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How To Nail Your Online Interview

How To Nail Your Online Interview

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

Do Your Research

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

Style Your Setup

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

Practice, Practice, Practice

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

Dress For Success

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

Show Your Personality

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

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

How To Write A Perfect Post-Interview Thank-You

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

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

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

Be Timely

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

Keep It Short

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

Customize It

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

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

Hi {Hiring Manager’s Name},

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

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

Have a great weekend,

{Your Name}

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

Are Cover Letters Dead?

Are Cover Letters Dead?

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

Create An Outline

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

1. Introduction Paragraph

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

2. Body Paragraphs

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

3. Closing Paragraph

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

Make Connections

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

Run A Grammar Check

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

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

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

5 Tips For Getting A Job Through A Recruiter

5 Tips For Getting A Job Through A Recruiter

If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, you may want to consider a helping hand from a recruiter. Partnering with a recruiting firm to find your next job opens a whole world of options. We have strong relationships with hiring managers, and often recruit on jobs that aren’t even listed online! Additionally, we’ve helped thousands of candidates find positions throughout North America in dozens of different industries. However, we understand it can be intimidating! Here are five tips that will help you establish a relationship and land your next job with a recruiter.

1. Do Your Research

It is important to understand that not all recruiters are the same. When you put your career in someone else’s hands, it must be someone you trust. Research their company. Browse their online presence – website, social media, and LinkedIn profile. During your initial conversations with them, ask questions! Find out how many years of experience they have, what kind of tools their company uses, and their strategy for placing candidates.

2. Be Honest

Unfortunately, recruiters are lied to all the time. People are hesitant to share how much money they currently make, whether they are interviewing with other companies, or even if they have applied to certain companies before. Being dishonest about these things can only hurt you! Trust us when we say, your recruiter WANTS you to get the job! They WANT you to get the highest salary possible! Being truthful about anything and everything during the hiring process is absolutely essential to establishing a stable relationship and getting a job that will truly be a great fit.

3. Be Quick

Time is money in the recruiting world. When a company is trying to fill an essential role, they want to do so as quickly as possible. And if they’re working with multiple recruiters, they probably have a couple of great candidates in the mix. Being timely with your callbacks, resume submission, and interviewing scheduling could be the one thing that sets you apart from your competition.

4. Trust Their Expertise

Because you’ve done your research, you should feel confident in your recruiter’s ability and judgment. Great recruiters are continually reading the latest news in the job market and industries they specialize in. They are experts in local costs of living and competitive salaries. So, it’s essential that you trust them and the advice they give you throughout your job search journey.

5. Keep In Touch

Even if you don’t get a job through your recruiter now, you need to stay in touch! Let them know if you get a different position. Having an ongoing relationship with a connected recruiter can only bring opportunity to your door. If they have no jobs that would be a fit now, you never know what may come up across their desk tomorrow. And if you do land a job through your recruiter, give us any updates. We love the success stories! We want to know when you accomplish a massive project or get a promotion. We’ll continue to celebrate your wins for years to come.

Ready to get started? Contact one of our Recruiters today!

 

Red Flags To Look For During Your Job Search

Red Flags To Look For During Your Job Search

There are a few things you want to watch out when you’re on the hunt for a new job. While red flags don’t have to be deal-breakers, they are simply things you should pay attention to and thoughtfully consider throughout the hiring process. Take note of these three things as you search for your next position, and you’ll be more likely to end up in a fulfilling job that meets your expectations.

Bad Reviews

Please read this carefully. Just because a company has a few less than stellar reviews does not mean they are a bad company. However, sites like Glassdoor do offer a glimpse into what it may be like to work there. When you’re reading reviews, simply take everything with a grain of salt. Look for reviews that are fair and balanced and cover positives as well as negatives. Typically, the more in-depth the review, the more thoughtful it is.

If you do see reviews that are concerning, don’t be afraid to bring them up. If you’re working with a third-party recruiter, they can address it with their client. You can also mention it during your interview to gain further insight. Hopefully, the interviewer will address it head-on, including steps taken to either fix the issue or stop it from happening in the future.

A Mismatch In Priorities

Now, we understand that a perfect job situation doesn’t exist. You will more than likely have to compromise some of the items on your “dream job” wishlist. Thus, it is essential to understand your non-negotiables. What are the perks or company culture factors that you must have? Additionally, you want to have a grasp on your desires that aren’t necessarily deal-breakers but would be something you’d consider when taking a new job. If you find yourself having to compromise TOO much, you won’t be happy in the long run.

Your Interview Is Short

When it comes time to interview, your interviewer should want to know everything about you. Is your experience a good fit for the job? Would your personality be a good culture fit? A thorough list of thoughtful questions indicates that the interviewer is not only interested in you, but also finding the right person for this job. A disengaged interviewer is either not interested in hiring you, or merely trying to fill a spot with a body. Of course, there are exceptions. Sometimes an interview is simply to confirm what they already knew – you’re perfect for the job! Just be sure to pay attention to the tone and pick up on cues – both verbal and non-verbal – throughout your meeting.

3 Common Resume Killers

3 Common Resume Killers

With an evolving modern job landscape, you may have some fierce competition when you decide to hit the job market. This means you’ll need to be on your A-game when it comes to your resume! While some missteps can be overlooked, these three resume killers will instantly squash your candidacy and chances and landing the job.

Typos

If you’re rolling your eyes at yet another article telling you not to have typos on your resume – STOP! We have seen mistakes from executive-level candidates on down. Go through your resume with a fine-tooth comb. Utilize a service like Grammarly, which might catch spelling or punctuation errors you wouldn’t notice. And after all of that, send your resume to a friend or family member. Tell them not to hold back in looking for mistakes – your career depends on it!

Wacky Formatting

Nothing says, “I don’t have it all together” like a misformatted resume. It’s something that will catch the hiring manager’s eye immediately. That bullet point that you have about being detail-oriented becomes completely irrelevant when it’s out of line with the rest of your points or in a different sized font. Once you have completed your resume and you think it looks perfect, print it out. There’s something about seeing a hard copy that brings formatting mistakes to light.

Incorrect Customization

You have probably read dozens of articles recommending that you customize your resume (and you definitely should!). However, this will require a little bit of that “attention to detail” skill you boast about. Be careful to save each resume with the correct title and/or company you are applying to! For example, as you customize, you are probably saving each resume under a different name to keep track of each version. For example, “John Smith ABC Compan.” If you are applying to multiple jobs and forget to change the name of your resume (sending John Smith ABC Company to DEF Company), chances are the hiring manager won’t even open it!

You may have identified a common theme between these three resume killers – attention to detail. It’s vital that you take your time to thoughtfully apply for each position; it shows that you have a genuine interest in the company and you take pride in your work.

Looking for more resume and interview advice? Browse the rest of our job search and interview advice blogs!

How To Make A Quarantine Work For Your Career

How To Make A Quarantine Work For Your Career

With everything going on in the world today, you may have found yourself with a bit of extra time on your hands. And while it’s not ideal to be cooped up in your home due to COVID-19, there is a silver lining. It’s a great time to check a few personal development items off your to-do list! Dedicate some of your quarantine time to these three career-enhancing activities, and you’ll be well on your way to productivity.

See What’s Out There

It may have been a while since you’ve let yourself surf the job boards or explore the depths of your industry. Use this time to feel out the market. There are a ton of opportunities out there! Job titles, responsibilities, and technologies are always evolving, and there may be some exciting advancements you hadn’t even considered before. While you’re snuggled up on the couch, browse your competitors’ websites. Ponder what you’d like your career trajectory to look like, and see if any companies speak to your values and vision.

Freshen Up Your Resume

Whether you’re inspired to apply to a position or not, a period of “social distancing” is the perfect time to spring clean your resume. Be sure to add recent projects and accomplishments, and don’t forget to include numbers! Additionally, check out some online templates for resumes and give yours a fresh look. Just changing up the organization can make a significant impact when it comes to making a great first impression!

Take Online Courses

This is the most valuable thing you can do for your career during uncertain times. There is a wealth of resources for online courses, and some are even free! It’s important not to feel pigeon-holed into taking classes only in your field. Have you always wondered what the heck was up with coding? Or dreamed of being able to edit your own memories in Photoshop? Even if they’re not perfectly aligned with your career goals, online courses are an incredible resume booster.

Haven't Heard Back About A Job

3 Reasons You Haven’t Heard Back About A Job

Waiting around to hear back about a job application isn’t fun for anyone. You’re left wondering what you did wrong and if there was anything else you could have done to grab the hiring manager’s attention. Well, there is a multitude of reasons why you haven’t heard back about a job. Here are three common ones we’re seeing in today’s job market.

You Applied Too Late

Yes, there is such a thing as applying to a job too late! In this candidate-driven market, companies are making hiring decisions quickly. Therefore, if a great candidate is the first to apply, they could be hired immediately. The days of months-long hiring processes are over. In-demand positions are receiving dozens of highly-qualified resumes within hours of going public. As a result, companies sometimes hire on the spot during an interview, or sometimes even over the phone!

To avoid this, make sure you closely follow the companies you’re interested in working for most. Set up a Google alert, subscribe to their newsletter, and follow them on LinkedIn. Speaking of LinkedIn, be sure to turn on job alerts in your area! You’ll receive an email with all of the latest jobs straight to your inbox.

You Didn’t Tailor Your Resume

Many companies today use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to sort through resumes. These programs rely on keywords to recommend candidates for certain positions. Thus, if your resume is missing a keyword, or you used an acronym instead of spelling out a certification, you could be passed up by a machine.

To avoid this, read the job description carefully. Tailor your resume to match the words used in the job description, as that’s most likely what the ATS will use to compare. So, include both acronyms and full spellings, and don’t be afraid to include a list of your hard and soft skills that fit well with the position!

You’re Not The Best Fit For The Job

Unfortunately, if you haven’t heard back about a job, sometimes it’s just as simple as that. In an ideal world, companies would reach out to each and every person that applied to every job. However, that’s just not realistic. Popular organizations are receiving hundreds of resumes every single day. As a result, they are not able to give everyone a yes or no. 

While there’s no avoiding this, you can be proactive about it. If it’s been a while since you’ve applied, (think two weeks or more), feel free to follow up with the HR department. Hopefully, they can provide a status update on the position, so at the very least, you won’t be waiting around for an answer. But it sadly may not be the best fit for you. However, don’t panic! We have hundreds of jobs that may be the right fit for you and your background! Have a look, and we look forward to helping you find your next opportunity.

7 Key Elements Every Resume Needs

7 Key Elements Every Resume Needs

Having a well-crafted resume is essential to landing your dream job. Your resume tells your future employer exactly why they should hire you, so take this time to let your skills shine! What exactly should be included on your resume is very dependent on the job you’re applying for. However, there are a few crucial things to include regardless of the industry or seniority of the role. 

7 Key Elements Every Resume Needs

Contact Info at the Forefront

You would be surprised at the number of people who leave the most important thing off their resume—their name and contact information. How can your future employer give you the great news that you scored an interview if they don’t know your name and how to contact you? This should be front and center of your resume, making them remember your name! 

Education & Experience

Your education and experience demonstrate to a hiring manager that you’re a good match for the job! Your focus in these areas obviously depends on the job. The education section should be short and sweet. Include the school where you received your degree, the dates of attendance, and other details if they apply to your job (i.e. certifications, honors, GPA, relevant coursework). Moving on to experience, this section is often the most important part of a resume. Make sure you place the most relevant and important experiences at the top. Highlight your strong suits with impactful numbers, measurable career achievements, and varying experience with different companies. 

A Hint of Soft Skills & Technical Skills 

Highlight your soft skills and technical skills in your experience section of your resume. Soft skills are becoming more and more important, so show off examples of your leadership, communication, and adaptability in your career experience. Depending on the job, technical skills are needed just as much as soft skills. Illustrate your technical skills through things that you have accomplished and what sets you apart from others. 

Active Verbs

Replace passive verbs with active verbs in your resume if you want to stand out. Using active verbs displays your career accomplishments more effectively. Some examples of active verbs to include are: directed, generated, influenced, managed, and implemented.

Exceptional Formatting

Formatting is everything when it comes to your resume. If the format is too creative, it can distract hiring managers from your qualifications and experience! Having a resume that is clean, clear, and organized will always be the most successful. 

Perfect Spelling

Some hiring managers consider just a single typo on a resume an automatic veto and trash the resume right then and there. And most perceive any misspellings or grammatical errors as a sign of poor attention to detail and a lack of care. Make sure you proofread your resume multiple times and maybe even have someone else look over it with fresh eyes. 

Awards, Achievements, & Certifications

Displaying your awards or certifications is very dependent on if they relate to the job you’re applying to. If you don’t have anything relevant, don’t be afraid to skip it! This section is optional, but it can definitely be a space to impress with the right qualifications.

And Lastly, Avoid Resume Clichés!

Exaggerating your skills is a cliché that will come back to bite you in the butt. Although you want to show off what you’ve got, overselling yourself does not help in the long run. Another cliché would be including irrelevant skills to the job. Employers will just look past this and it just fills up crucial resume space.

Include all these resume essentials, but also remember to customize your resume for every job. Read the job description and find a way to tailor your skills and experiences to more closely match the job description. 

job search tips

4 Job Search Tips You Must Know in 2020

Are you looking to reach new career heights this year? If so, you’re not alone. During the first of the year, there are more job openings than any other time of the year. According to a recent report from ZipRecruiter, job postings in January and February typically increase by nearly 15%. In other words, now is a great time to kick off your job search. If you want to get a leg up on the competition, here are four job search tips you must know in 2020.

Networking

Many job seekers underestimate the power of networking. The internet has made it so much easier to network with professionals worldwide and from all industries imaginable. Did you know that at least 60% of all jobs are found through networking? That’s right! More and more job seekers are finding opportunities via networking than by scouring traditional job boards. Therefore, if you’re not networking in 2020, you may be missing out on a great job opportunity!

Create a resume that beats the Application Tracking Systems

Another thing you can do to bolster your job search is to shake the dust off your resume. If it’s been a while since you last updated it, you will want to take a good look and add any new skills or achievements. There are some key things you want to do to your resume:

Tailor your resume

Unfortunately, you cannot submit the same resume with every job application. You must tailor your resume for each position at hand. Now, each variation of your resume will look similar, but you can easily find ways to tweak it to make it beat those pesky Application Tracking Systems (ATS). Add achievements that highlight you’re an excellent fit for the position. Make sure you quantify those achievements so hiring managers can quickly see how great you are!

And last but not least, ensure you are using keywords that are relevant to the job. Take a close look at the job description and pull out key phrases and add them to your resume.

Soft skills are key

Soft skills, especially in today’s tight market, are becoming more valuable to hiring managers. You can teach someone how to use a new program or learn a new process, but you can’t teach things like creativity or emotional intelligence. However, you’ll want to do more than simply list these essentials on your resume. You want to demonstrate that your posses these soft skills through concise, concrete examples.

Interview like a pro

Once your networking and resume are up to par, you can’t forget about the interview prep. Sure, your resume and a connection may get you in the door, but it’s up to you to secure the job by nailing the interview.

Do your due diligence beforehand

Whether it’s a phone interview or a final onsite, you must do your due diligence before your interview. Do some research on the company’s website and social media pages to help develop some talking points. Check to see if the company has any new product launches, press releases, or other important updates. Knowing these will help you shine through the competition by illustrating your interest in the position and your prospective employer.

Have questions prepared

Bring a list of questions to ask your interviewers. Remember, you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. If it’s easier for you, write them down on a notebook and bring them in with you. Just don’t sit down and stare at them the whole time. Here are some of our favorite questions you can ask to make a lasting impression.

Write a killer thank you note

After the interview is all said and done, you must write a thank you note to your interviewers. Thank them for their time, remind them what you enjoyed discussing, and don’t be afraid to ask for the next steps! This will set a lasting impression and remind them how interested you are in the position. Here’s our fool-proof thank you note guidelines.

Partner with a recruiter

Hopefully, these job search tips help you along your career path. If you really want to jumpstart your job hunt in 2020, team up with a recruiter. At Johnson Search Group, we have a team of recruiters ready to partner with you to help find you your next career. Reach out to our team of experts today, and let’s find you your next job opportunity.