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.


3 Things to Consider Besides Salary


The job market is hot. Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report. In the month of December 2018, 7.3 million jobs were created – the most since the BLS started tracking this figure in 2000. In fact, 3.5 million workers voluntarily left their jobs to find new opportunities.

If you are one of the millions of people taking advantage of this crazy job market, remember this one thing: a job offer is more than a salary. Sure, a pay bump is nice! But there are so many other things to consider before pulling the trigger and accepting another opportunity. Here are three things to contemplate besides salary before accepting that enticing job offer.


Awesome! You received a job offer with an impressive salary. Everything looks great on paper, but have you ever stopped and thought how far that money will go in the city that you work in? The salary may seem beefy on paper, but if the cost of living is really high in your hometown, it may not go as far as you think.

Before accepting a new position, think about the cost of living. If you’re up for a relocation, consider the cost savings of moving to another city or state. Sure, your salary might be lower in a new city, but if the cost of living is substantially lower, you’ll end up with more money in your pocket in the long-run.

Work-life balance

Work-life balance is becoming more and more important for many professionals. Many people are willing to sacrifice a larger salary for a better balance between work and life. The salary you are offered might sound fantastic, but if you are sacrificing time away from your family, friends, and yourself, you may want to rethink the opportunity.

Some people don’t mind working long hours or on the weekends. However, many people value their time away from work. Money isn’t always a fair tradeoff from your personal life.


I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “you can’t put a price on happiness.” And as cheesy as it sounds, you simply can’t put a price tag on how well your job fulfills you. Regardless of how much money you make, if you feel that you aren’t a great fit with your co-workers or your employer’s values, you probably won’t be excited to walk into work every day.

If you’re not passionate about your job or the company you work for, no amount of money will make you enjoy your job.

If you’re ready to make the leap, check out our jobs board. We have dozens of opportunities that may be a perfect fit for you!


Unemployment: How to Address A Lapse in Your Work History


Whether you’re currently unemployed and looking for a new opportunity or you have a gap in your work history on your resume, this can be a tough topic to navigate. If you have a lapse in your work history, you will likely be asked about it during your job interview. However, how you respond to this topic will make or break your chances of nailing the interview. Here’s how to discuss this issue if it comes up.

Come prepared with an answer

First of all, if you find yourself in this situation, prepare an answer ahead of time. The interviewers will likely notice if you have a lapse in your resume. Especially if it’s a significant gap. If it’s only a few weeks or a month, the question probably won’t even come up. However, if you were out of work for several months at a time, it will likely raise some red flags.

But don’t panic! If you find yourself in this boat, take a few minutes to prepare your answer beforehand so you can answer it briefly and move on to the next question.

Keep it positive

Regardless of why you were/are unemployed, keep your answer positive. If you were laid off or fired, don’t start badmouthing your previous employer. That never reflects well on you. Instead, try to keep it positive. If you talk poorly about a past employer, what will you say about the organization interviewing you for their open position?

And if it was a voluntary unemployment, the hiring manager will wonder why you left. Again, keep it positive. Did you take a break to focus on your health? Did you use your time off of work to hone a new skill or earn a certification? By focusing on the positive, you will reassure the interviewers that you’re a strong candidate and won’t bring any drama to the company.

Less is more

This is probably the most important point. The more information you offer, the bigger the hole you may be digging for yourself. Don’t sit there and blather on. Instead, keep your answer short and sweet. Answer the question concisely, positively, and spare any details that aren’t necessary. It can be easy to simply keep offering up unnecessary information to try and justify your absence from the workforce.

Nonetheless, if you come prepared and follow the advice outlined above, the interviewers will likely move on to the next question without putting you through the wringer.

team player

Team: How to be a Great Leader and Team Player

team player

When you’re in a leadership role, it’s important to lead by example. And there is a BIG difference between being a boss and being a leader who cares about their employees. In other words, being a team player is one of the most important things you need to be if you want to lead your team to great success.

Here are some tips that will remind you why (and how) being a team player will make you a great leader.

Build your team up

As a leader in any type of company, your priority is your team. Whether you have 1 or 100 team members, you’re there to build them up and help them be as successful as possible. And this can be a daunting task. It’s a lot of pressure knowing you’re the one person who will be responsible for the failure. However, when things are good, your department’s success is often pushed back to your team members when earned. It sometimes can be a thankless job but building up your team will help you realize that’s the true gift.

Lead by example

If you’re wanting to be a team player and a great leader you need to lead by example. As a person in leadership/management, you’re looked up to. What you do and the importance you put on being a good example will, in turn, help your employee’s do the same. If they see your passion and want for success because you are doing it they are likely to follow that example.

Positive reinforcement over negative

Many studies have shown how important it is to show positive reinforcement in the workplace. It reminds people that good deeds equate to acknowledgment and that mess-ups, all though will receive reprimand won’t define them and their career. Positive reinforcement over negative only brings more positivity into a work environment which is important. You never know how these little things can add up big time for your employees.

Hold your team accountable

As someone in a leadership role, to be a team player you not only have to hold yourself accountable, but you also need to hold your team accountable. Goals that are set at the beginning of the year are important. And if forgotten about or they are not being pushed, it can leave your team feeling unaccomplished and that they left opportunity on the table. By holding them accountable every single day, they are reminded about their commitments and the importance of them. When you set goals, they are there to push you but overall, they are there to be accomplished. But without accountability, we get lazy and you’re the forefront of keeping your team from doing that!

Give credit to your team

Always give credit where credit is due. As a team player, that is one thing they will always do. Even if they did a lot of the work themselves, they go over and beyond to give others the credit. And if you do this as a leader, you will not only have a team that will support and follow you, you’ll have a team that respects and trusts your decisions. And quite honestly, that is irreplaceable in the working environment.

Being a leader and team player go hand and hand. Supporting more than yourself in your career will get you so much farther and your employees will probably agree!


3 Ways to Relieve Stress at Work


Everyone faces challenges in their careers, but how you respond to these challenges can vary from person to person. Are you someone who finds themselves becoming overwhelmed or stressed out when a project isn’t living up to predictions? Are you constantly worried about something – maybe you feel like you can’t keep up in your job?

Regardless of what it is, it’s important to remember that stress is a regular part of life. However, how you deal with that stress is different from person to person, and some strategies yield better results than others.

Take Care of Yourself

Physical and mental health are interconnected, meaning if you don’t properly take care of your physical needs, your mental state can suffer. This means eating healthy foods, regularly exercising, and getting the required amount of sleep doesn’t just make you feel better, but also translates to better results in the workplace. If you are constantly sick or lack energy, you can start to feel this compounding on any stress you already had.

Ensuring you have a good work-life balance is key when it comes to reducing stress, so make sure you are investing an adequate amount of time in all aspects of your life, not just in your career.


No one is an expert on everything. It’s essential to play to your strengths. While it may feel like being involved with everything is advantageous for your career, the consequences can be detrimental. Some may say that the idea of decisions being made without their involvement leads to more stress. But studies have shown that struggling with a task in the workplace is a stress trigger and that delegating is an effective tactic against it.

Essentially, utilizing a team that focuses on everyone’s strengths will create better results, both fiscally and mentally.

Control What You Can Control

Is your workplace stress caused by procrastination? Are you stressed out because you have so much work you don’t know where to start? If this is your situation, the most effective way to destress is to simply get started. We wrote an article about combating procrastination that outlined some tips on motivating yourself to get started.

Regardless of what tactic you utilize, as you begin to accomplish tasks, you will find your stresses lessening. And you’ll ask yourself why you didn’t make a change sooner.

Impostor Syndrome

How Imposter Syndrome Can Affect Your Career

Impostor Syndrome

Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong somewhere? It could be a job you have or a group of friends you’ve been hanging out with. Nothing outwardly hostile makes you feel this way, just a nagging feeling that won’t quite go away. If this is you, don’t worry because it’s reported that over 70% of Americans will experience this phenomenon at least once in their lives.

Coined in 1978, Imposter Syndrome causes individuals to lose confidence in the legitimacy of their achievements and fear that they will be exposed as a fraud as a result. Imposter Syndrome can have negative consequences on our personal lives and our careers. But what can we do to combat this?

Do I Feel Like an Imposter?

Trying to nail down whether you suffer from Imposter Syndrome can be difficult at first. A healthy person has a balance of realistic confidence and doubts. Over time, we learn what we are good at, and what skills aren’t quite as sharp. But someone who suffers from Imposter Syndrome has an over-inflated sense of doubt and may constantly stress over not meeting expectations or avoid extra responsibilities as a result. They may assume their success is the result of an outside source, may deflect success to another source, or go overboard with goal setting and set unrealistic expectations.

What Does it do to My Career?

Imposter Syndrome can create major problems in our careers and in our long-term goal setting. Someone who constantly underestimates their worth or is frightened to take chances hampers their own ability to grow. This person may not ask for a raise or apply for the promotion that they deserve. Essentially, we can become paralyzed and just accept the state we currently reside in.

How do We Fight This?

The first thing a person who suffers from Imposter Syndrome is talk with a person or mentor they trust. An outside view can help you distinguish between what you perceive and reality. Some people report that documenting achievements or recognizing completed goals can reaffirm a person’s confidence in themselves. Reciting words of affirmation in front of a mirror have even been proven to help, as they help a person “manifest their greatness.”

social media

Social Media: How to Clean up Your Social Media for a Job Search

social media

Social media sites are a great way to stay connected with others. You can connect with friends, family, and co-workers. Some of which may not even be in the same country as you. But, with that being said, it’s also a dangerous place that can hurt your future job prospects. If you’re not careful about what’s posted on your social media, you may be hurting your job search. Here’s how to clean up your social media to avoid scaring hiring managers.

Why cleaning your social accounts are important

We have a lot of transitions in life. Whether it’s from high school to college or college to our first real job, these leaps are big and make a tremendous impact on our futures. But the maturity and differences in these milestones do impact your future, especially when social media is involved.

Everyone at times forgets that our private lives aren’t so private anymore. Anyone can look you up. And if you’re between the ages of 18-55, a hiring manager probably will find some sort of social media account that is yours… So, you want to ensure you keep your accounts clean of anything that would get you in trouble with a prospective employer.

As we have seen a lot in the headlines lately, past mistakes will come and bite you so trying to avoid making them is essential.

What should go and what can stay

Social media is there to keep you connected and engage with friends and family. However, if a post is controversial you probably shouldn’t engage with it. If you are having a difficult time with this, ask yourself this question: if an employer you really wanted to work with saw this, would they be okay with it? Or would they want to run to find someone else?

Even though our personal social accounts are supposed to be private, that’s not always the case. So being safe and proactive instead of reactive is smart.

Would you want to hire you?

Like I mentioned above, your presence on social media can make or break your chances, especially on LinkedIn. LinkedIn gives you the power to show your professional self and really make a case for who you are as an employee. If you aren’t being professional or lack the knowledge of making yourself shine on LinkedIn, you could miss the opportunity you’ve been searching for.

Which leads to the question: “Would you want to hire you?” If not, make the changes needed on your social media.

Social media is a great space to stay connected but remembering to go through it and clean it up before you head onto your next job search will never hurt. Happy hunting!


Why You’ll LOVE Working with a Recruiter


The job market is tight, there’s simply no denying that. The unemployment rate is currently 4.0 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released a report that there were 1.2 million fewer hires than job openings. It’s a candidate-driven market and candidates are the ones in control.

If you’re passively looking for a job, you’ll love working with a recruiter. Many people are under the impression that working with a recruiter is only beneficial for employers. However, there are tons of perks to working with a recruiter to find your next career opportunity. Here’s why you’ll be head over heels with working with one.

Hiring managers are busy

Even though the market is tight and hiring managers are in need of talented candidates, they are busy. Many organizations are struggling to fill open positions because they are too busy picking up the slack of their understaffed departments. With this tight of a job market, employees are leaving without so much as a moment’s notice.

Hiring managers are forced to continue doing their jobs and pick up some of the responsibilities of missing team members. If you are simply applying for jobs on a company’s job board, your resume will likely go unnoticed for some time.

Recruiters have all the connections

Have you ever applied for a job and thought “will anyone even review my resume?” Sadly, it does happen. By working with a recruiter, you’ll have a professional working by your side to ensure your resume gets on the top of a hiring manager’s desk. And who doesn’t love the sound of that!?

Recruiters here at JSG have great relationships with our clients. We don’t just send a resume to our hiring managers and wait for them to call you. We have strong communication with each of our clients and can help you get your foot in the door instead of waiting helplessly for a response.

Recruiters are Match Makers for your next career opportunity

Speaking of matches… Recruiters act as a (professional) matchmaker. Recruiters, especially the ones at Johnson Search Group, don’t just try to pair you with a job that isn’t a great fit for you or our client. We care about your career and want to match you with a company and a position that’s right for you.

We take your background, skills, and experiences to find you a perfect opportunity that will make both you and your new employer happy. It’s a match made in heaven.

If you’re interested in taking your career in a different direction, check out our jobs board.

Partner with a recruiter

And if you’re a hiring manager or in human resources, I am sure you are feeling the stress from the lack of candidates hitting your desk. In this market, employers have to shift their efforts to passive candidates to fill their critical roles. But attracting candidates that are already employed can be difficult.

What’s to LOVE about working with a recruiter?

By partnering with a JSG recruiter, “you get an industry specialist to comb the earth to find the talent you need for your open roles. You don’t have to be alone any longer, says Tracey Smith, our Healthcare Division Manager. “You have someone else doing all the legwork to make your new team members fall in love with your community and your organization.”

Dana Belstler, our Mining & Heavy Industrial Division Manager, says there’s a lot to love working with a trusted recruiting partner. “Having good communication, accessibility, and receiving great candidates compliments our process and helps fill positions quickly.”

Our recruiters at JSG are industry experts. We know our industries inside and out. When working with Johnson Search Group, you’re “working with a recruiter that completely understands the hurdles of recruiting in your industry,” says Tracy Isakson, our Banking Division Manager. “The roles we work on are hard enough to fill, you need someone who completely understands the nuances of the industry as well as how to attract the best talent to your job and to your community.”

If you need help finding candidates that you’ll fall in love with, let’s work together.

body language

Avoid These 4 Body Language Blunders to Nail the Interview

body language

Congratulations! You’ve landed a job interview at a company you’ve been prospecting for a while now. You’ve done a great deal of due-diligence on how to convey your skill-sets and why you’d be a great fit for their organization. You’re a great communicator and extremely confident in your ability to land this job. But, what would your body language say? What if I told you that what you said didn’t matter as much as what your body language had to say? In fact, 93% of the way we communicate has nothing to do with words.

Let’s take a look at the different ways our body language can make or break the interview.


Besides your resume, this is going to be the first impression the interviewer gets of you as a professional. Make sure to land the perfect handshake and set the tone for the interview. This can be done by being the first to reach out, make eye contact, have palm-to-palm contact and give a firm grip. But not too firm! Always shake hands at the end of the interview too!

Eye contact

Anyone who knows standard etiquette understands it’s polite to look people in the eyes when you’re spoken to or speaking to someone. However, you need to find a balance so you don’t seem like you’re staring or no making eye contact at all. This can come across as you being disinterested or inattentive. Eye contact is essential, especially when you’re meeting someone for the first time. If you’re interviewing with more than one person, you need to sort of “entertain” everyone with a little bit of eye contact. This can be achieved by slowly scanning the room as you answer the questions completely and concisely.


Sit up straight with shoulders back, facing straight ahead towards the interviewer(s). You will naturally exude confidence and it encourages direct eye contact. Slouching during an interview can be easy and not as noticeable as you think, especially if the chair has arms. Leaning from side to side can come across as a lack of confidence or that you’re nervous. It’s best to place both feet on the floor but if you must cross your legs, do so at the ankles. Crossing your legs with your ankle over the knee comes across as too casual.

According to Patti Wood, a body language expert, there’s actual science behind keeping your feet planted on the ground. “It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult to answer highly complex questions unless both of your feet are on the ground,” Wood says. “It has to do with being able to go back and forth easily between the limbic reptilian brain to the neocortex brain.” So to help you nail those tough interview questions, keep those feet on the ground and sit up straight!


There are a few different points to talk about in relation to your hands. In general, it’s okay to use hand gestures if they’re not belligerent or distracting. Use hand gestures as a natural way to get your point across. Make sure you watch what you’re doing with your hands. For women, be careful not to play with your hair. This can be a sign of immaturity or unprofessional. Try not to be fidgety by moving in your seat or biting your nails. As much as you can, keep your hands folded in your lap.

There are so many more subtle but important body language queues we can give off without even knowing it. Let this short list be a guide as best practices for a few of the major mistakes interviewees use. Good luck!

Quality Resume

Quality: How to Build A Quality Resume

Quality Resume

When you’re constructing your resume, it’s imperative to remember this is the first impression an employer will see. It’s the first opportunity they have to make their own conclusion of your skills and if you will be a good fit for their team. So, making sure you leave a good impression without spelling mistakes, lies, a hard-to-read resume, or skills that are not fully quantified is needed.

Here are some tips to help you build a custom, quality resume that’ll make hiring managers fight over you.

Marketing Tool

Sometimes it’s best to wipe the slate clean. With so many different resume templates online, you have the opportunity to find a format that you like and really get to the good stuff. The first thing you should think of though is that your resume is the marketing tool that will get you the job you want. It will get your foot in the door and could really help make you stand out from the crowd. With that being said, you need to know how to make it to really impress those hiring managers.

Use Keywords

When writing a resume, you want to ensure you customize each one to the job you’re applying for. This may seem repetitive and a waste of time but in the end, it helps you share your passion and qualifications within every resume. Which in turn will help you get your resume seen, and hopefully, get you called in for an interview!

Keywords are a great way to customize every resume to a specific job. And the best way to find these keywords is to look through the job description and pick out the skills they are really looking for. These words will be easy to find because they will pertain to the job and the skill sets the employer is looking for. So, making sure you use them throughout your resume will get it through any company’s ATS and help get your resume on the desk of the people who matter.


Always quantify your skills and experience! If you think about when someone tells you they have experience doing something, which statement is more impactful? Them saying they have a lot of experience or them saying they have 15 years of experience? That right there is the main reason why you want to quantify everything you can.

It helps you put more facts behind your skills and proves that you know what you’re doing. You can quantify cost savings on a project, or revenue generated for your department. Any numbers like these will help you get your point across about your knowledge as well as make it easy to illustrate that you have the right experience for the position.

Bullets & Sections

Splitting up your resume into sections is a great way to keep it organized and easy to read. And when you make each section concise by adding bullet points, it makes your resume stand out and helps you not bog it down with big chunks of text that take away from your skills and experience. Including these visually appealing aspects will tremendously add value to your resume.

Focus on Positive

Always focus on the positive. Your resume is your opportunity to share your accomplishments and successes. In an interview, they can ask you about the hard times. But on your resume, making everything about the positive things you’ve done is the right way to showcase yourself. We’ve all made mistakes and had struggles in our careers but thankfully our quality resume doesn’t have to be a tell-all story about them!

Easy to Read

If you look at your resume and question if it is easy to read, it probably isn’t. One of the most important things every resume needs to be is quickly readable. If it’s not, you may miss out on the job even though you have the perfect qualifications. So, remember that before you make it too fancy! Easy and simple to read will always be your best friend when it comes to crafting a quality resume.


And finally, the last thing you must do before submitting your resume is review it. The last thing you want in your resume is grammatical or spelling errors. It can really set the tone of how people think of you and the interest they believe you have in the job. Don’t let minor issues that can be fixed before you apply to a job call the shots on whether you get an interview or not!

Overall, there are a ton of things you can do to build a quality resume. It may seem like a lot to consider for just a piece of paper; however, these tips are a make-it-or-a-break-it chance for you to get the job you’re applying for. So, spending some time and effort when crafting your resume is definitely time well spent!

job search

3 Things That Can Help Your Job Search

job search

Whether you’re a passive or active candidate, it’s important to remain professional and communicative throughout the hiring process. If not, you may be weeding yourself out of consideration before you even have an interview. Here are three things you can do to boost your job search that has nothing to do with your qualifications.

Be Available, Schedule Time

If you’re on the job market while currently working, I know it can be difficult to make time to pursue opportunities and take calls from recruiters and outside sources. When presented a desirable opportunity, it is important to make time for the calls and interviews the recruiters or employers have arranged for you. Due to the high volume of applicants, companies will often move on from candidates based on a missed phone interview. It seems simple enough, but candidates miss interviews every day. In some instances, it’s easy to reschedule. But based on the hiring manager, one missed phone interview can be enough to eliminate you from consideration.

Be Transparent

We often call this “kicking the tires.” If you are presented with an opportunity, be upfront with what you’re looking for in the next position. Location and compensation are often the most critical deciding factors in accepting a new opportunity. If you’re outside of the salary range or not set on the relocation, pursuing the opportunity further generally results in wasting the time of everyone involved.

On the other hand, during the interviewing process, if you’re truly interested in the position, let the company know! If you really like the position, it’s essential to express your excitement throughout the entire process.


Communication is the most important step in landing a job. We get it, everyone is busy. But making enough time to keep recruiters and HR in the loop can make all the difference. If something comes up and you’re going to miss an interview, just let the recruiter know as soon as possible. Rescheduling an interview is typically a very fixable situation. But without the communication, or when candidates “go dark,” it’s usually the first sign of red flags or commitment issues. And that’s the last thing you want to portray when going through the interview process.