Email or Snail Mail? The Best Way to Thank Your Interviewer

After the interview, you can’t just wait for a call. You need to be proactive with a thank you note. The question is: do you send a handwritten one in the mail or an email? Both have their pros and cons; however, the key is to follow up promptly with a heartfelt and relevant message. Once you do that, you’ll cement the positive impression you made during the interview.

To help you decide whether to email a note or mail one, here’s a look at what to consider about both. (more…)

Is This Job Right For You? When to Accept an Offer and When to Wait For a Perfect Fit

Searching for a job takes a lot more than a few interviews and an offer. In fact, you might get several offers at once, or one that you’re not sold on. It’s why, before making a decision, you need to step back and assess what’s important to you. Even if it’s a great opportunity, if it’s not a fit, you won’t be happy there. To ensure that doesn’t happen to you, here are a few areas to focus on. (more…)

How to Find Remote Job Opportunities

After almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear the virus has upended the way we work. Safety measures like quarantines and lockdowns have prompted more employees to work from home than ever before; one study found that the number of employees working remotely has doubled since mid-March 2020. Employer surveys indicate this trend will likely continue even after restrictions are lifted.

Companies and professionals have adapted to remote work arrangements in creative ways—but how do you land that perfect remote job in the first place? Here are 6 tips to help with your remote job search:

 

Focus on an industry already well-suited to remote work.

You might kickstart your job search by targeting an industry with a high built-in potential for offering remote work. These include Information Technology; Software Development; Customer Support & Client Services; Scientific & Technical Services; Communications & Marketing; Design; Finance, Insurance, & Accounting; Research & Data analysis; Online Education & Counseling; and Administrative Support.

 

Take advantage of job boards, especially those specifically for remote work.

WeWorkRemotely, FlexJobs, and Remote.Co are valuable hubs of remote job opportunities that also offer supportive online communities for remote workers to share information and advice. Major job boards like Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn are also great places to peruse remote positions; just set your location preference to “remote” in the search field.

 

Market your most remote-friendly professional experience.

When updating your resume, highlight the job skills that would help you succeed in a remote position. These include working with computers; familiarity with software; analyzing information; identifying process improvements; taking initiative to problem solve; performing administrative activities; training, teaching, or coaching others; establishing relationships; monitoring processes; and marketing products or services. 

 

Consider how you’ll show productivity and accountability.

While some companies have developed methods to ensure their employees are productive even while at home, there may not always be clear benchmarks for remote employees to show they’re staying on task. Your cover letter is an ideal place to promote the “soft skills” and personality traits that will make you an accountable remote worker. These may include being self-directed and organized, possessing excellent time management and communication skills, or the ability to learn new things quickly and independently. 

 

Start preparing for remote work now.

Think about what would position you for remote work success. This may include steps like investing in upgraded computer accessories or a better desk setup, or re-structuring your daily routines to accommodate working from home. LinkedIn Learning offers courses in preparing for remote learning that focus on key concepts like managing virtual teams, leading conference calls, and improving productivity. Listing professional development courses on a resume is a great way to show proactivity— an essential trait for a remote employee!

 

Let us help!

Preparing for any job search isn’t easy, but the good news is that you don’t have to go about it alone. If you need help with interview preparation, career coaching, or marketing yourself to employers by creating a great resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile, contact the career consultants at Resume Spice today. 

5 Types of Skills to Include on Your Resume

Just a few months ago it was a candidate’s market with your choice of possibilities. Now, in today’s uncertain economy, employers are tightening their belts and approaching the hiring process with far more caution.

To get noticed and set yourself apart, you must include the right skills on your resume. Generally there are two categories: hard and soft.

Hard skills are those technical abilities and competencies you need to perform a job properly. Think accounting or coding experience, as well as analytics, marketing or administrative skills. Soft skills, on the other hand, are more interpersonal in nature and relate to how you work alone and alongside others. These include teamwork, problem-solving, and flexibility.

Both are important and can help you get your foot in the door with a potential employer. Here are a few skill-based areas to focus on from our professional resume writers:

Communication Skills

No matter what type of job you have, communicating effectively will always be a top priority. So focus on the ways you’ve done so effectively in past roles. This includes through making formal presentations, writing press releases, communicating with key stakeholders, answering phones, or resolving customer service issues.

Technical Skills

Solid computer and technology-related skills are also in-demand. For instance, if you have experience with a certain platform, software package or app and the company you’re applying to uses it, make sure you highlight your proficiency. Employers want to make the learning curve as short as possible for new hires. If you already have technical knowledge to perform the job, you’re more likely to get the offer.

Leadership Skills

Employers are looking for those who are proactive and take initiative, regardless of whether it’s for an executive role or an entry level one. Discuss your ability to make decisions, solve problems, motivate a team and remain positive despite challenges.

Organizational Skills

Employers want to hire people who are naturals when it comes to prioritizing tasks, staying organized and managing time. This translates into a worker who’s more conscientious and diligent. Some ways to showcase your skill set in this area are to discuss your ability to remain on task and disciplined. You can also talk about a time you caught a potentially expensive mistake thanks to your attention to detail.

Collaborative Skills

These skills involve how you work with others. Companies want people who are able to work independently and as part of a team. They know that successful collaboration among a diverse group of people is key to creativity, innovation and maintaining a competitive edge. It’s therefore important to highlight how you’ve worked with others on your team or across departments in the past to bring important projects to fruition.

Ready for professional help with your resume?

ResumeSpice is here for you. Read more about which skills to put on your resume here and here, or simply reach out to us for assistance through our resume writing services. Whether it’s simply making suggestions and edits or writing a resume from scratch, we know how to highlight your skills and experience, so you get noticed. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.

5 Out-of-the-Box Approaches to Land Your Next Job

Finding a job has become increasingly difficult. 

Despite “business as usual” for some industries, overall hiring has slowed since March. Job postings were down 29% in June 2020, as compared to the same time in 2019. And in Houston, 35% of jobs were impacted by COVID-19.

In the midst of the downturn and more people flooding the job market, it has become more difficult for job seekers to stand out. Extensive skills and experience don’t guarantee an interview, even with an above-average resume.

That’s why out-of-the-box strategies for job hunting can pay off. I recommend the following five methods to break through and separate yourself from the pack.  

 

1. Target executives

It may be counterintuitive, but the higher you go up in the chain at a company, the more likely you are to get a response. Approach executives with a thoughtful email clearly highlighting how you’re going to add value to their company and you’ll be surprised how many will respond. 

Executives are busy, but one of the ways they got to where they are is by being efficient with their time. It’s well known how responsive billionaire businessman Mark Cuban is over email. Same with the late Steve Jobs

Why are executives more likely to respond? Because they feel the pain of unfilled positions most acutely. If a project can’t be completed, it’s the executive who feels the greatest pinch from the loss of revenue. 

Start by making a list of companies where you would like to work. For each company, find the executive(s) who relate to the type of position you want. 

This executive might be the CEO, CFO, or COO. Find their email through online tools such as Twitter’s advanced search or Hunter.io. 

Draft an email to the executive. DON’T simply ask if they’re hiring or send your resume. Instead, highlight key results from past positions. What unique skills can you bring to the table? 

Also, don’t give up after the first email. One small business owner sent 380 emails to Marcus Lemonis, CEO of the Camping World and star of The Profit, before securing a meeting and funding. 

 

2. Create content  

Do you have a blog? Have you written articles on LinkedIn? Establish your credibility by writing content and demonstrating that you’re a subject matter expert. 

You may attract potential recruiters/hiring managers, but at minimum, the visibility will pay off when recruiters and hiring managers are doing their research on your candidacy for a role. Hiring managers will see your thoughtful articles, helping you stand out from competitors. 

Choose a content creation platform such as your own blog, Medium, or LinkedIn. Brainstorm articles that you’re uniquely qualified to write. 

For example, if you’re a sales manager, you could write about effective cold calling tips. If you’re a project manager, you might create a comprehensive guide to project road mapping.

These articles don’t have to be long (e.g. 500+ words), but make sure that the ideas are coherent and that the grammar/spelling is accurate. Focus on the quality of content and share your unique perspective or experience to shine as a thought leader

 

3. Establish relationships through social media

Connect with people in your career field via social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. With this approach, you can show your work and experience in an organic way and catch the eye of recruiters and hiring managers. And the more active you are, the more likely you are to see shared job postings. 73% of millennials found their last position through social media. 

Which platforms are best? I’m a big fan of establishing relationships via Twitter. The platform makes it easy to access almost anyone within an organization. Users tend to be responsive and you can quickly build a following. On LinkedIn, you can also easily comment and engage with content.

Before jumping into posts and comments, first make sure that your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles are polished and professional. 

Next, join relevant LinkedIn groups that align with your skills. Follow thought leaders and companies on Twitter within your career field. Set aside at least an hour per week to interact with people on these platforms such as via comments. 

When interacting, don’t try to sell your skills. Instead, participate in conversations. Answer questions. Ask for advice. Most importantly, be authentic. This approach can quickly catch the eye of a recruiter and others within a company. 

 

4. Offer to take on a project

Most executives have a nagging project they would like to take off their plate. And completing a task may be the best way to show potential employers your skills in action. 

If you have the time and resources to be able to take on a quick project, the initiative will help set you apart from other candidates. 

Consider it to be a “job audition.” The project might be something that takes you a few hours, but most job seekers won’t do it. You’ll immediately have a leg up.

Ask the hiring manager or a company executive what project they have that you could assist with – at no cost to them. Once they respond, outline how you would approach completing the project and results you’ve had with similar work. 

As an example, maybe the executive has to write an article for a major publication. If your expertise is in content marketing, offer to write the piece. Send samples of similar work and a bullet point outline of how you would approach the article. If approved, write and send. 

You might have to negotiate a realistic, 2-3 hour project (you probably don’t want a project that will take 10-20 hours). Such an assignment can quickly demonstrate your unique skills as a potential employee, as well as give you a glimpse of what working with the company would be like. 

 

5. Have your resume professionally written

As someone who runs a professional resume writing service, I recognize that this recommendation may appear self-serving – but the fact is, most professionals don’t write resumes for a living and most candidates only update their resume when they’re seeking a job. 

Unfortunately, 75% of resumes are rejected before they reach the hiring manager. Resume writers know how to effectively structure a resume, while bringing out and emphasizing information that hiring managers find most compelling. 

Even the most experienced executives turn to resume writers to help give them an edge in the job marketplace.

Reach out to a qualified professional resume writing service. At ResumeSpice, we require that you first complete a quick questionnaire to better understand your skills and experience. You can then schedule a conversation with a resume expert and share details about your career objectives. 

With this information, the resume expert can create a personalized resume draft within two business days for your review. Two rounds of revisions are built into the process. After any revisions, your resume is ready to send to potential employers. 

This approach has proven results. Job seekers with professionally written resumes found a job at a 35% higher rate than those who didn’t.

 

Think outside the box

Hundreds of qualified people will often apply for the same job. But out of these hundreds, how many will take the time and initiative to truly highlight their skills and experience? Stand out in today’s competitive job market by taking a creative approach to job hunting. 

Tips for Staying Positive During Your Job Search

There are a number of great resources that can help job seekers prepare for an interview—a quick Google search will yield advice on what to wear, what to do before the interview, what questions to ask during the interview, how and when to write a thank you note post-interview…the list goes on. While the hard skills are critical, our team at ResumeSpice believes it’s just as important to develop a healthy mindset going into the process. Below are some tips for calming the nerves and getting into the right frame a mind, so you can perform your best.

Preparation is Key

Pre-interview stress is normal. It’s your body’s natural way of preparing you for something significant and for most people, a healthy amount of stress helps them get ready to perform. However, if your stress level is bordering on high-anxiety, that can certainly have a negative effect in an interview setting. What we recommend is to prepare the questions you’re most likely to be asked and then practice answering aloud, either in the mirror or to a friend. The practice and preparation will help take the edge off and give you the confidence that you are ready for (almost!) anything you may face in an interview setting. Next, envision a positive outcome. Imagine yourself smiling at the interviewer, shaking their hand firmly, and then answering every question with confidence and poise. Imagine yourself shaking the interviewer’s hand at the conclusion of the meeting and then expressing interest in the role. Between your preparation and envisioning techniques, you’ll be amazed at the positive effect on your confidence.

Put Your Old Journal to Use

Keeping a log of your interviews and progress can be an extremely valuable resource tool. If you are actively searching, keep a log of your interviews, note your areas of strength, questions you struggled with, and how you would approach the question the next time you’re asked. This can also serve as a nice record for contacts, reminder to send thank you notes, and a record of your progress. If you find yourself in a rut or becoming pessimistic, your log can help serve as a reminder of your progress and the network you’re developing. You never know when someone you meet during the interview process might turn into a future co-worker, boss, or even a customer.

Capitalize on Your Strengths

We all have unique strengths and your future employer needs to know what they are. This doesn’t mean you will not be asked about your weaknesses during your interview. In fact, you most likely will. However, by knowing what your strengths are, you will have the ammunition to nail that question. When responding to questions about weaknesses or disappointing situations, tell a story about how you overcame your weakness (preferably a weakness that is unimportant to the job you’re applying for) using your strength.

Take a Walk

The power of nature is far too underestimated. It’s well-known that walking and exploring nature improves mood and short-term memory by decreasing blood sugar, cortisol (stress hormones), and rumination (repetitive negative thinking). Yet many of us regularly ignore that advice. Even during a stressful job search process, it’s important to take of yourself and take a walk. The benefits of a 30 minute walk will likely outweigh that of an extra thirty minutes in front of a computer.

Let us Help!

Preparing for a job search isn’t easy, but the good news is that you don’t have to go about it alone. If you need help with interview preparation or marketing yourself to employers by creating a great resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile, contact the career consultants at Resume Spice today. Let us help!