All I Want for Christmas is a Great 2018

Chances are good that you want your career/job situation to be the greatest it can be. With Christmas and the season of giving gifts upon us, it’s understandable if you’re hoping that this coming year will give you all you hope for and desire.

better career in 2018

And it can, so long as you realize you are the one who will deliver that gift. In other words, effort and some sacrifice on your part are what will help you obtain the career goals you dream of.

Happily, you really need only two things to make your job situation/career great this coming year.

So write a “Dear Santa” letter to yourself and ask yourself for these things:

  1. I will give myself the gift of additional training/education.

No one wanting to build a career – or stay employed – should think he or she can sit around and do the same old, same old every year and not feel the consequences at some point.

Additional training/education/certification always is going to be critical to success in the job market of tomorrow. Technology is changing such that artificial intelligence more than likely will (disrupt the employment prospects of millions now-employees in the next few years.

(Just some of the careers/jobs that could be affected: dermatologists, lawyers, sports journalists, financial reporters, retail clerks, border patrol agents, middle managers, pharmacy technicians, program software, and  more.)

Bottom line? The next time your boss asks if you want to go to a seminar on such and such, say yes (and then ask if you also can get certified in it).

  1. I will give myself the present of learning how to be a better “political” animal in the workplace.

Office politics exists. The most successful among us learn how to make their way through it with grace and skill because those who rise to the top are able to:

  • Be friendly – but not too much so – with everyone.
  • Stand up to bullies without becoming a bully themselves.
  • Take bad news stoically.
  • Give bad news with kindness yet firmness.
  • Know when to take a stand and know when to stand back.

Some people appear to easily navigate the politics of the workplace. Others struggle. But all of us can learn how to improve our own skills dealing with it.

Success truly comes easier if you can promote yourself and your “causes” fairly with your boss, clients and co-workers. Learning the “art” of office politics can be a terrific gift you give yourself this coming year.

Would another great Christmas gift to yourself be a new job? If you’re looking for work in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas, take a look at Helpmates’ current job openings.

Want to Make Sure You’re Happy at Work? Choose the Right Job AND Company

Since most of us spend more than a third of our waking hours Monday through Friday at work (one arguably could make the case that it’s more than a third after adding on commuting time and the business of getting ready for work in the morning), all of us more  than likely want an enjoyable one-third day. Maybe even a great one-third day. Certainly not a miserable third.

Many of us, therefore, may think we need to find the perfect career or certainly perfect job in order to be happy.

Southern California Jobs

But even perfect jobs/careers have their bad sides. We know of one physical therapist, for example, who loves treating her patients. The other four hours of her day typing up notes and treatment plans? Not so much: she truly hates the paperwork part, so much so that she’s seriously thinking of changing careers.

So the first thing we need to realize is that we’re not going to be happy for all eight-plus hours on all five days per week.

But we can work to make work pleasant most of the time. Here’s how:

Plan for it.

What we mean is this: you’re not going to stumble into happy circumstances on the job. Instead, you need to know what kind of working environment you enjoy along with the work you like to do. You also may want to consider the personalities of your coworkers.

Another real life example: we know of one woman who took a job in a cube farm that was dark most of the time because her colleagues who worked near the wall of windows on the southeast side couldn’t see their computer screens most of the day because the sun shined right onto them.

She also noticed during the two interview she had with the hiring manager that her future colleagues seemed to keep pretty much to themselves most  of the day. The room was dark and exceptionally quiet.

A voice inside her told her she would be miserable but she took the job knowing she would enjoy the actual work and believing its great benefits – quitting at 2 p.m. every day in the summer, five weeks of paid vacation a year – would make up for the quiet, dark room.

She was miserable and ended up leaving the job within six months (before summer and before she qualified for even one week of vacation).

So ask yourself some questions:

  • Do you like working alone or as part of the team most of the time?
  • Do you need windows?
  • Do you need an office where you can close the door and concentrate?
  • How do you feel about colleagues in an open office playing their radio/streaming music quietly? Televisions on the wall?
  • Ask your boss how she prefers to manage people. Autonomy-with-guidance-as-needed or is she someone who checks on progress every day? Does her management style jibe with how you prefer to be managed?
  • And so on.

These questions may sound trivial, but if you were to talk to either of the women mentioned above, you’d understand that the trivial – the details – are critical to being happy at work. Even the work you love to do can become a burden when the where, how and some of the what makes you miserable.

If you’ve found yourself stuck in a position that you thought would be a great fit work but you found soon enough comes with aspects that make you despondent, consider taking on a temp-to-hire position through Helpmates Staffing. These are temporary assignments that allow you to take work in a position for about three months before signing on more permanently (if both you and your on-site manager agree). These types of temporary positions are a terrific way to “test drive” a company’s and department’s culture to see if you enjoy not only the work, but also your colleagues and work environment.

Take a look at some of our current job opportunities. (Use Advanced Search and click on Temp-to-Hire under Employment Type.)

Are These Momentum Killers Affecting Your Job Search?

You’ve put hours into crafting the perfect resume, and have tailored it to each application and position. Your cover letter shows personality, enthusiasm and helps highlight the key reasons an employer should choose you over the competition. You’ve even aced your job interviews.

Now it’s time to sit back and wait for the offers to roll in, right?job search advice

Not quite.

You could have the perfect resume, the most eloquent cover letter and you could have finished the world’s best job interview, but still end up without a job offer. When you’ve put in the time and effort to build real momentum in your job search, waiting for the phone to ring — and not getting the call — can be frustrating.

But there’s good news – you can prevent a loss of momentum during your job search by avoiding these common four (4) mistakes:

Mistake #1 Following up incessantly. If an employer says you can expect to hear about their decision within seven days and 10 days later your phone (or email) is still silent, it can be frustrating. Your frustration is understandable! But outside of a quick follow up email or voicemail checking in, you should avoid any type of recruiter “pestering” with follow ups.

While many employers hope to have decisions in a timely manner, sometimes every day business (or other matters) simply get in the way. Maybe the right team members were unable to connect and discuss the candidates, maybe an urgent business matter required “all hands on deck” and pulled decision makers away from discussing your position.

Regardless of the “why,” your actions are what matter here. One follow up within a few days of when you were told to expect follow up is acceptable. Anything beyond that (including calls, emails or social media messages) will have a negative effect on your chances (and could eradicate any goodwill or momentum you had going for you after your interview).

Mistake #2 Going on a few interviews, then doing nothing. Without a doubt, you should be proud of a strong job interview. Review what went well, what could have gone better and identify what you can bring to the table for the next interview.

Yes, the next one.

A strong interview isn’t a sign that you should stop your job search efforts. There are many factors that can influence whether or not you land the job. Many of them are out of your control. So while you can and should reflect on successful interviews and interactions with employers, don’t take your foot off the gas pedal! You should spend time each day (or however much time you can) to search for jobs, prepare resumes and continue applying to jobs that are a match for your skills and career goals. (HINT: The Talent Relationship Managers at Helpmates can help you with this part of the process – we’ll search for opportunities that match your skills and goals and will help you prepare for those interviews!).

Mistake #3 Getting a little too presumptuous. Interviews go well. Job offers may be expected. But you should never assume anything. As mentioned previously, there are many factors that can influence whether or not you get the job.

You may have made a strong impression, but a great interview doesn’t guarantee you the job. So while you may be excited about the prospect of joining your new potential employer, now isn’t the time to “act the part.” Acting as if you’ve already got the job can be a major turn off to employers. Talking about the job as if you’ve already landed it on social media is one way to kill your momentum. Adding recruiters or other employees on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter can also be a major turn off (even if you especially hit it off during the interview process, hold off on adding employees on personal social media sites — LinkedIn is okay — until after you’ve been offered and have accepted the position).

Mistake #4 You change your salary expectations. Confidence can help you impress during job interviews and leave a lasting, positive impression. Overconfidence, on the other hand, can immediately land your resume on the “discard” pile.

For some job openings, recruiters choose to interview or follow up with candidates based on a range of criteria. Sometimes that criteria includes salary expectations. In a state of excitement and overconfidence following a strong job interview, it can be tempting to assume you’re at the top of the employer’s list and as a result, should demand a higher salary.

If you’ve already discussed salary expectations (either the employer has stated the possible salary range and you have agreed, or you have shared your own salary expectations), do not accept a job offer under the condition of a salary that falls outside of that range. Not only could this lose you the job, it could tarnish your reputation. After all, the employer has invested a great deal of time into sourcing, vetting and interviewing you, only to be thrown for a loop at the final hour. Be respectful of expectations and what has transpired during the interview process.

If you’re really hoping for a higher salary, start your job off strong, ask questions, set goals for yourself and discuss them with your manager. Then, track your successes and quantify your performance. At your first employee performance review, you’ll be prepared to justify and negotiate a raise.

Avoiding key mistakes is essential to a successful job search. The Helpmates team can help you stay on track and land great jobs that align with your goals. We work with top employers in Los Angeles, Irvine and across Southern California. Search our available jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

Why Career Mentors Are Essential (And How to Find One)

Research shows that professionals with mentors are happier and more successful in their careers. In fact, research shows that employees who received mentoring were promoted five times more often than people who didn’t have mentors.

In an increasingly digital world, the importance of fostering and nurturing real-world relationships cannot be underestimated. When one (or more) of those relationships centers specifically around your career and personal development, the impact can be much more profound.workplace-1245776_640

The connection between mentors and success

From billionaire entrepreneurs to celebrities and athletes, the world’s most successful people have one thing in common: they have felt the profound impact of a mentor. Why does mentoring have such a big impact on success?

  1. They help you learn from their mistakes. Mistakes will happen to most people at some stage in their careers. Successful professionals accept their mistakes, dust off and learn from them to avoid more mistakes in the future. Mentees can fast track that process and learn from the mistakes of their mentors.
  2. They provide more than any book. In today’s information age, there are plenty of career books, blogs and other resources out there (including this one). While there is plenty of value within these resources, strong mentors can help you fill in the gaps to determine how the advice or tips you’re reading fit into your specific career and goals.
  3. They help you take action. Sometimes fear of the unknown can hold you back from taking new steps and journeys in your career. It’s in those times that you need an extra kick to actually take action. Your mentor can be the accountability partner needed to keep you on track and working toward your goals (rather than just talking about them).

Finding the right mentors is key

Reaping the benefits of mentorship requires the right relationship. Finding the right mentors, though, can seem like a daunting challenge to some professionals. Although you may be tempted, don’t ask a stranger to fill that role for you. Perhaps you’ve identified a successful individual in your field who you believe could teach you a significant amount. That’s great! But if you haven’t previously established a relationship with that person, now is not the time to ask. Try these tips instead:

  • Partner with a nonprofit. There are organizations across the country dedicated to helping professionals find mentors. Depending on your specific industry, you may even be able to find an organization that works solely within your specialty. Google “[your city] + mentors” to see what opportunities might exist in your specific area.
  • Get involved. Local chambers of commerce and other professional networking groups offer an excellent opportunity to meet new people. The relationships you build can naturally evolve into mentorship relationships down the road.
  • Don’t be too narrow. Careers are not limited to just one mentor. You may find mentors who help you grow in a variety of capacities (eg. leadership, sales, communication). There are a range of individuals who have skills that can help you, don’t rest on your laurels after you’ve identified one person who can help you.

Here at Helpmates, our recruiters serve as a career partner to help you reach your goals. We can help you find your next great job. Search our jobs in Southern California now or contact your nearest Helpmates office to get started.

Top 5 Interview Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

You’ve put hours into perfecting your resume and cover letter. Great work – but you’re not done yet! Until you’ve impressed an employer in your job interview, you’re still a candidate and not a new hire. Now it’s time for your ‘A’ game.HM May Blog 3

Successful interviews are far from impossible, but you’ve got to avoid making mistakes.

Recruiters often see some of the same critical interview mistakes from candidates. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll better position yourself to land a great job:

1. Not asking any questions. You might be eager to wrap things up and tell everyone how you aced your job interview, but when an interviewer asks you if you have any questions, he or she isn’t just being polite. This is a critical step in the interview process, and one that can make or break your chances of landing the job. Thoughtful questions can turn an average interview into a great one, while a lack of questions (or a poor choice of questions) can have the opposite effect. Try to get specific with your questions and show that you’re interested in the job, engaged with the employer and eager to jump in and start getting results. Here are a few examples:

      • How will my performance be evaluated in this position?
      • What does your company value the most (and how can I contribute toward those values)?
      • What do you do better than your competitors? Conversely, what do they do better than you?
      • What do your customers/clients love about working with you?

2. Not sending a ‘thank you’ letter. This is a “classic” piece of interview advice that is still just as important today as it was 20 years ago. Although technology may have changed expectations here a bit, sending a ‘thank you’ letter, note or email is essential. Not only is it polite and good manners to thank the interviewer for his or her time, it is one final opportunity to present your qualifications and sell yourself for the job. If you’re sending a letter or card, be sure to get it in the mail within 24 hours of your interview. If you’re emailing, later that afternoon or the next day is appropriate.

3. Not tooting your own horn. Now’s not the time to be shy – job interviews are your chance to SHINE. Take every opportunity to show interviewers how you contributed to successful projects, great ideas you had to improve customer experience, awards or recognition you received – the list goes on and on, and shouldn’t stop with these ideas. Show off your knowledge, experience and passion for the job. While you don’t want to come across as cocky, showing pride in your accomplishments and enthusiasm in your skill set demonstrates to interviewers that you will bring that same level of excitement to their business.

4. Being negative and complaining. Last year, we talked about confidence in job interviews and how staying positive can help you. Let’s flip that coin and examine how you can spoil an interview by being negative. In addition to the most obvious choice of negativity to avoid – bad mouthing past employers or colleagues (which you should, of course, NEVER do), this also includes complaining. Sometimes it just slips into the conversation unintentionally: “How are you today?” “I’m fine, but wow, that weather is awful!” Or sometimes it can come through when answering questions during your job interview. Either way, avoid negativity and complaining at all costs. No one wants to work with a Debbie (or Donnie) downer – if you’re complaining about the weather in your interview, who knows what you’ll complain about every day in the office? At least, that’s what the interviewer will be thinking! If you’ve failed into the habit of griping about the weather or traffic in every day conversations and you’re especially concerned about interviews, just keep your answers to intro questions short and sweet – when asked how you’re doing or how your drive/commute into their office was, a quick “Great, thanks” will do just fine.

5. Not paying attention to the interviewer. You’re understandably focused on what you’re saying and doing during job interviews, but if you’re too focused on you, you might be missing some important cues from the interviewer. For example, if you’re talking about a past employer or skill set and you notice the interviewer’s eyes brighten or increased note taking, that’s a good sign that you’ve piqued his or her interest and are discussing something that is directly relevant to the job. Run with it! Take every opportunity to showcase that skill set again throughout the interview. Also, it’s pretty common to miss important cues in interview questions when you’re too busy thinking about what you want to say. This is completely understandable, but it could seriously hurt your chances of landing the job. It’s perfectly acceptable to slow yourself down and be sure to listen to the interviewer, which could help tip you off to certain skill sets or personality traits the employer is seeking. Then after the question has been asked, pause for 10 seconds or so to formulate your response. It is always better to listen to the question and possibly pick up on cues that will help you land the job through a more thoughtful response.

Looking for a job in Southern California? We’re hiring! Here at Helpmates, we work with employers across Los Angeles County and Orange County. We’ll help you find the right job and put your best foot forward to avoid interview mistakes. Search our current job openings or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

Mastering the Art of Multiple Job Offers and Counter Offers

Whether you call it a “talent war” or a “skirmish,” one fact is certain: businesses today are in extreme competition for talented professionals. And that competition puts many job seekers at a distinct advantage.HM

Without a doubt, today’s businesses want top talent — and they are willing to provide competitive compensation in order to get it. Position yourself strategically — one excellent way is to partner with a staffing firm —  and there is incredible potential to receive not just one job offer, but multiple offers.

But how do you handle multiple offers and potential counter offers from employers? These tips can help you weigh the benefits of each offer and make the best decision for your family and career:

  1. Think about your current employer first. If you’ve received multiple job offers and visit your employer to review, you may receive a counter offer. This counter offer could be very tempting – you wouldn’t have to learn new processes and procedures, or memorize new names for your coworkers. You’d keep the old, familiar feeling, while also gaining a higher salary or other fringe benefits. Seems like an ideal situation, right? If you’ve already decided to leave but feel lured by the counter offer, consider this: If you have to turn in notice and announce you’re leaving in order to get a promotion or salary increase, does your employer really value your contributions? Or are they simply buying time to find your replacement? Or perhaps they realize that retaining one employee is cheaper than finding and hiring a new one. While the initial counter offer could seem appealing, the long-term ramifications of accepting that offer may not align with your initial plans and goals for seeking new employment.
  2. Get it in writing. So, you’ve decided to consider multiple offers from employers – congratulations! But until the choice has been made, it might be best to temper your excitement and focus on the task at hand. First things first, ensure you have any job offers in writing before making a decision. Verbal offers are not legally offers, and employers may — and this could be unintentional or a miscommunication, but it does happen — change the details of your verbal offer. If you’ve already turned down another employer, you’ll end up stuck with whatever is left. Alert the HR representative making a verbal offer that you are happy to consider the offer, as soon as you get it in writing.
  3. Be careful. Multiple offers are unsurprising to employers today — remember that talent war mentioned above. That doesn’t mean, though, that they enjoy being pitted against one another. It’s important to tread carefully and ensure you’re communicating thoroughly with employers. You most definitely don’t want them to feel that they’re in a sort of game. If you’ve received an offer from one employer while still interviewing with another, wait until the final interview and alert the recruiter that you have received an unexpected offer from another employer. Reassure them that they are your top pick, but that the other offer is appealing. Ask them when they might be considering making a hiring decision, then leave the ball in their court. If they are strongly considering hiring you for the position, they will likely be motivated to enter the fray and make their own offer. If, however, they decide to back out at that time, know that you’ve been totally honest and upfront with the employer, and that you are choosing the employer who is most invested in your future.
  4. Don’t burn bridges. Regardless of which employer you choose, always end the decision with personalized thank you notes. Communicating with an organization after you’ve turned down a job may feel awkward – kind of like running an old boyfriend or girlfriend at the grocery store.  But, sending out a quick note thanking each employer for its consideration officially closes the hiring process while leaving them with a positive impression of you. Sure, you may have chosen another opportunity this time, but you never know when you will cross paths with either that employer again, or with someone you met during the interview process. It is always better to be gracious and honest with employers!

Before you can choose between multiple job offers, you need to jump feet first into your job search. Helpmates partners with talented professionals like you to match them with excellent career opportunities at respected employers. Visit our job board to learn more about our current jobs in Southern California and submit your resume to get started.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/ambro 

How to Turn Around Bad Job Interviews

Maybe your alarm didn’t go off that morning and you were running behind. Or maybe you just never quite felt comfortable. There are any number of reasons why your job interview didn’t start off on the right foot, but don’t give up hope just yet. You can absolutely salvage an interview that appears to have gone off its rails.HM Blog Image

Every job interview can be a successful one.

Although not every job interview will result in a job offer, every interview can be successful in one way or another. Here are some common job interview mistakes, along with tips for turning a bad interview into a successful one:

  1. Problem: You blew your answer to an important question. Solution: Ask for a do-over. Sometimes you can’t help it – despite practicing your responses and feeling like a rockstar before your interview, you ended up going off on a tangent and mumbling through a response. It happens – but the best thing you can do is to admit that your response didn’t quite come out right and ask if you can answer again. At best, you’ll get another opportunity to share a strong answer. At worst, you’ve demonstrated your poise and confidence to the interviewer.
  2. Problem: You’re so nervous you can’t think straight. Solution: Talk about your nerves. Sometimes no matter how hard we try, we’re just plain nervous during a job interview. If practicing your responses and taking deep breaths hasn’t prevented shaky nerves before your interview, the best way to avoid those nerves taking over your interview is to acknowledge them. Sometimes nerves present themselves physically – shaky hands are a common symptom – and it can be more effective to simply tell your interviewer that you’re a bit nervous, but only because you’re so enthusiastic about the position. But then once you’ve acknowledged your nerves, don’t dwell on them – move on and talk about the great traits and experience you bring to the table!
  3. Problem: The interviewer doesn’t seem interested. Solution: Make a stronger connection. Sometimes we can forget about the human element of job interviews, treating them like a business transaction instead of a new personal connection. If you feel like your interviewer is bored with the interview or that he or she just isn’t interested in your skills, it’s up to you to make a stronger effort to connect. Think about your body language – are you making strong eye contact, leaning in and demonstrating your own engagement? Asking questions can also help bring interviewers “back.” Turn the conversation around to engage the interviewer with questions about his or her role with the company, what it’s like to work with the employer, and other questions about both the interviewer and the company (remember, of course, to keep the questions professional, but on a personal level).
  4. Problem: You just know that the interview didn’t go well. Solution: Talk to your recruiter. Sometimes no matter what steps you take, an interview feels like it just didn’t go well. In these situations, a recruiter can be your most valuable tool. Call your recruiter and talk to him or her about what happened. Be honest about where you could have done better or where you felt you didn’t make the right impression. Bad interviews happen, and when you are working with a recruiter who has a strong relationship with the employer, you have the added benefit of someone “going to bat” for you.

Preparing ahead of time can help minimize bad job interview experiences, but now you have the necessary steps to turn around a less than stellar interview. Are you looking for jobs in Southern California? Helpmates matches professionals like you with leading employers across the region. Visit our job board to view and apply for jobs today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Ambro 

Oops! 4 Things You Forgot to Put in Your Resume

Many blogs and online resources are focused on helping you create the perfect resume to entice employers and show off your skills. And with good reason – your resume is a critical component of a successful job search. Without it, it is unlikely you’ll land an interview and proceed through the hiring process.

Creating an impactful resume is key to a successful job searchUntitled

There are so many details to remember when it comes to resumes: Formatting, contact information, focusing on achievements…it can be hard to keep track of them all. But forget something important, and your resume could end up in the trash bin. Here are three things you shouldn’t forget on your resume:

  • Your website address. Do you have a personal blog or website? Particularly in technical or creative roles, personal websites can be a fantastic job search tool. They offer a unique opportunity to not just talk about your skills, but to actually show employers your work. Outside of technical roles, personal websites offer a great opportunity to showcase your industry knowledge and communication skills. Free websites can be set up on sites like wordpress.com. Be sure to include a link to your website with your contact information on your resume so employers know it’s a critical piece of your portfolio.  And, of course, be sure that the content of your website reflects work and information that you would want a future employer to see!
  • Social media links. This might initially sound incorrect, but it is not a mistake – including links to your professional social media profiles can be a great way to ensure recruiters get the full picture of who you are as a professional and what you bring to the table. In particular, your LinkedIn URL is valuable here. If you have a Twitter account, it can also be a good choice. Personal tweets are acceptable, as long as you also include some professional or relevant tweets (and you avoid profane or inflammatory language that could turn off potential employers).
  • Volunteer work. Employers want to understand your entire professional picture – what you bring to the table. If you’re active in non-profit work, this can be a tremendous asset to employers, and a great way to showcase your differentiators in a resume. In particular, volunteer work that boosts your skills relevant to your position and job title are especially interesting to employers. This is also a great area in which to demonstrate skills you have that might not be directly relevant to the job for which you are applying—you never know what other positions or future opportunities might exist and this will give recruiters and hiring managers a more complete picture of what you have to offer!
  • Achievements/Certifications. You’ve done great work – showing it off on your resume is essential. Whether you were named “Employee of the Month” or “Best Teammate” at a past employer, or you received community recognition for volunteer work, your accomplishments should be a featured part of your resume. These not only help paint that full picture mentioned above, but they show you’re a winner – someone who goes above and beyond to reach goals. Certifications also help demonstrate this key facet of a successful employee. When a professional goes above and beyond to become especially proficient in a particular field, this action shows employers the desire and ability to go above and beyond in the workplace.

Work these four things into your resume, and it will be an even stronger tool in your job search arsenal. And if you’re looking for jobs in Southern California, check out our job board. The recruiters at Helpmates will review your resume, make recommendations and match you with tremendous career opportunities with some of the region’s top employers. Be sure to send us your resume today and we’ll be in touch!

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/phasinphotos

4 Ways to Show Enthusiasm in Job Interviews

When you land a job interview after carefully preparing your resume and cover letter, it can feel like you’re so close to the finish line. Yet it can be extremely disappointing and frustrating when you learned you didn’t get the job.

Why didn’t you get the job?Untitled

Of course, there can be any number of reasons why another candidate was chosen. Maybe that candidate is a better cultural fit, or they had a stronger professional background. Or maybe they were just more enthusiastic.

Being enthusiastic about a company and career opportunity can help land you the job.

Genuine enthusiasm about employers and their career opportunities can inspire employers to choose you over another candidate. Over the past few years, publications like Forbes and CNN have cited enthusiasm as a key for employers choosing candidates.

Enthusiasm is a critical component of reaching your career goals. Here’s how you can properly convey enthusiasm in your next interview to land a job:

  • Ask for the job. It sounds ridiculously simple, but one of the easiest ways to demonstrate your enthusiasm is to come right out and ask for the job. Or at the very least, tell the interviewer that you are excited and interested in the company and job.
  • Say everyone’s names. This is a small touch that makes a big difference. When you take the time to repeat and say people’s names – everyone from the receptionist to your interviewer, it demonstrates your interest in more than simply a 30-minute interview. To the employer, it can actually send the message that you’re already a part of the team! In addition, it’s simply a nice way to show that you’re interested in people and respect them.
  • Project the right body language. Body language can send many unspoken messages to employers during your interview – some good and some bad. It’s important to be aware of your nonverbal language throughout the interview to ensure it accurately conveys your enthusiasm for the job. Simple things like making eye contact, smiling, and nodding are key. Turning your shoulders so you’re facing the interviewer can also help project the right message.
  • Send a thank you note. This may technically be after job interviews, but thank you notes are still a critical part of the process. After you’ve perfected your interview questions and demonstrated your enthusiasm during the actual job interview, solidify the message by sending a thank you note to your interviewer(s). Choose one key discussion point from the interview and hammer it home here – this is your last chance to “sell” them on you for the job!

Genuine enthusiasm can help you stand out from the competition and land your next job. If you’re searching for jobs in Southern California, be sure to check out the Helpmates job board. We work with top employers across the area, and we’ll help you stand out from the pack!

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Ambro

Updating Your LinkedIn For Your Job Search

Four steps to set you apart:social networking

In an era where hiring is becoming more and more web-based, LinkedIn is one of the best tools for getting noticed and pursued. It’s a powerful resource, but only when used to the best of its potential. Especially with the new design, there are four key steps to standing out while linking in.

1: Keywords

LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to add a snappy headline just beneath your name, which will entice potential employers to read further and make your profile more memorable. Your headline is searchable, so you can maximize its reach by packing it with keywords that describe both you and your ideal. If you want to be found when someone searches for “online marketer in Fresno,” then put those words in your headline.

While this is simple in theory, it can quickly become cumbersome in practice. You don’t want to weigh down your headline with keywords just for the sake of search results; though someone might find you, you won’t look very attractive. And don’t be too wordy in general. Keep it short, snappy, and to the point—the point being your experience, capabilities, and career goals.

2: Summary

When your profile comes up in a search, the next step a potential employer will take is to read your summary. This section of your page is where you have the chance to really engage someone: give serious thought to a concise, engaging chunk of text that highlights your experience and achievements. In a sense, this is your cover letter for any job, and the rest of your profile is your resume.

As with any cover letter or professional “About Me” writing, make sure it stays succinct and on topic. Summarize what you’ve accomplished, instead of expounding upon it at length—there will be time for that in follow-up conversations and interviews. Your goal here is to hold the employer’s interest by portraying yourself as a qualified, capable candidate.

3: Skills

The Skills & Expertise section of a LinkedIn profile, with the new endorsements option, is a huge asset to your professional persona. You can choose from an extensive menu of skills to create a personalized list of where you excel. Feel free to add an abundance, but don’t overpromise: you don’t want an employer asking detailed questions about a skill you only “sort of have.”

With the new LinkedIn design, you have the option to endorse your connections’ skill set and receive endorsements from them. The more endorsements a certain skill receives, the higher it moves on your profile—and therefore, the more confident a potential employer will be that you know what you claim to know. It’s an effective way to get third-party recommendations, which speak volumes more than what you say about yourself.

4: Expansion

Once you’ve written an enticing headline and concise summary, and added your skills and expertise, your profile is nearly solid. To flesh it up and make yourself stand out, fill in details beyond the basic information. Anything that makes you unique or gives you an edge over potential competition might be the ticket to your new career, so this is the place to be comprehensive and detailed.

Certifications and courses beyond your academic or professional degrees are quickly becoming a must-have item for new hires, so highlight any additional training you’ve accomplished. If you speak a foreign language, call attention to that as well, as it’s a hot commodity in the global workplace. Honors and awards you’ve received and big projects you’ve contributed to all have their place on your profile as well.

A profile that shines:

With your LinkedIn profile newly polished and ready to go, you can be confident in the digital face that you show to potential employers. A winning profile is searchable, succinct, and gets results.

Helpmates has been ranked among the top 1% of staffing companies nationwide by our candidates and employees.  Contact our team of Certified Staffing Professionals today to learn how we can support your job search strategy.

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