26 May 2016
The end of a networking event is often met with a sigh of relief. While navigating such an affair is an accomplishment, your work is only just beginning if you want to build a network of quality contacts. In order to achieve this, you must dedicate time and effort into nurturing each relationship in your network. When you aren’t sure of what to say, it can be difficult to reach out and start a conversation. On the other hand, prematurely asking for a favor might not help you make the best impression on your new contact. If you want to start off on the right foot, it’s important to look out for ways that you can help them. After all, the more effort you put into maintaining the relationship over time, the more willing your contact will be to offer their support. With this in mind, here are a five ways to build rapport with your network: Meeting Over Coffee An in-person meeting is one of the best ways to start or build your relationship with a key contact. A coffee invitation creates flexibility for your meeting to take place anywhere at any time, and it allows you to speak freely in an informal environment. Additionally, you may be given the opportunity to bring your needs up organically in conversation, rather than asking for a favor without pretense. Social Media When it comes to networking, other social media sites can be overlooked in favor of LinkedIn. While LinkedIn is the primary network for professional relationship building, you can also connect on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you use them for professional purposes. If the opportunity presents itself, add your new contacts on multiple social networks to keep a well-rounded perspective on their lives. Not only does this help you stay up to date with their endeavors, but it also gives you more opportunities to engage with their posts. Once again, it doesn’t end there. You also need to be active on these networks and build your personal brand. To ensure you appear in their news feeds, be consistent about posting updates. This creates more opportunities for interactions that build rapport and bring you back to the top of their mind. Recommended Reading There is no shortage of informational articles on the internet to share with others in your network. Sharing a helpful bit of information can open the door to a conversation, and it can show that you’re knowledgeable about your industry. This doesn’t have to stop with online reading; you could recommend a book or film that you think they might enjoy as well. Celebrating Important Updates Seeing a contact reach an important milestone gives you the perfect excuse to reach out. By updating one another and celebrating each other’s accomplishments, you can create an atmosphere of support that can only strengthen your relationship. This could range from wishing them a happy birthday on Facebook to meeting up to celebrate a promotion. Attending More Events In The Area While it may sound counterintuitive to strengthening existing relationships, you’re likely to actually run into a few current contacts at these events. Additionally, you can invite your connections to join you. This gives you a renewed opportunity to catch up and bond with contacts that may have fallen by the wayside otherwise.
24 May 2016
Last week, members of The Execu|Search Group’s Legal/Compliance team hosted a roundtable for general counsel and chief compliance officers. At the roundtable, compliance professionals from various lines of business came together to discuss how current industry trends and regulatory updates will impact their compliance programs. Led by Melanie Marshak, a Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Legal/Compliance specialty area, approximately 12 attendees from hedge funds and asset management firms discussed highlights of this month’s ACA spring conference as well as a number of key topics affecting the compliance hiring landscape. Attendees also got the opportunity to hear from special guest speaker Christopher Ray, a Senior Principal Consultant, who has over 15 years of industry experience and specializes in SEC compliance. “These forums serve as great learning outlets for compliance professionals,” says Melanie. “Clients look forward to the small collegial environment as a way to collaboratively network and learn from like-minded professionals about the best ways to address key issues in their compliance programs.”
24 May 2016
Although you may have heard this saying before, it’s certainly worth repeating if you’re planning on going on job interviews any time soon: You only get one chance at leaving a good first impression. If you’re an administrative professional, you especially know this to be true. In a field where you consistently communicate and collaborate with various groups of professionals, you likely have a good understanding of just how important it is to go into an interview and demonstrate why you are the best person for the role. You also know the most important step in achieving this: Good preparation. “If you’re adequately prepared, you’ll never be nervous and you’ll always be ready,” Jaimee Cascione, Senior Director of Office Support and Human Resources at The Execu|Search Group, says. “By taking simple steps to prepare, you can go in with the confidence needed to impress any interviewer.” Wondering how to make a good impression during the interview and how to avoid leaving a bad one? Here are several steps for both: DO: Your homework You may have spent time reading about the company before you applied for the job, but you’ll want to go back and do some additional research before your interview. It’s likely that a hiring manager will ask you whether or not you know about the company and what they do, so you will want to start with the basics about the company’s history and mission statement. “If you really want to leave an impression, see if they have recently won any awards or been featured in the news,” Jaimee advises. “It will show a hiring manager that you are interested in working for the company beyond the specific job you’re applying for. DON’T: Distract the hiring manager To ensure the hiring manager can stay focused on the qualities that make you the best fit for the job, make an effort to minimize any distracting behaviors. “It’s important to be conscious of your body language during the entire interview,” notes Jaimee, “You could be saying one thing to the interviewer, but communicating the opposite through your body language.” For example, slouching communicates disinterest, while fidgeting or lack of eye contact implies you are not confident in your abilities, or worse, you’re being dishonest. DO: Present yourself well Since many administrative roles involve daily interaction with multiple groups of professionals, your appearance and personal presentation are two things interviewers pay close attention to. Before you go into an interview, make sure that you have an outfit that’s appropriate for the type of company you are interviewing for. If it’s for a media or advertising agency, for example, you will want to tailor your image so that it’s in line with their brand. However, if you’re applying to a professional services firm, you may want to wear something that’s more business professional. DON’T: Come unprepared During the interview, you’ll spend a significant amount of time going over your past professional experiences and skill set, and how they make you the best fit for the role. Because of this, it is critical that you go over every part of your resume before the interview. “If you have to constantly look down at your resume to answer basic questions about your experience, it can raise some red flags about your eligibility for the role,” Jaimee says. DO: Know where you are going You should travel to the interviewing sit, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area, at least once before you go in for an interview. You never know whether or not you’ll run into a delay or a surprise conflict will come up, so prevent the possibility of added stress by knowing exactly where you are going and how long it should take for you to get there. DON’T: Forget to bring questions to the interview While you might spend most of the interview talking about yourself, it’s vital that you bring a list of questions for the person who is interviewing you. You should bring questions about the company and the role you’re being considered for, but preparing questions that are specifically about the hiring manager and their career can prove highly beneficial. “Try to look up your interviewer on LinkedIn prior to the interview,” advises Jaimee. “Asking them questions about their experience and growth within the company show you’re truly interested in learning more about the organization.”
23 May 2016
You’ve agonized over your cover letter, gone on several interviews and now, after all of the hard work, you got the job! Take a second and congratulate yourself; you put a lot of time and energy into finding a new opportunity and you deserve this moment of celebration. But don’t get too caught up in your excitement. Now that you have the job, it’s easy to look at the role and the entire interviewing experience through rose-tinted glasses. However, it’s critical to take some time and reflect on the entire hiring process before you commit to the role. While it may be the job you have been dreaming of, it’s important to evaluate whether or not it is the right opportunity for your career. Before you tell the hiring manager that you’re in, consider asking yourself the following questions: Do you have a full understanding of what your job responsibilities will be? By the time you have been offered a position, you have likely gone over the role in detail with your potential supervisor. And while you do have a clear idea of what you’ll be doing, you will want to ask yourself one more time whether or not you can transition easily into the role. Think back to your interviews and make a check list of whether or not your skills and experiences match up with what your supervisor will expect from you. As you look over this list, make sure it’s a job you can handle and transition into with ease. It’s perfectly normal to expect and welcome new challenges when you change jobs, but it’s also important to be realistic about what you are able to manage. Do the company’s values align with yours? Finding the “right fit” is an important responsibility for both the hiring manager and job seeker. Throughout the interview process, you’ve probably spent time reading up on the company and discussed what the environment and employees are like with the interviewer. Before you accept the job, go back to those conversations and give a final evaluation as to whether or not the company is best for you and your long-term goals. What do employees have to say about the company? If you haven’t done this already before you applied for the job, you may want to check the company’s ratings and reviews on Glassdoor. The interviewer probably gave you an idea of what working for the company is like, but it’s important to get perspective from someone who isn’t trying to sell you on the company. However, keep in mind that the people most likely to leave bad reviews are people who left the company on a sour note. Read up, but take what you see with a grain of salt. Do the benefits that accompany this role suit your needs? The term benefits can be misleading, because the benefits package a company offers can prove to be an absolute necessity for specific employees. For example, parents may need to have a flexible schedule or the ability to work from home when necessary. Before you commit to a job, remember that it’s just as important to ask yourself whether or not the benefits work for you. Depending on your individual situation, you’ll want to know that your potential employer can support your needs. How drastically will your commute/daily schedule change with this role? Even if you aren’t relocating for a job, you still want to consider how a new commute will affect your schedule. If you struggle to get out of the house in the morning, having a longer commute than you are used to could prove to be challenging in the long run. Commuting is a part of most jobs throughout your career, but it’s important to be sure the one you have won’t lead you to unhappiness and stress.
23 May 2016
As a tech professional, there are plenty of tried and true ways to prepare for an interview. However, hiring managers still have quite a few tricks up their sleeves to ensure they’re getting a well-rounded view of each candidate they meet with. Most commonly, these tactics take shape as more out-of-the-box questions. “Long gone are the days where it was considered good practice to ask standard, run-of-the-mill questions and expect candidates to respond in an overly-rehearsed manner,” explains Lisa Samson, a Technical Recruiter within The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division. “With a focus on finding candidates who are the right cultural fit for the organization, hiring managers are asking an entirely different set of questions that assess more than just your technical skills.” To ensure this doesn’t catch you off guard, continue reading for 4 tricky questions that you’ll want to prepare for: Can you tell me about a recent project you oversaw? What was the end-result? Employers not only ask this question to see how you could be an asset to the team, but to also assess your ability to understand the wider impact of your work. “Since technology, from basic infrastructure to cloud security, can affect a business in so many ways, hiring managers need to ensure that you can think big picture,” notes Lisa. “You should be able to confidently discuss your efforts and how they benefited the company in the long run.” When choosing an experience to talk about, Lisa advises her candidates to stick with an example that is relevant to the role they are interviewing for. To give employers a better idea of the value you could bring to the organization, you’ll want to highlight accomplishments that are similar to what will be expected of you should they offer you the position. What is your ideal role? When answering this question, you want to make sure your response is tailored to the role you’re interviewing for. “Although it may be tempting to discuss your dream job, your response could raise some major red flags if it has nothing to do with the actual role in question,” warns Lisa. “Instead, focus on the aspects of the opportunity that will allow you to accomplish any relevant and realistic career goals.” For example, if you are an aspiring manager, explain the reasons why you feel this role will help you to get there. Discussing your goals can also help highlight some additional personality traits, such as drive and leadership skills, that employers look out for in tech candidates. How do you keep your tech skills up-to-date? With technology evolving faster than ever, employers need tech professionals who can ensure the company can move forward with these advances as well as quickly adapt to changing business needs. To evaluate whether they can entrust candidates with this responsibility, many hiring managers want to know how they make the effort to keep their own skills up-to-date. Whether you do this by participating in online tutorials, obtaining additional certifications, or pursuing freelance or consulting work, employers are looking for examples that highlight your willingness to learn and ability to take initiative. We are experiencing an issue with [insert relevant software or system]. How would you fix it? While this may not be the exact question that is asked, many employers pose a problem that they could experience and have prospective hires propose a solution. “The main difference between this question and a technical aptitude test is that the interviewer will primarily focus on your ability to think on your feet and explain the reasoning behind your decision,” says Lisa. “Although your technical skills are certainly important, there might be circumstances where you could be communicating with executives or colleagues in a non-technical role. That being said, how you articulate yourself is key.”
20 May 2016
Congratulations, you’ve finished the application and interview process and have secured a new job! While these were important steps to get you the job, the first few days or weeks in the new role are equally as important. During the early stages, your manager will be looking for signs to determine if they made the right decision to hire you, so it’s important to put your best foot forward. In order to ensure you make a good first impression, be sure to avoid making the following mistakes: Not following directions – Your ability to take direction well will have a direct impact on how well you’re able to perform in your role. With most new jobs, there will be a learning curve and you will undoubtedly make mistakes within your first few weeks. However, making repeated mistakes or failing to follow directions carefully may start to raise some red flags about your attention to detail, so try to employ more active listening skills to ensure you can make better decisions. Repeatedly arriving late – New hires often make the mistake of getting comfortable too quickly. While it is important to make the effort to get acclimated to your new environment, try your best to avoid forming bad habits early. For example, arriving five minutes late once in a while might not be a big deal, however, consistently arriving late is something a manager will take notice of as it puts a spotlight on your lack of respect for the company’s time. Missing deadlines – Your inability to regularly meet deadlines may speak negatively to your time management and dependability as an employee. To ensure your department can run efficiently, it’s important to show your manager as well as your teammates that you can handle the responsibilities required of you in a timely fashion. Dressing inappropriately – As a new hire, you should be aware of what your attire says about you as a professional. Don’t allow the initial excitement of getting the job cloud your judgement when it comes to your professional appearance. Moving forward, make it a goal to maintain the same professional image you presented throughout the interview process on a regular basis. Communicating poorly – Communication is key in the workplace and essential to working collaboratively. Sending emails with numerous grammatical errors, for example, are the types of subtle lapses in communication that can affect how others choose to work with you in the future. Not taking constructive criticism – A large part of getting used to a new job is learning from your mistakes. However, responding negatively to receiving constructive criticism from your manager or team members can highlight a lack of accountability for the mistakes you make. Misusing the internet and social media – If your job requires you to sit at a desk for the majority of the day, it can be tempting to browse social media and various websites frequently. However, it may become a problem if your internet browsing impacts your productivity. For example, browsing social media sites while you eat or during a break is fine, but if you routinely post updates, browse websites, and use instant messaging platforms all day, this can surely affect your level of focus—leaving more room for errors. Not being personable enough – When establishing a connection with team members in a new environment, first impressions can go a long way. As a new hire, failing to build a rapport with the people you work with can affect your working relationships and impact your professional reputation moving forward. Not staying organized – While you’re still new and asking questions, make sure you fully understand what’s expected of you. Once you’re clear, stay organized and establish ambitious but manageable goals. You want to show your employer that you can manage a productive balance of quality and quantity.
19 May 2016
We’ve all heard the advice that you should tailor your resume for each job you apply for, but it’s often easier said than done. While it sounds time consuming, it can make all the difference in whether your resume even catches a hiring manager’s attention. With hundreds of resumes to review for a single job posting, employers need to be able to discern if a resume is relevant within a few seconds of reviewing it. In cases where there isn’t enough bandwidth to pre-screen every applicant, they may even rely on software to find qualified candidates for them. Therefore, if you haven’t edited the document to reflect that specific position, it’s less likely that your resume will be found among the stack. However, there are simple methods that can take a comprehensive resume and elevate the content to highlight your most relevant qualifications, and ultimately bring your application to the attention of the hiring manager. Here are four easy ways to do this: Create a Master Resume Create one resume that lists all of your work experience, skills, and accomplishments to use as a template. Once you find an opportunity that interests you, your master resume can help you quickly identify what information is most relevant to the position and company at hand. For example, you may want to highlight a past position or specific certification by adding more details or you may want to cut your resume down by removing something that is not relevant to the role. Research the Company A job description usually doesn’t paint a complete picture of the company, so make the effort to conduct some additional research on the organization when editing your resume. By researching the company, you can find out more about the culture and what kind of person is successful at the organization. Doing this supplemental research can help you determine which soft skills to highlight (teamwork, leadership, innovative thinking), which will certainly give you an edge over your competition. Include Keywords With hundreds of resumes to sift through, employers often rely on software to find qualified candidates based on keywords. In order to make sure your resume lands on the hiring manager’s desk, pick out key action words and industry terms from the job description. Think about how you can use these words to describe your experience and qualifications, and change the phrasing to reflect that. Additionally, highlight any special skills or certifications that are asked of the applicant by listing them in order of importance based on the description. However, be wary of “keyword stuffing” by making sure that your additions make sense. Your resume should still read like one comprehensive document. Rename the File Not only is this good for keeping yourself organized, it’s excellent for the hiring manager as well. Since they often receive several files all titled “Resume,” add your name or initials, as well as the company name and job title to the file name to ensure that your resume doesn’t get lost. By doing so, you’ve not only shown the employer that you’re detail-oriented, but that you’ve also taken the time to tailor your resume for them.
18 May 2016
If you are an administrative professional, you know how important it is to build a strong relationship with the executives you support. This same concept can also be applied to your relationship with your recruiter. However, the first step in building a strong relationship is to establish a sense of mutual trust. On one hand, you have to trust that your recruiter is presenting you for opportunities that would be the right fit for you; while on the other, the recruiter has to trust that you are representing them in a positive light to the client. “As recruiters, we’re here to take on some of the most difficult aspects of the job search process, from finding excellent positions to acquiring an in-person interview,” says Lindsey Thompson, a Senior Associate within The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support & Human Resources divisions. “In order for us to properly take the reins and find you a job that you’ll love, we really need to work in tandem. At the end of the day, the more effort you put into working well with us, the harder we will work for you.” In order to start a relationship with your recruiter on the right foot, here are Lindsey’s tips for success: Be Honest While you should generally treat your meeting with a recruiter like a typical interview, you don’t want to gloss over details that might affect the type of positions your recruiter will find for you. “When we’re getting to know a candidate, we’ll ask you a lot of questions to find out what your preferences are,” says Lindsey. “While it can feel instinctual to say yes to everything in this interview setting, it’s important to be transparent and honest with us. By keeping the lines of communication open, we can work together to find you a position that best suits your needs.” This includes being honest about expected pay and responsibilities, industry preferences, and whether you’re working with other recruiters or applying for jobs on your own. Be Realistic Be sure that you’re doing your part in this job search too; while your recruiter can take on the search, you still need to come prepared to articulate your work history and key responsibilities, as well as ideas on what you understand to be logical next steps for your career. Additionally, Lindsey suggests that you trust your recruiter’s insight and market research regarding industry trends, compensation, and potential career paths. “Since we regularly receive feedback from clients and work with a wide variety of administrative professionals, we have unique insight into current market trends,” she says. Lastly, remember that while your recruiter can get you the interview, you still need to follow through. This includes properly preparing for your interviews and being flexible about your scheduling. Be Prompt Administrative and other support roles move relatively quickly, and employers are often on a tight timetable to fill a position. “When we reach out to you about a position, be sure to respond as soon as possible,” says Lindsey. “A delay of just a couple of hours could result in a missed opportunity.” Additionally, be detailed in your response to avoid an unnecessary back and forth. This is also when you’ll want to ask any questions in regards to the position and be specific about your availability. Be Open-minded While it’s important to know what you want in your next job, it’s equally important to keep an open mind. Rather than getting caught up in the specifics of one job posting, try casting a wide net and allowing some aspects of your next job to be ambiguous at this stage. “Also, try to be open to feedback,” says Lindsey, “Any suggestions we have, from career trajectory advice to feedback on your interview performance, are to help you land a job that will meet your needs.”
16 May 2016
These days, embarking on a job search is accompanied with more tasks than just updating your resume. In addition to a stellar application, your online presence needs to reflect your professional goals. This includes an updated LinkedIn profile, which is often requested—sometimes even required—in online applications. Furthermore, your LinkedIn profile can be found by hiring managers who are proactively searching for qualified candidates on external job boards. Because of this, a well-written page could help put you in the running for opportunities you might be an excellent fit for, but wouldn’t have heard of otherwise. As a result, you need to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is up to par before beginning your search. However, there are several items that could be detrimental to your application if you aren’t meticulous when updating the page. Watch out for these five blunders: Inaccurate Headline Your professional headline is the first piece of information the hiring manager will see when they view your profile. This space should be used to clearly state your current professional status. However, people can often forget to update their LinkedIn profile, and they are left with a headline that states a previous position. Or, some get a little too creative and write an unclear headline like, “Working For The People.” While you may think this sounds intriguing, it does not give a hiring manager any indication as to what you actually do. How to fix it: The majority of LinkedIn users will utilize their headline to simply state their current position and company. This is an acceptable option, especially if you already work in your desired industry. Others take this a step further with a clear value proposition. For example, “Transforming Fortune 500 Company Operations to Increase Productivity” has a clear action and result, which could be more descriptive than a job title. If you are unemployed, try to describe what you’re pursuing instead of leaving an old position in the headline. For example, “Seeking Opportunities in Health Administration” presents a more straightforward intent. Unprofessional Photo Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to your profile picture, none of those words should be “unprofessional.” When choosing an appropriate photo, the first criterion to look for is a high quality image. High quality indicates that the picture isn’t grainy or stretched, and it isn’t incredibly dark or overexposed, to the point where the viewer can’t see your face. Next, be sure that what is visible is clean and polished. As this is a profile picture on a professional networking site, you should be the only subject in the photo, and your attire should reflect your intended work environment. How to fix it: If you’re flipping through photos, but can’t seem to find an appropriate one, there is an easy solution; smartphones really allow anyone to take high quality photos. Find a plain wall and a professional outfit, and have a friend snap a few shots. Uninspiring Summary The summary section of your profile is your chance to shine. However, those less confident in their writing abilities may draw a blank. With an opportunity to display your passions proudly, hiring managers question those who don’t utilize this. It could infer that you’re not excited about your work or that you don’t know how to speak about your own area of expertise. How to fix it: This section should describe more than your professional accomplishments; it should also show off your personality. To get started on crafting a better summary, think about what you love most about your profession. By communicating your reasons for why you do what you do, hiring managers can learn a lot more about you as a person. Inconsistent Information Remember that the hiring manager most likely has a copy of your resume as well. While it is sometimes understandable to omit an item from your resume, inconsistent information hints at dishonesty. Plus, the fact that these documents do not match would leave the impression that you lack attention to detail. How to fix it: Before submitting an application, read through your LinkedIn profile to be sure that the information presented mirrors the information on your resume. Additionally, make it a common practice to update your LinkedIn profile at the same time that you update your resume to maintain consistency. Empty Job Descriptions Many hiring managers may peruse your LinkedIn profile before reading your resume. As a result, this page should not be treated as a supplement to your resume. However, there are still many people who either leave descriptions completely blank, or they may even write a trivial description that will not be taken seriously. How to fix it: While a blank description might be acceptable for previous positions that are not applicable to your current field, this should not be the case for every position listed. At the very least, edit the job descriptions to match your resume. Additionally, LinkedIn offers the incentive to add more. In this environment, your background does not have to be confined to one page, and there are opportunities to add multimedia samples of your work. Take advantage of these technological freedoms to offer something more than the basics that your resume might cover.