People who choose to work at a nonprofit tend to share a common desire to make the world a better place. They’re passionate, dedicated, full of heart. They can accomplish much…if they have great leadership.
A good nonprofit manager keeps all that passion and dedication focused in the right direction. He or she makes sure each individual knows their responsibilities, has the resources to carry them out, and stays energized along the way.
Strong nonprofit leaders are able to do this while also recruiting new members and volunteers, staying connected to donors, building nonprofit equity and other tasks. Let’s take a closer look at the qualities that allow leaders to manage their nonprofit successfully.
Skillful With Limited Budgets
Money is an issue for almost every organization, but in the nonprofit sector, the stakes seem higher. With a for-profit company if there are funding challenges or dips in income, the organization might not be able to grow as quickly or make as many widgets or give bonuses to employees. With a nonprofit, money problems could mean kids go hungry or life-saving medical research can’t proceed.
Successful nonprofit managers aren’t intimidated by the weight of the organization’s mission. They collaborate with the Board of Directors to develop and manage budgets responsibly. They always have an eye toward increasing efficiency and finding lucrative partnerships, grants and contracts.
Dynamic, Energizing and Magnetic
Effective nonprofit managers seem to have a super power when it comes to finding and attracting the right sponsors, donors, staff members and volunteers. They connect with people, and they’re so passionate about what their nonprofit does, those people can’t help but be inspired. They don’t have to be talked into donating their time or their money, they catch the vision and they want to help make a difference.
A good nonprofit manager’s skills don’t end there. It’s easy to get people fired up for a time, but emotion can fizzle quickly when staff and volunteers have a daily struggle with money constraints, apathetic or oppositional community members and the ongoing reality of the problem the nonprofit exists to solve.
Strong nonprofit managers know how to encourage and motivate. They keep teams focused on the mission. They honor individual contributions and positively influence teamwork.
Flexible and Agile
A good nonprofit leader can deftly switch between hats or wear several at a time. To illustrate the flexibility that’s required, check out this list of responsibilities for a current Executive Director opening with one of our clients:
Responsible for all aspects of the operation. Leads day-to-day operations and staff and is accountable to the Board of Directors.
Responsible for hiring, developing, retaining, managing, and evaluating staff members.
Develops and manages the annual budget in collaboration with the Board and staff.
Ensures all necessary licensures and accreditations are in place and adhered to.
Works with the Board to position the organization as a strategic collaborative partner in developing better local and state mental health policy.
Secures grants and contracts (local, state, and federal) and develops creative entrepreneurial partnerships that will enhance the future development of the organization.
They’re responsible for pretty much everything. They have to manage the staff, answer to the Board of Directors and ensure compliance with regulations, all while raising money and building the nonprofit brand.
Compelled to Make a Difference
Why would someone take on such a challenging task? Good nonprofit leaders aren’t satisfied if they’re not in a career that makes a difference. They feel they make the best use of their skills and abilities when they’re helping make the world a better place.
If you’re looking for a job where your daily work has meaning and makes a positive impact on others, your dream career might mean working with a nonprofit. At Brelsford Personnel, we want to help. Send us your resume and we’ll be in touch.
Sherry has spent her entire working career in insurance and she’s very, very good at her job. However, last year she realized she wasn’t happy at her current place of employment, and decided to see what else was available.
She saw a Brelsford Personnel job posting through Indeed, but she hesitated. Eventually she sent in her resume but she wished she hadn’t waited, because by the time the Brelsfords received it, they had filled the position.
Brelsford Personnel’s Application Process
Sherry describes the Brelsford Personnel application process as very detailed. First, she had a phone interview with Driedra Brelsford, who she said immediately put her at ease.
“She’s so funny and personable. I’m a licensed agent and I knew what direction I wanted to go in, but I needed a little assistance, and she provided a lot of assistance.”
When the opening she originally wanted became available again, Sherry got her chance. Brelsford Personnel already had her information on file, and she says Driedra helped her get the job. “She thought I would be a really good fit for the office. She knew the company owner personally, and I feel like it helped. Plus she had my resume and had already done all the background work.”
After that, things moved quickly. “I had an interview with the office manager at my new job within a pretty short time,” Sherry said. “Within a little over a week they let me know I was hired.”
She says Driedra helped her through the waiting process between interview and job offer. “Mrs. Brelsford kept me updated. She checked in with them when we hadn’t heard within a week. She contacted the office manager and found out someone was on vacation. She made that process easy too, that way I didn’t have to feel awkward.”
Brelsford Personnel vs. Other Staffing Agencies
Several years ago Sherry says she tried to work with a different local staffing agency, but they didn’t provide the same level of service, and she had to take time off work to meet their requirements.
“They were not helpful. You had to go in and do a typing test, then interview with the staffing agency person. It’s difficult when you’re working to make an appointment and do something that takes that much time. Brelsford Personnel did it all on my lunch hour. We had a phone interview, then after hours I filled out the application and all of my background information and emailed that in.”
Sherry felt Brelsford Personnel’s community connections made all the difference in her job search. “My personal opinion is that Mrs. Brelsford is very well connected and very active in the community. She knows a lot of people. Because she’s well connected, if you establish a relationship with her it’s very positive and you’ll get to see the results.
“And I loved talking with her on the phone. We talked about the serious stuff and just in general. I honestly don’t think I would have gotten that position if it hadn’t been for her. She made it really easy. It was very seamless. She kept me updated, and she’s just a great person. If I were ever going to look again, and I don’t plan on it, I would call her.”
What She Thinks of Her New Job
Sherry doesn’t see herself changing jobs again, ever. Of her new position she says, “I love it. I love the people that I work with. They’re an old establishment and they’ve been here for a long time. I thought it might be kind of stuffy, and I was prepared for that, but it’s not. Everybody is very laid back. It’s just a great atmosphere.”
If you’re looking for a new career opportunity, our services don’t cost job seekers a thing. We look forward to hearing from you when you apply to one of our online job postings.
Maybe you’re the perfectionist in charge and you overheard employees describe you as too nitpicky. Or maybe you’re concerned one of your administrators could be creating problems. Micromanaging means trying to control every little detail all the time, and it has a negative impact on morale. The Journal of Experimental Psychology reports when employees feel they’re being micromanaged, they perform at a much lower level.
But how do you differentiate between strong leadership and being too controlling? Employers search far and wide for people who take responsibility and initiative, who go above and beyond, who are extremely detail oriented. How do you know the difference between someone who shows hands-on leadership and a problematic micromanager? Look for these four signs.
These Behaviors Are the Norm
Micromanagers want complete control over everyone on their team and every aspect of the projects with which they’re involved. They do things like the following:
Check frequently on what staff members are doing, not always to be supportive, but to make sure employees are on task and doing things the way the manager wants them done. A micromanager might repeatedly stop by offices or cubicles or hyper vigilantly monitor active time within online work environments.
Require frequent changes to little details that don’t really have an impact on the outcome.
Take over tasks or projects because they feel like they can do it better or faster, and it would take too much time and effort to explain what they want to the staff member originally assigned the task.
Demand progress updates and documentation much more frequently than necessary.
Almost always express dissatisfaction with or want changes to deliverables.
Want all decisions run by them before anything is finalized.
Stay stressed and overworked because they have trouble delegating.
Micromanagers have a hard time trusting staff to do their job and do it well. Their actions signal they think for something to be done right, they have to be directly involved with every detail.
Employee Motivation Plummets
Because they’re so controlling, micromanagers squash creativity and diminish engagement. Staff starts to think, “She’s just going to find fault with my work anyway, so why should I do my best,” or “Why should I even bring up that idea when he’s just going to insist we do it his way.”
Employees feel like they can’t do anything right, and that their hard work doesn’t matter. Over time that can start to erode their desire to meet deadlines or to go above and beyond. They start second-guessing their abilities. They may be hesitant to take risks or think outside the box. They don’t feel valued, there’s no room for growth, and every day there’s the potential for more criticism.
Turnover and Sick Days Increase
There’s a growing body of evidence that indicates work-related stress has a huge impact on mental and physical health. It can lead to high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, decreased immune response, gastrointestinal disorders and a range of other problems. Plus, some people overeat, smoke or turn to substance abuse to cope. Unhealthy behaviors make them feel even worse, and make it more likely they’ll get sick.
One by one, employees may wake up, realize they don’t want to do it anymore, and decide to take their skills somewhere else. Then their knowledge and abilities become available to your competition and the cycle starts over with your new hires.
If you have a manager who exhibits the behaviors listed above, and you’re seeing an increase in sick days and resignations, that’s a sign micromanaging is becoming a problem.
Teams Fail to Meet Deadlines
Micromanagers cause bottlenecks because they can’t do the work of an entire team. If work can’t proceed until they’ve signed off on every decision, processes bog down. When managers take on tasks they should delegate, everything takes longer. And, the fact that they sweat the small stuff way too much can get in the way of working efficiently.
Sometimes micromanagers aren’t conscious of what they’re doing and how it’s impacting their team. Communication and leadership training can make a huge difference. Other times it stems from compulsive behavioral issues or deep confidence deficits, issues that require more comprehensive interventions.
Good managers communicate clear expectations, then empower employees to do their best work and reach organizational goals. They offer feedback and support while showing trust in employees’ abilities to deliver. They encourage creativity and innovation and foster trust and loyalty within their organization.
When East Texas employers need to hire strong leaders, they call Brelsford Personnel. You can learn more about what we offer on our Employers Page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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