Best Advice for Job Seekers in Today’s Market

posted by Abby Glenn |

Times are tough, but so are you! Don’t let your fear of the unknown cause you to decrease your efforts in finding a job. There are still companies hiring and lots of them. You need to refocus your efforts, and eventually, you will land an opportunity!

Take a look at our best advice suggestions for job seekers for more information on how to refocus your efforts!

Learn New Skills

Now is the perfect time to dig into learning that new skill you’ve been putting off because of time limitations. This could help you stand out from other candidates that are also going after the same positions that you are.

There are many resources available to help you learn new skills such as metadata design, Salesforce integration, and AI for professionals in the Tech field. Take a look at sites such as Lynda.com, YouTube, and LinkedIn Learning, to name a few. These sites have an abundance of video courses in pretty much every field for professionals to boost up your skill sets.

Pro Tip: Make sure you are continually updating your resume and LinkedIn profile!

Strengthen Your Mindset

Listen to podcasts, take an online course; just make sure that you’re strengthening your mindset.

Strengthening your mindset also means taking breaks when you need them. Make sure you’re staying positive and motivated throughout the day. Go for a walk outside, play catch with your dog, or play a game with your kids! Do something that makes you happy and will take your mind completely away from job searching for at least 30 minutes to an hour!

Leverage LinkedIn

We’re sure that you already know the importance of utilizing your LinkedIn profile when applying for jobs, but do you know how to make your profile stand out?

Well, first things first, let’s cover the basics. Make sure your profile is 100% up to date. Your previous job is listed and goes into detail about what you achieved during your time at the company. Your most important skills are listed – don’t just put the maximum amount of skills that LinkedIn allows. You’ll want to make sure that you’re able to back up the skills you list with achievable results and items you accomplished to achieve those skills. Employers are looking at your skills, and anything on your LinkedIn profile is fair game for them to ask about, so make sure you keep this in mind!

Next, update your profile picture, banner, header, and your about section to stand out. Show your personality (while still being professional) and make sure you don’t just copy and paste from your experience section! It’s also vital that you have a professional profile picture and banner. We know that LinkedIn isn’t everyone’s forte, so reach out to us if you would like some help! We’re always here to provide feedback or give you suggestions!

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Referrals

Utilize your network to see who might be hiring. You might have success by reaching out to the decision-makers at a company that you want to work at. Utilize a soft opening when reaching out to these people. Open the conversation with, “I am looking for a job in X, do you know of anything or anyone hiring at this time?” Even if that company isn’t hiring, sometimes getting advice and relationship building will open doors for you. It’s also a good idea to go to virtual networking events. This will allow you to talk to different people who might know of a possible opening for you to look at. 

Get Clear on Your Value

Companies are seeing high volumes of resumes. What are the top three reasons someone should hire you? What’s one thing that makes you stand out from the rest? Be sure that you have this down before jumping into an interview.

How would you go about figuring this out? Well, think about your accomplishments within your previous position. Success stories are really impactful and help you stand out from the rest of the candidates. Hiring managers want to see how you and your skill sets can add value to their company. Giving them results about what you’ve already accomplished for other companies is the best way to do that. How do you go about writing your success story?

Step 1: You’ll Want to Choose and Format Your Success Story

Make sure the story is relevant to the role you’re applying for. You don’t want to just include a success story to have one. You want to make sure that it will ‘wow’ the person reading your resume and make them want to learn more about what you can do for their company.

You want to be able to explain the success story in a way that other people will understand it. One way we recommend doing this is to split up your success stories into the following categories:

  • Fixed: You were able to identify a problem and correct it. Make sure you explain how you went about solving the problem and the results that you had after you settled it.
  • Improved: You were able to take an existing situation, challenge, service, or product that worked before and made it better. Something that you can talk about would be ways that you were able to save your company money.
  • Created: You were able to build a new process, service, or product entirely from scratch.

Step 2: Leave Out Any Tactics

Make sure you start with a draft of the success story

  • Explain the initial situation, your actions and the results or impact that you had.
  • Since you want this to be in a bullet format, start with the model, SAR (situation, action and result). You want a significant impact with few words. Leave out any tactics as they add too much detail. Save tactics for the interview.

Step 3: Include the Right Metrics

You want to make sure that the metric increases clarity and impact and really shows the employer what you have done in the past and can do for them!

Utilize the following metric categories to set up the metrics and how you include them in your resume:

  • Time: How much time did your success story save? Think about months, days, or hours that this saved you or your team.
  • Volume: Think about the units made, number of tasks/projects, or hiring and growing a team – “I improved quality control, resulting in 50% fewer product returns.”
  • Money: Take into account the money you made your previous employer as well as the money you saved them.

The best tips to keep in mind when it comes to the metrics on your resume are:

  • You can always combine metrics to increase the power of your success story.
  • Most of the time, it’s beneficial to include a unit of volume after a time or money metric.

Define Your Job Search Process

Determine the companies that you might want to work for.

Decide how many hours you’re going to work each day and stick to it! Another way that you could manage your time is to choose several jobs to apply to in a day. Make sure that you’re staying positive and don’t give up. It’s going to take a little longer for you to get interviews right now, but you will eventually get some with persistence.

Pro Tip: You should your resume for each job! This not only provides them with the keywords they’re looking for but also shows your determination! Make sure that you’re only applying to the jobs that you’re really excited about. Hiring managers want to know candidates are passionate about the position. You want to show your passion for the job that they have open – don’t just copy and paste your resume to send to them. They receive hundreds of resumes in a day. You want to stand out, offer value and make sure that your skill sets align to the job description that they posted.

Test Your Technology

You landed the interview, now what? Companies are doing off-site, online interviews. You must test your network connection before your interview. This way, you know how the software works, and that your interview will go as smooth as possible with limited issues.

Technology isn’t fail proof, and things happen, don’t stress if something isn’t working right. Just contact the person who set up your interview and let them know as soon as possible.

The Interviewing Process – It Might Take Longer Than Normal

You might not realize it, but this is tough for employers, too! Employers want to get to know their candidates and decide who is the right fit—not just in qualifications but in personality.

Just remember, it’s going to take a while to get through all of the interviews. It’s also going to take time to compile the data from these interviews. They may want to wait to hire you until they can meet you in person, or they may even want to do several video calls before making their final decision. Above all, be patient and stay positive!

Looking for Your Next Opportunity?

We want to help you! During every step of the process, from interviews to debriefs, we’re here to be your guide. Interested? Take a look at our job board and reach out to us for the next steps!

resume on desk

Three Resume Tips from Our Expert Recruiters

posted by Megan Hari |

Here at Swoon, our recruiters see hundreds of resumes a day and are aware of what makes a resume stand out to hiring managers. While each company and position are unique, these three resume tips are relevant for any role in any industry.

The Simple Things Matter

It is important to have a clean, crisply designed resume that is easy to skim through. You can make your resume easy to read by choosing a simple, standard font. You may stand out if you choose a unique font, but not in a good way. If someone cannot easily find the keywords they are looking for, your resume will be dismissed.

You also want to remain consistent in your layout. If you are putting a range of dates on your resume and you spell out the months on one position, do not change this and use abbreviated months in a different position. The same thing goes with bolding and italicising If you bold one job title, bold them all.

Grammar and spelling errors can ruin your chances of getting hired from the start. In most cases, your resume is your only chance at a first impression. Make sure you have triple-checked your resume for mistakes. There are online services such as Grammarly that help explain why certain things are incorrect on your document and what you should do to fix them. Also, it never hurts to have another set of human eyes review your page for anything you overlooked.

PRO TIP: It is a myth that resumes must be only one page in length. If you have a large amount of experience to share, it is okay to continue onto more pages, but remember, nobody wants to read a nine-page resume either.

Keywords

It may seem obvious if you are a designer that you know how to use the Adobe Creative Suite. However, no skill should be left out of a resume, especially if it is a program or certification. Many times, hiring managers will do a search function on resumes, typing in keywords to be sure the resume has them listed. Even if you are a great candidate, you may be overlooked if you are not focused on including these common industry keywords. If you are experienced in Adobe, add the specifics. Do you know Adobe Photoshop, or are you only familiar with Adobe Illustrator? The more specific you can be in these cases, the better.

Tailoring your resume to each individual job description is another great tip. Look for keywords in the job description that you have experience with. Then, be sure to format your resume to include these words. A great perk when working with our team at Swoon, is that we do the tailoring for you. We will make sure that your resume is customized for each role we submit you to. As a bonus, you will get a leg-up on the competition, because we know what the individual hiring managers are looking for in each candidate’s profile.

Quantify Your Successes

Although it will take some extra work, quantifying your efforts is a key tip to getting your resume noticed. Instead of including a bullet point that says:

  • Created and implemented a social media plan that grew the company following on all platforms

Say:

  • Created and implemented a social media plan that grew the company’s Instagram following by 500 followers, Facebook likes by 40% and Twitter followers by 95

Including these numbers shows that you can quantify your work and gives a more accurate story of your success. Be mindful not to include numbers that are insignificant, or do not add value to a statement. You want to highlight your biggest successes in each of your roles, and then mention the day to day functions that can be transferred to the work you would do in the new role you are applying for.

If you are ready to start looking for a job, or simply want to update your current resume, these tips are sure to get you headed in the right direction. As always, we are here to help, so reach out with any questions or apply for one of our open roles today!

Written by: Jessica Henry

video call on computer

How to Stay Connected as a Remote Employee

posted by Megan Hari |

Getting hired as a remote employee is both exciting and scary. There is the opportunity to be flexible with your location and to be more productive without people distracting you. However, there can also be a feeling of disconnect or loneliness as you cannot always be included in things happening in the corporate office and do not have the opportunity to go to someone in-person for an immediate response when an issue arises.

When I was hired to work remotely at Swoon, I didn’t know what to expect. I had my hesitations about not having everyone I needed around me; What if I didn’t know how to do something? How would I get support? However, from the minute I started, I never felt disconnected or left out and have always felt like a part of the “flock.”

Swoon has a plan in place to make sure all employees can work together no matter where they are located. However, not all companies are as aware of this need. If you are a remote employee and are feeling disengaged or left out, here are a few tips to help you get back in the loop.

Video Chat

Set up a brief meeting either daily or weekly where you can speak with your team and/or manager through a video chat application. Being able to see your colleagues is a lot more personable than a phone call and helps build relationships as you get to see each other’s facial expressions and mannerisms.

Companywide Trainings or Meetings

Whenever possible, join in on anything that is companywide. It gives you a chance to interact with colleagues that you don’t usually get to work with. This will also help you to stay current with what the corporate office is doing and the tools they are utilizing. At Swoon, we meet once a week with the whole company to go over numbers, goals, wins, birthdays, events, etc. which helps keep all employees on the same page.

Travel and Visits

As much as you can feel connected through technology, sometimes it is important to physically be in the office with your colleagues. I try to travel to the headquarters at least once a quarter, so I can work with my team in person and plan for the months ahead. It is also important to have company leadership come work from your location, so they can see how your day to day looks. They may be able to come up with ways for you to be more connected by living a day in your shoes.  You should always take the initiative by asking if a travel opportunity is possible and explaining how it will help impact your work.

Make Yourself Easily Accessible

In an office environment, it is easy to walk over to someone’s desk and ask a question or discuss a project. People are usually available to you most of the day except in when in meetings. It is important to have this same accessibility from your remote location. You should be available to respond to emails, phone calls, chats and text in a timely fashion. By minimizing distractions and being prompt with your responses, you will make others know that you are just as available if not more so than their local colleagues.

Just remember, as a remote employee, it may take a little more effort to feel connected with your coworkers. You will have to take control of your connections and reach out often. However, with the right plan in place, you will get the perks of working remote with the feeling of being local.

Written by:
Nicole Vallysedigh
Recruiter

nervous interviewer

What’s Your Biggest Weakness?

posted by Megan Hari |

You have taken all the right steps to prepare for your interview and you are ready to give it your all. You have written down notes about the company and questions you have for the interviewer, you know the job description like the back of your hand, and you have your suit jacket back from the dry cleaner.

The interview starts off great, and you are nailing the questions the interviewer asks. But then, they ask about your weaknesses. You panic. You wonder, “how am I supposed to answer this without hurting my chances at getting the job? Should I say I don’t have any career-related weaknesses?” Take a deep breath.

There are many ways to talk about your biggest weakness that can actually improve your chances of winning the role rather than hurting them:

  1. Be Specific – Don’t throw out a general trait like being lazy or messy. Instead, choose to talk about a software, certification or other skill sets that you have not yet mastered (Excel, foreign language, Adobe Photoshop) and be sure to explain what you are doing to become better at it (online classes, meet-up groups, etc.).
  2. Don’t Give an Example Directly Related to the Role – Of course you may not be as good at Excel as you hope to be, but if you are applying for a data analyst role, this would not be a good weakness to bring up as it is a skill you would often use in this job. You want to make sure you do not make the interviewer question your ability to perform the tasks they need this person to do. Instead, focus on something that is still business related but not something that you would be doing daily in the new role.
  3. Stay Composed and Focused – Do not let this question throw off your confidence. For some interviewers, the whole point of asking about weaknesses is to see how the candidates react to the question. Remain calm and answer just as you would any other interview question.
  4. Don’t be Arrogant – Claiming you don’t have any weaknesses or trying to make a good attribute into a weakness is not a good idea. For example, saying you are a perfectionist or that you are just too well organized may come off as insincere. If you want to focus on something like this, be careful how you phrase it, you might say something like, “Sometimes I am so focused on keeping myself organized and making sure that everything is in its place that I lose sight of the greater goal of a project and the creativity needed to finish it.”

To best prepare your answer to this question, list out your weaknesses ahead of time so that you can choose which weakness is right to discuss at which interview. Interviewing can be a scary and overwhelming process, but it doesn’t have to be. Working with a Swoon recruiter will help you to get your resume recognized, help you prepare for your interviews and the type of questions you will be asked and ultimately easy your interview worries.

 

 

locked cell phone

What to Do Vs. What Not to Do In an Interview

posted by Megan Hari |

Honesty vs. Lying

It goes without saying that indeed, honesty is the best policy, and with interviewing, that fact cannot be truer. Many recruiters, HR specialists and interviewers are trained to see through lies while conducting interviews. So, to stay on the person’s good side, it is best to come into the interview with the most honest approach in speaking about your experiences and answering any other questions they may have. According to CareerBuilder.com, 66-percent of applicants who are caught lying are immediately removed from consideration by hiring managers! This is because it reflects poor traits of character and lack of experience. Here at Swoon, we advise you to stay in the clear by sticking to the truth!

Turning Your Phone Off

Sixty-four percent of hiring managers say that answering a phone call during an interview shows an unfocused, disrespectful candidate as it is one of the fastest ways to lose a job opportunity. Therefore, to avoid this, we advise you to remove the temptation completely by turning your phone off before the interview commences and not turning it back on until the interview is over and you have left the building. This will show that you are taking the interview process seriously – a reflection of your character and what you will bring to the table if given the opportunity to work there.

Dressing Prepared to Score the Job

men shaking handsAlthough judging a book by its cover may be wrong, interviewers do just that; they judge the cover of your resume, the cover of your cover letter and the outfit you use to represent yourself during the interview. Coming to an interview looking too informal, or too over-the-top may leave a bad impression of your understanding of their company culture. We recommend that candidates take the time to research the culture of the company they are interviewing for to decipher an appropriate outfit to use in the interview. Many candidates do not realize that hiring managers are looking for individuals with a key sense of detail as a part of the interview process itself is making sure you dress to impress!

Coming in Unprepared Vs. Being Ready

According to TheMuse.com, many hiring managers detest commonly asked questions revolving around the basics of the company, what it does and how it is organized. This is because they feel such primary company information should already be known and should be a part of the reason why the applicant wants to be with them. Hence, we advise that the candidate does research ahead of time, allowing an interview to transform into a conversation between two individuals who understand the company.

Being ready for the interview can also refer to being able to showcase your skills in accordance with your resume, and that takes practice! Make sure you are up to date on what you listed on your resume and be prepared to talk about your experiences (both the ups and downs of them) and demonstrate your skills through a test or live demonstration. Employers notice that when candidates come to interviews well prepared, there is a certain confidence the person possesses, while inversely, they also can tell when candidates are not prepared due to little displays of internal confusion, timidity and lack of dialogue.

Being Punctual Vs. Coming in Late

It’s 10 a.m. and you are at home about to leave for your interview that starts at 10:30 a.m. Apple Maps says the meeting is about 25 minutes away so you think you will make it with time to spare! Nope. Before you chose to leave so late, have you considered that inevitable traffic jam on the way downtown, where to park or even the time taken to get to the right floor? These little events take time and ultimately, could make you late for your interview!

Hiring managers in a recent survey on Forbes said that one of the first components of a candidate’s success is how punctual he/she is. Therefore, it is advised that arriving 10-15 minutes early allows you to use the restroom, locate the office and focus on the task at hand – acing the interview! Additionally, being on-time shows employers how you conduct yourself in a typical work environment. Also, when you are rushing to not be late, the adrenaline in your body may hinder you from mentally getting ready moments before the interview. Being punctual will help when it comes to your overall consideration – much more than you think.

With these tips on how to conduct oneself in an interview using good preparation and attention to details, you really can land the opportunity of your dreams. Observing these steps is the easy part. Now, go and use them to ace the interview!

All the best!

Written By: Osora Mojekwu

 

 

 

https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2018-05-15/is-your-networking-strategy-falling-short?hootPostID=aee7dd3d767f067092da44f75162f430

https://www.inc.com/rhett-power/13-things-not-to-do-before-amp-during-a-job-interview.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikaandersen/2014/06/03/please-dont-do-these-9-things-in-an-interview/#220655057a34

https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/why-interview-based-blogging

Six Things You’re Doing Wrong in Your Job Search

posted by Megan Hari |

Most of the mistakes people make when job hunting stem from a lack of self-awareness and rigid thinking. The people who get jobs are the people who understand what employers are looking for and present themselves best in that light.

1. Use your online time wisely.

The internet pushes so many things at you that it can lull you into a state of pure reaction. You click, you read, you respond to an email, you like a few things, you send a message. All of these things can have some meaning when it comes to finding a job, but it’s easy to get carried away and pushed into distraction.

2. Your Resume isn’t a list, it’s a communication tool meant to position you as the ideal candidate.

Too many people fail to think about how their achievements will be received. They don’t make it easy for people who are hiring to see that they would be a great candidate. They present the person they want to hire with more work to do, as opposed to providing a solution — which is what they want! Duh.

3. Talk about how you overachieved.

Maybe you can get a job by showing how you do only what’s expected of you, but most employers don’t want to have to keep working to find you work. They want to see that you took an active role and forwarded the company’s strategies and objectives on your own steam.

4. If no one’s returning calls, re-examine your approach.

Maybe you’re telling your friends you really need a job because your boss is such a jerk. Well that’s probably not going to strike a positive cord. Maybe you need to express positive curiosity and don’t make people feel like they have to solve all your problems. Ask if they can introduce you to so-and-so or have lunch with you to discuss the type of work they do.

5. Back to the online thing: Ok you need an online identity.

Liking an exquisite picture of a corn beef sandwich on Facebook doesn’t really bolster your online identity. However, you should have some sort of footprint online for people to learn more about your skills and talent especially if you’re angling for a higher position.

6. Be as specific as possible when talking about your success.

Any good storyteller will tell you that it’s the details that seal the deal. It’s what people remember. It’s what makes everything real. So it’s important to have backstories and context to all the challenges you met head on.

You may not think of any of this as fun, but given how dynamic our economy has become and how the path to real career growth is laid out, these are skills you are going to need to build on. You can’t do it all overnight. Work at these things and hone them. This is what gives you power over your own destiny, yeah, it’s really that important, but don’t worry. You can do it.

About Swoon

We are recruiters with an unorthodox method and a proven track record of temporary and direct hire placements. Through an approachable method to recruiting we get to know our clients and candidates then connect the best and the brightest with Fortune 1000 companies nationwide. Are you ready to be Swoon’d?