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.

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!

Adjusting to Life as a Young Professional

Going from having a few hours of class a day to working eight-hour days five days a week can be a huge adjustment for any young professional. Learn how to make your transition easier by reading our advice below.

  1. Balancing Act:
    • The first rule you need to learn is how to balance your work life and your personal life. Both are very important to you, but when they begin to overlap you can find yourself in some very stressful situations.
    • Don’t text your friends or check your social media pages while on the clock, wait until your lunch break to check your phone.
    • Avoid bringing your work home with you. If you are stressed about a mistake you made at work, leave your problems at the office. Going home in a bad mood is a surefire way to ruin the rest of your night.
    • Don’t make personal phone calls or run errands on the company’s dime. Try to schedule appointments over your lunch break or on the weekends.
  2. Keep it Moving:
    • Sitting at a desk for the majority of your waking hours can very quickly begin to take a toll on you. Avoid moving your sedentary self immediately from your office chair to the couch at home.
    • Join a gym, sign up for classes, or find a running buddy. Getting even a half hour’s worth of exercise every day will have great benefits on both your body and your mind.
  3. Put Away Your Paycheck:
    • As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, learning how to manage your finances can be a very difficult lesson for most young professionals to learn.
    • Save as much money as possible. The amount of money in your first paycheck may be more than you made collectively in high school, but with your new monetary gain you are probably also facing new expenses.
    • It’s important to have an emergency fund waiting for you in the bank in case you meet some unexpected expenses or find yourself suddenly unemployed.
  4. Enjoy the Weekends:
    • While you might just want to sleep in late on the weekends and enjoy your limited free time, make sure you keep yourself active and social.
    • Your weekends might be the only time you have to see your friends or family, so spend your time wisely.
    • You will be in much better spirits come Monday morning after a great weekend with friends than you will be after a long weekend with your couch.
  5. Don’t Get Lost in the Routine:
    • Joining the real world comes with a new level of monotony most young professionals probably have not faced before.
    • Living the same routine day in and day out can get tiresome and boring, so make sure you embrace any opportunity for newness or change.
    • Try a new restaurant, wake up a little earlier to exercise before work, or try joining a recreational team. Although you may be feeling old, remember you’re still young!



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.

Getting a Late Start

You wake up one morning in a panic; it’s 8:15 and you need to leave in the next ten minutes or risk being very late for work. We have all been there before, and we will probably be there again, so make sure you have a “get ready quick” plan in place for those dreaded mornings.

  1. Have a couple back-up outfits ready and waiting in your closet. Each season, pick out two outfits you can throw on in a flash. Try them on to make sure you are happy with the look and fit, and set them aside in your closet. This way, when your alarm fails to go off in the morning, you won’t have to spend any time in front of your closet making heavy decisions.
  1. Have a couple on-the-go breakfasts ready. Don’t skip breakfast when you’re in a rush, take it with you instead! Grab a banana or a granola bar on your way out the door to make sure you’re properly fueled and ready to face another day of work.
  1. Invest in some dry shampoo. If you don’t have enough time to wash your hair in the morning, dry shampoo is a great alternative for touching up your roots.
  1. Call your boss. If you are running late in the morning and unsure whether or not you’ll make it to work on time, let your boss know ahead of time. Explain your situation and let them know you will be there as soon as possible, and apologize for the inconvenience.
  1. Stay calm, cool and collected. Working yourself into a frenzy while rushing out the door is a bad start for an even worse day. Keep your calm and recognize that mistakes happen before stressing out too much. You are sure to have a better day all around and avoid making any further mistakes if you keep your composure.




5-Minute Resume Makeover

Keeping your resume updated doesn’t need to be a laborious, time-consuming process. Follow the simple tips we’ve provided below and your resume will surely get noticed by the next hiring manager or recruiter who sees it.

  1. Make sure your font is legible: Use an easy to read, generic font, and avoid using any colors on your resume.
  2. Increase the font size for your name: Having your name look larger than the rest of the text will make you appear confident to hiring managers.
  3. Get rid of any unnecessary lines or borders: Hiring mangers and recruiters can scan a resume in under a minute, so make sure their sight line is clear.
  4. Use quantitative values: Recruiters like to see numbers and values on a resume. Rather than say you managed a group it would be beneficial to mention exactly how many people you were in charge of. Also, if you helped increase sales, mention the exact percentage of sales increase you were responsible for creating.
  5. Remove any unnecessary personal information: The only personal information that needs to be on your resume is your contact information. You don’t need to make a list of your personal interests or qualities.

By following our tips above, you can easily streamline your resume and increase your chances of getting noticed by a hiring manager!

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.

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.

Maintaining Professional Social Media Pages

Social media can be a great resource for job seekers, but it can also be a large hindrance for those who don’t monitor their pages’ content. Make sure your social media pages present you as an employable, respectable professional before using them as a resource in your job hunt. Even if you don’t use Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to help you network and apply for jobs, some organizations go out of their way to check social media pages before presenting a candidate with a job offer. Read over our tips below to make sure your social media pages present you as a great candidate to any potential employer.

  1.  Use a professional, flattering photo as your profile picture or avatar. This means no pictures of you in your Halloween costume, making a funny face, or partying in college.
  2. Set your privacy settings accordingly. If there are any inappropriate or unprofessional pictures or posts on your social media page that you cannot delete, make sure they are not visible to anyone who visits your page.
  3. Delete anything you wouldn’t want a potential boss or coworker to see. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so even if you think your pictures are completely private, it might just be better to get rid of them.
  4. Link your social media pages to an email address you don’t list on your resume. Changing your name on Facebook or using a nickname on Twitter does not mean an employer can’t find your profile. If your profile is linked to the same email address you have on your resume, all an employer has to do is search for that email address to find your profile.

Keeping your social media pages looking professional and presentable will definitely help you in your job search. Don’t give potential employers any excuse to disregard you as an applicant by making sure your social media pages present you as a desirable, hirable professional.


How to Decode Job Posting Jargon

Job postings are typically vague and it can be hard to figure out exactly what a company is looking for. To help make your job search a little easier, we’ve provided a list of common terms used in job postings and decoded their meaning with some help from Check out the full article in the link below.

  1. Passionate
    • What it means: Ignore this word’s more romantic associations. When it’s used in a job posting, hiring managers typically mean “enthusiastic.”
    • How to demonstrate it: Research the company and position before applying. Mention any relevant information you find in your cover letter to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job.
  2. Dynamic
    • What it means: A dynamic candidate will have a lot of skills to bring to the table. They are also active, creative, and confident. Someone who can take initiative and doesn’t need to constantly prompted with more work.
    • How to demonstrate it: Prove your dynamism on your resume by showing examples of ways you’ve taken initiative in the workplace.
  3. Self-starter
    • What it means: Being a self-starter means you are able to take initiative. It can also mean that a hiring manager needs someone who can “hit the ground running” and won’t require a ton of training to get acclimated in their new role.
    • How to demonstrate it: Show that you have the capacity to learn quickly by highlighting that your skills and experience are a close match to what the employer is looking for.
  4. Flexible
    • What it means: A flexible candidate is able to take on tasks outside of their basic job description. They are also willing and able to work long hours when needed to meet a deadline.
    • How to demonstrate it: Mention specific examples of times you stayed late to finish a project or took on a job outside of your typical responsibilities.
  5. Team Player
    • What it means: This is a candidate who works well with others and can contribute as part of a team.
    • How to demonstrate it: Cite examples of times you worked with a group to finish a project. You can also mention sports or recreational leagues you are a part of, which can demonstrate your willingness to participate as a team member.