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Identifying and Highlighting Your Strengths

How do you properly advertise your strengths to a potential employer? Which strengths should you choose highlight? Potential employers want to hear about their interviewees’ strengths in action.

Identifying Your Strengths

What are the strengths that you should emphasize? Reflect on previous jobs or schooling experience—what traits were valued by your coworkers and peers? Did they recognize your great organizational skills? Were you known to be a great communicator? Think about what traits make you good at what you do. Choose around 3 and stick to emphasizing those. You do not want to muddy the waters by trying to highlight too many traits at once.

Highlighting Your Strengths in your Resume

The days of listing your strengths on your resume are LONG GONE. Employers want to see how those skills are applied to the work that you do. Note the characteristics that you have identified and write the job descriptions on your resume to highlight how you used those qualities. Check out this article on how to write your resume.

Highlighting Your Strengths in an Interview

Use what you wrote in your resume as a jumping point to present those skills in your interview. Speak on your experience and how it can be translated into what this new job demands of you. In an interview, it is more appropriate to explicitly state your strengths than it is on your resume. Example: “I would say that one of my strengths is organization, so the planning aspect of this position would be something I could do well in.” It is okay to brag on yourself a bit, as long as you have experience and examples to back yourself up.

Note your what you are good at and lean into it—they are what make you successful! Do not be shy when it comes to showing your potential future employers what you can bring to the table.

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!

Tailor Your Resume To Get The Job You Want

Your resume is the first introduction your potential employer gets to who you are. Although it may seem like a lot of pressure to put on one sheet of paper, a lot is riding on how you approach compiling your previous experience. Here is how to tailor your resume to make yourself the most attractive candidate you can be:

Use a base, and work from there

Keep a base version of your resume with good bones. This will have the basics like your education and most recent jobs. From there, you can use your job descriptions to make yourself appealing to each potential employer. Avoid using one resume for every job application. (See our previous article here about why mass applying results in burnout). Highlight skills you would use in each specific job you are applying to. Use the job description provided by the company to guide you in emphasizing valuable skills from past jobs.

Separate “Relevant Work” from “Additional Experience”

Having these two categories in your resume can show your experience and your soft skills to your potential employer. “Relevant Work” is the place to show concrete skills and experience that you can directly apply to the new position. “Additional Experience” is a place to show other skills that may be attractive to an employer. For example, you may be applying for an engineering job but have experience volunteering with retirees. Mentioning this on your application can signal to the employer that you are good with people and care about those around you. This does much more than just listing your soft skills.

Quantify your experience 

Numbers catch the eye. Companies love to see the tangible impact of your work, especially if it relates to the job you will be doing for them. Providing this gives real evidence of what you can accomplish as their employee. Some examples are “X number of units installed,” “X number of candidates placed,” or “X number of clients served.”

Tailor your resume and make your first impression count—make them want to learn more! Keep it concise and relevant, and let your interests and personality shine through in your previous experience. Happy hunting!

Should You Make A TikTok Resume?

In September, the social media giant TikTok announced it surpassed 1 billion global monthly users. Over the last few years, this social platform has been surging, and thanks to the pandemic, more users are signing up to watch funny videos and keep up to date with social media trends. One of these trends is a new job search strategy: making a TikTok resume. But is creating a video resume and posting it on TikTok a suitable strategy for your job search?

Why TikTok resumes?

Besides the massive user base, TikTok recently launched a new program called TikTok Resumes. This new tool encourages users to create and post video resumes and helps employers find new talent. A video resume is a short recording highlighting your skill sets, background, and what you can bring to the table. However, TikTok provides a platform to insert fun visuals, music, and other effects to make your video resume stand out in the masses. Plus, with 130+ million users using #careertok and another 445+ million using #jobsearch, you have plenty of ways to be discovered. Nevertheless, this job search strategy may not be for everyone.

When is it appropriate to make a TikTok resume?

Making a TikTok resume can be an effective and fun strategy to catch the eyes of hiring managers or recruiters. But is this strategy appropriate for everyone? The short answer is no. If you are a marketing professional or recent graduate, this can be an effective strategy to get your resume out there. Creating a TikTok resume is an excellent way to highlight your strengths, illustrate your personality, and can be relevant to specific roles you are applying for. Big companies like Target and Shopify are leveraging this social media to tap into new talent pools. So, if an employer is openly using TikTok as a recruiting tool, it may be wise to consider creating one. But if you are unfamiliar with this platform or you are applying for a senior-level role, this may not be the strategy for you.

Regular social media job search rules still apply

TikTok can be a creative tool for your job search; however, regular social media rules still apply as they affect your job search. Review your privacy settings and ensure they are what you want. Of course, if you are making a resume on TikTok, you want it to be discovered. Therefore, you must have your privacy settings set up accordingly. But remember that with a public social media account, hiring professionals can see other content, such as the videos you like and share, the people you follow, and your personal posts. Be mindful of the accounts and content you engage with, as it can impact your chances of receiving an interview (or even a job offer!).

Here’s an example of a TikTok Resume if you are ready to make your own!

@coop.cm

Tiktok do your thing! Check out ➡️ #TikTokResumes #TikTokPartner #productmanagment #jobsearch #graduated

♬ original sound – Christian 🚀

Resume 101: Back to the Basics

Writing a resume is both intimidating and overwhelming. It’s challenging to sum up your background, work history, skill sets, and education in a concise document that you then submit to a complete stranger. Your resume is often your first impression during your job search, so it must be bulletproof. However, that’s easier said than done. As your career changes, so does your resume, so it can be tricky to craft a perfect document for your job application. So, we are bringing you back to the basics to help you construct a winning CV!

Avoid overcomplicated resume templates

When you go to create or redesign your resume, stick to simple and clean templates. Services like Canva or Microsoft Word offer creative and colorful templates. Some of these templates and designs are fair game, but it’s best to pass on overly complicated templates. Unless you are a graphic designer, keep your format simple. Use nice, easy-to-read fonts, use clear section headings to organize the different content on your resume, and avoid adding a headshot to eliminate any unconscious biases. Plus, “fancy” resume formats can confuse application tracking systems, and thus, filter your application out before a human can even review it.

Don’t forget your contact details!

This may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised with how many people forget to include part or all of their contact information. The best location for your contact details is right at the top, so hiring managers and recruiters can quickly reach out to you about the positions you are applying for. Also, now is a great time to review your contact details. Is your email address one you check often? Is it professional? If it’s a goofy or inappropriate email you made back in high school, it might be time to create a new email address.

resume contact details

Work history, in reverse chronological order

After your contact details, it’s time to add your work history. Display your work history in reverse chronological order and include your job title, company name, time frames you worked there, and the location. For each role, add key responsibilities and duties and tailor them for each position. Use concise bullet points and include action verbs, specific numbers to illustrate your achievements, and use keywords that tie back into the job description.

Education section

After your work experience, you can display your education. Include the school’s name or program’s title, your degree or certification, relevant course work, and attendance dates. Unless you are fresh out of school, it’s best not to include your GPA (if you include it, don’t add it if it’s under a 3.5 GPA). If you are applying for mid-level positions or higher, you can forgo everything except the school, program, and degrees or certifications. If you are well into your career, you can save some space by removing your graduation dates and relevant coursework.

Skills section

Adding a skills section may be new to many job seekers, but it’s one of the most important areas on your resume. This section is your opportunity to illustrate how well you fit for the position you are applying for. Carefully review the job description and reflect on your hard and soft skills that are relevant for this position. For this section, all you have to do is list your skills to show the hiring professional that you are a solid match for the position. This area is also an excellent place to insert your transferrable skills. Transferable skills are vital for job seekers transitioning to new industries or career paths because they allow you to demonstrate your fit for the role, even if you don’t have direct experience.

Certifications

Your certifications section is straightforward. All you need to do is nicely list out any certifications you have earned, the issuer of that cert, and the date the cert was achieved. List out all your certifications, with your most relevant ones at the top of the list.

Looking for more resume assistance?

So, there you have it. This is a concise overview of crafting a bulletproof resume. If you are looking for more resume advice to take your job search to the next level, check out our candidate resources. We have dozens of articles with helpful resume guidance to help you find your next career opportunity!

How to Respond to “Walk Me Through Your Resume”

At the beginning of a job interview, the hiring manager will typically start the meeting off with an introductory or ice breaker question. This question usually is some iteration of, “Tell me a little more about yourself.” However, some interviewers may also begin an interview by saying, “Can you walk me through your resume?” So, what’s the difference in this interview question, and what are hiring managers looking for in your response?

What the interviewer is looking for

When an interviewer asks you to walk them through your resume, they are looking for a brief overview of your work history. Essentially, this is your elevator pitch of who you are and highlights what you bring to the table. This question is your chance to connect the dots between your experience, skill sets, and qualifications to paint a picture of your candidacy to the hiring team. In other words, it’s kind of like audibly going through the same details you would share in a cover letter but with a human element since you have the platform to present it face-to-face in your meeting.

Tailor your answer

So, now you know why interviews ask you to walk them through your resume, how do you formulate your answer? Well, just like your resume, you must tailor your response here to fit the role you are interviewing for. The things you touch on must be relevant for the position you are meeting about. If you don’t have certain qualifications that are imperative for this position, this is your opportunity to elaborate on your transferrable skills. If you are well into your career, there is no need to go over every position you’ve had. Don’t go beyond 10 – 15 years. This overview is supposed to be short and sweet, like an elevator pitch.

Current, past, future

So, before you launch into your answer, you have to ensure you have the proper framework. It’s best to kick off our answer with your current position and skillsets. This position is where you should focus your energy because it will likely relate to the job you are interviewing for. Next, touch on your past roles. Briefly give a high-level overview of your duties, responsibilities, and projects as they relate to this new position. Finally, wrap your answer up by discussing the future. This is where you explain your career goals and why this position is an excellent fit for you. Using this format will help you deliver a concise yet effective response to “walk me through your resume.”

Practice makes perfect

The hiring manager asking you to walk through your resume is a common interview opener, and thus, you must practice your response. Yes, you should tailor your answer for each position, but your first impression will be lackluster if you don’t have your response pinned down. Practice rehearsing your response out loud to help you sound confident during your interview. If you are not ready to answer this question, you will likely start to ramble, and your response will be more incoherent. This response sets the tone for the rest of your interview, so you must have it ironed out to receive that job offer!

Want more interview advice?

The next time an interviewer asks you to, “Walk me through your resume,” you will be ready to answer this question confidently and effectively. If you are interested in more interview advice, take a look at our blog! We have hundreds of helpful articles with tips, tricks, and examples to help you nail your interview. Good luck!

How to Combat Ageism During the Pandemic

Recently, conversations around ageism have surfaced as we continue to learn how the pandemic affects generations differently. The last year-and-a-half has been challenging for most workers as we all navigate this unforeseen job market. Some people are thriving while working remotely, while others are anxious to get back to the office. And others are taking a different approach. According to The New School’s Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, more than 2 million people retired than what was expected (from March 2020-2021). Although some of these early retirements were voluntary, many were due to older workers struggling to find new opportunities.

In fact, 63% of unemployed people aged 45 or older have been out of work for longer than a year. That’s compared with 52% of job seekers ages 35 to 44 and 36% of those ages 18 to 34. So, what can you do to combat ageism during the pandemic? Here are a few tips to help you secure a new job during these challenging times and overcome age-related stereotypes.

Overcoming ageism stereotypes and perceptions

Every generation has certain stereotypes; however, Baby Boomers, roughly aged 57-75 years old, have two bitter (and often inaccurate) stereotypes.

  • Older workers are technologically inept
  • They are unwilling to learn and won’t get along well with younger workers

Of course, these are just stereotypes and don’t apply to most older workers. However, you can leverage your application materials to help combat these ageism stereotypes.

Beef up your resume

If you are an older job seeker, you can overcome these stereotypes by beefing up your resume. First of all, you can add a skills section to your resume to showcase all the technologies you know how to use. In the pandemic-era job market, employers are placing a significant emphasis on technologies that we embraced while working from home. Also, if you have any certifications that prove your knowledge of particular technologies or tools, make sure you add those to your resume, too. If you don’t have any certifications, there are plenty of inexpensive or free courses you can take online to beef up your resume.

Make yourself more discoverable

Secondly, it’s essential to make yourself more discoverable online so hiring professionals can easily find you. The best platform to accomplish this is LinkedIn! Job seekers in younger generations have the advantage of learning about new roles because they are more likely to be active on LinkedIn. Sure, most of you have a LinkedIn profile, but that’s not good enough. If you just make one and let it sit there, you cannot expect recruiters to find you and reach out to you about potential opportunities. Just like your resume, you have to regularly update your profile to reflect your latest skills, experiences, and certifications.

Additionally, LinkedIn has some great features to help you let recruiters know you are open to new opportunities. Turning on LinkedIn’s “open to work” feature will trigger that you are open to learning about new jobs and encourage hiring professionals to reach out to you.

If you want to take your LinkedIn to the next level, here’s how to craft a perfect LinkedIn summary to snag a new job.

Partner with a recruiter

If you feel that you are struggling to combat ageism during the pandemic, try reaching out to a recruiter. Recruiters can be your job search’s best weapon. We take the time to understand your background and skills to match you with opportunities that fit your career goals. If you are interested in learning more about how a professional recruiting firm can take your job search to the next level, reach out to us today! At JSG, we work hard, we work together, and we work for you.

Recipe For A Resume That Will Land You A Job

When it comes to cooking up an effective resume, there are a few essential ingredients. Individually, they tell a broken and murky history of your past. But put them together and you’ll craft a complete story of your relevant qualifications. Follow this recipe for a resume that will land you a job.

Ingredients

3 cups employment history (diced into what’s most relevant)

1 cup education

5-10 related skills

A Handful of keywords from the job description

Top with contact information and professional links to taste

Directions

  1. Start by preheating a blank document with a simple layout, sans-serif font and, clear headings. We love these free resources for resume templates:
  1. Next, add in your employment history. It’s important to note that you don’t have to include ALL of your past jobs.
  2. Dice it up into the 3 or 4 most relevant positions to the job to which you are applying.
  3. Fold in your education. No need to include high school information; stick to college and above. When it comes to details, less is more! List your school, major, and dates of attendance. Skip GPA and relevant coursework unless you’re applying for an internship.
  4. Once your background is fully prepped, sprinkle in a handful of keywords from the job description. Of course, only include keywords that apply to you. Adding relevant keywords will help push your resume through ATS and screening recruiters.
  5. Last, top with contact information and any relevant professional links. We recommend leaving your address off, so only include your name, phone number, and email address. Professional links could include your portfolio, LinkedIn profile, or virtual resume.
  6. Let your resume bake for at least 10 minutes, then come back to proofread. We recommend utilizing a service like Grammarly to check for any spelling or grammatical errors.

An optional (but recommended) additional step is to send your completed resume to a trusted confidant for editing. This could be a mentor, ex-coworker, parent, or friend. Just be sure to emphasize that you are looking for honest feedback! Ensuring it’s free of embarrassing grammatical errors is the perfect last step of cooking a recipe for a resume.

A recipe for success

There you have it, a perfect recipe for a resume that will land you a job! If you are looking for more resume advice, check out our blog. We have hundreds of helpful tips, tricks, and advice to help make your job search a success!

4 Basic Job Search Mistakes To Fix Immediately

Searching for a new job can be overwhelming, especially if you have been on the hunt for a while. If you are one of the millions of people gaining confidence in your career prospects and you’re ready to make a move, it’s time to brush off those cobwebs. Here are four job search mistakes you must fix immediately to secure your next job opportunity.

Your LinkedIn profile is MIA

Did you know that 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary recruiting tool? With over 6 million jobs currently available in the United States, and over 180 million users, LinkedIn has a plethora to offer. Even if you are not a “social media person,” LinkedIn is a must-have job searching tool! You can create job search alerts, connect with hiring managers, and filter job search results to find the exact opportunity you are looking for.

If you are not on LinkedIn, how do you expect hiring managers to find you? Sometimes the best opportunities are the ones you don’t even have to look for.

Furthermore, you must update and optimize your LinkedIn to make the most of this powerful tool. Update all your work experience, add your skills and certifications, and craft an eye-catching summary. If you want to attract hiring managers, you must get your LinkedIn up to date before starting your search.

Your resume and application materials are stale

Secondly, if you’re applying for jobs with stale application materials, you’re guilty of one of the biggest job search mistakes. Spend some time tailoring your resumetweaking your cover letter, and refreshing your references. Even if you are working in the same position since you last updated your materials, it’s essential to include your most relevant and newest qualifications. So, take an evening to add your quarantine skills, latest accomplishments, or projects, and ensure your references are accurate and ready to vouch for your candidacy.

You aren’t showing off your personality

Your experiences and your qualifications are vital when searching for a new job. However, if you fail to inject your personality into your candidacy and application materials, you likely won’t get far in the hiring process. Hiring managers are looking for more than just your skills; most hiring professionals want to see a glimpse of your personality. Of course, you have an opportunity to do that during an interview. But if you can give hiring managers an idea of who you are outside of work before your interview, it may help you get over the hump. You can easily do this by sharing your hobbies on your resume or having a little fun with your LinkedIn profile.

Thank you notes are lackluster (or non-existence)

Are you one of the 13% of job seekers that never send thank-you notes after your interviews? If so, this is one of the biggest job search mistakes you can make. Sending a brief thank-you note is an effective way to showcase your gratitude, reiterate how excited you are about the position, and remind the interviewers how well you align with the role. If you do send thank-you notes, make sure you are making the most out of them to really leave a strong impression.

Here are some thank-you note best practices to help you seal the deal after your next job interview.

Looking to avoid more job search mistakes?

So, if you are ready to make a career move, avoid these four job search mistakes. If you are interested in reviewing more advice to take your search to the next level, take a look at our blog! We have tons of helpful job search, interviewing, and resume advice to help you stand out from the competition. Or, if you are ready to get started, review our jobs here! We have hundreds of exciting opportunities across North America.

How To Job Search While Currently Employed

As the economy recovers, employees are leaving their current positions in droves. Throughout the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, many clung to less-than-ideal jobs for the sake of stability. Now, they are ready to take the next step in their career! If you find yourself in this position, you may be wondering how to do this successfully in a market that is still full of unknowns. Don’t worry; we’re breaking down all our best tips to job search while currently employed so you can land that next position. 

Be Respectful of Your Current Employer 

One of the most important things to keep in mind as you search for a new job is to be respectful to your current position. Don’t spend time at work looking for new jobs or working on your application materials. When the time comes for interviews, try to schedule before or after work if you can. If that’s not possible, be sure to block that time off on your calendar as an appointment. There is no need to disclose more information, but you do need to be transparent about your time away. 

Worker Smarter, Not Harder 

As you job search while still fulfilling your current position’s duties, your time will be limited. This is why it is essential to work smarter, not harder! First, sign up for job alerts that match your expertise on sites like IndeedLinkedIn, and Johnson Service Group. Then, spend a few evenings or a weekend getting your job materials updated. You will still need to customize your resume and cover letter for each position, but having good solid templates will save you a lot of time in the long run. 

Know Your Must-Haves 

Time is of the essence during a job search, which is why you must utilize it to your advantage. You don’t want to waste your time pursuing jobs that won’t be the right fit. So, before you jump into a job search while currently employed, make a list of your must-haves. These should be non-negotiable items that you will not sacrifice in your next position. Think of things like remote work options, flexible schedules, matching 401k, and opportunities for advancement. It’s nice to distinguish these from the “nice-to-have” perks that you’re willing to forfeit.

It’s part of your career journey

Despite what societal expectations may say, it is okay to search for a new job while you’re employed. In fact, it’s an essential part of designing your career to be exactly the way you want it. However, these guidelines will help you do it the right way! If you’re interested in more job search and interview tips, take the time to explore our candidate resources.