How to Be More Productive at Work

productive at work

Can you believe it’s already the end of August? Wow! Where has the time gone this year? As we approach the Fourth Quarter, many of us are already looking towards the new year. And for some, that can feel overwhelming. There’s a lot to get done between now and 2020, and our to-do list can be daunting. If you are feeling the pressure at work with that mountain of projects piling up, here are a few tips to be more productive at work.

Plan and execute

One of the quickest (and easiest!) ways to stay on track at work is to make a plan. Every day before you go home, create a plan or to-do list of what you need to accomplish the next day. The key is to prioritize what tasks or projects are the most important and tackle those first. You will feel much more accomplished if you take on the most critical or challenging tasks right off the bat. If you save the most essential or complicated tasks for the end of the day, they will loom over you all day long and distract you from actually getting your work done.

Stop multitasking

Many people claim they are great multitaskers and are perfectly capable of juggling multiple tasks at once. However, many studies, including one from Stanford University, debunks this. Simply summarized, our productivity is proven to diminish when trying to focus on too many tasks at once. Multitasking actually increases the number of mistakes you make, decreases your memory of essential details, and hurts creativity. In other words, we are far more productive when we focus on one activity or project at a time.

Establish goals

If you want to accomplish more at work, establish goals for yourself (and your team). Include both big goals and milestones and write them down on a calendar or piece of paper. As you accomplish these goals, cross them off. It may sound silly to some, but it feels great being able to check off accomplishments as you complete them! This will not only keep you on track in the short-term but will also help you prioritize your work goals in the long-term. Mainly, this will help keep your day-to-day activities on track for you to effectively accomplish those big, “scary” goals staring at you eye-to-eye.

Take care of yourself

This is arguably the most important thing you can do to remain productive day in and day out. Eat well, get enough sleep, and taking breaks from work are all essential to your physical and mental health. Use that time off as needed. After all, you’ve earned it, and that’s what it’s there for! Take small breaks throughout the day to regroup your thoughts. It will help you stay focused and productive, as well as reduce your work-induced stress. The bottom line is, if you’re not taking care of yourself, your work (and productivity) will suffer.

new job

Should You Apply For Every Job Posting You See?

new job

You find yourself in the position of looking for a new job, which of course most of us hate. One of my candidates went so far as to say she would rather go to the dentist and get her car tabs renewed at the same time. That’s a pretty colorful description certainly and a shared opinion by many. The reasons for your search may vary from being your first job, the next step in your career, boredom, dissatisfaction for a myriad of reasons, all the way to just lost your job for one reason or another. Bottom line, you are looking and trying to figure out where to start. Do you slather the planet with your resume? Do you click on every ‘apply’ button you see in hopes that someone will call you?

Best advice, is no and definitely, no. More is not better for this situation. Some would certainly argue that the more you apply, the better your chances, but usually the opposite is true. It can potentially come across that you’re desperate.

Here are pitfalls for the click-happy behavior of apply, apply, apply:

The red flag candidate

When a hiring manager sees your application multiple times or for every job they have open, a common thought is, “Why hasn’t someone else hired you?” This could be a red flag candidate, so the best course of action is avoidance. Often a poor assumption, but the perception none the less.

The desperate candidate

If the impression is that you are desperate, it’s often that your application will be the last one considered. After all, if you so desperately want to work there, you will continue to wait. And they have the time to review other candidates. Sadly, if you are not working, this makes the wait even worse.

Cautiously submit your resume

Many positions that are posted on the web are from recruiting firms. And some recruiters may even post fake jobs online for roles they do not have permission to work on. And if a recruiter attempts to submit you to a role without an agreement with the employer, you will not be considered for the position, no matter how qualified you are. Not really fair, but fairly common. Be careful who you send your resume to. If they do not specifically ask for your permission to submit you to that employer, don’t give them your resume.

If you apply to everything, your ability to be represented by a reputable recruiting firm, like Johnson Search Group, could be eliminated. You may not even know who the company is but when you get submitted by the recruiter, and the company said you already applied, it can give the wrong impression. It may look as if you lied to the recruiter and the employer about not applying directly.

Tailor your resume

One size does not fit all for resumes. It is almost impossible for a blanket-the-earth-type resume to match all the requirements for every job you’re applying for.

You may not know what you are really applying for, and your resume in its current form may not hit the bells and whistles of their keyword match. You may have thought you made all the custom edits for the jobs you applied for, but how many times do you read a job description and your resume looks like an exact match, only to get a message back that you don’t meet the requirements? As a recruiting team manager, I hear this a lot. The reality is, most job descriptions are written by human resources and are often boilerplate descriptions. Seems counterproductive, but it’s the reality.

Giving the wrong impression

If you apply for everything, especially ones that you aren’t fully qualified for, you may forever brand yourself with that company in a negative light.

If you are hitting apply, apply, apply to all roles, the common thought process from a hiring manager could be, what other companies are you doing the same thing to? Are you someone who is going to jump ship the second something else comes your way?

Passively looking

If you’re currently employed and don’t want word getting back to your boss that you’re looking, never take the chance. I have talked to candidates who have done this and suffered the embarrassment of accidentally applying for a position with their current employer. One word is appropriate here – awkward, or in some cases even – terminated.

Do your research

If you are looking for a new position, my best advice is to do your due diligence. Utilize social media, for example, to find out who else works there that you may be able to introduce yourself to and they can become your advocate. If the name of the company you want to work for is not the exact match on the job posting, call the company to verify. It never hurts to be cautious.

Most companies offer a number or email address for their HR Department on their websites to call with questions. One of those questions could be, “Is the job description accurate?” Others are: “What is their interview and hiring process?” And of course, “Is the position still open?”

Let’s work together

If you are looking for a new position, and especially if you are confidentially looking, let’s get in touch. It could be the best contact you’ve made for your career.

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.

Tailor your Resume

Resume: How to Tailor Your Resume to Each Job

Tailor your Resume

When it comes to writing a resume, it can sometimes feel cumbersome but, it gives every person we hand it to a first impression of who we are as a future employee. A resume is not something you want to rush to do; it’s certainly not something that is cookie cutter and can be done once and used forever. In this blog, I’ll discuss how to tailor your resume for every job you apply to, so you not only get in for an interview but hopefully get the job as well.

Be Specific

When you tailor a resume for the specific job you’re applying for, it’s imperative to ensure that you’re specific in what you’re looking for. Whether that is calling out the name of the position you want in your resume objective or why you’re the perfect fit, this will make your resume stand out. Again, it shows them that you’ve specifically created this resume just for this position and illustrates your interest. Being specific is the one sure way to tailor your resume and help you get the job.

Use Keywords from the job description

Any job description is your best friend when it comes to making a resume specific. Every job description has the keywords and skills they are looking for in a great candidate. So, if you have what they’re looking for and you use those words and skills in your resume, you can almost guarantee you will get through an ATS system and land on a hiring manager’s desk. Which let’s be honest, that’s the biggest hurdle when applying for positions you want.

Tailor your work history

When you’ve decided to apply for a new job, your work history is everything. It can get your foot in the door or illustrate that you may not have enough experience. So, to ensure you show the correct experience, make sure to tailor your work history to the job you’re applying for. The way to do this is by only adding relevant positions that pertain to the experience they want you to have. Pointing out how your jobs are connected and how it makes you a perfect fit for this new position will be a big win on your resume.

If you’re well into your career, you no longer need to add that pizza delivery postion you had for a summer during college. Only include positions that are relevant to the job you’re applyif for if you truly want to stand out.

Quantify your achievements

You want to include your achievements on your resume. However, it’s important to only include achievements that are essential to the position. These accomplishments should support your experience and match up well with the job description. And you need to ensure to quantify these skills. Putting how many of these projects you completed or how much money you saved your department makes your achievements stand out to hiring managers.


Simple designs on resumes make it easy to read. It’s good to be creative and maybe adding some color can make it pop. But doing your best to not make it “too much” is necessary. You must remember that a resume should be easy to skim through and find your experience and skills quickly. This way, hiring managers don’t lose interest or get lost reading your resume.

Tailoring your resume for the specific job you’re applying for is critical to you successfully landing a job interview. Good luck and happy hunting!

interview process

Personal Brand: How to Promote Your Personal Brand During A Job Search

personal brand

There are so many aspects that go into finding a new job. Your job search takes you on a journey that goes through ups and downs but in the end, will help you find a position you enjoy. It takes time and patience to go through each step. And there is one, in particular, that could really help you stand out in front of those companies you interview with: your personal brand. Promoting your personal brand can seem intimidating but it’s all about using the resources you have to help you be successful, not only in your career but also throughout all your job search.

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is all about personal brand. It can have an impact on you not only reaching positions you want but also improves your chances of getting an interview with a company you like. All because your personal brand is easy to see and shows companies that you’re a candidate they want. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to interact with your career, your company, and just get yourself out there, and in the end, that’s all you really want, especially on a job search.


Network with people in your career, school, and co-workers. This will help you gain more confidence in yourself and help you reinforce the personal brand you’re trying to create when looking for a new job. Most of the time when you’re on the hunt, you’re keeping it quiet because you have a current job. Networking is the perfect place for you to feel out what is out there in your career field and see if anyone knows of a job you just can’t pass up.

Keep Social Media Private & Acceptable

Don’t forget about your personal accounts! Which is easy to do in our society today. It’s rare to meet someone between the ages of 20 – 60 who don’t have a social media account. But you need to make sure that what you’re sharing personally is still professional. It’s necessary for you to keep your personal brand in tip-top shape! Future employers will and DO look at your personal social media account. And if you have something that can seem like a red flag, they’ll probably pass on hiring you.

Share Successes

Using your successes as a stepping stone for a personal brand is a great way to show your dedication to your career and the will to always want to get better. Your “reputation,” or personal brand as we’re calling it, is something that should be handled with care but also celebrated, especially on a job search and interviews. When sharing successes, talk about the hard work you did to accomplish it, praise the people who helped you get there, and always be thankful. This will keep you on the right track of being humble and showing prospective hiring managers that you’re a good fit!

Team Player

In my experience, I would say being a team player is instrumental to not only having a strong and liked personal brand but to nailing job searches, and most importantly, interviews. When you focus on what you can do to help others, whether that’s in a job or just your daily life, it says a lot about who you are. Focusing on what you get out of it and what you can do to help others will be a trait that will take you very far in your career. Which is something every company is looking for in a candidate, right?

Overall, when you think about your personal brand, think about how you want to be perceived. In business, your reputation is everything. So be a good person. Do your best to always be respectful, stay true to your word, and make it a point to try and be better every day. If you can follow these points, you’ll you be successful in your job search and reach your aspirations, too.

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.

Balance: How Work-Life Balance is Crucial to Your Career’s Success

When it comes to your work-life balance it’s about juggling all your responsibilities in just 24 hours, every day. And it can be difficult trying to manage your time between family, work, friends, and of course, you. But balancing your work and life is a crucial part of you having a successful career.

Ways to instill work-life balance effectively

Something that is super important in becoming successful with your career and at home, is balancing your responsibilities. You can do this by making sure you’re doing things you enjoy. Whether that means enjoying your job or having fun outside of work. It can help balance you out when one of those two things are stressful or vice-versa.

Also, make sure you’re with a good company that respects you and your home life. This is key to any working relationship. When you feel appreciated and cared for, you come into work knowing what you have to do that day, as well as knowing it will not be coming home with you.

When you interview for a job, you’re also interviewing the employer to see if they are the right fit for you! You get to choose who you share your talents with (especially, with the candidate-driven market we are in). And you want to make sure it’s a company that respects and knows the difference between your family time and work time.

By taking initiative upfront, it will be easier to focus on your work-life balance and help you understand the importance of it. Without that balance, your work production and health could suffer due to unnecessary stress. Which no one wants to deal with when you’re just trying to enjoy your life and career.

How to ensure you have a good Work-Life Balance

With these simple steps, you can make sure you’re taking steps to de-stress and unplug from work and life stresses.

Workout and eat healthily – whether that is going for a walk 3-4 times a week or going to the gym. Make sure you’re taking care of your physical health. Giving yourself that time to work on improving your health will only help you feel better about yourself and accomplish more in your day to day duties.

Hobbies – Reminding yourself of the importance of doing things other than work and house chores keeps you happy and excited for what the next day brings. Having different hobbies helps you relax and take that time you need to debrief from life and work. Because de-stressing and doing the things you love to do ‘just because’ will help you stay healthy and happy. Which only keeps you more productive in the office and life.

Un-Plug from work and technology – With work and technology being so hand-in-hand nowadays, it makes it hard to truly leave work… at work. But it’s important to remember that work will always be there tomorrow. Your loved ones, friends, that age your child is today, is and will always be changing. Make sure you’re spending that time with them. Enjoying every stage of life, because one day you won’t be able to.

Your work-life balance will determine your career and life successes, so make sure you take the time to focus on each role and balance them accordingly.

“As far as I know, you only get one shot at this life. It only goes around once and time is precious. When (your) not working, you’d better spend that time with someone important.”Benjamin Bratt


Value during an Interview

How To Show You’re A Culture Fit During An Interview

culture fit

It’s no secret that employers are placing an emphasis on hiring for culture fit. Many companies emphasize the culture fit over hard skills, and they are looking for people to add value to their current teams. Because it’s so important, you must prepare to clearly demonstrate your culture fit during the interview. Focus on these 4 things and your personality will shine through.

Do Your Research

Before you can show you’re a culture fit for a company, you first need to understand what their culture is! Before your interview, explore their website. Find their mission statement, and try to get a feel for how they do business. Look at their social media to pick up hints about their dress code, and the general personality of the office. Still feeling unsure? Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter if there’s anything you should know about the company culture! The fact that you’re asking demonstrates your interest in truly understanding the company and team.

Be Yourself

For a long time, it was believed that you should be strictly professional during an interview (read: a robot). Luckily, Hiring Manager’s are moving beyond that and they want to know about who you are as a whole person, not just an employee. Show your enthusiasm, discuss aspects of the job that you’re most passionate about, and throw in a few relatable tidbits.

Show Off Your Soft Skills

Companies want to know that you will fit in with the existing team, so personality traits such as self-motivation, teamwork, and a positive attitude are high on their “must-have” list. To learn more about how to highlight your soft skills during an interview, hop over to our blog post here.

Relate To Your Interviewer

While you’re doing your pre-interview research, check out the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile and look for commonalities. Did you go to the same school? Did you both work retail jobs early in your career? Maybe you even have a few connections in common. If you can relate to the employer on a personal level, it will leave an impression that lasts long after you’ve walked out the door.


The Art of Departure: How to Resign Gracefully


You made the decision to take your talent elsewhere. You may be looking for career growth, better salary or benefits, or maybe you just don’t like your job. You may also fit into the 70% of employees, that according to a Gallup Poll, leave because of a bad boss.

If you fall into the latter category, it can be a bit more challenging to quit without the satisfied feeling of letting your manager know just how bad they were. After all, maybe it will save the next person they hire from the tyranny you experienced.

Is it really worth it?

My personal favorite plan was the suggestion to play the 1992 Johnny Paycheck song “You can take this job and shove it” at the Monday morning nurse leadership meeting. While the humor involved was spectacular, we were successful in talking her off the career suicide path.

Instead, she provided a professional letter of resignation. Yes, don’t get me wrong, the satisfaction she would have felt would have been profound, but ask yourself, does it change history and will it benefit your future?

But how can you just walk away and not let leadership know just how bad the manager is? How can you just let them ‘get away with’ their continued mismanagement and the torturing of your coworkers that you enjoyed working with?

Let’s explore some ‘why’ options by asking yourself the following:

  • If I say anything, will it make any difference? It may be that your boss is well liked by leadership, and despite their shortcomings as a manager, they get the job done.
  • Are you the only person who feels that way?
  • Will it come back to bite you? If your former boss is well connected, could they poison you well with your new company?

The bottom line

The feeling of satisfaction you might have initially will be fleeting and ultimately not worth it for your career. However, you can still address the situation in a professional manner. The goal should be to aim for change, not revenge. Marcus Aurelius said it best, “The best revenge Is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”

My advice? Rise above the situation.

Here’s how to submit your resignation with grace:

  • Send a copy of your letter of resignation to those in leadership that value you.
  • If asked why you are leaving, simply state that the leadership style of your manager was not a good fit.
  • If asked for specifics, provide factual examples, not emotional opinion.
  • Ask for an exit interview with human resources and someone in leadership that will help implement change in the wake of your departure. Be sure to keep it positive!
  • Email upper leadership with a professional statement of when your last day will be. Illustrate that you have appreciated the opportunity, but you have secured another opportunity where you will feel valued by your manager.
  • You can certainly take advantage of company review sites to ‘warn’ others. Make sure to keep it honest, yet professional.

The best approach is to simply take the high road and provide a letter of resignation to your manager and human resources. State that you have appreciated the opportunity and when your last day will be. The fact remains, leaving will end your suffering and your absence will speak louder than your words.

Most importantly, your career suffering will finally end and you’ll still have a good reference in your back pocket.

interview process

Things Never to Do Within the Interview Process

interview process

You’re excited. They called you back for an interview. Finally, the opportunity you have gone to school for, the opportunity you were born for. The first step has been completed, and I’m here to provide several tips that I hope all candidates utilize throughout their interview process. The first moments after being notified by a hiring manager, a member of the HR team, or a recruiter like myself are the most critical when it comes to locking down your position with your dream company.

Here are things you need to avoid during the interview process if you want to land the job.


  1. Don’t reschedule the interview. If you cannot show the company you are reliable enough to make the first step with them a priority, how can they trust you with day to day tasks? They can’t.
  2. Never assume the entirety of product and services that the company sell/offers/markets. Understanding what makes the company go is critical. Understanding what your role is in the process, even more so.
  3. Avoid connecting with all of the employees on LinkedIn. Coming off too strong and assumptive can raise red flags for employers.

During the interview

  1. Don’t assume that because your BFF works for the company that you’re as good as hired. Don’t rest on the fact that you know someone that works within the institution.
  2. Even if it is a casual interview (ie. Coffee, lunch, or any casual setting) make yourself accountable and professional. Always assume that you don’t have the job and you haven’t done enough to guarantee a position.
  3. Try not to rely too much on past work history. The company is interested in where you have come from and what accolades you have earned, but they are more interested in what accolades you are going to earn with/for them.


  1. Fail to follow up and thank all parties involved with your interview.
  2. Start sharing with your network that you believe you killed it (regardless of how well you actually did). Words can get back to anyone, and you don’t want the company hearing that you’ve gone and hired yourself.
  3. Please, never quit your current job (if applicable). even if they verbally offer you the job on the spot, never quit your current position until you’ve signed the offer letter.

If you manage to avoid all of these landmines, you’ll be setting yourself up for interview success. Good luck!