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!

 

 

8 Ways to Fast-Track Your Job Search

If you feel like your job search has been dragging, we’ve provided eight easy ways to speed things up and improve your chances of landing that ever-elusive job offer!

 

  1. Focus on applying to particular job opportunities or companies
    • Rather than blindly sending your resume to every job posting you see, focus on applying to specific opportunities and/or companies.
  2. Only apply to relevant opportunities
    • Don’t waste time applying to jobs you don’t really want or aren’t fully qualified for. That is time you could spend perfecting your applications for more suitable opportunities.
  3. Conduct in-depth research on potential employers
    • Before going to an interview, make sure to thoroughly research the company’s history, mission statement, culture, and more to ensure you are fully informed.
  4. Present yourself well
    • This includes sending out a well-proofed resume, dressing professionally for job interviews, and maintaining a professional reputation online.
  5. Network, network, network
    • Building a strong professional network takes a lot of time and effort, but networking is a great resource for job seekers who are having trouble finding work on their own.
  6. Demonstrate genuine interest
    • You should demonstrate your interest in a potential position in every interaction you have with the hiring manager or recruiter.
  7. Don’t forget to follow up
    • Always follow up after a job interview or after sending a job application for a position you’re passionate about. This is another great way of showing your interest in the opportunity.
  8. Maintain a positive attitude
    • Keeping a positive attitude is critically important for a successful job search. Don’t lose hope of finding your dream job, no matter how bleak things may seem.

8 Ways to Fast-Track Your Job Search

If you feel like your job search has been dragging, we’ve provided eight easy ways to speed things up and improve your chances of landing that ever-elusive job offer!

  1. Focus on applying to particular job opportunities or companies
    • Rather than blindly sending your resume to every job posting you see, focus on applying to specific opportunities and/or companies.
  2. Only apply to relevant opportunities
    • Don’t waste time applying to jobs you don’t really want or aren’t fully qualified for. That is time you could spend perfecting your applications for more suitable opportunities.
  3. Conduct in-depth research on potential employers
    • Before going to an interview, make sure to thoroughly research the company’s history, mission statement, culture, and more to ensure you are fully informed.
  4. Present yourself well
    • This includes sending out a well-proofed resume, dressing professionally for job interviews, and maintaining a professional reputation online.
  5. Network, network, network
    • Building a strong professional network takes a lot of time and effort, but networking is a great resource for job seekers who are having trouble finding work on their own.
  6. Demonstrate genuine interest
    • You should demonstrate your interest in a potential position in every interaction you have with the hiring manager or recruiter.
  7. Don’t forget to follow up
    • Always follow up after a job interview or after sending a job application for a position you’re passionate about. This is another great way of showing your interest in the opportunity.
  8. Maintain a positive attitude
    • Keeping a positive attitude is critically important for a successful job search. Don’t lose hope of finding your dream job, no matter how bleak things may seem.

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.

Five Questions Job Seekers Should Ask Themselves

Before you start looking at job postings or even update your resume, you should ask yourself these five questions. If you can’t articulate a clear answer for each question, then you are not ready to start your job search in earnest.

  1. What do I want to do?
    • Before you look for new opportunities, you need to be sure exactly what kind of job you want. You can’t effectively look for your dream job if you aren’t sure what that dream job is.
    • You should have a clear job title or career level in mind when answering this question.
    • Bad answer: I want to work in marketing. Good answer: I want to be a junior marketing executive for a small advertising firm.
  2. What are my salary requirements?
    • Again, the answer to this question needs to be specific. You might ideally want $50,000/year, but $45,000 might be satisfactory for your lifestyle.
    • Analyze your salary history and research general salary estimates online to make sure your requirements are realistic.
    • Make sure that your salary requirements are not only in line with your lifestyle, but also with your experience level.
  3. Am I willing to relocate?
    • You need to be prepared to answer this question in an interview, so you should ask it to yourself before you ever get to that point.
    • If relocating is a practical option for you, then you will be able to broaden your job search outside of your local area.
    • If relocating is not an option, then you should avoid applying to companies or positions where relocation is common.
  4. What do I have to offer?
    • You should make a list of your work experience, education, formal training, personal qualities and professional skills so that you can tell a potential employer exactly what you have to offer.
    • Knowing your own experience and skills will also help you to sort through various job postings. If you have a list of your own qualities and experiences listed in front of you, you can easily decide which opportunities you are qualified for.
  5. Are you ready to start a new job?
    • Whether you have been on the job hunt for a while or you are looking to leave your current job, you need to confirm that you are ready to make the move.
    • Starting the job search process before you are fully committed to pursuing new opportunities can be dangerous and potentially lead to self-sabotage.
    • Starting a new position is a huge transition for most people, and finding a new job can take a lot of work. In order to have a successful job search, you must accept these realities and fully commit to your job search before you begin looking for new opportunities.

How to Succeed as a Temp

As we have previously mentioned, temporary work is a great way to get your foot in the door with an organization and potentially find a permanent job with them. For that reason, you should treat each and every temporary assignment as part of a long interview process. Everything you do and say (and even the things you don’t do or say) will make a positive or negative impression on your temporary supervisor. Going into a temp assignment with a great attitude and the desire to succeed will result in you making a great impression on the company you are temping for, and could possibly lead to a full-time job offer. Follow our tips below and you will be sure to succeed as a temporary employee:

  • Always act professionally
  • Take initiative whenever it seems appropriate
  • Express interest in the organization and what you are doing
  • Don’t use the computers or office machinery for personal use
  • Don’t text or make calls while on the clock
  • Avoid being late or missing work
  • Offer to take on additional responsibilities
  • Ask thoughtful and insightful questions
  • Make suggestions for improvement if appropriate
  • Build professional connections with your colleagues
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for additional clarification whenever necessary
  • Make sure your work is properly prioritized
  • Keep your workspace tidy and organized
  • Use a professional vocabulary and avoid any slang usage

 

How to Land a Job with Little (or No) Experience

College graduates and entry-level workers continually face this age old dilemma: you can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job. Don’t worry; we are here to tell you how you can spin your lack of professional experience in a positive way in order to help you land your first job.

First off, networking is currently a very popular way to get your foot in the door with a company in your desired field. While your resume might not have much to show in terms of experience, a networking contact who knows you well can vouch for you to a hiring manager. Rather than send your resume blindly to job postings, build your professional network and see if there is anyone you know who is hiring, or knows someone who is! A lot of times, a good personality fit is just as important as relevant experience, so you should try to make friends in the right places!

Next, it’s important to highlight the skills you’ve gained outside of a professional work environment. This includes skills you’ve picked up from group projects at schools, part-time jobs, etc. Think of situational examples you can share with a hiring manager in which you used valuable skills such as team work, problem solving, or organization.

Another great way to boost your resume before applying to permanent jobs is to try temping. Temp agencies frequently hire recent college grads with little experience, and temp jobs provide job seekers with the opportunity to work in a professional setting and gain much-needed experience. Temping is also a great option for recent grads that are not sure what field they want to jump into. You can temp around at different offices in different industries to figure out what you like best before committing to a permanent job.

Tips for Re-Entering the Workforce

If you have taken significant time away from work – whether by choice or by chance – re-entering the workforce can be a daunting challenge. Learn how to make your transition back into the working world a little easier by reading our advice below:

  1. Try Temping:
  • Temping is a great option for re-entry workers. Working temporary assignments is a great way to sharpen your skills and transition back into a work routine.
  • Temp agencies commonly work with re-entry workers, so they won’t be as wary of the gaps in your resume as a hiring manager looking to fill a permanent opportunity would be.
  1. Network:
  • Re-entry workers typically have a lot more networking opportunities than a recent graduate or young professional.
  • They have already spent several years working, so they have developed business contacts within their industry. These contacts are great networking tools and can be used to help them get their foot in the door with a great organization.
  1. Freshen Up Your Resume:
  • The rules of resume writing have probably changed since the last time you were looking for work, so make sure you update your resume accordingly.
  • If necessary, speak with a job counselor or career center for assistance. Make sure your resume best presents your developed skills and experiences, and also adheres to modern resume rules.
  1. Put Together a Portfolio:
  • Before you even have a job interview, you should create a portfolio showcasing some major projects or presentations you completed earlier in your career.
  • Providing a visual representation of what you have to offer a potential employer can help you show them the value you could bring to their company.
  1. Update Your Knowledge:
  • Re-entry workers should make sure that their technical skills and industry knowledge is up to date before applying for new positions.
  • If necessary, seek technical classes in order to update your computer or software skills. Also, research your desired industry to make sure you are up to date with current events and changes.
  1. Gather References:
  • If possible, try to get recommendations and references from your former supervisors and coworkers.
  • Submitting great references and letters of recommendation with your resume can help prove to potential employers that you are worth interviewing.

How to Dress Business Casual

The majority of offices in Washington adhere to a business casual dress code, but many professionals have trouble discerning exactly what that means. We have provided some basic standards below to help you learn how to dress business casual without breaking the company dress code:

What is appropriate?

  • Dress pants
  • Blouses
  • Skirts or dresses that reach the knee, paired with stockings in the winter
  • Polo shirts
  • Button down shirts
  • Closed toe shoes
  • Khakis or slacks
  • Sweaters

What is not appropriate?

  • Jeans
  • Sneakers
  • Hats of any kind
  • Open toe shoes or sandals/flip flops
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Cargo pants
  • Athletic wear
  • Sweatpants and sweatshirts
  • Tank tops or sleeveless shirts
  • Revealing clothing
  • Tights/leggings

Many offices do have exceptions to these rules. For example, your company might adhere to a business casual dress code, but allow their employees to wear jeans on Fridays or sandals in the summer. You should definitely confirm these exceptions with HR before dressing inappropriately without knowing. Don’t assume that you’re allowed to wear jeans since you see someone else wearing them. Before starting a new position, you should ask your HR department what the appropriate dress code is, and if you work for a staffing agency, you should ask a recruiter about their dress code policies to make sure you are aware of any exceptions and rules. As a temporary employee, you should treat every assignment as an interview, since it could potentially turn into a permanent job. Dress for success and you will be sure to not only impress your employer, but also boost your own self confidence in the workplace!