at Work Policy

Having a policy in place should hopefully deter employees from misusing work computers and the company network. Whether the policy is included within an employee handbook or provided separately, it’s important to have the employee sign a document saying they have received a copy. 

The policy should:

  • State that employees shouldn’t expect anything they create on their business computers to be private, that such data belongs to the company
  • Note that company-owned equipment can be monitored at any time and without notice, along with how it will be monitored, i.e., search history, downloads, hard drives
  • Specify what is allowed and what is prohibited – you can make your list of what is prohibited as detailed as you like
  • Define and provide examples of what constitutes personal internet use at work and improper use of company-owned equipment
  • Notify employees of the consequences of violating the policy, such as a write up or termination of employment

To ensure you cover everything and are not violating any employee rights under federal or state law, you should consult your HR team and legal counsel when drafting the policy.


manager and employee talking

When to Write Up an Employee

By Kimberly Kafafian


As Human Resources professionals, we say to take the same approach as the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA: “If you see something, say something.” If you want to correct a behavior, the sooner you address it, the better. Most managers we work with don’t want to write up employees though, especially in today’s competitive market. But if you let unacceptable actions go on without any repercussions, employees may think that what they are doing is OK and will keep on doing it, disrupting business and the bottom line. On the other hand, there are some managers who feel they should write up employees for every little infraction. Taking such a rigid approach can negatively affect the organization’s culture, impacting productivity and retention. 

So when exactly should you write up an employee? The answer is, when necessary. I know this sounds vague, but you need to apply some common sense and investigate further before making this decision.

As a manager, you are not only meant to oversee the actions of your employees, but also engage with, train, and develop them. This includes encouraging them, assessing their work, and providing constructive feedback. When you see they are violating a policy, you should give the employee a chance to explain themselves and correct the action. If needed, you can give them a verbal warning. If their pattern of behavior continues, writing them up may be necessary. There are some actions, however, that immediately require a write up or even termination.

Valid Reasons for Writing Up an Employee

Below are some common infractions, along with indications of when immediate disciplinary action may be required. Before you address these actions, you first need to make sure that there is a written policy in place that outlines the behavior in question. If no such policy exists, you could be opening up the company to legal action.

Chronic Absenteeism and Tardiness

Exceeding the number of call-in days allowed and being persistently late are terms for writing up an employee. Before you do so however, it is good business practice to ask the employee why they called out or were late. There may be a valid reason for doing so, such as they were sick, they needed to care for an ill family member, or maybe they are going through a rough patch. If this is the case, you might want to take efforts to accommodate them during this time rather than writing them up.


When you tell an employee to perform a task related to their position and they refuse to do so, you have immediate grounds for writing the employee up.

No Call/No Show

Not showing up for work impacts your team and productivity overall. Without advanced warning, the company does not have the opportunity to make plans for covering the absent employee. Before you write the employee up, drill into the no show. Perhaps there was a medical emergency. Contact the employee by phone and email to ascertain the situation and document your contact attempts. It should be noted that if no call/no show goes on for more than a few days, that’s actually job abandonment. However, be sure that you have a policy in place that defines job abandonment. 


If an employee is working in an unsafe manner that could put themselves and/or their co-workers in danger, you need to correct the situation. You could use it as a teachable moment, pointing out the behavior and asking if there was a reason for the failure to comply. How you handle the situation should depend on the nature and severity of the violation. A small violation that doesn’t really put anyone at risk should be handled differently than one that could cause severe consequences.


A careless mistake could involve one of safety, as well as one that impacts the company financially. How you handle the mistake depends on its nature and severity.

Failure to Meet Productivity Quotas

While the issue of job competence is best left to be addressed during a performance review, if your organization has productivity quota policies in place, you can write up an employee for not meeting them. Although it’s a good idea to speak with the employee to try and get a feel for why they are falling short, as it could be an overarching problem rather than a personal one.  


Any type of violence or threat of violence is cause for a write up, and in many cases immediate termination. 


As with violence, any type of harassment should be written up, and could be reason for termination.

Excessive Time Spent on Personal Matters

Too much time spent on personal phone calls, scrolling through social media, and searching the internet can be grounds for a write up. 

Please note: Before writing up an employee, make sure you have formal, written policies in place. You also want to make sure you are following the local labor laws.

back to work sign

How to Transition Back to the Workforce

By Nicole Martin


Going back to work after a long absence can be filled with unknowns. What will employers think about the time lapse on my resume? Will my absence from the workforce hurt my chances for employment? Do I need to learn new skills to be employable?

Transitioning back to the workforce can be challenging regardless of the reasons for the absence, i.e., starting a family, caring for a sick loved one, your own illness, volunteering, pursuing a graduate degree. You may face recruiters and employers who have a bias against gaps in employment history or even your own fears and self-doubts about returning. Having worked with many people who have made a successful transition, I urge you to take a breath,  focus, and follow the tips below to help you overcome the challenges.

7 Tips for a Smoother Workforce Re-Entry


1. Focus Your Search

Don’t just apply to any open position. If you want to increase your chances of landing a job, you need to narrow your search. Before you start sending out resumes, consider your:

  • Needs
  • Interests
  • Goals
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Skills 

Chances are your priorities and qualification matches may have changed since your last employment. Do some research and identify the types of positions that not only fit your credentials, but which you will also enjoy. You may find that your ideal jobs are seeking skills that you don’t have. Now is the time to try to boost your skill set. You can do this by taking online courses, volunteering, or even through an internship.

2. Update Your Resume

Rebooting your resume after a lapse in employment is a necessity. You’ll want to start by adding your last position, being sure to highlight your accomplishments. And of course, add any new skills you have acquired. If you have had a long absence, you may want to consider creating a hybrid resume. This is a format where you showcase your summary, skills, and accomplishments at the top of the page, followed by your work history and education. I recommend treating the gap in employment as if it were a job itself. Briefly explain the reason for your absence, such as you were a stay at home parent until your child was ready for preschool or you needed to care for a sick family member. Keep in mind that the real key to an effective resume is tailoring it to the position to which you are applying. You will want to create a resume for each application that highlights the specific qualifications and qualities the employer is looking for. 

3. Polish Your LinkedIn Profile

Just as you reboot your resume, you’ll need to freshen up your LinkedIn profile. Start by updating all of the relevant information and uploading a new, professional headshot, as well as a cover image that conveys what you do. Then, take advantage of the available features to help your profile stand out, such as:

  • Using the name pronunciation feature, which is available on the app, to record a 15 second statement about what you do. This shows up in the header via the sound icon.
  • Making the most of your headline by going beyond your job title. Include information that showcases your personality, such as organizations with whom you volunteer.
  • Taking advantage of the about section. You have 2,000 characters to give an overview of your professional life, achievements, volunteer work, and activities that give a glimpse into who you are.

4. Create a Cover Letter

A cover letter is your elevator pitch. It’s a great way to quickly showcase your qualifications and exactly what you can bring to the position. As with your resume, if you want to stand out, you should tailor each cover letter. Don’t simply restate your resume, but rather provide highlights. Explain why you want the job, why you’re a good fit, and the value you offer. Spend one to two sentences explaining the reasons for your lapse in work history, but don’t go too in-depth as you want the focus to remain on your qualifications and why you’re the right person for the job.

5. Build and Leverage a Network

A strong network can be extremely valuable in your job search. During your period of unemployment, you may have made new connections who could be instrumental in landing an interview. Connect with these people on LinkedIn. Previous connections are also valuable. Let them know that you are looking to transition back to the workforce and ask if they have any insight on how the industry has changed, new skills required, and what they think you should highlight on your resume. Once your network knows you are looking to make a re-entry, you never know what opportunities may come your way.

6. Strategize a Segue

If you don’t currently have the qualifications to transition back to a full-time position you desire, consider freelancing or contracting work. This type of position allows you to use the skills you have while acquiring new skills and bolstering your experience. Returnships are another option. A returnship is basically an internship that helps those who have left the workforce and are now wishing to re-enter it. Usually it provides extra training and affords valuable mentorships. The time of the returnship varies, but typically the returner is hired when it has ended. Many larger companies offer returnships programs and they are definitely worth researching. You could also consider volunteering at a non-profit to bolster your credentials.

7. Work with a Career Coach

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, a career coach can help guide you. At Monarch Consulting HR Solutions, we work with clients on all of the above steps so they can focus on a clear path forward. Connect with us if you would like assistance transitioning back to the workforce. 


yellow butterfly standing out from the rest

How to Write a Stand Out Cover Letter

By Nicole Martin


A cover letter affords you the opportunity to showcase your qualifications and persuade the potential employer why you are a top candidate for the position. Just as with a resume, your cover letter has mere seconds to capture attention. Think of it as your elevator pitch where you must quickly get to the point. It’s imperative to take the time to carefully craft your cover letter if you want to stand out among the crowd of applicants.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Cover Letter

Include Contact Information

It may sound silly to mention that you need to include your contact information, but I have seen cover letters missing key pieces of contact info! List the following at the top of the cover letter:

  • Full Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Date

You may also want to include your street address, as well as your LinkedIn/professional social media accounts, portfolio, or personal website.

If you are submitting your cover letter in the body of the email, you can insert this information at the end after your signature.

Address the Letter to a Person If Possible

When writing your letter, be sure to address it to a specific person in the company. If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, address it to “Hiring Manager” or the name of the department to which you are applying, i.e., Marketing Department. You can try to find the hiring contact’s name by looking at the Team/About section of the company website or searching on LinkedIn. This section of the letter should look as follows:

Hiring Manager

ABC Company

123 Main Street

Town, State, Zip Code

Directly beneath that should be your salutation, i.e., Dear Mr. X. 

Craft an Engaging First Paragraph

Remember, recruiters are skimming, so your opening paragraph has to really sell. 

  • Use words and phrases that convey your enthusiasm about the company. 
  • Do your research so you have a feel for the organization’s brand, culture, products/services. Read the latest press about the company, as well as the news section on its website, social media pages, and LinkedIn page. You want to find something that resonates with you which you can reference in this paragraph. 
  • If you have a mutual connection, such as a former colleague who works for the company that is recommending you, mention it here as well, along with why they think you are a good candidate.
  • Include an impressive achievement or metric that demonstrates how you added value in previous positions.

The goal of this paragraph is to show your personality and what motivates you.

Highlight Why You Would Be a Good Fit

In the following 1-2 paragraphs, share what you can bring to the company. When tailoring your resume to the position, you should have already identified the responsibilities of the job, along with the skills, abilities, experience, education, qualities, and training the employer is seeking. This section should connect how your background aligns with what they are looking for. Don’t regurgitate your resume; rather highlight a few important qualifications that show you in the best light. If you have numbers to back up your statements, use them, i.e. the project I worked on improved workflow by 20%, the marketing initiatives I spearheaded increased sales by 30%, etc. When writing, focus on using action verbs and avoiding repetition of the use of “I”.

Create a Call to Action

The last paragraph of your cover letter should restate your excitement about the position, how you would be a great fit, and that you would love to meet with them to share the value that you can bring to the organization.


Finally, end your letter with a closing, such as, sincerely, kind regards, or best regards, followed by your name.


Your cover letter should be no more than one page, single-spaced, using 10.5 to 12 point font. I like to aim for 250-350 words. The content should be left justified, but your contact information at the top can be centered. I recommend mirroring the font and format used on your resume for consistency.