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!

interview feedback

Is it Professional to Offer Advice to Your Interviewer?

interview feedback

Throughout your career, it’s not uncommon to experience dozens of different interviewing processes. After all, the average Baby Boomer holds roughly 12 different jobs throughout their career. And for Millennials, the average worker holds six different positions by the age of 26. As a result, most candidates have experienced a handful of turndowns throughout their job search.

When faced with a turndown, it’s wise to ask for advice from the interviewer or hiring manager on how you can improve in the future. However, what if the shoe is on the other foot? Is it professional to offer advice to an employer you interviewed with when you do not accept the job offer?

Is it professional or appropriate?

As a candidate, you have every right to provide interview feedback to a prospective employer. However, it can be challenging to provide honest feedback after a job interview. It is difficult to offer constructive criticism without worrying about offending someone or possibly even burning a bridge. But how does an employer know there is an issue or speedbump in their interview process if nobody tells them? They may be utterly unaware that part of their process is turning away great candidates, like yourself.

Whether the interviewing process is slow, or they have poor communication, an employer may not know there is an issue if they don’t receive feedback. In today’s tight labor market, employers must streamline their interviewing process and ensure everything goes smoothly. If you offer professional, honest feedback, many employers will be thankful for your input in today’s environment.

How to do it correctly

So, now that you know it is appropriate to provide feedback after an interview, how do you do it professionally? Here are a few tips for delivering your feedback the right way:

Provide feedback in a timely manner

If you want to share your thoughts on how the employer could improve their hiring process, do so promptly. Whether you get the job or not, you must wait for a decision to be made. However, don’t wait for weeks or even a month to give them feedback. Do so shortly after they made a decision. Hiring managers are busy, and to be honest, if you wait too long, they may not remember you or how your interview went. So, if you decide to share your experience, do so shortly after the conclusion of the entire process.

Be precise and clear

With your feedback, be direct and concise. You do not need to sugar coat your thoughts, yet you want to keep your input professional and positive. For example, if you declined a job offer because the employer took too long to decide and you accepted another opportunity, let them know. As long as your feedback is honest, beneficial to the employer, and delivered professionally, you should feel confident in sharing your experience. Never single anyone out or berate the company. Remember, the goal here is to provide advice, not to leave a bad taste in the mouth of a hiring manager.

Overall, delivering feedback to an interviewer is just as tricky as it is for a hiring manager to give to a prospective candidate that failed to receive an offer. But if you genuinely believe that you can share your experience to help an employer improve their process in the future, go for it. If you want to provide feedback but are still uncomfortable with doing so directly to your interviewers, there are sites like Glassdoor that allow you to anonymously share your interview feedback. Just be sure to follow these guidelines, to ensure you deliver your message in an appropriate, professional way!

Contract Work, Contractors, Contracting, Temporary Work

Why Contract Work Is Appealing In Today’s Job Market

Contract Work, Contractors, Contracting, Temporary Work

You may have heard some refer to today’s job market as a “gig economy.” But what does that mean, exactly? In 2018, nearly 15.5 million U.S. workers had alternative employment. This statistic includes independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary help agency workers, and workers provided by contract firms. So, what makes these alternative work options so appealing? Here are four reasons why both candidates and employers are considering contract work arrangements more and more.

Try something new

Dabbling in contract work gives you the opportunity to expand your skillset. Testing unchartered waters in a job that is just outside of your work history with a short-term contract is a great way to give it a trial run. Additionally, having the opportunity to work in new industries with varied teams allows you to gain exposure to different environments and work styles. It’s kind of like trying before you buy! It’s easier to try new opportunities on a contract basis than to head straight into a brand new career.

More flexibility

Contract jobs are perfect for keeping your career options open. Working on a contract assignment often comes with the ability to work flexible hours. These flexible options can be very appealing during today’s gig economy. Thinking about relocating or making another huge life decision? Contract assignments can be perfect while you’re waiting for a more permanent change.

Possibly better pay

While contract work often doesn’t provide the same benefit options as full-time positions, you may have the ability to receive a spike in pay. Because contract employees get paid for every hour they work rather than a flat salary, people who work overtime will especially reap the rewards of a temporary position.

Future options

Contract work significantly increases your network and connections. It also opens the door for future opportunities. A handful of the contractors at Johnson Service Group are invited to work full-time once their contract is up. However, you may decide down the road that you’re ready to convert to a salaried position. If this occurs, you already have established a rapport with numerous companies in your industry that are familiar with your talent.

Job Offers

Juggling Multiple Job Offers? Here’s How To Decide

Job Offers

Today’s job market is prime for making a career change. However, after putting your resume out there, you may find yourself juggling multiple job offers. And while this may not be perceived as a bad problem to have, it can make for an extremely difficult decision. It’s essential that you make the right choice, but how? Here are a few things we recommend to our candidates:

Discuss it with your family

First and foremost, discuss any serious career decisions with your loved ones. You should do this early and often throughout the process! Your significant other may not be the one applying for the job, but chances are, they’ll be affected by such a major decision. If you have kids, involve them by showing them the area and exploring different schools and activities. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a position and have to overcome monumental roadblocks with those most important to you when it comes down to committing.

Make a t-chart

You know the ones – pros on the left, cons on the right. Make a t-chart for every possible outcome of each job offer. What are the pros and cons of job A? How about the pros and cons of job B? If I stay at my current position, what will the pros and cons be? Oftentimes, when you’re able to see everything laid out in front of you, it’s easy to find your non-negotiables or significant hurdles. This also makes it easy for you to weigh the options with your recruiter.

Think long-term

A job that looks great on the surface can certainly be tempting. However, what’s most important is your happiness and sustainability long-term. With each offer, consider things such as the growth opportunities, the team environment, and your work-life balance. This is where partnering with a recruiting firm comes in handy. We’ve been working with many of our clients for years and we can give you the inside scoop into what our opportunities really consist of! Reach out to one of our recruiters and we will help you make the right career move.

How to Include Numbers on Your Resumes

How to Include Numbers in Your Resume

How to Include Numbers on Your Resumes

Recruiters look at hundreds of resumes in a single day. So, how are you supposed to stand out in a crowd when employers are only giving your resume a 6-second glance? One of the best practices in crafting a stellar resume includes adding impressive numbers, metrics, and stats. Above all, the visual appeal of numbers catches the eye of recruiters. Notable metrics also provide quantifiable and tangible evidence of your accomplishments. Certainly, no matter which industry you’re in, you can always find some positive and measurable numbers that help to establish credibility and build your reputation.

The Significance of Numbers

Numbers help boost the chances of your resume getting noticed in a mile high stack of paper. Furthermore, impressive metrics have the ability to help a recruiter see your great qualities in a matter of seconds.

For instance, adding a bullet point, such as:

  • Contributed to sales revenue 

Pales in comparison to a bullet point containing numbers:  

  • Contributed $104k in sales revenue in a 6-month time period

Therefore, utilizing numbers illustrates impressive and tangible results that you simply cannot express with just words.  

Choose Numbers Wisely 

There’s no doubt that numbers are a powerful resume booster. However, you must find a balance. Include too few and there’s a chance you won’t be noticed within the candidate pool. On the other hand, if you use too many numbers, their effect may be lost.

But what numbers should you use? Statistics show the direct impact of your work and can portray what kind of results you can contribute to any future company. For the greatest impact, be sure to choose statistics that demonstrate how you directly impacted the company’s money, time, and people. 

4 Easy Steps to Adding Numbers in Your Resume

  1. Determine the key indicators of success in your industry:
    • Assess which accomplishments future employers will find most impressive. Most importantly, really sell yourself here! Pick out what professionals in your industry value and find worth in. For instance, what may be impressive in one industry, may not have an effect in another. 
  2. Use a baseline for references:
    • To show true growth or improvement, use baselines to convey your numerical worth to recruiters. For example, a bullet point stating “improved production efficiency from 30% to 35% over a one-year period” would effectively show the growth you individually contributed.  
  3. Decide the type of numbers to include:
    • You can show your contribution through various types of metrics. Including, but not limited to:
      • Ranges:
        • Edited 20-30 professional blogs per month
      • Rankings:  
        • Generated the first software that focuses on customer satisfaction 
      • Comparisons: 
        • Improved client retention tenfold from the previous quarter 
      • Percentages:
        • Increased company’s market share by 5% 
      • Exact Numbers: 
        • Implemented cost-saving plan that saved $21,087 in the first quarter 
  4. Enhance Your Impact Through Action and Detail Words:

Resume Building Never Stops 

In addition, remember at your current job to keep track of your numerical and non-numerical achievements so when you are ready to change your career path, your resume will be ready! Meanwhile, if you’re looking for more job search advice like how to rejuvenate your resume, head on over to the JSG Blog. And if you’re ready to take the next step in your career, contact a JSG recruiter today 

5 Ways To Refresh Your LinkedIn In Less Than 5 Minutes

LinkedIn has experienced steady growth since its establishment, with over 590 million users by the end of 2018. So, not only are a lot of people using LinkedIn, but many of them are in upper management, exactly 45 percent, making it the perfect platform to make yourself seen in the professional world. Chances are, however, that your LinkedIn profile is in need of a refresh. We’ve pulled together 5 quick updates you can make to your profile, which will take less than 5 minutes each!

Update your LinkedIn profile picture

Put on your favorite work outfit and have a coworker snap a photo of you in front of a blank wall! A fancy camera is great if you have one on hand, but today’s smartphones have some pretty incredible photo capabilities as well. An updated profile picture is the fastest way to give your whole professional persona a facelift.

Choose a new cover photo

See if your company has any branded cover photos. Are you feeling extra creative? You can always head to a free stock photo site like Unsplash and download something related to your industry. Ultimately, you want your cover photo to be a reflection of your personality and or profession, giving people who view your profile an inside look at what it’s like to work with you.

Rethink your headline

If you’re like most people on LinkedIn, your headline is just a copy of your current job title and company. While this is fine, there’s definitely an opportunity for improvement! Try including a few of your key skills, or expanding upon your job title. Also, don’t forget to include any special certifications or designations. After all, you’ve earned them!

Give a LinkedIn recommendation

Giving a colleague a recommendation serves a few great purposes. First, it allows you to give them a professional boost. It also prompts the recipient to reciprocate the favor! One benefit you may not have considered is that you will also be featured on their profile next to a sincere compliment. (And with your standout new headshot, you’ll be sure to catch everyone’s eye!)

Share an article

The best way to continuously establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry is to share articles, blogs, and other posts on LinkedIn. In an ideal world, you would share something every single day. Make sure to go beyond “liking” or other reactions to posts, or even just quickly sharing. It’s worth the extra minute to add an insightful comment that will help others understand what compelled you to share this content. And if you are really trying to make a good impression with your network, publish your very own article! Publishing your own articles on LinkedIn helps demonstrate your industry knowledge to your peers.

references

The Ultimate Guide To Job Application References

references

It’s rare these days to encounter a hiring process that doesn’t include a reference check. However, providing great job application references can be a little trickier than you initially think! Follow these guidelines to painlessly check this job search item off your to-do list.

Choose your references wisely

It’s a good idea to have three go-to job application references on hand. Typically, you’ll want to include a mix of current or previous managers and coworkers. Obviously, you’ll want to choose people with whom you had a strong working relationship. Make sure to choose references that will not only speak of you in glowing terms, but will also be able to speak in-depth about your work experience, performance, and work ethic.

Get permission to list people as references

It is absolutely essential to gain permission before listing anyone as a reference. The last thing you want is to catch them off guard, and as a result, receive a less-than-stellar reference. It’s also a great opportunity to network with your professional connections and stay in touch!

Don’t list your references on your resume

This is a big recruiting no-no. Listing job application references uses valuable space on your resume, hiring managers may contact them without your permission, and it takes the focus away from you. There’s also no need to include “references available upon request.” It is automatically implied and not necessary.

Provide your references with information

Make sure your references know what to expect. Sometimes it may be a simple employment verification, sometimes employers may ask them to submit a full letter of recommendation. If you must submit a letter of recommendation, ensure that your contact has all of the details including what to cover, where to send it, and when it’s due.

Provide them with the title of the role you’re applying for and a copy of your resume. The more information they have about your background and goals, the better!

Follow up

Don’t forget to follow up with your references once your job search is complete! Whether you were offered the job or not, your references are now invested in your career journey and deserve an update. Always include a quick note of gratitude for taking the time to speak on your behalf. You never know when you may need to use them as a reference again!

How To Navigate Tricky Interview Questions

How To Navigate Tricky Interview Questions

How To Navigate Tricky Interview Questions

Sometimes interview questions aim to reveal more than a simple answer. Interviewers might be analyzing your thought process, your confidence in your answer, or even further discussions your answer may spark. Feel free to take time to think before you answer. Hiring managers appreciate a well-thought-out answer with a pause over something rushed. Also, never be afraid to ask for further clarification! The better you understand what is being asked, the better you can answer. Here are a few common interview questions and a few tips on how to answer them.

Tell me about a time…

These behavioral questions are designed to see how you’ve handled situations in the past. Typically, the best way to format your answer is as follows: the issue at hand, how you solved it, and what you learned from the experience.

What’s your biggest weakness?

We beg you, please don’t answer with a strength disguised as a weakness, Michael Scott style: “I work too hard, I care too much, and sometimes I can be too invested in my job.” Instead, give a thoughtful example of something you struggle with and how you’re working to improve it. For example, “It can be hard for me to prioritize multiple projects at once, but I have started keeping a planner and utilizing my calendar to stay on track which helps a lot.”

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This interview question can stump even the most seasoned candidates. How do you find a balance between showing ambition but not being overeager? Generally, it’s best to speak in broad terms. Reference the type of work you’d like to be doing (ideally aligned with the job you’re currently interviewing for), and the team you most desire to be a part of.

Why are you leaving your current position?

Don’t fall for this trap question! It is NOT an opportunity to bash your current/past employers or boss. The best way to answer this one is by focusing on future growth. Explain that you’re looking for a position that is more challenging or better aligns with your values.

Do you have any questions for us?

Your answer to this question should always be yes. Come in with a couple prepared (you can read our favorites here.) And try to come up with a few during the interview related to your conversation. This is where it comes in handy to take notes during your interview!