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Hi there. Remember us? We’re your friendly neighborhood staffing agency, and it’s probably not a coincidence that we’re located right near the Freedom Trail.

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We meet with tons of job seekers each month, from people first trying to get their foot in the door, to those who are seeking the next of many career moves.  We know you all take great pride in your past professional experiences, and certainly have some great work to show for it!  In many cases, your creative chops are what get you the job.  However, while we spend an abundance of time perfecting our cover letter, tweaking a resume, and prepping for interviews, do we give our work the same attention?

Having seen our fair share of portfolios, we have some suggestions for you.

1) Steer clear of certain websites.

Imagine you're a chef.  You don't use boxed macaroni and cheese and present it as your own, right?  That would be ridiculous.  The same goes for portfolios – don't use a site that doesn't allow you to customize.  Hiring managers can spot an amateur site a mile away.  Sites such as Behance or Dribbble are fine for networking and community support, but it is recommended to avoid using them as your primary portfolio.

2) You get what you pay for.

You may opt to pay for something.  Free websites often look like just that -- free sites.  There are several great portfolio building websites out there that are worth consideration.  Following are just a few:

Squarespace is one of the most popular portfolio building sites, with a plethora of template options and abilities to integrate apps for things such as ecommerce.
Cost: $12/month

Cargo is a similar service, allowing users to choose templates and then customize. Cargo stands apart from the rest due to an embedded video player.  While it once was by invitation only, their Cargo 2 is open to everyone.
Cost: $13/month

Format is a portfolio site with clean and simple templates perfect for designers and creatives looking to show visual work.  While it's a little trickier to master, there's more customization opportunities than with Squarespace.
Cost: $6/month

3) Build it yourself.

Take a weekend (okay, a few) and do some learning. Teach yourself the ins and outs of simple coding, buy a domain, and get moving!  Should you be worried it'll look like an amateur website, stick with the motto:  Keep It Simple.  Let your work shine with minimal navigation and a white background.  Perhaps you’d even like to add coding to your resume before submittal.

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Don't sell yourself short by settling for a subpar online portfolio.  By using a basic template site, you're placing yourself on the same playing field as any average joe with an internet connection.  Roll with these suggestions and prep your portfolio with a website builder that's built for professionals!

Posted: 2/25/2019 3:22:29 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


When it comes time for the next step in your career, you rarely find a new job through a human being. You're searching online, applying on a website, or emailing a resume and cover letter in an effort to come across as best you can on paper. It should be easy to present your professional career on a resume, since we all have to do it at some point, right? But it's not as natural to write about yourself and your past experiences as you might think.

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Look, we've seen a lot of resumes. We've sorted through the good the bad and the ugly, and believe us when we tell you, we know what works and more importantly, what doesn't. Here are some tips on what you should and shouldn't do to create a killer resume.

Do: update frequently, even you aren't looking for a job

Sometimes the right thing comes along.. all together now.. when you least expect it! Why scramble at the last minute to put your best foot forward when you can be ready to go with some regular maintenance? You know how they suggest a quick clean of your living space for 10 mins a day to avoid a solid weekend of cleaning? Same situation. Once you have a good handle of your new job, add it to your resume, updating as your responsibilities change.

Don't: use an unprofessional personal email address

If your email address was created before you could drive, there's a good chance you'll want to keep it off of your resume – stick with an email closest to your name, and don't use your current work email address.

Do: write smart descriptions

Avoid using blanket phrases or uninteresting wording. For example, rather than saying "hard worker," start by describing a person who works hard, with wording like "dedicated and fastidious designer comfortable with a fast-paced project schedule." Instead of describing yourself as "creative," explain that you "developed innovative solutions for clients in a variety of industries" and "sparked connections in brainstorming sessions." If a fifth grader would use the word, try to think of a better way to exemplify the quality.

Do: revisit your annual reviews

One of the best places to discover your recognizable strengths is to take a look at your past performance reviews. If your supervisor noticed a strength or flaw, you can bet your future employer will be interested. Who knows, maybe they pulled something out of your personality that you hadn't even known about!

Don't: use keywords obviously

Get this: 491 of Fortune 500 companies use an applicant tracking system. ATSs are used to weed out resumes that don't fit the position. That's great for hiring managers, but what if your resume and cover letter resonate better with a real live person? Tough luck, as you'll need to include some keywords spotted in the job descriptions. Don't fill your resume with invisible text containing those keywords (yes, people really do that!), but instead try using them organically throughout the page. ATSs can somehow spot a "stuffed" resume from a mile away, so avoid overusing keywords.

Now that you know how to perfect the art of resume crafting, stay tuned for our next post on making a resume that'll move you to the top of the applicant pile!

Posted: 2/11/2019 8:22:22 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Do you even remember when you got that Facebook or Instagram account? It was years ago, you were in college, high school, or middle school, and your social group in real life . At the time it was a method for staying in touch with friends, posting photos and sharing memes (and Tasty videos). You know, internet fluff.

Later on, you used it as an internet representation of yourself – meeting new people led you to connecting online, making new friends and expanding your social network. Someone could get a sense of the real you immediately upon pit-stopping on your page.

If all of your intentions were social, who would have thought that years later, your career could depend on how you've maintained these accounts? With almost half of employers (46%) checking social media accounts before hiring, it's clear that doing a quick social media cleanup pre-job search isn't just smart, it's necessary.

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The quick and easy solution seems obvious: make all accounts, posts, photos, and details private.

An employer can't be disappointed by what they can't see, right? But the answer is more nuanced than quickly shutting the gate to your entire digital life. Employers are hiring a personality, a person with interests and family and hobbies, and you're a human being who has all of those things. Think of the amount of time you have spent sharing articles on topics you care about or posting about local events or friends' new businesses. These interactions demonstrate many hirable qualities to a company that is looking, so simply be aware of what your online presence is reflecting, and shape it up a bit.

Google yourself. First things first, find out what is already out there. Open an incognito window so a search engine can't factor in your previous searches, letting you see the results as a hiring manager would. Make sure to look through regular search results as well as images.

Adjust some privacy settings. Remove any questionable content – make photos private (you can always make certain photos public afterwards), as well as any posts that are too personal or might be inappropriate for a potential new employer to see.

Check your language. Bad mouthing a previous employer? Red flag. Complaining constantly on Twitter about somebody taking too long in line? Nope. These aren't big things, but keep your tone in mind when posting in the first place. It's one thing to be funny, and another entirely to be negative. 65% of employers are checking out your online presence to gauge your professionalism and social conduct, so make sure you're putting something out there you can be proud of.

Try to post about your interests. Putting up articles and sharing creative content is a great way to show your passion for the industry. Before all else, companies want someone who is passionate about their work and stays knowledgeable about the creative world.

Correct your info. If you have publicly shared your past jobs, make sure the ones you mention on your resume are there. If you don't want them to know your age, remove birthdays and graduation years from public view.

Pay attention to LinkedIn. 79% of recruiters have hired through LinkedIn and it's reputation as the business network of social networks exists for a reason. There, you'll need up to date resume info and descriptions as well as a somewhat professional headshot. This is the heavy hitter in job search successes, so spend some time here.

Change your photo. Unless this is LinkedIn, no need for a headshot, but if your profile photo is pixellated or default image, consider yourself slapped with a "Newbie" stamp – the employer is moving along to the next candidate. Show yourself, use this as an opportunity to show a facet of your personality, and don't just toss up a photo of your dog. This is the first thing they will see, so make it count.

It can be pretty simple to clean up your act on social media when you know a potential job could be on the line, and our best tip is that you don't power wash all evidence of your existence. Leave carefully selected bits and pieces for a hiring manager to find and they will discover a candidate that's full of personality and cares deeply about their industry.

Posted: 8/20/2018 9:28:55 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Since the dawn of Facebook, one of the biggest concerns among its user population is privacy and the accessibility of less-than-flattering photos affecting a public or professional reputation. Nobody wants a damaging photo of themselves exposed to a potential employer, and once the privacy settings on photos are changed, there's no reason for an employer to investigate further, right?

Wrong.

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Consider this: according to a 2017 study by HireRight, 85% of employers found applicants lying on their resumes. This doesn't mean you should throw all of your trust out the window, but be prepared to see some resume padding. Since potential employees are sure to put their best foot forward in an interview, and certainly will direct you to positive references, how can you peel away the predetermined layers and find out the true nature of a person?

Be a scavenger of clues when it comes to a potential hire's social media accounts. There are great indicators of a person's personality, social tendencies, and work ethic that can be found just by doing a quick sweep of a profile. Here's how it'll help you out:

1) You'll get to know their attitude.

Are they a complainer, or more of a positive poster? See what word choices they use frequently – if it's all unicorns and rainbows maybe you have nothing to worry about, but if you're sensing any negativity or hostility, there's a good chance that vibe would infect your workplace. If they are sharing articles about current events or tech trends, you can expect an employee who is well-informed and interested in freshening their skills.

2) You'll learn about their passions.

What do they care about outside 9am-5pm on weekdays? See what groups they belong to on Facebook, or what weekend adventures they're sharing on Instagram. Do they have a dog? Are they volunteering in the community on weekends? Do they make pottery in their free time? Knowing this likely won't affect your decision to hire them, but if you do, you'll have a better idea of their motivations.

3) It can lead you to a real reference.

If you're hiring an on-site candidate, there's always a chance you share mutual friends – ask them about your potential hire. Cut through the fluff to the candidate's core by bypassing their hand-picked references and get to the meat of the story. A candid evaluation will give you a more accurate representation of a person's character than you may get from references that have already been expected to give a positive review.

Getting to know a job applicant before they're part of the team is a crucial part of the hiring process, and exploring their social media accounts isn't considered snooping anymore. Anything online is the public persona of someone who could represent your company, and don't you want that person to be putting their best face forward? We think so.

Posted: 7/25/2018 2:09:26 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


You're sneaking around,you're up late at night, and there's a guilty look in your eyes. You've got a big secret: you're looking for a new job.

No need to be ashamed – fifty percent of adults say they'd consider looking for a new job this year. The median number of years that wage and salary workers have remained at their current employer is currently only 4.6 years, so at any given time, you're likely not alone in your endeavor. Job searching while you have a job can feel deceitful, but it has to happen. The trick is to keep your search under wraps as much as possible. Need some tips? We can help.

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Don't tell anyone. No, seriously. 

The title of this article includes the word "stealth," right? Stealth means cautious and quiet, so don't tell anyone or you risk your plans being heard by the wrong person. All it takes is your best work friend to be overheard whispering about it in the break room, and then everybody knows what you're up to.

This also means making sure your prospective employers know you're trying to find a new job under the radar. Be sure to tell them your current manager doesn't know you're considering a job change, and ask that they refrain from contacting them for the time being. If you're getting close to an offer, then that's time to give your manager a heads up, if you're hoping for their reference comments.

Update LinkedIn

First of all, make sure you've got your privacy settings in the right place - you don't want any updates made to your LinkedIn profile to pop up as recent news to, say, your boss. Once you know you won't be seen, go ahead and update your resume, share some articles related to your field, contact others who work at companies of interest, get involved in group discussions, and ask some old colleagues to endorse you for skills. You want to be improving your status as an expert in your industry without a job search being obvious.

Network quietly

It might be shocking to hear that over 85%(!) of all jobs are filled via networking, according to a 2016 study. Check out any upcoming conferences and events and when you meet someone who might help you take the next step, don't immediately tell them you're looking for a new job. Mention that you'd love to hear more about what they do, or ask how they got into the position they have. If you get the opportunity to develop the connection with this person later on, it's ok to mention that you're looking to further your career.

Keep working.

Just because you've mentally checked out of this job doesn't mean you can quit working before you actually quit. Stay on top of your workload, keep the job search out of the office, and consider now a time to shine at your current job. This is probably particularly difficult, since you have already decided you don't want this job anymore, but think of what a glowing review could do to your salary negotiations at a new job.

When it comes to taking the leap to the next position in your career, it can be a challenge to slip under the radar. Take these tips to heart the next time you find yourself with one foot out the door.

Posted: 4/25/2018 11:22:19 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments