Tag Archives: achievements

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.

2-4-6-8 Here’s How to Motivate!

Motivate Yourself at WorkAt some point in our career, we’ve fallen into that rut. That mysterious slump that can drag our productivity down to a near halt. Our brains check out and we do the minimum amount of work needed to avoid getting in trouble. Some workers hitting a slump might not get that bad, but the temptation and desire to slack off can slowly grow into a career problem sooner than you think.

Sometimes seeing the fruits of your labor takes longer than expected. Success takes time, which is often longer than you’d like. Because success doesn’t happen on your time, it can be easy to get discouraged, making it harder to achieve the success you deserve.

The key to motivation is to find small achievable goals that will help keep you consistently on track. You will have to look deep inside yourself and discover what you want to accomplish at work and how you are going to do it. Here are some things to ask yourself that will help jumpstart your motivation and get your workplace mojo back.

What Are You Doing?
The most important thing you can do to get motivated is to define your purpose, and figure out why you are working. While some workers look for jobs that are fulfilling or enjoyable, others are just trying to find something that pays well or just enough to feed their family. There isn’t a purpose that is better than the other, it’s a matter of finding the one that works for you. Once you find your driving factor, the prospect of accomplishing that purpose helps set up your career goals and keeps you motivated.

What Does That Have to do With Your Employer?
Now that you’ve found your workplace purpose, take a moment to think about what your employer sells, makes, or provides. Take what the company does to sell or serve its product and figure out how you can use that purpose to fit within your role. The more closely you associate your goals with your company’s goals and services, the better you’ll be able to motivate yourself to do what’s necessary to get your job done.

If you are unsure about your employer’s goals and motivations, ask your manager to set up some time to discuss the company. If possible, include an upper-level director who can give a different perspective. You can get some direction and a possible boost of motivation when talking to upper management.

What Does That Have to do With Your Team?
Odds are, you work with other people. They rely on you every day to get the job done. Your team has specific goals and purposes that fit into your employer’s goals. If your team hasn’t already defined their goals, ask to layout your team’s key objectives and goals that will drive sales, increase awareness, or whatever purpose your employer has. Hearing from your co-workers about what needs to be done and why it’s so important can be the extra kick you need to find motivation.

Another way to find motivation beyond focusing on goals is to ask for extra tasks or minor projects to be completed. Taking a break from your daily tasks can give your brain and body a chance to recharge while still being productive.

What Are You Going to do to be More Ambitious?
You’re bored with the normal, right? That’s why you’re in this slump. That’s why you need to break away from the safe and secure. Find out what you can do to contribute to your team’s objectives and be daring. Don’t choose anything that is too risky, but give yourself a challenge that is exciting and inspires you.

Motivation starts from within. Once you find your inner drive, you can work to overcome the challenges that you could face. What are some ways you’ve found motivation at work? Let us know in the comment section below.

The Building Blocks of a Successful, Professional Résumé

Resume BuildingWhen it comes to building a résumé, it’s important to know what to include and how to get an employer to notice yours. Typically, a hiring manager will form an opinion about you and your résumé within about 10 minutes, so your résumé needs to grab someone’s attention … and fast.

So, what does a great résumé include? Make sure you include these items to maximize your job search results.

The Basics. The basics for any résumé include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. And when it comes to listing an address, be sure to include a permanent address to ensure that if an employer sends you something, you will receive it. Also, for e-mail addresses, think professional. A great way to get overlooked for a job opportunity is to include a non-professional e-mail address, such as love2party@gmail.com. Instead, have a more professional e-mail address to include, such as jane.doe@gmail.com. Employers look at every detail on your résumé when deciding if you’re the right employee for them.

Educational Background and Experience. Include what your major is or what certifications and training you have received. The more you include the better. Also, list which school or votech you graduated from or that you’re attending. However, when it comes to your grade point average, only list it if it’s 3.5 or higher.

Objective and Summary of Skills. It’s never a bad idea to include a clear, direct objective and summary of what you’re looking for and what you can offer an employer. Remember, when it comes to a résumé, your ultimate goal is to tell them what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.

For example, if you’re applying for an ad copy writer position, list your top skills that would showcase to the employer why you are the best choice for the job. Keep this object short – only a few sentences at most – and communicate your passion for the job. Grab their attention early on in the résumé.

List of Achievements. Once you’ve told an employer in your objective and summary why they should hire you, you have to show them why. This is the section where you can go more in depth about your skills and abilities. It’s also OK to brag on yourself a little here. Tell them about honors, awards, and recognition you’ve received regarding your area of study. List internships or major projects you worked on that got rave reviews? Did you showcase a major community project for your school?

If you received an award for being the best of the best, include that too. Let a potential employer know what you’re able to do! The more impressive you appear, the better. But remember, a cardinal rule of creating a résumé is to keep everything truthful. Don’t fudge the truth even a little to seem more impressive. If an employer ever finds out you did, your career with them would be over before it ever gets started.

Community and Extracurricular Activities. Be sure to list all the organizations you have been involved in at school and outside of school. Since you don’t have a lot of on-the-job experience yet, this is a great way to show how you’re putting your skills to use.

These are some basic must-haves that every résumé should include. One other thing to keep in mind is the format you use. Usually for recent college grads, a combination of a chronological and functional format  is a good choice. The chronological format lists your experience in a timely order, while the functional format focuses more on just your skills and abilities overall. Also, check out additional tips for getting past resume gaps.

Finally keep the overall design basic and try to keep your résumé to one page in length. The busier your résumé appears, the more distracting it will be. When it comes to the design, less is more. Also, create your résumé in Microsoft Word, but save your final copy as a PDF version.

Follow these tips to make sure you start your job search off on the right foot. Tune in next week for information on creating a list of references.