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.


phone interview

Phone Interview Tips You Can’t Ignore

phone interview

So, you finally decided to test the waters of today’s competitive job market. You’ve read the reports, there are more jobs than available people to fill them. You apply for a few jobs that piqued your interest and you finally get a phone interview scheduled. If it’s been a while since your last phone interview, here are a few tips to ensure you ace it and move onto the next round in the hiring process.

Remove all distractions

This may be obvious but remove all distractions from the room. Don’t just go in the other room. Try to go somewhere quiet where there will be no sudden barking from your furry friend or kids screaming in the background. Get your surroundings as quiet as possible. Turn of the tv, clear off any messes and eliminate anything else that could possibly distract you from your conversation.

And if you can, us a landline to ensure you have the best connection possible. If you don’t get great reception on your cell phone at home, go somewhere that does. The last thing you want is your call to drop in the middle of the interview.

Have a pen and paper handy

Make sure you have a pen and paper ready to take notes during your conversation. Jot down some thoughts during your call so you have talking points later in the hiring process. These notes may also come in handy when writing your thank you note after your phone call. And your next interview may not be for a couple of weeks, so don’t rely on your memory to remember everything you learned during your phone call.

Have a copy of your resume in front of you

It’s always a good idea to have a copy of your resume in front of you. Why? Because the hiring manager or HR professional will probably be asking you questions based on your resume. Even if you think you have it memorized, it’s best to have a copy of it at your disposal so you can refer it during your phone interview.

And if you’re in need of some tips for crafting a killer resume, here are a few to keep in mind.

Be humble

Always be polite, courteous, and humble throughout the phone interview. Employers aren’t just looking at your technical or hard skills; they’re looking for candidates that will be a good culture fit. If you’re rude or arrogant during your conversation, you’ll probably get passed on. Always be kind and be sure to thank whoever you are speaking to for the opportunity at the end of your conversation.

Follow up with a thank you note

Be sure to follow up your interview with a thank you note! Send a quick email to your interviewer shortly after your conversation. Thank them for their time and highlight something you enjoyed speaking with them about. Trust me, a thank you note will go a long way, even in this tight market.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Leaving Your Job

leaving your job

In today’s candidate-driven market, it’s really easy to think the grass is greener on the other side. But just because you have leverage and people are looking for good talent, it doesn’t mean your current position is not the one for you. Before making the big decision of leaving your job or not, you want to ensure you won’t regret your choice. So, here are three questions to ask yourself to help you evaluate what option you should choose.

Are you appreciated and rewarded for your work?

This is an important question to ask if you’re currently unhappy with your job. If your managers, bosses, and company are rewarding you for your hard work and make you feel appreciated for your time and efforts, what’s the real problem? Are they not compensating you well for these things? Do they make you jump through too many hoops to feel important? If this is the case, you may need to move on. But if they appreciate you and don’t want to lose you, then you may want to reconsider.

Not every company treats its employees well and finding a company that does can really make or break your career happiness. But, if this part of your career is not being met, there are plenty of other companies that will make you feel appreciated and valued.

Do you enjoy your working environment?

A working culture that you love being part of makes you want to wake up every morning and go to work! Even if you’re not too excited about what you have to do for the day, your work culture and co-workers can truly affect your thoughts on your job. So, if it’s not a good environment and you feel like you don’t belong, this may be the time for you to leave your job.

But if you’re able to enjoy your time at work because you have an amazing culture, you may not want to risk losing that. You can always control how you feel about what you do and if there’s an issue with your actual work, be proactive, because nothing will change if you don’t want it to.

If there are problems, have you confronted them head-on?

We all have issues at work. Whether it is someone we don’t get along with or the fact that we’re no longer doing the job we were hired to do, there will always be something. But, if you don’t confront the problem head-on, how do you expect for it to get better? If you’re having issues at work, before you jump ship, hang on. Remember why you wanted the job in the first place and weigh your options. It could all be a miscommunication. A miscommunication that is causing you to second guess, when the truth is, this could be a great position for you.

If you’ve confronted your issues and things have still not changed, this is your opportunity to leave and not feel bad or regret it. You’ve given yourself the chance to try and save a job you once enjoyed because you needed that clarity. Trying to fix issues may seem uncomfortable or useless but you’d be surprised. If you’re a valuable part of the team, they will most likely do everything in their power to keep you. And, if they don’t think so, they don’t deserve your talents anyway!

If after answering these questions you’re ready to move on, reach out to our amazing recruiters here at Johnson Search Group. They will help you find a position you won’t have to question.

soft skills

In Today’s Job Market, Soft Skills Are Just as Valuable as Hard Skills

soft skills

Before you apply to a new job, you’re most likely thinking about the hard skills you have that make you qualified. In other words, the exact experience you’ve had that pertains to this certain position. But do you also think about your soft skills that make you even more valuable?

A job isn’t just about the schooling, experience, and the things you know how to do. It encompasses a lot more than that. Having good personal skills are what makes you a great employee. So, instead of just focusing on your hard skills while looking for a job, here’s how to also quantify your soft skills as being just as valuable.

Stress your soft skills

When it comes to interviews it’s important to remember both your hard skills and soft ones. They make you the employee you are, and companies want to know about them. If you only focus on one or the other, you’ll lose a tremendous opportunity to show your full value and what you can offer to their team.

Stressing your soft skills in today’s job market will help you get the job. Great talent is hard to find. If you have a solid foundation of the hard skills they need, and great soft skills that they want, they’ll want to grab you in a hurry before someone else does. It all comes down to selling yourself and your skills. All of your skills.

You may not have the experience, but you have the foundation

You may have applied for a position where you don’t have all the experience or the background in every part of the job description they’re looking for. But that doesn’t mean you’re not qualified!

Your soft skills can get you over that hurdle, to where the team you’re interviewing with doesn’t focus on your lack of hard skills but realizes your valuable soft skills. Anyone can learn a new skill, especially if they have skills in that field already. Teaching someone soft skills is almost impossible, and if you leverage that, you never know what might happen in your career!

Today’s job Market allows your soft skills to stand out

Companies are struggling to find great candidates to fill their critical roles because there is a talent shortage. The best candidates are the ones with jobs nowadays. Which means companies are having to reach out to those who already have good jobs to see if they’re willing to transition.

So, when they find a candidate who may not have all the experience they’re wanting but has great soft skills, they will jump! No one is wanting to miss out on a great candidate who will help their company grow for something that can be taught. And if you are an employer that does miss out on great candidates, you could suffer by leaving your critical roles vacant.

In the end, use your soft skills to your advantage. Focus on them and try to improve them just like you do with your hard skills. You’ll be surprised to see the impact not only on your current position but your future roles as well.

And remember, if you’re looking to partner with great recruiters, reach out to Johnson Search Group today!

resume mistakes

Resume Mistakes Keeping You from an Interview

resume mistakes

Are you among the thousands of Americans actively searching for a new career, but find yourself on the receiving end of countless automated rejections? You spend hours searching for jobs you would love and are qualified for, but can’t seem to get as much as a conversation, let alone an interview, to make your case. If this is you, chances are your resume is to blame.

A recent study shows that hiring managers review resumes for just 7.4 seconds. This small window of time is all you have to capture a hiring manager’s attention. If your resume isn’t landing you interviews, chances are you’re making one or more of these resume mistakes.

It’s Unclear

Your resume should be short and relevant to the position you are applying for. Finding as many online job openings as possible and mass-sending your resume with hopes of finding a job is time-consuming and often disappointing. Things like unrelated work experiences, inability to connect experiences to the opportunity, or large gaps convey uncertainty. Managers want to hire someone with a clear direction and an indication of longevity.

If your resume doesn’t accomplish this, it will instead raise questions. Questions you will often be unable to address because your resume didn’t warrant an interview. As mentioned, with just 7.4 seconds to create interest and showcase value, you don’t want the hiring managers to waste time trying to understand you and your career path.

The Layout

If your resume is unprofessional or distracting, you face an uphill battle to move on to an interview. Cramming too much information into a resume is a common mistake, as candidates feel that more information is better. But loads of information is hard to process quickly, and managers will often skim resumes, looking for keywords or skills that indicate value. If the manager is unable to accomplish this because your resume resembles more of an essay than a list of skills and experiences, you distract from the value you provide. This will, unfortunately, make it difficult for a manager to recognize your full potential.

Make sure to only include relevant experiences and skills, with spacing between lines and lots of white space. This allows whoever is reading your resume to pull out key pieces of information immediately. Don’t be afraid of the one-page resume myth. Don’t try to cram everything onto one page. If you have years of relevant experience, skills, and certifications, don’t be afraid to expand your resume on two or even three.

The Distribution

The internet and sites like LinkedIn have made applying for jobs easy. Simply find a job posting online you are interested in and submit a cover letter and resume, right? While online resources have made the application process easier, they’ve done so for everyone. That resume you sent in is now one of the hundreds of virtual documents that may as well be in a virtual pile, with no guarantee of actual human eyes gracing your qualifications.

To fight this, focus on real human connection. This can still be done online by focusing on reaching out to hiring managers directly on LinkedIn. If you focus on building genuine connections with those around you, you drastically increase your chance of receiving new opportunities; opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have heard of. By building these connections, you’ll stand a better chance of getting your resume in front of the right people.

dictate your future

Don’t Allow Someone to Dictate Your Future

dictate your future

Today we are talking with more and more people that are somehow stuck in a company or career that someone else has dictated. Now is the time to change that.  The economy and the labor market are so strong that you don’t need to be stuck somewhere you don’t enjoy. Now is the time to look at making the change for the next 5-10 years.

Are you stuck with a company you really don’t want to be at because of your boss? Your boss might be fantastic and really has your back, but if he/she can’t get anything changed to make the company a better place to work, it might be time for a change in scenery.

We work with many banks and credit unions throughout the US and we are seeing some interesting trends on this. I was just working with a candidate that was employed at a bank because his culture essentially forced him to work there because he had a relative at the institution who’s a senior banker. It would be frowned upon if he didn’t join the bank to work with his family, even though they didn’t want to work there. Why limit yourself to one institution or employer when there are hundreds of great employers out there?

Cultural expectations

Maybe you are like many people that I speak to within the Banking Industry that feel they are stuck in their current job due to “cultural” expectations. Many cultures have certain expectations of when and how you can move jobs. We are in the US, the land of opportunity! When you decide that you are ready to leave, don’t look for a job with the same cultural experience as you’re in now. If you do, you will just be “stuck” in the same position you were in before.

Don’t be afraid to try something new

Try something completely different that offers you the opportunity you are looking for. If your company has the culture of winning at any cost and you’re uncomfortable with that, don’t go down the street to a similar company that has the same mentality. Or if you are of foreign descent and don’t want to work in a company that is run by you’re same demographic, stop looking at those opportunities, even though you may feel you’re expected to work there within that culture.

Family is a big influence

Maybe your spouse/significant other doesn’t want you to leave your current company. This one is very difficult, but the best advice we can give you is being honest with them; have your thoughts written out as to why you want to make a move.

Maybe your parent/family member helped you get the job you thought you wanted. You have been there for 3-4 years now and are just miserable working there. Have the conversation with your family and find the company you want to work for. They will likely understand and respect your decision.

Remember, we live in an amazing country. A country that you can build your own career path with whoever you want to work for. We are in the strongest candidate-driven market that we may ever have in the history of modern times; now is the time for you to make the path you desire. And if you’re tired of someone dictating your future, reach out to us! We’ll help you find a new career path that you’re passionate about.

labor market

2019 First Quarter Labor Market Roundup

labor market

In 2018, the labor market was intense, for both candidates and employers. Last year, the unemployment rate nearly fell to a 50-year low, more than 2 million jobs were added, and wages continued to grow month over month.

However, before we entered 2019, there was a lot of mixed projections for the labor market this year. Many people were feeling discouraged about what is yet to come. And some economists were even predicting a downturn or a possible recession.

But over the last three months, the labor market has continued to look strong! In the latest JOLTS Report, it was reported that there were 7.6 million job openings across the country, but there are only 6.2 million people unemployed. And in March, the average hourly wages rose $0.11 to $27.66. The unemployment rate is also back below 3.8%, another strong indication that the labor market is fierce.

We had the opportunity to sit down with the three divisional managers of Johnson Search Group and hear how the first quarter of 2019 was for the Healthcare, Mining, and Banking industries.

First Quarter Labor Market Roundup

Speed up your hiring process

Regardless of what industry you’re in, the biggest trend our teams are seeing is the need for employers to move quickly. Many employers are missing out on fantastic candidates because their hiring process is too slow. If you have an inefficient process, you may be getting edged out by your competition.

In fact, all three of our Division Managers have worked with clients this year who lost out on a candidate to their competitor because they didn’t move fast enough. In this candidate-driven market, employers don’t have the luxury to drag their feet with making hiring decisions. You need to streamline your processes because if you take too long to pull the trigger, your candidates will move onto the next offer.

Throughout the first quarter of 2019, the market was busy and it’s looking like it will be even more competitive than last year. If you need help identifying inadequacies in your hiring process, let’s work together to see how we can improve that.

It won’t be a candidate-driven market forever

The labor market is sure hot right now. But it’s not going to be that way forever. We understand that as a candidate, you may be entertaining multiple offers. You have many options at the tip of your fingers. We don’t see the market dying down anytime soon. But when it does, we caution you to remember that it’s a small world.

If you ghost an interview or completely fail to show up on your scheduled start day after going through the entire hiring process, it will catch up with you one day. Hiring managers and recruiters will remember you if you leave them hanging. And there may be a time in the future where you need to rely on them to help you find your next position.

If you need help finding your next career move, check out our job board. We have dozens of fantastic opportunities that may be perfect for you and your career.

interview

You Got That Interview You Wanted – Now What?

interview

You’ve been applying, and in today’s market, there is no shortage of jobs that could grab your attention. In fact, the latest JOLTS Report announced that 7.6 million job openings were created in January 2019. The company or the recruiter that brought you there has set up an interview with you. What should you do to prepare for the big day?

Here’s how to prep for your interview

I like to look at things in a goals/desired outcome scenario.

What is the goal of applying for a job? To receive an offer, right? To do this, it’s often best to break things down into steps. In most cases, the first interview will be one step and very rarely will you receive an offer after the first interview.

With that said, look at the goal of the first interview as having the purpose of getting to the next one. Do your research on the company, the people you’re meeting with, and be prepared to speak intelligently to the things you know that could make you a fit for the company in the interview.

Make the most of your time

A first interview is often only thirty minutes or an hour at most. Maximize that time by learning what your prospective employer is struggling with, or why they’re looking to fill the role and highlight what you have done in your career that relates to that. With introductions and pleasantries, a portion of your time will be used up.

Make the most of what you have by asking solid questions about what they’re looking for to see if you truly relate. It will make you a stronger candidate in the long-run. Or, may even help you realize that this isn’t the role for you after all.

Good luck! And if you need some help with that first interview, check out some of our guides to a successful interview.

goals

There’s Still Time to Get Your Goals Back on Track

goals

As we close the door on winter and look towards spring, where do you stand with what you wanted to accomplish in 2019? Whether this was a New Year’s Resolution or a sales projection, are you on track to accomplish what you set to do at the beginning of the year? How do you monitor this progress, and if you’re behind, how do you get back on track?

Benchmarking

The most important way to track our goals is through benchmarking. Benchmarks are smaller goals on your path to your overall goal and are your best indicators of progress. They must be quantifiable and divided over multiple increments of time. For example, if you wanted to lose 60 pounds over the course of the year, you could set benchmarks of losing 5 pounds at the end of each month. Same goes for business. If you projected half a million dollars in sales for the year, one might benchmark sales of roughly $42,000 per month.

While it can seem repetitive to create smaller sets of goals for the larger task you wish to conquer, their ultimate purpose is to make goals easier to tackle. Sometimes the overall goal has numerous parts or is so big it’s difficult to assess any progress. By breaking them down into smaller, more manageable pieces, we can do a better job at assessing what to change.

Getting Back on Track

If you find yourself slipping on your path to accomplishing a goal, don’t worry. If making a significant change or taking on a challenge was easy, that would defeat the purpose of goals. Remind yourself that this is an ongoing, continuous process. Focus your attention on the next benchmark, whether that comes tomorrow, next week, or next month is specific to you.

If you become discouraged, remind yourself why you started, and don’t be afraid to adapt. It’s okay to expand on a goal, especially if over a long period of time. New information may become known or your outlook may shift midway through your journey. Just ensure you evaluate your original goal, why you set it, and that this new outlook doesn’t derail your original positive intentions.

spring clean your resume

How to Spring Clean Your Resume

spring clean your resume

Yesterday was the first day of Spring. The weather is finally starting to get nicer and the last few days of winter seem to be behind us. Many of us start doing a little Spring cleaning in our yards or cleaning out our closets. Before you kick your shoes off and start relaxing, why not give that resume a little Spring cleaning, too?

After all, a resume, like many of our garages or bedrooms, need a good deep cleaning at least once a year! It can be difficult to remember every single accomplishment, achievement, or duties. And if you keep pushing it off, it will only get more and more difficult. So, here’s how you can roll up your sleeves and Spring clean your resume.

Review your work history

There’s a debate with how far back you should go with your career history. Some people recommend only including the most recent 10 to 15 years of work experience of your career. However, you could be missing out on some vital work experience if you limit your resume to only 10 years!

As long as it’s relevant to the job your applying for, it’s safe to keep that work history on your resume. For example, if you’re well into your career, you may be able to take off that summer job you had while in school. However, if the position provides value to your resume, it’s probably safe to leave on. But don’t just hack away at your work experience just to cut down your resume.

The rule of the one-page resume is dead, and if you try to limit yourself to one page, you may be doing yourself an injustice.

Have a clean and simple design

Have you ever looked at someone else’s resume and thought to yourself, “why would you do that?” A resume is your first impression; it’s your interview before your first interview! You don’t want to scare someone off by having an exotic or goofy resume.

Here’s the best advice I can offer you: keep it simple, stupid. Forget all of that fancy font, wacky color schemes, and graphics. Don’t add a headshot of yourself on your resume. Avoid using custom bullet points and any other strange formatting. All of these things are honestly just distractions from your great skills and qualifications. So, don’t weed yourself out by trying to create a work of art. Keep it simple and keep it clean.

Don’t forget to review it!

And after you’ve finished your final tweaks and adjustments, don’t forget to review your resume! Don’t let a grammatical or spelling mistake prevent you from landing that dream job. Print out your resume and read it out loud. You would be surprised with what you’ll find when you physically hold that resume in your hands and read it out loud.

Sometimes you’ll catch mistakes just by looking at it on a piece of paper versus staring at a screen. And always have someone else review it. Everyone has that friend who is a self-proclaimed grammar stickler. Put their skills to the test and have them take a peek at your resume! Your future self will thank you.

You may not even find a mistake, but I guarantee you’ll find a better way to word a bullet point or sentence that makes your resume flow better.

And now that you know how to Spring clean your resume, check out our jobs board if you’re ready to make a career move.

laid off

Laid Off – Now What?

laid off

A large percentage of us will experience being laid off from a position in our lifetime. We never want to think about it, but it does happen. I, personally, have experienced four such events during my career and each return into the job market has held a different experience. I will not lie and say it got easier with “practice.” With Millennials on the heels of the Baby Boomers as being the largest living adult generation, there is fierce competition for available jobs.

According to Pew Research, 71 million adult Millennials and 74 million Boomers were registered in 2016. With 2019 being the anticipated break out year, Millennials should surpass the Boomer generation – reaching 73 million – with Boomers declining to 72 million.

The Dreaded Day

You show up for work like any other day and at some point throughout the day, you are notified that your services are no longer needed. Now what? You are most likely going to immediately experience shock and will go into autopilot as you reluctantly leave the premises. Here is what you may experience once you get home. Some take a few days to work through it and others get through it quickly. Everyone is different, but just remember to take the time to understand, acknowledge, and process what you are going through.

The Five Stages of Grief

  • Denial and Isolation
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Once you reach the acceptance stage, you are ready to tackle the job market. The two biggest hurdles of the stages are avoiding putting yourself into isolation and falling into a depression that stymies you getting back into the workforce.

Remember this

You are not alone! LinkedIn is an incredible platform to keep you connected and in charge of your destiny. A good LinkedIn page will get you noticed by recruiters! Make sure you take the time to create a professional and completed profile!

  • Network, network, network! Don’t be ashamed – get the word out – you are on the market, and ready for the next chapter in your life.
  • Update that resume. Resumes are your first interview. Remember to list all your experience, skills, certifications, and degrees. Don’t go into that first interview underdressed!
  • Look at job openings and sign up for job alerts.
  • Update all of your social media sites! If your Facebook profile is a memory lane of a wild Vegas weekend, beer bongs, and crazy nights, you might want to swap it out to something more job search friendly.
  • Avoid dating yourself. You do not need to put the year you graduated high school or college on your resume.  There is debate as to how far back you should go with your career history, but remember this: could you be leaving off vital work experience by only going back 10 years? I personally like to see 15 to 25 years’ experience, where applicable.
  • Above all else, believe in yourself!

Losing a job is extremely stressful and can be life-changing. These are some steps to help you get back into the workforce and on track. It’s okay to have a small pity party, but don’t extend it into a recurring event that overcomes you. Take charge of your life and future. Reinvent yourself if you need to and remember: sometimes a step back will get you five steps ahead.

Pride, ego, and stubbornness are not friends in your job search. Believe in yourself, be humble, take your experience, talent and great attitude and make it happen – I know you can!

If you’re in this unfortunate situation right now, let’s connect! My team and I may be able to help you find your next career move and get you back to work.