Three Ways to Avoid Wasting Your Time

When you’re unemployed, job searching can take up the majority of your free time, so it’s important you use that time wisely. Below we have included a few tips on how to make sure every second you spend on the job hunt is time well spent.

  1. Devote a time and place to job search:
    • Rather than casually browsing job sites all day while you eat, watch television or listen to the radio, set aside a certain amount of time each day to devote to your job search. If you allot a certain time period to job searching and nothing else, you will be more focused and productive.
    • You should also assign a particular area of your house or even the local coffee shop as your devoted job search destination. Job-hunting from your couch in front of the television could be a distracting waste of your time.
  2. Apply for jobs you are qualified for:
    • The most common way job seekers waste their time is by applying for jobs they are over or under qualified for. While it doesn’t hurt you to apply for a job you aren’t qualified for, it’s definitely a waste of time.
    • Most job seekers believe they have to submit their resume to as many opportunities as possible in order to increase their chances of landing an interview, but in the end, you are wasting your time applying for any job you aren’t qualified for.
    • The same thing goes for jobs you are overqualified for. With the job market still doing poorly, most job seekers are willing to take pay and responsibility cuts in order to land a position. While you might think that companies would want to hire someone with even more experience than they are looking for, the opposite is usually true. An employer does not want to bring on an employee that would be taking a huge pay cut for the position, because there is nothing to stop them from leaving as soon as they find a better (higher-paying) opportunity. This situation would leave them back where they started, looking for a qualified candidate to fill the opening. In a sense, hiring an overqualified employee could be a waste of their time, as well as yours.
  3. Research the companies and positions you are applying for:
    • Even if you apply for a position you are qualified for, you should still make sure the company is a place you would be comfortable working at. Spending a little extra time researching the company could end up saving you from wasting a lot more time further down the line.
    • For example, say you apply for a position with a company you haven’t researched and they bring you in for an interview. During that interview you realize that the company is not a place you would want to work for due to a disagreement in values, money, policy, etc. You will have wasted your time prepping for and going to the interview, and you will also have wasted the company and hiring manager’s time.

 

Follow these simple tips and you will be sure to increase your productivity while on the job search!

Advice for Recent College Grads

If you have recently graduated college and have not found permanent employment, you will find yourself associated with a large volume of your peers who are in the same boat. While the job market is still not what it used to be, there are plenty of things you can do to help yourself stand out amongst the crowd.

Network:

  • If you completed any internships during school, you should consider contacting your former supervisors. It’s possible the company you interned with has new openings that you would not find by yourself. If you enjoyed your internship and left on a positive note, your former supervisor would probably be willing to consider you for any new or current openings with the company. Applying for positions with companies you interned for will give you an edge up on any competition. The hiring manager will already know what you’re capable of and you clearly have appropriate experience.
  • Friends or relatives might also know of positions you might not be able to find on your own. For example, if you have a family friend who works in the industry you are trying to break into, they might have advice based on their own experiences.
  • Professors can also be valuable resources in your job search. Professors are typically very involved and experienced in the fields they teach in, and are usually well connected. Any of the professors you had for your core classes could have connections to major players in the industry you seek to work in. Even if it has been a while since you graduated, it wouldn’t hurt to get in touch with some of your former professors and ask for any guidance or assistance they can give you.

Consider temping:

  • Temping is a great option for recent college grads, because it helps them gain knowledge and experience prior to joining the workforce full time. Temping would also help you pay your bills and occupy some of your free time while you pursue a permanent position.
  • Working as a temp is also ideal for any recent college grads that don’t have much office experience on their resume. If you are looking to work in a corporate or office environment permanently, it helps to be able to go into a job interview with visible experience on your resume.
  • Temping is also a great option because it prevents you from having large gaps on your resume. If you graduate in May and are still searching for permanent work in October, you can go into an interview and show a hiring manger that you have been consistently working since graduation. Employers would much rather see that you’ve been actively involved in the workforce than spending all your time at home applying for jobs.

Applying for jobs day in and day out may not be enough to help you land your dream job, so make sure you think outside the box. With such tough competition out there in the job market today, don’t leave any resource untapped. Differentiate yourself and your resume from the rest of the recent graduates you will be competing against, and you will be sure to come out on top.

How to Tell if You are Qualified for a Position

There are a lot of job seekers out there who apply for every job posting they find interesting, whether or not they think they are truly qualified. Avoid wasting your time applying for jobs you aren’t qualified for, so that you can spend more time working on applications for positions you could realistically acquire. Learn how to tell whether or not you are qualified for a job by reading the following advice.

First, most job postings include a specific job title. If you are looking to apply for a position as an Executive Assistant, but you do not have that title listed anywhere on your resume, you most likely will not be considered as a qualified candidate. The first thing hiring managers look for on a resume is relevant experience in a similar role.

Next, most job postings include a required number of years of experience. If the job description is asking for candidates with seven to ten years of experience and you only have two years, then the position is probably not a great fit for you.

Job postings often list a required amount of education, as well. If they say a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is necessary, then it is not worth your time to apply if you do not have the required degree. The same goes for specific certifications or clearances.

Another qualification to keep an eye out would be required software skills or experience. If a job posting says that all applicants must have experience writing HTML code or working with QuickBooks software, then you should not apply unless you can demonstrate to a potential employer that you have worked with that software in the past.

Needless to say, these are not hard and fast rules – there are always exceptions for special circumstances. There are also definitely gray areas where postings do not specifically list the necessary qualifications. Simply use your best judgment to decipher whether or not you are truly qualified for each posting as you read it.

What Traits Are Hiring Managers Looking for?

When hiring managers search for the perfect candidate to fill a position, they look for a particular set of traits in their ideal candidate. These traits are what will set you apart from your competition and increase your chances of landing the job. Find out what they are in the list below:

  1. You met the minimum job criteria
  2. You have relevant experience
  3. You understand and support the mission of the organization
  4. You can site specific examples demonstrating your ability to do the job
  5. You demonstrate competent communication skills and are able to connect with your audience
  6. You interview well and confidently, and have strong responses to interview questions
  7. You build rapport in the interview including showing resourcefulness, intellect, and passion
  8. You ask questions to demonstrate interest in the organization (and to indicate that you did your homework on the company)
  9. You offer enthusiastic references
  10. You have potential for growth and development

At the end of the day, the real deciding factor boils down to one important quality: They like you. How you personally connect with the receptionist, hiring manager, and anyone else you meet during your interview is incredibly important. A less-qualified person might get the job over someone more qualified simply because they had better chemistry with the hiring manager. So it’s important to remember that being likeable is just one more trait hiring managers look for when interviewing candidates!

 

Source: http://www.youtern.com/thesavvyintern/index.php/2014/07/24/what-top-trait-beats-your-job-search-competition/

 

Last Minute Interview Checklist

You’re about to head out to an interview for your dream job and your mind is running a mile a minute. Before you step out the door, take a moment to go over this short checklist to make sure you are fully prepared.

 

  • Read over your resume again. Check for any small grammatical or spelling errors you might have missed the first time around.
  • Check yourself out in the mirror. Make sure your tie is straight, your shirt is tucked in, and there isn’t a hair out of place.
  • Make sure you have everything your interviewer asked you to bring. This could include the proper amount of resume copies, proper identification, a list of references, or a sample of your work.
  • Don’t bring anything you don’t need in the interview. Don’t bring food or drinks into your interview and avoid eating right before going in. You don’t want to spill anything on your suit or get something stuck in your teeth.
  • Look over the job description one last time. Also, it would be good to check out the company’s “About Us” section on their website. Make sure to completely familiarize yourself with the job and the company before your interview. You want to be fully informed so you can both ask thoughtful questions and answer questions thoughtfully.
  • Check the time again. While you don’t want to be late for your interview, you also don’t want to be too early. Showing up too early is just as rude as being late. Try not to arrive more than 10 minutes early for your interview, but leave some wiggle room in your schedule to allow for any traffic or public transportation issues that may arise. If you end up arriving to the building earlier than you would like, find somewhere cool to take a seat and look over your resume again before going in.
  • Right before you walk out the door, take one last look in the mirror and repeat a positive affirmation. Make eye contact with yourself and repeat a phrase like “I will get this job.” Affirmations are a great way to build confidence, and interviewers will be more inclined to hire a confident candidate than a nervous one.

 

Check off every item on this list, then take a deep breath and get going!

Creating the Perfect Cover Letter

Cover letters serve as an introduction to your resume. While a great cover letter can help you make a good first impression on an employer, a bad cover letter could result in an employer discarding your resume without reading further. Follow the tips below while writing your cover letters and you will be sure to impress every hiring manager you send them to.

  • Be creative:
    • Recruiters and hiring managers spend all day going over cover letters, so it’s incredibly important that yours stands out. Most job seekers follow the same basic cover letter format, so anything you do differently will make yours unique.
    • Try to grab your reader’s attention in the first few sentences of your cover letter. Avoid using the basic introduction stating how perfect you are for a particular position. If you can’t grab the reader’s attention immediately, they probably will not continue reading the cover letter.
  • Be brief:
    • Job seekers commonly mistake cover letters as opportunities to present their entire professional background. While you want to mention the highlights of your career and skills, you do not need to mention every position you have had in the past ten years.
    • It’s also important to use your cover letter as an opportunity to mention any skills or past responsibilities you have had that qualify you for the position you are applying for. If a hiring manager sees specific skills they are looking for mentioned in your cover letter, they will be more inclined to view your resume.
  • Be personal:
    • While you want to keep your cover letter professional, it is also important to give it a personal tone. Speak conversationally without being too informal, and avoid being overly formal.
    • Mention something about yourself that makes you stand out as a stellar candidate. Cover letters provide an opportunity to mention any past experience or skill you have that may not fit on a resume, but helps qualify you for a particular position.

 

Cover letters not only give employers insight into your background, they also serve as a representation of your writing and communication skills. After completing your cover letter, be sure to edit it for any grammatical or spelling mistakes. Also, we suggest you have someone else read through it to check for readability and any mistakes you may have missed. Simply follow this advice and your cover letter will be sure to impress any hiring manager!

Choosing Quality References

You had a successful interview and you have a job offer pending, but in order to complete the process your new employer wants to check your references. If you have questions about how to choose the right references to lock in that offer, look no further! We’ve answered some basic questions to help you provide the best references possible.

  1. Who makes a great reference?
    • An ideal reference would be a former supervisor – not a family member or coworker.
    • Even if you worked for a family member, employers do not consider them to be good references. A family member will most likely be biased and provide a good reference for you no matter what.
    • Coworkers also make bad references, because as far as the employer knows, any coworker could be your best friend. In that case, they will also be biased and inclined to provide a good reference for you.
    • A former supervisor is most likely to be honest in their answers when providing a reference, and they are most knowledgeable of your work ethic and quality of work. They also know how you follow instructions and take initiative better than anyone else.
    • If you can’t use a direct supervisor as a reference, the next best person would be a coworker who was in a superior position to you.
  2. What information do I need to provide for my reference contacts?
    • After choosing your references, it’s important to make sure you have their full contact information.
    • Make sure to provide your references’ first and last name, phone number, email address and business address. Also, include their professional title and the name of their company. If a reference you worked with in the past is no longer with the same company, it helps to include both their current and former titles and companies.
  3. Do I need to call my references before using them?
    • Be sure to get approval from your references before giving them to your potential new employer. That way, you are sure their contact information is correct and they know to expect a phone call from your new company.
    • Also, it’s good to reconnect with a former supervisor before they receive a call asking for a reference. If it’s been a while since you were last in touch, they will have a fresh, positive memory of you.
    • Some corporations do not allow their employees to give references and will only allow employment verifications through Human Resources. If you call a former boss ahead of time, you will know whether or not they are even allowed to provide a reference.

Employers strongly rely on references to verify a potential employee’s background and work ethic, so it’s important that you provide them with references that will impress them. Follow the advice we’ve provided and you’ll be

The Do’s & Don’ts of Requesting Time Off

DO:

  • Give your employer plenty of notice before taking time off.
  • Try to plan your vacations, trips, etc. around your supervisor’s and coworkers’ schedules to avoid taking time off at the same time as the rest of the office.
  • Put your time off request in writing – a verbal request could easily be forgotten.
  • Try to schedule any doctor’s appointments, etc. during your lunch break, so that you don’t need to miss work.
  • Save your sick days for when you are actually sick – you never know when/if you will need them.

DON’T:

  • Request a lot of time off after just starting a new position.
  • Request time off at the last minute – for example, you shouldn’t wait until Friday to ask for that Monday off.
  • Assume you are guaranteed time off around holidays – always be sure to ask your employer about the holiday schedule and request time off if needed.
  • Use all of your paid time off at once – try to avoid missing a large amount of work at one time by spreading out your time off throughout the year.

Selling Yourself

It is a well-known fact that people are usually quick to judge. Unfortunately, this does not exclude hiring managers and potential employers. It is important to make a great first impression, whether on the phone or in person. This includes what you say, what you wear, and how you present yourself overall. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider:

  • Look good: Personal appearance plays a key role in making a great first impression on a potential employer.
    • Always dress appropriately for interviews – this means business professional unless your interviewer has instructed you otherwise.
    • Keep it simple – don’t wear a ton of jewelry or anything else that could distract your interviewer from what you’re saying.
    • Avoid wearing perfume or cologne – your interviewer may be allergic.
    • Groom properly – perfection is in the details! Be sure to brush your teeth or pop a mint prior to an interview, and keep your fingernails neat, clean and trim.
  • Sound good: Having a summary of your background prepared is a great way to impress hiring managers both in an interview and on the phone.
    • Your interviewer will most likely have a copy of your resume in front of him or her, so they don’t need you to go over every position and responsibility in detail.
    • A great interview trick is the “60 Second Sell” (created by best-selling author Robin Ryan). Memorize a summary of your background and qualifications that you can present (in under 60 seconds) to a potential employer. Things to include would be your education, your skills, and any specific qualifications you have that make you a great fit for the position.
    • When hiring manager’s say “Tell me about yourself,” they don’t want you to ramble on for 15 minutes. With the” 60 Second Sell”, you will be able to highlight your best qualities and sell yourself in only a minute!
  • Feel good: Smile, even if you don’t feel like it!
    • Show potential employers that you are confident YOU would be the best choice for the position.
    • Even if you’re feeling nervous, it is important to walk into an interview with your head held high. Feigning confidence can even help you feel more confident, and you’ll forget you were ever nervous in the first place!
    • On the other hand, don’t be overconfident! No one wants to hire a big ego.

 

Remember: first impressions are lasting, especially in a slow job market! Employers can afford to be picky, so it is important you present them with the best version of you!

How to Tell Your Boss You’re Leaving

Whether you are working in a permanent or temporary position, quitting your job is a complicated procedure. The key to a successful career is networking with peers and coworkers, so you don’t want to burn bridges when leaving a position.

Guidelines to follow:

Give Proper Notice

    • When telling your supervisor that you are quitting, you want to give them as much notice as possible in order to give them time to fill your position.
    • Announcing to your boss that you are quitting and today is going to be your last day leaves them with the same amount of work, but less people around to help.
    • Your employer was kind enough to give you a chance and a job in the first place, so the least you can do is give them a couple weeks to find your replacement.
    • Two weeks notice is the acceptable amount of time recommended to most professionals. If you are in a temporary position however, one week should be fine.
  • Quit in Person
    • You wouldn’t break up with a person through an email, and it is just as rude to quit your job through one.
    • Arrange a time to sit face-to-face with your boss to tell them you will be ending your position.
    • Your boss will be much more appreciative if you give them the respect of quitting in person, where you can look them in the eye and explain your situation thoroughly.
  • Don’t Burn Bridges
    • As we mentioned previously, you do not want to lose the connections you made at your position when you quit.
    • Be as respectful and appreciative as possible when quitting, because without your current employer and the experience you gained from them, you might not have been qualified for a new job in the first place.
    • Even if you didn’t use your current employer as a reference for your new position, you might need to use them in the future.
    • Make sure you leave your job on good terms, so you can use them as a reference if you ever need to. Also, you want to make sure that the reference they provide will be a good one!