Find Out What Your Strengths Are

Creative Power

During the interview process you are often asked, what is your greatest strength? You may also be asked to identity your strengths during a yearly review. For these reasons it’s so important to ask yourself, what is my strength, what do I bring to my company that no one else can? Using these tips we have put together, you can learn to recognize your strengths. Here’s how:

Don’t be trapped by your job title. To figure out what your strengths are, you may need to explore new areas at work. Volunteer to help out while someone is out sick or on vacation, see how you like the new challenge. When you engage in an activity you are truly good at, your will be excited or proud of the work you have done.

When do people turn to you for help? In a situation where you are using your strengths, you will stand out from a crowd, your approach will be unique. To name your strengths, you want to try and think about those moments, how you are different?

Identify unique strengths. When you do find your strength, avoid overused words like ‘passionate’ or ‘dedicated’ when asked to identify it. You should try and come up with a unique term that captures your specific strength.

We hope this helps! Remember, you can always ask a coworker or mentor what they would say if they were asked to describe your work ethic. Their answer may provide you with just want you were looking for.

Email Etiquette for Job Seekers

This blog post was suggested by our recruiters who are in constant contact with job seeking and catching mistakes in emails all the time! Many people don’t realize that emailing is a powerful way to make an impression on someone and it should be used appropriately, especially when communicating with potential employers. Today, we put together our top 10 pieces of advice when emailing as a job seeker.

Choose Your Email Address Wisely. Trust us, we’ve seen them all…fashiongurl1995@email.com, ninja_kick_360@email.com…pick your name carefully! A potential employer may find it inappropriate or juvenile. When in doubt, the best email address is a combination of your first and last name.

Attach it First. This has to be the easiest and most common mistake – emailing your resume and forgetting to attach it! We’ve all done it. Make a habit of attaching the document before you even start writing the email.

(no subject) = No Good! An email with no subject line is much more likely to end up in the junk folder. Even if it does make it to the inbox, would you open an email from someone you don’t know that contains no subject line? When it comes to subject lines, the more specific you can be the better.

Crazy FONTS? No! You should avoid fonts that are stylized; it could make the email hard to read. It should also be noted, never use all capitals, it’s the email equivalent of SHOUTING.

No LOLing Allowed. Web or text abbreviations are fine for communicating with friends but it could really give a potential employer the wrong impression of you. By writing LOL in an email it may come off that you aren’t taking this seriously.

Short and Sweet. How much time to you spend reading through your emails? Imagine how many emails a day a hiring manager or recruiter may receive.  If you’re emailing someone your resume, making a request, or introducing yourself, keep it to the point.

Make a Signature. Your email needs a signature. Not only does a signature make for a good finish to any email, but it also lets the reader find all your contact information in one spot. The minimum you should include is your name, email address, phone number but if you have a website or online portfolio include that too!

Don’t Forget Sincerely. Always include a professional sign off. Professional sign offs include “best wishes” or “sincerely.” Use a phrase that seems most like you and appropriate in the context of the email.

Spell Check. Most browsers now have automatic spell checkers that alert you when you have misspelled a word but when on a mobile device, autocorrect may not always know best! Please double check your grammar and spelling.

Thank You Email. We have written a few blog posts about writing a thank you note via email, after an interview. If you missed them, we strongly recommend going back and checking them out here and here. You should be sending your Thank You email the same day as your interview, that is a must!

Sending an email seems like such a simple and common task that things can get missed when you are sending it to a potential employer or recruiter. Take your time, follow our advice and don’t let your skills or talent be overlooked due to a poorly written email.

PCG Partners: Rachel Levin Style

Rachel

 

Our style expert Rachel Levin, of Rachel Levin Style, is here again to answer another fashion in the workplace question! Here is Rachel’s advice about men dressing for interviews:

What your best advice for interview dressing for a guy? A suit seems so boring and doesn’t show off much of my personality.

You bring up one of the great challenges when getting prepared for an interview- how to dress to show you understand the company’s brand while balancing elements that represent who you are. An interview is both for you and the company to have the opportunity to access fit. My advice for you would be to reflect on what kind of environment you would be working in. If it’s a business casual environment where you can express yourself, then looks with sports jackets or cardigans over trousers can be appropriate for an interview – just make sure to finish with matching belt, shoes, watchbands, pocket squares, and/or ties where appropriate. No matter whether it’s a business casual or more formal environment, finishing your look will leave a lasting impression. All my best to you for your success!

 

Ask Our Recruiters: How to Answer, Why Were You Fired?

AskRecruiters

 

We have had another question for our Ask Our Recruiter series. See our other posts here and here. Don’t forget to leave your questions on our Facebook page or in the comment section below. Dan wrote in and asked:

I was let go of my last job, what is the best way to approach this when it gets brought up in the interview?

matt

When explaining your termination, it is possible to explain what happened in a way that will not prohibit you from getting hired.  Always be truthful and honest, but there is no reason to go into a lengthy explanation. I always suggest keeping it short and sweet, once you have addressed it move on to your skills and why you’re qualified for the job.  You should make your references are aware of why you were let go so that if it comes up in the reference check, they are prepared.  Unfortunately, sometimes people are fired – keep your head up and don’t let that affect your confidence of getting a new job!

 

 

Signs That It’s Time for a Career Change

Many people get stuck in their routine and don’t take the time to ask: am I happy in my current job? Even people that are fully aware that they are unhappy in their job are sometimes afraid to make a change especially if you are making a good salary. But no one deserves to be unhappy so we have put together some signs that can help determine if it’s time for you to leave your job.

Your unhappy attitude about work is affecting your personal life

Lots of people deal with stressful periods at work and sometimes take that stress home. Are you losing sleep, miserable on Sunday knowing you have to go to work the next day? We suggest that you make a real effort to turn off, especially over the weekend, and give your brain a break. Find an escape from the stress or pressure. If you have tried and things still aren’t better, maybe a career change is what you need.

You speak negatively about your job/company…a lot!

People get so wrapped up in the activities of the day that they often don’t realize the negative tone and vibe they share with their coworkers. Can you hear your own negativity in meetings, on the phone, even during causal work conversation? If you know you sound angry or bitter and you wish you could be more positive, but can’t, it’s time to make a change.

You feel your talent is not valued

When your talent is not valued, it’s difficult to stay motivated. When you feel like your boss doesn’t see your potential, it can make it hard to stay. You must value your talent potential more than anyone else.   Never allow your talent to be taken for granted.  If it is, it may be time to move on.

When you look into the future of your career, what do you see? Are you excited about where it’s going or are you craving that big bonus, or dream about giving your two weeks’ notice?  Take control of the situation or start to prepare to move on and onto a more promising future.

What to Write in a Thank You Note

Thank You Note

 

We have written a lot about the importance of thank you notes but maybe you aren’t sure what to say. Saying thank you is a start but what else can you include in your note? Did you miss the chance to mention another skill or experience that would be of value to this job? Did you fumble over your answer to a question and what to reinforce your answer?  At times, we reflect and in retrospect recognize where we failed. Well, this is your opportunity. Bring up the topic and say you would like to elaborate, you would like to expand; you had time to think about this and want to convey the following.

Then there are times when you leave the interview and know you rocked it out and you  just want to say thank you! Remember that you don’t know how your competition performed, so even though you just want to say thanks it’s a great chance to strengthen your candidacy. To do this you can:

  • Highlight three of your top qualifications discussed during the interview. Now you have more information than you did before the interview so you can connect your qualifications with employer needs.
  • Bring up something they shared about the company culture and express how much more interested you became.
  • Sell them again on the bottom-line goal they need to achieve via your employment. Seal the deal by promising to deliver.

When looking for a job you want to market yourself at all times, this includes in the thank you note!

How to Get a Great Recommendation Letter

As many summer jobs and internships are coming to an end it’s time to start thinking about getting a letter of recommendation. These can be a great assessment of your qualities, capabilities and performance. While there is no set format for a letter of recommendation, it gives someone the opportunity to vouch for your skills and experience. These letters come in handy for a variety of reasons, such as applying for scholarships or a job/internship. Be strategic about who you ask to write your recommendation letter. Choose someone you know with a great professional reputation, and can speak specifically from working first hand with you. Talk about what kind of position you are looking for, and make sure to give them the necessary background and points they should be including. Make sure to keep the person writing your letter updated about your job search. This allows them to make your letter targeted and focused.

Ask Our Recruiters: Should I Include All My Past Jobs?

AskRecruiters

Our Ask Our Recruiters series is back with another great question. Don’t forget you can leave your questions in our comment section below, thanks!

I have been out of school for about 10 years, on my resume should I include each job I’ve had since graduating? Will it look like I didn’t work if I don’t put some of my entry level jobs I had right after school?

Erika

This is a great question I am sure everyone at your level has had at one point or another. While each resume is unique to the individual, it is my standard policy to include all work experience on a resume. This way, your entire professional career progression- from entry level out of college until present day- is represented.

Speak to your recruiter (or call us!) and allow him/her to review your resume and see if any edits can be made. Perhaps a “Freelance” section would be best for the temporary roles you had while job searching, maybe more detailed bullets in your current position will help highlight your desired career direction, or maybe you can create a separate section for those positions that are a separate industry (ie “Retail positions”). Be prepared to discuss any gaps in employment and any shorter stints at positions.

Being full disclosure on all of your employment on your resume leaves nothing up to chance and no question marks to the viewer. Then, it is up to you and your recruiter to create the flow in your resume which will lead you in the direction of the position you are applying for.

How to Impress Your Recruiter

Job interview

Each and every day, recruiters are exposed to hundreds of both amazing as well as disappointing job seekers. Out of all the resumes, it is important to find a way to separate yourself from the others. In order to stand out to your recruiter, we recommend following these guidelines to increase your chances of getting hired.

First, be enthusiastic. If you are contacted by a recruiter, be excited! Whether it’s a call about your dream job, or to just make money during the holidays, show eagerness. Recruiters are always excited to bring individuals with high energy and motivation onto new teams, so show them you are just as thrilled to fill the position.

Once you are told about a job opportunity, take the time to research the company and position. This will make your interview much easier and will also show how passionate you are about the job. The more you know about a company, the more you will be able to relate yourself and your experiences to the specific role.

Be specific. Resumes that are specific and well-formatted are the ones that will catch a recruiter’s eye. You can also attract a recruiter’s attention by keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date and making sure your most recent resume is posted on various job boards. Manage your social presence so a hiring manager or recruiter can see if you are a good fit for a position.

Don’t forget to keep in touch. Recruiters may not always have the perfect job opening for you, but this doesn’t mean to cut off contact. You never know when a position will open up and you want your recruiter to think of you when a job comes in that fits your skills.

For other tips, read our previous blog post about working with recruiters here!

Building Strong Business Relationships

Workplace

“It’s all about who you know.” We all recognize how true this statement is. Building business relationships can play a critical role in your success, however it’s not easy. Strong relationships need trust and consistency, requiring a lot of time and effort. When you’re looking to build valued business connections, remember these tips:

Be helpful. Make sure you offer mutual benefits. Provide advice or feedback, and share information such as events or research to others. Promote your contact by discussing their work and sharing it with others. Send people updates about what you’re doing and learning and ask your network to do the same. This will allow you to determine who could lead to a connection in a specific field. Be proactive when you may find things that will interest your contacts. Use your knowledge of your relationships to share relevant information and show that you are there to help.

Finally don’t forget to stay in touch. Meeting for coffee, attending an event, or communicating via email will keep you on someone’s radar. Don’t let too much time lapse in between communication; you may lose your connection.