Candidate Resources

This is your one-stop-shop for resources to help you prevail through your job search. Whether you’re looking for interview advice, job search tips, or an outlook on the labor market, Johnson Search Group has you covered. We have tons of resources to help guide you to a successful job search. We work hard, we work together, and we work for you.

Take Vacation Time During the Pandemic

Why You Should Take Vacation Time During the Pandemic

Have you taken any vacation time or PTO during the pandemic? If your answer is no, then you are not alone. In a recent survey, nearly one-third of employees believe it is almost impossible to take time off because they have too much work. Another study found that workers utilize less than 25% of the vacation time that they have earned on average. And these shocking statistics are under normal circumstances. Of course, during the pandemic, it can be even more discouraging to take time off. There are millions of people unemployed, revenue is down for many companies, and you might feel awkward requesting time off if you are working from home. However, taking a few days off right now might be more beneficial for your productivity than ever before. Here are a couple of reasons why you should take vacation time during the pandemic.

You may be overworked

Many of you are probably working longer hours during the pandemic. If you are working from home, the days are possibly blurring together; it’s easy to respond to an email or answer a call “after hours” when your computer or phone is at arm’s length. According to the National Bureau of Economy Research, the average workday is 48.5 minutes longer than usual. The survey also found that the number of meetings increased by 13%, and people sent 1.4 more emails per day to their colleagues. If this extra workload has been going on since mid-March, you can start to feel the burnout.

These new work patterns are causing many people to become overworked during the pandemic. As a result, it’s essential to take time off when you can. If you’re on the verge of burnout, your work will start to suffer, and so will your mental health. It’s in yours, your company’s, and your customers’ best interest to take time off to rest and recharge.

It isn’t easy to take time off right now

It is really easy to convince yourself not to take vacation time during the pandemic. You might feel guilty asking to take a few days off. If your company is struggling and has looming layoffs (or already had some), it can be discouraging to take time off that you need. Plus, there isn’t much to do right now for a vacation. Many places are closed down or have restrictions, air travel might feel too dangerous, and you may just be tight on funds right now. These are are all concerns, but they should not stop you from taking time off to relax and rejuvenate yourself.

Have a conversation with your manager. Express how you feel and how some time off will make you a more productive employee in the long run. You might be surprised how that conversation will help your manager better understand what you’re going through and how it might positively impact your work-life balance. Even if you are just staying home, it’s essential to take vacation time during the pandemic to take a step back from work and return with a renewed sense of purpose and motivation!

How To Nail Your Online Interview

How To Nail Your Online Interview

There’s a good chance that you have an online interview in your future. Employers are utilizing these virtual assessments as they try to streamline their hiring process and practice safe social distancing. However, it’s not the same as an in-person interview, and you shouldn’t treat it as such. Follow this guide to ensure that you nail your next online interview!

Do Your Research

Just like a traditional interview, you need to do your research on the company and your interviewer. However, you have an added advantage when you’re doing an online interview. You can keep some of the most important notes, right next to you available to reference anytime. Just make sure you don’t read off of them, they’re only there as a reminder!

Style Your Setup

When interviewing online, you’re not in the interviewer’s space. This means you are responsible for your own professional setting. Find a spot that has zero background noise, and use wireless headphones if you can! The background of your video should be simple and clean without any distractions. You want the camera to be facing you straight on, with about a palms width distance between the top of your head and the screen. If necessary, grab a few items from around the house to create the perfect setup.

Practice, Practice, Practice

We’re not going to sugar coat it; there are a lot of things that can go wrong with an online interview. In addition to traditional interview pressure, you have to deal with connection issues, sound technologies, and numerous other obstacles. You cannot practice enough! Do a dry run with a friend or family member, asking them to check for things like sound quality, a lag in Wi-Fi, and even run through some typical interview questions.

Dress For Success

We’ve all heard the horror stories about people who only dress professionally from the waist up for video interviews. You never know what could happen, so it’s non-negotiable that you FULLY dress for success for your virtual meetings. Choose neutral colors and clean lines so as not to distract from you and your thoughtfully prepared answers.

Show Your Personality

With a virtual interview, you miss the opportunity to interact in person, losing some of that chemistry. However, there are ways to show your personality! Be sure to use engaging body language throughout the whole meeting. Sit up straight, smile, and nod. You can use hand gestures, but try to keep them at minimum as they can be distracting. Don’t let the pressure of being on camera intimidate you! Answer every question with enthusiasm while being true to your personality.

If you’re still craving more job search tips, explore our candidate resources!

career change

Is Now the Time for A Career Change?

There comes the point in everyone’s career where it is time to take a moment to re-evaluate; re-evaluate where you are now and where you would like to be. With everything going on in the world right now and with our current job market, that time of reflection might be now. If that sounds like your current situation, it can be unsettling. Most workers are hesitant to take that leap and move forward in another direction in their careers. Switching industries, moving to a new market, or doing something completely different, takes a lot of courage and grit. Here are a few things to think about if you feel that it’s time for a career change.

Why are you looking for a change?

You first need to ask yourself a few questions. Why do you want a new job? And what are you looking for in a new career or employer? There could be numerous reasons why you are ready to make a career move. You might be looking for an employer that offers more flexibility, such as working from home. Maybe you’re looking for a leadership role where you can make an overall more significant impact in an organization. Or you might be looking for a new challenge and ready to take on an entirely different role. Whatever your reasons are, write them down and try to find connections between them. You will likely find commonalities, which will help you determine what direction you want to head towards.

What’s the outlook of your new career path

If you have decided where you want to go with your career, congrats! That’s an exhilarating moment. But don’t forget to do your research. Is this new industry or sector volatile or stable? Does it have tremendous growth, or is it more stagnant? These are things you should be thinking of as you weigh the pros and cons of your decision. So, it may be the perfect time to make the leap into a new field! Some industries are experiencing extensive growth because of the pandemic. Here are the top ten jobs with the most demand in July.

Don’t be afraid to take the plunge

Many of us are too fearful of making a big career change; it’s challenging to convince ourselves to leave the comfort zone of our work expertise. If you are a seasoned vet in your field, it’s discouraging to make that leap. Robin Arzon, the head of Peloton’s fitness programming, was on Jessi Hempel’s Podcast Hello Monday. She briefly described her transition from being a corporate attorney for seven years to a career in fitness. One of her biggest points she discusses is people’s reluctance just to take the plunge and go for it. “Say yes before you think you are ready. I see so many folks hesitate to throw their hands up” and make that plunge, says Arzon. She explains that many of us wait until we become knowledgeable or trained; however, she expresses that we should not be afraid to jump in and learn as we go. In other words, there is never a perfect time to make a career move, but have faith in yourself and go with your gut!

surge in remote work

Are You Ready for A Surge in Remote Work?

Millions of workers across the country have been working from home for months. According to a recent poll from JSG, 55% of workers are still working remotely. Some are preparing to return to the office in the next couple of weeks, while others are working from home for the foreseeable future. For example, Google CEO Sundar Pichai just announced earlier this week that nearly all of their employees worldwide will now be working from home until June 2021. Other companies will likely follow through as they have experienced positive results from the transition to a remote workforce. Like it or not, working from home will be much more common going forward. Are you ready for a surge in remote work?

Remote work positions are skyrocketing

Job postings for remote positions have almost tripled over the last couple of months. According to LinkedIn, job postings for remote opportunities have increased 2.8x since March 2020. Some of these roles are listed as “temporarily remote,” while other postings are for permanent remote positions. And although remote hiring is skyrocketing in the U.S., we are not the only country seeing a push. In fact, we only rank #14 out of the top 18 countries experiencing a boost in remote job postings. Brazil (4.9x), Spain (3.8x), and the United Kingdom (3.8x) are leading the way in remote hiring. Canada clocked it at the 18th spot, with only a 1.5x increase. So even though there is a spike in the States, many other countries are supporting the notion of working from home in some capacity.

Job searches and applications for remote positions are climbing

Just as remote job postings are surging, job searches and applications for remote roles are climbing. Searches have increased by a towering 60%, and job applications have jumped 2.3x. Now that more workers have been exposed to working from home, the stigma has been marginalized. Job seekers are more susceptible to searching for a role that offers the safety and luxuries of WFH. Also, some parents are worried that their kids will be stuck attending school online, so they might have to find a new role that offers a flexible schedule and working environment.

What remote positions are available?

There is a broad mix of positions that are seeing a spike in remote job postings. The types of jobs that top the list are services, technology, and marketing. There are also some recruiting and creative roles breaking into the top job listings, too.

Here is a list from LinkedIn of the fastest-growing remote jobs by application volume:

fastest growing remote jobs

Source: LinkedIn

Customer service, IT, and, creative positions are topping out this list. Obviously, some of the positions are seeing a spike because of the pandemic, but do you see any commonality in these positions? They are all positions that can be down from home with the right technologies and set up. So, even after we get back to normal (whenever that will be), remote hiring will likely be here to stay.

Is your team ready for this surge in remote work? If you need some assistance for this transition, reach out to us today. Our team of recruiters at Johnson Search Group can help you make the shift in your hiring. We can help you source the best talent in the market before your competition. Reach out to us today, and let us help you simplify your hiring process!

The #1 Soft Skill That Will Get You Ahead During This Time

The #1 Soft Skill That Will Get You Ahead During This Time

You probably know by now that soft skills are crucial to gaining traction in your career. Traits like communication, honesty, and leadership will undoubtedly help boost your marketability and resume. However, there is one soft skill, in particular, that will get you ahead of your competition: GRIT.

Why Grit Is Important

Grit is so essential that psychologist Angela Duckworth has built a career on preaching it’s importance. Through her studies and experiences, she has found this soft skill to be a significant predictor for success. Angela shares in her TED Talk that, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. It is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

How To Put It To Use

Carol Dweck, a pioneering researcher in the field of motivation, developed the idea of a “growth mindset,” which is believing that the ability to learn is not fixed, though can change with your effort. In other words, challenges should push you to grow and persevere, rather than slow you down and lead to failure. If you feel burdened by obstacles in your way, implement a little grit to grind through it and come out the other side a better professional.

For example, let’s say you’re interested in coding and know that it would help you earn a pay bump. However, it seems daunting to learn, and you don’t have the experience, so you’d be starting from scratch. Guess what? Your current talent and skills don’t matter. You have to start somewhere, and long-term effort and commitment will get you surprisingly far! So just start. Take an online course or enroll in your local community college.

One Important Caveat

Now, it must be noted that the soft skill of grit isn’t always the only answer. Yes, committing to a goal and putting in the consistent effort will get you far. Nevertheless, you must choose your goal wisely. As James Clear explains in his book Atomic Habits, “The secret to maximizing your odds of success is to choose the right field of competition.” He goes on to describe Michael Phelps and his incredible physical predisposition for swimming. Phelps demonstrates a fantastic example of grit and how it can be used to succeed; however, he is also genetically primed for that sport. He could put the same effort into becoming a distance runner, and because of his genetic makeup, he likely wouldn’t develop into an Olympic-worthy competitor.

In reference to your career, you are predisposed to excel in certain areas. Don’t choose a skill or career that you are not passionate about. If you do, the development process will be slow, arduous, and you likely won’t excel into a master no matter how much grit you deploy. “Habits are easier to do and more satisfying to stick with when they align with your natural inclinations and abilities,” notes Clear.

During uncertain economic times, career transitions, and personal development phases, grit is a soft skill that will continue to persevere. Wondering what other soft skills you should add to your arsenal? Read more about the most in-demand soft skills this year.

How To Write A Perfect Post-Interview Thank-You

How To Write A Perfect Post-Interview Thank-You Note

Let’s say you just had a great interview. You nailed all of the questions, you clicked with the hiring manager, and best of all, the job is an excellent fit for your skillset. However, the unthinkable occurs, and you never hear back! What gives? Believe it or not, thousands of candidates are thrown in the “reject” pile for one simple reason: they didn’t send a thank-you note.

While this gesture may seem small and maybe even antiquated, it could be the one thing that sets you apart from dozens of other interviewees. In fact, 57% of job candidates don’t send thank-you notes. So it may be just the thing to help you stand out. And if it’s that important, you want to write one that will knock it out of the park, right? Just follow these guidelines, and you’ll be well on your way to a post-interview thank-you note that just may seal the deal.

Be Timely

It is essential that you send your thank-you note within 24 hours. Ideally, you would send it the same day as your interview and even better if you send one within 1 or 2 hours. You want your email to hit the hiring manager’s inbox when you are still fresh in their minds. That way, they can make a positive association between your interview, your graciousness, and the fact that you’re on top of the ball.

Keep It Short

Hiring Managers have a ton on their plates. As much as they appreciate a thank-you note, they do not want to read a novel! A few short sentences should do the trick. Any longer and you risk them skipping over it entirely. 

Customize It

Your thank-you note should be customized to the person you interviewed with. (Yes, that means if you had a group interview, you need to send separate emails!) So, try to reference specific points from your meeting. You can elaborate on an idea, refer to a personal commonality, or even just share a moment that really resonated with you.

BONUS: Here’s a template for a great post-interview thank-you note:

Hi {Hiring Manager’s Name},

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. It was great to learn more about {Company Name}, and the {Job Title} position. I was particularly intrigued by {new campaign, aspect of the job, or fact about the company mentioned during the interview}. The possibility of joining the {Company Name} team and assisting you in making an impact is very exciting.

I look forward to hearing from you regarding the next steps in the hiring process. Please let me know if I can provide any additional information.

Have a great weekend,

{Your Name}

Looking for more interviewing and job-search advice? Explore our candidate resources!

Are Cover Letters Dead?

Are Cover Letters Dead?

You probably clicked on this article hoping we would say that cover letters are no longer relevant to the modern job search. Unfortunately, that just isn’t true. And if you believe they are unimportant and don’t put any effort into crafting a thoughtful cover letter, you miss out on a huge opportunity. A cover letter is a platform to sell yourself. It’s a chance to explain your qualifications, share your passion for the job to which you are applying, and show a bit of your personality. So, even though cover letters aren’t dead, they don’t have to make you miserable! Here’s how to write a cover letter with as little pain as possible.

Create An Outline

Yes, you need to customize your cover letter to every single job. However, if you have a great outline to start with, customizing it is a breeze! Here’s a good start:

1. Introduction Paragraph

Use the introduction to do just that, introduce yourself! Launch into your elevator pitch with a strong hook. It’s the perfect opportunity to explain why you are applying for this particular job with this exact company.

2. Body Paragraphs

In one or two body paragraphs, describe your skills in experiences in detail and how they relate to this position. We recommend pulling a couple of requirements from the job description that are in your wheelhouse and expanding on your experience with them. Only discuss your most relevant positions and skills in your cover letter.

3. Closing Paragraph

Your closing paragraph is the perfect place to tie everything together and wrap it up neatly. Reiterate your passion for your career, qualifications, and why you want to work for this company. You can also use this spot to address any possible concerns. If you are relocating, want to explain a gap in employment, or re-emphasize any specific qualifications, do it towards the end. However, always be sure to end on a strong, positive note!

Make Connections

Take the job description and print it out. Then, highlight the requirements that you have and can explain in-depth throughout your cover letter. This will help to give you direction as you start to fill your outline with content.

Run A Grammar Check

Even if you’re writing in a program like Microsoft Word with a spell check built-in, you need to call in reinforcements. We love to use Grammarly to check the grammar and flow of a document. You can also recruit a friend or family member to read over your cover letter and look for any possible slip-ups!

There is no denying that cover letters are a lot of work. However, if that is what makes the difference between landing a job or not, how could you skip it?! Even if the job application says cover letters are optional, we recommend whipping one up to set yourself apart.

Now that you’re an expert on cover letters, let’s refresh that resume!

How To Improve Your Communication Skills

How To Improve Your Communication Skills

You often hear that one of the best soft skills you can have is “communication.” But what does this entail? What exactly does it mean to be a great communicator in the workplace? These three facets of communication will help you gain confidence and get ahead in your career.

Listening

While listening is often considered a separate soft skill in and of itself, it’s essential for being a great communicator. In order to communicate effectively, you must practice active listening. You need to show physical cues throughout conversations. Leaning in, nodding, and other positive body languages will build trust and establish rapport. Additionally, proper listening will allow you to respond appropriately and keep the conversation moving forward. To work on being a better listener in professional situations, practice in your personal life. Commit to listening actively as your spouse tells you about their day or when your kid tells a wild tale about recess. Not only will it help hone your skills in the workplace, but you’ll also simultaneously polish your relationships at home!

Authority

This is where confidence comes into play. If you don’t speak with authority, how can you expect others to take you seriously? Again, non-verbal cues are crucial to speaking with authority. Maintain eye contact, pay attention to your posture, and keep from fidgeting. Additionally, avoid verbal cues that will take away from your authority, such as filler words, vocal fry, and rambling. To practice, watch historically great speakers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, and Brené Brown.

Gregariousness

Gregarious is defined as “fond of the company of others; sociable.” Showing gregariousness during a conversation more or less translates to enthusiasm. People desire to feel like you want to be talking to them! To be gregarious in conversation (even if it’s not your natural inclination), focus on bringing positive energy, engaging back and forth, and making the other person feel valued. The best way to be more gregarious is just to rip the band-aid off and do it! Try reaching out to people you admire on LinkedIn and set up a Zoom call. You will naturally be excited, so it will be easy for your inner-socialite to shine.

Excellent communication is a learned skill that we all must practice and improve upon daily. By purposefully trying to strengthen these pillars of communication, you will be investing in yourself and your future.

Once you’ve mastered communication, which soft skill will you work on improving next?

Jobs with the Most Demand in July

The Jobs with the Most Demand in July

Despite surging COVID-19 cases across the country, hiring is picking back up for many employers. Last month, the Labor Department reported +4.8 million job gains and a steep decline in the unemployment rate. However, many people are asking where these job gains are coming from. According to a recent LinkedIn report, many of these job gains are deriving from essential workers. Openings for some of the most critical roles more than doubled from June to July. Here is a brief breakdown of the jobs with the most demand in July.

The need for essential workers is surging

So, what is an essential worker? An essential worker is those who must be physically present at their job to keep society running smoothly. Demand for these hardworking individuals has been steadily increasing over the last few weeks as more employers begin to slowly re-open.

According to LinkedIn, below are the jobs with the fastest growing demand based on month-over-month increases in job posts:

  1. Driver
  2. Software Architect
  3. Cook
  4. Nurse
  5. Customer Service Specialist
  6. Home Health Nurse
  7. Site Reliability Engineer 
  8. Stock Clerk
  9. General Manager
  10. Architect 

Globally, retail and travel/recreational industries saw the most significant boost in job posts. LinkedIn reports that these sectors experienced declines in previous months, so this is an excellent indication of the global recovery from the pandemic.

Jobs with the Most Demand in July

Moreover, the following list is the top ten jobs that are the most in-demand this month:

  1. Salesperson
  2. Registered Nurse
  3. Food Delivery Driver
  4. Store Associate
  5. Software Engineer
  6. Driver
  7. Project Manager
  8. Store Clerk
  9. Certified Nursing Assistant
  10. Licensed Practical Nurse

Some of these jobs were in high demand pre-pandemic; however, the need for some has skyrocketed because of COVID-19. Some of these roles are obvious. The healthcare sector has been one of the largest growing industries for several years now, and the Coronavirus has only boosted this rush. RNs, nursing assistants, and nurse practitioners have been on the rise for years and are one of our recruiting specialties.

Food delivery drivers and personal shoppers, for example, are seeing a massive spike as thousands of people try to limit their exposure. Instacart, probably the most popular personal shopping company, just rose another $100 million in fundraising to expand its services.

These are just a few of the roles that are seeing explosive demand this month. If you are searching for a new job and need a little help, look no further. We have dozens of jobs available with employers across the nation. Partner with a JSG recruiter today to start the next phase of your career.

Small Town America Welcomes Workers

Small-Town America Welcomes Workers

The United States is experiencing an extreme shift. Major cities that were once bustling hubs of business are becoming less and less attractive. Overcrowding, contagion, and cost of living are becoming major deterrents for places like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. Simultaneously, companies are shifting to remote work models – allowing their employees to get the job done wherever they are. We’re taking a more in-depth look at small-town America and what makes it so attractive to today’s workforce.

Incentives

Well, no doubt paying people to live in your city is a surefire way to attract them. Smaller towns throughout the U.S. are offering incentives for professionals to relocate there. For example, Savannah, Georgia, is offering a $2,000 per remote worker relocation benefit. “Whether or not the company is headquartered here, we want the high wage earners that can be remote to move here,” shared Jennifer Bonnett of the Savannah Economic Development Authority.  And other towns are following suit, including Tulsa and Topeka. Companies in small towns are also offering generous relocation packages for experienced candidates. (Including some Johnson Search Group partners!)

Cost Of Living

It is common sense that the cost of living is going to be lower in smaller cities. Lesser known, however, is that these areas also boast competitive salaries for professionals. And the combination of the two is hard to resist. Even their starting salaries are generous, attracting young professionals to launch their careers.

As you can see, there’s a common thread throughout these affordable cities. Eight of the fifteen are located in the Midwest. Texas also boasts an impressive three cities on the list.

Community Culture

The “small-town community feel” isn’t just a trope for romantic comedies. Most people consider small towns slower-paced and friendly. People report significantly higher job satisfaction in smaller communities. (Particularly in the Midwest!) The Wall Street Journal recently published, “Zillow and Redfin are both reporting spikes in single-family home searches in smaller cities.” Could “the American Dream” be having a resurgence? With the flexibility of working remotely, people can achieve their dream of living in a small community. The ability to purchase a home, have wide-open spaces, get to know your neighbors, and finally build that white picket fence are all within reach. 

Are you ready to pack up and move to small-town America? Whether you’re interested in relocating or just want to learn more, we’re here to help. Contact a JSG Recruiter today to start the conversation about what’s next for you!