Communicating at Work

Five Tips to Improve Your Communication at Work

No matter where you work, communication plays a critical role in getting the job done. In today’s world, we have several ways to communicate – in-person, email, instant messenger, video, phone – the list could go on and on. We also communicate with others who have different communication styles and interpret our message differently.

If communication is so important to our day-to-day, how can we improve the way we have conversations with various communication styles while using different types of communication platforms? Here is a list of tips on how to improve your communication at work.

Prepare what you want to communicate

When there isn’t a clear direction for the conversation to go, it can be difficult to make sure our main message is heard. Here are some points on how to prepare for future conversations.

  • Know what you want to achieve from the conversation. Ask yourself – what’s the point of this message? If you know what your endgame is, it is easier to communicate to others.
  • Identify what key points you want the other to walk away with. Think of this like a list. Often, this list will include who, what, where, when, why and how. Determine these points and align them with your endgame.

Understand your audience

We all interpret messages differently and have a preference on how we like receiving information. Here are some points to think about when trying to understand your audience.

  • Identify how the other person receives information. Do they like a lot of detail and knowing the whole story behind the topic? Do they prefer a more direct approach – short, sweet and to the point? If you haven’t heard of the communication quadrant, check it out! This quadrant helps identify how individuals receive information based on some of their observable traits.
  • Determine what information is most relevant to your audience. Based on how the other person receives information, you’ll be able to identify what information from the list of who, what, where, when, why and how is most important to share.

Communicate clearly and effectively

Now that we know what we want to say and we understand the best way to share it with our audience, we need to communicate it clearly. Here are some points to make sure your message is clear.

  • Say what you need to say and be done. Sometimes, we find ourselves rambling for the sake of being heard or for the sake of showing just how much we know. This is ineffective and the key points you want your audience to walk away with will get lost. Keep your message on point and limit any unnecessary rambling.
  • Communicate one message at a time. If you have multiple messages to communicate to the same person, how do you make sure all those messages are received? In a face-to-face meeting with someone, let them know upfront that you have three topics you want to cover and cover each one separately. In an email, separate topics with bold headings or send separate emails. Each message has its own endgame; make sure to communicate each message one at a time.

Pick up on non-verbal cues

While we’re not always aware of it, we communicate with others using body language and actions. Here are some points on how to pick up on some common non-verbal cues you might experience at work.

  • Be aware of body language. Have you ever been in a meeting with someone and they’re leaning back in their chair, arms crossed, and they’re looking quizzically at you? Perhaps you’re in a room of people and see some sitting up straight, making eye contact with the speaker, while others have their head propped up on one arm and slouching over the table. We can infer a lot from people’s body language and make assumptions of how to best communicate based on how engaged their body language appears.
  • Look for the watch check. What does it mean when someone is checking their watch while having a conversation with you? Often, this means they have another meeting to get to and don’t want to be late. It could also mean they’re busy and don’t have time for a long story. Whatever it means, if someone is checking their watch, they’re time conscious for a reason and you need to make your point quickly. Watch for the signals and be courteous of other people’s time.

Listen actively

Half of communicating with someone is about listening and being engaged. Here are some points to show you’re actively listening and engaged.

  • Nod occasionally. Giving the occasional head nod lets the speaker know you’re still with them, listening and absorbing the information they’re sharing. However, be careful with excessive nodding. If you’re constantly nodding, like a bobble-head, this will appear disingenuous and give the opposite effect.
  • Acknowledge points of agreement and disagreement. You’re not always going to agree with the information shared, but when you do, point it out to the speaker by saying, “Bob makes a good point about project X needing more support.” When you don’t agree, you can say something along the lines of, “I see where you’re coming from Bob, but I don’t exactly agree. Can we talk about this a little more?” Acknowledging points the speaker makes shows you are engaged and actively partaking in the conversation.

 

Want more tips from PMG? Check out our article on Phone Interview Tips!

Work-life Balance

With an increase in technology accessibility, our work days have extended so much longer than ever before. Checking email before bed and first thing in the morning is routine for most professionals. Work-life balance has become a career perk, not something you’re always guaranteed. I’ve put together five ways to create some work-life balance, even if you’re working around the clock.

Hold Yourself Accountable

You know your schedule and workload better than anyone else. Hold yourself accountable to what needs to be done. Your calendar is your best friend. Log every meeting, deadline, and block off productivity time. The more you get done during work hours, the less you’ll need to worry about during the evenings and weekends. It’s also so much easier to actually enjoy your time off when you don’t have unfinished projects hanging over your head.

Find Activities Outside of Work

Find a hobby or get involved in other activities. Having non-work-related events on your calendar will give you something to look forward to and a break from the grind. If you’re spending money on these activities, you are also less likely to skip them. It’s also a great way to meet people…that aren’t coworkers!

Don’t Procrastinate

Just do it already! The more you push it off, the more it will weigh on your mind and cause you added stress. The people that have the most work-life balance are the ones that get down to business because they don’t want to cut into their personal time to pick up the slack. If you struggle with procrastination, ask a coworker to help keep you on task. If you are easily distracted, take initiative and remove the distractions.

Establish a Routine

Get in a habit at work. The more routine you are, the less likely you are to miss deadlines. A routine is good for at work, but also at home. Wake up earlier than you have to so you can enjoy the time in the morning. Try incorporating a walk over lunch to help refresh you. By building a routine and sticking to it, your mind and body know what to expect throughout the day. It will also create a sense of balance.

Be Realistic with Expectations

Don’t overload yourself. It’s okay to say no. You don’t need to raise your hand at every meeting or to constantly pick up the slack of your coworkers. Be realistic with what you can handle. Wait until you complete a few projects before taking on more. A manager is going to be more impressed with the quality of your work, not the quantity.

 

 

I hope these 5 tips help you create some balance in your life.

Want to read more about career development, check out this blog on How to Avoid the Job Search Burnout.

 

About the Author

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MacKenzie Porwoll, Corporate Recruiter

Phone Interview Tips

What to Do and NOT Do on Your Next Phone Interview:

 

Most of us have read enough tweets or seen enough YouTube clips to be well aware by now that we’re living in the middle of the golden age of technology. However, in the era of the telephone interview, it’s harder to know how to best show yourself, before a potential employer ever actually gets to see YOU or your work. Here are some tips and tricks from the desks of the PMG Tech Solutions Team (TST) on what to do and NOT do on your next phone interview.

Pre – Call:

Do Your Research

It’s no secret that recruiters are doing their homework on you, your education, and your work history. Don’t be afraid to do the same. Find out everything you can about that company and interviewer to make sure you don’t leave important questions unasked.

“Do research on PMG and/or the company prior to interview (industry, location, history)- knowledge is power!” – Marisa B. TST

Don’t Dress for Comfort

It’s a phone interview, why worry about what you’re wearing? Well, to steal a phrase from coaches everywhere, you play like you practice. If you want the job, dress like you’ve already got it. Put yourself in the right mental space.

Do Find a Good Location

Life happens. We all know that. But it’s best if you can keep it from happening in the background during a phone interview. Impressions are everything and distractions can ruin an otherwise great interview.

“Do make sure you’re in a quiet and appropriate setting – maybe don’t interview in the casino bathroom!” – Isabel B. TST

Don’t Frown on the Phone

Plain and simple, tone shows on the phone. If you want to sound pleasant, confident, and energized about the job, you need to smile throughout your call. The interviewer may not see it, but they can definitely hear it.

“Don’t be down – be upbeat, positive, and confident (but not too confident where we think you’re full of it)!” – Marisa B. TST

Do Prepare and Practice

Proper preparation prevents poor performance. This is true in life and on the shop floor, therefore, it’s true on the telephone. Think about potential questions and be ready with answers. This will go a long way to easing any anxiety too.

“Do know the progression of your employment history and be able to speak to that without huge hesitations.” – Ted C. TST

 

On – Call:

Do Keep it Conversational

Recruiters aren’t just looking for great candidates; they’re looking for great co-workers, employees, and teammates. Keep it professional, but friendly, and don’t be afraid to let out an occasional chuckle or two.

“Do provide detailed responses without going off on long, unrelated tangents.” – Ted C. TST

Don’t Mumble

Phone connections are not created equal and there’s only so many times an interviewer can ask you to repeat yourself. Pace yourself, project your voice, and ANNUNCIATE. Keep a glass of water handy too.

“Don’t forget to speak clearly and have a good connection. We need to hear you to be impressed by your answer.” – Benjamin P. TST

Do Ask Questions

This is an interview, not an interrogation. You want to make sure this is a company you want to work for as much as they are vetting if you should work for them. Ask those questions you prepared pre-call.

“Do have questions. Coming into an interview prepared with questions reflects professionalism and that you are taking this job seriously.” – Brent R. TST

Don’t Talk Dollars and Cents

Avoid awkwardness by remembering the first interview is about adding to your knowledge base and impressing your interviewer. Salary, benefit, and schedule questions can wait. Use this call to make sure you get a follow-up call.

“Don’t begin negotiating terms or pay before we even start the interview.” – Isabel B. TST

Do Talk Next Steps

Before your call ends make sure you ask about next steps to reemphasize your interest in the position and establish expectations. You won’t be left wondering about appropriate protocol for follow ups if you’ve already asked.

 

Post – Call

Do Send a Thank You

Whether via email or real mail, sending a follow up Thank You note never hurts and often goes a long way to setting yourself apart from other candidates.

“Do send a follow up email. It shows professionalism and always impresses me.”

– Benjamin P. TST

Don’t Turn into a Stalker

Establishing next steps during the call can help alleviate the temptation to do this, but nothing turns a potential employer off more than over-indulging in follow ups. Take a relationship type view – if it’s meant to be, it will be. If not, you’re probably lucky.

“Don’t forget to be respectful of your recruiter’s process. Multiple follow ups in a day or week only add to their call volume and will actually make the wait for a call back even longer.” – Brent R. TST

Do Debrief

Every interview is an opportunity, both to get the job and to learn lessons that will help you get the next one. Write down what went well and what didn’t and apply those notes to your next call.

Don’t Stop Interviewing

No matter how well you think the call went, a job is never yours until it’s been offered to you. Keep scheduling interviews until you’ve got the job.

These are not the only do’s and don’ts for acing your next phone interview but, if you’re currently struggling in the job hunt, try mixing in some of these tips and tricks to see if they mix up your results too.

On the other hand, if you’re a technician who is already acing calls and you’re looking for a new opportunity, apply with PMG to see if our recruiters would agree.

 

About the Author

Josh Erickson, ReTool & Technical Solutions Associate

Working From Home

Working from home – What could go wrong?

No commute, no uncomfortable work clothes, no annoying cube mate – the idea of working from home sounds great. But how is it really? Working from home is no longer a “nice to have”, but is becoming a mandatory requirement from job seekers. How are you setting yourself up for success? Here are some key points to think about before you make the change to work from home.

Distractions

Working from home may lead you to think that all distractions will be eliminated. Wrong! There are possibly even more distractions tempting you at home. That load of laundry you meant to switch last night; the dishes piled up in the sink; the dog that won’t stop dropping the tennis ball in your lap. The list goes on and on. Home distractions are arguably more tempting to participate in because those are things you know you’re going to do anyway.

How to Avoid Distractions When Working from Home

If you’re going to work from home, your self-discipline needs to be on point. Here are some tips on how to avoid distractions at home:

  • Get in the routine of doing all household chores the night before. Take away any temptation that might be testing you the next day.
  • Build in a lunch-time routine. Take an hour away from the computer and make it as productive as possible. If you’re going to take that lunch break to get caught up around the house, set a timer. That hour is going to fly by a lot quicker than you think.

Loneliness

Working from home can be lonely. It’s just a fact. You’re going from a social environment to the confines of your own home. When you work in an office, you build relationships, whether it’s intentional or not. You learn about what colleagues did on the weekend, or what sports team they’re cheering for that night. Once you start working from home, that all goes away.

How to Avoid Loneliness When Working from Home

Here are some tips on how to avoid loneliness when you work from home:

  • Involve yourself in extra-curricular activities. Join the gym, book club, go to the dog park, take up a pottery class.
  • Do something that gets you out of the house every single day. It can be easy (especially during the Minnesota winters) to hold up in your house and hibernate. But understand that, if you’re working from home five days per week, you need to take an active role in building in some social time.

Work/Life Balance

It’s a common perception that, when you work from home, you’ll have the ultimate work/life balance. This isn’t always the case. Working from home can create an “on-call” feeling. It’s harder to walk away from your work and create that separation. This can be particularly trying especially when work is busy. You might think you’ll feel better by putting in the extra hours, but you are actually at risk of burnout.

For more blogs related to burnout, check out How to Avoid the Job Search Burnout .

How to Improve Work/Life Balance When Working from Home

  • Have set work hours and follow them.
  • Know when to walk away at the end of the day. You will attack the next day fresh and with energy.
  • Have your home office in a separate room of your house. When you are in that room, you are at work. When you are outside that room, you are at home. Having the space physically defined will help you mentally define your work and home time.

Communication

When working from home, it’s easy to miss out on key pieces of communication. You might miss out on the natural collaboration that happens in the lunch room, or the unplanned meeting by your peers. The responsibility falls to you to stay up-to-date.

How to Improve Communication When Working from Home

  • Follow up daily with your peers and managers to make sure you’re up-to-date and on the same page.
  • Ask to use a video conferencing service to help keep that physical presence in the office.
  • Send recaps at the end of the day or week.
  • Keep a standing 1:1 meeting with your manager.

Sometimes over communicating is best, especially while you’re still figuring out how to work from home. Your peers will appreciate your initiative to stay in touch and it will limit any area of miscommunication down the road.

 

If you’re currently considering a job that allows you to work from home, make sure to think through these key points. Navigating through these points will allow you to enjoy the many perks that a remote role provides.

 

About the Author

MacKenzie PorwollCorporate Recruiter 

Every Technician’s Toolbox

Must Haves for Every Technician’s Toolbox

Every technician has a toolbox, but what do you NEED to have in it? While there’s no “right” answer, here is a list of tools that PMG’s most successful technicians always have in their toolboxes:

Hand Tools

  • Wrenches
  • Hand Drivers
  • Pliers
  • Hammers
  • Chisels & Punches
  • Files & Deburring Tools

Power Tools

  • Drills & Drivers
  • Cutters & Saws
  • Grinders & Sanders

Measuring Tools

  • Calipers & Micrometers
  • Square
  • Scale
  • Indicators & Edge Finders

Miscellaneous

  • Flashlights
  • Calculator
  • Markers & Soapstone
  • Notebook

Hand Tools for Your Toolbox

Wrenches

Machinists and maintenance technicians need a good set of wrenches, ratchets, and sockets in typical SAE and metric sizes. A good adjustable wrench and a set of Allen wrenches are also must haves. Most also carry a quality torx set because of their prevalence in industrial settings. I recommend this Craftsman set.

Hand drivers

Hand drivers may be the toothbrush of tools, rarely appreciated though used every day, but that’s what makes them essential. Every technician prefers a power tool for any job, but sometimes you can’t get power tools where they need to be. A good selection of hand drivers with varied lengths and a multitude of heads (slotted, Philips, square, etc.) can often be a big job saver.

Pliers

Whether used for holding work pieces or trimming and stripping wires, or turning the nut a wrench can’t reach, a technician can never have too many pliers. From slip-joint to locking and needle-nose to linesman’s, make sure this tool is well represented in your bag.

Hammers

Technician or not, everybody knows about hammers, but those used in manufacturing aren’t your father’s claw hammer. It doesn’t matter if you need to set tooling and fixtures, make repairs or fine adjustments, or just knock something loose. A good collection of specialty hammers such as ball peens, brass, and dead blows will more than pull their weight in the shop.

Chisels & Punches

Sets of up to 1” for chisels and punches can go a long way for working on tooling, fixtures and finished work pieces. Having them may also be the difference between saving the machine, the tool, or your fingers from unnecessary damage in the process.

Files & Deburring tools

Files and deburring tools are integral for finish work on parts and features for both machinists and welders. Owning a great set of both is often all that separates a tedious job from an impossible one especially when dealing with fine materials or high tolerance pieces. I recommend this deburr set from NOGA.

Power Tools for Your Toolbox

Drills & Drivers

Drills and drivers replace hand tools where appropriate to save time and physical strain. Recent advancements in battery technology now allow many companies to make great entries in this field. However, regardless of brand, the choice will always be between power and physical profile. Be honest about the work you do most or be prepared to see this collection grow quickly.

Cutters and Saws

Cutters and saws help make more accurate cuts faster, more often than hand tools. You can choose from corded or cordless varieties, and both have their advantages. The convenience and portability of cordless versions normally win in most scenarios. Remember though, it’s still a battery tool. The same considerations apply to these as mentioned for drills and drivers.

Grinders and Sanders

A quality belt sander and an angle grinder, both with cutting and grinding heads, are essential for rough maintenance and fine finish work. It doesn’t matter if you’re a welder, machinist or maintenance technician, you will have to clean up weld slag or tool chatter at some point. Pro tip, if you need to use either for more than a few minutes at a time, go with the corded version. Cordless sanders and grinders lose battery fast.

Measuring Tools for Your Toolbox

Calipers and Micrometers

A quality 0-1” micrometer and a good 6” caliper will take any machinist a long way by accommodating a majority of typical sized work pieces and features. If you need a bigger range for your daily work, then your tool box is probably already in great shape without this list. Pro tip: Analog dials never have batteries die, but digitals have fewer parts that need cleaning to maintain accuracy over time.

Square

Machinist square or combo square, both will help you start and check your work. You won’t get far without one or the other. When buying, go for sturdy over fancy.

Scale (Ruler)

A 6” scale is standard and I recommend sticking with metal for durability and accuracy. Indicators and edge finders are essential for setting your axis, finding the edge of your part and fine-tuning settings. A scale is often overlooked, but you’re simply not a machinist without it.

Miscellaneous Items 

Flashlights

Flashlights make it easier to do work when you can see it. Get a few and make sure at least one has a flexible head. Magnetic bases frequently come in handy too.

Calculator

Don’t use your phone as a calculator – there’s a greater chance you’ll wreck it. A calculator capable of performing trig functions is a must for multi-axis machining.

Markers/Soapstone

Being able to read your markings on greasy, oily metal is essential in production environments and being able to remove the markings after is a plus.

Notebook

This is your most important tool as a technician because it allows you to reference work you’ve done and make sure you can apply that previous knowledge to the current job at hand.

Tool Storage

When you go to the job, your tools need to come with you. PMG’s traveling technicians all need a quality toolbox that is portable, adjustable and lockable. I recommend something like this stack-able system available from Uline.

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Every work site has its own requirements for PPE, but they all begin with boots. Steel or composite safety toes are the standard, but built-in internal metatarsal protection boots are becoming more common all the time. Waterproofing, slip resistance, and electrical ratings are other things to consider when buying boots. I recommend boots like these from Carhartt.

Hard hats or helmets, safety glasses, and hearing protection are often provided by the employer, but every technician has a favorite that works best for their job. When you find yours, buy two.

Position specific equipment like auto-darkening visors for welders and respirators for painters are also PPE worth considering.

While this list is not definitive, it’s a great start to building your kit. See what your toolbox is missing and consider adding some missing items.

If your collection already includes everything mentioned above, and you know how to use it, you’re probably ready for a career in the manufacturing industry. Send your resume to [email protected] and we’ll get you started!

Want to learn more about what it’s like to be a traveling technician? Check out our webinar Road Warrior – What it’s like to be a traveling technician Road Warrior.

About the Author

Josh Erickson, ReTool & Technical Solutions Associate

How to Schedule an Interview While Working

Scheduling an interview while you’re working can be a challenge. Let’s think about this for a second –

You’ve made the decision that you’re going to start exploring new opportunities. You’ve updated your resume and started submitting online applications. The interview requests start rolling in and you’re thinking, ‘Wow, this is great!

Then, you’re met with the anxiety of ‘How am I going to take all these calls- I’m still working!’ Fears of your boss finding out you’re interviewing elsewhere start to take over your mind. Suddenly, a good situation has turned into a new source of stress.

Sound familiar?

Take a breath. You’re getting interview requests – that is half the battle! Now is the time to come up with a schedule.

Tips for scheduling your interview while you’re working

  • Look at your week – where can you adjust?
  • Speak with the hiring manager – what does their schedule look like?
  • Speak with your manager – where do you have flexibility for a personal appointment?

Come up with a game plan so you can provide several options of availability to the hiring manager. The more flexibility you’re able to offer, the better.

Looking for more career tips? Check out our post on How to Avoid the Job Search Burnout

Why is schedule flexibility important?

Being more flexible gives the impression you’re invested in the interview process and you’re easy to work with. Remember, the interview process is your first interaction with the company. How you present yourself here will be taken into consideration throughout the entire process. The hiring manager will take into consideration your willingness to adjust your schedule.

Is it appropriate to schedule an interview outside of business hours?

Requesting a time to interview outside of standard business hours is not ideal. You may think it is an easy and logical solution to your scheduling problem, but it’s actually sending a distasteful message to the hiring manger. Just like you, the hiring team works standard business hours. In order to respect the hiring team’s time and yours, set your schedule boundaries to be standard business hours.

How to use PTO wisely

Taking PTO to schedule an interview is a wise option. If you’re planning to take the day off, fill it with as many phone screens as possible. At the end of the day, evaluate each call you had that day. Then, narrow down the opportunities to your top three and go from there.

Interviewing while working isn’t always the easiest task, but having a job while you’re looking is the way to go. Give yourself the financial security and the time to make sure you’re making the best move possible.

For more tips, read this post from The Balance Careers.

About the Author

Mackenzie Porwoll, Corporate Recruiter

The 30-day LinkedIn Challenge

I challenge you to a daily, deliberate use of 10 minutes that should check three boxes for those trying to improve their soft skills:

Each year, I receive many requests from instructors and career skills professionals to emphasize the importance of soft skills to their students. Often, I find myself circling back to the same message: Soft skills matter in technical trades, maybe more today than ever before.

Given the importance of soft skills in today’s professional environment, it’s no surprise they are generally thought to be lacking in the newest generations entering today’s workforce.

How can we – how can YOU, change that? It’s simple – try the 30-day LinkedIn Challenge.

The Challenge

Step 1: Every day, get to where you’re going 10 minutes early.

Step 2: Spend that time adding three new connections on LinkedIn:

  • one person you know personally
  • one person who works in the same field you’re in or you’d like to get into
  • one person from an industry not directly connected to yours

For example: If you’re a welding student, add your instructor, the Miller weld rep in your area and Warren Buffet.

This will take you between one and three minutes to add three new connections.

Step 3: Use the remainder of the 10 minutes to read your LinkedIn feed. Your goal is to try and learn at least one new thing that is relevant to your career.

What is the 30-day challenge addressing?

The premise of the 30-day challenge is threefold:

  1. Time management and punctuality are underrepresented in many individuals beginning to enter the workforce today.
  2. Many entry-level candidates are coming in lacking rudimentary knowledge of their larger industries, even when they possess the requisite technical skills.
  3. Most professionals don’t have the support networks in place to help them stick, grow, and thrive at their current workplaces.

Why does the 30-day challenge matter?

  • It gives you something to fill your time with when you arrive 10 minutes early.
  • It makes you an investor in your own personal improvement plan.
  • It helps you become more than just a tradesperson, but an actual student of your trade.
  • It allows you to possess the same professional network advantages that workers already enjoy in other industries where networking is considered to be part of daily business.
  • It reinforces a continuous improvement mindset.

How to start

If you’re looking for a way to change your professional paradigm, whether within the manufacturing sector or not, start building the new version of you by trying the 30-day LinkedIn Challenge.

Start with these three connections:

  • Me (Josh Erickson at PMG Services)
  • Mike Rowe and his MikeRoweWorks Foundation
  • Someone you know personally.

If after 30-days, you think this challenge was a waste of your time, please send me an email and share your feedback.

For more information about improving your soft skills, check out our webinar Soft Skills: What are they and how do they impact the modern workforce

 

About the Author

Josh Erickson, ReTool & Technical Solutions Associate

How to Avoid the Job Search Burnout

You have just applied for your 85th job this month. You hit submit and shut the computer with a heavy sigh.

You start applying to roles you don’t even want because anything is better than the position you currently have.

If I’m describing you, know you are not alone. Almost every person I’ve recruited (AND MYSELF) have felt burnt out from job hunting. You are putting yourself out there; you are presenting the best version of you; you are faced with constant rejection. Who wouldn’t be discouraged?

Whether you are just beginning to think about making a change or you have been searching for months, the tips laid out below will help you avoid the dreaded job search burnout.

Are you just beginning the search?

Set a target date

Consider any major things coming up in your current position as well as personal events such as vacations. You want to make sure you allow enough time to prepare and be available for an interview.

Make a Pro and Con list

After you write a pro and con list, only apply to roles that truly fit your needs. You don’t want to be looking again in six months. If recruiters approach you and want to discuss a new opportunity, do the research ahead of time. If the company or position doesn’t align with your list, politely pass. Make the very most of your time by having a clear understanding of your needs and wants in your next role.

Reach out to your network

Set up some coffee dates and learn from your connections. Letting people know you are starting to put some feelers out there will help keep you top of mind if they hear of an opening. Be cautious who you tell, you don’t want everyone to know you have one foot out the door. Only reach out to those who you trust and would consider a professional mentor.

Practice interviewing with a friend or family member

The more you prep now, the more comfortable you will feel later. Especially practice talking about any difficult situations you experienced in your employment. Employers want to see how you handled a tough situation and applied those lessons in later struggles.

Have you been searching for a while with no results?

Take a deep breath and pause

Take a look at your job search activity over the last few months. What was working? Where did things start to slow down? By evaluating your activity, you might see a few mistakes pop out at you. Learn from those. Repeat what you are excelling at and reach out for help in the areas you are struggling in.

Meet with a career coach

Meeting with a career coach was one of the best decisions I could have made while searching for a new job. The career coach will give you several different personality and strength tests to complete. The results of these tests will then give you recommended career paths. My top result was Recruiting! You may feel a little awkward or uncomfortable, but I promise you it is worth it. Understanding a clear path to take will instantly help you feel better.

Ask to job shadow

Job shadowing someone is a great way to determine if that position aligns with your interest. It is also a great way to build relationships with peers who are in the position that interests you. They are a great resource for questions and might be able to introduce you to the hiring manager.

Gain experience

Volunteer for the extra project; offer to help a teammate in a different department; join work committees. The more experience you have under your belt, the more valuable you will be to an employer.

Don’t take it personal

Companies need to make the best business decisions when it comes to hiring. It is impossible for one person to be the best solution to every position opening. You will find the role that is right for you. Taking your time to get there is going to ensure you are not just moving to move, but are investing in your future.

 

Just remember, everything happens for a reason. Good luck and happy job hunting!

MacKenzie Porwoll

Corporate Recruiter

[email protected]

What to Avoid on Your Resume

On average, the amount of time hiring managers spend looking at a resume is just a few seconds. You have very limited amount of time to capture the attention and interest of that manager. Resumes are your very first impression, make sure you aren’t making these common resume mistakes!

Make your resume reflect the position you’re applying for.

If you are applying for a marketing or branding position, your resume should reflect that. You should easily be able to see the personal brand, unique shapes and a photo. If you are applying for anything else, keep it simple. A simple black and white resume with clear bullet points listing your experience is all that you need. Anything in addition is distracting.

Check and re-check your spelling and grammar.

Resumes should be 100% error free. If you present a resume with mistakes you are showing you are not detail oriented and even worse, lazy!

Make sure your resume is appropriate in length.

Your resume should be appropriate in length to your experience. I am not a firm believer in the one-page resume rule. If you have been working for 20 years- you should have a lot of experience to show. With that being said, if you are applying for your first job and your resume is three pages, something isn’t quite right. Each position should have three to five bullet points clearly listing your responsibilities and achieved results. Edit out the fluff. An interview is a great place to expand on your experience and explain each bullet point in further detail.

Include dates with your work history.

Not putting the dates on your work history is a big no-no.  Hiring managers want to confirm there are no extended gaps in employment. By not listing your employment dates, it looks like you are trying to hide something. Be upfront and honest about each duration. The truth is going to come out anyway.

Make sure your resume is an accurate reflection of you.

If you are going to list areas of expertise, make sure you really are an expert in those areas. Very often I see Excel listed under this section, but let’s be honest, are you really an expert? What kind of formulas are you using? When was the last time you made a pivot table? I also recommend not listing social media platforms (unless you are applying for a Social Media position). If it isn’t relevant to the role, leave it out. If you list something as an area of strength, expect to be questioned on it in the interview.

 

At the end of the day your resume should reflect you. Don’t over complicate things or use verbiage you typically wouldn’t use. Give yourself the best chance to get that interview request and put some extra time into crafting your best resume!

 

About the Author

MacKenzie Porwoll, Corporate Recruiter

[email protected]