How To Inject Your Personality Into Your Job Search

When you are applying for a job, you must stand out amongst the rest of the applicants. But how? The best way to make a great impression is to let your personality shine in multiple ways throughout the hiring process. Here are four spots perfectly primed for you to inject your personality into your job search!

On Your Resume 

Showing a bit of personality on your resume can be tricky, but it is possible! (Keep in mind, this is all relative to your industry. If you’re in a more stiff professional sector such as banking, you might want to skip this one!) If you’re in a creative field, try showing a subtle and tasteful color into your headings or try out a more artistic layout. One of our favorite ways to highlight who you are is to showcase some of your passion projects or relevant hobbies. We find that often, your hobbies can benefit your professional life in a variety of ways!

In Your Cover Letter

If you’re required to submit a cover letter, it’s a great space to show a bit of your personality naturally. You can use the introduction to kick it off with a bang to grab the hiring manager’s attention right away. Then, in the meat of your cover letter, let your personality shine by highlighting some of your favorite projects and recounting your relevant work history. Finally, leave a lasting impression with a confident conclusion.

Throughout Your LinkedIn Profile 

With how accessible social media is these days, LinkedIn should be an active part of your job search strategy. Furthermore, it’s the perfect spot to give the hiring manager a glimpse into who you are. You have more creative freedom to inject your personality into your job search on LinkedIn than you do with any other step in the process. From your cover photo to your summary to your activity feed, you can show off your best professional self. Brush up on some of our best LinkedIn tips here.

Inject Your Personality During Your Interview 

Last but certainly not least, the interview. Chances are, you’ll have numerous opportunities to highlight your personality throughout an interview. Keep in mind that when an employer is hiring, they don’t just want a skillset; they also want you! Don’t be afraid to discuss how you got where you are today, inspirations, passions, and more. And if they ask you what your hobbies are or what you like to do for fun? Have a couple of go-to answers that extend beyond “watching Netflix and hanging out with friends.” Share something unique and insightful that will help you stand out from other applicants.

So, those are four easy ways you can inject your personality into your job search. Are you interested in more job search advice? Explore our candidate resources here!

How to Get Noticed By A Prospective Employer

Do you feel like you are failing to get noticed by your target companies during your job search? It can be challenging to earn the attention of competitive companies when the job market is so tight. If you are looking to make a splash with your job search this year, here is how to get noticed by a prospective employer.

Start building connections

The first thing you can do to start gaining a prospective employer’s attention is build some connections within the company. If you know someone who works there, this will be much easier. Reach out to your network and ask them to introduce you to the hiring manager of a job that interests you. If you don’t have a connection, you will have to stick your neck out a little more. Find people that are in similar fields with you at this company and start introducing yourself. Send them a LinkedIn connection request with a custom message. Introduce yourself and share (very briefly) why you are connecting with them.

Apply directly to the hiring manager

Once you start building these connections with employers you wish to work for, it’s time to start applying. Of course, you will want to submit your resume through the company’s career portal. However, if you know who the hiring manager is, you can submit your application directly to them. Competitive companies receive hundreds or even thousands of applications for a single position. So, instead of getting your resume thrown into the pile in an applicant tracking system, get your resume right to the source. A hiring manager or recruiter is much more likely to review your resume if you stick it right in front of them instead of letting an ATS do the work for them. Bypass the competition by sending your resume directly to the hiring manager, and you will start to get noticed by a prospective employer.

Go above and beyond with your application

If you are just blindly submitting your resume to every position in your field, you won’t experience much success. Due to the pandemic, we are in a competitive job market. You have to put in more effort to beat your competition and receive a callback. Tailor your resume to each position you apply for to ensure it illustrates that you are a strong fit. Write a custom cover letter for each application, even if one is not required. A thoughtfully crafted cover letter will help you stand out and connect the dots between your transferable skills and the position. Also, an excellent way to showcase all your skills and qualifications is an online portfolio. Submitting a link to your portfolio with your other application materials is a great way to show off your work examples, experience, and other things that make you a fantastic candidate. They are easy to make and often free to build on certain websites.

Need more help?

These three things will drastically help you get noticed by a prospective employer. But if you are looking to take your job search up a notch, consider working with a recruiter. JSG’s recruiting team can work with you to find the career that matches your skill sets and career goals. We have opportunities across North America and are ready to get you back to work. Reach out to us today!

Is Writing Cover Letters Worth Your Time?

Cover letters are often considered the most despised step in a job application process. Many job seekers don’t see the point in submitting a cover letter anymore as there is some debate about whether hiring managers or recruiters even read them. Well, according to a recent study from ResumeGO, 87% of hiring managers still read cover letters, and the majority utilize them in making hiring decisions. So, is writing cover letters worth your time? Here are a few examples of when cover letters can help put you over the edge during the hiring process.

When do hiring managers or recruiters utilize cover letters?

Some hiring managers and recruiters dismiss the value of cover letters; however, many others find them useful in making their hiring decisions. It may depend on the industry or the seniority level (i.e., a senior leadership role versus an entry-level role). Here are a few examples of when cover letters are commonly read:

  • For candidates that have a strong background in another field or industry
  • For candidates that are on the fence about moving forward in the process
  • When a candidates’ resume raises questions
  • For the candidates at the top of the hiring managers’ list
  • When writing skills play a significant role in the job opening (for example, a communications or marketing professional)

There are other scenarios when hiring managers will read your cover letter, but these are the top five.

When your cover letter won’t get read

There are a few situations in which your cover letter won’t be read. It’s true; most hiring authorities will read a candidates’ resume before they even touch the cover letter. So, if you apply for a job that you are completely unqualified for, don’t be surprised if your cover letter gets skipped over. Another scenario where your cover letter will get pushed to the wayside is if your resume has poor formatting or is riddled with grammatical errors. If your resume is a hot mess or has tons of spelling errors, a hiring manager will likely move on to the next candidate.

A final reason a hiring manager will ignore your cover letter is if it isn’t tailored. A hiring professional can tell after reading your cover letter for a few seconds if you took the time to personalize it for the position. For example, when the letter isn’t addressed to the hiring manager (to whom it may concern won’t cut it) or the opening line is too generic. If you don’t spend the time to tailor it for the position, then hiring managers won’t take the time to read it.

In other words, if you are not qualified or your application materials are not up to par, then yes, your cover letter won’t get read.

So, what’s the verdict?

Yes, some hiring professionals dismiss cover letters while others only use them in certain situations. But the verdict here is they cannot hurt your application if they are thoughtfully crafted. If you are qualified for the job and your resume reads well, there is a substantial chance it will be reviewed. Your cover letter can add clarity to your candidacy and even help propel you above your competition. This will be even more important in today’s market, where there are many more job seekers out there. Therefore, writing a cover letter is worth your time; however, you must tailor it and spend time to create a document that sheds some light on your skillsets.

Four Essential Job Search Tips Everyone Should Follow

If one of your goals for 2021 is to find a new job, you are probably looking for some tips or tricks to help your search end successfully. Searching for a new job can be stressful, especially if you are currently out of work. Lucky for you, you came to the right place! If you want this career transition to be smooth, here are four essential job search tips you should follow.

Set up job alerts

One of the biggest mistakes job searchers make is aimlessly scouring job boards for new postings. Many of us have been in this position before. You insistently check your go-to job boards or social media platforms for brand new job postings. This process can be time consuming and exhausting. Instead of checking your phone every other minute, sign up for job alerts. You can set up job alerts on almost any major job board, such as our Talent Network. You can set up specific job search parameters to receive notifications or emails when new jobs that match your criteria are available. Gone are the days of mindlessly refreshing job boards. Work smarter, not harder, and you will have more energy to pour into your search.

Tailor your resume and cover letter

After you set up your job search alerts, you can spend some of that extra time tailoring your resume and cover letter. Yes, we still recommend cover letters in this stiff job market. You can create templates for these two documents, but you should always take some time to tweak them for each application. For your resume, you want to mirror the job description and pinpoint things in your resume that fit well with the description. Essentially, you want to highlight your skills that match what the employer is looking for in a prospective candidate. In your cover letter, you get the opportunity to be a little more creative. This is your platform to elaborate on your background or skillsets that fit the company’s culture, industry, and mission or vision. Again, you can have a generic template for your cover letter, but you want to tweak it to help you stand out to a hiring manager or recruiter.

Network throughout your job search

Additionally, you want to continue to network throughout your job search. Join groups on social media, become affiliated with professional organizations, and engage with your network. If you are out of work, let your network know! There is no shame in being in-between jobs – it happens to more people than you may think. Share your resume with one of these groups, let old colleagues know you are searching, and introduce yourself to new professionals in your target companies or industries. You never know how a simple conversation can transpire into an interview. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

Be engaging during your interview

Our final job search tip is to be engaging during your interview. Once you secure an interview, you have to do your homework. Research the hiring manager you are interviewing with, do a deep dive search on the company and practice commonly asked interview questions. However, the best way to be engaging is to have questions prepared ahead of time. Your interview will be much more interactive if you have questions ready to ask. This is how your interview can transition into a more casual conversation, allowing you to build rapport with your interviewer(s). Interviews can be awkward for both parties, but acting engaged throughout the entire interview will help you stand out and illustrate your interest in the position.

Are you looking for more job search tips?

So, there you have it. These four essential job search tips will help you excel in your search and improve your odds of securing an exciting opportunity. If you are looking for more job search tips, review our candidate resources! We have hundreds of helpful tips and tricks to share with you.

How To Manage A Surge of Applicants

The tables (unfortunately) have turned for job seekers across the country. Millions of Americans are out of work and are now scrambling to find a new job opportunity. The result has been a surge of applicants for employers of all shapes and sizes. What was once a candidate-driven market is now a job market where employers and hiring managers are in the driver seat. So, if you are one of the many hiring managers receiving an influx in applications, here is how to sift through all of these terrific candidates efficiently.

Focus on skillsets

It is tempting for hiring managers and HR professionals to refine the job applications they have received by eliminating “overqualified” candidates. This is a huge mistake! Thanks to the coronavirus, the unemployment rate is currently 11.1%. Therefore, you will likely get applicants from all different types of backgrounds. So, instead of throwing out an application because someone is “over-educated” or has “too much experience,” focus on skillsets.

If you are the hiring manager, you know what skills are crucial for your open position. Thus, when reviewing applicants, identify candidates that have these must-have skills. This will help you sift through your mountain of candidates and reach out to those who appear to have what your team needs.

Take a close look at applicants’ cover letters

After you filter through the candidates that appear to have the essential skillsets, pair down your applicant pool by cover letters. Many candidates underestimate a cover letter’s power – it gives you a platform to sell yourself and explain all of your qualifications, skills, and passion. If an applicant submits a cover letter with their resume, it shows that they are serious about your opening. Take a few minutes to read through their message. It will be well worth your time as it will give you much more insight into their background, qualifications, and personality. If they go the extra mile in today’s economic climate to write a cover letter for you, you should at least take a moment to review it.

Look for experience outside of your industry

Many hiring managers would prefer candidates that have experience within the same industry as your company. Sure, hiring someone with industry experience might be helpful in certain situations; however, have you thought about the value of bringing someone in who doesn’t have the same industry experience? They may be able to bring different perspectives to the table. This can help your company approach issues that your team has never thought about. And just because they don’t have industry experience doesn’t mean they don’t have the necessary background to do the job. Like we discussed above, focus on skillsets, not getting lost in the nitty-gritty of their qualifications.

So, there you have it. A few simple methods you can utilize to help your team handle a surge of applicants. However, if you are a job seeker looking for some help navigating this challenging job market, here are a few steps you can take to stand out in a sea of applicants.

How to Stand Out in a Sea of Applicants

Millions of job seekers are filling out application after application in an attempt to find the next step in their career journey. It can be demoralizing to spend hours filling out the same information (work experience, education, references, skills, etc.) and striking out repeatedly. Most of us, including myself, have been there. It’s frustrating and makes you feel defeated. To mitigate the pitfalls that come with job applications, you need to think outside the box. Here are a few things you can do to stand out in a sea of applicants and land the job of you deserve.

Leverage your network

One of the best steps you can take to propel your job search is to leverage your professional network. For some reason, people are afraid to ask for help. It may be a pride thing, but you should never be ashamed to reach out to your network for a helping hand. If you are applying for a job and know someone that works at that company, do not be afraid to ask for them to make an introduction. Send them a quick email, shoot them a text, or pick up the phone and call them. Tell them which job you are applying for and see if they can connect you with the hiring manager. Who knows, they may even be able to give you a solid recommendation!

On the other hand, if you don’t even know where to start your job search, alert your network that you are on the hunt. Write a post on LinkedIn to let your network know you are looking for a new opportunity. You never know what’s out there if you do not make it know that you are looking!

Put in that extra work

If you want to stand out in a sea of applicants, you have to be willing to put in the extra work. Trust us; it will pay off! Tailor your resume for each position instead of submitting the same old resume over and over. Really read the job description and identify the key points the hiring manager desires. Taking a few extra minutes to tweak your resume to fit the position better can make all the difference (and help you get past an applicant tracking system!).

Are you crafting cover letters for your job applications? Sometimes cover letters are required while other times there are optional. And you might be giving yourself a high-five in your mind when you see the word “optional;” but if you really want to land the job, optional is not an option. Cover letters are your opportunity to show some of your personality. Sure, your resume can speak for your education, work experience, and skillsets. But your cover letter is your opportunity to really sell yourself to the hiring manager. It’s your chance to bridge the gap between your qualifications and why you are an excellent fit for the company. So, instead of passing on the cover letter, spend the time to craft one that will make your application rise above the competition!

Here’s How To Write A Great Entry-Level Cover Letter

While some may believe the practice of writing cover letters is outdated, many employers are still requesting them. And as if it’s not challenging enough to write a full page about yourself to a prospective employer, how in the world are you supposed to do it with little to no experience? Just because you may be newer to the workforce, doesn’t mean you can’t write a great cover letter. In fact, it could be just the thing to set you apart from the competition and help you land the job.

Express Your Interest In The Company & Position

First and foremost, a cover letter is an ideal place to share your passion and excitement about the job you are applying to. Yes, this does mean you need to customize each and every cover letter you submit! It also means you need to do your due diligence on the company.

What is it about this job listing that initially caught your eye? Explain in detail to the hiring manager why you’re here. Furthermore, when you began to look deeper into the organization, did you see anything that multiplied your interest? For example, maybe the company volunteers once a quarter at the local animal shelter, and that is something you are passionate about. Be sure to include a sentence about your shared values.

Draw On Your Background

Just because you don’t have a wealth of professional experience in this field does not mean that you don’t have relevant talking points in your background! Think about the skills and knowledge you’ve amassed over the years. You’ve probably learned valuable lessons from being involved in athletics or volunteer programs. Did you have an internship in college? Even if it wasn’t in the same field to which you are applying, you surely gained insights that will prove beneficial to your career.

Paint A Picture For the Hiring Manager

Last, but most importantly, paint a vivid picture of why you’re an excellent fit for this position. Allow the hiring manager to imagine you as part of their team. Explain how you would contribute; share the traits that you possess that will allow you to succeed in this role. The better they can picture you on their team, the more likely they’ll be to make you an offer!

Don’t let cover letters intimidate you. While they may seem excessive, they can actually be a great opportunity to sell yourself to a prospective company! Are you interested in more advice on how to establish and grow your career? Check out our Career Kickoff Series or subscribe to our newsletter to get brand new advice delivered straight to your inbox once a month!

Do Cover Letters Still Matter?

In a world where we can apply to a job with a single click of a button, it’s becoming incredibly easy to apply for dozens of jobs in a matter of minutes. And today’s technology sparks an interesting question to many job seekers (especially the younger generations) – do cover letters still matter? Are they still important? The short answer is yes; they can still be an essential component of your job application and a great one-two punch with your resume.

Are cover letters still necessary?

Not too long ago, especially when the job market wasn’t as hot, cover letters were almost mandatory. In today’s market, they may not be necessary, but they are still a great addition to your application. A cover letter intends to introduce yourself as an applicant, highlight your skills, showcase some of your achievements, and briefly explain why you’re a good fit for the team and the position. And you may feel that this isn’t essential in today’s tight talent market, but a recent study illustrates that 26% of recruiters still read cover letters. Another survey revealed that 49% of hiring managers believe cover letters are a great way to bolster a job seeker’s application. So, regardless of what you think, recruiters and employers still value them.

Why are cover letters still important?

Cover letters are a great supplemental resource to reinforce your application. They are a great way to illustrate your soft skills that may be difficult to showcase on your resume. Your cover letter is also an opportunity to explain your passion for a particular industry or career path; it’s also a chance for you to describe situations like job gaps or lack of experience to your prospective employer. Essentially, a cover letter is a great way to highlight anything unique about you and your work experience.

What should they include?

Now that you’re convinced that a cover letter is an excellent asset to your job application, what should you include in it? Here is a brief overview of what they should incorporate:

  • Your contact information
  • Address the letter to the appropriate hiring manager
  • State which job you’re are applying for
  • Explain why you want the job and what you bring to the table
  • Demonstrate that you understand what the company does or stands for and how you fit into that picture

So, whether a job posting directly states a cover letter is mandatory or not, it is always a smart idea to include one. But if you’re going to submit one, ensure you do it right. Unfortunately, you cannot submit the same one over and over. You must tailor it to each position to really impress your future employer.

Ready to kick off your job search? Check out our available opportunities! JSG is ready to help you find that new job opportunity in 2020.

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!

Why Soft Skills Are Becoming More Important in This Tight Market

soft skills

If you have ever searched for a new job, you’ve probably seen soft skills included on a job description. Whether they were weaved into different qualifications or literally just listed out, almost every job description is asking for candidates with certain soft skills. But what exactly are soft skills? And why are they so important? Let’s break it down and illustrate why hiring managers are quickly becoming more and more concerned with them.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are a mixture of social skills, people skills, communication skills, and personality traits that enable people to navigate their environment and work well with others. Essentially, soft skills complement your more technical hard skills.

Soft skills are more intangible skillsets that are unteachable. You cannot acquire these skills; they are inherent traits. Some common examples:

  • Common sense
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Critical thinking

Why are they so desired?

More and more companies are shifting their focus on soft skills. Hiring managers and HR professionals are realizing that hard skills, such as web development or writing, are teachable. On the other hand, you cannot teach someone how to be an excellent problem solver.

In this tight job market, the candidate pool is getting slim. Employers are forced to be less choosy when recruiting candidates. In some cases, hiring managers are forced to hire underqualified candidates or candidates who don’t possess all of the ‘necessary’ qualifications.

In other words, employers are hiring candidates that lack the hard skills for the job. They are choosing to make sacrifices for those who have the necessary soft skills to be successful. Hard skills can be taught, so if employers hire candidates with the right skills, candidates will ultimately be successful with the right training and leadership.

Hiring for soft skills improves retention

Hiring managers are emphasizing soft skills when recruiting new candidates because they help improve retention. If you have an employee with a great personality and all the intrapersonal skills necessary to be successful, they will ultimately become a great culture fit. If an employee is a good match for their role (and the company), they’re more likely to stay put.

How to demonstrate those skills

Now that you know why soft skills are so important, let’s discuss how to demonstrate them when you’re applying for a job. Before you even get called in for an interview, the best place to show them off is your cover letter.

When trying to show off those soft skills, you can’t just list them on your resume, So, weaving them into your cover letter is a great way to show that you have the right skills to become a successful member of the team. When writing your cover letter, you don’t have to directly state what those skills are; however, you can illustrate your unique skill set when talking about your background and work experiences.

Even if you aren’t a perfect fit for the job, if you can illustrate that you have all the soft skills necessary to perform the job, you will probably get offered an interview. And once you get that opportunity, it’s essential to demonstrate them throughout the interviewing process. From your first conversation to your thank you note, you must show you have what it takes to perform the job. If you can prove that you have those skills, most hiring managers would be thrilled to speak with you about the job.