How To Network In Modern Society

How To Network In Modern Society

You have probably heard some version of the statistic regarding how many open positions are filled through networking. Ranging anywhere from seventy to eighty-five percent, the ratio is significant! However, networking in today’s modern society looks a bit different than it used to. There are certainly upsides and downsides to how technology has transformed the way we make contacts and grow relationships in our professional world. But not to worry, we’re here to help you navigate it all!

Join Online Networking Groups

The internet has cracked the world of professional introductions wide open. You are now able to connect with people from around the world with a quick click of a button. Not only that, but there are also dozens of different ways to do it! Check out industry Facebook groups where your peers are bouncing ideas off one another, sharing job opportunities, and working together. Those with an entrepreneurial spirit can also join a Mastermind group, to meet with like-minded individuals and “create the success you want.”

Check Out Local Societies & Associations

Many local communities have different groups that get together and share a common interest. Do a quick online search for local societies or associations that align with your professional goals. Whether it’s a Young Professionals group that combines people from all industries or an industry-related Association, it gives you the opportunity to build incredible relationships within your communities. Some of these groups may require a membership fee, but they often share exclusive job opportunities, the chance to network with local leaders, and at the very least – valuable education!

Connect With A Recruiter

Even if you’re not currently on the job market, connecting with a recruiter could be one of the best things you do for your professional career. Oftentimes, recruiters have exclusive relationships with Hiring Managers at the top companies in your industry. This means that they hear about jobs before they even hit the job boards. (And did you know that “professionals who are among the first 25 to apply to a role are 3x more likely to land the job?”) And in today’s competitive hiring market, you never know what opportunity might cross a recruiter’s desk!

When it comes down to it, networking is still an incredibly effective way to get your foot in the door, and the benefits are endless. So, what are you waiting for? Put yourself out there and start reaping the rewards!

3 Red Flags To Avoid In Your Job Hunt

3 Red Flags To Avoid In Your Job Hunt

Whether you are actively looking for a new position, or passively keeping your options open, now is a perfect time. The job market is booming, and hundreds of companies are on the hunt for their next great employee. But how do you sort through dozens of opportunities to find that ideal next step? Employers want to ensure that candidates will be a good fit for their teams and organizations, and candidates should absolutely do the same! Keep an eye out for these red flags throughout your job search journey, and you’ll find yourself a great position in no time!

Less Than Stellar Job Descriptions

A job description’s purpose is to describe what the job entails. That way, a candidate can decide whether they’re qualified or not. Lack of details in a job description can indicate a role with an unclear definition. The company could potentially be putting out feelers for what kind of talent is on the market and then base the job around the type of candidate they hire. Or, in a worst-case scenario, the department may be unorganized, signaling that the job may be chaotic.

Asking for bizarre requirements in a job description could indicate a potential scam. Online scams centered around jobs are becoming increasingly more common. If you come across a help wanted ad on Craigslist asking only for date of birth, and if you have a bank account, chances are it’s not real. Most employers will ask for education and experiences – not for your banking information to set up a direct deposit before you’ve even interviewed.

Off-Kilter Titles

Job titles can be a major red flag. If a description includes a mash-up title, they may be trying to cram too many responsibilities under one person’s umbrella.

Additionally, if a title is confusing, it can indicate confusion in the role itself. For example, an “entry-level” position that requires 5-8 years of experience. A mismatch of skill sets could indicate disorganization or simply that a company is trying to hire someone with expert-level skill at an entry-level price.

Last, but certainly not least, you may want to think twice about a job listing with a “fun and clever” title. While “Super Marketing Ninja” may catch your attention, it could be vague to distract from the actual level of seniority. Just be sure to take a more in-depth look into what the job entails and if it’s a good match. (And if you are hired, see if you can change your title to something more universal!)

Long Drawn-Out Interview Process

While a long, drawn-out interview process may be a red flag, it’s unfortunately very common. Companies may take weeks to schedule interviews, which may be an indication that hiring for this role is not a priority at the moment. At every step of the interview process, be sure to ask about what to expect next. That way, you know when it’s appropriate to follow up!

The best way to avoid these red flags throughout your job hunt? Partner with a JSG recruiter! We have personal relationships with the hiring managers, work with outstanding companies, and walk you through each step of the process. We also serve as a guide if you have any questions that may come up along the way. Contact us today to start the search for your next great position!

The Top Soft Skills You Need on Your Resume

The Top Soft Skills You Need on Your Resume

There’s been a lot of buzz about soft skills over the last couple of years. Employers are starting to pay more attention to them as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find strong candidates in today’s market. Candidates with some of the hard skills hiring managers are looking for may not be available in this tight market. Thus, illustrating soft skills on your resume will help you stand out to employers.

Here are the top three soft skills and an example of how to demonstrate them in your resume.

Leadership

Even if the role you are applying for isn’t a leadership role, it’s essential to show examples of your leadership skills throughout your resume. Hiring managers want candidates that know how to take initiative, make tough decisions, and when necessary, navigate difficult situations. Showing off your leadership skills can also make you look attractive if this role has advancement where these skills will come in handy one day.

Example:

“Mentored my project management team on how to successfully adopt and utilize our new project scheduling software.”

Communication

Hiring managers are always looking through a resume to find candidates who possess great communication skills. And no, that doesn’t necessarily mean public speaking experience. Hiring managers want to ensure their next employee can clearly and effectively communicate with stakeholders, team members, and customers. Strong communication skills translate into excellent listening skills, attention to detail, and so many other desirable soft skills.

Example:

“Facilitated conversations between senior leadership and the quality control team to ensure everyone involved in our project was on the same page and aware of any potential quality issues.”

Adaptability

Adaptability is a soft skill that will be a HUGE asset to any team. Hiring managers want to find employees that are flexible and capable of successfully performing under changing environments. Just like in life, things happen in the workplace, and hiring managers want employees who can “roll with the punches.” This is especially true in fast-paced working environments when you have to think on your feet and adjust as challenges surface.

Example:

“Quickly learned how to proficiently use Adobe InDesign to help our marketing team develop brochures for our annual board meeting.”

strengths & weakness

How To Discuss Your Strengths & Weaknesses In An Interview

“What is your greatest strength? What is your biggest weakness?” These just may be the most dreaded questions throughout interview history. Are you supposed to disguise a strength as a weakness? Should you be brutally honest? Even the most experienced candidates have toiled over these questions! Not to worry, we’re breaking them down, so you don’t have to stress about discussing your strengths & weaknesses.

Be Honest

Honestly is definitely the best policy when it comes to interviewing in general, but especially for these two questions. You do not want to be one of those candidates who over-promises and under-delivers on your strengths. Do not exaggerate in any form or fashion. Likewise, when addressing your weaknesses, never try to disguise a strength as a weakness! Hiring managers see right through this tactic and do not find it impressive in any way.

Keep It Concise

A common mistake when it comes to these questions is rambling. Because they are vulnerable topics, you may feel the need to fill empty space rather than leave your answer lingering. Don’t give in to the temptation! Be confident in your answer, and keep it short. More than likely, your interviewer is taking notes, and a bit of silence is perfectly acceptable.

Focus On The Future

No matter what your strengths and weaknesses are, gear your answer towards the future. Let’s say, for example, that your weakness is getting overwhelmed when juggling a bunch of tasks. Take a brief moment to explain that while this is a struggle for you, you’ve learned that by creating lists and prioritizing ahead of time, you’re able to manage that weakness better.

As for your strengths, be sure to explain how your strength will be particularly helpful to the company you’re interviewing with. If your strength is performance under pressure, try to apply it to something you already know about the company. For example, “throughout my work history, I’ve found that I perform well under pressure. For the Project Management role with ABC Company, that will be particularly helpful when coordinating a team to complete last-minute project deadlines.”

In the end, don’t let this question stress you out too much. It is not intended to trip you up, rather to understand what type of employee you would be and how you would fit in with the rest of the team. Keep your focus on answering thoughtfully, and you’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression on your interviewer.

Thank-You Note Templates For Any Type Of Interview

Thank-You Note Templates For Any Type Of Interview

Thank-You Note Templates For Any Type Of Interview

As a professional job seeker, you certainly know how important it is to send a great thank-you note after an interview. However, not every interview is the same, and neither should your thank you notes! We’re breaking down each type of interview you may encounter during the hiring process and what the corresponding thank you should include (with examples!)

Phone Interview

The note you send after a phone interview should be brief and focus on the next steps. If you discussed any additional documents such as a portfolio or references, be sure to include them with your thank-you note.

Example:

Hi John,

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I really enjoyed getting to know more about ABC Company and the Project Manager position.

I look forward to hearing from you regarding the next steps! Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Sincerely, 

Jane

Video Interview

A video interview is slightly more personal than a phone. However, your thank-you note should still be concise. Use the same general tone of your phone interview thank-you, but add a little more detail about getting some “face time” with the hiring manager.

Hi John,

Thank you so much for virtually meeting with me today! It was great to put a face to the name, and I am really looking forward to meeting the rest of the team. Please let me know if there’s any additional information I can provide between now and then.

Sincerely,

Jane

In-Person Interview

This is where your thank-you note can get a little more personal. Typically an in-person interview will go much more in-depth, and you will learn further details about the position, team, and company. It’s important to reiterate some of those details and really cement the rapport you established during the interview.

Example:

Hi John,

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. I especially enjoyed learning more about the Process Improvement that your team has been implementing over the past few months. I really look forward to continuing that initiative and assisting in helping ABC Company achieve it’s growth goals.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you regarding the next steps!

Thank you again,

Jane

Panel Interview

Panel interviews can be a bit tricky. If you have every individuals’ email address, you’ll want to send them a separate message. In each message, follow the format of the in-person interview thank-you note, addressing a specific topic you discussed with each person, if possible! If you coordinated the interview with a single contact, it’s totally appropriate to write a group thank-you and request that they forward it on. In the single email, feel free to address each individual still.

Example:

Hi John, Jim, and Jackie,

Thank you all for taking the time to meet with me today! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to speak with each of you regarding the Project Manager position with ABC Company. 

John, I appreciated you sharing more insight into the leadership structure within the Project team. My experience working with large teams would definitely be an asset in that environment.

Jim, thank you so much for discussing the Project Manager’s role in working with the IT department. In my last position, I enjoyed worked very closely with our IT Director and found it made a significant impact on achieving company goals.

Jackie, I loved hearing more about the team dynamics from you. Thank you for sharing some insight into the day-to-day tasks and culture of the Project Management team.

Again, thank you, everyone! Please let me know if you have any additional questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,

Jane

So, whether you’re upcoming interview is on the phone, virtual, or face-to-face, these guidelines will help you leave a lasting impression on your prospective employer. Good luck!

How To List Contract Work On Your Resume

How To List Contract Work On Your Resume

More and more companies are hiring employees on a contract basis. And in today’s “gig economy,” this contract work is especially appealing to many job seekers as they allow for increased flexibility and potentially even higher wages. However, creating a resume full of contract work is a little different than it would be for someone who has strictly worked in a permanent capacity. Here are a few important things you’ll want to consider when crafting your contractor resume:

Distinguish contract from permanent roles

If you have a mix of contract and permanent positions in your work history, it’s important to distinguish between the two on your resume. Oftentimes, employers will spot short work stints and automatically assume there’s some element of “job hopping” going on. However, if you identify your roles as contact, it’s understood that it was a temporary position, and therefore, more short-term. Here’s a great example of how to do that:

Company Name – Chicago, IL

Electrical Engineer Project Manager; Contract (March – December 2017)

Company Name – Westmont, IL

Electrical Engineer; Permanent (November 2014 – March 2017)

Don’t limit yourself to one page

You may have read articles suggesting that you need to keep your resume under one page. This is NOT true (especially for contractors)! Because you often have many more, shorter-term roles, that space on your resume can add up quickly. Feel free to extend your document beyond one page, as it’s essential to show the diversity of roles and experiences in your background of contract work.

Focus your bullets on what’s most relevant

While you certainly have permission to extend your resume beyond one page, it’s still important to keep it concise. Chances are, you’ve worn many hats throughout your contract career. Many of your experiences are probably relevant to your future career, while others, not so much. Keep the bullet points throughout your resume focused on what’s most essential to your next role and remove anything erroneous.

Keep in mind, this may vary between job applications. What is relevant for one position may be completely unnecessary for another. This is why it’s essential to custom-tailor your resume to each position to which you submit an application. Review the job description, and align your past skills and experiences to match what’s required. While it may be a little extra work, it will go a long way in landing you your next position!

dress for your next interview

How to Dress for Your Next Interview

dress for your next interview

The market is hot, and if you’re included in the over 30% of American workers that are seriously considering leaving their jobs, you may have an upcoming interview. But what should you wear to your interview? Well, that depends! Different employers, industries, and departments have specific expectations on what you should wear. Here is a brief guideline on how to dress for success in your next interview.

Manufacturing/Labor setting

If your job interview is in a manufacturing or labor setting, you obviously don’t want to show up in a suit and tie. Instead, wear a button-down shirt and some nice jeans. If you will be on the manufacturing floor or walking around the job site, be sure to wear your steel toe boots! You will more than likely receive a brief tour and want to ensure you are prepared to walk the premises safely.

Professional setting

If you’re interviewing in a professional environment, you will want to dress the part. Wear a suit and a tie or a skirt and a nice blouse. Wear neutral colors and be sure to limit the accessories/jewelry you wear. You want the focus to be on you as the candidate, not what you are wearing. Try not to wear anything that may distract your interviewers. And be sure that your fancy dress attire is nicely pressed and ironed!

Casual setting

If your interview is in more of an informal setting, then you have the opportunity to dress a step down from professional attire and wear a business casual outfit. In this setting, you will want to wear some nice pants and a button-down shirt, maybe a blazer at the most. You don’t want to come to your interview way overdressed. Again, you want the attention focused on you, not what you are wearing. And be sure to wear some nice shoes! Even in a casual setting, you want to wear shoes that leave a great impression. Don’t walk into the front door of your prospective employer with those old grungy sneakers you wear to mow the lawn.

Video interview setting

Last but not least, there is even a dress code for a video interview. Here, you will want to dress appropriately for the employer’s dress code. If it’s a casual setting, dress business casual in your interview. If it’s a professional setting, wear your suit jacket or a nice blouse. You don’t need to put your entire outfit on; however, your interviewers will be able to see you from your torso up, so dress accordingly. Just because you’re at home for this interview doesn’t mean you get the luxury of wearing your pajamas. Bonus tip: be sure you have a clean, plain background for your interview. You don’t want to have a bunch of clutter around you to distract your interviewers (or even yourself) from the conversation.

If you are not sure what the dress code is for the employer, just ask. The hiring manager or human resources professional will be happy to share this information. And if you are still not sure what to wear, it’s always wise to dress a step up than to come in underdressed for your interview.

Before Applying for a Job

4 Things You Must Do Before Applying for a Job

Before Applying for a Job

In today’s candidate-driven market, there are probably dozens of job opportunities around every corner. Whether you’re a mechanical engineer or an aviation technician, the market is hot, and it’s tempting to see what’s out there. However, before you even think about submitting your job application, here are four things you must do before applying.

Read over the entire job posting

The first thing you will want to do is ensure you read over the whole job posting. This is essential for two reasons:

1)     To understand if this is an excellent fit for you and make sure you actually want the job

2)     So you can tailor your application materials to fit the job description

Hiring managers like to narrow down their pool of candidates by providing precise instructions and details in the job description. Are they asking for a cover letter? Do they want samples of your work? If you skim over the job posting, you may miss vital details that can filter you out of the candidate race.

Research the company

After you find a job posting that you want to respond to, take a few minutes to research the company. This should be a pretty painless step in the application process. Knowing more about the company can be a huge advantage to you as a candidate. It will help you craft your resume and cover letter by understanding their business, mission and vision, and the company culture. It will also help you decide if the company is even the right fit for you and your career goals.

Tailor your resume

If you take the time to review the job posting carefully, you will be able to better craft your resume. Even in this tight market, you should always customize your resume for each job you apply to. Even if they are in the same industry or the same type of position, each employer is looking for something different. And guess what? It is usually spelled out in the job description. So, while you’re reviewing that job posting, highlight the most critical components of the description and be sure your resume fits those well.

Clean up your references

Many employer applications put you through the wringer. They collect your resume, cover letter, and a bunch of other details about your career. Moreover, many of which also ask for your references. Well, before you submit the contact details of your close professional colleagues, you should always give them a heads up. Ensure you still have their permission to use them as a reference and that their contact information is accurate. Let them know you are applying so they can be on the lookout for a call or email they otherwise may not be expecting. The last thing you want to do is have a prospective employer catch one of your references off guard!

Interview Questions, Interview Tips. Interview Advice

5 Great Questions To Ask At The End Of Your Interview

Interview Questions, Interview Tips. Interview Advice

Typically, candidates see an interview as a way for the company to assess if they are a fit for an open position. However, have you ever considered that it’s also an opportunity for you, as a candidate, to determine if the company and position are a good fit for your skillset and goals? At the end of your interview, you’ll want to be prepared to ask some great questions. Here are 5 of our favorite questions to ask!

What are the most critical things I can accomplish in this role within the first 30 days?

This question is a great one to start with. Not only does it show your eagerness to jump right in, but it also allows the interviewer to picture you on the team. It’s essential to take note of the answer because it will give you a guideline of what you should focus on if you are offered the job!

What are some of the goals that the company is currently focused on? How can I assist in accomplishing those?

Asking this question during your interview grants you insights into the overall view of the company. You’ll learn what the future looks like, along with the impact that your role makes on the team and the organization as a whole.

What are some of the more challenging aspects of this position?

Interviewers will share the most wonderful things about the company and role. However, what about the not-so-glamorous aspects? Understanding the obstacles you may encounter gives you the opportunity to have a realistic peek into the day-to-day.

What’s your favorite thing about working here?

This is our absolute favorite question! Asking your interviewer their favorite thing about the company is the best thing you can do during your interview. Their answer can provide valuable insights into important facets of the role like company culture and job satisfaction.

What are the next steps in the interview process?

The last question you need to ask during your interview is perhaps the most helpful for you. Once you know the next steps, you can anticipate additional information and create a plan for following up. Be sure to reference the interviewer’s answer in your thank you note! (Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. I look forward to hearing from you regarding an onsite interview next week!).

job search

So, You Decided to Look for a New Job. Now What?

look for a new jobSo, you keep hearing how great the job market is. The unemployment rate has consistently been below 4 percent all year, and we are now on our 105th consecutive month of jobs gains. In other words, it is tempting to take advantage of this hot market and see what other opportunities are out there. But where do you even start? If you’ve decided to explore some new opportunities, here are a few tips for setting your job search up for success.

Update your resume

To kick off your job search, the first thing you will want to do is ensure your resume is up to date. From top to bottom, give your resume a careful review and note anything that needs to be updated. Double-check that your contact information at the top of your resume is correct and add any new achievements or employers. Keep in mind that you should be tailoring your resume to each job that you apply for.

To get the most bang for your buck, carefully review the job description and customize your resume to match it. Pull specific achievements and duties from your positions to illustrate that your background makes you qualified (and capable) of performing the job.

Ensure your LinkedIn is ready to roll

Once your resume is good to go, jump on your LinkedIn profile and give it a good scrub. Add a new, professional headshot if yours is out of date. The first thing a recruiter or HR professional will see is your profile picture, so confirm it’s a good representation of you. Like your resume, make sure you have all your work history and achievements up to date.

Once your profile is looking sharp, be sure to head to your settings and update the feature “Let recruiters know you’re open?” Essentially, this setting allows your profile to be shown in searches of recruiters as they search for prospective candidates on LinkedIn. By having this feature on, you are signaling that you’re open to hearing about new job opportunities, and thus, increase your odds of recruiters reaching out to you.

Gather up your reference list

Now that your resume and LinkedIn profile are good to go, it’s time to gather up that reference list. If you’re serious about pursuing a new position, it’s always good to have an updated reference list. To do so, ask permission from those you decided to trust with the future of your career. That exciting new job opportunity could very well be in the hands of a reference you listed. Therefore, ensure that your references are okay with you listing them as a trusted source for a recommendation. Verify that their contact details are correct and they are aware you are looking for a new opportunity.

However, never submit your references with your resume, especially if one of your references is a current co-worker. The last thing you want to do is let your employer know you’re on the move. Because guess what? If you don’t receive that job opportunity and your boss finds out you’re looking, you may be out of a job entirely.

Reach out to a recruiter

If you truly want to elevate your job search, why not partner up with a recruiter? Our recruiting teams here at Johnson Service Group are industry experts. We can help match your skillsets with a great job opportunity. Whether you’re a mechanical engineer or an I&E technician, we have hundreds of job openings available. If you are serious about finding the next step in your career, reach out to us today and let’s work together to find the position you’ve been looking for!