Candidate Resources

Here you will find a wealth of resources for candidates on the move.

We feature everything from submitting a resume to writing a post-interview thank you note. Let’s start the journey to the next step in your career.


Kick off your job search

Job Search: How to Kick off your Job Search

Kick off your job search

This is one of the best job markets we’ve seen in decades. And when it comes down to it, that means it’s one of the perfect times to find your dream job or move up in the workforce! So, if you’re ready to kick off your job search, we have some great tips. And they will hopefully help you find a new position that makes you more excited to go to work every morning!

Update Your Resume & Cover Letter

When it comes to applying for new jobs, it’s important to update your resume and cover letter. Obviously, this is to ensure all of your recent experiences are included. However, the main reason you want to update them is to ensure you are catering them to the jobs you’re applying for. Yes, this does mean more work, but it could help you get multiple job offers and allow you to pick the job and place you’ve been wanting!

Gather Great References

When you know you’re looking for a new job, updating your reference list is always a great idea. You don’t want to add them to your resume but it’s wise to have them in your back pocket to hand over to hiring managers when requested. This will help you stay ahead of the game.

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn will be your best friend during a job search. Not only can you apply to jobs straight from LinkedIn, but you can also say on your profile you’re actively looking for a new position AND do so in private. This way your current company can’t see you’re open to new opportunities. It helps allow recruiters with relevant jobs reach out to you with new jobs you may fall in love with. And LinkedIn allows you to get notifications when companies have an open position that matches what you’re looking for so you can apply.

This is a great tool that makes it a lot easier to find relevant jobs and that makes it easy to apply to them.

Start Applying to Jobs

And of course, you must start applying to the positions. Once you’ve customized your resume for the position, all you need to do next is apply. This can sometimes be the hardest part because the waiting game can be a struggle. But try and do some research. This way, if a recruiter is working on the job, you can reach them sooner and they can get you seen by the company quickly

Be Open to Recruiters

Recruiters are here to try and find the best candidates for their clients. And here at Johnson Search Group, we take great pride in knowing how important active and passive candidates, like you, are. We want to help you find the best position. And if we have the perfect job for you, we’d love to have the opportunity to help you.

So being open to recruiters reaching out to you can be a huge benefit for you. It allows you to not have to do all the hard work and you have someone in your corner rooting for you to nail the job and get the position you’ve been wanting to get. It’s a win, win for everyone!

Prepare for Interviews

After you have landed a few interviews, make sure you prepare for them! You should never think of yourself as a shoo-in for the position. So, making sure you do your due diligence on the company and having some solid questions prepared to ask them will really make you stand out. And hopefully, your interview performance and due diligence will help you get an offer!

Take that Job Offer

Congratulations! Now you get the opportunity to decide that this is the right choice for you and take a new position. This should be an exciting time, so make sure to enjoy it.

These tips should help you kick off your job search with flying colors. And hopefully following them will result in an offer that you won’t be able to refuse!

Google

Google: Why Google is Your Best Friend During Your Job Search

Google

We all know that feeling. The moment where you realize you just need something more in your career. So what does that mean? You’re onto searching for a new position! It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out when looking for a new job. Especially, when you’re trying to keep it secret from your current employer! But there are some secret tips that help you get through this new journey and one of them is using Google to its full potential.

Why should you use Google?

When you’re on the hunt for your next position, ensuring that you use all the available resources you have makes things easier. And that’s important. Google is one of the best resources for your search because it gives you the opportunity to check out multiple job boards and reach job openings you wouldn’t have seen without it.

Google allows you to define your search and helps you find exactly what you’re looking for. And let’s be honest, when you’re looking for a new job, you want it to be the right one. One where you enjoy the company and what you’re doing! So, having a resource that helps you narrow down the positions and companies you will enjoy helps you not be as stressed when it’s time to find “the one.”

What should you search for when job hunting?

Like you read above, it’s important to use keywords and define what you’re looking for specifically. This will help you find jobs that pertain exactly to your skills and experience, as well as weeding out those that don’t. The more detailed you are, the better the search results you will get and the better job fits you will find.

You can also use Google to find good recruiting firms, like Johnson Search Group, that specialize in your field of work. This way, they can do most of the work for you and will bring you the opportunities! Then you’re not the one doing all the searching and you’ll feel more confident that you’ll find a great new position.

Once you secure an interview, Google becomes irreplaceable

Google becomes irreplaceable once you land interviews. The amount of preparation and interview tips Google provides is spectacular. Once you’ve locked down an interview, you’ll be excited! But having information on how to best polish up your interview skills will be needed and keep you relaxed. Being prepared for an interview is something you will always hear us preach. And if you’re working with a recruiter, you know this first-hand because of how we help you prepare!

But remembering the tools, like Google, that you have at your disposal will only help you excel in your job search, find the right position for you, and hopefully help you land the job! Never forget how helpful Google can be for your next job search. You never know how much it could help you from receiving the job offer or staying on the job market longer than you’d like.

interview mistakes

5 Things That Will Spook Your Interviewers

interview mistakes

The last thing you want to do this Halloween is to scare the people who could be giving you your next big career move! So, if you’re a little rusty on the interviewing techniques and want to avoid the “spook factor,” try not to do these five scary interview mistakes.

Being Late

If there is one thing that will scare off a future employer, it’s tardiness. An interview is your first opportunity to give an impression about who you are and how you can help their company. The last thing you want to do is spook them into thinking you’re not the right person all because you show up late.

The best rule of thumb is if you’re 15 minutes early you’re on time, but if you’re on time, you’re late. This will keep you planning and help you to not be late.

Not Being Prepared

If you show up not prepared to answer questions, don’t have extra resumes, or just don’t seem prepared or look like you’re not interested… You’re going to spook all of those interviewing you. Being prepared to answer questions and everything else shows you’re interested! And trust me, if you want this job, you need to show you’re excited about it!

Being Distracting

When you fidget, can’t keep eye contact, and are just overall distracting, you’re going to lose the interest of those interviewing you. They will think you’re not someone who can be kept on track. Or that you will always be in your own little world, not paying attention to your job.

To keep yourself from being too nervous, make sure to practice answering questions. You can also read some of our helpful tips and tricks to help you prepare for an interview. These may seem like little things, but truthfully, they will help keep you calm and feel more prepared. This way you will be confident and prepared, not nervous and distracting.

Not Dressing Appropriately

There’s a time and place to dress as you please. But for an interview, dressing modestly and professional will always be your safest and best bet! Dressing for an interview can be stressful… I always think about “what if I’m too dressed up?”

But that’s honestly the last thing I should be worried about. Because I don’t think anyone will doc me, or you, points for being dressed “too” professional compared to underdressing. And I think we all know that!

Not asking questions

When you don’t have questions prepared, it makes you look like you’re not that interested in the position. If you really want this job, take this opportunity to see if this company is a good fit for you! Sometimes we forget that an interview isn’t just for the company; it’s for us as well. If we don’t think they are a good fit culturally, no matter how much we like the job, we won’t be happy there. And since you’re currently on the job search, I would assume you’re looking for a company AND job you enjoy, right?

So, don’t cut yourself short. Have questions that you’re really interested in knowing about. Like how the company works. What the culture is like. How will you be able to make a difference in the organization? Things like this will give you a better understanding and will impress those who are interviewing you.

Interviews can be scary, and terribly nerve racking! But if you’re not wanting to spook those interviewing you because you really want the job… Following these tips will help you!

job interview

Interview: How to Stand Out from the Competition

job interview

With an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent for the month of September, the job market is blazing hot. as a candidate, you have options (and lots of them)! And even if you are happily employed, it’s hard not to be curious about what’s out there in today’s job market.

If you find yourself applying for a job and securing a job interview, here’s what you need to do to nail it and lock down that you’ve been working to achieve.

Do your research

Hopefully, you did some research before you submitted your application, so you can tailor your resume to the position. However, if you didn’t, now is the time to sit down and spend a few minutes doing some due diligence.

Get on Google and do some quick searches on the company and the hiring manager. Be sure to check out their website and social media. Both are a great resource for looking up awards, recent press releases or product launches, and community involvement. All of these are great talking points during an interview and will demonstrate to the hiring manager that you did your homework.

Dress to impress

This cheesy motto is true. If you are not dressed appropriately for your interview, it will definitely leave the wrong impression. Now, I am not saying you need to wear a suit and a tie, but you must dress appropriately for the organization and position you’re are applying for.

For example, if it’s an office job, business casual is probably the way to go. If you are underdressed for the occasion, you will quickly find yourself at the bottom of the list of candidates.

Good body language

Body language is key. If you are sitting in your chair slouching with your arms resting on the table, you’ll have a hard time impressing the hiring manager. If your body language doesn’t illustrate your excitement, it will give the wrong impression. So, sit up straight, throw on your best smile, and make great eye contact. By being more engaging throughout your interview, it will do wonders.

Ask thought-provoking questions

This is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competition. If you come prepared with a couple of thought-provoking questions, it will leave a lasting impression on the interviewers. This is where your research can come into play. If you fail to ask a serious question, it may appear that you’re not all that interested in the position.

By asking good questions, it illustrates to the interviewers that you are taking this opportunity seriously and that you truly want the job. This is where you’ll get the hiring manager excited about you as a candidate and make them want to extend an offer to you.

Write a killer thank you

This is key. If you don’t write a fantastic thank you note, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Even if you had an outstanding interview, if you don’t write a thoughtful thank you note, you may ruin your chances of getting a callback.

I always recommend jotting down some notes during your interview, so you can:

  1. Remember everyone you are interviewing with. This is pertinent in a panel interview when there is an entire group of people you’re meeting with.
  2. Write down some interesting things you talked about throughout the interview.

It’s always good to try and send a thank you to everyone you met within your interview. It’s essential to customize your thank you message for each person. If you wrote down some notes during your interview, this should be easy. And remember, the sooner the better! But don’t wait until the next day to send it. Chances are, they have more interviewers lined up after you. You want to stay at the top of their list, and a thoughtful thank you note will definitely help!

It’s a crazy job market and competition is heating up. Follow these five steps and you will definitely make a lasting impression and land that dream job! Good luck!

resume

Resumes: It’s All in the Presentation

resume

Resume writing has evolved significantly over the years. There was a time when you could put just enough information on your resume to get some interest from HR or the hiring manager and get that phone interview or onsite to elaborate further, and hopefully, seal the deal.

Now, you need to have a much more detailed resume sharing all your experience and having the proper “buzz” words to catch their eye; or in most cases, the software doing the scanning for them. Here are some facts you need to know when updating your resume.

Your resume is your first interview

Seriously. Slapping that puppy together in a rush to get it out, is going to stop you dead in your tracks. You should understand what position you are applying for, what the position entails, how your experience fits in, and customize your resume accordingly. One size fits all = a BIG FAT lie!

Chopping it down to 10 years

To all my more experienced professionals out there: be careful how much you chop. Going back to my first point, you will need to customize your experience. Leaving off years of experience can put a kibosh on any chance at getting a callback. I understand that you are trying to stay fresh and competitive, but in doing so, you could be selling yourself short. I suggest customizing and making sure that if the experience they are looking for was 15 or 20 years ago – ensure your resume reflects that 20 years’ experience. If they don’t see what they are looking for on the paper; you won’t get a call or a chance to defend your experience that is not reflected on your resume.

Presentation, presentation, presentation!

Spend some time on your resumes. Bad formatting, misspellings, and poor grammar will get you every time. I’ve seen some creative and interesting resumes but remember that sometimes overdoing it in the opposite direction can be just as bad as not doing enough. Present a clean, well formatted, detailed, grammatically correct resume and you won’t go wrong. If your resume is scanned and you’ve got some crazy graphics and formatting, it could alter your resume, potentially dropping important information.

References

No! Don’t do it!! Never put your references on your resume. If an employer would like to check your references, they will ask for them. References get stale; they can develop grudges; references can change phone numbers. You may think all is good, but it just takes one call and a disgruntled reference to put an end to everything. Another reason not to add references? You are giving leads to employers and even recruiters to scour through. Your references may even be called to interview against you! It has happened.

One-page resumes

Really? That might be great for someone who has had one job and held it for 5 years, but this is the real world. Trying to squeeze 5 or even 15 years onto one page isn’t going to benefit you. I hear this all the time: “my career counselor or the resume service said it should really be one page – no more than 10 years’ experience.” Why would you do yourself a disservice by censoring your career experience and accomplishments? It just doesn’t make sense.

Job hunting typically isn’t fun; it can be stressful and tiresome. A resume that properly represents your experiences and accomplishments and that is complete, clean and neat looking will help alleviate some of that stress. Wonder why you aren’t getting any calls? Look at your resume. Then call your references and ask how their job hunting is going.

Important questions recruiters ask

Happiness: How to Find a Job That Makes You Happy

Find a Job that makes you happy

When it comes to finding happiness with a new job, you must ensure you’re following steps that set you up for success. To find a job that makes you happy, you have to know what you’re good at but also need to understand what you enjoy. And In today’s job market, it’s important to take advantage of the opportunity to really find your dream job.

Everyone knows the importance of enjoying your job, and with this current market, there’s no excuse to not be out there searching for the job that’ll make you happy.

Search for exciting jobs

When you’re on your job hunt, it’s important to be looking for positions you’re really interested in. When you’re working for a company or job that you hate, it’s hard to have patience when it comes to finding another position.

But, it’s important to take your time because you don’t want to end up in the same position you’re currently in. So, take that time. Read through job descriptions and find the job you’re really wanting.

Research companies beforehand

This is such an important thing to do not only for an interview but once you get an offer, it’s needed! You want to ensure the company is a fit for you, your personality, and how you work. If it’s not, you’ll end up just as unhappy as you were. Do your research, ask questions during the interview, and make sure you’re not just saying yes because it’s a new opportunity.

Stay Positive

This is necessary throughout your job search and once you’ve accepted a new one! And, if it’s your dream position, this will be easy! Staying positive not only helps you find a job that will make you happy., but it will also help you stay happy once you accept the position! Attitude is everything in your career and if you can keep positive, it will make finding a great job that much easier.

Take Initiative

Once you find the job that makes you happy, you must continue to work hard. It’s easy to find a job you enjoy but it’s hard to keep your excitement up about it once you’ve been there awhile. A great way to do this is by taking initiative. Whether that is coming up with new ideas, keeping calendars to help you stay on top of projects, or doing fun things with your co-workers. It’s important to take on new things to keep you happy and enjoying your new position.

A job is not just a job. It can fill your life with happiness or it can make you angry, stressed, and sad. The impact it has on your whole life is huge and the more we realize that the more control we have. And in today’s market, if you aren’t loving your job, it may be time to find a new one!

offer letter

How to Prevent Your Offer Letter from Getting Pulled

offer letter

You’ve worked effortlessly in order to take the next step in your career. You polished your resume, interviewed until your brain melted and face hurt from smiling, and finally received the offer letter you have been waiting for. Now you can let down your hair and just bide time until the start date that you agreed upon, right? Not so fast!

No matter how hard you work for a career opportunity, there are some things that could tank your plans. Of all of them, one often overlooked item that trickles to the top of the list is your activity on social media. Yes, there is a thing called free speech, but there is also a thing called culture fit in an organization. And if an employer gets the impression that you could be a train wreck, you may find that your ‘candid’ posts could result in an employer saying never mind.

A good example of this is Harvard University recently reported having pulled at least 10 offer letters for would-be students activity on social media. While this may not have been a job offer, it certainly has a big impact on future career plans and a great example at a national level.

Preventing your offer letter from getting pulled

Misrepresenting yourself on your resume or application

A 2017 study reported that 85 percent of all applicants lie on resumes. That is a staggering number, and since employers are aware of this, it means they will certainly check.

Keep your nose clean

It goes without saying that if you have pending criminal charges or a reportable conviction in your past, it will get discovered in the background check. If there is an issue, be forthcoming. It may be looked down upon by some; however, it’s better to not get called in for an interview than get your offer pulled out from under you. And besides, the market is so hot, some employers are willing to overlook minor criminal charges. And please don’t act surprised when it is discovered and act like you were unaware. It just adds foolish to the dishonest label.

Delaying your start date

If you agree on a start date, find a way to show up on that date. If you delay it, especially with our current hot job market, it could send the message that another employment option may have presented itself and you are waiting for that answer before you commit.

Know what your references are going to say

I cannot stress this enough! Many organizations check the references after the offer has been accepted, so they don’t waste staff resources on someone who is not going to accept an offer. Once they make an offer, if they get a negative review, they likely will pull the offer.

At JSG, we continually check references, and more often than it should happen, we call a reference and the person on the other end of the phone does not report glowing things about the candidate’s past performance. People – a reference is someone who should be able to say good things about you. Not someone who says you received a paycheck from them and they are sorry you did. If they aren’t a good reference, they should not be used as a reference. And always call your references and ask for permission beforehand. Don’t catch anyone off guard!

Most employers are still drug testing

Don’t celebrate with an element that is contrary to their substance abuse or nicotine policy. According to a 2018 survey, drug testing is now required by fifty-six percent of US employers. If you can’t pass a drug test, you will likely get your offer letter pulled. And companies do not have to adopt the same legal attitude among substances that your state of residence does.

Above all, use common sense when you’re seeking a new position. You’ve probably heard this rhetorical question: ‘Why is it called common sense when it’s not that common?’ So, let’s all agree to be professionals in the professional world and get your career path continuing on the road to future success.

overworked

Overworked or Understaffed: A Recipe for Disaster

overworked

Today, more than ever, you don’t need to work yourself to sickness. I would never advocate working yourself to massive amounts of stress and anxiety. Today with the lowest unemployment numbers in years, there is really no reason one should work for a company that doesn’t allow for a normal work-life balance.

I am writing about this for a couple of reasons. I talk to so many people every day that want to look for a new job, but they don’t have time to focus on changing jobs, as they are being worked 60+ hours per week. Let’s think that through for a minute. You are frustrated because you are worked so many hours every week, but you can’t carve out some time to make the change? This is creating stress in your life and anxiety in your work. In fact, it is estimated that more than 20 percent of U.S. employees work more than 60 hours per week. As a result, 74 percent of working adults consistently fail to get enough sleep. And what’s worse, 66 percent of employees believe that their work performance would improve if they had more time to rest.

Being overworked is hurting your health

This is the recipe for an unhealthy life. A very good friend of mine just had a stress/anxiety health scare. He had a pulmonary embolism due to stress from work. He has been working 65+ hours every week and not getting the proper rest that his body needs. Thank goodness it was found early enough that the doctors could help him without long-term effects.

How many people are we seeing going through similar experiences due to being overworked? They don’t have time to get away from the workplace for a proper lunch or breaks throughout the day. If this is you, you should probably be looking at a new position with a normal work-life balance. Many times, this is completely relieved by making a work change. A new job, new boss, a new direction of a company that you agree with and want to be a part of will help improve your health. If you find yourself in this situation, it may be time to make a move.

If you’re a hiring manager with a depleted team, you’re not alone. With the current state of our job market, many departments are understaffed. This is especially true in the finance and tech industries where professionals are working in excess of 60 hours per week. Many hiring managers are feeling the effects of being overworked. This is distracting from their normal day-to-day duties. As a result, work is being left undone and thousands upon thousands of dollars are being wasted in inefficiencies. If your team is in need of qualified workers to keep things afloat, reach out to me and let’s work together to get the talent your organization needs.

The Worst Career Advice You Can Take, banking, finance, candidate, career help, career advice, career, Johnson Search Group,

Ghosting an Interview May Haunt You in the Future

Ghosting an Interview

Congratulations! You’ve landed the interview with a prospective employer. You should be excited, right? Typically, after nabbing that interview, nerves can start to settle in, assumptions about the position or company can get in the way, and ultimately, you skip the interview. This is a BAD idea.

As a recruiter, I am lucky enough to have a pretty good relationship with most of the candidates that I work with. We’re able to have transparent conversations about red flags, hesitations, or cold feet. Ghosting a recruiter or a company for an interview can not only prevent you from getting hired but can also hurt your career in the future. Here are a few reasons why you should never ghost an employer for an interview.

You Never Know Who You Will Meet

You never know who might be interviewing you. What if down the road you apply to another company, but the person set to interview you for your dream job is that person that you ghosted months or even years before?

You’ll most likely not receive an offer for the job. And leaving the interview feeling defeated as well as wondering why no one warned you about ghosting before. Well, here’s your warning! Trust me, people will remember you.

No Second Chances

You will probably never be considered again for another opportunity with that employer. And yes, I have had this happen in the past with one of my candidates. I found a great candidate for an opportunity that I was working on. After I had submitted her to my client, I got a message back saying that they do not wish to move forward with her because a year prior, she didn’t show up for her interview.

She didn’t even email or call. Companies log notes in their applicant tracking systems with your name and /or resume. When applying for a job with that same company in the future, they will search for you in their system and will have documentation of how you bailed on them in the past.

It’s Wasting People’s Time

It’s rude and wastes people’s time. You’re leaving someone to wonder if something bad happened to you or if you’re just running late. They’re taking time out of their busy schedule to speak with you and you’re inconsiderate of their time.

When it comes to filling critical positions, they just want to fill it with a candidate that cares and is going to be a good fit. But once you start wasting people’s time, that’s when you leave yourself up for vulnerability because remember, the world is small. Especially, in certain career fields or industries.

These are just a few reasons why you should never ghost a prospective employer for an interview. Your reputation is on the line and being careless about communication can come back to bite you in the future.

interview question

Stumped On An Interview Question? Here’s How to Tackle It

interview question

You’re ready to advance your career and send out your resume. Great! You get a call from one of the companies wanting to talk to you. You are excited but whoa, you haven’t had a job interview in while. The panic starts to set in. You start thinking, “What do I do if they ask me a question I do not know how to answer?”

The thought of not being able to answer any interview question is scary. Sure, you don’t want to be embarrassed by sitting there stumped in the interview. Here are a couple of tips to help to prepare yourself for your next interview.

Don’t panic and stay calm

If you start freaking out, your heart will start to race and your blood pressure will rise.  Once you start a stress response, you may not be thinking clearly. Maintaining a calm and confident posture may help convince the recruiter that your inability to answer is an unusual occurrence for you. Take a deep breath and answer the question to the best of your ability.

Ask for clarification

It’s possible that you didn’t understand the question. Ask them to clarify the question in hopes of them providing more details to help you answer confidentially. By the time they clarified the question, you may have had enough time to develop a response.

Don’t make up the answer or say “I don’t know”

If you make up the answer, your interview may see right through it. Take your time and acknowledge the question that was asked. Say something as simple as “That’s a great question. Let me think about that.” Saying something like this will create a natural filler to avoid any empty airspace and awkward silence. Take a few moments to gather your thoughts and make sure you don’t blurt out something that may be incorrect.

If you do not know the answer, be honest

Sometimes questions are posed to catch you off guard, not to embarrass you. Interviewers want to see your thought process, even if you don’t know how to exactly answer the question. If you do have some knowledge of the question, redirect to an area or skill that is close and tell them what you do know. By restating the question out loud, the wheels may start turning and you’ll have a better chance at providing an answer that the interviewers are looking for.

Still Stumped?

Turn it into a positive spin and tell them “That’s a great question. I don’t have the answer for you right now, but I will be thinking about it after the interview and will do some research to learn more about this topic.” Also, tell them what other steps you would take to figure out the answer.  They may just want to see your thought process and if you have the initiative and resources to find the answer. This will also show them that you are eager to learn more, persistent, and you’re honest.

Send a follow-up email to the hiring manager after you’ve done your research by the end of the day and it may give you a second chance to impress the hiring manager. Talk about the answer that you were stumped on by starting with something like “After completing thinking about the question and doing a little research on the issue, this is how I would approach the solution.”

Do your due diligence on the company and the people you will be interviewing with. And remember, practice makes perfect! Good luck!