Why It’s Important to Be Nice to Everyone

When job seekers go on interviews, they typically focus solely on impressing their interviewer(s). Next time you go on an interview, be sure to be friendly, polite and professional with every person you encounter. You never know the importance or professional status of each individual, so it pays to be nice to everyone! First impressions are critically important, especially on a job interview, so make sure the impression you make at a potential employer’s office is a positive one.

Some professionals might be surprised to learn that many hiring managers actually consult other employees around the office to get their impression of the interviewed candidates. Hiring managers realize that you put your best foot forward with them, so they want to know how you acted and treated others when you weren’t in their presence. For example, many hiring managers will ask their receptionist or administrative assistants what their impression was of the interviewed candidate. The receptionist is typically the first person you interact with at a job interview and the way you treat them says a lot about you. Hiring managers want to know that you were polite and professional with their support staff, because your behavior will demonstrate what kind of coworker you will be if hired.

Another reason it is important to be nice to everyone at your job interview is that you never know what an individual employee’s status is within the company. For example, say you steal a parking spot from a driver in the garage and then that person ends up being the CEO of the company you are interviewing with! Or, you neglect to hold the door open for a woman who ends up being the human resources manager of the organization. From the minute you arrive at the office to the time you leave, you should make a good impression on every single person you encounter at your next interview.

An Easy Way to Plan Your Next Career Move

If you have been in the same job for a long time, you might think about what your next career move will be. Will you start applying for jobs at a higher level, will you change your career path entirely with a new position, or will you continue on in a similar role? An easy way to help yourself make this decision is to craft what we’ll call “a resume in advance.” Crafting a resume in advance means creating a future (imaginary) position for yourself and listing it on your resume. While this isn’t a resume you’d send to any potential employers, it can help you decide what you are looking for in your next role.

First step would be to decide on a start date for your next position. This will help you set a goal for when you would like to move on from your current role. For example, “I hope to have a new position or promotion lined up by March 2015,” so this would be the date you’d put on your resume in advance.

Second, you should come up with a job title. It doesn’t have to be an actual job title you would search for when applying for a new job, but simply a way to label what you want your new position to encompass. For example, if you are looking to move into a management position, make sure to include the word “manager” somewhere in your title.

Next, you need to come up with a list of responsibilities for your new role. These can be completely new tasks you have never had before but believe you could handle, or responsibilities you currently have that you would like to hold on to. Once you’ve finished listing all of your new responsibilities, you will have a much better idea of what you are looking for in your next job. You might find that you enjoy certain aspects of your current responsibilities, so a complete career change isn’t necessary. You might also discover the opposite. Maybe you are looking to gain more responsibilities in a completely new area, which could mean a more serious career change.

Finally, after completing your “resume in advance,” you should have a pretty good idea of what you want in your next position. This will help you decide what kind of jobs you should search for when applying for new positions, or what added responsibilities you should ask for when speaking with your boss about a potential promotion.

The Most Important Part of Your Resume

What is a resume? A document that showcases you as a professional and demonstrates to potential employers why you are the perfect fit for their open opportunity. The main purpose of your resume is to show why you are qualified for certain positions, but a lot of job seekers tend to forget this fact when applying to jobs. Don’t lose focus by spending too much time worrying about trivial aspects such as the length of your resume, the formatting, or the objective statement. The most important part of your resume is your work experience and how that experience applies to the jobs you are applying for.

When applying to individual job postings, you should tailor your resume for every, single one! You need to thoroughly review job postings to comprehend exactly what experience and qualifications a potential employer is looking for, and then ensure that you meet those requirements. If you do have the required experience, make sure your resume clearly shows that!

For example, if an employer is looking for someone with strong Excel skills, they want to see that you have used Excel in prior positions. Instead of just listing “Excel” under the Technical Skills section on your resume, clearly state how and where you used Excel throughout your work experience. A potential employer should be able to see exactly where you used Excel and how you used it without having to call you and ask about it.

Showing your demonstrated experience is especially important if you are looking to transition into a new career or a higher level role. For example, if you are a teacher applying to be an administrative assistant, you need to demonstrate how your work experience as a teacher qualifies you for a role as an admin. Or if you are a junior associate applying for a senior position, show how your role has prepared you to move up to the next level.

While details such as the formatting and wording of your resume are still very important, showing your demonstrated work experience is the major priority for your resume. Always remember to tailor your work experience for each and every job posting to ensure a maximum return on investment of your time!

10 Tips for Starting Your New Job on the Right Foot

Everyone knows that first impressions can be lasting, so starting off a new job on the right foot can be critically important to your career. Learn how to do just that by following our tips below:

  1. Make connections: Build strong relationships with your colleagues that you can foster over time.
  2. Be punctual: Be sure to arrive on time for work and meet all of your deadlines.
  3. Set goals and track progress: Set 30, 60 and 90-day goals for yourself with your boss and monitor your progress to keep yourself on track.
  4. Ask for feedback: Get feedback from people you trust in order to find out how you can improve.
  5. Get involved: Participate in company initiatives and programs. You can also volunteer to help out with company functions outside of the office.
  6. Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions for clarification when needed. It’s important that you understand your employer’s expectations.
  7. Be innovative: Share ideas you have for improvement around the office if you think something can be done more efficiently or effectively.
  8. Learn the industry: Research your company and its competitors. Knowledge goes a long way.
  9. Make yourself at home: Personalize your desk or workspace. This will help you feel more comfortable in your new environment.
  10. Go the extra step: Don’t just do the bare minimum on your projects, go the extra step to show your boss that you are committed to producing high quality work.

Five of the Biggest Mistakes Applicants Make

When submitting your resume and cover letter to a potential employer, the last thing you want to do is make a minor mistake that can make you appear to be careless or lazy. Check out our list below to see five of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make when applying for a position, and avoid them at all costs!

  1. Attaching the wrong document to your application OR forgetting to attach a document at all.
    • When attaching your resume or cover letter to a job application for an online submission, make sure you are attaching the correct document!
    • Tons of job seekers accidentally send an outdated resume or cover letter, or even a completely unrelated document.
    • After filling out an online application, some job seekers just completely forget to attach their resume. They will be so focused on writing an extensive cover letter in an email that they forget to attach their resume when they’re finished.
  2. Using slang or text message language in a resume or cover letter.
    • Using the “&” symbol instead of typing “and,” or adding a smiley face emoticon to your resume decreases your level of professionalism.
    • Make sure every document you submit with an online application has no spelling errors and is grammatically correct. You want to impress potential employers with your solid writing skills, not scare them off with juvenile text language.
  3. Forgetting to fully complete a resume template.
    • There is nothing wrong with using a generic template when you create your resume, but make sure that you have completely replaced the generic terms with your personal employment information.
    • Employers often receive resumes that have “Dates of Employment” written instead of the candidate’s actual dates of employment, or “Insert Company Name” instead of listing their former employer.
  4. Embellishing your job titles, dates of employment, or responsibilities.
    • Some job seekers like to embellish details on their resume in order to make themselves seem more qualified for the position they are applying for without considering the consequences those embellishments might have later on.
    • Most employers check references or verify past employment before formally making an offer to a candidate. This means that they will verify your job title, dates of employment and other details you might have fibbed about on your resume. When those embellishments are discovered, you could lose a potential job offer.
  5. Submitting a cover letter that you created for a different position.
    • Writing cover letters seems to be every job seeker’s least favorite part of the job hunt. This can result in them getting lazy and sending the same generic cover letter with every job application, or reusing already written letters for new applications.
    • Employers often receive cover letters that mention a different company, hiring manager, or job title in them, which are obvious signs that the applicant is using a cover letter they wrote to apply for a different job.
    • This mistake will lead employers to view you as a lazy professional who is unwilling to take the time to change a few basic details on their cover letter before submitting it.

These tiny mistakes can have huge repercussions on your job search. Show each potential employer that you are serious and dedicated to proving your worth as a candidate by making sure to avoid these common mistakes.