Tag Archives: resume

What Does Your Job Search Competition Look Like?

12-28 Competition2When it comes to your job search, competition is inevitable. Job seekers are in a fierce battle for quality positions, and you may wonder how a recruiter chooses between two similar applicants.

Although no two cases are alike, there are ways to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Consider these tips:

Dress the Part
To get the job you want, you must look the part. The old saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” is often-quoted for a reason. Hiring managers will evaluate you almost instantly based on how you dress. When you look your best and as professional as possible, you’ve already beat the first hurdle.

Ask Intelligent Questions
At the end of most interviews, you are asked if you have any questions. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask thought-provoking questions about the company and its culture. A good tip is to visit the “about us” section on the company website to find topics to ask about. Not having questions implies a lack of engagement or interest in the business.

Share Your Achievements
When interviewing, share stories that demonstrate your work abilities, your personality, and your successes. If you can “show, not tell” how you are a perfect candidate for the position, you’ll stand out from your competition. Don’t just rattle off a dry list of skills. Instead, tell a tale that shows how those skills helped your former employer.

Follow Up With Current and Former Interviewers
As soon as an interview is over, send a thank you letter that summarizes your abilities and skills. However, don’t forget about contacting businesses that you’ve interviewed with in the past, especially if you were shortlisted for a position that went to another candidate. Maybe the person they chose didn’t work out or maybe they have a new position open that is a good fit.

Make Sure You Stay Sharp
You can’t compare yourself with others, but you can compare yourself to your past. Are you learning new skills? Are you updating your resume and websites? Have you practiced your interview questions lately? It’s important to always keep improving.

In your job search, you can send in a cover letter and resume like everyone else, or you can take steps to stand out from the competition for all the right reasons. Do not beat yourself up by trying to compare yourself to other candidates, but be aware they too are looking for ways to stand out.

In what ways do you stand out from your job seeking competition? Share some tips with us in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

How a Lack of Planning May Be Costing You the Job

lack_of_planning_webWhen job searching, planning is an important step that can make or break your chances of success. A good resume and application may land you an interview, but planning is necessary to ace it and get the job offer.

Is your lack of planning costing you? We’ve put together some resources to help you pick out serious errors and interview flaws due to a lack of planning. These mistakes can destroy what could have been a great interview and result in a lost job opportunity.

  1. Not Preparing to Be on Time

Before the day of your interview, plan out your drive to the location. Always allow extra travel time for accidents, bad traffic, or car trouble. If you can drive to the business location a day or two before your interview, you’ll have a better idea of how long the trip will take.

  1. Not Being Properly Dressed

Showing up at a job interview in inappropriate attire or in clothes that are wrinkled is another deadly sin. If you haven’t planned ahead of time to iron your clothes or explore the company culture, you could end up looking shabby and embarrassing. If you have a chance to drive by your potential employer’s office to see how other employees are dressed, do so. At the very least, pick out your interview outfit the night before, try it on, iron or clean as necessary, and set the pieces out for easy dressing.

  1. Not Preparing for Your Interview

Have you practiced answering interview questions? Have you read the company’s website and annual report if available? Have you looked up news about the company? Preparing for an interview takes effort, but that effort pays off when you have rehearsed answers to difficult questions and can have an intelligent conversation about the company itself. Not preparing for the interview may leave you looking nervous and uninformed.

  1. Not Preparing Extra Copies

The company already has your resume, but you should plan to bring extra copies. While you’re at it, bring extra copies of any portfolio items, references, awards, and anything else a recruiter may be interested in. Never walk in empty-handed. By planning ahead, you can present yourself in a strong light by having extra copies of important documents.

  1. Not Having a Follow-Up Plan

After the interview is over, do you have a plan for following up? The lack of follow-up can hurt your chance to be hired. Instead, make a plan to send thank-you cards and professional follow-up emails. Write the thank-you cards as soon as the interview is over and craft an email asking if the company needs additional information from you to send in a week or two. Not having a plan to contact the company after the interview may take you out of the running.

It’s tempting to leave your career to chance and not plan, but the people who are most successful are prepared ahead of time for any job search opportunity. Take time to put together your plan, and stop letting lack of planning cost you.

How do you plan ahead of time for job interviews? Share your tips with us in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Headed to a Job Interview? Don’t Do This!

job_interview_don't_do_webDo you have a job interview soon? Have you prepared for the big day by reviewing popular interview questions, researching the company, cleaning up your resume, and gathering your references? All of those steps are important parts of ensuring a successful interview. But, what should you avoid once you’re in the job interview?

Survey Reveals Mistakes
In a new survey from Express Employment Professionals, business owners shared several real-life mistakes job seekers have made in interviews. These examples include:

  • Answering the phone
  • Asking to step out for a smoke break
  • Asking at the end of the interview, “What am I interviewing for?”
  • Badmouthing their former employer
  • Bringing a baby, pet, or parent
  • Chewing tobacco and/or vaping
  • Falling asleep
  • Wearing pajamas
  • Listing their own cell phone number and pretending to be their own reference
  • Listening to headphones

Among those employers, 61% agree that the worst thing an interviewee can do is answer a phone call during the interview. Other answers included arriving late, drinking alcohol, or lying about their experience.

“Your interviewer should have your undivided attention,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express. “If you can’t make it through an interview without answering a phone, texting a friend, or smoking a cigarette, I can pretty much guarantee you that you won’t be landing the job.”

Clever Tricks From Interviewees
The survey also revealed the most clever ways job seekers have submitted resumes and attempted to land jobs. Those responses include:

  • Typing the resume like a movie script, menu, radio commercial, or video presentation
  • Delivering the resume with a box of doughnuts
  • Delivering the resume in a box via a mail carrier
  • Bringing a portfolio and giving a presentation of their work
  • Creating a business plan
  • Providing referrals from someone known to the employer
  • Bringing lists of potential clients and ideas for the position

According to Bob Funk, “When you’re competing to win a new job, it can pay to be creative. The ability to stand out can be the difference between a job offer and a rejection, provided you’re standing out for the right reasons.”

What are some clever ways you’ve landed the job? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Cut These Words From Your LinkedIn Profile

buzzwords_linkedin_webEarlier this year, LinkedIn released its fifth annual list of 10 words that are most overused by its members worldwide. In doing so, the social networking site encourages users to avoid words that are empty in meaning and sound good, but say virtually nothing. Those words include:

  1. Motivated
  2. Passionate
  3. Creative
  4. Driven
  5. Extensive experience
  6. Responsible
  7. Strategic
  8. Track record
  9. Organizational
  10. Expert

These words are generic descriptors that don’t offer much true insight into your personality, experience, or work ethic. Instead of simply using the above words on your profile or resume, try to find a way to show them instead.

For example, if you worked in customer service and succeeded in a sales initiative that increased sales by 10%, consider sharing your results. Instead of writing “motivated,” write “drove sales to a 10% increase.” Or, if your creativity led you to solve a problem and save your workplace money, don’t write “creative.” Instead, write “created a solution to a workplace problem that saved the company $1,000 annually.”

After you delete overused buzzwords, your LinkedIn profile may appear a bit empty. Step it up by showcasing your skill set in your summary, customizing your headline, adding volunteer activity and causes, and uploading a professional photo. According to LinkedIn data, profiles with a photo are 14 times more likely to be viewed.

What tips do you have for keeping your LinkedIn profile in shape? Are there other buzzwords that should be cut from profiles? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Start Building Your New Career Today

start_your_new_career_today_webAre you a recent graduate? Are you new to the workforce? Are you looking for a career change?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you may be in the process of building your new career. Getting started can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you’re motivated to make your new career a success, your dream job can become a reality. To help you get started, check out these tips for building your new career today.

Know what you want.
Whether you just graduated, are entering the workforce for the first time, or considering a career change, the first step is knowing what you want in a job. Do a self-assessment of your values, hobbies, experience, and work preferences so you know when a job opportunity may be right for you. Knowing what you want before you apply helps you avoid getting stuck in a work environment that doesn’t match what you need. According to a Forbes article, “When your values are dramatically misaligned with those of your employer, you will become disengaged and possibly even disgruntled.”

Customize your resume for every job application.
Making sure your resume matches each job description helps you stand out from the competition and ensures that you’re the right fit for the job. Don’t forget to check for spelling and grammatical errors in both your resume and cover letter. Sending out material with mistakes may make you appear lazy to hiring managers and prevent you from landing an interview.

Spread the news!
Tell your friends, family, and mentors that you’re looking for work so they can help you search. You never know what connections are out there, and someone you know may be able to connect you with a potential employer. Networking is essential when you’re looking for a job, especially if you’re thinking about changing careers or are just starting out in the workforce.

Consider finding temporary or short-term roles.
Temporary work is not only a great way to earn an income while you’re searching for that perfect job, it’s also a chance to gain experience and skills you may not otherwise have. Temporary jobs even allow you to test out a career you may be interested in by helping you get your foot in the door. You can gain knowledge, skills, experience, and networking opportunities by working a short-term job in a field you want to explore. And, that temporary job could even turn into a permanent one. Consider applying with a staffing agency to find temporary or contract work that’s right for you.

Take advantage of social media.
Some of your social media sites can be a useful tool in your job search. LinkedIn, for example, is a great way to get noticed and find employers who are hiring. Think of LinkedIn and your other social networks like a digital resume and use them to showcase your skills, experience, and education. Remember to keep your social media clean and free of anything that may not make you an ideal job candidate for employers. If your social media profiles are public, chances are potential employers will look at them. In fact, a 2014 survey by Harris Poll revealed that 51% of employers who research job candidates online said they’ve found content that caused them not to hire the candidate. Think twice before sharing any photos, updates, or links that may be questionable or paint you in a bad light. When it comes to your job search, social media can make or break you.

Freelance or start a side business.
If you currently have a job, but have a hobby or skill you’d like to explore, consider freelance work. For example, if you love to write, but don’t know where to find writing jobs, try contacting websites or local newspapers to see if they’re looking for freelance writers. Or if you are really good at math, but don’t know how to use that in your career, reach out to schools and other organizations that may be looking for tutors. Freelancing allows you to take on small projects that use your skills while adding to your portfolio and experience.

Educate yourself.
If you want to change careers, you may need the proper training to do so. According to the University of Southern California, some college graduates earn more than twice as much as high school graduates. If higher education is in your future, start by looking for vocational schools and colleges in your area. In some cases, the training you need may be as simple as online certifications or courses. If you’re looking for a career change, check out this list of careers that will make going back to school worthwhile..

Make a list of companies where you’d like to work.
Forbes suggests taking the time to learn about companies you’d like to work for, and familiarizing yourself with that company’s leaders and the industry they’re in. Know what issues affect the industry and determine whether or not you have the experience and skills to offer possible solutions to those issues. Knowing industry trends is also a great way to start a conversation with potential employers and hiring managers.

What tips do you have for building a new career? Share with us in the comment section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

National Punctuation Day: Tips for Resume Grammar

national_punctuation_day_webIf you’re searching for a job, you’ve likely spent a lot of time creating a resume that shines and sets you up as a prime candidate.

The last thing you want is to ruin that sparkling resume with poor grammar or misspelled words. In order to stand out to hiring managers and beat the job search competition, it’s important to have a well-crafted, well-written resume.

Thursday, Sept. 24, is National Punctuation Day, and in honor of this important day, we’ve compiled some tips on proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation to help you review your resume.

Don’t crowd your sentences with unnecessary words. Keep it short and simple. For instance, don’t write “I reorganized the billing process;” instead say, “Reorganized billing process.”

Don’t use pronouns, especially third person. Your name should be at the top of each resume page, so the recruiter knows the resume is talking about you. Start sentences with a verb, leaving out pronouns. Example: “In charge of billing software” as opposed to “I am in charge of billing software.”

Use active power verbs. Passive verbs weaken your accomplishments. Always use active power verbs. For example, write “managed a staff of five” instead of “did manage” or “was a manager of.”

Be tense-aware. If you describe the job you are currently in, use present tense. If you are describing jobs in the past, use past tense.

Break up your sentences. Keep sentences lean and clean, and avoid complex sentences. Don’t write a sentence like this:  “Managed a team of 15, who worked in various areas of a project like planning and fundraising, and instituted a new teambuilding program that, according to my employer, improved productivity by 50%.”

Instead, break up the sentences: “Managed a project team of 15. Instituted new teambuilding program that improved productivity by 50%. Led all aspects of project from planning to fundraising.”

Use your own words. Never copy and paste the job description.

Spelling counts. If you’re ever in doubt, turn to a dictionary. Utilize your computer’s spell-check and have a friend double-check your spelling. Also, make sure you have the recruiter’s name spelled correctly in your cover letter.

Read your resume aloud. Before you send your resume, read it aloud to yourself or a friend. This will help you identify bad verb tenses, odd phrases, or awkward sentences.

Celebrate National Punctuation Day by going over your resume and following these tips to make sure it’s clean and stands out.

What other tips do you have for grammar and spelling on a resume? Share with us in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Need a Job? Seasonal Work Is Here

RET_005The holiday season may still seem far off, but now is the time to start looking for work if you plan to find a seasonal job this year. Every year, the holiday season helps put millions of people to work in jobs that may begin as temporary employment, but often turn into permanent employment.

There are many benefits to finding a seasonal job. In addition to the extra income around the holidays, seasonal jobs are also a great way to add experience to your resume and network with people who may be able to help your career in the future. Even though your job may start out as a temporary one, it could lead to permanent, full-time employment.

Take Your Job Seriously
According to Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, “Employers will look at their temporary employees this holiday season to see which ones merit a full-time, permanent position.”

If you want to better your odds of landing a permanent job after the holidays, remember to treat your seasonal job like an extended interview. Take advantage of the opportunity to show you’re hard-working, committed, and have a positive attitude. When you go above and beyond at your temporary job, you better your chances of being noticed by potential employers.

Don’t Limit Your Options
Holiday jobs may seem like they’re limited to Christmas or other winter holidays, but don’t forget about the entire holiday season. Halloween, for example, can be an avenue for temporary work because of large costume superstores that open for the season. Additionally, party stores may need extra help around New Year’s Eve.

Start Now
Stop by any department store and you’re likely to see holiday items already stocked on the shelves. If businesses are already thinking about the holidays, you should be too. Brainstorm places you would like to apply for seasonal work and get started on applications. Don’t wait until November or December, because most employers want their seasonal staff trained and working before the shopping rush begins.

Call a Staffing Agency
When companies want to hire multiple new employees for the holiday season, they often go to a staffing company for assistance. Since staffing providers are usually better equipped to find, screen, and hire large numbers of workers, they can be a great resource for you. Do your homework before you apply and make sure the staffing company is a reputable one, like Express Employment Professionals.

Make Sure You’re Prepared
In a recent poll on Movin’ On Up, we asked if our readers plan on looking for seasonal work this year. An astonishing 84% of responders said that they do plan to look for seasonal work. Since so many people want to find work this holiday season, you need to make sure you’re prepared to beat the competition. Clean up your resume, brush up on your interview skills, make a list of references, research the companies you want to work for, and know the skills that employers want to see. When you’re prepared for a job opportunity, you stand a better chance of landing the job.

Have you worked a seasonal job? Did your seasonal job turn into a permanent one? Share your tips with us in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.