Setting realistic expectations will boost your job hunt

E is for Expectations: Setting Realistic Expectations Will Boost Your Job Hunt

Setting realistic expectations will boost your job hunt

Almost all of us, including myself, have been turned down for a job that we’ve applied for. It’s part of the wild game we call the job hunt. It can be really discouraging when we get that dreadful email saying something to the effect of: “Thank you for applying. We had dozens of fantastic candidates for this position, but unfortunately, we have decided to pursue other candidates.”

This can be devastating news. But it doesn’t have to be if we set realistic expectations during our job search. Here are four tips on how to establish realistic expectations, and ultimately, setting yourself up for a successful job search.

Be patient

Unless this is your first time on the job hunt, you are probably aware that the job search is anything but a short and sweet process. If you want the perfect opportunity, you need to be patient. That’s easier said than done, but you must accept it to have realistic expectations during your search.

Keep in mind, not all employers are looking to instantly fill their job vacancies. Some employers are looking to immediately fill an open position while others may not be in any rush to find a replacement. For example, an employer may want to wait a few weeks or even a month before calling on candidates for an interview. Open positions don’t always need to be filled right away.

Additionally, every employer has different hiring processes. The length of the hiring process may depend on the size of the company, whether the employer is using an internal or external recruiter or the type of position. It will likely be a longer hiring process when a company is searching for an executive level candidate vs. an entry level candidate.

Have you ever heard “patience is a virtue?” Being patient on the job hunt will help you establish realistic expectations on when you’ll hear back from employers during this onerous process.

Applying for the right positions

Recruiters and hiring managers post thousands of jobs each day. You may be tempted to apply for each job vacancy you come across online, especially if you are an active candidate. In reality, you are not a great fit for every employers’ needs.

By applying for every single job vacancy you find online, you are likely to face many rejections. Don’t set yourself up for failure! Over time, applying for too many jobs will start to extinguish your motivation and leave you with a negative attitude during your job search.

Do your due diligence on compensation

This one is very important. You need to do your due diligence on different salary ranges for the type of positions you are applying to. When offered a job, it is totally okay to negotiate your salary. However, you need to have realistic expectations on what you are worth.

Keep in mind, salary ranges are determined by various factors, including education level, work experience, location, and the industry of the employer. It is essential to get online and do some research on what you are worth, as well as to see what other people in your location with a similar position is earning.

Jump on the computer and do a quick Google search. There are dozens of different salary calculators that are completely free to use. For example, Glassdoor allows you to calculate an estimate of what you should be making, based on your education level, location, and years of relevant experience.

Knowing your worth will allow you to establish realistic expectations of what you should be making, and ultimately, will help you effectively negotiate your salary without facing disappointment.

You can’t completely rely on a recruiter to find you a job

When working with a recruiter, you cannot expect them to do all the work for you. Remember, they are ultimately working for their client (the employer). You are not the one paying them, so don’t act like they are solely working for you! However, many recruiters, including the recruiters at Johnson Service Group, will go out of their way to help you land an interview!

Remember, recruiters, are not career counselors. They cannot hold your hand through the entire hiring process. They’re there to help place qualified candidates for their clients, not give you career advice or help you draft your resume.

Moreover, recruiters have no control over the hiring process. Even if they believe you’re a perfect fit for the job, they don’t have any input on the hiring decision. So, don’t act like you are guaranteed the job if a recruiter thinks you nailed your interview. Keeping your expectations realistic during the recruiting process will help you move on if you get the unfortunate news that you were not a great fit for the position.

how to write a perfect job description

D is for Description: How to Write a Perfect Job Description

how to write a perfect job description
It’s a candidate-driven market. Job seekers have tons of options when searching for a new career. You need a job description that both catches the attention of potential candidates and provides an excellent summary of the position, without sounding like a robot.

I understand this is challenging for busy hiring managers and HR employees. It can be tempting to recycle one of the same old job descriptions that, unfortunately, fail to illustrate the value of your company. And this invites less qualified candidates to apply.

Your job description is your first interaction prospective candidates have when on the job hunt. You must make it count! Follow these ingredients for crafting the perfect job description.

Keep the job description short

Please, do both you and your prospective applicants a favor: cut the fluff. There is absolutely no need to start your job description with a lengthy overview of your company. That’s why you have an ‘About’ page on your website and an overview of your company on your LinkedIn company page.

Rather, (briefly) talk about your company’s mission, the achievements your company has won, and/or the culture of your organization. It’s best to keep your company overview to about two or three sentences.

So, quit copying and pasting your company’s ‘About’ page and try and write something that makes potential candidates excited about the possibility of working for your company!

Keep it conversational

Remember, you are talking to a human being. So, write as if you are speaking to one! You can lighten up the job description by replacing phrases like “the ideal candidate” with “you.” Try writing the description as though you are speaking directly to the candidate.

You can also swap out sub-headings in the description to give it a little more personality. Try replacing “Qualifications” with “You’re Good At.” Writing your job description with some enthusiasm will help it stand out in the sea of job openings and it will make candidates excited to apply for your position.

If you want to take your job description to the next level, add projects and issues the candidate will tackle within the position. Ideal candidates will want to come in and instantly make a positive impact on the organization. Painting a vivid picture of the position will help ensure there is a good culture fit between the candidate and your company.

Be realistic with job requirements

Take a close look at the qualifications or requirements in your job description. Adding too many specifications scares away potentially great candidates. Having strict requirements is also a good way to limit your candidate pool. There is no need to have a laundry list of skills or super specific details that will likely discourage great candidates from applying.

It’s best to settle on a handful of “preferred” and “minimum” qualifications. If it’s not a must-have, it’s just a preferred qualification, and you keep in mind, candidates can safely assume “preferred” qualifications are a non-requirement. If you don’t have a clear idea of what are absolute musts, you may be inviting lower-quality candidates to apply.

Don’t forget to list the requirements that are the most essential to the position first. Those qualifications will be perceived as the most important to the job and will help attract quality candidates. Also, there is no need to include basic skillsets that nearly every potential candidate will have. Leave off qualifications like “proficient at Microsoft Office” and soft skills like “excellent multitasker.” These are not worthy of space in your job description and are honestly just a waste of both the candidates’ and employer’s time.

If you follow these tips when drafting your next job description, you’ll set your company up for success! If you are still struggling to write a job description, check out our simple guideline.

C is for Cover Letter: How to Write a Killer Cover Letter

C is for Cover Letter: How to Write a Killer Cover Letter

C is for Cover Letter: How to Write a Killer Cover Letter
Does anyone enjoy writing cover letters? I know I always dread them when I am applying for a new job.

Unfortunately, writing a solid cover letter is a crucial part of the job hunt that almost no one looks forward to. We all know it’s difficult to convey to hiring managers and recruiters how amazing you are on a single page. It also can be challenging to not just regurgitate everything that’s already on your resume.

So, how do you craft a killer cover letter that impresses potential employers? Make sure you follow these three tips to guarantee yourself an interview.

Address the cover letter to an actual person

First things first, address your cover letter to an actual human being. Never, and I mean never, start off with “Dear Sir or Madam.” Starting your cover letter with a generic opening will almost guarantee your application gets thrown in the trash.

Do a little research. Get on LinkedIn and look up the company. Using the company’s name as the search term, you can quickly do a search for employees that work at the company. Keep scrolling through names until you find someone who appears to be the hiring manager.

If you are still struggling to find an appropriate person, give HR a call. They will be happy to help you properly address your letter. Introduce yourself and tell them exactly what position you are applying for. They may even remember you when sifting through all those job applications!

By doing a little research and addressing your cover letter to a real person within the company, it shows that you put thought into your application and that you are extremely interested in the position.

Tailor it to the job you are applying for

You MUST customize your cover letter to the job. If you’re not modifying your cover letter to each job you apply for, you could potentially be handing the job to a competitor.

You must carefully analyze the job description and use some the same verbiage from the job description. Select keywords and phrases that are essential to this position and work them into your cover letter. This is crucial if you’re submitting your cover letter online. If you don’t have relevant keywords and phrases in your letter, your cover letter will get filtered out from Application Tracking Systems (ATS) and your application won’t even land on the hiring manager’s desk.

Be careful not to overdo this, but mirroring the job description will help illustrate that you are a perfect fit for the position and demonstrate that you carefully read through the job ad. If a job is worth applying for, it’s worth a customized cover letter.

Be yourself

This is the most important factor for drafting a killer cover letter. Be yourself, be honest, and don’t be afraid to show off your personality. Employers hire for people, not skills. Most skills can be taught, but companies cannot create a genuine, passionate candidate.

This is your opportunity to show employers why you’re a great candidate. Demonstrate your passion for the role and tell a good story. Stories help bring your background to life and allows your personality to shine through the letter.

Companies and hiring managers want to see that you’re excited about the position. This may sound crazy but have some fun with it. If you are bored writing the cover letter, then the hiring manager will likely be bored reading it. Your writing reflects who you truly are. Don’t be afraid to be creative! Just make sure you keep it professional.

How blogging will help you get noticed by recruiters

B is for Blogging: How Blogging Will Help You Get Noticed By Recruiters

How blogging will help you get noticed by recruiters

It’s a candidate-driven market. The national unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 17 years. Employers are filtering through hundreds of candidates. You need to find a way to stand out to hiring managers and recruiters if you even want to be given the opportunity to interview.

But how will you stand out in a sea of qualified candidates? Blogging is a fun and relatively easy way to rise to the top of your fellow job applicants. Here are four benefits of blogging that will help you catch the attention of recruiters.

Increase online visibility

Showing up on LinkedIn is simply not good enough anymore. You know why? It’s finally 2018, and everyone has a LinkedIn page! But do you know what not everyone on the job market is doing? Yup, you guessed it. Blogging.

Writing blog posts is a great way to be found by recruiters on LinkedIn. If you are sharing your blogs on LinkedIn or posting your blog posts natively to your LinkedIn profile, recruiters and hiring managers will notice you.

You can create your own blog using one of many free blogging sites (WordPress, Medium, or Blogger, just to name a few). Or, to make your life easier, you can just post blog posts directly to your LinkedIn page. All you need to do is log in to LinkedIn and press “Write an article.” Choose a header image, a title, and start plugging away. It’s that simple.

When searching for new candidates, recruiters will check out your LinkedIn page. If you have published blog posts on your profile. it will increase your chances of standing out in the crowd of candidates.

Demonstrate your passion and expertise

You don’t have to be an accomplished author to write a blog post. Just start writing about your industry or something you are passionate about. Show recruiters that you are an expert in your industry. Discuss new trends or issues within your industry and propose solutions on how to address them. Or you can even talk about a complex problem that you were faced with in the workplace and how you overcame it.

Blogging will help demonstrate your communication and writing skills to potential employers. Sharing your thoughts with your professional network will get you noticed by recruiters searching for applicants. Recruiters love to see you doing what you do best.

Showcase your unique personality

Writing and publishing blog posts will help you illustrate your personality and your personal brand with potential employers. As we all know, it can be difficult to show your personality on a resume or even a cover letter. However, writing blog posts provides a medium to showcase who you are and how you communicate with others in a professional manner.

When recruiters or HR read through your blog posts, they will be able to get an idea of who you are before they even bring you in for an interview. This is great because potential employers can assess whether you would be a good culture fit for their organization before you even step foot into their building.

Provide talking points in your interview

When you are fortunate enough to land an interview, your blog posts may provide valuable talking points during your interview. You can reference one of your blog posts when answering a question that the hiring manager is asking you. Or you can even discuss an applicable accomplishment that you are proud of.

The interviewers may even bring up your blog in the interview and ask you about it! Blogging will help you not only stand out during the recruiting process but will make you memorable in the eyes of your interviewers during the decision process.

A is for Application: How to Make Your Job Application Stand Out

How to make your job application stand out in 2018

Happy New Year from all of us at JSG!

For many of you, the new year means a fresh start. Some of you will be vowing to hit the gym and throw out all that junk food, while others may be promising to read more or learn a new skill. Others are even vowing to get a fresh start on their career path.

The job market is very competitive right now. In fact, unemployment levels across the country have reached an all-time low with an unemployment rate of only 4.1% in December of 2017. We haven’t seen unemployment rates this low in almost two decades!

This figure is great for the U.S. economy; however, this also means you’re facing fierce competition on the job market. To stand out to recruiters and hiring managers in the crowd of applicants, try doing these four things in 2018.


The first thing you need to do before submitting your application is research. And by research, I mean researching not only the job opening you’re applying for, but also the company. Doing your due diligence may help you uncover something useful to include in your cover letter or help you tailor your resume to appeal more to the company.

Remember, Google is your best friend. Jump on your phone or computer, grab a cup of coffee, and sit down for a couple hours and do some digging. Google the company name and see what pops up. Is there a recent article online about a new product launch from the company? Are there any recent press releases? Doing a quick search can uncover invaluable information to help make your job application more noticeable.

Don’t forget to check out the company’s social media, too! See what they are posting. This will help you get a feel of what the company cares about and what’s happening there.

And don’t be afraid to contact the company to ask questions. This will help you understand the job better and may even help HR recognize your name when they are sifting through dozens of applications.


The last thing you want to do is submit a generic resume and cover letter. Hiring managers and recruiters read dozens and dozens of job applications a day. You need to customize your application to help you stand out and show that you are good fit for not only the position, but also the company.

Use the information you learned in your research to tailor your cover letter for the position. Mention the employer’s recent news or achievements and tie in your background to illustrate that you align with the company’s core values and mission.

Your cover letter and resume may not even reach the hands of a hiring manager if you’re not using specific keywords that are relevant to the position. Organizations utilize Application Tracking Systems (ATS). When you submit your resume and cover letter online, it’s probably being ran through ATS. The ATS is scanning for keywords and other criteria. If your application isn’t tailored for the position and company, it likely won’t even make it to the hands of HR.


After a while, job applications start to blur together after hiring managers have been reading through resumes and cover letters for hours. Don’t try to incorporate fancy fonts and formats. Instead, a great way to help your application stand out is to add some of your unique talents are experiences.

Just make sure they are relevant to the position. Nobody cares if you are an experienced underwater basket weaver. Have you won an award that differentiates you from other applicants? Do you volunteer your time doing community service for an organization you care about? These will help you get a leg up on your competition.


You probably already have a LinkedIn account. You may get on there from time to time. But are you an active user? If your application gets into the hands of HR, they will likely look you up on LinkedIn if they are interested in your job application.

LinkedIn is a great place to showcase accomplishments and skills that may have been omitted in your application. It’s also an opportunity for HR and hiring managers to get an idea of your personality. Following companies on LinkedIn, posting articles, interacting with other users, and participating in discussion groups are great ways to help get you noticed and build your personal, professional brand.

Recruiters love nothing more than discovering a candidate who not only knows their stuff, but who is passionate about it too!