Addressing a Negative Work Experience in an Interview

Most of us have had a job that left us feeling overworked, underappreciated, or just downright mad. Often, these jobs are on our resumes. How do you respond when you are asked about a bad job in an interview?

Why did you leave?

It is ok to be honest if asked why you left; just say it with grace. Instead of saying, “They treated their employees like dirt, and I just couldn’t take it anymore,” say, “I felt underappreciated at that job and felt that my skills could be better used elsewhere.” Try to end in a positive, e.g., “But it made me realize how much I loved {recruiting} and I would like to grow my skills at a well-rounded company like {JSG}.” By no means should you humbug your way through the interview as if everything is daisies and roses, but it is important to show the interviewer that you are hopeful for the future with their company.

What were the positives of the experience?

Very few negative experiences are all bad. You can talk about the parts of the job that you did enjoy. Did you learn to love the type of work you were doing? Have you learned to recognize the value of good coworkers? Did you gain some valuable experience in the field? Emphasize these points.

How did you learn from the negatives?

You can also talk about what you learned from the challenging experience. Did you learn the value of good leadership? Did you figure out what you do and don’t want in a company? How did you grow from this? Maybe you learned what does and doesn’t motivate you. Explain how this and other past experiences have molded your career path.

Past experiences are just that—part of our past! Do not let a negative experience impact you to the point where it jeopardizes future jobs. It does not deserve that power over you. Rise like a Phoenix from the ashes!

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!

9 Things You Can Do Differently at Work in 2019


When you think about it, the new year is a great time to make resolutions. You get to start off the year fresh, and it’s a perfect time to take initiative and fall in love with your job again! As the year goes on, New Year’s resolutions fall to the wayside but making positive changes at work can be easy to keep. A great attitude, organization, and holding yourself accountable are just a few of the many things you can do this year that will improve your work!

Here are nine ways to help you achieve more at work in 2019.

Positive Attitude

It’s always easy to say things like, “this year I’m going to be happier.” But there are certain steps we all must take to achieve this, and one of them is staying positive. At work, a positive attitude can change a lot of things for you. It can help you get along with co-workers who can be a struggle. It can help you be someone who tries to make every day count no matter what happens.

And the biggest one is it helps you enjoy what you’re doing more. Attitude is a huge part of feeling like you’ve made a difference and accomplished something. Without it, work, no matter how much you like it, can be something you dread. And in 2019 that’s not what anyone wants!


Keeping yourself more organized with work will help you in more ways than you think. It will help you accomplish projects sooner, be able to take on more responsibilities, and feel less stressed when things get busy. Being able to keep things organized well is a step that will show your appreciation for your job and your willingness to go over and beyond to get things accomplished.


Hold yourself accountable. When you make a mistake, take the blame. When you didn’t finish a project by its deadline, or you know you will need more time, tell someone. Being accountable is a huge step that employers want to see in an employee. No matter good or bad, if you’re accountable for what you have promised to do, you will be very successful.

Take Credit for your Accomplishments

When you achieve something, help the company reach a goal, or win an award, take credit for it. Staying humble is an important part of any job but don’t let your hard work go unnoticed. If you’ve put in tons of time for something, it’s okay to be proud and show it off. If you worked hard and won an award don’t shy away from sharing it with your network. Accomplishments are something everyone strives to have. Granted, you don’t always want to be recognized for the little things. But, instead of shying away from the recognition, take credit for what you’re rightfully deserving of it.

Goal Setting

Setting goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable not only for work but for 2019. We all have things we can work on and that are weaknesses, especially at work. So, taking the time to write down the goals you really want to achieve and how you will accomplish them only helps you be more successful. And by writing them down, you’re more likely to accomplish them.

Help Others

Sometimes going over and beyond your duties can make an impact on not only your company but yourself in general. Helping others at work shows your initiative to want to make the company better as a whole. It demonstrates that you’re a team player who helps your team and company accomplish more. A great leader is one who wants to see their team succeed. So, if you’re wanting a change of pace or to really move up in your company do more than what is expected of you.

Push Yourself and Your Team

No matter if you’re the manager, team lead, or just your average Joe, you have the capability to make a direct impact on your team and your company. By pushing yourself you will help others strive to be better too. The impact you have is greater than you think, especially when it comes to achieving goals and accomplishing them as a team unit.

Step out of your Comfort Zone

It’s easy to stay within your comfort zone at work. You know what you need to accomplish and what keeps you getting a good job from your boss. But by stepping outside your comfort zone you not only set yourself up for success, but you also help push yourself to achieve more and be a better employee. At times, you can feel like your extra and hard work may go unnoticed but by doing this, you’re allowing yourself to reach your full potential. And that will never go unnoticed.

Say Yes More and No Less

When you’re in a position you enjoy and at a company you love, saying yes more and no less will tremendously impact your time there. Not only will it help you move up the ladder quicker, but it will also get you noticed by those who matter. Helping and being present to always do what you need to do even if it’s extra work is rare to find nowadays. So, if you try implementing this technique in 2019, it will surely help you accomplish and receive kudos you never thought you’d receive this year.

Starting off the new year right at work is important. It provides a clean slate for you to make improvements and it gives you the chance to really hold yourself to a higher bar. Because you will only achieve what you set your mind to. We’re wishing you a great year and we hope these tips help you be more successful at work in 2019!

You Can Still Land a Job by The End of The Year

Land a JobWith December upon us, it can be easy to assume that stopping your job search until the new year, is a good idea. But truth is, most companies are looking to fill their critical roles before the end of the year. This way they can have you trained early in the new year. Stopping your search at this time could just add to the length of your job search. And if you have the right tools and strategies, it is possible to land a job by Christmas!

Now is one of the best times to find a job

Not only is the job market hot and an awesome place for candidates, but this time of year is also a great time to land a job. Summer and the end of the year months are usually the perfect time to make a move. Not only for you as a candidate, but for clients as well. It’s a time where there is more vacation, budgets are being discussed, and there is less work on people’s plate. And to be honest, a lot of companies have needs to hire before the beginning of the year begins.

So, just because it’s the holiday season and people are on vacation, doesn’t mean it’s a time for you to stop looking. It really should be the time you speed up your search.

You have more time to apply

With extra vacation being taken you probably have more downtime to apply to the jobs you’re wanting to. This allows you more opportunities to personalize your resume and find the great opportunities you would have missed if you were rushing to find a job. Also, a lot of companies are on a time crunch. So, if they can get you in for interviews as soon as possible, it only helps your chances of being given an offer and for you to land the job you’ve been hoping for.

Scheduling interviews can be easier

So with that, scheduling interviews can be easier during this time of year because everyone is usually slowing down. There aren’t doing as many meetings, projects, or finishing of proposals as they are holding out on those until the new year. Which means, they can then focus more time on interviews.

Reach out to contacts

This is a great time to check in with references or people you know who may have awesome positions you can apply to! Networking is a great way to stay on top of new adventures in your career. And using them to your advantage can take you on a path you never thought you’d take. You never know, someone may be the in you need for your next dream job!

Companies are wanting to move quickly

During this time of year, budgets are getting set, and companies are also realizing where they need help. If there’s a critical position that still isn’t filled, it could really be affecting their production. Which in turn, will make them want to move even quicker, with the right candidate.

December is an impactful time for companies to hire, too. They know for certain what they need. And if they can get that from you, they will pick you up in a heartbeat. Especially, in today’s job market. Companies are starting to realize how important it is to move fast on great candidates.

The end of the year may seem like a bad time to job hunt, but it can actually be the best time. Whether it’s time crunches, needing to fill a critical role or budgets, most companies are willing to hire and beat the first of the year rush.

So, if you’re looking for a role, and are ready to move, reach out to one of our recruiters here at Johnson Service Group. We would love to see what we can do for you and your future career goals!

Are You Making Sure to Appreciate Your Job and Career?

Appreciate your job

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, being asked what you’re thankful for is a phrase we are all bound to hear multiple times. But when this question is asked, do you ever say your thankful for or appreciate your job? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably in a place in your career where you’re happy and have the opportunity to grow.

And this is important in life. They say one of the biggest stresses in life if your job. So, of course, making sure you enjoy is important! And if you don’t, well, there is a way to change that and I’ll explain how!

Appreciate Your Job by Focusing on the Little Things

When it comes to being thankful and appreciating the opportunities you have at your job, start small! Appreciating the little things will not only start your day off right, but it will also remind you of the importance of why the little things matter. Appreciating not having to work on the weekends, to be around people you enjoy, to make a steady income. These are all little things that can help remind you of the good if you’re stuck in a rut or are too stressed out.

When Things are Hard, Stay Positive

Staying positive and optimistic in negative situations only improves your state of mind. And with a positive mindset, you can conquer any issue you’re facing, especially if it’s work related. Having a hard time with a co-worker? Take a step back and ask yourself if it’s worth the headache.

Feeling overwhelmed because you’re super busy? Take a breath and remind yourself you won’t be this busy forever. The end of the year can be the busiest, but there is an end in sight and maybe some vacation time!

Think About What Makes This Job Good

Are you able to work from home? Are your hours great? Do you love what you do? Or maybe you have great co-workers? Each of these things can help remind you to be appreciative of your job. Not every day is going to be a great or bad day. And reminding yourself that can be a job saver when you’re having a tough time remembering why you appreciate your job!

Work-Life Balance, Do it!

If you’re not balancing your work and your life, you’re going to burn out. And whether that means burning out the people you love at home or ruining your life at work, you don’t want either of these to happen. So, make sure you balance out your expectations and know you need to step away from your work for your own sanity. This will keep you on the appreciation track.

A Job is More Than the Work

A job is so much more than work. It’s trying new things, it’s learning new skills, it’s being more than yourself, and it can be one of the most rewarding things you do. But if you don’t remember the impact you, have you will surely stop appreciating your job. So continue to dive into the fact that you are more than your work and you have more impact then you think.

Not the job for you? Here’s How to Find A New One

Now if none of these help you find the passion and joy back in your job and career… You do have options! You can reach out to anyone here at Johnson Service Group and we’d be happy to help you find your spark again.

With today’s candidate-driven job market, you shouldn’t be having to fight through a job that is making your miserable. No matter how hard you try to stay positive. So, if it’s just not working where you’re currently at don’t stay. Reach out to Johnson Service Group so you can find your next amazing career move! We have hundreds of exciting new job opportunities that could possibly be the perfect fit for you!

The Dos and Don’ts of a Winning Reference List


When it comes to adding references, you should pay a lot more attention to it than most people normally do. References can make or break your chances of getting a job, and if they do, you normally won’t know who or what they said to change a prospective company’s mind… So, the best way to avoid this is by choosing the right references. And if you follow these Dos and Don’ts, you’ll be able to almost guarantee that your references won’t hurt your chances of getting the job!

DO – Ask for permission

When adding someone to your reference list, you want to ensure you’re asking for permission. Especially, if it’s been a while since you needed references, reminding them and asking if it’s okay will help you get the best response. And make sure you have their right contact information as well as helping them be prepared for calls.

DON’T – Assume someone will say yes

Just because someone has let you use them as a reference before doesn’t mean they’re okay with it now. Time passes, and other people come and go in different positions. So, it’s very important that you never assume it’s a yes.

DO – Have a list of references before applying to jobs

Doing your due diligence before applying to a new job is only going to help you be prepared. If a company asks for references, it’s a lot easier to just send a list you have ready. Instead of having to scramble for the best ones to send. Being prepared will always keep you a step ahead and more likely to get the position.

DON’T – Wait until the last minute to ask for a reference

Waiting only leaves you in a vulnerable position. This can affect whether you find great references or good ones. And this small difference could change the opportunity of you getting the job or not. Even though some people like to think these details aren’t as important, having a great reference compared to only a good one could really affect a company’s decision about you.

DO – Update your list as often as you can

Especially, when you’re receiving promotions or have moved companies. In these situations, you’re working and collaborating with different people that would probably love to be a part of your reference list. So updating it when you can is beneficial.

DON’T – Provide a reference list until asked

There is no need to put a reference list on a resume when you’re first applying for a position. You first want the company to think you’re a good fit. And, if you’re working with a recruiter, you may not want another company calling your references before speaking with you. (Because you may still be working with people on your list and you may not be ready for them to know you’re looking). There are lots of reasons we say wait, but this way you don’t get sabotaged in any way and it helps companies really be interested in you first.

DO – Add Professional’s

Make sure all your references are from a professional nature. And having them from different jobs or volunteer commitments just helps show that you’re a great person to work with and you go over and beyond in all your endeavors.

DON’T – Add Your Mom, Grandma, or any family

I hope that you all can say you’d get raving reviews from family members. So, your references should not include them. Your family is here to support you on your journey, but this is probably one thing we’d recommend they aren’t helping you out on.

These Do’s and Don’ts should keep you prepared with great references that will help you land the job you’re working so hard to get. And now you know everything that will make you achieve a winning reference list!

How to Get A Job Right Out of College

how to get a job right out of college

Congratulations to all the college seniors who are just a few short weeks away from graduating! I know it can be hard to focus on the job hunt with finals approaching, papers to write, and presentations to prepare for.

However, before you start celebrating your final semester, it’s time to start searching for your first step in your career. If you want to have a great job lined up before you even graduate, follow these five steps.

Start early (and be proactive)

This is the first (and most important) step in landing a great job right out of school. You’ve heard the expression “the early bird gets the worm.” This couldn’t be more relevant for students hitting the job market. The longer you wait to begin your job hunt, the more opportunities you’ll miss out on.

The recruiting and interviewing processes are often lengthy and convoluted, so you want to make sure you get a jump start on the competition. Hiring managers typically start the recruiting process early because there are multiple rounds of interviews before a decision is made.

If you start early, you will have plenty of time to review job descriptions, apply for multiple jobs, interview, and evaluate offers, all before those pesky finals and papers start clogging up your schedule.

Work on that resume

To ensure you are at the top of the stack of applicants, you need to create a tailored resume for every job you apply to. Now, that doesn’t mean your resume should be completely different for each job, but you should customize it with keywords and skills that are relevant to the job.

To get started, you should create a generic resume. Add your education, work experience, achievements, and all the other great things about yourself. Head over to your career center on campus and have a career coach take a look at it to ensure everything is formatted correctly. After you have your resume template completed, you can add specific keywords and details that will help you get past Application Tracking Systems (ATS).

By having a template of your resume completed before you start your post-college job hunt, you will be ready at a moment’s notice to apply for any job you come across. After all, being prepared is half the battle!

Get social

I am sure most of you already have a LinkedIn profile. However, you need to optimize your profile to grab the attention of recruiter and hiring managers. You need to ensure your profile is completely filled out and optimized with specific keywords for your industry.

A good headline will contain relevant keywords to help your profile be more discoverable. For example, a good headline for a college senior seeking a marketing job would be “A marketing professional seeking new opportunities.”

You also need to become an active member on LinkedIn. Join groups and participate in discussions. Publish articles directly on LinkedIn about experiences you’ve had at your internship or interesting discoveries from a research paper. By being active on LinkedIn, you’re more likely to find job opportunities and you show recruiters that you’re knowledgeable in your field.

Be open-minded

In all honesty, you probably won’t land your dream job right out of college. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t land a great job that will lead you on the right path!

Don’t hesitate to apply for numerous jobs. The more you apply, the more experience you gain in the recruiting process. Your first job is your chance to explore a new field and grow as a professional; don’t be discouraged to apply to a bunch of different jobs! And if all else fails, if you get a job offer that you’re not sold on, it’s perfectly okay to kindly decline it and keep hunting.

Partner with a recruiter

If you really want to gain exposure to numerous job opportunities, partner with a recruiter! Recruiters will help you through the interviewing process and increase your odds of getting hired.

Don’t be afraid to connect with recruiters on LinkedIn. This is a great networking opportunity! Recruiters love connecting with prospective candidates and most are happy to share career advice with you.

If they don’t have something for you now, they likely will before you graduate. And guess what? They’ll remember you a will reach out to you when they have an opportunity that is a great fit!

Good luck and happy hunting!

H is for Hired: What to Do After Getting Hired

what to do after getting hired

Congratulations! You nailed your interview and you just received an offer from your dream job. Now what? You accepted the offer over the phone with the hiring manager. But what do you do next? When do your resignation with your current job?

Navigating the time between when you receive an offer and the first day of your new position can be tricky. Here is what you need to know for a seamless transition to your new job.

Wait for the official offer letter

Before you even think about submitting your two weeks’ notice, you need to wait for the official offer letter from your new employer. Technically, nothing is official until you receive, review, sign, and submit your offer letter.

Don’t submit your notice until you have carefully reviewed your offer letter. Read the fine print. Make sure it matches everything previously discussed and it coincides with what you are looking for in a new opportunity.

Now is the time to ask the hiring manager or HR any questions on benefits, paid time off, or any other questions you may have. If the offer looks good and you like everything you’ve heard, you’re ready to cross your T’s and dot your I’s.

Put in your two weeks’ notice

After you send off your official offer to your new employer, it’s time to submit your notice. Now, this can be one of the most difficult (and awkward) conversations you’ll have at work. However, it’s necessary to move on to your new opportunity.

Obviously, this is a conversation you will need to have in person with your boss. And make sure you tell your boss first. I know you may want to tell your closest co-workers, but the professional thing to do is to tell your boss in person, first.

Depending on your relationship with your boss, you can either head over to their office and ask to speak with them in private for a minute or you can schedule a meeting on their calendar. I know this is a difficult conversation, but just be honest and candid with your boss.

Have a last day in mind, (typically two weeks from your notice) so you can tell your manager when they ask. Thank them for the opportunity to work with them and express your gratitude for working with them. Shake their hand and move on to the next step.

Depending on your organization, you may need to draft an official letter of resignation. Keep this short and to the point. Basically, the letter needs to include a statement of resignation, your job title, the company you are resigning from, and the date of your last day of work. If you need help, The Muse offers a great guideline for writing a resignation letter.

Understanding what your first day will look like

Now that you have officially accepted your new job opportunity and put in your notice, you are probably curious about what your first day will be like. You may be wondering to yourself “what should I wear?” or “where do I go on my first day?” or even “what is my team like?”

Almost everyone has asked themselves these questions when starting a new job but don’t seek out the answers. Want to know what the office dress code is? Ask your new boss or someone in human resources. Want a better understanding of the dynamic of your new team? Look them up on LinkedIn and get a feel for who you’ll be working with.

Starting a new job can be very overwhelming. Getting a better idea of what your new work environment, the makeup of your team, or even just something as simple as knowing where to park on your first day, will help you put some of those nerves at ease.

Relax and enjoy the ride

Take a deep breath and relax. You deserve it! Enjoy the last few days at your current position and get excited about your new career path. Add your colleagues on LinkedIn and save the contact information with those that you want to keep in touch.

Accepting a new position can be stressful, but if you follow these guidelines, you will have a smooth transition into your new job.