Tag Archives: career blog

Tips for Job Searching During The Pandemic

During this uncertain time, many people have lost their jobs, are questioning their job choices, and have started working from home. Even during the pandemic, there are still companies out there hiring new talent. Searching for a job during a crisis may be challenging, but it is possible. For some jobs and industries, it is even a more suitable time for boosting your career than ever.

The unemployment rate in the U.S. has officially passed 20% with more than 33 million jobless people, which is the most outrageous number since the Great Depression. It may sound like a terrifying perspective, and you may find yourself wondering if you should even try. It seems like nobody would hire new employees right now since businesses are struggling to at least maintain what they already have. But many companies are just trying to figure out how to organize their work processes, and just may not be posting new jobs yet. Nevertheless, hiring is definitely happening, and you can adjust your search to find the job option you need.

How to search for a job during the crisis?

Update your resume and social profiles

Since everything has gone online, it’s just the right time to upgrade your LinkedIn profile, clean up social media, and refresh your resume. A good thing to do is tailor your cover letter to the current needs of the market, like time management, excellent communication, crisis management, etc. Make sure to keep it resourceful, brief, and adjusted to the particular search. Quarantine is a great time to enhance your skills by taking online courses to learn new skills, so you should definitely include some of those to show your adaptability.

Develop your online network

Having a comprehensive network of useful connections has always been a go-to solution for job searching, both offline and online. Apparently, around 80% of all job offers are never posted anywhere, because these vacancies are distributed and closed through the network of connections. Revise your contacts and define where you can find opportunities. Upgrade your social channels to let people know you are looking for something, and have skills to offer.

Focus on the present

Don’t be afraid to look for a temporary job. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world today, so a short term opportunity could be a great solution for someone looking for a position. You won’t be tied to this job forever, so stay positive and use your creativity to adapt your skills outside of your regular career field.

Look at the growing industries

Some industries have slowed down, while others have gotten a boost in demand and growth. Since most people are searching for short-term options, you can increase your chances where the hiring is active. According to CareerBuilder, currently, these jobs are getting the most growth:

  • Customer service workers
  • Retail and sales
  • Financial analysts and advisors
  • Nurses
  • Laborers
  • Data entry and administrative support
  • Truck drivers
  • Online sales and server maintenance workers

Generally, many industries keep functioning in the relatively same pace. The key to success is to tailor your skills, be persistent, and stay positive. Good luck!

How To Get Back To The Office After Quarantine

As many employees around the globe are right now, you are probably in quarantine or working from home. While there won’t be a national go-back-to-office day, one day you will have to return to your physical workplace. Many people miss having a comfortable place to work and communicate with their colleagues, but returning to the office after quarantine may be challenging.

Firstly, after 1-2 months of isolation, your habits and schedule have probably changed a lot. With that being said, going back to normal won’t really feel normal. Physically and mentally, it will be hard to get back on track, and you will definitely need time to adjust. Work in the office won’t be the same either, because companies are implementing custom solutions for their employees and will most likely set up a safety policy, like social distancing, wearing a mask, or checking your body temperature.

To minimize the damage, you can start getting ready for your comeback right now. Using several simple tips can help a smooth transition.

How to get back to the office after quarantine?

Fix your sleep schedule

Let’s face it, your sleep schedule is broken. In quarantine, it seems like the day merges with the night, and it’s quite difficult to stick to the usual schedule when you don’t have to get ready for work and commute. But this is the primary reason why return to office routine may be painful. Start getting back to a normal schedule as soon as possible, or at least 1-2 weeks before the due date.

Stop wearing pajamas

Another comforting yet quite distracting thing is spending your entire remote month in loungewear or pajamas. It can be very tempting to skip wearing nice clothes to Zoom meetings, but while this feels comfortable, dressing in a more presentable manner increases your chances to set up a productive mood and get work done. Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit, but switching your sweatpants for relaxed jeans will do the job. If you don’t want to accidentally show up in pajamas on your first day, or deal with an unusual feeling of normal clothes, it’s better to start dressing up properly.

Evaluate your job

Quarantine is a good test for both employers and employees. It is also the time when you rethink your role in the company, your career goals, values, and aspirations. Take the time to evaluate if the company you are currently working at is where you want to be. This time seems to be challenging for switching a job, but there are plenty of possibilities even now.

Be prepared for the new rules

Keep in mind that when you will come back to the office, it will most likely be different. Many employers will require obligatory health checks, keeping distance, partially remote, or other measures that can be unusual. But this is the reality we have to deal with now, and the aftermath period won’t last for too long. Being prepared for all outcomes is the best option.

Adjusting to Working From Home

In efforts to control the outbreak of COVID-19 many companies have enacted a prolonged work from home policy. While this is a necessary step and is in the best interest of employee health, working from home can be an adjustment. Below are some tips to help you transition from the office to your home!

Tips for Working From Home

Start Your Day Off Right

While it is easy to roll out of bed and log right on to your computer, you should keep up with your morning routine. Get up, shower, and get dressed for the day as normal. You’ll find yourself feeling more refreshed and ready to take on the day!

Have a Dedicated Work-space

Working from your bed seems like a great idea, but after a while it can get old. Designate a spot in your home for you to work at. It can be a whole room or as simple as a freed-up corner. Make sure it has all the things you need; natural lighting, a comfortable chair, and a distraction free zone can make a world of difference.

Be Prepared

Make sure you have everything you need to continue work as usual. This means downloading any programs or applications you regularly use. With working from home, many companies are relying on virtual conferences. Be ready for your next meeting and check to see if your camera and audio are working. Run into a tech issue? Many companies have chat options available with IT support, this is a good resource if this option is available to you.

Communication is Key

For most, working from home is a new concept. With this sudden change, it is important to maintain lines of communication. Stay in touch with your manager and make sure you know what is expected of you. A daily brief phone call can ensure that everyone is on the right track and informed. If you are a manger, make sure you are keeping the information flowing. Keep communication open and make sure your reports know it is OK to call for a chat.

Missing your daily conversation in the break room over your morning cup of coffee? Don’t be afraid to shoot a message to check in with your co-workers. This can be a way to boost spirits and help keep a sense of normalcy!

Keep the Kids Entertained

Not only are workers at home, but kids are as well. Think ahead and plan some fun activities that will keep the kids busy and allow you to focus on work. However, if you’re a parent, you know this can be difficult. You can mix in some educational activities like reading and puzzles, but know that is it OK to let the kids watch TV and play video games.  Looking for something different? Here are some ideas to keep your kids social while social distancing!

Log Out

Lastly, know when it is time to unplug! Work life balance is even more important when work is brought into your home. Take your lunch break and do something for yourself like working out or watching your favorite show. When the workday is over, exit out of your applications until its time to sign on again!

Click here for more from PLS Careers!

College Graduates

8 Job Hunting Tips for a Recent College Graduate

Being a recent college graduate is both an exciting and scary time. As you finish one chapter of your life, you are preparing to turn the page and start your professional career. This can be a daunting task, but there are some steps you can take to help you land that first job!

Job Hunting Tips for a Recent College Graduate

LinkedIn is your friend!

LinkedIn has many different functionalities and is a great tool for finding a job. First, you want to make sure your profile is fully optimized and up to date. When this is done you are ready to job search on the platform. Be sure to check the job postings page regularly, you can even set up new posting alerts for a specific job and area! It is also a good idea to connect with corporate recruiters, don’t be afraid to reach out and send them a personalized message if you are interested in a current posting.

Utilize classroom experience.

You do not need to completely rely on prior job and internship experiences to show you are a qualified candidate. Use your resume and cover letter to highlight any relevant classroom activities. Team projects, external consulting, research, and capstone projects can all be used to show off your skills.

Craft a great cover letter.

Cover letters are important and an opportunity for you to stand out from other applicants. Don’t use a generic cover letter for everything, be sure to tailor it to each position and company. Write it in a way that shows your personality, interests, and qualifications.

Utilize the connections you’ve made.

Throughout your college career, you are likely to have made many connections. Reach out to them and let them know you are in the market for a job. Even if they don’t have a current opening, they may be able to direct you to someone who does. At the very least you will be on their radar if something pops up!

Additional Education.

Your learning experience shouldn’t stop whenever you graduate! Getting additional certifications related to your field can help set you apart. Some of which you can find online for free. For example, HubSpot Academy offers free certifications related to sales, marketing, and design.

Create a personal website.

Having an online portfolio is a great tool and sets you apart from others. Not only does it show your initiative, but it can act as a living document to display all of your work! Include projects, papers, your resume, and contact information on it. You can use a free website builder such as Weebly. Once it is ready, include the website address on your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn page, and anywhere else you find it relevant.

Don’t overlook internships.

Being a college graduate, you may have your eyes set on a full-time position. However, it is OK to accept an internship! Especially if it will give you the experience you need or is for a company you are interested in.

Don’t panic.

You worked hard for your degree and you will get a job. It is OK to not accept the first offer you receive and to wait for a job that is completely right for you! If you don’t graduate with a job lined up, don’t be afraid. Keep up the hard work and you will get that position you are looking for!

how to use linkedin

How to Use LinkedIn: 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 on how to use LinkedIn and how to make the most of your LinkedIn page.

How to Use LinkedIn to Succeed?

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 relevant industries, and recruiters or users with the role of a human resource.

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 skillset 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

Stand Out Resume

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 overarching 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 your 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

how to set career goals

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 sense 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 career 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 certification.

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 weaknesses 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.

How to set professional goals for the New Year?

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!

sales skills

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.

What are the crucial sales skills every sales rep should have?

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 Listener

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 to 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 the 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. 

behavioral interview questions

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 the 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.

Example: 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.

Example: 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.

Example: 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.

Example: 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!

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 to 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 – the 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!