J Patrick + Associates Blog

6 Best Practices For Resume Writing

Posted by Jarrett Zike on Sun, Nov 27, 2022 @ 12:53 PM

It’s a perennial question: “What should I put on my resume?” There are plenty of articles and how-to videos offering advice on what a resume should say and how it should look. But, when looking for employment, it's important to stay focused on your goals in sequence. Here is what I mean: You are not writing a resume to get a job; you are writing a resume to get an interview.  

Here are 6 best practices for writing a winning resume:

1. Create a Personal Brand When Writing Your Resume

When writing your resume, don’t list your strengths and expect a hiring manager to take notice. Rather, make every effort to tell a story that builds a personal brand. What, you might ask, constitutes a “personal brand?” For our purposes, your brand will be a synthesis of your professional capabilities and the positive aspects of your personality. 

Let's say you’re a talented public speaker. Instead of just listing the speaking engagements in which you have participated, give some indication of your enthusiasm for speaking and the impact your rhetorical talents had on your audience.

Did you “present information to colleagues in ____,” or did you “interpret and explain pivotal data and statistics for professionals in the ____ industry?” One phrasing sounds like a description of a slideshow, and the other leaves an impression of personal expertise and agency. 

The key here is to connect your experiences with real-life successes and tell potential employers why they should care. When possible, include observable and quantifiable outcomes in your descriptions. If an employer can look at your resume and see evidence of your strengths, it will put you at a marked advantage. 

Finally, do not lie. Not only is lying unethical, but it is far too easy to sniff out a tall tale these days. 

2. Use The Right Keywords

Working in a recruiting office, I bear daily witness to how sorely neglected keywords can be.

The bottom line is that recruiters in my office sort and search through untold heaps of resumes, and they do so by using applicant tracking systems, i.e., robots: unconscious, hyper-literal, ruthlessly precise robots. If your resume doesn’t contain the exact keywords that map onto the job you’re after, there’s basically no chance you’ll land an interview. 

How can you access the occult words and phrases that open a portal to the interview? Start with the job posting. In almost every case, the employer will include specific skills and qualifications you must possess in order to be considered.

Copy their language directly. Touch up your resume to incorporate their verbiage, then touch it up again for the next job. Does this seem tedious? Yes. Seemingly unnecessary? Probably. But these are the rules of the game. You can be confident that whoever lands the job will have adhered to them.  

3. Tailor Your Resume to Each Potential Employer

The easy path is tempting, but as efficient as it would be to crank out a generic resume and fire it off to everyone who might be interested, this tactic is not a winning one. You will almost certainly get overlooked for missing keywords (see above). You will also blend right in with the nameless mass of resume gamblers who their job searches into something similar to a spam campaign. 

The rationale here is pretty straightforward: Every job is different, so don’t make every resume the same. The screening technologies are too good to countenance blind optimism when it comes to hoping for an interview.

Take the time to tweak and tailor your resume into a customized document that aligns with each job description. Absent this consideration, you will be wasting the time you thought you were saving. 

4. Only Relevant Job Experiences, Please

Many people write their resumes under the misguided assumption that they should cram as many professional experiences as possible onto the two pages of real estate offered by their resume. This is somewhat understandable. They want to impress a potential employer and, thinking quantitatively, more must be better, right? 

This approach is actually the direct opposite of what should be done. When listing professional experience, you should prioritize quality and relevance over quantity. There are a few reasons for this, but the first is simple legibility. A concise and clean resume is a much more eye-catching and inviting document than one with a single-spaced block of micro-fonted text. 

That being said, you do need to list the most current and relevant jobs on your resume. A good rule of thumb is that any job worked before the last 10-15 years is unlikely to be of interest to anyone but yourself. 

5. Grammer  Matters 

This one doesn't require too much explanation. Grammarly and programs like it are so widely available that having an ungrammatical resume impresses as sheer laziness. While it is true that most people cannot recite exact grammatical or usage rules, most people notice when a sentence doesn't make sense. Since the rules of grammar are essentially the accepted logic of the English language,  failing to abide by them can result in nonsense. In a text, there are no nonverbal cues to bridge the gap between what you mean and what you say. So, whatever your creative writing teacher told you in high school, writing like you speak is not a good resume decision.     

6. Begin Narratives With Strong, Descriptive Action Verbs

One of the biggest risks you run when submitting a resume is sounding bland, being forgettable. In order to avoid this, you need attention grabbers. Describing your accomplishments with strong action verbs such as organized, managed, directed, and etc., conveys the active role you played in your stated accomplishments. 

The key here is emphasizing your agency. You did something; you made it happen. Avoid language suggesting that you were merely “responsible” for some outcome or “contributed” to it. These words are vague and reek of passivity. Choosing strong action verbs will also help build your personal brand. Think: You are the kind of person who…launched an initiative, spearheaded an campaign, organized an audit, etc.

Final Thoughts

When you sit down to write your resume, carefully consider what you have to offer an employer. Your resume is the base ingredient of your personal brand–a first impression that should not be improvised. It is a tool to place you in an employable position.

If you find yourself at a loss for ways to improve a resume, don’t be afraid to get professional help. There are people whose entire livelihood depends on creating top-notch resumes. Key details that most people would overlook will stand out to such a person.


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

How to Get a LinkedIn Recommendation in 2022

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad and Kevin Seche on Wed, Nov 09, 2022 @ 11:14 AM

Get the best linkedIn Recommendations

In a hyper-connected world, having a strong digital presence is key to networking and, by extension, your job search. Some time ago, the time to make a great first impression while job searching was during the initial phone screening or first interview. Today, more often than not, recruiters and hiring managers check out your LinkedIn profile long before you ever hear from them. 

Think about how people make buying decisions. When looking for a new restaurant, auto repair shop, or recruiter, the first place we tend to go is Google. We want to know what their customers are saying before committing to a purchase. The same logic holds for employers looking to "purchase" a prospective employee. While it might go without saying that having a standout LinkedIn profile and resume is crucial, what you might not know is that LinkedIn recommendations can be just the game-changing variable you need to land you in a coveted interview slot.

LinkedIn recommendations can help you stand out to potential employers by showing that you both credible and trustworthy. After all, nothing makes you look better than receiving voluntary praise from a disinterested party (think old client, boss, or colleague). 


Who Should I Ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation?

Here are Five People from Whom You Should Request a Recommendation.

1. A previous (satisfied) client:

Did you exceed a client's expectations while working on a project, leaving them smiling ear to ear with your performance? If so, feel free to ask them for a LinkedIn recommendation.

Before making this request of them, you should consider the specifics of how you would like them to recommend you. Do you want a general recommendation or a more targeted one? Be precise when you ask so they can provide recommendations in ways that will work to your maximum benefit!


 2. Your current supervisor:

LinkedIn has long been used for job searching, but it also serves other functions including networking, locating clients and prospects, and being a general hub of resources for ongoing professional development. So, If you are looking for new clients outside your organization, getting recommendations as “social proof” can prove quite valuable. Here, your current supervisor can attest to your contributions to the company and the team. 

When seeking a recommendation from your current supervisor, it is important to thoughtfully time your request. Asking out of the blue can be a red flag that you are seeking new opportunities. Making your request shortly after a successful project will seem more natural and less conspicuous. 


3. A close colleague:

Did you work on a successful collaborative project? If so, ask a teammate to write a recommendation based their experience of you as a teammate. You can then write your teammate a reciprocal recommendation that testifies to their work ethic, team orientation, creativity, and motivation.


4. A volunteer or board member (when applicable):

Maybe you volunteered for a cause you care about or are part of a special interest or organization board. Ask a fellow board member or volunteer pal to write your recommendation. At the very least, they would be able to attest to your work ethic, how great of a team player you were, your leadership skills, and your willingness to collaborate.

5. A former supervisor:

If you and your previous supervisor are on good terms, think about reaching out and asking for a recommendation to add to your LinkedIn profile. Often, if the relationship was good, a previous supervisor will be happy to do so.


Why LinkedIn Recommendations are Worth Your Time

Yes, in 2022, LinkedIn recommendations are important. To reiterate, before spending the money, people will tend to do a bit of digging into the product or service they are considering purchasing. This is no less true of new hires than it is goods and services, and LinkedIn will probably be their first (possibly only) stop. According to Jobscan:

  • 92% of people are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations and greatly trust recommendations made by peers.
  • 70% will trust a recommendation even if it comes from someone they don’t know.


LinkedIn Recommendation Examples

LinkedIn is the leading social media channel when it comes to building your professional network. One of the best ways to get recommendations is to live by the law of mutual back scratching, i.e., to give recommendations. Before doing so, however, you should think carefully about who gets your imprimatur. If you're having a hard time deciding what to say, consider one of the following recommendations as a model.

From a Co-Worker

Example 1.

Ben and I worked together on several projects, and I was lucky to call him my colleague. He consistently gave 100 percent to the team and played a critical role in ensuring that we completed assignments on time. 

Ben has excellent time management skills and has a knack for keeping the team calm and productive during crunch periods. Plus, he has an excellent disposition. We miss his smile in the office these days.

Any team would be lucky to have Ben, and I couldn’t recommend him more highly to a business looking for promising new talent.

Example 2.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with many remarkable professionals, but Katy is someone who I always recall with special fondness because she was essentially my mentor. Not only did she show me the tricks of the trade, but she also helped me navigate the company’s internal structure.

Katy is a great mentor and leader. She’s always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needs it. Watching her seamlessly adapt to our dynamic environment was a lesson in itself. She was an all-round inspiration! 

 LinkedIn Recommendations For a Manager or Supervisor 


Ms. Smith is one of the most delightful people I have had the pleasure of working for in my career. Not only did she have a unique ability to keep our team organized and on schedule, but her consistent, clear communication habits helped lift our spirits during challenging situations.

Her humor and empathy helped create a comfortable work environment, and we’ll miss her warm manner. I highly recommend working with Ms. Smith. 

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Tags: Job Search, Networking

How to use LinkedIn when you’re unemployed

Posted by Kevin Seche on Wed, Oct 26, 2022 @ 11:24 AM



Like it or not, LinkedIn is often the first social channel used by recruiters, employers,  colleagues, and industry insiders to check you out. In today’s digital world, not having a LinkedIn profile makes you almost invisible to recruiters and potential employers because there simply is no other single site that conveniently displays your career stature, credentials, education, and work experience.

Being active on the platform when unemployed is just as important as when you are employed.  The question of how a profile should look during unemployment is a common head-scratcher. After all, you want to broadcast your career successes, not your current joblessness.

LinkedIn offers a green profile photo frame to job seekers, which indicates that you are open to new opportunities. But this is only a good starting point. If maximizing opportunity on LinkedIn is your goal, you will want to go beyond the green.

Update your headline

Fortunately, there is a smart way to show that you are looking for new opportunities without broadcasting your unemployed status, and it starts with a good headline. Writing a good LinkedIn headline is always important, but it's critical when unemployed. Take this opportunity to push the 120-character max in service of a headline that showcases your successes.  

LinkedIn headline examples when your unemployed

  • Data Scientist with 10-plus years of experience
  • Experienced Sales Strategist
  • Seeking Chief Financial Officer - VP of Finance Position
  • IT Manager Seeking Application Development, Infrastructure, or Networking Manager Roles in Production or Manufacturing
  • SaaS sales Sales Director who increased company growth from $250M to $1.2B in revenue in 18 months


 Stay active on the platform

LinkedIn is the place to grow and develop your personal brand. Creating connections, joining groups, engaging with industry colleagues, creating and sharing content, and continuous opportunities to learn are just some of the benefits of staying active on LinkedIn. 

How to get started

  • Create and share posts: Talk about projects you are working on, experiences you've had and how you dealt with them, or what you have learned from these experiences. You can also share industry colleagues' posts and add your take on the subject. 


  • Add informational content: Create a long-form post relevant to your industry and the space in which you work. If you are creative, make an infographic, share an article you have written, or, if you are comfortable on camera, add a video. This is the time to show your colleagues what you know. 


  • Stay consistent: Posting on LinkedIn should earn a spot on your weekly to-do list. It may be useful to set a reminder on your calendar so you don’t go through the week without posting. Soon enough it will become second nature, and your once-a-week post will turn into several posts a week! 


 Post any relevant certifications you may have

 If you have any relevant industry certifications, you will want to be sure they are prominently displayed on your LinkedIn profile.

 Why this is important? Recruiters or hiring managers frequently include various certifications in their search criteria, so having your certifications readily accessible will help you stand out from the crowd. It also shows potential employers that you are hungry to learn and are on top of best practices. 

What if I don’t have any certifications? While you are looking for your next opportunity, you can (and should) actively look for certifications that may be relevant to your job (or the job you want). 


Where can I find certifications?

Coursera: Coursera is a popular place to find both free and paid online courses for a wide array of topics.

Udemy: With 18,000+ courses available, you are bound to find a course that will benefit you! 

Linkedin Learning: Since you are already optimizing your LinkedIn profile, take some time to earn LinkedIn certifications. There is no shortage of opportunities to further demonstrate your expertise regardless of your industry or profession.

PMI: You can find many relevant project management certifications here.

Avixa: Avixa is undisputedly the leading certification source for audiovisual professionals.


 Consider Getting a Premium LinkedIn Subscription

If you are unemployed, LinkedIn Premium is probably worth your consideration since the benefit of landing a job will more than offset the monthly fee. 

LinkedIn offers many paid subscription services. For job seekers, LinkedIn Premium Career is the most logical option. LinkedIn Premium Career will cost you $29.99 a month.  In return, you will get 3 InMails and unlimited people browsing, which is especially worthwhile when actively looking for a job.


Why LinkedIn Premium Career?

All users have access to LinkedIn Jobs, but this is just a listing and will not, in and of itself, work any miracles for you. To land a job, personal connections are invaluable. It’s no surprise, then, that 72% of recruiters were using LinkedIn to find candidates last year.

LinkedIn remains a popular place to find a job. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s internal statistics, 40 million people look for jobs on LinkedIn every week, and 3 people per minute find a job there. As a Premium user, you can get a leg up on the competition by directly reaching out to recruiters. 

It’s important to remember that having a presence on LinkedIn is key to your success in our hyper-connected world. This is largely a function of visibility--if no one sees you, if no one is exposed to your capabilities, it is less likely that you will find an acceptable job in a timely manner.


So make sure you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, consider adding the green “open to work” filter to your profile picture, choose a success-oriented headline that is relevant to your career, and make sure you are actively networking! With these arrows in your quiver, you can rest assured that you are using the singular tool of LinkedIn to the greatest effect possible.

Tags: Social Media, Job Search, Networking

Crafting a Living Resume to Stand Out in 2022 and Beyond

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Fri, Dec 17, 2021 @ 10:31 AM


2022 is here, and while many are still trying to navigate the fallout from (gulp*) 2020, others are bearing witness to the perennial wisdom that upheaval creates new opportunities. Industries across the board have had to retool and rethink strategies that reliably produced results until all of a sudden…they didn’t anymore. Change, the other cosmological constant, was intensified to a revolutionary pitch. 

We are all in new territory, and employers are looking for innovative, forward-thinking assets to help them capitalize on new opportunities presented by–among other things–the decentralization of the workplace. This means, in part, that candidates who are equipped to gracefully maneuver across shifting ground are in high demand. On a practical level, presenting yourself as just such a person with a living resume is a great way to start.  

A “living resume,” is one that is dynamic, ever-evolving, and reflective of your individual competence, flexibility, and potential. The following 8 strategies are steps that you can begin taking immediately in order to ensure that your invaluable first impression is memorable, impactful, and effective in 2022. 


  1. First the elephant in the room–you must be disciplined. Building a standout resume takes discipline and dedication, especially when you find yourself in a comfortable position. As we all know, the days of working a few decades in the same role are long gone, which means that you must force yourself to be constantly thinking about the next opportunity. Acknowledging the uncertainty of the future and consistently acting with this uncertainty in mind is the first step; it is the “inside job” that allows you to prepare and position yourself effectively. 

  2. One great way to do this is to develop a pattern of consistent and thorough documentation of your accomplishments and responsibilities. You don’t have to add them to your resume right away, but you should keep a running list of any new projects, skills, and responsibilities you assume in your current position. If nothing else, such a document will allow you to update your resume quickly when the time comes. This is especially useful if the worst-case scenario forces you to find a new job yesterday. Stress is inimical to memory, and if you have to send out resumes in a hurry, the last thing you want is to short-change yourself. Document now so you don’t forget later.   

  3. Schedule specific time slots for updating your resume and stick to them. This isn’t exciting work, plus it forces you to think about the contingency and possible precariousness of your employment. These are strong disincentives that must be overcome. The best way to do this is to set dates for yourself. Think of it like scheduling an appointment with the dentist or going to the gym. You will never feel like doing it, but will inevitably appreciate the effort when the time comes to present your resume to a new potential employer. 

  4. While working on your resume in the allotted time slot, focus on impact. Employers want concrete examples of how you have delivered results. This is particularly true regarding your demonstrated ability to encounter the unexpected. Here, numbers are your best friend. How many days before a deadline did you complete a project? How much money did you save your employer? What specific actions did you take to solve a problem? Impact is demonstrated in concrete terms. Don’t claim to have simply “improved” a situation, tell a story about precisely how your actions constituted an improvement for your business.    

  5. Check on details that affect style and readability. Believe it or not, there are trends in resume writing that stand to affect your reception by a potential employer. Click here for a checklist of style considerations to make when updating your resume.

  6. Selectively cater your resume to each position in which you are interested. It is extremely tempting, once finished, to clap the dust from your hands and bombard any and every interesting position you find with your freshly refurbished resume. This is not ideal, and in all likelihood will not work very well, especially as the desirability of a given opportunity increases. The last thing you want is for a recruiter or hiring manager to look at your resume and have to connect dots in order to understand how you are a viable candidate. Take the time to investigate the particular job descriptions in which you are interested, pull key terms from those descriptions, and explicitly incorporate them into your resume.

  7.  After tailoring your resume, save several iterations of it for future use. If, for example, you know that you are interested in positions that are not peculiar to a specific employer (project management, corporate training, or human resources, for example), craft and save a version of your resume for each and reuse it whenever an appropriate position blips your radar. You should still tailor your resume to each position, but the number of changes needed will be minimized if you have several versions of your resume on deck.

  8. Include a “hobbies” section in your resume. Your hobbies might seem irrelevant, but briefly including them highlights your curiosity and individuality. Employers want human beings, not robots, and your hobbies are a reflection of your personality. That being stated, your hobbies should not take up too much space in your resume and should not appear to take precedence over your education, professional experience, and accomplishments. Think of hobbies as garnishings–a little goes a long way.  

    Every time January 1st rolls around, we take stock of the previous year while anticipating the future and imagining how we might improve it. We set goals and mark up calendars, magnet photos of ourselves to refrigerators that remind us of where we have been or where we would like to end up. We invariably consider our careers and how they stand to be improved. If you have found yourself dreaming of new opportunities in your career, one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your situation is to ensure that you are as appealing as possible by maintaining a living resume. 

Your resume is the invaluable first impression that sets the tone for all subsequent interactions with a potential employer. Make it a goal this year to give yourself every advantage that is within your power. Schedule time each month to enliven your resume. You’ll thank yourself when 2022 rolls around, and ‘23… 

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Tags: Job Search, Resume Optimization

The Pros & Cons of Contract Work

Posted by Glenda Gregorio on Mon, Sep 20, 2021 @ 11:01 AM

contract work

The word on the street in Silicon Valley is that we are currently in a “gig economy.” What that means is that more and more people are opting to work as independent contractors, as opposed to traditional full-time employment. The swing toward contract employment can be explained by several factors, such as the need for a flexible schedule, to the desire for increased autonomy.

But, if you find yourself thinking about joining the growing ranks of contract workers, you need to first understand the pro and cons of this kind of work.

The Pros and Cons of Contract Work

PRO: Potential for Higher Earnings

Companies looking to hire contract staffing because it provides the flexibility they need, it saves time, money and resources. However, they are looking to hire experts, not neophytes. They do not want to invest in training or other onboarding expenses. A contractor who knows what to do and how to get it done in a timely manner is worth top dollar. They come in, do the job and don't put any further drain on company resources.

CON: Increased Uncertainty

The potential for higher earnings is a great benefit of work-for-hire, but there’s no guarantee you will keep working once a contract expires. (no guaranteed job security after contract) And since the nature of the work you’ve been hired to do is finite, you have no guarantee that you’ll make the money you thought you would. Another thing to consider is that the project you were hired to work on can be unexpectedly canceled. All of these factors can add up to increased financial instability --if you’re not working, you’re not getting paid.

And finally, there’s no way of knowing the amount of time you’ll spend between contracts, or during your next job search.  

PRO: Lifestyle Flexibility

According to Randstad’s Workforce360 Study, about 86% of independent contractors reported their level of job satisfaction to be good/excellent. With this kind of work arrangement, comes more freedom. You are able to control your career path without having to wade through office politics for a promotion, pay raise, or time off. You negotiate to get the employment packages that suit you best, and you take as much or as little time off in between contracts. If this type of flexibility is appealing to you, then contracting out may be the best of all worlds.  

CON: Outside Looking In

All that flexibility may be nice, but the price you pay is that you’ll always be the outsider.  Contract work makes it difficult to create connections that might help advance your career further down the road. There’s also the fluid and ever-changing nature of social engagement at work. As we all know, you spend more time at work than at home, so your social life tends to stem from your work life. Relationships are fleeting and long term bonds are rarely formed.

PRO: Increased Technical & Professional Knowledge

You’re an expert in your field and have a certain skill set that companies in your industry want. But, contract work also provides the opportunity to sharpen your expertise and work in different sectors. It allows you to broaden your experience in your field and perhaps gain new skills in other industries. You’re at liberty to choose the skills that you would like to further develop in other industries, allowing you to enhance your CV and marketability for future jobs. It can also be part of your story when explaining an employment gap to a potential employer.

CON: Career Development

The freedom provided by contract work to broaden your technical and professional skills means that you are in charge of your own development. Great, right? Maybe not. Although it feels empowering to be in charge of your own career development, it is a heavy burden to bear. You no longer have the human resources department or a talent management team to ensure that you’re properly trained and qualified for the job. It is now up to you to make sure that your skillset is up to par with the current trends of the industry.

Like everything in life, contract employment has its benefits and drawbacks. Although it might not be a career-long plan, if you’re returning back to the workforce or need a flexible work arrangement, contract work very well might be a great option. Although there’s no fixed amount of time you can guarantee being unemployed between contract positions there are definitely a lot of pros to short-term positions.



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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

Traditional Recruiting Methods vs. A Recruiting Firm

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Feb 21, 2020 @ 12:51 PM

Traditional Recruiting vs hiring a recruiting firm

Whenever a business has to hire that new employee, they have to decide whether they should search for candidates on their own, or elicit the help of an outside agency.  Traditional recruiting methods versus a recruiting firm is the typical conundrum, so why is using a firm the better option? 

Finding an employee has always consisted of the traditional methods.  Examples of these methods include online recruitment job boards, online ads, classifieds, and career resource sites.  Online recruitment has become a HUGE influencer in the job market, websites such as monster.com, jobs.com, careerbuilder.com, and other sites have dominated the online job scene.  Another traditional method is an employee referral program.  This entails finding job candidates from referrals that may come from other employees, family members, friends, or anyone that can get in touch with you and influence your decision.  So the question still remains, what benefit does a recruiter have over the traditional methods, and do I want to pay someone to find an employee for me?

When you decide to work with a recruiting firm to help fill your job posts you enter into a relationship with a recruiter who has a wealth of knowledge in a specific field that you are trying to hire for.  Placement after placement, these recruiters have learned the industry from front to back, side to side; they know their stuff to say the least.  When you choose a recruiting firm, cost effectiveness goes hand in hand.  When you mention cost effective around the “head honcho” of a business their eyes light up, and visions of improved margins can quickly become a reality.  Nothing triggers the “let’s do it” side of the brain like saving money.  Recruiters can save you money, in fact LOTS OF MONEY because they provide the right person to fit your employment needs.  In other words, you don’t go out and hire some person who you thought was great, who turns out to be unskilled or unstable, etc.  Imagine wasting an entire first years’ salary on the wrong person?…ouch.  Saving time is also a benefit of choosing a recruiting firm over the traditional methods.  Recruiters look through hundreds of resumes every month, this saves companies plenty of time in searching for that needle in a haystack.  Once these recruiters have searched through these resumes they present only the most qualified candidates to potential employers.

Going with the traditional methods could work, but if you want that perfect fit for your position and organization, it’s worth the time, effort and energy to work with a specialized recruiting firm Guaranteed it will save you time, money and unnecessary headaches.

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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

Tell Your Story To Get the Job

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Feb 10, 2020 @ 03:27 PM

The key to getting the job

When it comes to a job interview, what’s the one thing that differentiates you from all the other applicants with the same skill set, certifications and level of experience? The answer is simple: You, of course.

You know what you have to offer a prospective employer, and so do the people who know you. However, the hiring manager at your next interview only knows where you’ve been. In order to stand out from the crowd of other candidates, you need to be prepared to tell your story in a compelling and eloquent manner.

Knowing how to tell your story is what can turn an interview into an offer.

How to Tell Your Story to Get the Job

Connections Move People

Think back for a moment to the last five movies you saw, or books you read. Which stories stuck with you the most? Science fiction, true crime, romance, and fairy tales - no matter where your tastes lie, all good stories have one thing in common; the main characters feel like fully realized people with whom we come to care about them. We don’t even have to have anything in common with them, but their basic struggles feel familiar. Stories succeed when we can see something of ourselves on the screen or on the pages.

And while an interview is hopefully nothing like your favorite novel, it is your best and perhaps only opportunity to make a meaningful connection with a potential employer.

How Do You Use Storytelling In An Interview?

Prospective employers want to see how you think, how your experiences have made you smarter, sharper, and more efficient. Your resume only tells them where you’ve been, it’s up to you to fill in the heart of the story.  

Get Comfortable With Yourself

Come up with 5 words to describe yourself. Be honest and take your time with this exercise, do not just write down the first things that come to mind. Think back on the challenges you’ve faced and what attributes got you through.

Then ask two trusted friends or coworkers to come up with 5 words to describe you.

Do their words match yours? Or, are they wildly different? If so, drill-down and try to see what you might be missing, how your picture of yourself differs from the one others have of you.

Note: You may not necessarily use this in an interview, but knowing your strengths and how they’ve served you in the past is an important first step in defining your story.

Create A Narrative

Build a timeline of both your accomplishments and challenges, successes and failures. Then stand back and try to understand how one event led to the next. How did you wind up as a sales engineer when you started your career as a support guy? What happy accidents or perceived losses led to you where you are today?

You may be hesitant to share the pitfalls that befell you, but understanding how they all fit together frees you up to present your story in a cohesive and engaging manner. Remember, you want to make certain that you are seen as a resilient and thoughtful employee, one who is resourceful and always thinking.

Know Your Audience

Do your research on the company and your interviewer. Understanding who you are talking to, their management style, their values and interests helps you tailor your story. Read their LinkedIn profiles and/or blog posts, or turn to the recruiter or mutual contact to understand more about who you’re meeting with.  

Highlight An Achievement

Without making yourself sound like a superhero, relay how you were able to meet a situation head-on and work through to a successful conclusion. Draw on examples both large and small - how you handle daily problems can be as telling as major issues.

Listen To The Stories Others Are Telling

Listen to your interviewer and try to figure out where you fit into the story of the company, where your strengths can help, where past experiences can shed light on a particular problem they are facing. Being open and perceptive to the story of the company and then dovetailing the solutions you can provide makes you a candidate worth remembering.

Bonus Tip: Always Remain Perceptive

Do not iterate lists or stick too close to your idea of how the conversation should go. Be prepared to dial back or change your narrative to fit the reaction of the person sitting across from you.

When you take the time to understand how to present yourself so that others can see who you are, how you work and what value, you are far more likely to make a lasting impression. Leaving an interviewer with the sense that they got to know YOU is key to getting either to the next level of the interview process or better yet, landing an offer.


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Tags: Job Search

8 Tips For Acing A Phone Interview

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Fri, Feb 07, 2020 @ 02:06 PM

8 Tips for Acing a Phone Interview

When J. Patrick & Associates first opened 25 years ago, the vast majority of interviews we set up for our clients were face-to-face meetings, based on a resume and our recommendation. Phone interviews were rare and arranged primarily for remote candidates. Well, times have changed, and today more and more of our clients require a phone interview regardless of the candidates’ apparent qualifications.

Make no mistake about it, a strong resume is still of prime importance, but hiring managers have taken to the phone interview as the first point of contact. Certainly, there are obvious considerations of time and money saved, but phone interviews lower the threshold for the hiring manager. Fifteen minutes on the phone with a candidate is a far more expeditious way to answer some basic questions about a candidate’s suitability and appeal than having to sit through a longer meeting.

And while you might think an interview is an interview, knowing that there are some key differences between a phone interview and one held face-to-face can mean the difference between failing to get to the next step and landing an offer.

The phone interview is your first and best opportunity to make a good impression. Follow these 8 pro-tips to ensure it’s not your last.

8 Tips for Acing a Phone Interview

Just as you do your homework in advance of an in-person interview, you must do your due diligence for a phone call. Be careful of falling into the mindset that a phone interview is somehow less important or just a necessary hurdle you have to get past to get to the real thing.

1. Do Your Homework

Research the company and the interviewer. Understanding what their strengths are and what challenges they might be facing are key to presenting yourself as a necessary addition to their company.

2. Make Notes Ahead of time

One great advantage of a phone interview is that you can use a “cheat-sheet” to refer to. Always have the necessary and vital statistics on the company close at hand so that you are prepared when asked what you know about the company.

Also be certain to print your resume, cover letter and any other supporting material you want to present and keep them close at hand. You don’t want to have to go digging for anything while on the phone, nor hem and haw as you try to remember why you left a previous position. Don’t make your interviewer feel that your attention is not 100% focused on the conversation.

Write out your questions ahead of time so that you can be sure to get the answers you need. Remember too that interviews are as much an opportunity for you to find out if the company is a good fit for you as it is for the hiring manager.

3. Clear Your Calendar

Assuming you have a scheduled interview be certain to allow yourself 10-15 minutes in advance of the call to prepare and clear your head of other business.

If you don’t have the advantage of scheduled time and the call comes in when you are not prepared to focus on it, you can always allow the call to go to voice mail - it’s unlikely it would be held against you. The better option, however, would be to say something like, “I’m not at my desk at the moment, when would be a good time for me to call you back?”

4. Dress the Part

It might sound counter-intuitive, but doing a phone interview from home in your sweats does not give you the best advantage. While no one might be able to see you except your cat, dog or pet fish, how you dress has a direct influence on how you feel. 

While you want to be comfortable and not on edge, watch your posture and body language. Your interviewer may not be able to see you but they will be able to pick up on subtle hints when you’re not fully engaged or energized.

5. Clear the Distractions

Thirty minutes or more before your call check that your cell signal is strong and even and/or that your Skype connection is stable. You might also want to disable call waiting and other features that might break up the flow of your conversation.

Put the dog somewhere else, send the kids out of the house and close the windows. There’s nothing more frustrating than loud, extraneous noises on the other end of the phone. It’s best to find as quiet and contained an environment as possible for the phone call. If your home is not a viable option, see if you can’t borrow some office space from a friend or perhaps book time a short session in a co-working space.

6. Listen First/Talk Second

Once the call comes in, answer with your name - it’s a small thing but can go a long way to showing the interviewer you are professional.

Be certain to listen attentively - even though they can’t see you, we’ve all experienced that sensation that the person on the other end of the phone is not quite with us. Let them know you are actively engaged in listening - a few well placed “I see’s,”’ go a long way to create a bond during a phone conversation.

Unlike a face-to-face interview where you have the benefit of body language and other non-verbal communication, it’s wise to wait a beat (a count of 2 or 3) before answering a question just in case your interviewer has not finished with their question. There’s nothing worse than interrupting or speaking on top of someone, especially in an interview.

The one advantage of not having physical cues during a phone interview is that it keeps the distractions down, you can make your pitch free from the very human instinct to constantly interpret visual clues.

7. Speak with Distinction 

Speaking on the phone requires slightly different inflections and an alteration in tempo. Slow down and articulate.

If you have a very low voice, you may want to try speaking at a slightly higher pitch - it will help with relay a better sense of engagement and avoid miscommunication.

Pro-Tip Not all HR and hiring managers do well on the phone. Some might ramble or be distracted themselves. If this is the case, use the opportunity to show them that you’ve done your homework and can keep the conversation focused on what you can offer the company.

8. End On A Positive Note

Thank your interviewer for their time and the information they’ve provided. If you’re interested in the position make certain to let them know that. Saying something like, “I’m very interested in all that I’ve heard and am confident I could add value to your company,” is a clear, professional message of your intent.

Send a thank-you note via email within the same business day to once again thank them for their time, reiterating your interest in the position and reaffirming the value you bring to the position.

As in any interview once it is over the next thing you have to do is let it go. As long as you were prepared, thorough, professional and personable, then you’ve done everything you can within your control. The rest is out of your hands, so change out of those work clothes, put your sweats on and let the dog back into the house.


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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews

Numbers Talk: Why You Must Use Social Media in Your Job Search

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, Feb 06, 2020 @ 03:13 PM

Numbers Talk_

You have read so many articles like “14 Ways to Use Twitter to Land a Job” or “8 Ways to Get Recruiters to Find You on LinkedIn.” You may have read many of ours giving this type of premier advice…but here is the million-dollar question…

Are you doing it? Any of It? Even a little bit of it?

Only You know the answer to that…

I have to believe you do not need any more convincing as to why you must use social media in your job search…but in case you do here are some numbers to consider.

Social recruiting is on the rise.

The use of social media to find candidates in recent years has only increased as recruiters learn how to maneuver it. And guess what…it’s not going anywhere.

According to a recent Jobvite study, 73 percent of recruiters have already hired someone using social media. Furthermore, 93 percent of recruiters will look at a candidate’s social media profiles before making a decision.

In fact, recruiters are now taking social media profiles more seriously. According to the study, 55 percent of recruiters changed their minds about a candidate based on something they had on their social media profile. (This is why it’s imperative that you be careful about what you post on social media.)

If that’s not enough to convince you, consider this: 73% of recruiters plan to invest even more in social recruiting. It’s working for them, and as such, you should consider getting in on the game.

Social Networking Sites by the numbers.

LinkedIn is a recruiter’s top choice for finding candidates with 94% of them utilizing it. Facebook is in second place with 66 percent of them using it to find candidates.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of which social media platforms recruiters have already used to hire candidates:

  • 79% of recruiters have hired someone using LinkedIn
  • 26% of recruiters have hired someone using Facebook
  • 14% of recruiters hired someone using Twitter

This means that social media isn’t a fad. Social hiring is happening right now as we speak.

What recruiters do on Social Media Sites.

On Facebook, recruiters tend to focus on the employer brand (59%), post jobs (48%) and generate employee referrals (51%). While Twitter isn’t as widely used, recruiters are still using it for much of the same. In other words, if you’re not active on either of these networks you’re missing out on about half of the job opportunities available to you.

Of course, LinkedIn is the recruiter goldmine with 95 percent of them using it to search for and contact candidates. They also use it to keep tabs on potential candidates for future openings.

Social media as a means of getting referrals.

Another Jobvite study found that 55 percent of referrals get hired faster than candidates from company career sites. The rise of social media has made it easier than ever to create contacts and build relationships with referrals.

Numbers don’t lie. If you’re not on social media then you’re missing out on major job opportunities. You can download our free eBook to help set yourself up for social media success.


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Social Media, Job Search, Career Strategies

7 Clues the Interview Didn’t Go as Planned

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Jan 24, 2020 @ 04:43 PM
7 CluesThe most difficult part of the job search for many is the dreaded interview. Interviews are designed to test applicants to see if they will be a good fit for the company. After an interview, it is normal to spend time waiting for a phone call as you hope to land that next job. However, if you pay attention to a few details, you can probably already tell if you have shot at the job or not. Knowing when an interview didn’t go as planned is just as important as feeling good when you know it went great. This allows you to stop the waiting game and keep going with your search so you can land a job that will be a great fit for you much more quickly.

7 Clues the Interview Didn't Go As Planned

1. The interview is cut short.

Many companies will give you at least an estimate of how long to expect your interview to last. Based on how it goes during the interview, it could go longer or much shorter. If it seems to run much shorter than you expected, chances are they decided at the beginning that you are not a right fit for the position and chose to end it early to not waste both their time and yours.

2. The interviewer seems distracted.

If during the course of the interview the conversation doesn’t seem to go well or if the interviewer appears distracted or uninterested in what you have to say, this could mean that you haven’t made a good impression or at least they have quickly decided that you do not fit well with their company or position.

3. You only get asked the easy questions.

So many people dread interviews because of those tough questions that require you really to think and think quickly. If over the course of the interview you only get asked about your work history or easy questions about yourself, this could actually be a bad sign. If an interviewer is truly interested in you they will pitch the hard questions to try to learn even more about you and how you would handle some of the most difficult situations on the job.

4. They don’t try to sell you on the company or position.

If a company likes what you have to offer and is truly interested in adding you to their roster, they will spend time during the interview trying to sell the company to you. As much as you might want a job offer, they want to be sure you will say yes to the offer. If during your interview there is very little mentioned about all the great things going on in the business, chances are they aren’t considering you for a position so they feel no need to sell the company to you.

5. You aren’t asked when you are available to start.

If a company really wants to add you to their roster, they will want to know when you can start. When hiring a new employee there are many things that need to happen in order for the company to prepare for your arrival. If they don’t care when you can begin working for them there is a good chance they don’t intend on hiring you at all.

6. Salary isn’t brought up during the interview process.

If a company is truly interested in you and they believe you will be a good fit for their business, one of the first things they will want to find out is if they can afford you. If salary is not brought up or if the interviewer seems to have an issue with salary expectations, it could be a sign that ultimately it doesn’t matter to them because you are not being considered for the position.

7. The interview ends without talking about the next steps in the process.

Most companies require much more than just one single interview before you are hired. After that initial interview, most companies will want to schedule a follow-up interview or at the very least check your references. If after your first interview there is no mention of what the next steps are, there is a good chance you aren’t getting the job.

All of the signs we have discussed can help you determine how well you did in your interview. If all signs point to a bad interview, do not despair. Bad interviews do not mean you are a bad candidate, just a bad fit for that company. Remember, interviews are designed to help both the company and you determine if the job is a good fit for both parties. If it’s not and you believe the interview did not go well, brush yourself off and be thankful for the opportunity and keep searching until you find that perfect job.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer


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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews