Throughout our Create Your Best Job series we’ve focused heavily on identifying your skills, strengths, passions, and career goals because in our decades of helping people find work, we’ve come to accept a difficult truth: There is no job security.
If you’re looking for work now, it likely will not be the last time. Once you find your best job, continue to add to your skillset so your value to employers grows over time.
Average Number of Jobs in a Lifetime
The Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report in 2019 that tallied the number of jobs people born in the years 1957 to 1964 held from between 18 and 52 years of age. This group, often called the Baby Boomers, held around 12 different jobs in their lifetime.
That number might be significantly more or less, depending on age, ethnicity, education, industry, gender and other factors. For example, data shows that some workers currently between the ages of 25 and 34 stay an average of 2.8 years at each job. Public sector employees have longer median tenure than their private sector counterparts.
Still, whatever way you look at it, gone are the days when people work 40 years for the same employer and retire with a pension. Loyalty isn’t what it used to be. Employers hire and fire based on marketplace changes and demand fluctuation. Employees will readily leave for better pay or more attractive benefits. Local, national and global events change economies without warning.
So actually, there is no job security. The best job security is maintaining a marketable skill set. It’s best to be proactive so the next time you’re looking for work, you’re even more marketable than you are now.
4 Tips for Making Yourself More Marketable
Think of yourself as an actor or actress, currently evaluating scripts to find a job that will enhance your value. Let’s say you land what might be the role of a lifetime, a part that fits you perfectly. You throw yourself into that role and for a season, that character is your reality. However, at the same time, you know eventually the show or play will come to an end, so as much as you love the part, you’re constantly preparing for the future.
As an actor, you hone your skills. You note where you excel, and make a plan for correcting weakness as you see it emerge. And, you keep your ears open for the next opportunity, hoping to find a new job before this one ends.
It’s the same way in the job market. Once you find your current best job, prepare yourself for the future by doing the following.
Constantly Acquire New Skills
Keep track of what skills employers are looking for, and start acquiring the ones that aren’t already in your toolbox. Use online tools to add accreditations and certifications. Take advantage of employer-sponsored education whenever possible.
Learn New Technology
The more you know about computer operations and software applications as they apply to your field, the more valuable you are to employers. Technology influences almost every line of work, and it’s always changing, so it’s always a good idea to keep adding to your knowledge base.
Look the Part
Once you find your best job, don’t give in to the temptation to let things slide in terms of professional attire, grooming, posture and presentation. Maintaining a professional appearance and demeanor helps you look and feel like a winner every day. Both managers and recruiters will take note.
Stay active in your professional association. Mentor others who currently are where you’ve been. Volunteer in your community. You’ll build satisfying relationships now and have useful connections should you need them in the future.
Why Use Brelsford Personnel
Even if you change jobs every two or three years, there’s still a period of searching and waiting between jobs. At Brelsford Personnel, helping East Texas candidates and employers connect is something we live every day. So perhaps we can help.
The job market can change drastically. But we’ve been a part of area employment for long enough that we’re uniquely qualified to help you know what to expect and how to navigate the waters. If you are ready to pursue a new career or have been caught in a lay-off, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help!
The fact that you’re reading this says you’ve already discovered that the Internet is packed with resources that can help you find a job. You’ll use online resources at every stage of your job search, from browsing job boards to research, to emailing resumes and cover letters, and following up on those emails. However, every day job seekers make online mistakes that hold them back. Follow these online best practices to create your best job.
Stay Out of Rabbit Holes
The Internet is one of the best ways to research job openings, companies, and positions. It also can be a time sucker. Be thorough, but know when to stop surfing and move to activities that will put you in contact with people who can hire you. Limit online research to no more than 30 percent of the time you spend job searching.
A large percentage of employers now prefer candidates to complete an online application. It’s great to be able to apply for work from your couch, but it’s also time consuming to fill out each employer’s online forms. There’s a tendency to switch to autopilot or to rush through completing fields. Make sure you proofread carefully before you submit every application.
Follow These Email Best Practices
Often you’ll send cover letters and resumes by email. When hiring managers post jobs, they’re frequently inundated with candidates, so you might only have one chance to stand out.
Use an Appropriate Email Address
If you’re currently employed, don’t use your work email address. Send from a personal address that sounds professional and as simple as possible. If your personal email address uses a nickname or something cute, get another one just for your job search.
Write Compelling Subject Lines
Your subject line might be the most important part of your email because if hiring managers don’t read what you sent, you have zero chance of getting an interview. Here are a few examples of subject lines that get hiring managers to look at your cover letter and resume:
Paperwork You Requested
Bilingual Receptionist Job – Your Name
Referral From Tammy Green, Your Name, Candidate for Administrative Assistant Position
When they open your email, decision makers should find a clear, concise statement of who you are, what position you’re applying for, and why you’re qualified. Think of this as your two minute commercial formatted for email.
Stick to standard fonts and formatting, with black typeface. Avoid using emoji or acronyms. Don’t get too creative even with your signature line. Keep it simple, but include the following:
First Name, Last Name, Title Email Address Phone Number
Some companies prefer to receive cover letters and resumes in the email body, while others prefer candidates to send them as attachments. Follow their instructions, since some organizations block email with attachments to prevent viruses.
Send attachments as a Word document unless the job posting says otherwise. Save your documents with clear file names like “First-Name-Last-Name-Cover-Letter.doc” and “First-Name-Last-Name-Resume.doc” so the hiring manager knows what he or she is opening.
Send yourself a test email to double check your spelling, grammar, subject line, and attachments. Sometimes reviewing one more time prevents embarrassing mistakes.
Check Frequently, Reply Promptly
Check your email at least once a day, and reply to prospective employers as quickly as possible. If you can respond immediately, you may catch them while they’re still at their desk and you’re fresh on their mind. Always respond within 24 hours to avoid missing out on an opportunity.
Don’t Let (Social Media) Friends Drag You Down
At this point, you should have already gone through your social media feeds and removed any posts that don’t show you at your professional best. However, your online contacts might inadvertently make it hard to keep them that way. Let your friends know not to tag you in party photos or any other photos you don’t want prospective employers to see. Also, convey your preferences to that friend who always tags you when he or she posts political rants or inappropriate memes.
Silence Technology for Interviews
Part of technology etiquette involves knowing when you shouldn’t be plugged in. Don’t forget to turn off notifications when you’re heading into an interview. If your phone goes off you’ll be distracted and the hiring manager might feel getting a job with them isn’t your top priority.
Use Care With Follow Ups
Apply the same careful proof-reading skills, politeness, and professionalism to all follow-up communication. Don’t limit yourself to online interactions. After an interview consider hand-writing your thank you note to stand out.
Use Free Brelsford Personnel Resources
Visit our job board frequently for updates and check out our dynamic library of online job search resources.
When you’re looking for work following up isn’t optional, it’s mandatory. Let’s talk about when, how, and why you should follow up.
Why Does It Matter?
Employers want to hire individuals who are confident in their ability to do the job and also sincerely interested in working for them. When they have multiple qualified candidates and it’s tough to choose, much of the time they will go with the person they feel is most eager to work for them. You become that person when you follow up.
When to Follow Up
Develop a record-keeping system that helps you remember to follow up in these situations:
After you send a resume – In your cover letter, indicate that you would like to follow up a week after submitting it, and then do that.
When an employer reaches out to schedule an interview – The day before a phone, in person, or video interview is scheduled, follow up to confirm the details (and show your interviewer you’re both organized and excited at the prospect).
After each interview – As the interview comes to a close, ask everyone you met for a business card (so you have their email address). Then, send a thank you letter or email the same day or within 24 hours. Before you hit send, check and double check how you spelled their name and that you entered the correct email address. If a staffing firm scheduled your interview, send them a thank you note as well.
After a referral – If someone gave you a lead, let them know when you follow up and keep them informed of your progress.
When you provide references – Let everyone on your reference list know they might be contacted.
When you get a job offer – Send a thank you note to your new employer to express your enthusiasm for their offer.
How to Follow Up
Email is often the best way to reach out. It might be tempting to call the person directly, but sending an email shows you are extremely interested in the position, but you also respect his or her time. However, if the employer sends you a text message or makes a phone call, follow their lead and reply with the requested information using the same communication method.
If you don’t hear back after your initial follow-up message, it could be due to a lengthy interview process or because the hiring manager got busy. This might be the hardest part of a job search because your mind will suggest all kinds of things that make you swing between fear and hope. Don’t assume the worst; just remind yourself that the process takes time. Wait a full week, then send another polite email.
When working with a recruiting or staffing firm, it is also critical to maintain timely communication. If you are responsible and stay in regular touch with them, they will work actively on your behalf to connect you with job opportunities.
Following up demonstrates professionalism and helps people remember you. It gives you an opportunity to express gratitude and enthusiasm, both qualities employers prize. Review the job search activities you completed this week and identify opportunities for following up today, then get to work doing so right away.
If there were a single thing you could do to supercharge your efforts to create your best job, it would be networking. In all the years we’ve spent matching East Texas job seekers with area employers there’s something we’ve found to be consistently powerful and true: Networking leads to jobs.
Do everything you can to let anyone and everyone know you’re actively seeking employment, and then follow up on every single lead you receive. A huge part of a job search is networking!
Is Networking Really That Important?
Some people were already social networking before such a term even existed. They seem to effortlessly make, then retain connections everywhere they go. You don’t have to tell those people about the importance of networking because they couldn’t stop doing it if they tried.
For the rest of us, networking as part of the job search can be somewhere between an uncomfortable prospect and a necessary evil. We’ve heard it’s a good idea. But we don’t know how best to go about it, and we’re not completely convinced it’s worth the effort. It’s much easier to sit around in our pajamas and scroll through online job postings. Online job searching is important and necessary, but statistically it does not produce near the results as networking.
Networking is the most common way to get a job. Some experts say 70 percent of currently employed people are in their current job because of networking. Others say that number is as high as 85 percent.
Why Networking Works
The biggest reason networking is so effective is that it gives you backdoor access to jobs that might not even be posted or advertised. Employers fill a huge percentage of postings internally, or because of internal connections. Often it goes like this:
Mary has worked as a highly paid expert at your best job for the past several years. Her husband gets transferred out of town. At the water cooler, she mentions she’s about to turn in her notice. One of her co-workers remembers her best friend mentioned a neighbor looking for similar work. She helps the neighbor and the supervisor connect, and the neighbor gets the job.
The main takeaway is this – if so many jobs are never posted, you won’t find them by sending resumes. To find your best job, make your resume and cover letter the best they can be and apply to all the possibilities that fit your criteria, but don’t spend the entirety of your job search hiding behind a computer screen. Networking has been proven to be the best way to get more referrals and secure a new opportunity. We have certainly found this to be true in our agency as a significant number of the candidates we place come to us via personal referrals.
4 Steps to Successful Networking
Successful networking means getting the word out about what you’re looking for and how you’re qualified. Tell everyone, because you never know who can provide you with the contact that will lead to your best job. Work on expanding your network as you search-it is like “dropping a stone into the pond.” Here’s how to do it.
1 – Print Business Cards
Have business cards printed with your contact information. We also recommend including the address of your LinkedIn Profile. Instead, of a job title, include a broad description of your work, such as accountant, marketing professional, administrative assistant, etc. Give cards to everyone you meet.
2 – Reach Out to Contacts
Keep in mind with every job search activity you complete, the goal is to book interviews with decision makers. Your contacts can help you accomplish that goal, but you need to ask for their help. Send a letter or email to your family and friends that says something like the following:
I’m writing to let you know about an important development in my career. I am actively looking for a new role and would greatly appreciate your support and insight. I have ——-years of experience in the —- field/industry and am most interested in [state the types of jobs that represent your current interests].
A copy of my resume is attached. I would greatly appreciate any advice, referrals or opportunities you might offer.
I hope everything is going well in your life. Thank you in advance for your help!
Sign your name
(Don’t forget to attach your resume).
3 – Find Networking Opportunities
Use the Internet to find dates, times, and locations for opportunities like these:
Job fairs – These can provide great leads if you attend the right ones. Talk to a job fair representative to find out if the employers attending are hiring candidates with your skills.
Associations in your profession – There’s an association for everything. The people who join are usually those who have become successful at what they do. They want to learn from others who have been successful, and they’re also willing to give back. When you attend meetings and interact with association members, give your two minute commercial and you’ll be amazed at the results.
Non-profit organization events or gatherings – This type of event or gathering provides an opportunity to network with a diverse group of people all looking to help others and make a difference. As you join them in their goals, you also can make connections that further your job search.
4 – Don’t Forget Social Media Networking
Social media isn’t just for sharing funny pet videos and vacation photos. It’s also a job networking tool. First, go through your feeds and delete anything you wouldn’t want prospective employers to see. Look at what’s in the background of your photos, and evaluate messages for potentially charged language.
Next, if you don’t already use LinkedIn, create and optimize your account. Make sure your photo is current and shows you at your professional best. Add to your profile all the keywords and skills found in your resume. Then, start connecting with other people you know to build your network.
Follow Up on Every Lead
In our next article, we’re going to talk about how follow up is critical. As you network, make note of every possible lead and stay tuned for more on how to turn those contacts into job interviews.
To land your best job, you need to sell yourself. We advise job seekers to come up with a two-minute commercial, a quick summary of why they’re a perfect fit. It’s also sometimes called an elevator pitch because you can deliver it anywhere, in the amount of time it takes to go up a few floors in an elevator.
Why a Commercial?
“But I’m not in sales,” you might be saying. “I don’t want to sound like a salesperson.” When you craft a strong elevator pitch, you’re not trying to put pressure on hiring managers or make promises you can’t deliver. You’re delivering a quick presentation that positions you as invaluable to their company.
You’ll use a variation of your two-minute commercial in your cover letter, during interviews and when you’re networking. It should take between 30 seconds and two minutes to deliver and show how you can solve their organization’s problems or create more success.
When you give them a memorable snapshot or sound bite that summarizes your professional self, they’re more likely to retain your message. You stand out, you show you respect their time, and you’re more likely to get an interview.
What’s In a Good Elevator Pitch?
Create your two-minute commercial around your unique selling proposition. Identify what makes you better and more qualified for the job than all the other humans on the planet, and lead with that.
Many people feel uncomfortable talking about themselves, but you can motivate hiring managers to listen by focusing on how your unique skills can help them. Explain how what you do can solve a pain point and back that up with examples from your past work experience.
Make it clear you want a job. You’re not just having a conversation; you have a goal. Offer them a way to follow up by leaving a business card or following up through email.
How to Write Your 2 Minute Commercial
Your brief speech should explain who you are, what you do, what makes you stand out, what you want and include a call to action. It might go something like this:
Introduce yourself – First 5 seconds
Briefly state what you do – 5 to 10 seconds
Grab attention by asking a question or stating a problem – 5 to 10 seconds
Deliver your unique value proposition and connect it to their pain points – 10 to 15 seconds
Share achievements – 10 to 15 seconds
State your goal and call them to take action – 15 seconds
Use the above as a basic framework for getting started but make it your own. You may need to spend more time on one aspect and less on others.
Two Minute Commercial Examples
If you’re currently out of work and looking for a job at a networking event, an appropriate two-minute commercial might be:
“I am currently looking for a new opportunity in B2B sales. I have ten years of successful sales experience with a technology firm and a marketing degree from UT Austin. If you know someone who is looking for a sales rep with my experience, I would certainly appreciate a referral. May I give you my card? I am ready to work and excited to find a new career home!”
Or, if you’re sitting in front of a hiring agent, you might say something like:
“I have spent the last five years as the top sales representative out of twenty-five reps for a leading technology company. I will bring my ability to generate revenue and profits to your company. I’m extremely confident in my sales abilities and have a very high level of interest in working for you and your company.”
Use your elevator speech to highlight what you’re good at and illustrate what you can do for them. For example:
“I’ve been the Office Manager at ABC Organization for the past five years. Some of my main responsibilities were planning and overseeing corporate meetings and events, sticking within budgetary constraints by finding the most cost-effective venues and vendors, making sure the office ran like clockwork and serving as the central point of contact for the entire office. I’d like to bring my experience to your company. May I give you my business card?”
Don’t Stop At One Elevator Pitch
Once you’ve created your basic two-minute commercial, develop variations for different situations. You might create one version for career fairs, a second for networking events and a third for use during interviews. The written version you use for online profiles and in your cover letter will most likely be different from the ones you deliver in person.
Delivering Your Two Minute Commercial
A carefully crafted two-minute commercial grabs attention, makes you stand out and helps you sell yourself, but it’s also useful because it helps you relax. Memorize your speech, then use it in response to questions like these:
Tell me about yourself?
What kind of job are you looking for?
What are you doing these days?
What kind of job are you looking for?
Practice giving your speech in front of a mirror. Rehearse until you can deliver it naturally, with confidence and positivity. Practice more with friends and family members so the first time you present it to a person isn’t during a high-stress interview. Soon you’ll be ready to sell yourself in a variety of situations, giving you the best chance to land your best job.
When you don’t love your current job, you spend every day in an unpleasant situation. It’s normal to want out, and to be tempted by any opportunity that might provide an escape. But before you apply for every job out there, ask yourself a very important question.
What specific career goals will your best job help you reach?
When you jump at what seems like a quick solution, the job that’s “okay for now,” you hold yourself back from achieving the future you really want. It’s a major life decision where thoughtful planning makes all the difference. We recommend candidates conduct a self-appraisal.
Getting the Most of Your Self-Appraisal
Throughout history, some of the most brilliant minds have pointed out that we can’t predict the future, but we can invent it. Setting career goals is an important step toward creating your best job. Here’s what you need to know.
Maximum returns follow maximum effort. We’re about to ask you to do some hard work. You may be tempted to skim over the assessment questions and form a vague idea of the answers in your head, but that isn’t going to help you find your perfect job. You’re working to create your best future. That’s worth your best effort.
Start with honesty. We talk ourselves into all kinds of things when we don’t like our current situation, or we’re worried about paying the bills. When you set career goals, be real with yourself about what’s most important for you to achieve. There aren’t right or wrong answers, only honest ones. What do you most want out of your career? Is there a certain type of task you would be happiest performing? Would success mean moving into a management role, traveling frequently, becoming an expert in your field or some other responsibility or achievement?
Know career goals evolve over time. Be honest with yourself, but don’t create undue pressure by feeling you have to plan the entire rest of your life before you can start looking for a job. Identify current career goals, then you can return to them and reevaluate periodically.
Writing is powerful. When you write down your career goals, you create a picture in your mind of the future you want. You have a lasting record of your goal, and you’re more likely to achieve it because you’ve narrowed your focus and specified your destination.
It’s time to get started, so grab a pen and paper. Look within and write down answers to these questions.
Personal Appraisal Questions
What type of person are you? Are you a leader or a follower? A people person or an introvert? Ambitious or laid back? Write a detailed description.
How would your friends describe you?
What do you want to accomplish with your life?
What role does your job play in your life?
How does what you do as a career and in your free time impact others?
What are your accomplishments to date? Which of them matter most and bring you the most satisfaction?
What role does money play in your values? Is it a major driving factor when it comes to work and personal satisfaction, or is it just one of many components in your overall quality of life?
Do you feel like your career is central to your life, or just part of it?
What are your main interests?
What brings you joy?
What makes you angry, frustrated, or unhappy?
Job Appraisal Questions
Describe your job title, responsibilities, salary, accomplishments, successes, failures, and reasons for leaving at previous employers. Start with your most recent job and work backward.
Ask yourself how you would change your job history if you had the ability to go back in time.
What responsibilities did you most enjoy? Which ones did you dislike?
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Are there any patterns in your reasons for leaving?
If you’ve been fired, what was the reason?
What kind of job do you think would be the perfect match for your talents and interests?
If you could have your best job, what price might you have to pay in terms of longer hours, more stress, the need for further education or something else? Are you prepared to pay the price?
What have you done to improve your weaknesses or get closer to your career goals?
How would previous supervisors describe you?
How long do you want to work before retirement?
Apply the 80/20 Rule
The Pareto Principle, also called the 80/20 Rule of Cause and Effect, applies to a surprising number of situations. You’ve probably heard most people wear 20 percent of what’s in their closets 80 percent of the time. In business, 80 percent of sales often come from 20 percent of customers. The 80/20 rule also works in your job search. Often, 20 percent of your actions provide 80 percent of results.
When you worked through the above self-assessment, you may have noticed that some skills, abilities, or habits accounted for the majority of your accomplishments. Those are the talents you want to market to future employers. If a company is looking for someone who does what you’re best at doing, they’ve already identified their need for those talents. You’ll do the work you find most meaningful and be valued for your contribution.
The 80/20 rule also applies when you’re actually looking for a job. If you apply to every job for which you think you might qualify, you waste energy and reduce your chance of landing your best job. Focus on the 20 percent that most closely match your experience, interests and background. Give those 100 percent effort and start booking more interviews.
The best way to create your best job is to make your job search your full-time job. When we tell people that, they often ask how they can spend 40 hours a week actively seeking employment.
The 5 Stages of a Job Search
Finding a job is a process that involves these stages:
Stage 1 – Identifying target employers and finding out how to contact them
Stage 2 – Submitting a tailored cover letter and resume
Stage 3 – Following up
Stage 4 – Scheduling, preparing for and attending interviews
Stage 5 – Following up on interviews
You might be at the beginning stage with some employers while you go through later stages with others.
What to Do Every Day
Monday through Friday set your alarm and get up like you have to be at work during regular business hours. Get dressed and get started like you have to clock in. Re-read the insight you gained from your review of your previous jobs. Every day accomplish the following:
Identify five new targets and how to contact them.
Edit your resume and cover letter for each of the five prospective employers. Mail or submit them electronically according to job posting requirements.
Follow up on previously sent resumes.
If you have an interview scheduled, research the company with which you’re interviewing and practice answering common interview questions.
Follow up on previous interviews.
Your main objective is to get face-to-face interviews with the decision maker who can hire you for your target role. Continue the process until you have multiple interviews scheduled and the possibility of job offers.
It’s also helpful to schedule informational interviews. Contact people currently working in the position you want. Ask them to share what they do and how they landed the job in the first place. You’ll receive valuable insight, and they might have contacts in your desired field.
Keeping Track of It All
If you’re sending five resumes a day, things could start to run together. Document your efforts so you don’t lose track or miss a follow-up. If you’re a paper and pencil person, grab your spiral and sketch out grids. If you prefer virtual records, create a spreadsheet. Here’s an example setup.
Stage 1 – Identifying Target Employers and Key Contacts
Stage 2 – Cover Letter and Resume Tracking
Stage 3 – Follow Up
Stage 4 – Scheduled Interview
Stage 5 – Follow-Up
Brelsford Personnel specializes in helping people find work mostly in these areas of specialization:
Accounting and Financial Services
Administrative Office Support
Oil and Gas Staff
If you’re looking for work in those areas, experience our fresh approach when you get in touch.
Your job search is your job right now, and your first official duty is to prepare your resume. Don’t just open the file and add your most recent work history, then start blasting it out to every prospective employer you can find. If you read our post on developing the right mindset, you put some serious thought into the type of job you really want. Now it’s time to give yourself the best chance at landing that job by creating a resume that shows you’re qualified for the best job that fits.
The Absolute Most Important Part of Your Resume
This next statement might shock you, especially coming from a staffing agency. Nobody reads resumes. Not the whole thing, anyway.
Every word is important, and mistakes could disqualify you from the chance at an interview, but recognize prospective employers aren’t going to read every line of what you send. They don’t dig to find out if you’re the one.
So if you want a chance at the job, you need to hook their attention, to sell yourself in as few words as possible. The most important resume component is a brief summary placed near the top, right under your name and contact information.
In the past, the job seeker’s objective went in this space, but that didn’t add anything the hiring manager didn’t already know, it just took up space. Replace that with a two to three sentence summary that explains:
What skills you have that apply to the job
Your relevant work experience and accomplishments
How you would add unique value to their company
Hiring managers and screening software tools look for keywords. Where applicable, use words from the job description you’re applying for. Make your summary as precise and engaging as possible to get noticed, get interviewed and get hired.
What Else a Winning Resume Contains
The hiring manager might not read every single word of your resume, but they’re going to look for this:
Contact Info – List your name, address, the best number to reach you and an email address. Don’t use your old work email address or one that doesn’t sound professional.
Work Experience – Start with your most recent job experience and work backward. Provide work history for at least the last 10 years. Include the name of the company and its location, your job title and a summary of your duties. Use data if possible to convey how your work benefitted your company. Especially focus on experience that matches the job description for which you’re applying.
Education – Start from your highest degree and work backwards. Include the name of your school and the degree you received. Also include any honors or special recognition.
Skills – List hard and soft skills, again referring to the job description and including all the words that apply to you. Soft skills are things like problem solving, critical thinking and flexibility while hard skills are more concrete like ability with computer software or a degree or certification.
It’s okay to state that references are available on request, but go ahead and compile your reference list so it’s ready to go.
Now Remove These
Read back through your resume and take out industry jargon that isn’t common knowledge. Avoid using acronyms or military terms. Use familiar language.
Examine your verb tenses and change any that are inconsistent. You shouldn’t have statements like “Managing big data effectively for a large marketing agency. Crafted digital experiences for clients in multiple industries.” If you did the work in the past, both verbs should be in past tense.
Use a proofreading tool like Grammarly or Typely to check for errors in spelling or grammar and remove them. Then go to that friend who is a stickler for being grammatically correct and ask him or her to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes.
Resume Formatting and Length
Unless you’re a professor or a doctor, your resume should be two pages or less. When you finish crafting your resume, go back through and see how many words you can take out and still maintain the meaning. The more concise you are, the better chance you have of getting your message across.
Use clean, easy to read fonts. Some of the best choices are
Calibri – Good for anyone
Times New Roman – Excellent choice when applying for legal, financial and corporate roles
Arial – This font is a good choice for creative or marketing jobs
Verdana – Verdana is clean and appealing for any type of role
Book Antiqua – If you’re applying for a job in education, the arts or humanities, this font has a traditional feel
Trebuchet MS – This cheerful font is a positive choice for creatives
Use 12 point font for most of your resume text, with larger bold print in the same font for headings. If you’re sending a paper copy, use white, beige or light gray paper. When you mail it, hand-address the business-sized envelope in blue or black ink and mark it “Personal and Confidential.”
Turn Your Resume Into an Interview Ticket
Start creating multiple versions of your resume. Each time you apply, tailor your resume to highlight your experience and qualifications that match what that employer is looking for.
For example, you might start out by applying for a job as a staff accountant. Your resume summary could mention your experience preparing tax returns, analyzing corporate financial operations and forecasting and budgeting. Your employment history showcases how your duties at previous roles gave you experience relevant to that position.
Then you might see a job posting for a payroll job that also fits your skills and interests. Don’t send the same resume you used for the staff accountant job. Change it to show employers the type of experience you have calculating wages, detailing earnings and streamlining payroll processing. In your job summary, if you have three years of payroll experience, make sure you say so.
Resume Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Chance at an Interview
Your resume could be your ticket to an interview. But if you make these mistakes, it could get dropped in the recycle bin.
Resume is generic and doesn’t explain what makes you uniquely suited to the position
Your document is too long or is hard to read
You use language that identifies your religious beliefs, political affiliations etc.
You leave out accomplishments at previous jobs
Work history starts with the first job you ever held and proceeds forward
Text is copied and pasted from somewhere on the Internet
Resume contains spelling and grammar errors
The Next Steps in a Successful Job Search
Each day, plan to send at least five resumes to a hiring authority to keep your job search rolling. If you haven’t already sent yours to Brelsford Personnel, view our open jobs and upload it here.
Don’t Send Resumes Until You’ve Adjusted Your Mindset
The “new normal,” as it is termed, is in fact a “harsh reality.” Unemployment is radically higher than it has been in recent years. The economy is struggling to recover from a global recession, COVID-19 shutdowns, oil industry woes and disrupted international trade. Employers are cautious as the Texas economy reopens, and many of them are only slowly taking on new staff. Jobs are scarce.
If you lost your job, you could have a challenging road ahead. Government unemployment assistance has helped, but that won’t last forever. If you wait until the checks stop coming, you will be applying for work at the same time as many of other Americans who are in the same predicament.
At Brelsford Personnel, we’re committed to matching as many East Texans as possible with area employers who do need staff or might soon. To give candidates their best chance at getting back to work, we’ve put together this series with tips on how to experience success in not just getting work, but finding your best job, so you can start living your best life. The first, and possibly most vital step is to start with a self-check.
Why It Matters
Being without work when you need income is one of the most difficult situations to be in, even in the best of times. These are not the best of times. There are fewer jobs available and there is more competition for the ones that are out there.
However, there’s something you can control that will give you a powerful edge – your attitude. Before you start your job search, get your head in the right place and determine what you desire the outcome of that search to be.
Setting Your Attitude for Success
Someone once said your attitude is only 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 percent of how you react to it (or don’t react to it). Start your job search by determining to have and maintain a positive attitude toward the process. Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts like these:
There is an opportunity out there for me. Each experience I have along the way brings me one step closer to finding my next opportunity.
I am qualified and talented.
The positive choices and attitudes I have today will shape my future.
Your mindset determines your reality. If you listen to fear and doubt, you’ll become discouraged and lose confidence in yourself. However, if you intentionally fill your mind with positive thoughts, you’ll be able to face each day, each challenge, and each potential opportunity with confidence.
How To Find Your Dream Job
Last year, a Gallup report found that 60 percent of Americans felt they were in mediocre or bad jobs. That’s a pretty significant dissatisfaction rate, and far from a best job situation. While right now you might be thinking that any job would be a good job, but wouldn’t it be better if you could find one you really enjoyed and was best suited for you?
Instead of listening to your fears and uncertainties, look within yourself to refocus on the type of work that makes the most of your skills and talents to keep you happy and fulfilled. Take the time to mentally re-visit each of your past jobs you have held in your career, as well as your education and coursework. Then jot down answers to the following questions about your jobs:
What aspect of the job did you enjoy?
What functions of the job did you excel at?
What functions of the job were a challenge?
What salary and compensation did you earn?
What was the company culture like and did you thrive in it?
What was your boss like, and did they bring out the best in you?
What would you have liked to do more of?
If you struggle coming up with some of the answers, keep coming back to the questions. This is your opportunity to gain deeper insight into yourself and what inspires you in your career. You can find true, lasting career satisfaction, and turn a difficult situation into a chance at a happier future. But to create that future, you have to define it and know what you want it to look like.
Your Powerful, Personal Statements
If you write down answers to the above questions, you should end up with a good understanding of what you will be happy with. Use the results to create a positive picture of what you are looking for. Begin to envision your life as you live out that outcome.
Place your statements somewhere you can read it every day. Come back to it. When you don’t feel like looking for a job, or if you experience setbacks, read it more frequently. Recognize that as long as you have, or develop, the needed skills and qualifications, that your future is within your reach.
Check back soon for more in our series on how to create the future you want by finding your best job. Until then, browse our online job postings to see East Texas jobs that are available today.
Video interviews used to be just one tool in a hiring manager or recruiter’s toolbox. Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, they might have become one of the most important ones. That isn’t going to change any time soon. If you’re looking for a job, give yourself the best chance of success by preparing for your online interview ahead of time.
The most common type of online interview is the video call, where the interviewer uses Zoom, Facetime, Skype or a similar platform to interact with you just like they would during an in-person interview. Some companies also might ask you to make a recorded video of yourself answering a series of questions.
Either way, candidates are sometimes caught off guard by how their stress level skyrockets during a video interview. Something about a camera makes you feel under intense scrutiny, even more “on the spot” than you would be during an in-person interview. Like with any other type of interview, preparation is the key to minimizing nerves and showing yourself at your best.
Preparing Your Video Interview Background
Choose a quiet spot you can completely close off from noise and distractions. Make the background as plain as possible.
With an in-person interview, the person you’re talking to is familiar with the surroundings so they’re not a distraction. However, through video you expose your interviewer to a completely new environment. You don’t want them to be distracted by what’s in the background. Instead, you want them to focus on you and what you bring to the table.
If there’s a lot to look at in the background, their eyes are going to roam all over the screen instead of looking at you. It’s harder to make a strong first impression and harder to keep their attention. Your décor could prevent them from recognizing your skills.
To keep that from happening, seat yourself against a blank wall or other monochromatic backdrop. Then, let in as much natural light as possible and turn on the other lights in the room to ensure your face is brightly lit. Consider placing a lamp on either side of your monitor to minimize dark shadows and harsh lines.
Avoid sitting in front of a window, or you’ll just be a dark silhouette on the screen. Sit in a chair with a straight back, not on the couch or in a recliner. Put your computer or phone with camera on a desk or table instead of holding it on your lap. It’s hard to look enthusiastic while lounging, hunched shoulders or a double chin.
Remove These Distractions
Ask someone else to watch young children during your interview and turn off everything that makes noise. Silence notifications on your phone and computer.
Make sure your cat or dog can’t wander through. Even your goldfish shouldn’t be on camera, he or she is guaranteed to do something to try to steal the limelight. Turn off your overhead fan so shadows won’t flicker and your hair doesn’t blow. Make sure the dishwasher and coffee pot don’t kick in on delay start.
Don’t sit in front of anything with text. You might think your library makes you appear well-read, but it could also have your interviewer trying to read all those titles sideways instead of focus on your answers. Family photos or dishes in the background are visual clutter you can do without.
Take mirrors down temporarily so you don’t have to worry about what they might reflect during your interview. Then pre-adjust your camera so only your face, torso and a small amount of plain background are visible.
What to Wear for a Video Interview
Dress for a video interview in the same type of professional attire as you would for an in-person interview. During your company research, watch for images of employees at work and wear something similar or slightly more formal.
Just like with regular interviews, avoid loud colors and prints. If you wear jewelry, stick to just a few simple pieces. And, just like with in-person interviews, wear pants or a skirt. If you just dress from the waist up, you’re sending yourself the message it isn’t a “real” interview. You also might end up showing your interviewer more of yourself than you intend.
Best Colors to Wear for Online Interviews
Black and navy are almost always a safe bet. It’s also flattering to wear a soft, light colored shirt. White, cream and soft blues and greens can be flattering, but red, yellow and orange don’t always look good on camera.
Video Interview Makeup Tips
If you are interviewing on Zoom, Bluejeans, FaceTime or any other platform, your goal is to highlight what is best about you. If you wear makeup, aim for a natural, healthy look. Evening skin tone and darkening lashes are fine but avoid heavy or dramatic shades in your eye shadow and lipstick.
How to Prep Your Technology
If you haven’t used the meeting client, you may need to download it. Here are links for accessing some of the most frequently used video interview tools:
Google Meet doesn’t require a download, just click on the link and follow the prompts to start a meeting. GoToMeeting has a 14 day free trial, but there are a few steps to signing up. Facetime is a feature on iPhones.
Your interviewer will send you a link to find your meeting room when it is time for your actual interview, but it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the software before you get to that point. Ask a friend or family member if they’ll pose as your interviewer and schedule a practice session with them over the technology you’ll use when it’s time for your real online interview.
Use a desktop or laptop computer if possible, not a cell phone or tablet. A computer is more stable and will likely have a more reliable internet connection.
Video uses significantly more bandwidth than web browsing. For video conferencing, you need a stable connection of 1-4 Megabits per second. Google will run a free speed test on yours here. During your interview, ask other family members to stay off the Wi-Fi so they’re not using your bandwidth.
If you won’t be connected to power, make sure your device is fully charged. Access your camera, first and make sure you are centered in the middle of the screen.
Get your mind ready using the interview tips on our resources page. Then schedule that practice video interview with your friend or family member.
Once you’ve established your connection with them, ask them how the background looks on their end, whether or not the sound is clear and how and if you appear on the monitor. Make adjustments as needed.
Provide them with these seven common interview questions and have them pose as the hiring manager. Treat it like the real deal and you’ll uncover areas you can improve and build confidence for your actual interview.
Acing Your Online Interview
If you completed the above steps, you’re ready to make a good impression during your video interview, but there are still challenges ahead. When you meet with someone face to face, it’s often easier to establish rapport than it is when talking through a screen. Before you connect, take a deep breath, relax your shoulders and connect with your most positive, confident self.
Start with a friendly greeting and by thanking them for the opportunity. Sit up straight or lean slightly forward to express attention and interest. Mirror their talking speed, volume and energy levels. If appropriate, nod when they do, and occasionally repeat back to them or paraphrase what they say.
Eye contact matters, and it’s a little tricky to maintain it during a video interview. Because your interviewer appears on your screen, that’s where your eyes go. However, for most people, the camera is located at the top of their screen. If you focus in the middle of the monitor, you appear to be looking down.
Put a sticker behind your camera as a reminder to frequently look at the lens, essentially making eye contact with your interviewer. Don’t be put off if they don’t do the same.
If You Make a Mistake
Sometimes the unexpected happens, and if it was caught on camera mistakes can seem insurmountable. If it happens to you, don’t over-analyze while your interview is still going on or you’ll have a hard time concentrating on the remainder of the meeting. If you made a simple mistake and you can correct it, just explain you may have miscommunicated and you’d like to provide additional information.
If you’ve finished your interview and you fear it’s a make or break blunder, include a concise statement providing correct or omitted information in your follow-up email. If the problem relates to a technology malfunction, follow up with an email request to reschedule.
Wrapping Things Up
It’s common for managers near the close of an interview to ask if you have any questions. Prepare a few that show you’ve been listening during the interview, you did your research and you’re excited about the possibility of a job offer. It’s also a good idea to ask about the next steps in the process.
When it’s clear the interview is over, express your appreciation and sign off. Follow up with a thank you email and any additional information they requested.
Jobs Near Tyler Texas
Your next job might already be posted on our job board. Browse openings or submit your resume online today.