Expert Advice to Help You Land a Job in 2021
Searching for a job is tough. The application process can be daunting and take longer than you might expect. Submitting applications and preparing for interviews can feel like an endless process.
Landing a new job in the 21st century requires skills you may not even realize you have.
Conquering every step in the journey requires a modern job search strategy. We’ve got you covered with our Ultimate Job Search Guide—filled to the brim with advice from our recruiting experts.
This easy-to-follow guide walks you step-by-step on how to get a job. After reading this guide, you’ll have the knowledge you need to successfully:
Begin at the top or jump to the section you need now.
At Kforce, our vision is To Have A Meaningful Impact on All The Lives We Serve®, and this includes you. Our job search guide shares expert advice backed by our 50 plus years of experience hiring tens of thousands of professionals like you! Whether you are going through this process alone or working with a recruiter, we’re here to help you through every stage of your job search.
We’ll help you conquer your job hunt, one victory at a time. Let’s get started!
How to Create A Strong Professional Brand
Whether you’re going on a first date or a job interview, chances are someone is going to Google you.
In the olden days, businesses advertised jobs in the classifieds or posted signs in their office. Job seekers physically submitted their resume and application via mail or in person. The internet, Google and social media did not exist. If you literally looked good on paper, you might get an interview; sometimes on the spot.
Times have certainly changed.
Gone are the days when your resume accounted for the bulk of landing a new job. Today, many factors determine which candidates get selected. Resumes are essential, and you still need a strong one.
But recruiters are also research savvy, and they use the information they find to evaluate your entire professional brand. They don’t stop at your resume—they’re Googling you and viewing your social media profiles and activity.
You must always maintain control of your narrative—the overarching story your online persona illustrates! Once something is online, it is hard to remove. Pay close attention to this throughout your journey as a job candidate. Don’t let your online reputation take on a life of its own. A recruiter’s first impression of you is no longer only made in the interview room: it’s also made online.
What is your professional brand?
Your professional brand (also known as your personal brand) encompasses your past experiences, who you are, what you do, your attitudes, habits, beliefs and where you’re headed. Your professional brand can be broken down into skills and experience, professional values and behavior. Later in this section, we will show you how to demonstrate each of these things online.
Just as every company has a brand, that either contributes to or hinders its success, every person has a professional brand. Your professional brand either elevates your career success or doesn’t.
Why is professional branding important?
Your professional brand is important because it helps you differentiate yourself from other candidates and build credibility with potential employers. A strong personal brand can also lead to additional opportunities like internships, speaking engagements and networking events.
As companies embrace “alternative work”, the talent pool continues to expand. The alternative workforce includes contractors, freelancers, independent workers, gig workers and people with second jobs (often part-time). According to a recent Bankrate survey, 45% of U.S. workers report having a “side hustle” to earn extra income. Another survey conducted by Freelancing in America reports about 57 million Americans are freelancers, accounting for 35% of the country’s entire workforce. And this number is projected to grow to 90.1 million by 2028.
This expanded talent pool means more competition for every open job. Now more than ever, it is crucial to differentiate yourself from other candidates.
Learn More: 4.5 Ways to Thrive in the Gig Economy
To ensure a successful job search, you must cultivate a professional brand, as most recruiters use social media and other online resources to assess your candidacy.
Now, let’s dive into crafting a positive professional brand to help you rise above the pack.
Make your skills and experience stand out
The first step when creating or updating your resume and/or social media profiles is to analyze your skills and past experiences.
Begin by analyzing the required preferred skills and experience of your target job. As you craft your professional brand, paint a holistic picture using your entire digital persona. Demonstrate why you are the best fit for your ideal job. Skills to articulate and demonstrate are divided into two categories:
- Hard skills: These are technical competencies that you need to complete tasks efficiently and successfully. They often are a minimum job requirement and vary by occupation. Examples include proficiency in programming languages, using test automation tools and working with graphic design programs.
- Soft skills: You need this set of skills to successfully execute the technical skills of your job. Examples include time management, written communication, project management and presentation skills.
Highlight your professional values online
Professional values are the individual principles and beliefs you hold that guide your professional behavior. These values include the ethics, standards and practices you uphold within a professional environment. These beliefs enable you to make judgment calls at work to ensure you are promoting the best interest of your department and employer.
Examples of professional values include accountability, integrity, teamwork, transparency, commitment to your profession and continued learning.
Infusing your professional values into your digital persona requires focus and effort. We’ll show you how to accomplish this next.
How to present your personal brand for success
Now that you have a strong personal brand, use it to show potential employers you possess the skills and professional values they desire in a new employee. There are a few key areas you should focus on to achieve this.
Continuous learning: Showing your commitment to continuous learning will attract potential employers. Manifest this trait by engaging with content on social media. Let’s say a peer posts about a new technology poised to disrupt your industry. Join the conversation by posting a thoughtful comment, asking a question or sharing related content with your network. Demonstrate your knowledge of trends that impact your profession, industry, employer or customers.
Professional achievements: Highlight your achievements to showcase your strong work ethic and why you are an asset in the workplace. Awards like Employee of the Quarter or Rookie of the Year can give a hiring manager insight into the impact you can have at any organization. It’s also an effective way to bolster your profile and resume.
Teamwork: No matter your role or career level, nothing is possible without teamwork. Showcasing team projects and professional achievements on your resume and LinkedIn profile is a great way to show potential employers your strong collaboration skills.
Commitment: Sometimes, employers have two or more candidates with equal skills, experience and qualifications they must choose between. Passion for your work can be the one trait that sets you apart from the competition. Hiring managers hire team members who show commitment and devotion to their work! Think about your coworkers. Isn’t it more enjoyable to work with people who are enthusiastic about the work they do? In today’s digital world, it is easy to spot passion for one’s work. Make it a point to share content and participate in discussions about trends and issues impacting your field. Provide value to others within your industry and to those entering it. Be an advocate for your profession.
3 Reasons You Should Care About Your Personal Brand
1. It’s not all about your resume
Recruiters don’t hire resumes; they hire humans. Think beyond your resume and view your professional brand as a singular, unique entity. Recruiters are assessing your fit for their company culture, your potential to advance the company’s purpose and how well-rounded you are—not just on the job, but also outside of work. They’re looking for qualities, experience and skills that you cannot convey on a resume alone.
2. Employers often hire for potential
Most employers (66%) will hire and train people who may not have all the skills they need, but have potential, according to CareerBuilder. Forty-four percent of all employers surveyed plan to train low-skill workers who don’t have experience in their field and hire them for higher-skill jobs.
Use social media to demonstrate what your resume can’t. Resumes are static and limiting. You can’t represent your potential on a resume. They don’t live and breathe as your professional brand does.
Use social media to network with other professionals in your field. Commit to developing long-term relationships with potential mentors, partners and employers. This can help you develop your skill set, stay current on the latest trends and stand out from other applicants.
Most industries change rapidly, and to remain competitive and grow professionally, it’s important to focus on self-study and continuously push yourself to learn new things.
Pro Tip: A simple, accessible way to continuously learn and stay current in your industry is through your Twitter account. Use this diverse social media platform as a listening tool to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and topics that everyone’s talking about.
Separate your following into Twitter lists categorized by topics based on your industry and professional interests. Refer to these lists daily to skim through chats and articles you might have missed. Also, don’t forget to engage with tweets that interest you!
This social listening tool will ensure you’re not missing important conversations.
Suggested Reading: Twitter: How to Stay Up-to-Date on Industry Trends
3. What happens in Vegas could cost you a job
Recruiters and talent sourcers are savvy at internet research and can find just about anything online—even if you think it is private. Google yourself online. What do you see? Now imagine you are highly trained in conducting x-ray searches and uncovering “private” information online. Your online activity can cost you a job. What’s posted on the internet is written in permanent ink. In the physical world, there is context. In the digital world, there is not. Something you may find funny or innocuous may resonate differently to someone else.
The importance of networking
With 80% of jobs not listed, networking is more vital than ever to stand out from the competition when searching for a job.
Whether you’re trying to land your first role after college or looking to transition jobs, consistently leveraging your network can help you discover new opportunities that will propel your career forward. In fact, studies show there is a direct correlation between business success and building a strong network.
But what’s the key to networking? Click here to learn best practices for nurturing relationships throughout your job search.
Leverage Your Professional Brand to Get a Job
What’s the best way to use your personal brand to find a new job? There is a long answer to that short question, and we don’t have enough room on this page to cover it all here.
Check out the in-depth articles below for channel-specific strategies to optimize your professional brand on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
What better way to exemplify your personal brand than through your online presence? In today’s day and age, social networking websites such as Twitter have become a supplementary talent pool for recruiters when searching for the perfect candidate. Not only is Twitter a resource for global trending topics, but tweets and hashtags have also become a way for job seekers to capture the attention of recruiters and put themselves in the running for their dream position.
Interested in learning more about how you can leverage this vast social platform to your advantage? Click here to find out how to set up your profile and tweet your way to a new job!
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, has become the “go-to” social media channel for recruiters and hiring managers to learn more about you. To stand out from other applicants, craft your LinkedIn presence to establish yourself as a respected contributor in your industry. During your job hunt, demonstrate dedication to your profession and continued learning by leveraging content, sharing articles and participating in relevant conversations.
To accomplish this and obtain a step-by-step guide to optimizing your LinkedIn profile, click here.
Instagram continues to take the social media world by storm, from endless selfies to posted stories. It’s undeniably growing in use, even with recruiters. Now more than ever, job seekers must showcase their professional brand online, and IG is no exception. If you’re searching for new career opportunities, there are many factors to consider when boosting your online presence on this popular app.
Ready to learn how to define your brand and post compelling content? Click here to discover how to successfully use Instagram during the job search!
You’ve put in a lot of work up to this point in optimizing your professional brand. Now let’s turn our attention to creating a powerful resume that answers why YOU are the best person for the job.
How to Write A Resume That Draws Attention
Did you know some recruiters spend as little as six seconds scanning your resume?
That’s not a lot of time to make a positive impression on a recruiter.
In this section, you will learn how to use your resume as your sales pitch in order to win over a recruiter and get the interview. The tips below will increase the likelihood of your resume falling into the short stack of “yes” candidates.
Why is a high-quality resume important?
A high-quality resume is important because it may be the deciding factor that either rules you in or out of the running for a position. Though recruiters and hiring managers will study your LinkedIn profile, blog or recent tweets when considering your candidacy for a job, your resume is often the very first item they review. Without a compelling resume, they may never see the hard work you’ve put in to crafting a strong personal brand. You need to have a high-quality resume that tells your story—with a focus on the value you will bring to your future employer.
11 resume writing tips to help you land a job
1. Think like a recruiter
When writing your resume, think through the lens of the recruiter. They receive many resumes to consider each week, so you want to make yours easy to scan. Ensure your resume is easy to navigate and don’t worry about trying to make it too fancy. Stick to commonly used fonts, use bullet points instead of long sentences and include easily understandable language.
2. Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying to
Instead of casting a wide net and applying to multiple jobs at once, narrow your selection to focus on the jobs you truly want. Then, tailor your resume to that specific job. Include real examples of past experiences and accomplishments that align with every bullet in the job description.
3. Consider a video resume or online portfolio
In addition to your print resume, consider digital assets that supplement it. Create a short video or an online portfolio to stand out to prospective employers.
Target the video to each position or company you are applying to. Show off your personality, highlight your experiences and market why you are the best candidate for the job. If you have samples of previous work relevant to the position you are applying to, create an online portfolio to showcase your experience.
You can add a link to the portfolio in your print resume and you may be allowed to upload the video resume directly to your job profile.
4. Develop a keyword strategy
Before applying for a job, carefully dissect the job posting and create a list of skills, knowledge and experience the employer is looking for. Hiring managers leverage technology to identify potential candidate matches based on keywords within resumes that match the job description. We recommend including keywords and phrases 2-3 times in your resume to ensure it is found when employers use technology to scan through resumes.
5. Organize your resume
Make your resume easy to read by including headers, concise information and simple lists. Order your resume by the information you want to spotlight first. This will allow hiring managers to quickly scan your resume and find the qualifications they are looking for.
6. Include only relevant information
Don’t waste time including unnecessary details or jobs on your resume that don’t illustrate skills or experiences you need for the role. Avoid overused words that don’t differentiate yourself from your competitors, like “energetic” or “good communicator.”
7. Validate your experience
Show the impact you had in your previous roles by detailing your accomplishments, quantifiable metrics and context. Give credibility to your work experience and skill set by providing links to relevant resources, including personal websites, your LinkedIn profile and digital portfolios. It’s best to hyperlink words, instead of including a long, ugly link on your resume. If you plan on having a printed version of your resume, use a link shortening tool like Bitly for a cleaner look.
8. Check for spelling and grammar errors
Before submitting a resume, always conduct a spelling and grammar check. Your resume is your first opportunity to make a memorable impression with a prospective employer. Many employers are looking for candidates who are detail oriented and strong communicators. Ensuring your resume doesn’t include spelling or grammar errors is a great way to showcase these skills. Enlist the help of free online grammar tools like Grammarly or Scribens to avoid mistakes.
9. Be honest
Always be truthful about your past work experience, including what you did in a role and how long you were there. Hiring managers and recruiters can spot inconsistencies in resumes. According to a CareerBuilder study of about 2,000 hiring managers, 57% of respondents said the most common lie they catch on a resume is an embellished skill set.
10. Show career progression
Your resume is prime real estate for sharing your story. Hiring managers are looking for someone who has grown in their career. Outline the key responsibilities you’ve held in each position and how they’ve contributed to your overall career success. Make sure you organize your resume in a way that shows growth in your career and the level of responsibility you’ve had over time.
11. Think holistically about your professional brand
Most hiring managers want to understand who you are as an individual—in and out of the office. Demonstrate your understanding of the company and share how your volunteer experiences, passions and hobbies align with the company’s purpose.
How long should my resume be?
Resume length has been a hot debate for years. Those who believe resumes should be on a single page typically claim recruiters and hiring managers will lose patience when reading an unnecessarily long resume. Proponents of longer resumes say they want more details about a candidate’s work experiences, accomplishments and skills.
So how do you know which advice to follow?
Professional resume writing service ResumeGo conducted a study to discover the optimal length for a resume.
Out of the 7,712 resumes participants chose in the simulated hiring process, a whopping 5,375 of these resumes were two pages in length. This means recruiters were 2.3x as likely to prefer two-page resumes over one-page resumes.
The study also found that the benefits of including a second page increased the more senior the role. Candidates with longer resumes were hired more than 70% of the time for mid-level or managerial-level roles.
We don’t recommend stuffing your resume with irrelevant information for the sole purpose of filling two pages. As you’re creating your resume, ensure you are including the experiences and skills pertinent to the job you are applying for. The information you include should add value by showing why you are a great candidate for the role. But, don’t cut out necessary information. Embrace the second page if you need it.
The benefits of a master resume
You’ve got tons of work experience with plenty of awards and accomplishments to match. However, when compiled, your extensive 4-page resume exceeds the recommended 1-2 pages. While listing all your accomplishments may seem like a good idea, employers are looking for candidates with specific skill sets.
Enter the master resume.
A master resume is a chronological record of your entire work history. It is used as a springboard to quickly create tailored resumes for each job you apply to.
How to create a master resume
1. Make a personal career list
Include as much information from your career as you can think of in this list. Here are a few things to consider adding:
- Hard and soft skills
- Prior responsibilities
- Awards and accomplishments
- Tools and technologies you have used
- Volunteer experiences
- Professional clubs & organizations
- Professional training & certifications
2. Review job descriptions
Begin by gathering job descriptions for positions that interest you—regardless of whether you plan to apply to those jobs. Then, review each job description and highlight keywords and phrases that describe the skills or experience the employer is looking for.
3. Combine into a master resume
Compare your personal career list to the keywords and phrases you highlighted in the job descriptions. Use any matching terms to write one long master resume.
Don't submit your master resume when applying to jobs. Instead, take your most relevant job experiences from your master resume and tailor it to the job description for each job you're applying to.
Writing your resume for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
Thanks to technology, applying online is easy and fast. The result for employers is a mountain of job applications for every open role. On average, large corporate companies receive up to 250 resumes for each job they post, according to Zety. Out of those resumes, about four to six candidates will be chosen for an interview and only one will receive a job offer!
Recruiters and hiring managers utilize artificial intelligence, automation and machine learning to sort through thousands of applications they receive. Software known as an ATS, short for applicant tracking systems, may scan and filter submitted resumes based on specific criteria set by the employer before the resumes are passed on for review by an actual human.
Oftentimes, these systems automatically filter out candidates who don’t seem to be a close match for the criteria the employer is looking for. You could be a great fit for the position you are applying to and still be overlooked if you don’t optimize your resume for the keywords and phrases the ATS is looking for.
If you haven’t been contacted after submitting a resume, an ATS may have something to do with it. You should craft your resume to attract a robot recruiter to increase your chances of landing an interview.
How to create a bot-friendly resume
Keep the following tips in mind when creating your resume to help you optimize it for ATS:
- Use standard fonts like Times, Arial, Georgia, Tahoma and Verdana.
- When using lists in your resume, stick to bullets. Avoid symbols like arrows, check marks and hyphens to prevent information scrambling.
- Use header sections like Summary, Professional Skills, Experience and Education.
- Do not include pertinent information such as skills, contact information or links in the header or footer. Not every ATS can read information in these document sections.
- Save your resume in a compatible format: .doc, .docx or .txt.
- Avoid PDFs. Some older ATS software interprets PDF information as one single image.
- Spell out all terms alongside abbreviations and acronyms [i.e., project manager (PM)].
- Use relevant, targeted keywords and phrases.
- Keep graphics and design elements to a minimum.
How to test your resume for ATS compliance
Convert your resume to a plain-text document
We recommend checking your resume for ATS compliance before submitting it. Copy content from your resume and paste it into a plain-text document. Missing information, scrambled characters and unorganized information can signal that your resume needs some refinement to best suit an ATS.
For example, the dates of your employment might appear next to the wrong job entry or your summary section appears in the middle of your education. These are easy fixes—but you need to discover these issues before you can resolve them.
Use a web-based software to score your resume
There are some fantastic tools that predict your resume’s likelihood of being chosen by an ATS to pass on to a recruiter or hiring manager. Check out online software systems such as Resunate and Jobscan to score your resume like an applicant tracking system would. These features can take your resume from zero to hero, giving you recommendations to fix your resume and improve your overall score.
Improve your resume with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A crucial step in getting your resume into a recruiter’s “yes” pile is optimizing it for search engines. SEO works by implementing a keyword strategy including words and phrases that help make your resume easier to find—whether it is online or in an ATS.
In resume writing for SEO, you’ll need to include industry keywords that show you’re the right person for the job. Not sure which keywords to use? Review the descriptions of the positions you want. Create a list of common keywords and phrases used throughout. The right keyword can be a defining factor in an employer finding your resume.
During your research, keep the following questions in mind while building your keyword strategy:
- Job titles: What relevant job titles are employers using that describe your skill set? What are all the variant titles for similar roles?
- Skills: What are the specific skill requirements for the job(s) you seek?
- Industry: Is the employer looking for a candidate with a specific background?
- Location: Does your address match the location of the position you’re applying for?
- Technologies: Which technologies should you be proficient in?
- Certifications: Are there any specific certifications or education requirements?
Why context is more important than keywords in a resume
Most applicant tracking systems ignore extra instances of keywords. Avoid stuffing your resume with repetitive keywords, and only use them where they make logical sense.
Also, don’t forget that keywords mean nothing without context. You’ll need to provide relevant experience and compelling details that illustrate your abilities around these keywords. Make sure your resume answers the who, what, where and why to demonstrate to hiring managers and employers that you can not only communicate your skill set but apply it to their role as well.
Pro Tip: Visit LinkedIn and research other professionals who have the job you’re trying to land. It doesn’t matter if they are at your current company or in an entirely different industry. Study how they communicate their skill sets and experiences and take note when crafting your resume. Sometimes, the best inspiration can be found by exemplary professionals in your field!
How to write your resume for a career change
There are many reasons you may make a mid-career transition. Whether it’s due to changes to your industry, the economy or a shift in your professional interests, you may need to change course at some point in your career.
Trying new jobs is becoming the norm in today’s gig economy. Some say the career ladder has been replaced by career scaffolding.
So how do you write a resume for a role that is different than your current and past work?
Searching for a job outside of your industry requires more leg work on your part. But you’ve got this! Start by creating a career change resume that highlights your transferrable skills, uses the right keywords and showcases relevant educational, volunteer or work experiences.
1. Highlight your transferable skills
A career change resume tells the story of your transferrable skills to a recruiter and/or a hiring manager. Your goal is to explain how your qualifications from previous jobs are applicable to the new position you’re seeking.
Start by thinking outside of your current and past job titles. Highlight your transferrable skills and areas of competence on your resume to downplay your work titles. Skills such as training, customer service and project management can position you for a wide variety of jobs in an array of industries. When writing your work experience section, focus less on the job duties and more on the hard and soft skills you’ve developed that are likely most appealing to the hiring manager.
2. Use the right keywords on your resume
This is when your master resume will help. Pay close attention to how an employer describes a responsibility, requirement or qualification. Take the exact words and phrases used in the job descriptions for roles you are applying to and weave them into your resume. Keywords are your chance to show the recruiter and hiring manager that you are a match for the position. They also help applicant tracking systems identify your resume out of the pack as a possible match.
3. Emphasize your education, trade programs, certifications and more
Hiring managers sometimes prefer to hire people outside of their industry. They seek fresh perspectives and ideas from their new hires. When considering applicants, hiring managers look for specific hard and soft skills, which can be acquired across a wide range of industries.
When switching industries, it’s important to highlight what you’ve learned over the course of your career that is relevant to what you’ll be doing in your next role. Listing previous coursework, certifications, workshops, etc. demonstrates your focus on continued education—which will be quite appealing to your future boss.
We also learn outside of the classroom and the office. Think through your volunteer experiences. What skills did you pick up that are relevant to the job you’re applying to? Highlight what you’ve learned and what you’ve accomplished as a volunteer on your resume wherever applicable.
What is the Best Way to Search for Jobs?
Out of all the steps to land a new job, searching for jobs to apply to can be one of the most challenging.
We have more information available at our fingertips than ever before. When you start searching for a new job, you may have an excess amount of information about employers and jobs to sort through. Finding the right job to apply to can feel like a daunting task.
Without a strategic approach, your job search efforts may quickly become overwhelming.
If you haven’t searched for a job recently, you may encounter some surprises. Technology continues to pervade multiple areas of our lives—and the job hunt is no exception.
With the emergence of company review sites, chatbots that interact with job seekers and the ever-increasing application of artificial intelligence, traditional tactics like reviewing classifieds, cold calling and visiting brick and mortar locations have nearly gone extinct.
To find a job, you need a plan. You are busy, with a finite amount of time to search for jobs.
Scarcity of time may be a significant obstacle for those of us who currently have jobs, are caring for a loved one or both. Many people say the job hunt often feels like a full-time job. If this is you, we understand and are here to help.
We’ll show you how to create a job search plan that is targeted, efficient and aligns with modern trends and technology.
How to craft a winning job search strategy
Tip 1: Define what you want out of a job
You have a lot to think about when looking for a new job. Here are some questions to consider when defining what you want out of a job:
- Roles and responsibilities: What are your desired daily duties? How will you contribute to an employer’s success? Will you be an individual contributor or manager? Are you looking for a lateral or vertical career move? What are the education requirements for this role?
- Companies: What’s the company’s purpose? Does it align with yours? What do employees say about culture, benefits and work? Do you prefer a small, medium or large company? Is there a specific industry you want to be in?
- Geography: Where do you want to live and work? Do you prefer to work remote, in an office or both? How far are you willing to commute? Are you open to relocating?
Tip 2: Visit peer review sites
People typically don’t make important buying decisions without reading peer reviews.
Finding a job has become very similar to online shopping. Think about how much more important your career is than what restaurant you’ll choose for date night. When searching for a job, check as many review sites as you can to learn what employees are saying about the work environment, culture, leadership and more.
Popular employer review sites include:
- Glassdoor: This platform is perhaps the most widely known website for employee reviews. Here, visitors can view pros and cons of working at a company, company profiles, interview tips, CEO approval ratings and more.
- Indeed: Best known as a job aggregator site, Indeed also provides company reviews submitted by current and past employees broken down by a rating system based on several factors like work-life balance, compensation, management, culture and more.
- Fairygodboss: This platform describes itself as the largest career community for women. The site shares anonymous company reviews from female employees as well as career advice. It also provides an online forum to discuss issues facing women in the workplace.
- CareerBliss: This site shares company reviews, salary information and job postings. CareerBliss also publishes career advice content.
Additionally, people read Google reviews from employees and customers to gather a holistic view of how a company operates internally and with their customers.
Social media and peer review sites give everyone a voice. Keep an open mind when reading reviews; people can say whatever they like about a company. Taking reviews into consideration is an important part of your research process, but don’t let them be the determining factor on whether you apply for the job.
Tip 3: Work with a recruiter to boost your job search
Did you know that working with a recruiter at a staffing and solutions firm like Kforce is 100% free?
The job search can be daunting and time-consuming, but you don’t have to do all the work alone. Let recruiters do some of the work for you. They have multiple jobs at various companies at their fingertips and have a direct line to the hiring managers. Recruiters will listen to what you’re looking for in your next job. Their goal is to find the perfect match for both the candidate and the employer.
Benefits of partnering with a recruiter:
- Expanded network for your job search
- Access to hidden job markets and jobs that may not be posted publicly
- Guidance for every step of the process
- Salary negotiation
- Free of charge
Before partnering with a recruiter, ensure your online presence is optimized for your professional brand, and that your resume is updated online. Recruiters look for candidates online and review countless resumes. Ensure your differentiators across your digital presence stand out and grab their attention.
Recruiters also use various social platforms to share open jobs with their network. Hiring professionals tweet or post about their open jobs every day. Using platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, follow recruiters who post the types of jobs you are interested in, or who recruit for companies you’re trying to get into. You’ll get relevant job postings right in your social media feed.
Following hiring managers, talent sourcers and recruiters on social media is also an effective way to start conversations. Send them a private, direct message to express your interest in the role.
Interested in learning more about how to best work with recruiters? Click here.
Tip 4: Use social media for a competitive advantage
During your job search, use social media to your advantage. This digital space is the cornerstone of online networking. Thanks to social media, you can access thousands of people and jobs globally. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for uncovering potential connections that you might already have at the company to which you’re applying.
A quick search of a company name on LinkedIn will give you a list of employees. Then, you can search to see your connections. Turn those contacts into conversations and hopefully into an inside referral. This personal touch can give you an advantage over other applicants!
Twitter is also often considered an untapped resource for job seekers. It’s free and easy to use, even from your phone. Create a Twitter list that includes recruiters, hiring managers, job search websites and your target companies. Then check their tweets daily for job posts.
Tip 5: Make a daily habit of job searching
Like so many things in life, you’ll get out of your job search what you put into it. Job searching requires focused effort and being proactive—and a routine can help achieve that. When creating your job search strategy, stick to a daily schedule to remain productive.
Here are activities you can start now:
- Create a to-do list: Working toward a goal calls for organization. Planning allows you to maximize your efforts by prioritizing your job search activities and completing tasks in a timely manner.
- Block off time on your calendar: Job seekers need every precious minute to find their dream job. That’s why it’s important to devote daily, uninterrupted time blocks to your job search.
- Dedicate certain days for specific activities: Working on one activity at a time might be in your best interest. Consider breaking different parts of your job search across days of the week to complete tasks efficiently.
- Track your job search: Document your job search on a spreadsheet by recording jobs you’ve applied to and those you’re considering. Tracking your progress helps avoid applying to duplicate jobs. Bonus: you’ll track your wins throughout your job search journey, which will motivate you to carry on, even on the most stressful days.
Pro tip: Use this same spreadsheet to make notes about information you find about the company and job while doing your research.
Tip 6: Keep an open mind
When looking for the right job opportunity, it’s important to be open and not limit your hunt too narrowly. If you are not flexible, you may miss out on a rewarding career.
These tips will help you keep an open mind during your job search:
- Vary your keyword search
When finding a job online, think outside of the confines of your job title.
Job titles vary from company to company, so ensure you are searching for a variety of titles. For example, if you’re a software engineer, don’t limit your options by only viewing jobs with a “software engineer” title. Searching for jobs with alternate titles like application developer, software developer and web developer will expand your possibilities.
Complete a quick Google search of your job title to see what other jobs are returned in your search. Then skim the job descriptions to see if jobs with different titles are just as fitting.
- Suggested jobs are good too
Have you ever bought something unexpected because it was under “Customers who viewed this item also viewed” on Amazon? This can happen during your job hunt, too. Look into suggested or recommended jobs that populate in your search results. You might be surprised to find something that piques your interest outside of a specific search.
- Remember salary talks are on the table
Imagine this: you’re looking for jobs online, scrolling through the different postings, and find THE ONE—the job you’ve been looking for. It seems like the perfect match…except the salary. If the compensation is slightly lower than you’d like, apply for the job anyway! In many cases, salary is negotiable for the right candidate.
Now that you’ve found what seems like the perfect job for you, it’s time to apply!
Applying for Jobs in the Digital Age
You’ve tackled a lot in your job search to get to this point. Now that you’ve optimized your personal brand, polished your resume and searched for available opportunities, it’s time to apply for jobs!
In the digital age, technology has transformed the job search landscape. From finding a role to applying for a new career opportunity, smart devices have evolved the way candidates secure the next step in their professional journeys. To learn more about the best practices for submitting applications, check out the following top trends.
How chatbots are revolutionizing the recruitment process
We’ve become accustomed to interacting with robots in our daily lives.
We ask Siri to find restaurants near our current location. We tell Alexa to deliver paper towels and dish detergent to our house the very same day. Whether it’s online customer support or buying concert tickets—chances are we’re dealing with a chatbot.
Chatbots have become so advanced that often you don’t realize you’re not interacting with a human. It’s estimated that 80% of enterprises will use chatbots by the end of 2020. And we’re starting to see similar adoption within the recruiting industry.
What is a recruitment chatbot?
A recruitment chatbot is a software application using artificial intelligence (AI) technology designed to replicate human conversational abilities in a variety of places along the recruiting process.
Imagine a recruitment chatbot as a virtual assistant to a recruiter, except 1,000x more efficient. Recruitment chatbots can answer questions about a job you have applied for, conduct an initial pre-screening to ensure you have the right skills for the role and schedule an interview.
Leveraging natural language processing, machine learning and context, chatbots are becoming smarter and more sophisticated at a record pace.
How can recruitment chatbots help you?
Most people who have searched for a job and applied to numerous positions are familiar with the “resume blackhole.” According to the Human Capital Institute, 75% of job applicants never hear back from employers after they apply to a job, and 60% never hear back after an interview.
Although this isn’t a positive candidate experience, it’s almost impossible and very impractical for a single recruiter to follow up with every candidate who applies to a job.
Let’s say a recruiter is working on three jobs, and each of those jobs has 200 applications. If the recruiter spent 10 minutes on the phone speaking to each applicant, screening skills, clarifying work history and answering question, that would require at least 100 hours. Clearly, this isn’t a scalable or efficient process.
Queue the recruitment chatbot! In this scenario, applicants can engage with a chatbot directly after applying by answering essential questions for a recruiter to determine whether they’re the right fit for the job.
It’s abundantly clear that chatbots are beneficial to recruiters, but they’re also beneficial to you as a job seeker! Unfortunately, we’ve all been a victim to the “resume blackhole,” waiting for a response from a recruiter and wondering if we were qualified for the job at hand. The truth is you may have been the ideal candidate for the job, but the recruiter only got to application #37 out of 100.
However, if a chatbot was inserted into the application process, you would have a chance to emphasize your skills, accomplishments and expertise through a series of qualifying questions prompted by the bot. If your answers aligned with job requirements, your application would be fast-tracked to the top of the stack.
Thanks to recruitment chatbots, it no longer matters if you are application #1 or #100. The resume blackhole is closing little by little every day!
Be ready for the bots
Most likely, you’re going to interact with a recruitment chatbot at some point during your job search, whether you realize it or not. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to prepare for the bots:
- Remember, chatbots are robots: Even though they’ve come a long way over the last several years, chatbots will never be human. When interacting with a recruitment chatbot during the application process, try to be as clear and concise with your answers as possible. Avoid excessive slang and fluff. Instead, focus on showcasing specific skills, software proficiencies, etc.
- Have your calendar accessible: Some recruitment bots are programmed to schedule interviews if the candidate’s score on the pre-screening questions is high enough. You don’t want to miss out on an interview opportunity, so make sure your calendar is handy and up to date.
How to Apply for Your Next Role
You can make applying for a job as easy as one click by creating a profile and saving your resume to a job board! Most job boards have an app these days, so you can download the app and browse jobs at your own convenience. If you’re not ready to apply right then, most job sites give you the option to save the job and apply later.
Embrace technology for an easier job search. For example, when you’re searching for jobs on various job boards, most offer the ability to set up an email alert. Any new jobs that fit your search criteria will be sent directly to your inbox as soon as they’re posted. Let the jobs come to you!
Kforce has a free job referral app called KFORCEconnect. You can use the app to refer friends, family and colleagues to apply for Kforce jobs. Once your referral is hired and works 80 hours, you get paid! For more information and to download it today, click here.
You may be searching for and applying to jobs in micro-moments—on your commute, waiting at the doctor’s office or on a commercial break while watching your favorite TV show. To seamlessly apply on the go, consider uploading your resume to free services like Dropbox, iCloud or Google Drive.
Now, let’s get you ready for the next step—the interview!
Everything You Need to Know to Prepare for an Interview
You’ve crafted the perfect professional brand, optimized your resume, found a great job and submitted your application. Now the only thing standing between you and an offer letter is nailing your interview. This important step in the job search process can make or break the decision to hire you. The interview is your opportunity to demonstrate why you are the best person for the job.
In one word, the secret to nailing an interview is simple: prepare.
Putting in the time to prepare will boost your confidence during the interview, allowing you to shine as an expert throughout the interview process.
You’ll need to do some research prior to your interview, and we don’t mean just the night before. It’s important to give yourself enough research time to check multiple sources for information about the position, company and the person conducting the interview. Aim to gain an understanding of who the company is, what their major initiatives, technology and products are and how your position impacts the company.
Learn as much about the company as possible
Thanks to the internet, you can learn a lot about a company before you ever interact with them. The interviewer will expect you to know information about the company that you can find online prior to your interview.
You should check multiple online sources to learn as much about the company as possible. This will give you a competitive advantage over candidates who check only one or two sources. Here are a few different sources to consider and what you should look for on each one:
- The company’s website: Thoroughly review the company’s website, paying attention to service offerings, products, their mission and vision statements, core values and other general information.
- Social media platforms: Check various social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and scroll through the company’s social media activity to get a sense of what they’re sharing and what’s important to them. Are they excited about a new product release, a stellar quarter or a new member of the executive team? Did they recently win an award? What does their activity tell you about the company culture?
- Financial sources: If the company is public, listen to their latest earnings call or review their SEC filings to understand their financial position as well as the goals and commitments they’re communicating to Wall Street.
- Review sites: Check company review sites like Glassdoor, Indeed and Google to see what current and former employees say about the company. Remember to keep an open mind when reading reviews and look for patterns.
- The company’s competitors: Identify their top three competitors and understand their similarities and differences. Try to identify their competitive advantages
Use the information you find during your research to prepare 3-5 questions to ask the interviewer. For example, if you find the company has recently received an award, you could ask the interviewer what the award means to both the company and to them personally. This shows that you’ve done your homework, and more importantly, that you are genuinely interested in the company and this opportunity.
Look for ways to connect with your interviewer
Did you know you should also research the person who will be conducting your interview? The recruiter will likely share the name of your interviewer with you in advance. If not, ask your recruiter who you’ll be speaking with. LinkedIn profiles are a great place to conduct online research to provide you with information to build rapport and plan questions for your interviewer.
Here are a few questions to consider while reviewing your interviewers’ profiles:
- How long have they been with the company?
- Do you share common interests?
- Have they worked their way up to management?
- Do you have any shared connections?
- Do they describe key projects and initiatives?
- Do they mention volunteer experiences?
How to prepare for a behavioral interview
After you finish researching the company and your interviewer, you should begin preparing and practicing answers to common interview questions.
Before you reach the final stage of the interview process, the interviewer needs to establish your core competencies through a series of behavioral questions that assess your skills and experiences. Interviewers use behavioral interview questions to assess how you would likely respond to specific scenarios in their workplace based on the way you’ve handled similar situations in the past.
This is an opportunity to set yourself apart from other candidates based on your ability to develop your past experiences into engaging, memorable stories and communicate them in a compelling way. Now, this isn’t the time for humblebragging. Your answers to behavioral questions should confidently describe how you have previously handled a situation without coming across as arrogant.
We know how intimidating it can be to think on the fly during a behavioral interview. Take the time to strategically plan your responses using quantifiable examples that reflect your accomplishments, applicable skills and any obstacles you’ve overcome to achieve success in your role.
During your behavioral interview, utilize the STAR Method (situation, task, action and result) to set your strategy in motion. This interview technique helps you organize your thoughts and answers concisely, so you stand out from the competition.
Begin by explaining a situation from a prior company or a relevant event with the proper context for the interviewer to evaluate your abilities. Next, go into the task that establishes the objectives of the project and your specific role. After giving the interviewer some background information, describe the action you took to complete the task successfully. Then, bring it home by presenting the result based on your actions and what you took away from the experience. To add credibility to your story, include quantitative data.
By using this method, it allows the interviewer to easily digest your experience and determine how fit you are for the role at hand. Be sure to put this method into use by bulleting out a list of sample responses prior to the interview. This doesn’t mean you have to memorize your answers, as it can sound robotic and overly rehearsed. Instead, break the explanation down at a high level to reference if necessary.
To learn more about top behavioral interview questions, click here.
Create and perfect your elevator pitch
Quick—in 60 seconds or less describe why you are the perfect person for the job!
Did you do it? If you fumbled through this exercise, you are not alone. Promoting your accomplishments and why you are the perfect candidate can be awkward and intimidating.
Picture this. You are in an elevator about to head up to your destination when suddenly someone runs up and stops the doors from closing. You glance at the person rushing into the elevator and it happens to be a hiring manager you have been desperately trying to get in front of. What would you say to them in the time it takes to get from the lobby to the 10th floor? How will you make the best use of this time?
That example demonstrates how the “elevator pitch” got its name. An elevator pitch is a concise way to sell yourself and highlight your most compelling attributes, accomplishments and unique strengths—in the brief time it takes to ride an elevator.
Is it still important to have an elevator pitch?
With many companies and industries beginning to move toward more flexible and agile work environments, you might think you no longer need an elevator pitch. But while you may not find yourself delivering this pitch in an elevator, there are still several scenarios where your elevator pitch is beneficial.
Imagine you’re at a networking event or social party and someone asks you what you do. You could respond by simply giving them your work title and telling them the company you work for, or you could use your well-crafted elevator pitch and leave a memorable impression. You can also use it online in your LinkedIn summary. But one of the best ways to use your elevator pitch is as an answer to the interview question “tell me about yourself.”
How to craft a great elevator pitch
Use the following tips to create an elevator pitch that will be ready for whenever and wherever you need it:
- Keep it brief: We recommend keeping your elevator pitch between 30 and 60 seconds. Draft a pitch with no more than 5-6 sentences to ensure it’s less than a minute. You can also draft your pitch by making a bullet list with just a few key attributes. Remember, the goal isn’t to memorize your elevator pitch word for word—you don’t want to sound like a robot when you deliver it.
- Summarize your best attributes: Include who you are, what you do and the credentials that qualify you for the job. Highlight your skill strengths and use quantifiable data to support your accomplishments when possible.
- Leave flexibility to customize it: If you are using your elevator pitch in a job interview, it’s important to tailor it to the position you are interviewing for. Ensure your pitch expresses your interest and desire for the role. The words “I want this job” go a long way when selling yourself for a position.
With a well-crafted elevator pitch, you’ll feel more confident any time you introduce yourself to others.
Conduct an audit of your digital footprint
Just as you’re researching the people who will be interviewing you, expect them to research you too.
During your job search, your personal brand is in the spotlight. Earlier in this guide, we covered how to optimize your personal brand online. In this digital age, an abundance of information is readily accessible to potential employers at a push of a button. The first impression no longer occurs in the interview room; interviewers form an opinion of you after reviewing your social media activity before you even step foot into the office.
We recommend doing an audit of your professional brand before starting your job search. Here are some tips for auditing your personal brand:
- Review your photos: Delete any questionable photos that may portray you in an undesirable light. Don’t forget to check group photos and photos you are tagged in, as well.
- Be mindful of your conversations: Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t be comfortable saying directly to the interviewer. Avoid highly controversial “soapbox posts”, such as political opinions.
- Google search yourself: This is an important step to ensure no surprises come up. If your search includes undesirable results, knowing this prior to your interview will help you prepare to respond to any questions about the results in a way that minimizes any damage.
- Review your social media privacy settings: Be aware of what the public sees and what people with mutual connections can see.
- Update your content online: Make sure your content accurately reflects your current information. This is a good time to update your LinkedIn profile, online resume, email address and other contact information.
- Ensure your email address is professional: You may want to create a new email address (preferable one that includes your full name) to use during your job search.
As you audit your online presence, think about whether you would be comfortable discussing the things you find with the interviewer.
Tips to help you make a great first impression
You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “it’s all in the details.” This is especially true when it comes to first impressions during your interview.
Regardless of whether your interview is in-person or virtual, here are some timeless tips to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward:
- Prepare your outfit in advance: Don’t wait until the last minute to pick out what you’re going to wear. Plan your outfit the day before and choose a back-up in case of an emergency. Don’t forget accessories that complete your look.
- Arrive early: Give yourself enough time to overcome any unforeseen event that could make you late. Arriving even a minute or two late does not make a positive first impression. In addition, if you are anxious because you are late, you won’t perform your best during the interview.
- Don’t speak negatively of previous employers or managers: If you are asked about your current manager and have a less than perfect relationship with them, be prepared to put a positive spin on anything negative that has occurred.
- Compliment the interviewer and/or the company: Use this as an opportunity to show you’ve done your homework prior to the interview by highlighting something you discovered in your research.
How to properly exude confidence during an interview
Preparation leads to confidence, and confidence helps you get hired! When you are feeling confident, you will naturally come across as a subject matter expert. Confidently displaying your expertise is critical for both in-person and virtual interviews.
Here are a few simple ways to show your confidence:
- Remember there is a big difference between confidence and cockiness.
- Don’t ramble. Instead, talk at a reasonable pace and focus on answering each question with one concise thought at a time.
- Nail your elevator pitch with the best response when probed and find an opportunity for it when not explicitly asked.
- Pay attention to your body language. Be engaged, sit up straight and genuinely enjoy the process.
- Lastly, start and end your interview with a firm handshake (if in-person) and a smile.
Video interviews are now commonplace in the job search process. Working with technology requires finesse, and the same applies to modern video interviews.
In a recent Kforce survey, 75% of participants indicated they would prefer to attend a video interview rather than an in-person interview. But the same survey found that only 25% of participants felt comfortable with video interviews.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare and succeed during a video interview:
Tip 1: Identify the best room in your house for an interview
There may be more activity and a greater risk of disruptions or distractions occurring in your home than there would be in a traditional in-person interview.
It’s important to look for a clean, quiet place in your home to avoid unnecessary interruptions, disruptions and background noises.
A private room with a door you can close is best, but a secluded space also works well. Make sure the space you choose has a table or desk you can sit at.
Tip 2: Ensure the room you choose has proper lighting
This is important for optimal visuals during your video call. Natural light is always preferred, but overhead lighting also works well.
Avoid table lamps and sitting with a window directly behind you as they can cast shadows that make it difficult for others to see you on video.
Make sure the room has enough light for you to clearly see your computer screen and for the interviewer to be able to see you.
Tip 3: Anticipate & prepare for technical challenges
With so much on the line during an interview, it’s always in your best interest to avoid any possible electronic issues.
Make sure your laptop or smart device is fully charged for your video interview. Test your computer’s audio and video prior to the call and ensure your internet connection is strong and stable.
Prepare for worst case scenarios, including internet failure. In the event of this, try to have a backup device that has additional internet access, such as a smartphone or network card.
Tip 4: Silence other electronics and keep them out of sight
While you need at least one electronic device for your virtual interview, sounds and notifications on other electronics can quickly become a distraction.
We recommend silencing unnecessary devices that may cause a disruption and keeping them out of sight of both yourself and the interviewer.
You should also keep only the program or internet window the interview is being conducted on open and running on the device you are using to prevent unnecessary disruptions on that device.
Tip 5: Use timeless interview tips
You still must make a positive first impression—even when completing an interview from the comfort of your home. Treat all video interviews as you would an in-person interview. Dress professionally, be mindful of your body language and be articulate in your answers.
Moreover, preparation is key to nailing an interview, especially when technology may be screening you out of the running for a job. Practice answering common interview questions and prepare for live assessments that may be indicative of your line of work.
Because there are a few extra factors to consider, preparing for a virtual interview may require a greater investment in time than an in-person interview would—but this investment will pay off! The time and effort you put into preparation always shows when it’s go-time for an interview.
What’s New About Video Interviews?
Technology continues to redefine the job search, including video interviews. In recent years, the workplace has focused on flexibility to accommodate the modern worker. At the same time, technology has made huge advancements that have transformed the way we work. Artificial intelligence, internet of things, virtual reality and smart devices are revolutionizing the way business is done, including the job search.
Digital disruption has undeniably allowed the gig economy to flourish. As remote work grows in popularity and necessity, so have remote video job interviews. Employers don’t want to miss the opportunity to interview as many talented candidates as possible. As a result, new developments within video interviews have taken the job search by storm.
Skill assessments and simulations
Video interview platforms continue to emerge in the recruitment space. Employers currently have the ability to implement comprehensive video interviewing, which includes assessments and simulations that take the guesswork out of hiring talent.
Some recent developments in the video assessment and simulation space include live coding tests, where interviewers watch candidates develop and test code in shared, online environments. Live scenarios where prospective employees perform day-to-day challenges are also growing in popularity for sales and customer service roles.
Video technology is likewise allowing companies to record candidate interviews, screen applicants and blindly grade responses according to custom criteria before recruiters see them. Companies are now empowered to make quick, informed decisions on the best applicants for the job at hand.
Robo recruiters are coming
As organizations continue to look for ways to eliminate human bias from the hiring process during candidate screenings, some businesses are implementing technology to screen calls using robo-video interviews with voice recognition and video recording.
Candidates can now record videos using a computer or smart device and are prompted to answer questions just like they would in an interview with a human. This AI-led approach to recruiting has enabled technology to assess a candidate’s behavior and whether they are a good fit for the company.
Don’t Forget the Thank-You Note
You’ve nailed the job interview! But your work in leaving a positive, lasting impression isn’t done yet. Immediately after your interview, send a thank-you note or email to the interviewer. In the message, thank the person or party and express your excitement to learn more about the opportunity.
Now that your interview is over, take a deep breath. Continue your job search as you wait for the golden ticket—the job offer.
Respond to and Negotiate Your Job Offer
Congratulations, you got the job offer!
How do you feel about what they are offering you? Did you know sometimes companies may be willing to negotiate the offer?
Just thinking about negotiating a job offer is enough to cause some people to run and hide. Most job seekers view it as the scariest part of the entire job search process. Because of this, you may avoid it altogether. In fact, only a third of candidates negotiate their salary according to Jobvite.
Don’t give in to fear. Take control of negotiating your best possible job offer with these tips.
Remember job offers aren’t one-size-fits-all
First and foremost, it’s important to remember negotiating a job offer is not the same as negotiating a salary. Your salary is just one component of job offer negotiations.
For some individuals, salary is by far the most important thing. For others, a flexible work schedule might be equally as important for someone trying to juggle family responsibilities.
Other factors you may want to consider in your negotiations apart from your base salary are:
- Vacation time
- Your new job titles
- Insurance & retirement benefits
- Tuition reimbursement
- Flexibility in your work schedule
- The ability to work from home
- Relocation assistance
- Sign-on bonus
During these conversations, it’s imperative to consider what’s important to you. Once you’ve done that, prioritize one or two of these items during negotiations.
Know what your value is
Before you can begin negotiations, you need to conduct some research. Utilize sites like PayScale or Glassdoor to get data-driven insights of what others in your field are currently compensated and what type of benefits they receive. Knowledge is power—especially when it comes to salary negotiations.
In addition to market research, before starting any negotiation conversations, it’s critical that YOU understand your value.
Think through your specific skills, technology expertise, certifications, industry experience, etc. What value can your skills and knowledge bring to an employer?
Don’t take negotiations personally
Your desired salary shouldn’t be calculated by what you need to earn monthly to pay your bills. Of course, you want to make sure your living and personal expenses are covered. But, it’s critical to understand that your salary is independent of your monthly expenses—it is a monetary value attached to your level of contribution to a company.
Factors that contribute to your salary include:
- Years of experience
- Industry knowledge
- Proficiency with specific technology
- Management expertise
Failure to consider these factors will cause you to leave money on the table during offer negotiations. And who wants that?
Understand what the employer expects of you
You never want to put the cart before the horse. Make sure you understand all the details and components of your new role. Doing so will allow you to gain insight into the salary and benefits you deserve.
Here are some questions you can ask to get a better understanding of the job:
- What would I be directly responsible for in this role?
- Is this a leadership position?
- How will you measure my success in this role?
- Will this job require me to travel?
- How much exposure will I have to senior executives?
The answers to these questions may help you discover the responsibilities and overall scope of the role are more significant than you initially thought.
Though it doesn’t happen often, roles can change in scope during the interview process as the hiring manager speaks with candidates about their experience and capabilities. Perhaps the hiring manager realizes your skills are above and beyond the requirements in the job description. For example, you interview for a staff accountant role, but after the hiring manager learns you have management experience, they tell you that you will be supervising three associates. The role changes from a staff accountant position to a senior staff accountant position—and thus the salary should be higher given the additional responsibility.
If the role changes during the interview process, speak with your recruiter or hiring manager. It’s important to understand exactly what the employer expects of you in this new role so you can make an informed decision to accept, decline or negotiate the offer package.
How to master the art of the ask
Offer negotiations are challenging. Many people never receive formal negotiation training. Nonetheless, most job seekers don’t realize strategy goes into offer negotiations on both sides of the table.
Remember the following tips when negotiating a job offer:
- Lead with what you have done and what you can offer. Then, talk numbers.
- Be positive and confident throughout the entire process.
- Choose the top of the range because it’s nearly impossible to increase an offer once you state your request.
It’s in your best interest to have a polite and professional conversation with your hiring manager to increase your odds of getting the offer you desire.
Should you accept a job offer immediately?
Before you sign on the dotted line, take time to ensure you understand the offer and the details listed in your offer letter. In most cases, it is considered a best practice to at least “sleep on it” and give your decision the following day.
Before putting pen to paper, confirm you can answer “yes” to the following checklist items:
- Do I understand my compensation package (including base pay, bonus potential, pay frequency, employer 401k match, etc.)?
- Am I clear on the reporting structure (including leadership, direct reports or any dotted-line relationships, etc.)?
- Do I understand the benefits package (including when I’ll be able to sign up for benefits, company contribution, etc.)?
- Is my title finalized?
After deciding on the offer and finalizing your onboarding requirements, your next step is to get ready to leave your present employer. Learn how to positively part ways with your current job and excel in your new role through the articles below.