Blog

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
- Vince Lombardi

From a young age, most of us are quickly familiarized with the phrases "in a perfect world..." and "practice makes perfect." We spend so much time and energy becoming the perfect student, getting perfect scores. It would be difficult to argue that achieving perfection is the highest level of success, it seems.

plenty-of-fish

When we were all in school, hitting this target was more obvious – grades, class rankings, and evaluations all told us how close we were to being the "best." But years and years later, here we are, wondering how we measure up compared to others. As a job candidate, are we a "perfect fit"?

Well, there's good news, for candidates as well as hiring managers!

Job seekers – you can't be "perfect"!

Every position has slightly different requirements, and being excellent in school won't always help you here. Show off your skills and display your talent, but don't dismiss an opening just because you don't think it sounds like a perfect match. Apply for positions just outside of your exact skill set and you might be surprised  at what you find – employers are willing to train the right candidate or shape the position to fit your strengths.

Hiring managers – there is no "perfect."

If you're holding out for the "ideal" candidate, it's time to stop. Last year was the first in almost two decades where the number of U.S. jobs available was equal to the number of job seekers. There's no shortage of open positions, so don't continue to tell yourself the next interviewee will be The One – the grass is not always greener. Instead, take a deep look at the habits, strengths, and personality of the candidate sitting in front of you and consider them for your company as well as for the specific position. Are they eager to learn? Diligent? Responsible, adaptable, and talented? They could be the perfect person for your team.

There's no telling what an adjustment to your thinking could do to your professional career or your business. If you're lucky enough to score an interview or meet a great candidate, you should count your lucky stars and stop holding out for something better – nay, perfect.

 

 

Posted: 3/21/2019 10:24:15 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


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.

CMA_laptop-1483974_1920.jpg

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.

----------------------

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


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.

social_media_cleanup

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.

socialmedia

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