8 Myths on How to Land the Best Job in the Upstate

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So, do you feel that you should be in a better job? Why do most of us stay in the same job even when our skills are being underutilized or when we are truly unhappy? There are so many opportunities for those who are prepared and have the tools to succeed! Here they are the top ten myths about searching for a job in the Upstate:

Myth #1: All of the good jobs are with the largest employers.

Truth: Though large employers offer tremendous benefits and growth opportunities, the majority of companies in the Upstate are classified as small businesses. There are some fantastic small employers! The experience and gratification gained by working in a small business, where you would be involved in a multitude of duties and can see your direct impact on the bottom line, may just exceed the advantages that working for a large company offers.

Myth #2: I need “roots” in the Upstate to get the best jobs.

Truth: A transplanted (excuse the term) Sandlapper who knows how to network and use that network will reap benefits that far exceed that of being born and raised here. Many of our most successful business people in the Upstate are without our unique Upstate drawl! Network not only when you are looking for a job, but when you are not. A few ideas on networking opportunities: professional associations, community service organizations, non-profit business organizations such as chambers of commerce, church organizations, and neighborhood groups. Make it a point to know what people do, where they work, and who they know! Who knows, you may just make a positive impact on our wonderful community in the process!

Myth #3: Staffing companies find only temporary jobs for their clients OR companies hire contract employees just to avoid paying benefits.

Truth: I take personal offense to this one! Most often, Upstate companies use temporary staffing agencies to recruit excellent candidates that they WILL consider for long term full-time employment if they do a good job! If you are new to the area, working on temporary assignments is an excellent way to get a “feel” for the market and to get your foot in the door! For example, approximately 60-70% (depending on the economy and time of year) of the placements through our firm will lead to full time positions with the employer if our candidate does a super job.

Myth #4: I should prepare one good cover letter and resume and send it to the top fifty companies for whom I’d like to work.

Truth:  This is one of the biggest mistakes most job seekers make! Each cover letter and resume must be tailored to the position for which you are applying. Depending on the position, you must change your objective, the placement of your skills, education, and job history. Your cover letter should not be written to “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Sir” but to a specific individual. If the job description doesn’t mention a name, find the person to whom you should direct your letter by calling the company and asking, “Who is the person responsible for hiring the position?” Please don’t waste your time with a generic marketing package.

Myth #5:  If they tell me they’ll call me when a decision is made, they will.

Truth: Call it today’s hectic business environment, call it understaffing in HR departments, call it impoliteness, but it’s a fact. If you don’t follow up, you may never hear back. During the interview, ask the employer when they expect to make a decision. If you haven’t heard from the employer by the date that they mention—call them! When you call, let them know that you are interested and ask what additional information they need from you in order to make a decision. If they do not need further information, ASK FOR THE JOB! Most people can’t or won’t do it, but the candidate’s ability to “close the deal” will be the deciding factor in many hiring decisions. Companies want to hire people who are qualified and interested. Frankly, I wouldn’t hire a salesperson who couldn’t sell themselves. Here is how it’s done: “Mr/Ms. Employer, I have found out a great deal about your company, both prior to meeting with you and during the interview process. You have also learned a great deal about me, my background, and skills. I know that I am a good fit for the position, and I will do a good job for you. I want to come to work for your organization, when can I start?” If they “hem and haw”, ask them if there is other information that they need to make a decision. If so, provide it, and then close again.

Myth #6: The company that I am interviewing with has a casual environment, so I don’t need to dress up for the interview.

Truth:  As the old phrase goes, “You only have one chance to make a first impression!” Regardless of the employer’s environment, you should dress conservatively and professionally. What does this mean? For office environments, wear a conservative dress or suit with professional shoes. Your hair should be clean and neat. No piercings on other parts of the body that show, no midrift showing, very little jewelry, and no perfume (many people are allergic). Many women will argue that this isn’t their “style” or that they like to express themselves. This is a job interview. This is a time when you want the interviewer to concentrate on your experience and abilities. You do not want to present yourself in a way that will distract the interviewer from you!

Myth #7:  When I receive an offer from a company, it’s “take it or leave it.”

Truth: We will never excel in our careers if we do not ask for what we need and expect more! Here is what the employer doesn’t want you to know: there is almost always a range of pay for each position in a company. The wage for a new employee is dependent on their prior experience, prior pay, internal equity (what other employees at the company are earning), and what the candidate negotiates, among other factors. Candidates should feel comfortable negotiating their wage, vacation, and other benefits within reasonable limits. If an employer does not have the ability to raise the starting pay, negotiate a review period of three to six months after the start date. By the time you have been with your new firm for three to six months, you will have proved your value. Asking for this consideration will show the employer that you are willing to earn your wage increase. Candidates who have a stable work history, excellent skills, and a positive attitude are valuable in this marketplace regardless of the economy.  Don’t’ sell yourself short!

Myth #8: I should be upfront and honest about my personal problems during my interview.

Truth: Honesty, yes—but tell everything, no! I can say this because I am a woman: this is the biggest mistake that women make during the interview. By nature, many of us are friendly and open, so we let down our guard too easily. The interviewer’s job is to screen you out. Their job is to find out, prior to hiring you, if you will be undependable, difficult to get along with, or a “short timer.” Don’t give them a reason not to hire you. The interviewer does not (under normal circumstances) need to know about your sick family members, future plans for having children, past disagreements with coworkers or supervisors, or other personal issues. Don’t speak negatively about your former job or employer, even if you feel they will understand. Trust me, many of you reading this have probably lost a wonderful job opportunity by making this mistake!

Hopefully we’ve broken down some of the lies holding you back from landing your dream career! Please feel free to share any other myths you feel job seekers are believing in today’s market.

Written by: Julie Godshall Brown

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Depending on More Than LUCK for Your Next Interview

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Have you ever gone into something thinking, “I’ll just wing it?” Flashbacks to my college exams are going through my mind right now. In the hiring industry, we see candidates going into an interview with that mentality. Even though they failed to research the company, the duties and responsibilities of the role or dress in appropriate interview attire, they think they will receive a job offer. Preparation is in my opinion the most important step in landing a job. Rather than relying on luck for your next interview, here are several tips to consider when preparing for your next interview:

Do Your Research Beforehand

  • Research the company including checking the company website and googling them. This will not only make you feel more comfortable during the interview, but it will also prepare you to show genuine interest in the company.
  • Research the Interviewer: You can Google your interviewer’s name or use LinkedIn to find out their background. It is helpful to know how they started their career, their educational background, and what they do in their current role.
  • Make sure you know where the company is located before the interview. If you have enough time, plan out a route to the company a day or two prior to make sure there are no high traffic areas or road blocks. I’ve even heard taking a screen shot of the directions in case your phone has trouble pulling up directions.
  • Review your resume and work experiences the night before. Be ready to explain past career accomplishments with specific information targeted toward this company’s job description. Think of 2-3 examples of when you went above and beyond on the job.  Know your strengths!

Present Yourself in the Best Light

  • Dress appropriately and plan your wardrobe choice the evening before the interview. Remember that there is only one chance to make a good first impression. Even though many companies have a “business casual” dress code, be conservative in your attire. I suggest a conservative business suit (dark colors are best) with clean/polished dress shoes and a well-groomed hairstyle.  Nails should be clean and trimmed, with minimal cologne or perfume, and empty pockets.  I would highly recommend no gum, candy, or smoking cigarettes before the interview.  There should be no visible body piercing (nose rings, eyebrow rings, etc.). Cell phone or watch alarms should be turned off before entering the building.
  • Allow sufficient time for the interview. Plan to arrive exactly ten minutes before your actual appointment (too early is inconvenient for the interviewer) and being late can show lack of discipline.

Practice Makes Perfect

  • Practice interviewing with someone you know closely before an interview. Practice maintaining eye, giving a firm handshake, and smiling.
  • Check your posture and make sure you’re sitting up straight with a professional demeanor.
  • Practice placing your hands on your lap or on the table – not fidgeting or picking at anything.
  • Prepare how you will present your past employment. Avoid negative comments about past employers.
  • Be careful not to bare your soul and tell tales that are personal, inappropriate, or beyond the scope of the interview.
  • State your previous experience in positive terms. Even if you disagreed with a former employer, express enthusiasm for earlier jobs as much as you can.

Prepare Questions

  • Be prepared to ask questions during the interview. Your questions allow the hiring manager to evaluate your priorities and interest. Insightful questions help both of you determine if your relationship will be mutually rewarding. In the first interview state your interests, but avoid questions that relate to salary, benefits, vacations, and retirement.
  • Bring a portfolio with your written questions. It shows preparation and interest.  Good questions to ask may revolve around training, tenure of employees, the company’s future growth, etc.

Take Control of the Interview

  • Again, practice with someone you know closely. Companies want to hire candidates that are interested in working for them, not just those who want a job. Rehearse showing your interest in the job!  Don’t be afraid to ask for the job at the conclusion of the interview. “What is the next step?”  “When will a decision be made?”

Now go land that job!

 

Written By: Shawn Kinard

What do you ❤️ about your job?

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It’s very rare to hear people say, “I absolutely love my job.” In fact, I’ve probably only heard it once or twice since entering the workforce. Most of the conversations we have in the recruiting field are talking about how much one hates their job and how they can’t wait to leave. I’d like to put a spin on things for this month of LOVE and share with you the reasons I love my job!

 

I ❤️ MY COWORKERS!

To say I LOVE my coworkers is a complete understatement. I’ve worked with them for over 5 years now and honestly can say I look at them as my family. Our team is set up kind of like a “bull pin” area and it really helps us work more collaboratively and handle stress better when it comes. This group of people really appreciates one another and are always there to help carry the burdens and anxieties of the day. It’s one thing to work with people you love; it’s even better when you work with people who love you/appreciate you back!

I ❤️ MY BOSSES!

Both my manager and the owner of the company have personally invested time and energy into helping me be the best I can be. I’ve experienced managers in the past that only cared about themselves and growing their career. That’s the exact opposite of mine. They have used their time to help me grow and mature into the business person I am today.

I ❤️ WHAT I DO!

Please don’t hate me. I know it’s rare to love your job and I know I’ve been blessed! It took me a long time to get to a point where I truly love my job. If you’ve recently graduated, your first job probably isn’t going to make your heart flutter. Mine didn’t. And my first job was at the same company I’m at now! I started out a receptionist answering phones and greeting candidates. Was it a great job for a new college grad looking to get into the HR field? Of course! Was it my dream job? No. But I was told this position had room to grow and guess what? I grew. It took time and my patience grew 😊, but it was honestly worth it! I do a mix of marketing and HR which is exactly what my degrees were in. It’s challenging, it’s something different every day, and its positively impacting those around us!

Jobs aren’t perfect, and neither is mine. But instead of always focusing on the negative, I’m choosing to focus on the things I love and I’m thankful for. And I’m sure if you looked at yours closely, you could find some things too!

Share below what you ❤️ about your job!

Written by: Shawn Kinard

New Day, New Resume

It’s a new day and time to make a new resume! As recruiters we see hundreds of resumes a day. On average, a hiring manager spends between 5-7 seconds reviewing a resume so it’s critical your resume stands out. Whether you’re looking to jump start your career or change careers, here are some of our top tips for building a new resume in 2018.

Beginning of Resume


DON’T: We don’t need every demographic detail about you at the top of your resume. Please no marital status, race, number of children, or religion. And we definitely don’t need to know your social security number or date of birth. This is just setting yourself up for identity theft and is not professional.
DO: Put your full name at the top of the resume. Believe it or not, we have received resumes with no name. Make sure to also add the best way for you to be contacted, preferably a phone number and email address.

DON’T: But first, let’s NOT take a selfie. Don’t put a selfie or any kind of picture on your resume. I don’t care how professional it is; that just opens the door for a hiring manager to discriminate against you.
DO: If you want to make use of your professional picture (still not the selfie), you can use it as your profile picture on LinkedIn or Facebook. Hiring managers are now more than ever considering candidate’s social media accounts when making hiring decisions.
Objective Statement/Summary

DON’T: Don’t start your resume with a clichéd objective. Objective statements are so last year (plus like 10 years). We all know you are seeking a job where you can utilize your excellent communication, organizational, and leadership skills.
DO: Start your resume with a summary of your industry background, relevant experience, and goals pertaining to the job you are applying for.

Education


DON’T: Don’t list that you received a bachelor’s degree if you didn’t receive a bachelor’s degree. Simple enough. I would also caution you on putting the dates on your education if they’re over 15 years ago. This can open the door to discriminate because of your age. We also don’t need to know you had a GPA of 3.7 back in ‘02. As hard as you worked to receive it, it is unfortunately no longer relevant.
DO: If you didn’t graduate, you could list courses taken towards the degree you were trying to obtain. If you did graduate, make sure you spell your degree correctly. It’s Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts along with the official degree; not bachelors of science. Regarding GPA, if it’s been less than 5 years and your GPA was over 3.5, it’s still relevant to list it. You can also add the dates with your degree especially if you just graduated.

Skills/Accomplishments


DON’T: Even though you think it’s an accomplishment that you were Mr. 7th grade at your middle school in ’86, we don’t….. Any awards you received in middle school/high school can just be kept to yourself. Under skills, don’t list you’re fluent in a foreign language if you’re not. Don’t list proficiency in MS Office and not bullet or format your resume properly.
DO: Do list relevant accomplishments of previous positions that would be relevant to the position you’re applying for. List any type of software skills you have especially if you know the company you’re applying to uses them.

Work Experience


DON’T: If you’ve been in the workforce for 20+ years, we don’t need to know you worked at the ice cream parlor when you were 15. We also don’t want to see your oldest job first.
DO: List your work experience starting with your most recent position first. List the company name, your position, and the dates you’ve been there. Bullet your duties and use past tense for previous jobs.

DON’T: We don’t need to know your entire story for each position. Don’t use first or third person either. Example (I would open at 8am and close the store at 5pm; I was in charge of counting the cash drawer; I answered all incoming calls and transferred to the person that was requested)
DO: Do list relevant duties in a clear yet concise format. (Responsible for opening/closing store; counted cash drawer; answered incoming calls)

DON’T: Last, but certainly not least, don’t send in a resume with misspelled words! Nothing says you’re not qualified for the job like misspelling qualified 😊.
DO. Spellcheck. Spellcheck. Spellcheck. Have someone else review your resume too. Sometimes we read what we we’re wanting to say versus what is actually on the page.

Do you have any other tips to share?

 

Written by: Shawn Kinard