Some standard must-do's from the job search process, like dressing professionally and sending a post-interview follow-up thank you are here to stay. The interview itself is pretty straightforward, but at the end of the chat, there's one last opportunity to leave a lasting impression: "Do you have any questions?" Ask nothing and you risk appearing uninteresting or worse, uninterested. Ask disingenuous questions and they'll see right through it. Here are some excellent, thought-provoking questions that will seal your deal as an intentional and curious must-hire.

I saw you worked at Company A for 10 years before this, but how did you get started in this industry, and why did you make the move to this company?

Show you went above and beyond the standard company research (while still skipping a complete recap of their career journey) and they will not only be grateful for your preparation, but will also appreciate your interest. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and inquiring about someone's beginnings reminds them of the often winding path they took. Asking a question like this allows them to leave with an empathetic and understanding attitude towards this meeting. 

What types of personalities are the best fit for this role?

The answer to this question, while potentially not your preferred response, will give great insight into the type of person who is most likely to succeed in the role. If the given response is a distant description of yourself, maybe reconsider your interest, or be intentional about favoring certain habits and personality traits so you are better prepared for the challenges.

Can you give me an example of a time someone in this role failed? What did they do wrong and what could be done differently? 

The answer to this question can be incredibly revealing. Not only will you hear specifics about a situation of disappointment for the employer, but you'll get insight on how they respond to conflict and challenges. Their answer will give a peek into how you'd be treated when failure is involved. Pay careful attention to how the employee was notified of any issues and what opportunities they were given to remedy the situation.

How do you ensure your team is continuously growing and learning new skills?

Burnout and stagnation are huge causes for job dissatisfaction and abandonment. A company that invests in their employees' skills and creativity is one worth joining. Find out what opportunities they encourage so you know the team you're joining will not only be professionally motivated, but also encouraged creatively.

Is there anything in my background that gives you concerns about my ability to fit well in this role?

Possessing an openness to feedback and a willingness to confront issues head on displays your worth as a collaborative team player. Addressing their concerns directly is an opportunity to exemplify the persona detailed on your resume: a well-adjusted professional who's willing to improve themself.

How often do employees receive evaluations and feedback?

Asking if they have a structure in place for company reviews and employee feedback provides you with an expectation for your first evaluation of success in the role, as well as an early understanding of how much they value the employee-employer relationship. You could also discover that their structure includes post-project debriefs to review anything that came up while it's still fresh in everyone's minds.

As a job seeker, having a supply of good questions can be what distinguishes you from the crowd. Be remembered, be intriguing, and be a promising candidate when you start with some of the suggested questions here. 

Posted: 4/25/2023 1:58:07 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

Hiring managers have seen it all. They've talked to every type of person, met every level of employee, seen every type of resume enhancing you can imagine. When it comes to hiring employees, there's no better gatekeeper than the hiring manager, someone who knows best what type of person is a good fit for the company. They have painstakingly weeded through resumes and spent hours crafting job postings, all in an effort to diligently grow their team in an efficient and thorough way. 

That being said, there are just some parts of this hiring and job application process they could do without. Some trends they've been seeing for years just aren't doing it for them anymore, and releasing this information is only to your benefit, job seeker! Read on.

Etiquette for etiquette's sake

After an interview, for example, it's a knock against you if you don't send a thank you, but it's not necessarily beneficial if you do. Why? For years the trend has been to send a follow-up message post-interview, but sometimes it can sound a little... forced. Do your best to avoid your thank you sounding like a form letter or a thoughtless note. Use this opportunity to further the conversation - send a link to an article you discussed in the interview, or personalize it in a way that indicates you paid attention and genuinely enjoyed the interaction. Hiring managers read a ton of these, so keep it short, sweet, and to the (personalized) point.

Omitting location from your resume

Between 2019 and 2022, the number of people that primarily worked from home tripled. Some companies abandoned offices, others only tiptoed back into hybrid work once the world reopened. Many of us came to see working from home as the norm, assuming future employers will be completely open to a remote employee. But, what's the reality? Only 15% of work opportunities in the U.S. are remote jobs, with most requiring at least one day in the office. With the data showing some level of hybrid work as the model of success, it's no surprise. 

You may think removing location from your resume goes unnoticed - maybe you're assuming, or hoping, the employer will consider a remote employee. Unfortunately, we have been seeing many resumes moving to the bottom of the pile specifically because the applicant has omitted their location. There's no detriment to being forthcoming with your geographical information - either a company is open to remote work or it isn't. And a company that's local may keep you around because they know you're local as well. Check the listing beforehand - if they don't mention remote work and you're not in the area, include your location.

Using a new job offer to increase your current salary

What's something hiring managers can't stand? Going through the entire hiring process, interviewing candidates, and finally offering the position to someone, only to have it turned down and used in a power play to increase their salary with their current employer. It's a risky move,  and there are plenty of better ways to push for a raise. 

Including every little thing on your resume

Take a look at your resume. Does it include your high school GPA? Positions you held over [ten] years ago? Time to revisit and evaluate what information is sensible to include. Around three to five years after you graduate, you can move the Education portion of your resume to the bottom of your resume, and remove your GPA. Any high school information is seen as filler content by hiring managers, unless you're currently a college student. 

Microsoft Office is an assumed skill in this day and age, so no need to mention any programs unless you have, say, advanced Excel skills that would be relevant for a job. A quick mention of personal interests can be a great conversation piece for an interview, but avoid a lengthy list of everything you've ever cared about.

Unrealistic salary expectations

When the economy gets a bit rough and inflation is taking off the way it has, an adequate solution can be to seek a new job and give your salary a boost. We're all for warranted pay increases, but have seen an uptick in overvalued salaries. Do everyone a favor: do your research. What does someone in this position, with your experience, in this location, typically make? What do overall salaries look like at this company? Go in with a number or range and be prepared to justify it based on your experience, skills, and competence. There's nothing that can throw off a decent interview more than an overvalued salary expectation.

Hiring managers have a vast amount of exper

Posted: 3/21/2023 3:27:01 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

Imagine: you’re a marketing professional. You’re starting out your job search and have a lot of nice things (probably too many) to say about yourself. You’ve filled your cover letter with keyword-packed copy, synonyms for “high-achieving,” and have emphasized your ability to organize, achieve results, and communicate properly. You hit the end of the page and feel like your message is still incomplete.

Enter: your website. 

The Key to Job Search Success

Busting through the spacial constraints of a cover letter, a URL is a one-line, information-packed resource that exemplifies what you do best: marketing. But, in this case, the subject is *yourself*.  

Look beyond the outdated concept of a portfolio as a vehicle limited to the traditional, cookie-cutter profession of “artist,” and open your eyes to the value an online portfolio can bring to a marketing position. We have some tips for getting started.

Skip the PDF.

Besides the fact that (we’ll say it) “You can do better!”, many of our employers aren’t accepting PDF attachments or links to more community-based sites like Behance, Dribbble, or Google Sites. Do your work a favor and present the full package. Consider the importance of digital presence in all areas of marketing these days, and stake your claim on a little corner of the world wide web to pitch yourself. Sites like Squarespace, Cargo, or Wix make it easy to set up a site within minutes. 

Be intentional about the work you show.

When considering if you should include a project in your portfolio, think about what it is saying about you. Is this an example of your ability to collaborate? Your excellence in digital marketing? Your flawless copywriting skills? Include samples of all types of work (social media experience, blog posts, etc.) and if you're well-versed in different industries, make sure that's represented. A well-rounded portfolio should convey all facets of your expertise, but don't feel compelled to include everything you've ever done. Displaying three solid examples that speak to your professional qualities will go much farther than an abundance of smaller, less focused examples. 

Develop a personal brand.

It doesn’t have to be eye-roll-y or complicated. If you’re in the business of marketing, you understand the weight placed on a first impression (sometimes the only impression, right?!), and your own site is no the place to skimp on branding. What kind of company are you looking to join? Borrow pieces of their branding. A familiar aesthetic will easily translate to a perfect fit when you have the opportunity to meet with them. Be intentional about your desired industry and align with that style (e.g. skip a hokey cartoon avatar if you're looking to land a position in the finance/insurance industry). Cohesive and intentional use of colors, fonts, and layouts across your portfolio will communicate an attitude of confidence towards your career, a valuable way to make a lasting impression. 

Include context with all of your work.

When planning your portfolio, invest in writing explanations for each project, touching on your role, input, and analysis. Potential employers seek evidence of an informed and well-developed thought process, so describe the evolution of the project as well as your method for measuring success. As for team-based projects, don’t limit yourself to displaying only solo work. Rarely does a marketing professional work alone - there are always colleagues and teams supporting your work.

Keep your work updated, and your images clear.

These feel more like housekeeping suggestions, but they need to be said. There is nothing – we repeat, nothing – more indicative of someone's lack of attention to detail than pixelated images. If your portfolio hosting website has updated its template, do a quick audit to ensure your images still appear properly on desktop and mobile. Make sure your images are crystal clear, easy to understand, and explained in captions or text. Maintaining an updated portfolio is critical for quick movement when an opportunity arises, and puts your best foot forward. 

An online portfolio for a marketing professional is an incredibly valuable tool for self-promoting, establishing credibility and building confidence for a potential hire. It’s still novel enough to help you stand out from a crowd, and in many cases can be a foundation for negotiating higher pay. 

Posted: 2/16/2023 12:15:38 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

A new year often brings with it some clarity, perspective, or an overall refresh: great for a closet full of unworn clothes, but can be a little daunting for something like a job search. The search itself is only half the battle. The remainder of the struggle lies in what's behind your quest for a new position. What are you really after? Why aren't you coming up with a plethora of available options? 

Borrowing an ounce of "New Year, New You!" attitude, the early weeks of 2023 can be a valuable time to reevaluate more than just your workout intentions. This post is for those of you who are feeling stuck in your job search (or haven't even started one), whether the situation is due to personal motivations or external factors. We're here to get you unstuck. 

What's really holding you back in your job search?

You're scared to move on.

Abandoning comfort is a frightening thing. The lingering effects of 2020 have given our post-pandemic lives a mission to be content and settled. Think about being in your current position three years from now. How does it feel? If you can't see that being a possibility, then get out now. Remind yourself that in three years you could be just as comfortable as you are now, in a completely new position at a different company. If you're hanging on because of benefits, that's a completely realistic strategy, but keep in mind that you might find the same benefits out there at another company. 

You need to expand your pool of options.

Sometimes a major hurdle to overcome is determining what new role best fits your needs, wants, and capabilities. Do you want to own the same job title, just at a different company, or are you looking to expand yourself, bringing your current skill set to an adjacent or superior position? You may find more opportunities available in positions that differ slightly from your current role, opening the doors to more success in your search. While a more lateral move may make sense, a slight step out of your role would benefit you in the long run. Plus, changing jobs is a fast track to increasing your salary over time. 

You feel out of control.

How do you walk on ice? Do you stride along like usual? Or do you take baby steps like a penguin, maintaining forward motion but with a lesser risk of falling? The illusion of control can feel lost in the unfamiliar (and icy!) landscape of a job search, and results seem so "out of your hands." Take baby steps where you are able to, and where it will make a difference. Instead of waiting around and then being forced to hurriedly prepare materials and apply the very moment something pops up, prep for this moment ahead of time by developing a few different versions of your resume and portfolio for different types of companies. Develop a system for tracking where you've applied and how it went, or standardize the time spent on your job search each day, or utilize a checklist to ensure you're doing everything possible. Creating order out of chaos in any way possible will calm your nerves and take back control. 

You don't actually want a new job.

Sometimes a new job search is a reactive move after something unsatisfactory happens in our current roles. If you find yourself wanting to leave only when stuff hits the fan, maybe some part of you thinks there's hope left. You can make changes at your job, if you really do see the value in holding onto it. First quarters can bring an openness on management's part as well, as yearly company goals often encompass more than financial numbers. Company culture can always use an improvement and even a seemingly small change can have a big impact. See if higher ups are receptive to any critical changes needed for you to remain, and if they aren't, you can rest easy with the definitive knowledge that you've done all you can. Giving up on a job search is the same as giving up on a job: neither one feels great, but if you benefit from either decision then it's worth it in the long run. 

You're setting goals, not intentions

We know, we know, what's the difference between the two? Well, goals are naturally infused with pressure and a binary success or failure conclusion that can be discouraging if, well, life gets in the way. Reframing your goals as "intentions" may relieve you of the inevitable [need a different word for discouragement] that may come with not achieving your expected results when it comes to your job search. Think of intentions as more of a starting point, while goals are treated as an end point. This is a journey, and all bumps in the road can be hit with stride. 

A job search is a burdensome undertaking (though we know some people who can make it a little easier, *wink wink*), and it's very common to hit a rough patch or even to delay starting one in the first place. We'd suggest taking a look inward, ignoring outer influence, and evaluating if your materials are accurately and adequately portraying your professional self. There's no better time than a new year to do just that!

Posted: 1/19/2023 9:01:58 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

Almost three years after the beginning of the world-altering COVID-19 pandemic, the ripple effects are finally starting to slow.

That's right: we're heading back to "the office." 

The recent past has seen workers maintaining hybrid and remote positions, encouraged by companies attempting to please their employees, appear flexible, and embrace the data that stated productivity was not lost.

But many of these companies have had enough. 

Long since mask mandates have been lifted, the draw of an office has returned, and with it a much stricter attendance policy. From a Microsoft Corp. survey of 20,000 people at companies around the world, only 12% of managers are fully confident that hybrid employees were productive. To management, a face in the workspace proves dedication, committing an employee to memory as an active and willing participant in company efforts. Even with a strong push from employees who refuse to abandon a hybrid work-life balance, managers are having doubts and reevaluating their work-from-home policies. Over two-thirds (69%) of small business decision-makers in a Capterra survey said they'd prefer their employees to be on-site three or more days per week. 

An office presence is not only preferred, but in many cases critical for a satisfactory job evaluation. According to a Capterra poll of more than 500 managers at companies with some in-office requirement, 74% plan to factor office attendance into employee performance reviews, with 46% of all managers saying they have docked or plan to dock pay or benefits from employees due to poor office attendance. 

So, what's the solution?

To us, the answer is as clear as it would be to quibbling siblings: compromise.


Newly established attendance requirements are largely due to doubts about performance, a lack of trust and transparency with their teams, and feeling out of touch with the day-to-day of your business. 

1. Understand why your team likes working remotely. Is it eliminating a commute? Working different hours? Tackling nagging home tasks when taking a computer break? Polling your staff to understand their preferences may give you amazing insights into company morale and direct you towards working together more effectively.

2. Establish time together, whether it's everyone in the office once a week, twice a month, or gathering outside of the office however often you like. Your team doesn't want to be required to come in at all as much as they don't want to be working in a half-full office if their days don't overlap with many coworkers. Setting up time for in-person meetings, encouraging office camaraderie, and having face-to-face check-ins is the ultimate way to satisfy your need for contact and their need for a sense of normalcy.

3. Request more information from your team. If your doubts linger in the area of productivity, it's simple: just trade the freedom of some work-from-home days with the requirement that you are updated more often. Or, set some stricter core hours to be worked each day, eliminating any guessing games about who is working when.

4. Practice what you preach. Expecting your employees in the office three days a week? Go in yourself three days a week (and no more). An everpresent manager puts pressure on your team to be in the office even if you've reached an alternative agreement. Abandon any notion that your absence "looks bad." It doesn't. 


Communicate, communicate, communicate. It may feel like overkill, but setting minds at ease is the name of the game on this side of the hybrid workplace debate. 

1. Set regular, clear expectations. Yes, you can do your job. We know that. In theory, your employer knows that. But without seeing you in person, the mind can wander into "what are they really working on?" territory. Give them the comfort of knowing what you're working on each week, and update if something is or isn't completed.

2. Be transparent. Having a slow week because of tech issues? Don't wait to be asked about it. Working set hours and need to run an errand? Mark it on your calendar. Management is free to make assumptions that you're covering all needed hours, but being forthcoming with any unexpected schedule changes eliminates any and all doubts.

3. Be proactive. Talk to your supervisor more than you typically would. Set up a shared document or section of your project management platform where you have weekly tasks, and notify your boss so they can check in on project statuses without interrupting your workflow. Initiate meetings or quick calls or check-ins just to ease their mind and provide context for them to report to higher-ups. An employee who takes initiative can be recognized in or out of a physical workplace, so less time in the office won't hinder your ability to be recognized. If anything, hybrid work will spur more digital proof of the work accomplished. 

Overall, this phase will be an adjust

Posted: 12/13/2022 12:11:54 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments