Job seekers often ask if they should submit a cover letter with their resume—and the answer is always a resounding YES! But, why? What purpose does the cover letter serve and why is it so important—even when job applications do not require it? Whether the job application asks for a cover letter or not, going above and beyond is always a good idea. At the end of the day, no hiring manager will rule you out for submitting one, but you may lose out on the job if you don’t. If used correctly, a cover letter can actually be one of the most effective ways to stand apart as an applicant. A cover letter provides a narrative as for why you are interested in the position, how you would be a fit for the role, highlights your unique skills and accomplishments, and gives the hiring manager the chance to see what you can bring to [...]
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So far Steve Hankins has created 229 blog entries.
One of the most common interview questions is, “Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.” However, it’s one of the most common questions people fail to answer correctly. Although most people answer in a tricky way, the question is not designed to trick you. Interviewers use this question to make sure you are self-aware and capable of reflecting. Everyone has strengths, and yes, everyone has weaknesses. So, don’t try to trick the interviewer by giving a phony answer for this question. How should you answer this question without coming across as narcissistic or insincere? Before you begin any interview, you need to be prepared to share your strengths. After all, sharing your strengths is really the entire purpose of the interview. Read over the job description and make a list of all of the ways you meet the needs of the job. For example, if part of the job description reads, “Required to maintain relationships [...]
Although the economy is healthy, companies are still laying thousands of people off for a multitude of reasons. According to a January release by executive outplacement firm Challenger, U.S.-based companies cut over 500,000 workers in 2018. Sometimes companies lay people off because their job is redundant, because of new acquisition, or simply because the company is no longer profitable. While there many reasons companies lay people off that are seemingly outside of your control, there are some things you CAN control. Follow These 3 Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Being Laid Off: 1. Prove yourself valuable. A general rule of business is to either find a way to save your company money or earn your company money. If you are doing at least one of those two things, you will be considered a valuable employee. Do not waste company time or money. If you are salary, make sure you are at least working a [...]
A deadline is looming and your coworker interrupts you when you are in the middle of an e-mail, your phone alerts you of a Facebook event, a coworker messages you on Skype, Microsoft Teams alerts you of new activity, your cubical neighbor is speaking loudly on a conference call… With all the communication, technology, and open concept floor plans becoming increasing popular, it can be very difficult to keep on task. Here are 5 Tips to Stay Focused at Work: Create a to-do list with deadlines. Set goals for yourself throughout the day and commit to accomplishing them. Today I will complete X task by Y time. This will help you feel a sense of urgency and prioritize your work accordingly. Keep your workspace organized. We have enough distractions coming at us from coworkers, personal lives, and office environments. Try to keep the distractions off your desk. A clean, well-organized workspace will help improve your [...]
At work, perception is everything. You may feel like you are above the office politics, and you have no time to schmooze your coworkers. But, the way others perceive you and your work is key to your success. Do you feel like you’ve done everything right at work, but yet you’re not getting promoted? Are you having trouble connecting with your coworkers on a personal as well as professional level? You may need to take a step back and examine how others are perceiving you and your work. If you think you may not be perceived the way that you want to be perceived, then it’s time to make a change. Follow these steps to improve your perception at work: Become self-aware. It can be a difficult pill to swallow, but you must be honest with yourself. Observe how people react to you at work. Do your coworkers greet you with a smile, or look [...]
Constructive feedback is by nature hard for us to receive. It can be a real punch to our ego when we pour ourselves into something only to find out that we missed the mark and require improvement. It’s human nature to put up a defense mechanism when we hear feedback about ourselves that hurts to hear. According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, “Threats to our standing in the eyes of others are remarkably potent biologically, almost as those to our very survival,” (Click for Source) Our brains literally feel criticism as a primal threat, so we have a tendency to not only disregard the message but even develop animosity for the messenger rather than learn from it. But, how will we ever reach our full potential if we can’t handle constructive feedback? No great athlete, performer, employee, or manager has ever become great without receiving constructive feedback. It’s a natural part of the process of learning [...]
It’s become common practice for most hiring positions to host a first interview by phone. The initial phone interview is often held by a recruiter or hiring manager and is used to sift through a pool of applicants. Managers use this process to screen you to ensure you are a good fit before spending time and resources needed for an in person interview. You are often one of many applicants who will receive a phone interview. This is your one chance to make a good enough impression to get a foot in the door, so it’s imperative to nail the phone interview. Sometimes managers or recruiters will call to offer an interview, and when you accept, they may ask for an on the spot phone interview. If this happens, it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “I am sorry, but this is not a good time. I would love to schedule a time to meet later,” if [...]
To commute or not to commute is a question that all job seekers must face at one point or another. It’s important during a job search to consider the distance you are willing to travel for work. On one hand, job hunters don’t want to limit their opportunities by narrowing their search radius, but on the other hand, the real cost of commuting may not be worth the trouble. I hear things like this all the time: I can’t afford to live in the city, so I drive an hour to work every day. This job offered me a salary I can’t refuse, and the additional income will compensate for the gas I will spend driving to work. I can get a larger, better home outside of the city, so the drive is worth it. There are many reasons why people decide to commute. However, not everyone truly considers the real cost of commuting. It’s [...]
If you recently graduated, you may be feeling a little lost. Up until now, you’ve always had a plan. Go to school. Get your degree. But now, you are entering the world of limitless possibilities! You may be having all kinds of fears and self-doubt, thinking things like: I have little to no experience in the workforce. I still don’t even know what I want to do yet! What if I pick a job and hate it? I’ve never had a real interview before. My parents think I should do X, but I want to do Y. It’s so easy to get lost in your own thoughts and allow worry and fear to take over. But don’t worry. We’re here to help! Here are 5 pieces of advice for new graduates: Don’t let anyone else decide your path. Your future is yours. Own it. Work takes up about a fourth of our lives between [...]
When was the last time you logged into LinkedIn? If you’re not utilizing LinkedIn as a career tool, you are missing out on opportunities and professional fun! LinkedIn is a great way to not only network with other professionals in your field; it's also a way for you to share your own personal brand with the world. Keeping an up to date LinkedIn profile will help show you are tech savvy, committed to growing, and interested in networking opportunities with others. It’s a great way to keep in touch with former colleagues, managers, and even corporate executives. As a bonus, it’s also a fun social media tool without any of the drama that finds its way on other social media platforms. In the business world, we often hear, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know,” and LinkedIn can help you build stronger connections with people you already know as well as meet [...]