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.

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.

Tips for Phone Interviews

These days, many employers use the phone screen as an interviewing tool, especially in the early stages of the application process. It is a more convenient way to speak to candidates and a way to involve multiple company decision makers. Telephone screening has its pros and cons; the flexibility it provides for the applicant is great, but it does make it hard to read the usual visual indications that often help to see the mood of a face-to-face interview. Here are some tips to show your best self with only your voice as your guide.

  • Nix the pajamas. You will probably perform more professionally if you put yourself together before the call.
  • Respect your current employer. Try to arrange the interview for after work hours or at least during your lunch break.
  • No distractions. Find out in advance how long the call will be and make certain you will be in a private, quiet place for the whole interview.
  • Sharpen your pencils. Take best advantage of your interview by having your resume, cover letter and your best projects to refer to and take notes while you talk.
  • Take it slow. Keep in mind that your interviewer will be taking notes too.
  • Cell phone coverage. As convenient as they are, cell phones tend to break up. There’s nothing more frustrating than a phone conversation that fades in and out or drops. Try to use a landline for phone screens, but if you can’t, be sure you are in a quiet place with good coverage.

Business Cards for the Unemployed Job Seeker

While business cards are typically used by working professionals to stay connected in their industry, unemployed job seekers can also benefit from the use of a personal calling card. You might not have a title or company to list on your card, but you can still include vital information that you can pass along to potential employers or networking contacts. We’ve included a sample business card for an unemployed job seeker below:

John Doe

Administrative Assistant


(555) 555-5555                                                                      Washington, DC

Pertinent information to include would be your personal contact information, your address or city, and links to your professional social media pages. Including your most recent or desired title is optional. At the end of an interview, we recommend you hand these cards out to your interviewer(s), so they know where to contact you to follow up for another interview or to present you with a job offer. Also, these cards are great to have on hand when you meet a new networking contact that you want to stay in touch with. We also recommend providing your networking contacts with a few copies of your card, so they can hand them out at their own discretion to potential employers. Overall, personal business cards are a great idea for the unemployed job seeker, because they allow you to connect with the people who can help you land your dream position!




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.

What to Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer

Say you have been in the job market for a while. You’ve been spending all your free time applying for open positions, polishing your resume, and going on job interviews. Now, you have finally received that coveted job offer after several rounds of interviews with an organization. After all the hard work you have put into getting that offer, you’re ready to accept it and finally end your job hunt. While a lot of job seekers today are anxious to accept the first job offer they receive, it’s important to consider certain aspects of the position before making a commitment. You don’t want to end up wasting your time on a position that isn’t a great fit, nor do you want to waste any more of the company’s time. To help you make sure you are making the right decision when accepting a job offer, we’ve provided a few key factors to consider before saying yes.

  1. Make sure you fully understand the scope of the position: Now that you have presented yourself as a capable candidate in job interviews, make sure you are honestly capable of handling the day-to-day responsibilities of the position. Also, make sure those responsibilities are something you will enjoy doing day in and day out.
  2. Will the position provide an opportunity to grow? Make sure that the position and the organization provide opportunities to grow as a professional and help to build your career. Don’t accept a position that will turn into a dead end job with no upward mobility. Find out if the company is known for internal hiring to fill open positions or if they have a tendency to hire externally.
  3. Check out the work environment: While you are interviewing with a company, take advantage of the opportunity to peek inside the corporate culture. Make sure the social and professional environment of the office seems like some place you would be comfortable working in. Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask questions regarding company culture while you are interviewing.
  4. Test out the commute: When you go to the office for interviews, you might not be traveling there during rush hour. Test out the commute both in the morning and evening rush hour to make sure it is doable and bearable for you to make each day. If you have to deal with a long commute in traffic or deal with the hold-ups of public transportation, you need to consider those factors in your decision making process.
  5. Are the salary and benefits reasonable for your lifestyle? A lot of job seekers that have been in the job market for a long time say that any money is better than no money, and are willing to take a major pay cut just to get back in the office. It’s important to consider if the salary offered to you will actually be able to cover your cost of living. Also, make sure the benefits package is able to provide for you and any dependents in your life. This includes the amount of sick, holiday and vacation days you will be allotted in your new position.

Before making a commitment to a company by accepting their offer, make sure that commitment is something you will be willing to stand by for some time. If you accept a position that will only make you miserable, you probably won’t end up working there for long, and you’ll find yourself right back in the job market where you started.