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.

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.

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.

When to Consider Temporary Work

While a full-time, permanent position is the ideal for most professionals in the workforce, temporary positions can be a great option for many people who find themselves looking for additional income and/or experience while pursuing that permanent job. Below, we have listed several situations where temporary work could be beneficial to your search for a permanent position. Although, our list is definitely not comprehensive; temporary work can be a great option for just about anyone.

  • Recent Graduates: Temping is a great option for recent graduates who do not have a permanent position lined up upon graduation.
    • Temp work can help give college graduates more real world, professional experience to add to their resume, especially if they did not complete any internships or work study programs while in school.
    • Also, temping can help fill in the employment gap on your resume between graduation and starting your first permanent position. Potential employers will be impressed to see that you have been working and gaining experience while pursuing more full-time work.
    • Temp work can help get your foot in the door with a company that you would not otherwise have access to. If the company you are temping for is pleased with your work, they could consider you for any full-time openings they have.
  • Professionals In Between Employment: Temping is also a great option for more experienced professionals who find themselves in between permanent positions.
    • As for recent graduates, temp work can help fill in employment gaps on your resume.  Even if the temp work you are doing isn’t exactly relevant to your career goals, at least you can show a potential employer that you have not been sitting idly while searching for a new position.
    • Temporary work is also a great source of income for those in between jobs. While you probably won’t make as much as you were in your last permanent position, a little money is better than no money.
    • Temp jobs can also help expose you to new industries or environments that you might not have had the opportunity to explore otherwise. You might find a new interest or change your career goals after having a great experience temping within a different industry.
  • Not Quite Yet Retirees: Temp work is an excellent option for professionals who have decided to end their full-time careers, but aren’t quite ready to stop working altogether.
    • A lot of experienced professionals who have decided to retire from their full-time jobs are still looking for part time work to bring in a little additional income or help fill their suddenly empty schedules.
    • Temp work is a great option for these not quite retired professionals, because they can do short term or daily assignments, without making a long-term commitment.
    • Professionals with a full career under their wing have years of experience to offer staffing agencies. They are typically viewed as more reliable, hardworking temps than professionals with very little work experience.

The aforementioned groups of professionals all make valuable candidates for temporary work and should consider picking up temp assignments if they are in the job market. Although just about anyone who finds themselves out of work should definitely consider temping. The only reason we would deter a candidate from considering temporary work is if they already have a steady, permanent job with a stable salary.

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 Glassdoor.com. 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.

 

 

http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/decode-job-opening-jargon/

 

Etiquette for New Hires

Landing a new job isn’t always easy, and often you need to rely on your networking contacts to help you find the right fit. If you recently started a new position, there may be friends or acquaintances that helped you out along the way, and it’s important to show them your gratitude. Here are some suggestions for doing just that:

  1. Send a handwritten thank you note: It may seem a bit old-fashioned, but a handwritten note shows you took the time to express your gratitude. In the end, this small act can reaffirm why a networking contact was so eager to assist you in the first place.
  2. Send a thank you email: Since an email is a bit less personal, it can be a good option for thanking contacts who you know more on an acquaintance level. It will still acknowledge their efforts while showing your appreciation.
  3. Send a small gift: This could be anything from personalized post-it notes, to a small gift basket, or even a box of chocolates. Sending a small token can be an even more personalized gesture than writing a note.
  4. Buy them a meal or drink: Taking someone out for a meal or a drink on you is a great opportunity to not only express your gratitude, but to also fill them in on how your new job is going.

Tips for Metro Riders

If you are one of those lucky Washingtonians who doesn’t have to battle through traffic on the Beltway every morning to commute to work, you most likely take the metro! Learn how to make your metro commute easier, safer, and all around more enjoyable by following the tips below:

  1. Buy a SmartTrip Card: Not only will these cards get you through the turnstiles a little more quickly; they also save you up to a dollar or more on every trip!
  2. Wear comfortable shoes: Commuting via metro typically means that you will have to do a bit of walking to get to and from the station, so wear comfortable shoes and bring your work shoes in a separate bag if necessary.
  3. Hold onto your bags at all times: Holding onto your bags will not only protect you from theft, but it’s also considerate for other passengers to keep your bags off the floor and seats.
  4. Keep your fare card handy: While you want to keep your fare or SmartTrip card somewhere safe, you also want to have it easily accessible so that you don’t have to hunt through your entire purse or wallet to find it when exiting the metro.
  5. Stand right, walk left: This rule of thumb applies to riding the escalators. If you are standing, stand to the right, this leaves the left side open for walking passengers to pass by you unobstructed.
  6. Report any suspicious behavior or unattended bags: Metro police request that passengers report any suspicious behavior or unattended bags they notice to a uniformed metro worker or police officer. This action will help keep you and other riders safe while on the metro.
  7. Plan your trips ahead of time: If you are a daily commuter, you probably know what time your train arrives every morning, but it’s always a good idea to check for any metro delays or alerts before you leave the house to avoid any interruptions to your routine.

Increase Your Chances of Being Hired in 5 Minutes or Less

As we have mentioned previously, searching for work can be a full-time job in itself. Although, there are also some easy changes you can make in less than five minutes that can greatly increase your chances of finding employment. We have shared a few examples below:

Update your email address: The email address listed on your resume should be professional, not personal. For example, john.doe@gmail.com is much more professional than johnnyd1422@gmail.com.

  1. Update your voicemail greeting: Again, you should aim to have a professional voicemail greeting attached to the number provided on your resume. Instead of, “Hey it’s me, leave me a message,” you should use, “You’ve reached the cell phone of John Doe, please leave me a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.”
  2. Read your resume out loud: Reading your resume out loud can allow you to hear minor wording errors or notice spelling mistakes that you might have missed while reading it on your computer. The eye is apt to scan over any mistakes and correct them automatically in your head as you read, but your ear can’t be fooled as easily.
  3. Get a haircut: Looking professional and polished in an interview can be the key to receiving a job offer. Always be prepared for an interview and maintain a professional appearance by getting your hair cut regularly.
  4. Set your alarm: If you are a recent college graduate or a young professional looking for their first full-time job, you are probably not used to a regular nine to five schedule. If you keep your sleep schedule regulated while you are unemployed you will have a much easier time transitioning into full-time work. Also, that age-old saying about the early bird catching the worm applies to job searching, too!

Writing a Professional Email

Whether you are a job seeker applying for positions and corresponding with hiring managers, or a working professional writing to coworkers, superiors and clients, being able to write a professional email is a critical skill. Learn how to avoid making simple mistakes and seeming unprofessional by following our tips below:

  1. Attach your documents FIRST.
    • Before you do anything else, attach any documents you need to include. For example: your resume, a report, etc.
    • If you’ve ever sent an email and realized a second too late that you’ve forgotten to include the attachment, this tip will definitely benefit you!
  2. Fill in your contact’s email address LAST:
    • This way, if you accidentally hit send before your email is finished it will not go to your intended recipient.
  3. Set up an automatic signature with your phone number and email address:
    • Then you’ll never have to worry about including your contact information in your emails.
  4. Proofread out loud:
    • Always read your emails aloud before sending them. Your ear will pick up on any spelling, wording, or grammar mistakes that you might have missed otherwise.
  5. Choose your subject line AFTER writing the body of your email:
    • Your email subject should reflect what is written in your email, so it’s easier to choose a more relevant subject line once you know exactly what your email will say.