Being Punctual

Punctuality is a critical quality for any professional to have. While this may seem obvious, a lot of professionals struggle with being on time in this busy modern world. Even unemployed job seekers need to be aware of time frames and deadlines when interviewing for and applying to jobs. For now, we will focus on the importance of being on time for a job interview and provide some rules to help make sure you are always punctual in the future.

Rule #1: Don’t be late.

  • If you realize ahead of time that you are running late for an interview, call your interviewer immediately and let them know your situation. Be sure to apologize for the inconvenience.
  • In a tough job market, hiring managers have their pick when it comes to capable candidates. Even showing up five minutes late for a job interview could disqualify you for a position.
  • If a hiring manager can’t trust you to show up on time for an interview, they have no reason to trust that you will be on time for work or meet project deadlines.

Rule #2: Being too early is the same as being late.

  • Do not show up more than fifteen minutes early for a job interview unless you were otherwise instructed.
  • Showing up too early for an interview can make you appear desperate to hiring managers. Think of a job interview as a first date, you wouldn’t want your date to think you were overeager or desperate either.
  • The same as if you were late for an interview, a hiring manager will attribute you showing up a half hour early to your bad time management skills.

Rule #3: Know where you’re going ahead of time.

  • If you have time and are unfamiliar with the area, visit the company’s office prior to your interview so that you know exactly where you’re going and how long it will take you to get there.
  • If you don’t have time to physically scope out your route, use the Internet to plan it in advance.
  • If you are driving to your interview, make sure you know where you are going to park. You don’t want to be late because it took twenty minutes to find a parking space.

Rule #4: Show up early, but don’t go in.

  • The best advice we can give you is to intentionally allow yourself extra time to get to your interview. This will give you some wiggle room in case you run into unforeseen trouble such as traffic or delays on public transportation.
  • Even if you don’t hit any delays and end up outside of the office twenty minutes early, don’t go in! Find somewhere nearby you can kill time prior to your interview such as a coffee shop or deli. Use the extra time to review your notes one last time.

How to Build a Relationship with a Staffing Agency

Staffing agencies and recruiters can be a great resource for job seekers. By building a strong relationship with an agency, you are essentially enlisting an entire company to help you find a job. Learn how you can build a beneficial relationship with a recruiter or staffing agency by reading our tips below:

  1. You can benefit by building a relationship with an agency before you need a job.
    • If you are thinking about quitting your job or you sense a big layoff looming at your current employer, you should reach out to an agency ahead of time so that they can help you be proactive in your job search.
    • Your proactive attitude and willingness to find a new position before leaving your current one will certainly impress an agency and show off your great work ethic.
  2. Be completely open and honest about your experience and your needs.
    • You should always be honest with an agency about your education and experience level, as well as your background. They cannot fully help you find the best suited position for you if you are not honest with them.
    • If a potential employer requires a background check, or an education or employment verification before making an offer, it’s important that you have provided accurate information to your agency.
  3. Be realistic when setting your career expectations.
    • While recruiters can help you find your dream job, they cannot promise to land you a position that you aren’t fully qualified for, so make sure your job expectations are realistic.
  4. Stay in touch!
    • Make sure to always respond to a missed call or email at your earliest convenience to ensure you don’t miss out on any great opportunities.
    • It’s also important to let your recruiter know how your job search is going. If you have job interviews scheduled or are going away for a few days, you should make sure to check in with your recruiter to let them know. This way they know not to schedule any other interviews for you during those times.

Writing the Perfect Cover Letter

The most important part of writing a cover letter is understanding the purpose of a cover letter, and that is to explain why you are the perfect candidate for the job you are applying to! In order to write an exceptional cover letter, you simply need to explain what qualities and experience you have to offer a potential employer. To do this, you will need to study the job description or posting carefully and ensure that you understand what the hiring manager is looking for. Make a list for yourself of the major qualities listed in the job posting. Then you will need to draw upon your own experiences and qualities to prove that you meet those qualifications. They want someone with a business degree? Be sure to mention your Bachelor’s in Business Management. They want a strong team player? Mention that time you helped your coworker finish a project in order to meet a big deadline. Once you have covered all of the bullet points on your list, you will want to include a few sentences explaining why you want the position and why you are interested in working for that particular organization. At this point, you should have an excellent cover letter on your hands! Be sure to proofread your work for spelling and grammar mistakes and make sure it is properly formatted, and then you are ready to submit it with your resume for consideration!

Interview Do’s

While every interview situation is different, we have created a list of the ultimate interview “do’s” that are guaranteed to increase your chances of successfully landing a job offer.

  • Do arrive on time: Plan to arrive fifteen minutes early for your interview. Potential employers will assume you have bad time management skills if you are late for a scheduled interview.
  • Do talk positively about your former employer: Talking positively about a former employer will show loyalty and respect, which are both traits employers look for in potential candidates.
  • Do bring several hardcopies of your resume with you: Even if you are not asked to bring a resume with you, you should always have a few copies on hand just in case you need them.
  • Do avoid over sharing personal information: While it’s important to share your work experience and skills in detail, you should avoid talking too much about your personal life and opinions.
  • Do ask for your interviewer’s business card before you leave: You won’t be able to follow-up appropriately after your interview without your interviewer’s business card.
  • Do make consistent eye contact with your interviewer: Displaying good body language and making eye contact will help to further engage your interviewer.
  • Do avoid wearing a lot of cologne or perfume: You don’t want to bother your interviewer’s allergies or distract them with an overabundant fragrance.
  • Do dress appropriately: Dressing inappropriately for an interview is the number one way to discount yourself from consideration.
  • Do act interested in the company and position: Although you know you’re interested in the job, you still have to prove it to your interviewer. Potential employers want to see just how dedicated you are to working for them.
  • Do thank your interviewer for their time and consideration: It’s always a good idea to follow-up after an interview with a nice thank you note.
  • Do avoid chewing gum: Chewing gum during an interview is not polite, and it can be very distracting for your interviewer. It can force them to focus on your chewing rather than what you are saying. Avoid bringing any food or drinks for the same reason.
  • Do turn off your cell phone first: You don’t want your phone ringing in the middle of an interview, so make sure you turn it off before walking in. Even silenced cell phones occasionally vibrate or make noise, so turn your cell all the way off to avoid any unwanted distractions.

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.