30 November 2015
It’s no secret that it’s good practice to send a thank-you note after finishing an interview. Doing so shows courtesy, professionalism, and respect—after all, your interviewer is considering you for a position with their company and has taken time out of their day to meet with you. But how can you write a thank-you note that will get an employer’s attention and help you stand out? Start off by avoiding these top 10 mistakes many job seekers make: Sending the note immediately. Firing off a quick thank-you note from your phone as soon as you leave the interview may not only come off as desperate, it could also show that you haven’t put very much thought into what you’re saying—or worse, that you’ve prepared a generic thank-you note ahead of time and you’re just clicking “send.” Sending the note too late. While you don’t want to send the note as soon as you and the interviewer part ways, you should still be sending one within 24 hours. Waiting days or even weeks is entirely too long and can be too little too late in an employer’s eyes. Missing grammar/spelling errors. This should go without saying, yet even the brightest candidates still make this mistake on plenty of job search documents and correspondence. It’s a common and easy mistake to make, so make sure to double and triple-check your note before sending it off. If you have to, use the old proofreader’s trick and print it out; we tend to catch more mistakes on paper than we do on a screen. Being long-winded. It’s a thank-you note, not an essay or a cover letter. Keep it to one or two short paragraphs max. Not personalizing each email. If you’ve interviewed with multiple parties, send each person a personalized email rather than CCing everyone on the same note. This is a much more courteous and personal approach that exhibits professional savvy and good interpersonal skills. Getting names wrong. Personalizing each email can make it easy to confuse names or spell them incorrectly. Make sure you’re getting everyone’s name right. At best, a misspelled name will look unprofessional; at worst, it could offend the hiring manager you’re addressing. Being too casual. No matter how well you and the interviewer clicked, remember that this is still a professional transaction and no decisions have been made yet. Starting your email with “hey” or anything similarly casual is usually a bad idea. Viewing it as another “to-do.” While a thank-you note should definitely be on the to-do list, don’t treat it as just another item to tick off. Put thought into your note and take your time with writing it. Only saying “thank you.” These notes offer a great opportunity to expand on what you spoke about in the interview and further explore the position, so why not take advantage of that? Despite the name, a thank-you note should do much more than just express gratitude. Take a few sentences to expand on something from the interview and spark further conversation. Focusing too much on yourself. While it’s helpful to offer another reason you’d be great for the job, just leave it at one or two sentences. Focusing too much on yourself can come off as arrogant and self-centered at worst, so make sure to include something else—such as a question you didn’t think of in the interview, for example.
24 November 2015
Many candidates can find it difficult to land a job with a nonprofit, but it doesn’t have to be that way! The nonprofit industry is unique in many ways, and as a result, so is a typical nonprofit job search; this means that a candidate looking to get hired at a major organization simply needs to take a creative and strategic approach. Whether you’re looking to move on from your current organization or land your first-ever position in the nonprofit industry, it’s important to know what employers are looking for in a candidate and how you can display these qualities throughout the various stages of your job search. Typically, nonprofit employers value candidates who are… Genuinely interested in and passionate about the organization’s mission. A candidate who has a passion for a potential employer’s mission, and who is able to clearly present that excitement, is a huge advantage over one who is simply looking for a job. So what should you do? Apply only to organizations whose work you truly care about. If you find a position that looks well-suited to you but isn’t quite in the trajectory you envisioned, do a little research to learn more about the organization before applying and eventually interviewing. This includes being up-to-date on current events and what major projects the organization itself has worked on lately so you can show in an interview that you’re invested in more than a paycheck. Willing to wear different hats. Nonprofits often have an “all hands on deck” mentality, especially around major events like galas or audits. Being able to handle various duties across departments is key. So what should you do? Highlight your relevant skills in an interview, such as communication skills, an ability to multitask, and adaptability. Use concrete examples from your past positions in which you put those skills to use to show the employer that you can handle the job, whatever it entails. Experienced with donor databases such as Raiser’s Edge and Salesforce. This is something always in demand in most nonprofits. “In our experience, some hiring managers will actually choose a candidate who is proficient with donor databases over someone with other relevant experience or education,” says Dana Scurlock, a Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Nonprofit division. So what should you do? Highlight any donor database experience in a prominent area of your resume. If you don’t have any related experience with these programs, consider taking a tutorial or gaining hands-on experience through an internship or volunteer work. Ingrained in the industry. Nonprofit can often be a very inclusive and competitive industry, so many job seekers land jobs through old colleagues, recruiters, and other professional connections. Employers need candidates who can hit the ground running and, as a result, are prone to relying on word of mouth from trusted references to choose the right candidates. So what should you do? Network, network, network. Attend industry events, volunteer, and keep up communication with those you meet and currently know. Connecting with a recruiter can also be helpful, as it gives you an extra set of insider eyes on the job market as well as someone to vouch for you to employers. Finally, if you’re currently employed, be sure to give plenty of notice before leaving your current role—the industry is small and word gets around quickly, so the last thing you want to do is harm your reputation. Ultimately, the key to beginning or continuing a career in nonprofit is to be passionate, creative, and focused. “One piece of advice I’ve found useful is to always have a career plan,” says Samantha Wolf, a Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Nonprofit division. “Knowing where you’d like to be in one, three, and/or five years is always helpful for staying on track, and will give you something to talk about in an interview that will show employers you’re in nonprofit for the long haul.”
23 November 2015
Finding a way to stand out among other candidates can seem difficult, but one great way to set yourself apart is to strongly define your soft skills. As cultural fit becomes increasingly important in the workplace, employers are seeking candidates who have both the technical know-how as well as the right soft skills to be a strong member of the team. A candidate with a wide array of soft skills is always in high demand, but it can often be difficult to showcase your talents in conjunction with your more tangible experience on your resume. While strong technical stills will always be important, make the most of your soft skills by identifying your greatest strengths and strategically showcasing them on your resume. To get you started, here are some qualities that are especially important to employers and how to emphasize them: Teamwork Even if the position you’re applying for doesn’t call for much interaction with others, no job exists in a vacuum, so demonstrating your ability to be a team player is still essential. To showcase your ability to be a company ally, consider using active verbs when describing your previous work experience. Some examples are: Collaborated Participated Contributed Partnered Co-produced It’s important to try to tailor aspects of your resume to the position you are applying for, and for a highly collaborative role, using strong language to demonstrate that you’re a team player will go a long way. However, for an independent role, it’s important to also communicate that you’re a self-starter and able to work on your own; that way it’s clear you know what’s expected of the position and can work the capacity that they need you to. Project management Have you ever planned, organized, or managed a work-related project? If so, you can say that you are in possession of project management skills. It’s a common misconception that “project management” should only be taken literally as a job title, and while it can refer to a leadership role, it can also refer to your ability to successfully juggle various assignments and tasks. Instead of using the word “managed” throughout you resume, try incorporating stronger descriptors such as: Lead Supervised Organized Guided Oversaw Communication skills There are many abilities that fall under the umbrella of communication skills, so it can be difficult to know what to highlight. Communication skills are both verbal and non-verbal, so to make the most of your resume, be sure to touch on skills that apply to you in both areas. Before drafting your resume, take a moment to create a mental list of your verbal and non-verbal communication skills. For example, non-verbal communication skills may include: Effective writing skills Being an active listener The ability to digest constructive criticism On the other hand, verbal communication skills could include: An outwardly positive attitude The ability to quickly digest and summarize information The ability to speak clearly and professionally Luckily, most communication skills can be showcased as previous experience, such as having written a great piece of content. By creating a clear and easy to read resume, you’re already well on your way to demonstrating stellar communication skills.
20 November 2015
There is a common misconception amongst job seekers in the IT industry that companies aren’t interested in hiring candidates this late in the year. Contrary to popular belief, hiring managers are generally more focused on filling specific roles before the end of the year in order to meet certain business objectives. Although the months of November and December may seem slow from a business perspective, job seekers should remain proactive in applying to open positions. “If you’re an IT professional in today’s highly competitive job market, don’t delay your job search until the new year like most job seekers tend to,” warns Jed Pillion, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division in Waltham, Massachusetts. “Over the years I’ve seen numerous IT professionals miss out on great job opportunities because they practiced the same approach as other job seekers during the holiday season.” In general, hiring managers are motivated to hire qualified IT candidates by years’ end to address three key aspects of their hiring outlook: Accomplishing 2015 hiring goals While it may be true that most employers are looking ahead to hiring in 2016, they are just as much focused on hiring the right talent in 2015 to end the year on a strong note. “Typically, hiring managers have a certain number of open roles they should fill by the years’ end, and if they don’t, they not only lose out on talent, but they also fall short of meeting departmental goals,” says Jed. “If you feel that most job seekers aren’t starting their job search until 2016, increase your odds of landing the job now by taking advantage of less competition in the market.” In other words, if the Desktop Support role you’re interested in goes unfilled by the end of the year, there’s no guarantee a hiring manager will have the same headcount requirement to hire for the same role in 2016. Year-end budget Along the same lines of headcount, hiring managers also have an allotted budget for hiring new staff throughout the year. If they are unable to use the budget to fill certain IT role(s), they will lose the allotted funds altogether. “As a prospective candidate, you should understand that hiring managers never want to lose out on money in their hiring budget, and will go to great lengths to ensure they find the most qualified candidates towards the end of the year,” highlights Jed. For example, since year-end bonuses are a common reason job seekers tend to wait until the new year to start their job searches, hiring managers are more open to negotiating compensation packages in the form of sign-on bonuses or year-end bonuses to attract top talent. “As the technological landscape continues to evolve, what’s in demand now might not be relevant in 2016, so don’t delay your job search,” says Jed. Since there is no guarantee the role you’re interested in 2015 will be factored into a company’s 2016 hiring budget, waiting until next year may unnecessarily extend your job search—hurting you in the long-run. Projects to kick off in Q1 2016 Lastly, a new year brings new projects and objectives for a hiring manager and their team to accomplish. On top of this, training new employees during this time can prove to be time consuming and counterproductive if new staff cannot get a handle on their role fast enough. “To combat a potential lack of productivity in the new year, hiring managers will prefer to stay ahead of the curve by hiring strong candidates before the year ends,” says Jed. Hiring managers will typically aim to hire a candidate at the end of the year in order to have them fully trained and up to speed so that once the new year comes around, they will be in a better position to hit the ground running on any major projects.
19 November 2015
Many people talk about having a five year plan, but what is it exactly? A five year plan is a way to help set long-term goals for yourself by breaking down where you are now, where you want to be, and a plan to get there. It can be easy to get caught up in short term goals, but long term goals can mean the difference between wanting to achieve a goal and actually executing it. So how exactly should you go about planning for your future? Here are some tips to help craft the best strategy for you. Know where you are now You may be asking yourself why five years in the future is so significant. This period of time is a far enough in the future that you can realistically achieve your goals, but not so far away that the necessary steps to accomplish those goals become hazy. To map out your personalized plan, ask yourself: What do you wish was different about your life now? Where would you like to be career-wise? What goals do you wish to have achieved in five years? By asking yourself these questions, you’re laying the groundwork for the necessary steps that need to be taken to accomplish your goals. Assess where you want to be You’ve got an end goal in sight, so now all you need is to piece together a map to reach that destination. Assess how you’ve answered the previous questions and map a step by step path from where you are now to where you want to be. Though some professionals may be able to craft an ultra-detailed multi-step plan, a general idea as to how to reach those objectives over the course of five years can work just as well. Depending on your goals, short term planning may be the key for you to rise to the next level of your career. Goal setting not only helps you to get organized, but it can also be a great way to paint a clearer picture of where you see yourself. Keep track of your progress All plans are at the mercy of unforeseen events (for better or worse) so leave some space for flexibility when it comes to your plan. Track your progress as necessary in order to visualize your path—if you’ve got a solid end-goal, know that there are always alternate routes to achieving success. Periodically assess if your current career path is relevant and aligns with your most current career goals. Five year plans aren’t set in stone, so feel free to tweak them as you see fit.
16 November 2015
The Execu|Search is excited to announce the release of our Job Search Survival Guide! As part of our commitment to ensuring our candidates have the tools they need to lead successful careers, our eBook is meant to serve as a quick go-to guide for professionals getting ready to embark on a job search. “After placing over 60,000 people in new jobs over the last 30 years, we’ve learned a lot about what a successful job search entails as well as what employers are looking for in candidates,” says Hannah DeGiovanni, Chief Marketing Officer of The Execu|Search Group. “It almost always comes down to how prepared the professional is, so in an effort to help them lay the groundwork for success, we’ve compiled our top tips for each step in the process – resume writing, interviewing, finding the right fit, securing the offer, and networking – into one, easy-to-read guide.” You can download our Job Search Survival Guide, on our website, here!
16 November 2015
The stretch of time between going on an interview and either receiving a call or being rejected can often feel excruciatingly long. Similarly, ultimately being told you haven’t gotten the job—or never receiving that notification at all—can be disappointing. What seems to be every job seeker’s worst nightmare, however, is realizing you may not get the job before the interview is even over. Interviews are nerve-wracking to begin with, and realizing that one isn’t going well is not a great feeling. However, while knowing an interview isn’t going as planned may be tough to accept, it’s better than never being the wiser in order to fix it. We’ve offered some general tips before on 7 Steps to Saving Your Interview From A Nosedive to help job seekers turn their tanking interviews around, but how do you tell it isn’t going well in the first place? Here are some tell-tale signs the interview isn’t going well and strategies for responding to those specific instances. The questions are easy, not probing, and/or very short. If an interviewer decides early that you aren’t going to make the cut, they won’t be likely to probe too deep with their questions. You may get some simple yes or no questions alongside uninspired, run-of-the-mill interview questions, for example, that don’t invite you to elaborate any further. The Fix: Take initiative to steer the conversation deeper. Try asking a follow-up question about the company that’s related to the one the interviewer just asked, which should show that you are still interested and willing to show that you’re the right fit. The interviewer seems bored. Slouched body language, poor eye contact, and checking the time are all obvious indicators of your interviewer not being engaged. The Fix: Take your answers a step further and use each as an opportunity to show how you can help the company/where you fit in. Asking questions can also help the interviewer tune back in. Whatever you do, though, don’t call attention to the interviewer’s behavior or the current state of the interview itself, as this can seem aggressive and make the situation more awkward than it already is. The interview is an interrogation, not a conversation. This is the opposite of what an interview should be; while many job seekers expect interviews to be strict question-and-answer sessions, a proper interview should flow more like a conversation. The Fix: Offer concrete examples with your answers that can lead an employer to ask more and dig deeper. By mentioning a relevant hobby or achievement, for example, you can draw the interviewer’s attention back and encourage them to strike up more conversation. Just make sure these additions flow naturally with your answer and don’t feel tacked on at the end. There is no talk of the rest of the hiring process. If the interviewer never mentions any next steps, that’s likely because they don’t plan on offering any. The Fix: End the interview with a short pitch on why you’d be good for the position, then ask about the rest of the hiring process. This isn’t guaranteed to save the interview if it hasn’t gone well up until this point, but at the very least, it will show you’re proactive and still interested in the company. While these are all great ways to handle each individual situation, no job seeker is ever guaranteed a position until they actually receive an offer. Even if you don’t save the interview, responding well to trying situations is a much better approach than burning bridges. It’s also important to note, however, that interviews are a two-way street—and if an interviewer is behaving rudely or inappropriately during your meeting, you may be better off passing up the opportunity and moving on. After all, a company selects hiring managers to represent them to prospective talent, so it’s a good bet that your interviewer is a snapshot of the company and their values as a whole.
16 November 2015
Earlier this month, The Execu|Search Group’s Physician Recruitment and Locum Tenens divisions participated in the CareerMD Career Fair in Boston. CareerMD Career Fairs offer employers an opportunity to introduce their organizations to a large number of job-seeking residents and fellows. The event had a turnout of approximately 300 of these residents and fellows as well as physicians assistants. With The Execu|Search Group’s latest expansion into Boston, the event was a crucial part of further developing our network of candidates in the area. Our Physician Recruitment division also attended the CareerMD Career Fair in New York in October. “This was the first year the Physician Recruitment division attended the Boston CareerMD job fair,” says Nicole Soler, a Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Physician Recruitment division. “By educating physicians about the greater Boston job market and hiring trends, we establish reputable connections with job seekers. Attending these networking events is crucial in developing long-lasting relationships with residents, fellows, and practicing physicians who are prepared to begin successful careers.” CareerMD works to connect physicians with employers across the country. To find an upcoming Career Fair near you, visit their website.
13 November 2015
As an administrative professional, you know that attention to detail is a skill that is integral to success. That being said, it should come as no surprise to you that a little research on the company is a MUST before any interview. “Whether you’re searching for a new administrative position on your own or with the help of a recruiter, it’s important to do adequate research on any company you have an interview with,” says Lauren Pearce, an Executive Recruiter within The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support division. “The question, ‘please tell me what you know about our company,’ can come up at any time, whether it is explicitly asked or implied through other types of questions. As a result, it doesn’t look good when an interviewer asks you a question aimed at testing your knowledge of the company and it’s met with hesitation, silence, or a generic response.” It’s important to walk into an interview having done not only enough research, but the right kind. To put you on the right track, here are a few do’s and don’ts of pre-interview research: Do research, but don’t mention anything negative Before your interview, look up the company on the internet and also read through their website to gain a deeper understanding of who they are and what they do. “This will help you weave your enthusiasm about the company and their accomplishments into your responses,” notes Lauren. On that note, it’s also important to be knowledgeable of the company’s key players—especially those you may find yourself supporting. “You never know who the hiring manager might pull into the interview for you to meet,” warns Lauren. “That being said, it’s considered a best practice to have some general knowledge of who the higher-level executives are so that you may be better able to hold a conversation with them.” On the other hand, don’t mention anything negative that you came across in your research. “No company is perfect, so whether it’s a former employee who left a bad review or a piece of negative news, it’s best to leave it be, at least in the early interview stages,” says Lauren. “You want to focus on making a positive impression in an interview, and bringing up unfavorable news or reviews may set a poor tone for the rest of the meeting.” Do look up your hiring manager on LinkedIn, but don’t get too personal If possible, try to get the name of the person who will be interviewing you and look them up on LinkedIn prior to your meeting. “Don’t feel awkward about reviewing your hiring manager’s LinkedIn profile,” advises Lauren. “If you find a shared affiliation or hobby on their LinkedIn or other professionally based site, it’s absolutely ok to bring it up. It can be a great conversation starter and can help you make a long-lasting impression.” That being said, it’s best not to look them up or attempt to contact them on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Sites like these are unrelated to your interview, so there is no need to do research on your interviewer’s personal life. Do ask questions, but don’t ask irrelevant ones Asking informed questions is one of the best ways to illustrate your interest in the position as well as your knowledge of the company. For that reason, use your research to formulate questions about the organization’s company culture and daily expectations. After all, this may be a business that you’ll be working for in the future, so asking questions can help you to decide if it’s the right fit for you. On the other hand, asking unrelated questions communicates to the hiring manager that you may not have the best grasp on their company objectives or the intricacies of the position at hand. As an administrative professional, you need to understand how to represent the company well—something that is nearly impossible to do if you don’t take the time to learn about the company. Do know the position you are interviewing for, and don’t assume every type of administrative role is the same There are many types of administrative roles, so knowing the details of the one you’re applying for is key to interview success. Before you dive into your research, first ask yourself a few questions about the particulars of this position. What daily requirements does the role entail? What are the necessary skills for the position? Knowing the particulars of your potential day-to-day tasks makes it easier to position your experience in a way that demonstrates your fit for the role. However, assuming this position will be similar to other positions you’ve held can be a big mistake. “The chances of this position being the same as your last are very slim,” says Lauren. “Every company operates differently and has varying objectives, so be sure to fully understand the particular job before heading into an interview.” For that reason, try to avoid discussing past roles and responsibilities that are unrelated to the position at hand. Instead, focus on your most relevant accomplishments and transferrable skills that will help you be successful with the specific company you are interviewing for. Doing research prior to an interview not only shows that you are interested in the role, but that you’ve taken the time to learn about the past, present, and future of their business. In addition to helping you make a positive impression on the employer, your pre-interview research will set you up for success should you land the role.