How To Finish Your Job Search Strong In 2020

How To Finish Your Job Search Strong In 2020

What a year it has been. If you’re one of the millions of North Americans who spent the greater part of this year searching for a new opportunity, you’re not alone. As you prepare for a new year and look forward to a fresh start, here are a few ways to finish your job search strong in 2020.

Establish Productive Goals

There are many factors affecting your job search that are totally out of your control, especially this year. So, to end the year on a positive and productive note, focus on creating goals for things you can control. Whether it’s applying to a particular number of jobs per week, dedicating a certain number of hours towards free online courses per day, or even just reaching out to contacts at target daily. Achieving small goals will give you a sense of accomplishment and help you take concrete steps towards progress.

Continue Expanding Your Network

Referrals are one of the most powerful tools you can have in your job search. It’s important to continue expanding your network of professional contacts during your downtime. Write personalized messages on LinkedIn to people at your dream companies, join mastermind groups focused on your industry, and even put yourself out there with a social media post. No one can help you land a new job if they don’t know you’re looking!

Cultivate Your Online Presence

In today’s world of social distancing, your online presence is more important than ever. Do you have a personal website featuring your resume and highlighting your skills? It can be an excellent way for a potential employer to browse your portfolio. If your career is in sales, marketing, or customer service, it can even be beneficial to start a blog!

Take Some Time To Recharge

Yes, it’s okay to take some time off from an active job search! It’s imperative that you recharge so that you’re able to fully commit yourself to find your next career step. Be sure to soak up time with your loved ones and reflect on what you really want in your next position.

Don’t be discouraged if you’re ending 2020 without your dream job. Take this time to reset and prepare for a new year full of new opportunities. If one of your goals is to add more job search experience to your arsenal, explore our candidate resources!

job search habits

Four Job Search Habits to Elevate Your Success

Searching for a new job is never easy, and searching for one during a pandemic creates many more obstacles. Times are tough for millions of Americans, both economically and socially. Some hard-working professionals have been out of work for most of the year. The daily job search grind can wear you down after a couple of months, and it can be easy to start working harder instead of smarter. Here are four job search habits you must adopt to elevate your success.

Refine your job search

The first job search habit you must adopt to find your next career opportunity is to refine your search. There are thousands of job openings out there, and it can be overwhelming to sift through them all. To save time and find the right job for your career goals, you must improve your search strategy. Refine your search parameters by inserting quotation marks around your desired job titles. This will force the job boards you’re utilizing to only show you results that exactly match your search terms.

For example, if you are searching for Human Resources Manager positions on any major job boards, you will likely get hundreds of results. That is because they will show you any jobs containing all or part of your searched title. However, if you add quotations around your searched title, like “Human Resources Manager,” this will significantly refine your search and show you more relevant job openings. This is an easy way to narrow your search and make it easier to find jobs that meet your needs.

Save your application responses

Some job applications take forever to complete and seem a little outdated. I think we have all applied for a job, submitted our resume, and then had to essentially retype your resume to answer basic questions about your work history and education. An easy solution to mitigate this headache is to save your common job application responses. Having common questions ready to go will save your time and make your job application process much smoother! With less time wasted answering questions, you can shift your focus on applying for other jobs or tackling some online courses.

Clean up your inbox

The easiest way to elevate your job search is to keep your inbox clean and tidy. It’s easy for your inbox to quickly become cluttered after signing up for a few job search alerts. And as you apply for jobs and receive application confirmations, interview requests, and other communications, your inbox can quickly become a mess. Keep your email organized by creating folders and deleting unnecessary emails. This will reduce some stress when it comes time to find an important email. The last thing you want to do is miss out on a vital email, such as an interview request, because it got lost in your inbox. Organize your emails as you go, and you will be amazed at how much easier your search will be.

Be selective with your job applications

The last job search habit you must adopt to elevate your job search is to be more selective. One of the most common job search misconceptions is the more jobs you apply for, the better your odds. However, this is absolutely a myth. You should carefully review each posting before you apply for it. Read the job description from top to bottom and lookup the company. Don’t set yourself up for failure by applying for a job you are not qualified for or one you do not even want. The goal is quality over quantity applications. “Applying for jobs that fit your professional experience may receive better response rates than ones that do not,” according to Indeed.

These four habits are easy to incorporate into your search strategy and improve your success in landing a new opportunity. Good luck!

The Single Best Way To Submit Your Application Materials

The Single Best Way To Submit Your Application Materials

While many companies utilize ATS to acquire applications, it’s also popular to email them directly to the hiring manager or recruiter. If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to submit your application materials via email, it’s essential that you get it right! Here are the things you need to keep in mind to email your application materials successfully.

Nail The Subject Line

Hiring Managers get a LOT of emails. That’s why it’s imperative that you include your name and the title of the job you’re applying for in the subject line. This will catch their attention and allow them to categorize your application correctly.

Kick It Off With A Proper Introduction

In the past, it was considered proper to address emails with “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.” However, the job process has modernized quite a bit lately. Hiring teams prefer to have a little more of the human element in their hiring process. Jump on LinkedIn to do a quick search for the hiring manager’s name. If you can’t dig up a name, go with something personable yet professional like “Dear Hiring Team” or “Hi JSG Accounting Team.”

Reference How You Heard About The Position

Candidate source is a very valuable metric for recruiters. It will earn you instant brownie points if you mention how you heard about the position! Additionally, if you were referred by someone who works there, it will establish that connection right off the bat.

Show Your Excitement

Enthusiasm is extremely underrated. Don’t be afraid to share your excitement when you submit your application materials! For example, state, “When I came across this position, it immediately caught my attention because I’ve admired your company for a long time!”

Close Strong

In your closing paragraph, explicitly state your interest in the next steps. Keep it simple and confident. For example, “Thank you for taking the time to review my application. I look forward to hearing from you and learning more about this opportunity.”

Don’t Forget Your Contact Information!

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how often people forget it! Just because your contact info is on your resume or cover letter doesn’t mean it’s enough. If a hiring manager wants to contact you, their first stop will be your submittal email! Be sure to include your full name, email address, and phone number.

Your application materials speak for themselves, so keep your submittal email simple. Stick to these guidelines when you submit your application materials via email, and you’ll exponentially increase your chances of hearing back from the hiring manager.

Interested in more job search advice? Explore the rest of our resources here!

3 LinkedIn Features To Take Advantage Of Before The End Of The Year

3 LinkedIn Features To Take Advantage Of Before The End Of The Year

LinkedIn has always been a cornerstone of the professional world. However, they are making updates daily to help you step your professional game up even further. Today we’re sharing three LinkedIn features you need to take advantage of before the end of the year, especially if you are in the market for a new job!

Stand Out To Employers

With everything that has happened this year, LinkedIn has really stepped up to help job seekers. Let employers know that you are open to a new job by adding a #OpenToWork photo frame to your profile picture. Additionally, head to your LinkedIn Settings to signal your interest to recruiters at companies you’ve created job alerts for. Last but not least, take the #OpenToWork feature to the next level by sharing your resume and including the hashtag.

Step Up Your Networking Game

Networking is now easier than ever on LinkedIn. You can create group chats to talk with groups of professionals and peers. Additionally, you can now streamline your conversations with emoji reactions. If you’re familiar with Facebook chat or iMessage, this is right in line with the type of communication you’re used to. Lastly, you will soon be able to launch face-to-face talks. Later this fall, look for the opportunity to switch the conversation to Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans, or Zoom.

Put Yourself Out There

Finally, LinkedIn is following in the footsteps of your favorite social media sites, Facebook and Instagram, by implementing “Stories.” Via the mobile app, you can now upload a short video for 24 hours – allowing you to share quick, professional updates. You can mention other users, add fun stickers or text, and even upload an image. This feature is perfect for sharing that you just completed a certification, an uplifting, professional story, or that you’re #OpenToWork.

If you’re interested in more tips for using LinkedIn features or updating your profile, explore our advice here.

5 Things To Do For Your Career This Fall

5 Things To Do For Your Career This Fall

Going into the fall and holiday season, many people feel like taking some time off until the new year. However, this downtime can actually be the perfect opportunity to make some serious advancements in your career. Don’t wait until the new year to make changes; here are five things you can do for your career this fall.

Take An Online Course

With all of the time we’ve spent at home lately, it’s the perfect opportunity to add some new skills to your professional portfolio. There are plenty of free and paid sites that will provide education on any skill you’re looking to add. From software development to diversity hiring, you can find an online course for it.

A few online resources: LinkedIn LearningCoursera, and Udemy.

Absorb Professional Development Content

Fall is a great time to cozy up and absorb some professional development content. So, no matter your favorite platform, find some professional development content that fits your future goals. Whether it’s a book, audiobook, podcast, YouTube video, or even a mastermind group on social media.

Some of our recent favorites: Atomic HabitsThe GaryVee Audio ExperienceWork It Daily,

Find A Mentor

A mentor is one of the best ways to build connections and open doors for your career. Examine your current network. Is there a manager, professor, or family friend that has a career you admire? They don’t necessarily have to work in your industry or your field of work. Simply find someone who you can turn to for advice and professional guidance.

LinkedIn is our favorite place to foster networking relationships.

Refresh Your Resume

Even if you’re not actively looking for a new position, fall is an excellent time to refresh your resume. Add any new skills you’ve acquired during the quarantine period, elaborate on recent positions, and make sure the format looks clean and organized.

We recommend starting with a template like these from Microsoft Word and Google Docs.

Reset Your Goals

By reassessing your goals starting now, it sets you up for success in the future. Start thinking about your intentions and priorities. What will be most important to you through the fall leading into the new year? Is there anything you can accomplish before the end of the year? Maybe even start prepping for goals you can achieve next year.

We like this article about How To Set Ambitious Career Goals You Can Realistically Accomplish.

Final Comments

Keep in mind; fall is a perfect time to make significant strides in your career. For more ideas and inspiration for career advancement, explore our candidate resources.

employee referral

The Power of An Employee Referral

Many candidates underestimate the power of an employee referral when it comes to your job search. A referral is never a sure-fire way to a new job; however, they can improve your odds of a hiring manager or recruiter reviewing your application. A referral from a former colleague or professional connection is an endorsement for a particular position. Securing a referral will require more legwork, but in today’s job market, it is worth the extra effort.

Almost guarantees a resume read

When a former colleague, classmate, or a personal friend refers you to their employer, it almost guarantees that a hiring manager or recruiter will review your resume. When there are dozens or even hundreds of resumes to review for an open position, recruiters will almost always take a co-worker’s referral seriously. After all, if someone is willing to stick their neck out and recommend a candidate, putting their reputation on the line, a recruiter will likely take a look at your resume. If you receive a good referral, you can expect your resume to be put on top of the pile.

Employee referral programs are there for a reason

Employee referral programs exist for a reason – they typically produce better candidates. Many employers reward their staff for successful employee referrals to encourage good recommendations for candidates. We have an employee referral program at JSG to encourage our team to recommend new candidates! A good referral can save a company a ton of time in the hiring process, reduce costs associated with vacancies and recruiting efforts, and, ultimately, generate better candidates. So, if a company has a formal program for referrals, you, as the candidate, will likely get the benefit of the doubt, and a recruiter or hiring manager may spend a little more time reviewing your resume. It’s a win-win for everyone!

How to secure an employee referral

It will take some time and effort to secure an employee referral; it will also take some foresight. Securing a referral is much easier if you have a prospective employer in mind. You can then see if you have any connections that work (or have previously worked) there. It will also take some networking. It is challenging to secure a referral if you are not putting yourself out there. You must engage with your professional network on LinkedIn, reach out to new connections, and let your job search be known to the public. You must continue to network throughout your job search, so you are at the forefront of your connections’ minds when a new position opens up at their company.

maintain motivation during a job search

How to Maintain Motivation During a Job Search

The path of any job search has obstacles and challenges to navigate. Even seasoned professionals can struggle to find motivation while searching for a new opportunity. This lack of motivation, especially with everything going on in the world today, can be detrimental. If you have been looking for a new job for months, it is easy to lose focus and feel defeated. As a result, the process tends to linger on. If the outcome is looking a little foggy, here are three ways you can maintain motivation during a job search.

Develop a search strategy

The most efficient way to tackle your job search is to develop a strategy. You will likely find yourself stuck in the mud if you are just aimlessly applying for jobs. Instead, create a plan that will help elevate your search. Take a hard look at your skills, experience, and industry background to mindfully apply for jobs. Your strategy will help you identify positions that are a good fit for your background and career goals; it will also assist with weeding out jobs that may not be a good use of your time and energy.

Be sure to regularly reassess your strategy as your job search continues. If you have been looking for months with no luck, it may be time to rethink it.

Take care of yourself

There is an old myth that your job search should be your top priority, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This belief is absolutely incorrect – YOU should be the top priority at all times. That means your mental and physical health, as well as your family, should take precedent. If you are not your best self, your job search will suffer, so be sure to make yourself a priority. Schedule breaks, (safely) socialize with friends and family, get some exercise, and ensure you are getting enough rest. If you hit a brick wall with your search, don’t be afraid to take some time off. Like with work, you have to separate yourself so you can maintain motivation during a job search and come back feeling refreshed.

Continue to leverage your network

Throughout your search, you must consistently leverage your network. That means you cannot just reach out to a few people initially and call it good. To be effective, you must engage with your network and reach out and introduce yourself to new professionals in your desired fields. LinkedIn is your best bet for building up your network.

Make a post sharing that you are open to new opportunities and ask connections for introductions to hiring managers. You never know who someone else knows until you ask. Also, if you don’t share that you are out of work, how can your network support you? Continue to leverage your network through every step of your job search (and be sure to share with them when you finally succeed!). Talking with your network will help you maintain motivation during a job search and unlock doors you didn’t know existed.

These are just a few ways to maintain motivation during a job search. Please take care of yourself, take time to separate yourself from a stressful search, and use your connections to help you succeed!

How To Address A Layoff Throughout Your Job Search

How To Address A Layoff Throughout Your Job Search

Unfortunately, layoffs have been an all-too-common occurrence recently. As companies try to adjust to a volatile market and ever-changing circumstances, millions of people are suddenly without a job. As you jump back into the job seeker pool, it can be uncomfortable to discuss your layoff. Keep reading for some tips on navigating a layoff, and even making it work in your favor when taking the next step in your career.

Leave On A Positive Note

Your job search starts the moment you receive notice of being laid off. As unfortunate of a situation as it is, handling it gracefully at the moment can pay off in spades. Leaving on a positive note opens the door for a favorable recommendation and the ability for a future employer to confirm that you were indeed laid off rather than fired. So, keep an upbeat attitude and vow to continue a business relationship with your peers and leaders. 

Note It In Your Job Application Materials

Every piece of material you submit should note your layoff. You can include it in your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and actual application. Keep the mention of it brief and as simple as possible. Seeing it in your materials explains a short stint of employment and gives the hiring manager context surrounding your past employment. Additionally, it will likely spark further conversation during an interview.

Briefly Discuss It During Your Interview

“Why did you leave your last position?” is an extremely common interview question. Knowing that it will probably be addressed allows you to prepare ahead of time. Write a quick pitch explaining the layoff. Most importantly, keep it simple. Your interviewer doesn’t need to know the details, only that you were laid off, when, and why. Leave any personal feelings out of it! Then, you can pivot into your future career.

Use It As An Opportunity

While it’s easy to get bogged down in the negative details of being laid off, there can actually be plus sides! Craft your narrative to explain what you’ve been doing since your last position to further your career. Maybe you’ve taken an online course, attended a training, freelanced, volunteered, or even took the time to refresh and redefine your career goals. Employers love to see a candidate that makes lemonade out of lemons!

Need more job search tips?

Addressing a layoff is only one piece of the job search puzzle. If you are looking for more helpful job search resources, we have you covered. Johnson Service Group has hundreds of useful tips and tricks to help you take the next step in your career. Check out our candidate resources today and rise above the competition!

didn't receive a job offer

Three Simple Reasons You Didn’t Receive A Job Offer

Have you ever walked into an interview, thought you nailed it, only to be stunned a few days later when you didn’t receive a job offer? That is one of the most gut-wrenching feelings, especially in this economic climate. Not receiving that job offer can fill you with self-doubt and throw your entire job search off. It can leave you asking questions like, “what’s wrong with me?”

The good news is that you are receiving job interviews, which is one of the most challenging steps in any job search! In other words, there is nothing wrong with you or your qualifications. However, it means there is something during the interviewing process that can be improved upon to secure that elusive job offer! Here are three simple reasons you didn’t receive a job offer after a solid interview.

You didn’t do your homework before your interview

No matter how qualified you are for a job, you have to do your homework before your interview. You must do some research on the employer’s website, social media, or a quick Google search. Hiring managers will ask you a variety of interview questions to test your knowledge of the company or to assess your fit with the team. These questions are challenging to answer if you don’t do your due diligence. You could be the most qualified applicant for the role but fail to receive an offer because you didn’t connect the dots between you and the company.

You didn’t portray confidence throughout the process

It is crucial to portray confidence throughout the hiring process. From your first interaction to your last, you have to prove that you can succeed in the role. If you are uncertain about your fit with the position, hiring managers will notice. Illustrating confidence in your background and abilities is even more crucial if you switch industries or career paths altogether. If you can’t trust yourself, how is your new employer supposed to trust that you are the right applicant for the job?

Doing your research will help you confidently answer interview questions. Body language and appearance also play a significant role in how your confidence is illustrated. If you are slouching in your chair, not making eye contact, or underdressed, these will all show a lack of focus and confidence. It is even more challenging to show off your confidence over a video interview, so be sure that you are prepared if you haven’t had one in a while.

Here are a few tips to help you ace your next video interview.

You didn’t follow up with a thank-you note

Many candidates believe a thank you note is an outdated or unnecessary step in the interviewing process. Unfortunately, these job seekers could not be more mistaken. A thoughtful, personal thank note is like a big red ribbon on a present. It will help you stand out in a sea of applicants in today’s competitive job market. A thank-you note is your final elevator pitch; it gives you the ability to concisely thank your interviews while reminding them of your skills, background, and culture fit. Too many candidates fail to send a genuine thank you note. By spending a few minutes after your interview to thank each of your interviewers, you could separate yourself from the competition.

Here are some of our favorite templates for post-interview thank-you notes that will leave a lasting impression.

Need more job search tips?

These are just a few simple reasons why you may not have received a job offer, even if you are a strong candidate. If you are looking for more helpful job search resources, we have you covered. Johnson Service Group has hundreds of useful tips and tricks to help your job search excel. Check out our candidate resources today and rise above the competition!

Resume Mistakes

This is One of the Biggest Resume Mistakes

With over 14.5 million Americans receiving unemployment benefits right now, many people around the country are working hard to update their resumes. Whether it’s been a few years or just a few months, updating your resume can be a daunting task. It’s very easy to update it once and submit your “masterpiece” with every job application you complete. However, not tailoring it is one of the biggest resume mistakes you can make. If you want to elevate your job search in today’s competitive job market, you must tailor each resume you submit.

You don’t have to rewrite your entire resume

Let us clear something up when we say you should be tailoring your resume for each position; we don’t mean you need to completely overhaul it. Rather, you must customize it to match each position. Chris Villanueva, Founder and CEO of resume writing company Let’s Eat, Grandma, articulated this well. In a recent interview on LinkedIn’s #GetHired Live, he suggests having a universal resume with all your basic information and positions but making “micro tweaks” for each job.

In other words, build a basic copy of your resume with your contact information, education, experience, and all of your other essential responsibilities. That will be your template. Then, before you apply for a new position, make these small tweaks to better match your resume to the position. Tailoring it will help you attract the eyes of hiring managers and recruiters, helping you avoid one of the biggest resume mistakes out there!

How to tailor your resume

Tailoring your resume to each new position may sound cumbersome. But with a resume template that you have thoughtfully crafted, it’s actually pretty easy. If you find a job that you would like to apply for, carefully review the job description and highlight the most critical skill sets, needs, or qualifications. Then, take a look at your resume and see what you need to add, remove, or tweak to make it better fit this position. It’s hard to customize a resume if you don’t understand what the hiring manager or recruiter is looking for in a potential candidate!

Looking to avoid more resume mistakes?

If you are looking for more resources for crafting the perfect resume, check out our candidate resources. We have dozens of blogs with helpful resume advice to help you secure your next opportunity!