The Job Search

Poll: Which Interview Questions Do You Need Help With?

Interviews can be tough.

When you sit down with someone you’ve never met before, answering personal questions about your work history and experience can be awkward.

The key to acing an interview? Being prepared for those rough questions.

We want to write articles perfectly matched to your interview question concerns. So take our poll and let us know what questions you want help with! We’ll use your responses when creating content for 2019. (more…)

Talking About Your Experience in an Interview

So, tell me a bit about your experience.

“Tell me about yourself.” “Could you speak about your previous work experience and how it’s shaped you as an employee?” “Oh, this job on your resume sounds interesting. Could you tell me more about it?”

These phrases are all essentially alternate ways of asking you about your experience, which eventually comes up in every interview.

However, interviewers aren’t looking for your life story. They want to know specifics on how your individual experience makes you the ideal candidate for the job. (more…)

College Isn’t for Everyone; So, Consider These Options As Well

College is expensive. According to U.S. News, the average tuition and fees at an in-state public college comes out to $9,716, compared with $35,676 for private colleges per year. Public, out-of-state schools cost about $21,629 on average per year.

Despite these high sticker prices, survey results from Movin’ On Up, the Express Employment Professionals blog for job seekers, and Refresh Leadership Express’ blog for business leaders, found that parents are still pushing their children to attend college.

Interestingly, 33 percent of business leaders and 33 percent of job seekers (coincidentally the same percentage) said that their parent/guardian encouraged them to achieve a four-year college degree or higher.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 66.7 percent of high school graduates ages 16 to 24 were enrolled in colleges or universities in October 2017. These relatively high college attendance rates resulted in soaring student loan debt. As noted in Forbes, according to Make Lemonade, more than 44 million U.S. borrowers collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. Global News notes that Canadian students collectively owe over $28 billion in student loans.

Although college can be the perfect choice for many students, it isn’t right for everyone. At the very least, high school graduates should be aware that educational opportunities other than college exist. These include attending career technical or trade schools, and getting into the skilled trades, among other options.

Why opt for Career Technical Education (CTE)?

  1. CTE-trained workers are in demand.
  2. CTE leads to high-paying jobs.
  3. CTE is affordable.
  4. CTE keeps the country competitive.

In a recent article, the BLS outlines several blue-collar jobs and their associated median annual wage, many of which are comparable to those received by some college students. These include:

  • Electricians: $54,110
  • First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers: $64,070
  • Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters: $52,590
  • Secretaries and administrative assistants (except legal, medical, and executive): $35,590
  • First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers: $55,060
  • First-line supervisors of production and operating workers: $58,870
  • Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers: $40,240
  • Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing (except technical and scientific products): $56,970
  • Insurance sales agents: $49,710
  • Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers: $69,620
  • Police and sheriff’s patrol officers: $61,050

Blue collar workers are happy. A recent study conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by Express Employment Professionals found that 86 percent of blue collar workers are satisfied with their job, with 85 percent believing their life is heading “in the right direction.”

Encouraging your children to attend college may be the right choice for your child, but it’s more than worth it to let them know about other available opportunities. College isn’t for everyone, and other good-paying options exist.

Staffing Companies Can Help

If you’re a graduating senior trying to figure out if college is right for you, or a parent looking to help their child along their career path, contact Express Employment Professionals. We work with clients every day and know exactly what they’re providing for employees. And we never charge a fee to applicants.

We also provide Job Genius, an educational program designed to teach young adults how to successfully enter the workforce.  Take a look at our video about hot jobs with high school diplomas and apprenticeships.

After that, contact a local Express office, register online or check out our app today to get started.

 

Why the Job Search is Like a Turkey

Yup, you read that right.

Today is Thanksgiving. A day to eat, spend time with friends, eat more, be thankful for life’s blessings, and, finally, eat again.

In summary, there’s a lot of food. And the main course on practically everyone’s table? Turkey.

But what is a turkey? As defined by Merriam-Webster, the top three turkey definitions are:

  1. “A large North American gallinaceous bird (Meleagris gallopavo) that is domesticated in most parts of the world.
  2. Failure, flop, especially: a theatrical production that has failed.
  3. Three successive strikes in bowling.”

Interestingly, each one of these definitions applies to the job search. Don’t believe us? Stop packing on the pounds with pumpkin pie and read on.

You’re One Turkey Among Many

Turkey: A large North American gallinaceous bird (Meleagris gallopavo) that is domesticated in most parts of the world.

Courtesy of Merriam-Webster, “gallinaceous” means: “Of or relating to an order (Galliformes) of heavy-bodied largely terrestrial birds including the pheasants, turkeys, grouse, and the common domestic chicken.”

So basically, gangly birds that travel in packs.

When you’re a job seeker, you’re just one applicant among many. One turkey among hundreds. You keep hoping to find something great, but it can seem like you’re just wasting your time.

Don’t lose faith! While it’s true that most chickens and turkeys end up on a dinner plate, your career doesn’t have to. Drumstick with it, do your research, prepare, and you’ll be soaring high (like an eagle, not a turkey) in no time.

You Gotta Break a Few (Turkey) Eggs to Make an Omelet

Turkey: Failure, flop, especially: a theatrical production that has failed.

The job search doesn’t always go well. Some searches result in filling out applications for jobs you don’t even like. Other times you just don’t make it to the interview stage. In other words, they turn out to be turkeys: complete failures.

And that’s okay. You’re not right for every job. You’re allowed to fail. That’s how we all improve and get better. The important thing is to not get discouraged. There’s a perfect job for you out there. You just have to find it.

3 Strikes Makes a Turkey!

Turkey: Three successive strikes in bowling.

The goal of a job search? To line up all those turkey failures and use them to set things up for a series of awesome interviews and job offers; three success job search strikes. A bowling turkey!

All of that time and effort spent researching online, applying, and interviewing is worth it when you get an awesome job offer. And you’ll often find that success begets success. You’ll get a few job offers at once, or within close proximity to each other. It’s all worth it in the end!

Don’t Be a Turkey (Or Do, Depending on the Definition); Call Express Employment Professionals!

The job search is hard, just like Aunt Emma’s fruitcake. You can spend hours doing all the right things, and still not land an interview. Want to boost your job search game? After you’re done stuffing yourself and celebrating all things Thanksgiving, give your nearest Express office a call, or apply online. You can also download the ExpressJobs app via the App Store or Google Play.

We never charge a fee, and won’t eat the last slice of pecan pie.

How is your job search like a turkey? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Nervous in an Interview? Get Rid of the Butterflies with These Three Tips

Job interview anxiety got you down? We’re here to help.

Being nervous isn’t a bad thing. It’s your body’s fight-or-flight response trying to protect you. But sometimes that normal response can be overpowering, causing you to doubt yourself and flub questions.

Luckily, it’s possible to reduce those nervous feelings with a few techniques.

Prepare

The best way to reduce interview question-related anxiety is to already know the answers to any questions your interviewer could ask. Although you might not be able to figure out every single topic they could quiz you on, a quick online search can teach you quite a bit about your potential employer.

Research everything you can about the company. Know a bit of the company’s history, the company culture, and see if you can find any information about your interviewer.

Next, find out where you fit with this company. What is it that you can do in this position that nobody else can do? Come in with specific statistics if you can (for instance, increased page views by ___%, reduced customer service call time by ___%, increased product turnover time by ___$, improved your safety rating to ___ level, etc.).

Prepare answers to the most frequently asked interview questions, like “where do you see yourself in five years?

For company-specific questions, check out Glassdoor. Users upload questions for their interviews so you can be sure to impress.

Practice

Great, now you’re prepared! The next step? Putting all that hard work into practice.

If you haven’t been to many interviews (or haven’t interviewed in several years), you might not be comfortable with the process. Being alone in a room with some person you’ve never met quizzing you on your life and experience can be awkward.

That’s where practice comes in! Grab a friend or family member and go over questions and answers together. Practice your handshake (it should be firm but not threatening), your eyeline (look them in the eye but don’t stare at them the whole time), and your timing. Make sure your responses don’t go on for longer than 60 seconds or so, unless you’ve got stories that can really capture attention.

The more you go through the interview process, the more comfortable you’ll become with yourself and your answers. And that’s the version of yourself interviewers want to see!

Calm Yourself

Obviously, this is easier said than done. On the day of the interview, you have a billion thoughts swirling in your head. Will they like me? Am I even good enough for this position? What was my name again?

Psychology Today has several techniques to cut down on these thoughts.

These include breathing (“try breathing for a count of 4, hold for 2, and breathe out for a count of 4”), sighing (“take a breath and let it out like a sigh. You’ll probably feel your shoulders relax”), self-compassion (“focus on these words: Wisdom. Strength. Warmth. Nonjudgement), and, interestingly, getting outside of yourself.

What does that last one mean? Caring about others. Anxiety makes you think about yourself and how your own personal world is going to end for one reason or another. That’s why Psychology Today recommends you “make a point of focusing on others and being empathetic.” Talk to people about their day and how they’re feeling, from the receptionist to your interviewer to texting friends and family. Realize you’re not alone out there!

You’re Ready!

That’s it. You’ve done everything you can do to get rid of that pesky interview anxiety. Odds are, there’s still a little bit nagging at you under the surface. But you’re the one in control. You’ve prepared your answers and interview style, know the company, and are as calm as you can be. Get in there and show them why you’re the best person for the job!

Have you ever been nervous in an interview? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below!

Answering the Interview Question: Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Ideal responses for one of the trickiest interview questions. This one is right up there with “tell me your top five strengths and weaknesses.” In an ideal world, prospective employers would only ask about your workplace experiences (teamwork, job responsibilities, how you handled projects, etc.) and draw their own conclusions about you as an employee from there. But that doesn’t always happen. Some companies have set questions they ask potential employees to weed out undesirable candidates from the rest of the applicants. Asking where you see yourself  in five years is one of those questions. Your answer can tell them something about your drive, your desire to keep working at their company, and where you think this position fits into your career and overall life. Here are our tips on how to best answer. Focus on Upward Movement Most employers want an employee that plans on improving over time. They don’t want you to be content with the same responsibilities year after year. The expectation is that you’ll come to …

Scary-Cool Words for Your Resume

Scare off the competition with your newly expanded vocabulary

Ghosts and ghouls are garish and ghastly. Zombies are zealous in their pursuit of brains. And warlocks are wild in their suspiciously suspect spellcasting.

But there is one creature more frightening, foul, and fatal than all the rest:

Your resume.

Only a select few enjoy resume-writing. For the rest of us, the onerous activity can seem like an exercise in futility, akin to trying to melt a witch wearing a water-resistant wetsuit.

You must get your foot in the door to score a job, and, unless you’re a zombie with the ability to throw your actual foot through the literal door, you’ll need a tip-top resume to get past the scanning robots and secure an interview.

Here are the tastiest words to make sure you don’t get eaten by the competition.

Words That Show You Take Initiative

You want to show your potential employer you didn’t twiddle your thumbs and do the bare minimum in your previous positions. Use these words to show you’re eerily experienced, and that you originated new and complex programs:

  • Redesigned
  • Revamped
  • Launched (a new project, blog, program, team activity, regular event, etc).
  • Established
  • Introduced
  • Pioneered
  • Spearheaded

Words That Show You Are Results-Driven

Employers want results. Would you hire a ghost that scared “a bunch” of people or a ghoul that increased the individuals frightened by 72% within 2 years? Be specific with the following words:

  • Generated
  • Seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, etc. (Again, be specific!)
  • Dollars and cents; as exact as you can get
  • Improved
  • Increased good thing (gross margin, sales, customer satisfaction) by ___%.
  • Decreased bad things (customer complaints, workplace accidents, etc.) by ___ %.

Words That Show You Are a Team Leader

A true werewolf king is the leader of his pack. But that doesn’t mean he needs to repeat the word “led” five hundred times on his resume. Instead of saying you “led” a team, show you went above and beyond with these words:

  • Managed
  • Directed
  • Coached
  • Oversaw
  • Mentored
  • Motivated
  • Supervised
  • Cultivated
  • United

And that’s it! Now that you have plenty of words in your resume pumpkin, you’re ready to turn it into a ferociously fresh job search jack-o’-lantern. So, get carving!

Any other “boo-tiful” words you’ve found effective in getting your resume noticed? Let us know in the comments below!