Category Archives: Career Blog

6 Work Habits You Should Have

Having effective work habits is important for your professional growth. Developing good work habits involves establishing repetitive activities that add value to your day. In the long run good habits increases productivity, job satisfaction, and your odds of receiving a positive performance review.

Good Work Habits to Have

Set Clear Goals – establishing clear goals gives you something to work towards. Having goals will keep you on track to achieve business objectives and give you motivation. A good idea would be to use the SMART framework to create realistic and impactful goals.

Stay organized – being organized is very helpful in the workplace. This involves keeping your work space neat, creating a to do list and prioritizing projects. This will help boost productivity and ensure that all projects are done in a timely manner.

Take initiative – taking initiate is a great way to stand out in the office. Being proactive shows others that you are driven and willing to work hard. Incorporating this into your daily routine will surely impress your coworkers and manager.

Be a problem solver – when a problem arises, no one likes a complainer. Look at problems as a challenge and brainstorm solutions. This will help you have a better outlook on the day and boost positivity.

Practice emotional intelligenceemotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions and the emotions of those around you. This is useful in the workplace because it builds interpersonal, collaborative, and trusting relationships with your coworkers. In turn creating a happy and team-driven environment.

Incorporate overall wellness – maintaining your health, both mind and body is very important. Make sure you get enough sleep, take breaks when you need them, eat healthy, and move around throughout the day. Being healthy will help keep you at the top of your game!

Habits don’t form overnight; they take time and practice. Start small with one habit and continue to add on more as you become more adept. In doing so you are sure to see positive results in the long term.

Tips for Making the Most of LinkedIn

Everyone nowadays uses social media, and one of the most important social media platforms for job searching and your career is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great way to build your professional network, nurture leads and connections, and potentially find a job. With over 500 million users, it is important to optimize your profile to stand out. Here are some helpful tips to make the most of your LinkedIn page.

Tips for Using LinkedIn

Complete your profile

Firstly, it is important to make sure every section of your profile is filled out, including the about section. Be sure to write an informational and attention-grabbing summary because is the first thing users will see when visiting your page. You can do this by including keywords, your career history, and your future intentions. Be sure to give it some personality!

Be active

Having a profile is not enough, you need to be an active member of the community. You can do this through sharing interesting content, commenting on other user’s posts, and posting about industry trends. This will help make your profile visible, spark engagement with your content, and attract new users to your profile.

Make the right connections

Expanding your network for the sake of having a ton of connections is not necessarily the best route to take. You want to make sure your connections are meaningful and mutually beneficial to both parties. A good rule of thumb is to connect with people you know, other employees in your company, professionals in your industry or a relevant industries, and recruiters or users with a human resources role.

Send personal messages

A way to stand out is by sending personal messages to others. This is useful when requesting a connection or just to stay in touch with an existing one. Sending a simple friendly message can go a long way!

Request Recommendations

A recommendation from a colleague or boss attests to your skill set and makes your profile more unique! Don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation to post on your page. You can ask for skill endorsements as well. The more recommendations and endorsements you have, the more reputable your page is.

Stay up to date

Lastly, stay up to date! Continue tweaking your profile and making it better, commenting on industry trends, and sharing your own updates. Staying active will keep you on your connection’s feeds and let them know what you are up to.

LinkedIn is a great networking tool and every professional should make the most of it. When properly used it can help propel your professional development and career!

Want to know more about networking and social media? Try How to Utilize Social Media in the Job Hunt or 3 Practices for Effective Networking

5 Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out

A well crafted resume should convey your experience, skills, and accomplishments. However, recruiters sort through hundreds of applications daily, so it can be a challenge to make your resume stand out from the rest. Below are five helpful tips to ramp up your resume and help you get that interview!

Tips to Make your Resume Stand Out

1. Customize It

Customizing your resume to each job you apply for is very important, and can make a big difference between getting an interview or not. To do this, take a look at the posted job description. Note what personal and technical skills the employer is looking for, what experience is required, and if there are any skills that are “preferred but not required.” From there, you should tailor your resume and frame your experience so it closely matches the job description.

This is also a chance for you to add keywords to your resume. Do some research and see what topics are trending in your industry, what the company you are applying for values, and their over-arching business goals, then try to incorporate these to make your resume even more unique.

2. Describe Your Achievements

Now that you have identified what the employer is looking for, think about how you meet that criteria. The experience section of your resume should not simply just list out the duties you performed in your last position. Ask yourself what you have accomplished and how you exceeded the expectations of the position, and include that in your description.

3. Quantify Your Success

The next step is to quantify your success. Numbers stand out in a resume and offer tangible results. Doing this wherever possible makes your resume more unique, descriptive, and concise.

For example, if you description says: “Attract and develop new business accounts through cold calling.” You could quantify it by instead saying: “Attract and develop new business accounts through cold calling 50 prospects per day with an average success rate of 35%.”

4. Always Write a Cover Letter

If there is an option to submit a cover letter, do not ignore it! The cover letter is your chance to further explain your skills, tell the hiring manager why you are a good fit, and to show off a bit of your personality. Make sure your cover letter is relevant and well-crafted.

5. Use your network

Lastly, after submitting your resume, reach out to your network. Knowing someone within the company and having them put in a good word for you can result in the recruiter taking extra time to look at your resume. A good way to do this is to look at your connections on LinkedIn and see if anyone you know is working for the place you are applying to. Shoot them a message and see where it goes!

Recruiters are the gatekeepers to interviews and your resume is the key! Having a standout resume gets you one step closer to getting the job!

For more information related to the job search try: 5 Best Ways to Get Hired

Setting Career Goals for the New Year

The new year is the perfect time to take a step back, evaluate your performance over the past twelve months, and set fresh career goals to focus on.

Why should you set career goals?

Setting professional goals is important because it creates a clear career path and is a key step to success. Doing so at the start of a new year allows you to hit the reset button and have a fresh start. Setting and achieving goals gives a since of self-fulfillment, job satisfaction, and confidence. Goals also give you a vision and mission, because having an objective to work towards makes work a little more exciting.

Types of goals

Professional development – If you are looking to advance in your career in the upcoming year, it would be a good idea to set a professional development goal. This includes objectives such as working towards a promotion or building out your network.

Education – There is always something new you can learn. A good idea for a goal in the new year is learning how to operate a new software program or getting some type of professional certificate.

Performance – Increasing productivity is a common goal. This is usually quantitative, such as increasing sales, boosting ROI, or growing your customer base.

Skill improvement – Everyone has their strengths and weakness. Identify and work on your weakness in the upcoming year. For example, cold calling may not be your strong suit, so you make a point to cold call more often to get more comfortable and improve your communication skills.

Tips for setting professional goals

Once you identify what type of goal you would like to achieve, it’s time to come up with an action plan to make it a reality. Here are some tips on how to do just that!

  1. Be realistic. Set goals that will challenge you but are still attainable.
  2. Follow the SMART goal guidelines.
  3. Write down the steps you need to follow and check them off as you go.
  4. Select a mentor. Telling someone your goal will hold you accountable and they may even be able to offer you some helpful advice.
  5. Lastly, be sure to reward yourself! Each step you complete is a step closer to achieving your goal and that is celebration worthy.

With this information in mind you’ll be sure to have a successful year ahead!

7 Skills a Sales Rep Should Have

A successful salesperson should have a well-rounded set of sales skills in their back pocket. There is no clear-cut description a salesperson should meet as it will vary from company to company and industry to industry, however, here are seven sales skills that will prove beneficial in any sales role.

Seven Important Sales Skills

Storytelling – The ability to tell a story well is a key element when capturing your customer’s attention. People naturally respond well to stories because a narrative is more relatable than a generic sales pitch. For this reason, a good story establishes a connection between a buyer and a seller.

Active Listening – While selling requires strong communication skills, it is very important that a rep knows how to listen too. Being an active listener means avoiding interruptions, summarizing what the other party said, observing body language, and asking follow up questions. 

Coachable – The sales process evolves along with changes in consumer behavior. A truly skilled salesperson will stay up to date, welcome changes, and implement new techniques to improve their selling method.

Relationship Management – A good salesperson will have the ability to develop, manage, and grow relationships.  A successful sales rep makes efforts to establish a relationship and build trust with a customer. This type of connection creates value for both parties involved.

Self-Motivation – When a salesperson is self-motivated, they will set personal goals, have a competitive drive, and determination. Selling isn’t always easy, you will hear “no” sometimes. While this can be demoralizing, the best salespeople will know how to bounce back.

Prospecting – Prospecting is one of the foundations of sales. Knowing how to effectively identify and contact possible clients creates potential for high sales revenue and productivity.

Negotiation – When a customer wants to barter, a skilled salesperson will be prepared. This involves managing expectations, understanding customer value, and knowing profit margins. A successful negotiation will end in a win-win agreement.

Having these sales skills will prove valuable and make you a strong candidate for any sales position!

Want to know more about a career in sales? Read about what a sales representative does. 

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