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Get Your Dream Position with These Quick Tips
How? By being prepared. Earning the right to ask for a promotion isn’t a question of tenure or age—it’s a byproduct of knowing not only the inner workings of your own job, but also those of the company you work for and the position you want.
Here are four secrets to getting a promotion.
Know What You Want
Management isn’t for everyone. Before you ask for a promotion, ask yourself if being a leader is what you want. Do you desire the position for the title and accolades or because you truly want to manage and inspire others? If it’s just for financial reasons, consider asking for a raise instead. You may also want to consider applying for a position in another department, depending on your interests.
Management isn’t easy. Leadership can seem fun, but there are numerous responsibilities that come with such status, including handling billing and budgets, managing deadlines, and dealing with unhappy or sick employees. And that’s only a partial list!
Speak with Leadership
Once you’ve been at the company for some time and have earned your stripes with proven performance and knowledge of the company, talk to your manager. Let them know you’re out to achieve a promotion if the opportunity arises. Come with proven examples of your ability to rally, push, and inspire others, as well as metrics regarding your own performance.
Find a mentor at your company who can push you to succeed and speak candidly about areas in which you need improvement. Not every leadership experience is going to be a great one. A mentor can help you realize what went wrong and what you can do in the future to minimize those problems. Leaders don’t want novices in management roles; they promote those with demonstrated performance.
A management position could open at any time. Therefore, preparation is key. A promotion isn’t something you get because you’ve been working at the company a certain amount of time. You only get the job if you’re the right fit at the right time.
Watch those who hold positions that may be attainable in the not so distant future. Unless your department expands, these are most likely your only options. Although you don’t want to be a direct copy of the individual currently in the position, make sure you exemplify the qualities of the role. Do your research! If they started working 15 years ago, you’ll need to know everything they learned in those 15 years.
Seek out team leader roles in projects and take initiative to show you can lead a team. This also gives you time to discover your own leadership style, and how to handle appropriate conversations with others in your team.
At the end of the day, you have to make your case. That means waiting for an opening or proving there is currently a need for a new management position. If you aren’t up to creating your own role (with detailed metrics regarding why that role needs to exist), you must wait.
If the leadership role is open to everyone, you’ll be able to apply. If it’s only open to a select few, you’ll have to hope your prior discussion with leadership will cause them to notice you as a great candidate.
Have you ever gotten a promotion? How did you achieve it? Let us know in the comments below!
Wondering what it takes to thrive in the workplace?
You’re the perfect job candidate. Your resume is chock full of keywords and metrics showing you know what you’re doing. Perhaps you’ve increased ROI by 40%, averaged seventy words-per-minute, or mastered a certain software program.
These are all hard skills, abilities and experiences you may frequently see as job requirements. Measurable skills you can test for. You’re probably thinking, “if hard skills exist, soft skills must exist too, right?”
You’re 100% correct. Soft skills are about working well with others in a workplace environment. Being able to deal with difficult co-workers or knowing how to cooperate with multiple team members to reach a deadline—all are considered soft skills.
Soft skills are important because you must have them to succeed. Hard skills can get you in the door, but they’re just a baseline—soft skills are what allow you to move up the ladder by collaborating with others.
The capability to not only express yourself in multiple ways, but also to listen and persuade others.
Being a Team Player
The capacity to work well with others through an understanding of the big picture.
Having a Strong Work Ethic
The ability to work hard and meet deadlines without sacrificing quality.
Being able and willing to change course on the fly as the situation calls for.
Having a Positive Attitude
Keep your conversation and attitude optimistic and light to inspire and help others.
In the following video, provided by Express Employment Professionals, here’s a look at the top soft skills employers look for.
Top tips from working recruiters
Many job applicants express frustration with the post-interview process due to not receiving any follow up. They want to know what they can do to improve future interview performance. However, interviewers are unable to provide this information, often because of potential legal issues or simply not having the time to write personalized letters for each applicant.
At Express Employment Professionals, our recruiters interview numerous job seekers every day. They know what works and what doesn’t, at both the staffing agency and client levels. We asked our top recruiters to tell us what they look for in job candidates, as well as characteristics job seekers should avoid.
What Makes a Great Job Candidate?
A promising candidate is one who arrives to an interview (either by phone or at the worksite) fully prepared.
“They come with a resume, references, and any supporting documents or credentials that could potentially give them a step up in the hiring process,” said Shannon Jacoby, a recruiter at the Bellingham, WA, Express office. “They know what they are applying for, they have done research on the company, and they know how they could fit into the organization.”
A candidate should also be friendly and personable. This is your chance to make a good impression.
“I like candidates that have friendly, personable attitudes,” said Carlos Delafuente from the Portland, OR, Express office. “I should be able to tell that they are reliable, punctual, and dependable. They can impress me by showing that they can hold a normal conversation, that they have a sense of humor, and optimism.”
“Ideally, a great job candidate should have a relatively stable work history,” said Desiree Stevens of the Littleton, CO, Express office. “However, we understand that there may be mitigating circumstances as to why a position ended. Be honest about those reasons.”
If you’re looking to contact a staffing company, be truthful with what you know and what you want.
“Being honest about your skills is huge,” Stevens said. “That helps us market the candidate to clients. If the candidate lies about the level of proficiency in a particular program and they’re placed in a position that requires it, it not only makes us look bad, but the candidate as well.”
What Makes a Poor Job Candidate?
Not Being Prepared
There is no way to hide a lack of preparation. And if you aren’t prepared for the interview, then why would a recruiter think you would be prepared on the job?
“An unprepared candidate is more difficult to place,” said Lee Cox from the Woodbury, MN, office. “If a job candidate has no idea what they want to do, or has done little or no research about the field or position, I have no reason to expect them to perform well on the job. A candidate should know the company inside and out—their job duties, distance they are willing to travel, their minimum required wage, etc.”
An interview is a chance to impress. Regardless of how casual the interview is, what you may see as overdressing could show how serious you are as a candidate.
“Just the other day, I had an administrative candidate come to her interview in see-through leggings, a baggy sweatshirt and gym shoes,” Stevens said. “I expect, at the very least, dress slacks, a blouse or blazer, and dress shoes. Shirt and tie aren’t necessary, but are a good indicator that the candidate cares about first impressions.”
Never talk over your interviewer or insult a previous employer.
“Talking over me while I’m asking a question is an indicator that the candidate has passive listening skills or thinks they already know what I have to say and has no reason to listen to what I am saying or asking,” Stevens said. “And as for bashing employers, there’s a way to tactfully state why you left a positon. Instead of saying ‘My boss was a jerk,’ note that management didn’t see eye-to-eye with you on your vision for the position or the company.”
Showing the interviewer why you’re right for the position is important. A great job applicant understands how to do this quickly and succinctly.
“Don’t take 20 minutes to answer the first interview question,” Jacoby said. “Focus on how your experience applies to the job, not on covering everything you’ve ever done. Answer each question quickly and succinctly.”
“Try not to bring personal issues into the interview,” Delafuente said. “Instead of talking about your personal life, focus on the professional.”
Know What You Want
Getting a job isn’t easy. Applicants know that. But the key to a successful interview is knowing as much as you can. Know the company’s history and culture. Know what you want, both in terms of your career and your monetary requirements. Know yourself and your personality, and how that plays in an interview.
Questions for our recruiters? Ask them in the comments below!
Retool your resume with these witty words
Your resume is the first thing HR looks at, and unfortunately, you don’t get a chance to talk to them or show them who you are as a person before the interview. All you have are the words on the page. Which is why it’s so important to make sure you use the right ones.
Resumes can be frustrating. You’re spending hours working on a document when you know that if you could just meet your interviewer, you’d land the job. But it’s something we all must deal with. It’s not possible to interview every single applicant, so companies need to have some way to narrow down the competition. That’s why they have software that picks out certain words as more pertinent to the job than others.
Here’s how to make sure you don’t get thrown out of consideration.
Employ Metrics-Focused Verbs
Your resume should be full of accomplishments. When you list what you’ve successfully done (number of reports sent, projects completed in a finite time-span, etc), use action verbs:
- successfully converted
Use Team Player Words
Instead of saying you’re a team player, show you directed a team and achieved results:
Opt for Management Words
Instead of saying you “led” a team, show you went above and beyond with these words:
What NOT to Write
In addition to the words you should use, there are some words and concepts you’re better off staying away from.
- Don’t use the wrong tense. If it’s your current job, use the present tense. If it’s about a previous job, use the past tense. Realize that not all words are going to be right for every situation. If you were never a team leader or a manager, you probably shouldn’t use something like “oversaw” or “orchestrated.” The perfect words will vary depending on your industry and position.
- Don’t use mundane words like ‘did,’ ‘saw’ or ‘typed.’ Instead of focusing on something you can find in a job description, list out your accomplishments.
- Don’t talk about soft skills, like being a “people person,” a “team player,” “responsible,” or “kind.” These qualities are expected of a qualified candidate. This type of information is more well-suited to a cover letter or interview.
- Don’t mention that you “met deadlines.” Instead, you “achieved ___ in a deadline-driven environment.”
- Don’t use the first person. It’s unprofessional and can be confusing for the HR person because first person refers to them as they read it.
Any other words you love to use in your resume? Questions about the perfect term for a given situation? Let us know in the comments below!
Are you underpaid? Ready for a change?
Asking for a raise isn’t easy and preparing to ask can be nerve-racking. When should you ask for one? How much should you ask for? What do you even say?
The most important thing to remember when asking for a raise is that the only reason for asking can’t be because you need a raise. It should be because you deserve one. But, it’s on you to prove that your actions have led to success, and will continue to do so in the future. An employee doesn’t get a significant increase in pay just for doing the minimum—he or she must go above and beyond.
On that note, here are our top four tips for negotiating a raise.
1. Start Preparing on Day One
To begin with, figure out why you deserve a pay raise. If that question is difficult to answer, negotiations aren’t going to go very well. You start figuring that out the first day on the job.
Many people only think about raises at the end of the year, or after a certain amount of time has passed. However, if you start thinking about a future raise on that first day, you can start collecting accomplishments early on. Create goals and an actionable plan to meet those goals. While traveling on your career journey, keep a journal of all professional successes, preferably with metrics and details regarding how each met goal furthered the company as a whole.
Remember, your manager isn’t giving a raise expressly for your benefit—a raise is given to keep an employee as an asset to help the company in the long run. So, if you can connect your performance to achieved business goals, a raise may just be in the cards.
2. Timing is Everything
In order to really succeed with a request like this, you need to ask at the right time. If you work in oil, for example, and the market suffers a setback, don’t ask for a raise. The same thing applies to a company that’s going through financial or PR difficulties.
If it’s the company’s busiest time of the year, that’s another bad time to ask. Same goes for just after you’ve been on vacation or taken time off. And try not to bring this up after making some sort of mistake, no matter how minor.
3. Know the Market for Your Position
This ties in with asking yourself whether you deserve the raise or not. Read the papers and research online to find out what your competitive rate is at similar companies. Are you already earning that same rate? If so, you may be working at the cap for your position.
In that case, see if anything major really makes you stand out from the competition. Are you expendable? If so, become an asset. Losing you should not be an option. Raises are given to retain top talent. If the company isn’t the right fit or you aren’t actually top talent, a raise may not be in the cards.
But being top talent in and of itself doesn’t mean a raise is certain. You have to be on time, an excellent employee, and using that talent to further the company every minute you’re on the job.
4. Bring a Plan and Be Confident
What do you plan on bringing to the negotiating table? If you answered nothing but a smile and a well-worded speech, think again. Prepare an actual presentation. Know your worth and properly articulate any strengths, as well as details regarding tasks that were not only completed, but elevated to the next level. In other words, be confident.
Avoid being arrogant. Tie all accomplishments back to how they helped the company, not you. Don’t walk in assuming a pay hike is a given. Be confident in past successes, and let that lead where it may.
As a bonus, try to include some sort of physical, tangible element to the presentation, whether it’s a printed summary or printed charts and graphs. Include information about how you have saved the company money, or how your actions led to an increase in revenue or production.
Although the goal is for your manager to read these materials, even if they don’t, they’ll still see them on their desk and remember your request. Conduct the entire meeting in a calm manner, and, once it’s over, let your manager know that this is a two-way conversation by asking them for feedback on future projects.
If your manager declines to give a raise, don’t be afraid to ask why. If the reason has anything to do with factors you can control, make those changes so you will be a prime candidate in the future.
Reasons You May Not Get the Raise
Even if you follow all of these tips, it is important to note that you may not get a raise due to external factors that have nothing to do with performance. These include:
- A slow market
- A recent downturn in the economy
- A different raise structure (your company may have a rigid raise structure in place that does not allow for deviation)
- Downsizing in your department
- You are a relatively recent hire
Have any more questions about the salary negotiation process? Let us know about it in the comments below!
On a planet full of tweets and status updates, how do you meet people face-to-face?
Whether it’s a night on the town with friends or meeting with a monthly professional group, networking has always been part of the employment scene. When it comes to pretty much any job, “who you know” really does matter. Which makes sense, given that an employer is more likely to trust a new hire that they know personally or was referred rather than an impressive resume from an unknown applicant.
How do you keep it real in a digital world? Let us know by voting in our poll!