If you’re looking for a new job, remember it isn’t just the job description you should focus on. It’s just as important to look for an organisation which will be a good fit for you, making it a great place to work. It’s where you will spend a significant amount of time and, outside of your family, work is said to be the biggest thing to influence how happy you are. Plus, the more comfortable you are in your workplace, the better you’ll be at your job.
We champion the ‘best employers’ initiative which highlights those companies which are great places to work by actively engaging, inspiring and motivating their employees, as this helps to attract the best talent to an organisation. But how can job seekers find out more about a company’s culture and whether they are likely to be happy there before accepting a job?
1. Extend your internet research
Most candidates will do internet research ahead of job interviews to ensure they feel prepared to answer any tricky questions. Use this time to also look out for signs of what the company would be like to work for. The website may have a section about the company culture, values and staff wellbeing policies. Social media can show more about the way they like to portray the business, whether it’s fun and light hearted in tone, or serious and professional. There’s also a growing number of forums in which current and previous employees can post about what an organisation was really like to work for.
2. Look out for external accolades
An external award for being a ‘best employer’ or ‘great place to work’ is a good accolade to look out for. Whether it’s a local business or industry award, an Investors in People standard or a listing in something like the Sunday Times’ annual Best 100 Companies, these types of commendations are only awarded after the organisation has been judged by independent experts. If you do spot that a company has been given an award, do some further research as you’ll often find case studies which explain why the organisation was chosen as a winner.
3. Ask some probing questions
Use the interview to delve deeper into what it will be like to work there. Asking the interviewers to describe the company culture from their perspective and what their favourite thing is about working for the organisation can provide some excellent insights. Questioning when they would expect the busiest periods be in your new role could help you to gauge more about expected working hours, while asking how often staff get together will give an idea about the culture of meetings in the organisation and potentially open up a discussion about general socialising, both in and outside of office hours.
4. Explore the office environment
Ask for a tour of where you will be working, including any communal areas. While the work place environment doesn’t necessarily need to have the wow-factor of the famed Google offices, it does need to be appealing to you. Being able to picture where you will be spending your time will help you to build up a picture of what day-to-day life will be like. It’s also a good opportunity to pick up on some more visual clues about the workplace culture and the type of people you’ll be working with. Are desks filled with family photos and mementos? Is the office space designed to be funky and creatively inspiring, or sleek, formal and professional? What are the team members wearing?
5. Compare your salary
It’s important to assess if you will be paid a fair salary for your role. There’s various different online tools which will help you to research average salaries for the role you’ve applied for. You can also often find recent surveys conducted by professional associations and trade publications for salaries across an industry. Be cautious if you find that the salary you’ve been offered is under the average in your region, but also consider the additional benefits in addition to the basic salary which may be more important to you, for example car parking, private health, enhanced pension, flexible working. If the company doesn’t pay market rate for its staff but still expects amazing results do you want to work for them? Of course there may be a reasonable explanation – it could be a charity or a start-up without a big budget. Nonetheless this is an important issue that impacts long term job satisfaction.
6. Consider the additional benefits
The employee benefits offered by an organisation could be what really makes a difference to your day-to-day life, however big or small. Look at the company’s website for details of their benefit package: do they offer medical or dental cover? What support do they provide for new parents? Is flexible working available? What kind of pension contributions does the company make? If this information isn’t publically available, call and ask the HR team or check at the interview.
7. Ask those in the know
Ask friends and family to put you in touch with anyone they know who already works for the company. Ask them if colleagues get frequent training and subsequently take on new responsibilities? Can staff implement their own ideas in the workplace? What’s the staff turnover like?
8. Discuss with your recruitment consultant
If you are using a recruitment consultant, call and discuss everything with them. A good consultant will have done their own research into the organisation as part of the process of helping them to recruit the right people. We want the people we place to be happy and to thrive and in their new role, as this gives the organisation the skilled, motivated person they need. It’s just as important to us to find the right ‘fit’ and we’re always happy to discuss this in more detail.
By Gill Buchanan
Gill is a founding Director of Pure Resourcing Solutions has worked in the recruitment field since 1988. Gill’s experience is broad based and includes eight years of specialist recruitment experience within an international specialist recruitment company including five years working within financial services recruitment in Sydney, Australia.
Starting a new job can be a daunting experience. Will they like me? Will I like them? Am I up to the job? Have I done the right thing? So many different thoughts can whirl around your head before you even enter your new working environment.
Apprehension is of course normal, but we’re here to allay some common fears and hopefully reduce your worries by outlining some of the things you can expect…
Where am I?
You’ve walked through the door and have no idea what to do or where to go next. The most important thing to remember is not to worry. Your colleagues will be aware it’s your first day and so will be more than happy to tell you where you can make coffee, hang your coat and where the toilets are.
Remember everyone in the office has been the newbie at some point, so your colleagues will know that in order to get good work out of you and help you feel relaxed, they should be readily available to help you settle in and teach you the ropes.
Fear 1: Everyone will ignore me!
Of course they won’t. Most will be happy to help and many will have a chat with you to introduce themselves and find out a little more about you. Some of these ‘strange’ people could become really good friends later on.
At some point on your first day, you’ll be taken for a tour of the office/building and introduced to many people. This is your first chance to meet everyone who you’ll be working with or running into during your working day.
Don’t worry if you can’t remember everybody’s name or what they do, most people understand that and won’t be annoyed if you say something like: “I’m sorry I can’t quite remember you name” or “Can you remind me what you do again?” later on, in fact they expect it. It was what they did in their first week after all.
Fear 2: I’m never going to remember who’s who and what they do, they’ll think I’m an idiot!
No they won’t, in your first weeks you will forget names and what people do. Just try to remember the people immediately important to your job first. Another top tip is to do a map of the office, you can put people’s names and what they do on the map and that will help you find where they are in the office.
Meet your line manager
If you are part of a team, you will meet your line manager, someone you will work with on a daily basis. This is a good time to ask them questions about your responsibilities and what they expect of you. They will help you settle in and maybe sort out things like computer logins, email access etc.
Once you’re up and running, your line manager will run through some work with you and get you started on something. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at this point so you can familiarise yourself with your duties and how the company does things.
Fear 3: I won’t have a clue what I’m supposed to do and will be left alone to get on with it!
Your first week will be about learning the ropes and your new colleagues will be on hand to offer help and advice, as well as answer your questions so don’t panic about that.
Forms, forms and more forms!
You’ve just started and so HR and other people will probably bombard you with forms to fill in. Don’t worry, these are easy to fill in, but important. On your first day make sure you have a note of your National Insurance number and your bank details as this information will come in handy.
Usually you are sent your contract of employment by post or email beforehand, and so this is also good time to hand that in when you have signed and checked it. You will also be presented with forms outlining company policies and often invited to join a company pension scheme. Don’t worry you will have time to think about the latter before you commit.
Find out the dress code of the workplace before your first day and stick to it. The company has set it up for a reason and won’t appreciate it if you come in wearing a mini skirt and dangly earrings or jeans and a t-shirt if that isn’t allowed in the dress code.
Make sure you look neat and tidy too, no unwashed hair, gravy stains or chipped nails if you can help it. Many employers take your photograph on the first day for a company ID card or for personalised emails, so this is another reason to look your best.
Fear 4: If I wear a suit, other people will think I’m square!
This is highly unlikely unless company policy expressly states no suits. On the first day it’s better to be safe than sorry and to be a bit overdressed than under dressed.
Now there’s nothing else to say but good luck on your first day!
By Justin Stevens is regular contributor to Nursing Standard and Totaljobs. He has worked for a wide variety of publishing titles and websites as a freelance editor and writer, ranging from the Times Educational Supplement to OK! via the Sunday Times, The Observer and Brand Republic.
You are almost guaranteed to get the question “What’s your current salary?” or “What are you earning now?” when you’re looking for a new job.
You have to be ready to answer the question with a smile while keeping your personal salary-history information private.
Lots of in-house recruiters and third-party recruiters take it for granted that they are entitled to know your current and past salaries, but that is a bad assumption on their part.
Of course they want to know what you are earning now and what you’ve earned at every job you’ve ever held.
It gives them and the employer they work for a huge negotiating advantage when they know your salary details. You would love to know what they paid the last person in the job, too, but they’re not about to give you that information — so why should you part with your salary information?
You may find it helpful to practice answering the question “What’s your current salary?” so that you can answer it smoothly and comfortably without stumbling.
RECRUITER: So, what’s your current salary?
YOU: In this job search I’m focusing on jobs in the $50K range. Is this position in that range?
RECRUITER: Probably, but I need to know your salary details.
YOU: I understand — many companies ask for that information but of course, that is my private financial data and my accountant has been very emphatic with me that it is not to be shared with anyone — just like your company would never share its salary data. Can you find out whether this opportunity pays in the $50K range? If so, then it may make sense for us to keep talking.
Now the recruiter has to make a decision. Either he or she lets a talented candidate drop out of the pipeline (you!) because he or she can’t stand to have a candidate refuse to roll over and play the submissive dog — or the recruiter has to go back to the client and say “I have a great candidate for you, and I don’t know the candidate’s salary details but I know their salary target, which is $50K.”
It’s a new day. We are all shaking the toxic lemonade out of our veins and realizing that there is no reason whatsoever for job-seekers to grovel and beg just to get a job.
Employers need talent. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be wasting their time talking with you!
Some recruiters will bluster and harrumph when you tell them that you’re not going to give up your private salary information. Some of them may even have the nerve to talk about “transparency” and “trust.”
They want you to trust them and give them information that will be in their client’s possession within ten minutes after you cough it up, if you spill the beans. Then you can expect to get a job offer that’s a small jump up from your last salary level, even if your background should command a much greater sum.
Transparency and trust cut both ways. No recruiter would ever have to ask a job-seeker for his or her salary information if the employer had only included the salary range in the job ad!
Some recruiters will say “I can’t represent if you won’t give up your salary information” and if they say that, you can say “Great, I have lots to do and I’m sure you do too, so I’ll get off the phone now” and hang up.
Recruiters have nothing to sell and no way to make money unless they have qualified candidates like you ready to present to employers. For way too long, the ruling paradigm in recruiting has been “Employers make the rules, and job-seekers follow the rules.” Those days are over!
Google the terms “talent shortage” and “talent wars” and you’ll see what I mean. When you know that you bring something to the table that not every job-seeker does, you have leverage in the hiring process. Don’t give it away just because a recruiter bullies you!
Questions and Answers
Here are answers to common salary-related questions recruiters and employer representatives will ask you.
You say your salary target is $55K, but how do I know that you’re worth that much if I don’t know what you were paid before?
Please ask me any questions you’d like about my background or about how I’d solve a problem you are facing in your company. You will certainly be able to gauge my qualifications and my market value, since you do this all the time!
By the way, does my $55K salary target match your hiring range for this position?
All the other candidates gave me their salary history. Why won’t you?
I understand completely. If you are overwhelmed with qualified candidates for this position, I’d hate to take up any more of your time!
You know, you have to trust me if we’re going to work together. I’ve been recruiting for a long time and I know what I’m doing.
For sure! I shared my salary target and if that is not sufficient for you or your client, I am happy to drop out of this process. If you follow Liz Ryan of Human Workplace you may know the adage “Only the people who get you, deserve you!” and that is my belief as well. I wish you all the best in filling this position!
Liz, I am a recruiter and I always ask my candidates for their salary history. My clients demand it!
I understand that clients can be pushy! This is a great time for you to find your voice and advise your clients rather than allowing them to walk all over you. You are a search consultant. Consultants don’t scurry off to do their clients’ bidding. They advise their clients!
You can tell your client “I understand why you’d like to have a candidate’s salary history, but that is no longer a standard request to make, and it’s a big turn-off to candidates to ask for that information.
“I can tell you whether or not a candidate is qualified for any job you are trying to fill, so you don’t have to worry about overpaying anyone. We’ll get the best candidates by respecting their boundaries!”
You have more influence than you think. Not every Tom, Dick and Harriett on the street can do what you do.
Don’t let anybody bully you into giving up personal information that no recruiter, HR person or hiring manager needs to evaluate your suitability for employment.
By Liz Ryan
Founder and CEO, Human Workplace
You can never be 100% prepared for a job interview, as there’s no way know knowing exactly what your interviewer may ask you; however it’s highly likely that you will be asked some of the usual suspects.
By giving some of the most common interview questions some thought and planning out answers, you can enter the interview feeling confident that you are can do your best and articulate some well thought out responses.
Vet Tech have identified the 10 most frequently asked interview questions, which can often prove a bit of a challenge; so here are a few examples of the best way to answer them.
1) Why should I hire you?
Use specific examples to demonstrate what you can do for them and real life examples of what you have done in previous roles that could benefit you and your potential employer.
2) What salary do you think you deserve?
Do your research before the interview to find out the average salary for someone in that sort of role. For the best chance of getting the salary that you want, aim higher than average and then negotiate.
3) Give an example of a time when you showed initiative?
Think back to your time in your previous jobs and identify examples of when you took action and achieved a positive outcome from it.
4) Where do you expect to be in five years time?
Try to answer this in relation to the company you are interviewing with. They don’t want to hire someone who looks like they’re going to jump ship as soon as something else comes along. Be specific, rather than making generalities.
5) What other companies are you interviewing with?
This is a tough one and can feel like a bit of a trick question. They probably already know that you will have been applying for other roles, so be honest and tell them that you are exploring other positions in the industry to find one that fits your skills.
6) What motivates you?
Let them know how you keep yourself productive at work. This is your opportunity to stand out, as you can discuss any extra curricular activities, work experience or hobbies that you have undertaken to get where you are in your career. These will prove that you are passionate about the industry and are driven to achieve your goals.
7) How do you manage your time and prioritise tasks?
Employers want staff who are organised and can manage their workload effectively, so prove that you are capable of this and explain how you have successfully achieved this in the past, for example ‘to do’ lists, etc.
8) What is your biggest weakness?
This is a difficult one, you don’t want to highlight anything which may make your interviewer doubt your ability, however claiming you do not have any flaws can come across as arrogant. Try to choose something that was once a weakness and you have overcome or an area where there is room for improvement and you are working on.
9) Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?
It’s important not to bad mouth an ex-employer or colleagues as you never know who your interviewer might know and it doesn’t reflect very positively on you. Instead, you should share how you resolve conflicts and approach issues at work.
10) Why do you think you will be successful in this job?
Ahead of your interview, make a list of your skills and then match them up with those asked for in the job description. You should then elaborate on the skills that will benefit you and your employer in the role and how you will use them to excel in the job.
By Sophie Deering
Sophie is an Account Executive at Link Humans in London.
Considering contacting a recruiter to find out about executive or leadership jobs in your field? Many job hunters assume forging connections with recruiters will put them closer to lucrative, high-level positions that aren’t otherwise advertised.
However, a successful recruiter-job seeker relationship doesn’t just happen. It’s important to understand the relationship among all involved parties (the recruiter, company, and you), get your resume in top shape, and to be ready to deal with potential objections.
3 Things To Know Before Contacting A Recruiter For Job
These tips will help you prepare to work effectively with a recruiter—with better results from the relationship and a faster outcome for your job search:
1. Recruiters Often Source Candidates Who’ve Been There, Done That
Career professionals and executives that have followed a straight-line, traditional career trajectory (and very few job changes) are the best candidates for working with a recruiter.
The reason? Recruiters are hired by companies to identify talent among leaders who can demonstrate commitment to a specific type of career or skill set, with steady advancement toward a senior-level role in their particular field.
Therefore, if you’re trying to switch between one job type to another, or you’ve hopped among different employers frequently, you’ll often fare better by contacting employers directly.
2. A Recruiter’s Mission Is To Focus On Their Client’s Needs
What many job hunters fail to grasp is that recruiter job orders often contain specific detail on the background, education, career history, and competencies of the ideal candidate.
Depending upon the recruiter’s relationship with their clients, they may not be able to convince the company to take a chance on your background—especially if it’s not in line with these requirements.
A recruiter must not only be comfortable with the strength of your credentials, but confident that you represent a true personality and leadership fit within their client companies. After all, the recruiter’s professional reputation (and future commissions) are riding on their ability to supply the all-around perfect candidate.
3. Your Resume Must Be Ready To Present To Their Clients
Too often, job seekers dash off a resume to recruiters that undercuts their abilities—making it difficult for the recruiter to promote the job hunter as a viable candidate.
If your leadership resume hasn’t had a review from colleagues or a resume professional, it can be worth your time to request a critique or suggestions. Some recruiters even refer their clients to career coaches that can elicit a strong brand message on the resume.
Others can often see qualities in your background that you’re too close to realize, and their recommendations can make the difference in the response you receive from a recruiter.
As a job hunting method, working with recruiters can be very effective, but only if you go in with an awareness of your role, fitness as a candidate, and realistic expectations.
BY LAURA SMITH-PROULX
LAURA SMITH-PROULX Multi-credentialed executive resume writer Laura Smith-Proulx of An Expert Resume is the #1 U.S. TORI resume award record-holder and a published global expert on executive branding and LinkedIn strategies.
US employees spend, on average, about a quarter of the work week combing through hundreds of emails.
Despite the fact that we’re glued to our reply buttons, career coach Barbara Pachter says plenty of professionals still don’t know how to use email appropriately.
Because of the sheer volume of messages we’re reading and writing, we may be more prone to making embarrassing errors, and those mistakes can have serious consequences.
Pachter outlines the basics of modern email etiquette in her book “The Essentials Of Business Etiquette.” We pulled out the most essential rules you need to know.
Vivian Giang and Rachel Sugar contributed to earlier versions of this article.
1. Include a clear, direct subject line.
Examples of a good subject line include “Meeting date changed,” “Quick question about your presentation,” or “Suggestions for the proposal.”
“People often decide whether to open an email based on the subject line,” Pachter says. “Choose one that lets readers know you are addressing their concerns or business issues.”
2. Use a professional email address.
If you work for a company, you should use your company email address. But if you use a personal email account — whether you are self-employed or just like using it occasionally for work-related correspondences — you should be careful when choosing that address, Pachter says.
You should always have an email address that conveys your name so that the recipient knows exactly who is sending the email. Never use email addresses (perhaps remnants of your grade-school days) that are not appropriate for use in the workplace, such as “babygirl@…” or “beerlover@…” — no matter how much you love a cold brew.
3. Think twice before hitting ‘reply all.’
No one wants to read emails from 20 people that have nothing to do with them. Ignoring the emails can be difficult, with many people getting notifications of new messages on their smartphones or distracting pop-up messages on their computer screens. Refrain from hitting “reply all” unless you really think everyone on the list needs to receive the email, Pachter says.
4. Include a signature block.
Provide your reader with some information about you, Pachter suggests. “Generally, this would state your full name, title, the company name, and your contact information, including a phone number. You also can add a little publicity for yourself, but don’t go overboard with any sayings or artwork.”
Use the same font, type size, and color as the rest of the email, she says.
5. Use professional salutations.
Don’t use laid-back, colloquial expressions like, “Hey you guys,” “Yo,” or “Hi folks.”
“The relaxed nature of our writings should not affect the salutation in an email,” she says. “Heyis a very informal salutation and generally it should not be used in the workplace. And Yo is not okay either. Use Hi or Hello instead.”
She also advises against shortening anyone’s name. Say “Hi Michael,” unless you’re certain he prefers to be called “Mike.”
6. Use exclamation points sparingly.
exclamation point, use only one to convey excitement, Pachter says.
“People sometimes get carried away and put a number of exclamation points at the end of their sentences. The result can appear too emotional or immature,” she writes. “Exclamation points should be used sparingly in writing.”
7. Be cautious with humor.
Humor can easily get lost in translation without the right tone or facial expressions. In a professional exchange, it’s better to leave humor out of emails unless you know the recipient well. Also, something that you think is funny might not be funny to someone else.
Pachter says: “Something perceived as funny when spoken may come across very differently when written. When in doubt, leave it out.”
8. Know that people from different cultures speak and write differently.
Miscommunication can easily occur because of cultural differences, especially in the writing form when we can’t see one another’s body language. Tailor your message to the receiver’s cultural background or how well you know them.
A good rule to keep in mind, Pachter says, is that high-context cultures (Japanese, Arab, or Chinese) want to get to know you before doing business with you. Therefore, it may be common for business associates from these countries to be more personal in their writings. On the other hand, people from low-context cultures (German, American, or Scandinavian) prefer to get to the point very quickly.
9. Reply to your emails — even if the email wasn’t intended for you.
It’s difficult to reply to every email message ever sent to you, but you should try to, Pachter says. This includes when the email was accidentally sent to you, especially if the sender is expecting a reply. A reply isn’t necessary but serves as good email etiquette, especially if this person works in the same company or industry as you.
Here’s an example reply: “I know you’re very busy, but I don’t think you meant to send this email to me. And I wanted to let you know so you can send it to the correct person.”
10. Proofread every message.
Your mistakes won’t go unnoticed by the recipients of your email. “And, depending upon the recipient, you may be judged for making them,” Pachter says.
Don’t rely on spell-check. Read and reread your email a few times, preferably aloud, before sending it off.
“One supervisor intended to write ‘Sorry for the inconvenience,'” Pachter says. “But he relied on his spell-check and ended up writing ‘Sorry for the incontinence.'”
11. Add the email address last.
“You don’t want to send an email accidentally before you have finished writing and proofing the message,” Pachter says. “Even when you are replying to a message, it’s a good precaution to delete the recipient’s address and insert it only when you are sure the message is ready to be sent.”
12. Double-check that you’ve selected the correct recipient.
Pachter says to pay careful attention when typing a name from your address book on the email’s “To” line. “It’s easy to select the wrong name, which can be embarrassing to you and to the person who receives the email by mistake.”
13. Keep your fonts classic.
Purple Comic Sans has a time and a place (maybe?) but for business correspondence, keep your fonts, colors, and sizes classic.
The cardinal rule: Your emails should be easy for other people to read.
“Generally, it is best to use 10- or 12-point type and an easy-to-read font such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman,” Pachter advises. As for color, black is the safest choice.
14. Keep tabs on your tone.
Just as jokes get lost in translation, tone is easy to misconstrue without the context you’d get from vocal cues and facial expressions. Accordingly, it’s easy to come off as more abrupt that you might have intended. You meant “straightforward”; they read “angry and curt.”
To avoid misunderstandings, Pachter recommends you read your message out loud before hitting send. “If it sounds harsh to you, it will sound harsh to the reader,” she says.
For best results, avoid using unequivocally negative words (“failure,” “wrong,” or “neglected”), and always say “please” and “thank you.”
15. Nothing is confidential — so write accordingly.
Always remember what former former CIA Director David Petraeus apparently forgot, warns Pachter: Every electronic message leaves a trail.
“A basic guideline is to assume that others will see what you write,” she says, “so don’t write anything you wouldn’t want everyone to see.” A more liberal interpretation: Don’t write anything that would be ruinous to you or hurtful to others. After all, email is dangerously easy to forward, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
By Jacquelyn Smith
Jacquelyn joined Business Insider as the careers editor in 2014. She previously worked as a leadership reporter for Forbes. She is the coauthor of “Find and Keep Your Dream Job: The Definitive Careers Guide From Forbes.”
Jacquelyn holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Arizona and a master’s degree from Hofstra University. She lives in New York City and can be found onTwitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
It is supposed to be a bad thing to judge a book by its cover. On the other hand, employers have no qualms about judging job candidates by their cover letters. Human resources departments shuffle through hundreds of cover letters. The professionals who work in human resources are trained to detect talent quickly and efficiently. Cover letters that do not wow within the first couple of lines will likely be discarded without further examination. Start with a strong opener that will convince an HR associate that you are worthy of attention.
Cover letters that do not wow within the first couple of lines will likely be discarded without further examination. Start with a strong opener that will convince an HR associate that you are worthy of attention.
A cover letter is not decoration. It serves a real purpose—to explain why you are a fantastic candidate for a specific job opening. As in a persuasive essay, give supporting evidence to answer the most important question. Why should they hire you? Read your entire cover letter. Ensure that each statement supports your argument.
Writing a business letter is a skill. A well-written letter shows that you can compose professional correspondence. Check to see if you have properly formatted the dates, addresses, formal salutations, and paragraphs. Next, examine the contents of the letter. Have you presented facts in a logical order? Are there spelling and grammar mistakes that need to be corrected? Recruiters will notice how well you can express yourself. Good communication skills are vital to the success of any job position.
What happens if you have most, but not all, of the requested skill set for a certain job opening? There is no need to apologize for skills that you do not possess. Do not even mention them! Focus attention on your assets. Let your positive attitude and enthusiasm shine through your words. These qualities can make you more attractive than a candidate who has all the requirements but none of the personality.
You know you are a great catch. You are familiar with your record of hard work. You know what you go through to do a great job every day. Your potential employers are not privy to this information. You must put yourself in their shoes. What key qualities and skills are listed in the job announcement? Now, read your cover letter as if you were the employer. Have you demonstrated that you possess these desired traits? If not, add evidence from your work and educational history to show why you are an ideal candidate.
A resume is designed to be brief. A cover letter, though brief, is an opportunity for you to give details. You can explain the strongest points featured in your resume or you can talk about additional strengths that you could not fit into your resume. Either way, make good use of the space. Clearly demonstrate how your academic and career experiences have prepared you to excel in the job duties of the advertised position.
Some job announcements are not particularly detailed. This should not deter you from establishing why you deserve consideration. These universally desirable qualities are the ability to write and communicate effectively, the ability to lead a group, the capacity to work well with others, logical reasoning skills, and a strong work ethic. If you mention how you embody these characteristics, you will make a great impression on recruiters.
These universally desirable qualities are the ability to write and communicate effectively, the ability to lead a group, the capacity to work well with others, logical reasoning skills, and a strong work ethic.
How can you improve your cover letter? Review the job requirements. Make sure you have highlighted how you meet them in your cover letter. Pay attention to formatting and grammatical details. Use unique information that supplements, rather than restates, what you listed on your resume. Finally, focus on your positive assets and the five major qualities that all employers value. What are you waiting for? Put the champagne on ice, and get ready to celebrate a great cover letter!
By KIMBERLY JOKI ·
So, yes. Finally! You have survived years of nursing school, sleepless night studying and of course, the dreaded board exam. Now what’s next? It’s time to finally reach your dream and apply as a nurse. However, there is one problem. Being a fresh graduate, you don’t really get what to include in your resume. What really is needed when you make your resume? What does it take to get considered by employers? Here are some tips.
Pick the best type of resume for your situation.
When writing a resume, consider this question first: Are you applying to a job within your field? If this is the case, then you should write a chronological resume showcasing your previous employers and accomplishments. While if you’re applying to a position in a different field, a skill-based resume that highlights the relevant experience you obtained from education, employment and hobbies is ideal. Are you eyeing a position in the academe? Then a curriculum vitae (CV) would be the best fit, which will feature your areas of interest, accomplishments, published works, presentations and associations.
Format for easy reading
Make a resume that’s easy to scan and that draws attention to your key experiences. You may consider using bullet points, action-oriented verbs and bolded words and phrases.
Write a professional profile instead of an objective statement.
This illustrates the value you’ll bring to the organization and gives you the perfect platform to summarize your experience and areas of expertise.
Match your resume to the job description
Focus on relevant accomplishments in your resume that pertain to the specific position you’re looking at, put the most relevant items at the top and remove ones that aren’t applicable and/or necessary. This shows that you’ve read the job description carefully and that you know how your skills relate to the position.
Add professional achievements and special skills.
Be sure to showcase a range of skills and demonstrate how your strengths impact multiple areas of the job. Set yourself apart by listing some career-related highlights that make you unique, including your awards, associations, publications, honors, committees, foreign languages, computer expertise, etc. You may also want to include your technical experience, but be sure that it is related to the position that you are applying for especially electronic medical records and state-of-the-art technology.
Consider the appropriate length of the resume
Yes, you may want to go on and on with how fit you are for the job, but remember, no one is paying attention to the word count here.The size of your resume should be based on your experience. For example, if you’re a new grad, your resume should only be one page, while a seasoned professional can have up to two full pages.
By Liane Clores, RN
Liane Clores, RN Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric,Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.
Scrap what you think you know about millennials in their first jobs. We’re not exactly the entitled, lazy workers who expect a beer at 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. While that’s a nice little perk, we’re far more motivated by things like flexible schedules and opportunities to travel or work abroad. I went through the list of Best Places for Millennials to Work in America and researched the top benefits millennials are looking for. Check out what these companies are doing to make their millennial employees happy campers.
1. Lifelong Learning
If there’s one thing a millennial enjoys, it’s a challenge. Health Catalyst, a data management company, encourages its employees to quickly master new skills, innovate and recognize their mistakes. A fast-paced environment like this prevents employees from feeling bored or unimportant. Continuous challenges and learning opportunities ensure that every employee is able to contribute to the company in a way that they feel is meaningful while maintaining their independence.
2. Go Team Go
Gongos, which bills itself as a thought leadership organization, focuses on one thing: passion. While being surrounded by the boundless energy of the Energizer Bunny 24/7 may sound exhausting, to the right person, it’s just the motivation they need. Working towards a goal – in this case, helping businesses innovate – makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger. For big thinkers with positive attitudes who believe in that mission, collaboration with like-minded people who are just as excited as you is a huge boost.
3. Room to Roam
Few words warm the heart more than open office. There’s nothing more corporate and depressing than rows of identical cubicles. The offices at DonorsChoose.org are big, sunny and totally open, with not a cubicle or corner office in sight. A setup like that promotes collaboration, but it also puts everyone on the same level. This can make communication easier too – it’s not as stressful to ask your boss for guidance on a project if you’re just leaning over the table instead of timidly knocking on his frosted-glass door.
4. Healthy You, Healthy Office
Not every snack bar needs to be full of gourmet chocolate and espresso. In fact, millennials might appreciated healthy snacks more. Tech company Centro stocks its snack room with good-for-you treats and also offers onsite nutritionists and reimbursements for gym memberships. A focus on individual employees’ well-being shows that they’re not just worker bees; they’re important and deserve to be taken care of. Besides, sometimes nothing really helps you blow off steam at the end of a rough day like a good run – especially if it’s on the company’s dime.
5. Lend a Hand
It’s a mystery where millennials’ reputation for being lazy slobs started, but it’s decidedly untrue. We tend to be great at giving back to the community and re-envisioning social good. At Internet Marketing agency WebpageFX, the team has restored local landmarks, donated to charities, and started a program called #FXBuilds. The program, which is powered by team accomplishments, aims to improve the lives of 5,000 people worldwide over 10 years. Their current project? To raise $25,000 to build a school in Ghana. Working for a company that makes an effort to volunteer in the community is a great way to give back when the usual 9 to 5 doesn’t have an inherent do-good focus.
6. Take a Load Off
Let’s face it, most of us partied as hard as we worked in college. Who says the real world can’t be the same? Companies that give their employees more time off than usual, like Assurance, score big with millennials. Assurance gives employees good options for taking paid time off and telecommuting. Even better, everyone gets their birthday off to sleep in and do whatever else they want to celebrate themselves for once.
7. You Done Good, Kid
It was always nice to get a gold star on your paper as a kid, but cash is always a better reward – especially if it’s for something you’re probably going to end up doing anyway.Boyer & Ritter Certified Public Accountants hands out discounts on course materials for employees studying for their CPA exams, paid time off to sit for the exam and a cash bonus for passing it. It also pays for employees’ professional licensing fees later on down the road. A bonus for something you’d be doing for your job anyway shows that not only do your employers understand how hard you’re working, they’re also proud of you. Here’s a pat on the back and a check. Go buy yourself something nice.
8. Family First
Time off for new parents has been a hot topic lately, and while most millennials are putting off having kids, being able to spend time with their children is still important.DPR Construction doesn’t just give employees disability leave and a generous amount of paid time off that they can use after the birth of a child. It also financially supports parents who are pursuing adoption by reimbursing them up to $5,000 of the process’s cost.
While free food and office bikes are always welcome, they’re not the only things attracting us millennials to certain jobs. A focus on the whole person and an understanding that no one’s life revolves around work are key when it comes to making us feel like we matter.
By Sarah Landrum
Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and founder of Punched Clocks.com, sharing advice for young professionals navigating the work world. Passionate about saving the planet, Sarah enjoys writing about environmental initiatives and ways to be kind to our earth. For more from Sarah, connect with her on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Honesty is the best policy in the workplace — but like any rule, this one has a few exceptions.
“It’s important to be cautious with what you say to your boss, as even the slightest slip up could make or break your career,” says Ryan Kahn, a career coach, founder ofThe Hired Group, and author of “Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad.”
“There are the obvious things to hold back from saying to your boss, but the key is to dissect the little things in your interactions.”
Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” agrees. “There are certain comments and questions based on negative perspectives that can set you back with your boss,” she says. “If they continue unabated, these phrases can sabotage an otherwise great job.”
A good practice is to first pause before blurting out something you might regret and examine what you’re trying to achieve, and the likely reaction you’ll get from your boss.
“If you think you may regret it, you probably will,” she says. “Better to err on the side of waiting until you can crystallize your thoughts into a more palatable and professional dialogue.”
Aside from the obvious — like profanity and insults — here are the words and phrases you should never utter to your boss:
“Openly criticizing or pointing out your boss’s mistake is a sure way to be excluded from future meetings or ignored the next time you raise your hand to speak,” says Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, an etiquette and civility expert and author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.”
If you feel your boss has made an error, there are better ways of addressing this, she explains.
You might say, “I may be misinformed on this one, but I was under the impression that …” This prompts them to reconsider and correct the information if necessary without putting up their defenses. “Whatever phrase you use, say it with a helpful and cordial tone,” Randall says.
A “can-do” attitude is always a valued trait. “I can’t” shows both a lack of confidence and unwillingness to take chances — neither of which will endear you to management, says Taylor.
‘That’s not part of my job’
No job description is ever set in stone. “As cross-functional teams remain the order of the day, you’re expected to be flexible and make your boss’ life easier,” Taylor explains. “As a side note, the more skill sets you accumulate, the more indispensable you are.”
Saying that you’re not willing to go beyond your role shows that you are also not willing to pitch in for the success of the company, Kahn adds
‘I don’t know’
You may not have the answers to every question, but your best guess and a promise to find out is much better than a shrug of the shoulders, she says. “Anytime your boss would need to do the work for you, assume that’s not a path you should take.”
Your cooperation is expected, and so is a polite tone. “Telling your boss ‘no’ is a challenge, and is sometimes necessary — but it can be inappropriate if you don’t phrase it well with an explanation,” Taylor says.
“For example, if your boss says, ‘Do you have time to work on the Smith project today?’ you shouldn’t just say, ‘No.’ Instead try something like, ‘Today will be a challenge if you still want me to focus on that company presentation. Would you prefer I work on this today instead?'”
Some people think that this is an acceptable response, as we all “try” to get things done to our best ability. But it leaves a manager feeling unsure, and when assignments are given, your boss is counting on you, usually with specific deadlines, says Taylor.
“Imagine yourself asking, ‘Will you be signing off on my paycheck on the 15th?’ and your boss responding, ‘I will try.'”
‘That’s not what I heard’
Avoiding gossip and conjecture is a good idea, as it can backfire. If you’re not sure about something, wait, or you risk appearing unprofessional.
‘How do I benefit from this?’
Sometimes your work involves helping others and other departments. Bosses have little tolerance for those who aren’t team players, Taylor says.
I ‘m sorry, but…’
“The caveat essentially cancels any genuine apologetic sentiment,” Taylor says. “A straight, ‘I’m sorry. I’ll be much more aware of this next time’ is the expected response when you mess up.”
‘My break-up has got me all messed up. My heart’s just not in it today’
Everyone has personal problems every now and then, which is when your professionalism will be put to the test, Randall says.
“Not to diminish your emotional wounds, but why should your boss’s needs be put on hold because you need time to process your break-up?” Randall asks. “This is when you might consider taking a ‘sick day’ or calling your mom for some love and tenderness.”
‘Well, I did my best’
This is a cop-out. If you made a mistake, and that was your best, that doesn’t speak highly of your abilities. The better response is that you’ll get it right next time.
‘I’ve tried that before’
Bosses have little tolerance for laziness. “Examine whether you really gave the option a shot before you shoot it down,” Taylor suggests. “Your boss may have something else in mind.”
Alternatively, explain that you appreciate the suggestion, and tried XYZ, with such and such a result — but would be glad to try something more effective.
Don’t threaten to leave the company, says Kahn. It’s unprofessional and they’ll consider you a flight risk.
‘I just assumed that …’
That phrase causes frustration for many bosses, as they’d rather hear that you made an error in judgment and learned from it, rather than excuses. “To err is human, but to defer blame is a career killer,” Taylor says.
‘At my last job we did it this way’
No manager likes a know-it-all, so you must tread lightly if you think you have a better way. “You’re better off phrasing sensitive or challenging responses by turning them into questions versus being confrontational,” Taylor says.
‘It’s really not my fault; it’s John’s fault’
The blame game is a treacherous path. If you’re innocent, then explain why. Don’t implicate others if you bear the primary responsibility, Taylor says.
“Taking responsibility is key,” adds Kahn. “If you’re always seen as someone pointing the finger, eventually your boss is going to question who is really to blame.”
‘If I don’t hear from you, I’ll just do …’
This has a threatening tone. It’s better to wait than be admonished later.
‘[Your predecessor] did this differently / better’
“Bosses usually feel that their methods are preferred over their predecessors because they now hold the position,” Taylor explains. “Unless a method is clearly a mistake, don’t challenge your boss with the ‘old ways of doing things’ just because they made things easier for you.”
‘I can’t work with him / her’
Not playing well with others isn’t good in elementary school, nor is it acceptable in the workplace. It’s assumed that you are capable of getting beyond personality conflicts in the interest of delivering excellent results.
‘He’s a jerk’
“The golden rule is something your boss expects you to observe, and casting aspersions on others has no redeeming value. It just reflects badly on you,” Taylor says.
‘Why does Jane always …?’
Whining is annoying. “If you have a gripe, better to ask how you can attain a certain privilege, and leave others out of the discussion,” she suggests.
“You may have a weak moment and share your boredom with the wrong person: your boss,” says Taylor. “You’re being paid to be productive and remain enthusiastic; it’s your responsibility to find ways to make your job interesting.”
‘Can’t I speak with your boss about this?’ Or ‘ I want to speak with HR about this’
“Going over your boss’ head challenges authority — a usually no-win situation, unless you’re about to quit (or be terminated) and have no other recourse,” says Taylor.
If you’re going to HR, don’t threaten in advance, she says.
‘I don’t have a solution’
Don’t tell the boss about problems without presenting potential solutions, says Kahn. “Leaders talk about solutions; followers talk about the problems.”
‘I’ve gotta tell you about last night’s hook-up!’
Sometimes a boss-employee relationship blossoms into a friendship. But sharing intimate stories at work may not be a wise move, Randall says.
“What if a coworker overhears the sizzling conversation? That may open you or your boss up to a sexual harassment or inappropriate conversation write-up,” she explains.
‘Why does Jim have this and I don’t?’
Focus on your own career, not the salary or promotions of others — unless you’re witnessing blatant favoritism. “If that’s the case, you can opt for a more professional discussion once you’ve collected your thoughts about the facts,” Taylor says.
‘I’m pretty busy. Can it wait?’
It’s your responsibility to ask your boss if priorities have changed, as your objectives must stay aligned with your manager’s. “Priorities are rarely stagnant, so as in most cases, your better option is to ask if you should reshuffle them,” she recommends.
Your manager doesn’t want to hear negativity or a lack of conviction. If you have concerns, state what they are, and ask for input.
One of the best approaches in deciding whether to share your thoughts with your boss or ask sensitive questions is to put yourself in their shoes, Taylor suggests. “Do your comments and questions reflect a positive, can-do, and confident demeanor? Remember loose lips sink ships — so choose your words carefully when you feel challenged at work if you want to thrive in your career.”
‘I’m going to be out these days.’ Or ‘I’m leaving early tomorrow’
Don’t tell your boss you’re going on vacation or leaving the office early — ask or politely run it by them. It’s far more professional.
You’re not a child, so you don’t have to phrase it as: “May I please take Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off?” Instead, try: “I was planning to take off Monday through Wednesday, and wanted to make sure that was okay with you.”
‘Can’t I leave early today since things are slow?’
It’s fine if you have to leave early. But don’t say it’s because “things are slow” or you have “nothing to do.”
“There are always more projects in the pipeline. Bosses want you to show initiative,” Taylor says.
By Jacquelyn Smith and Rachel Gillett
Rachel is a careers reporter at Business Insider.
She previously wrote and edited for Fast Company’s Leadership section. Her work as a multimedia journalist has been featured on PopPhoto.com, AOL.com, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere.
She graduated from Rutgers University with a double major in journalism and media studies and German studies.