Category Archives: Career Blog

Answering Behavioral Interview Questions

If you are going on an interview, odds are you are going to be asked at least one behavioral interview question. For a successful interview, you should be prepared and have a strategy in place for answering these types of questions!

What are Behavioral Interview Questions?

Interviewers use behavioral based questions to learn how you react in specific situations. They are looking for a concrete example of how you approach a scenario and the skills you use to do so. Your answer should show that you have both the experience and the expertise necessary for the position.

Types of Behavioral Interview Questions

There are many types of behavioral interview questions that encompass a variety of scenarios. Below are some of the most common topics covered by behavioral questions.

Leadership – leadership is an important quality that employers look for. You should expect a question related to your leadership abilities if you are interviewing for a managerial position.

Ex) Discuss a time when you had to motivate others. What approaches did you use?

Handling Stress – sometimes work can be stressful and employers want to know you can handle trying situations. You should expect a question regarding how you handle stress if you are interviewing for a position in a fast paced or volatile industry.

Ex) Can you describe a time you had to work under pressure?

Problem Solving – problem solving questions are asked in order to evaluate both your rational and creative thinking. This is a common question that is asked no matter the job title.

Ex) What is a challenge you faced at work and how did you overcome it?

Teamwork – many jobs require you to work in a team at some point, so employers want to know how you operate in a group. Again, this is a common question that is asked no matter the job title.

Ex) What role do you normally play when working in a team?

Using the STAR Method

The STAR method is a four-step systematic approach used to answer behavioral questions.

Situation – first, provide context for the scenario.

Task – second, describe the problems and challenges you were faced with.

Action – third, explain what you did, how you did it, and why you did it.

Result – fourth, share the impact your actions and what you accomplished. It is best to quantify this answer.

Example of a Good Answer

Q: Discuss a time when you had to motivate others. What approaches did you use?

A: In my previous position as a sales manager, it was my job to keep my account executives motivated.  Team sales had seen a decline when I first stepped into the position. I wanted to turn this trend around so I created an incentive program that awarded a gift card to the top salesperson for the month.  Within three months my team saw an 11% increase in sales revenue.

Takeaways

Behavioral interview questions can seem overwhelming at first.  However, when you think through your answer and break it down using the STAR Method, you are sure to ace the interview!

5 Tips for Giving an Interview Presentation

So you’re interviewing for your dream position, and you made it to the final interview round. All that’s standing between you and a new job is a presentation on why you are the most qualified candidate for the position. This can be a very intimidating concept however, with these presentation tips you can effectively communicate your idea while keeping the attention of your audience to get the job!

What’s the Purpose of an Interview Presentation?

Asking candidates to give a presentation in an interview is a common way for companies to assess someone’s abilities. The interviewer wants to make sure you will be able to deliver and is looking for qualities such as communication skills, organization, and topic knowledge.

Tips for an Effective Presentation

Giving a compelling presentation is a craft. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or newbie, you can continue to hone your skills. Here are some useful presentation tips no matter what level you’re at.

Understand your audience

Keep your audience in mind when you are making your presentation. Who is it for? What questions will they want answered? What form of communication do they respond best to? Be sure to consider these questions and incorporate elements of them in your presentation. Also, put yourself in their shoes and see if there is anything that is unclear or uninteresting, then adjust your presentation from there.

Follow the 10 – 20 – 30 rule

This idea comes from Guy Kawasaki. The rule states that you should have no more than 10 slides, your presentation should be no longer than 20 minutes, and you should not use a font size less than 30 point. This is an important rule to follow in order to keep your message short and concise. You will quickly lose your audience if you deliver your message in a roundabout way with saturated slides. Just highlight the key details!

Consider your tone

It is very difficult for people to listen if you are using a monotone voice, so be sure to switch up your tone. Use your tone to convey emotion, such as getting a little louder for something that excites you. Also, be sure to project your voice. This helps to hold the attention of the audience and ensures that everyone can hear.

Engage your audience

Engaging your audience goes beyond simply making eye contact. You need to work the room! Giving a presentation is your chance to emotionally appeal to your audience. Show your audience that you care about the topic and tell them why they should to. Also, if the environment is right don’t be afraid to throw a joke in, your audience will appreciate it.

Include stories

Presentations aren’t just about stating cold hard facts, you can make it more interesting by incorporating anecdotes. Furthermore, your presentation as a whole should tell a story. Think about how the facts you are presenting led you to arrive from point A to point B. Humans respond positively to storytelling and find it more relatable and easier to remember.

Check out interview tips or more of the PLS Career Blog!

elevator pitch

How to Perfect the Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is an essential part of any professional’s portfolio. Preparing an effective elevator pitch to keep in your back pocket can be very beneficial to your career development.

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is a short persuasive introduction about yourself. The objective is to concisely and memorably explain what you do, laying the foundation for future conversation. It is called an elevator pitch because it lasts no longer than 30 seconds, about the time it would take to ride an elevator.

When to Use an Elevator Speech

Despite the name, the speech is not confined to the walls of an elevator. An elevator pitch can be useful in many scenarios! Some examples are:

  • Making a sales call to a prospect
  • Explaining what you do at a networking event
  • Introducing yourself in a job interview
  • As a bio for your social media pages

The Perfect Elevator Speech Template

Introduce yourself – start your pitch off by introducing yourself and the company you work for. Grab the other party’s attention by sharing a specific problem you solve or need you meet within your industry.

Share your skills – follow up with how you solve the problem or meet a need. Identify why you are qualified to do so and what skills this requires. Share what makes you and your organization unique.

Define your goals – end your elevator speech by specifying your goals. Think about what you are looking to gain from the interaction. Are you looking for a new position or trying to make a sale? This lets the other party know your intentions.

Have a business card ready – time is a valuable resource and may not be something the other person in the conversation has. Have a business card ready so the conversation can be continued at a later time.

Example of a Good Elevator Pitch

“Hi, my name is Jane and I work for PLS Logistics as an account executive. I connect shippers to carriers to move freight across the country. PLS has the technology and capabilities to move freight efficiently with great pricing. I’d like to see how our transportation solutions can help your company.”

Want to know more about networking? Learn some helpful tips here!

how to find a job

How To Find a Job? 5 Best Ways To Get Hired

Hunting for a job can be very challenging for both new graduates and skilled professionals. In some situations, you need to get hired as quickly as possible, while other times you may have a few months available for an extensive job search. Job-hunting is a hot topic for everyone who’s looking for new opportunities, so how do you find a job and get hired quickly?

Job boards are not the only way to find available job positions. There are plenty of other methods and channels through which you can find the job of your dreams. Using all the possible platforms to promote your skills and experience will speed up the job search process.

How to find a job?

Social connections

There’s nothing better for publicizing yourself during a job search than word of mouth. Let your connections know you’re looking for a job! Every social connection leads to another social connection, creating a limitless network of touch points. You will never know who can help you link up with your potential employer: a former classmate, friend, professor, or even a hairdresser. If you know directly what you want, ask people if they know companies or employers who are searching for a hire. Attending networking events can also help you land a job.

Apply directly to companies

This is the best option for people who know exactly where they want to work and what they want to do. Instead of digging through hundreds of irrelevant job options, you should try targeting a certain company you see yourself working in. Learn about the company and check the open positions on their website. A diligent approach and persistence can increase the chances of you landing the position.

Social media help

Social media platforms are the new job boards. With the high number of job postings, there is a high chance of finding a job through Facebook or LinkedIn. Since it includes your social profile and recommendations, it may be easier to promote yourself and get in touch with potential employers through social media. If you are going to apply to positions using your social profile, don’t forget to clean your profile up and present yourself as a professional before diving into the job hunt or applying.

Self-promotion

If you have a nicely crafted resume and some experience, placing your CV on job searching platforms can attract companies. You might end up being hunted by numerous job offers if you chose the right platform for promotion!

Traditional job boards

Essentially, job boards remain the most common and traditional channel for job seekers. If you have time and patience to scroll through endless offers, there is a high probability you will find something you’re looking for. It’s a great idea to start with a job board and use all the above channels for a proactive approach to job search.

Read: How To Land a Job In 2019?

How To Write a Well-Crafted Cover Letter

If you’re wondering whether you need a cover letter or not, in most cases the answer is yes. Sending a well-prepared cover letter is one step further to get yourself to the interview. While most companies would ignore an average resume, knowing how to write a cover letter is a chance to get more “in touch” with a recruiting team.

What is a cover letter?

The purpose of a letter of introduction is to make your application memorable. It is a crafted story of your experience, so it doesn’t have any defined template. While a resume holds dry facts and numbers, the cover letter serves as an elaborate article about your key achievements and valuable experience.

What to put in a cover letter?

A good cover letter is a unique cover letter. The less cookie cutter and pre-written your composition, the better. There’s no strict template for a letter of introduction, but essentially it has some basics. To help yourself create a good cover letter, make sure to stick to the following structure:

Catchy introduction

In a cover letter, you’re selling yourself to a company. Make sure to compile a memorable or standout intro. Like in an advertisement, the first few sentences will set the tone for an entire story.

Relevant job experience

One thing you definitely shouldn’t include in your cover letter is a long and detailed path of your entire career. In the introduction letter, a recruiter wants to see the relevant experience, skills, real cases, and solutions. Don’t talk about your problem-solving skills if you don’t have a demonstrative example. Also, if you’ve figured out a certain problem a company struggles with, and you know your position is involved in it, provide a solution.

Decent summary with a next-step call

Do a brief wrap up of the key points you’ve outlined in a cover letter. In conclusion, you should state why you are the perfect fit for the position, and add a call-to-action. Leave it open-ended, expressing your excitement and offering to provide more if necessary.

How to write a good cover letter?

To wrap it up, the good cover letter definitely has to be catchy and memorable. Be honest, brief, and avoid using cliche descriptions. It’s better to take time to craft a successful cover letter, like any other creative piece.

Read #1 Thing To Say In Your Cover Letter

How To Answer 5 Most Popular Interview Questions

Making it through a job interview can be a stressful process, even for seasoned professionals. Obviously, it is even more pressure for young employees or fresh graduates. While the best way to succeed in the job interview is being yourself, you should definitely show up prepared.  Depending on the company and the job you’re applying for, interview questions can differ. Times are changing, and more and more basic interview questions are becoming outdated. However, there are certain questions that you’ll hear almost in every interview. While many of them seem pretty simple, these questions are much trickier than you think.

Saying a rehearsed answer won’t land you the job, but it’s better to know the reason why a particular question is being asked, and what the interviewer wants from you. Let’s walk through the five most common interview questions and how to answer them.

How to answer interview questions?

Tell me about yourself

This is a tricky question and is often underestimated by interviewees. While many assume it’s too simple, and others may consider it pointless, the concept of the question is none of these options. First off, it helps the interviewer to start the conversation. The best way to answer this question is to briefly describe your current position and 1 – 2 of your greatest achievements. It’s also possible to touch on past experiences related to the job you’re applying for and share your vision of the future on this post. The interviewer doesn’t want to hear your A-to-Z work employment journey, so make sure to squeeze the most relevant and valuable information.

Why should we hire you?

While it seems a bit weird, it’s a good chance for you to summarize your skills and show your benefits over competitors. While preparing to answer this question, try to focus on the contribution you’ll bring to the company. Doing some research on the company you’re applying to would help you define the problems they need to solve, and how you can provide solutions for their issue.

Why are you leaving your current job?

Many applicants fail this question due to one simple reason: they start dissing their boss, manager, teammates or the company in general. Of course, it’s obvious that there is always a reason to leave. However, don’t mention any personal issues with people at your prior job. If you were fired or left because of whatever reason, focus on the future, not the past. It’s okay to say you left because you wanted more growth, challenge, involvement, experience, etc.

What are your salary requirements?

The biggest mistake while answering this question is taking numbers out of nowhere and the inability to justify your request. Make your research on the salary level including your location, experience, and skills. You will find what the average wage is for someone in your position, and can provide facts to back up your request.

Do you have any questions for us?

This is a must! Having questions prepared for the interviewer is a great way to show them that you are truly interested in the position and learn more about things that you have not covered already. Doing decent research on the company is crucial for a successful interview. You don’t necessarily need to switch roles and take another hour to ask your questions, but preparing a few would be perfect. Avoid asking primitive questions about the company, if you can easily find answers on their website or elsewhere. Demonstrate your interest in the job by asking questions about specific duties, team, company plans, etc. It’s a good chance to figure out whether this workplace fits you or not.

Learn How To Successfully Pass Job Interview!

What Is a Commission Based Job & Is It Right For You?

There are two types of people in the world: the ones who love a stable salary, and the ones who love a commission-based job. Both structures have plenty of benefits and pitfalls, and it all really just goes to what model fits you better. Constantly putting effort to maintain or increase your income level is definitely not for everyone. However, if you have a set of primary skills, a commission-based job can be the right choice for you.

What is commission pay?

A commission based job is a job where your income is partly or fully dependent on reaching a certain goal, like selling products, closing deals, or bringing in new hires. There are various types of commissions, including straight commission, salary plus commission, and variable commission. Depending on the industry you work in and many other factors, the structure of compensation can differ.

What are typical sales commissions?

Taking the sales industry as an example, the range of offered commissions can be very different. Depending on the position level and your experience, usually, bonuses vary from 5 percent to 40 percent. The average rate of a commission-based sales job is 20-30 percent from gross margins.

Benefits of a commission-based job

Essentially, there are many advantages to this pay structure. However, they will turn into real benefits only for certain types of people. If you know how to listen to people’s needs and how to connect, a commission-based sales job can be an option for you. You also have to understand that your income actually depends on the effort you put in the work, so whenever you have a bad month or sales period, it may reflect in your paycheck.

The most significant advantage to working for commission is the freedom to control your income, schedule, and customer flow. However, freedom comes with responsibility. If you are ready to take responsibility for your own work and commit to it, the commission-based job can be a win-win decision.

Why Should You Consider a Career in Logistics?

The logistics industry is a large and prospering sector of a global economy. However, it isn’t normally an attractive industry to many new graduates, despite its potential. Many young people assume logistics is a monotonous job, and that can’t be further from the truth. The logistics and transportation industry offers a vast variety of positions, financial stability, networking and possibility for growth. Additionally, it tightly integrates with other industries, which makes work even more diverse. Pursuing a logistics career can be a rewarding and exciting decision.

What does a logistics company do?

A logistics company provides planning and execution of moving freight, as well as arranges all the processes within a businesses supply chain. Therefore, you can try a variety of different jobs like a consultant, analyst, supply chain manager, purchasing manager, freight broker, etc.

Why choose a logistics career?

Stability and sector growth

Logistics is one of the core industries in the global economy, worth more than $1.3 trillion with 8.5 percent in the U.S. GDP.  It’s also one of the fastest-growing and developing sectors in terms of career development. When you land a job in the logistics industry, you can be sure to have solid ground under your feet.

Diversity

Unlike many other industries, logistics is an extremely wide field for career development. It also means that you don’t need narrowly specialized education to enter a logistics job. Since the industry intertwines with many other areas, you can have a wide platform to start your career in.

Financially rewarding

Due to its tremendous size and impact, the industry offers financial stability and rewards to good specialists. The average salary of a logistician in the U.S. is $55,000, with entry-level jobs starting at $35,000 ranging to more than $100,000 annually for top executive positions. Many of logistics jobs connected to sales are commission-based, so there are plenty of possibilities to make a living in the logistics industry.

Skill-oriented

In the logistics industry, education type is not the primary concern for hiring companies. Your skills and experience will contribute much more to a potential job. Many logistics positions are tightly connected with communication and management, so personal traits will also help you succeed in the field.

Opportunity for growth

Logistics is not only diverse in terms of offered positions, but it is also a place where you can always grow professionally. If you start at a small role, chances are there are multiple upper levels to climb. For people who seek new opportunities and professional development, a logistics position can become a challenging yet rewarding job.

Looking for logistics jobs? We are hiring!

Learn more about our company and open positions!

How to Write SMART Goals: 5 Tips to Define Your Work Goals

Employees are interested in career development and climbing the professional ladder. However, clearly defining your goals and following them can be a challenge. Professional goals are often vague, uncertain, and don’t have a specific timeline. Because of that, you may not see the direction you’re moving in. In the long-term perspective, you (and your manager) will be unable to adequately estimate the progress in your work. The most efficient way to define and track your professional goals is SMART goals methodology.

What are SMART goals?

A SMART goal is an acronym and a special approach to define career goals that gained public recognition in the early 1980s. The abbreviation appears to mark five main features of your future goal.

SMART acronym:

S – specific

M – measurable

A – attainable

R – relevant

T – time-based

How to write SMART goals?

Setting specific goals and tracking the progress can really benefit your performance and increase your image as a valuable employee within your company. Ultimately, this method helps you summarize all the criteria to make the goal the most realistic and likely to achieve. Let’s take a look at what each word stands for.

Specific

This means you have to filter your goal as much as possible, squeezing the very core of it. For example, instead of saying “I want to grow professionally” try saying “I want to take the position sales representative”. This way, you clearly understand the purpose and can outline the detailed plan to reach the goal.

Measurable

A goal has no practical sense if you can’t measure your progress. How would you know your sales strategy is working, if you have no clue about the numbers? The second step in setting a realistic career goal is making it measurable. If you want to increase your number of leads, write “I want to increase the number of incoming leads by 15%”. The real number makes it possible to assess whether you’re reaching your goal or not.

Attainable

Often, employees have high ambitions but fail to realize that some goals are not realistic. That’s why understanding whether your goal is attainable is important. Try to include realistic numbers and be down-to-earth about your own skills. It’s better to state the tangible goal than being frustrated when you can’t reach it in the set deadline.

Relevant

A relevant goal is the one that is aligned with the vision and values of your company, not just your own considerations. Try to choose the goals that can benefit the company or at least your team. Additionally, you can include the explanation of why you chose this objective to work on, and how the positive result can contribute to the general goals. For example, you want to attend a conference or complete a course in a certain field. Explaining to your manager that you will gain new valuable skills and practical knowledge will likely increase chances of the goal to be attained.

Time-based

Essentially, everything above has to be framed in a certain period of time. Some of the goals can be completed within three months, while others require a year. Thoroughly think about the deadline: will you be able to reach the needed result in the stated time? Also, time frames help you stay concentrated on work. If you’re setting a long-term goal, you can break the overall time into smaller periods to better track results.

SMART Goal Examples

To fully understand how to write SMART goals and how they work, let’s look at the example below.

For example, you work in sales and want to increase the number of incoming leads by 20 percent in six months. Why do you want to make it your goal? Because increasing the lead pool will create more possibilities for gaining new customers. Therefore, it impacts the company’s revenue. So, we have a specific (increase the number of leads), measurable (by 20 percent), attainable (it is a realistic goal), relevant (it will benefit the company) and time-based (six months) goal.

Start Your Sales Career With PLS

Looking for a job? PLS Logistics is hiring! Learn more about our company’s culture, open positions, and opportunities!

 

How to Network in 2019? 3 Practices for Effective Networking

The power of networking should never be underestimated. Especially when you’re just at the very start of your career path. Useful connections can help you climb a professional ladder and become a more experienced specialist in your field. Additionally, the rising importance of communication skills and emotional intelligence only make networking more valuable.

However, it seems like in recent years the whole networking thing became an overwhelming process that doesn’t really connect people but only results in the sequence of uncomfortable moments, spiced up with anxiety. This is far from true, but the wrong networking really can turn out to be inefficient and stressful.

Many young people imagine professional networking as a group of polished, suited executives who chat with a slightly smiling face and immediately become useful business partners that close a couple of deals within the conversation. However, modern networking works in a different way.

How to network in 2019?

If you want to gain professional connections without being awkward, take a look at a few tips on how to network in 2019:

Act naturally

Sometimes it seems if we didn’t call networking ‘networking’ and started talking about how to do it right, it would be much easier. Try a more humanized, relaxed approach. Don’t force yourself to talk to people you don’t really like and don’t assume you can become friends with everyone. Of course, networking requires efforts and preparations, but the more naturally it flows, the better the connection will be. Chances are, the majority of people feel the exact same way that you do when they have to talk to a stranger. Being yourself and taking a more intuitive approach will work much better.

Prepare a tagline

There are different types of networking events and different industries that people work in. If it’s an event for the community of young, creative people, you don’t need a cheat sheet to present yourself. But if you’re working in a more strict, corporate environment, consider developing an action plan. First, think of how would you describe your position. Essentially, many people will ask you where you work or what you do. To avoid uncomfortable pauses or, on the contrary, long stories, just prepare a universal tagline for this question. Also, make sure to dress accordingly and prepare your business cards.

Network everywhere

Keith Ferrazzi, an author of a popular book ‘Never Eat Alone’ once made a confession: he had never been to a networking event. What’s more, he described such events as a total waste of time. It is a controversial view, but it states a truthful point – you have to network everywhere, not just at the networking events. Sometimes, occasions dedicated just to networking are an imitation of networking. In fact, the real connection happens when you have touch points with other people. And this rarely happens when a huge group of random people of totally opposite interests gathers together. Try to think of networking as of your dating life. You will most likely meet a soulmate while doing something you’re passionate about than through a random Tinder match. The same is with meeting new people: you’ll click up with people you share interests with.

Networking, when done properly, can be the most powerful tool in your entire career. Even if you’re not an eccentric extrovert, meeting new people is exciting. And if you network intuitively and choose the ones with common interests, it will never be awkward.