Want To Find Your Dream Job? Here Are Three Questions You Must Ask Yourself

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What’s your idea of a “dream job?” If you have that itch to try something new, it’s a question worth pondering before launching a job search.  Because your wants and needs evolve, what you considered your ultimate career goals may have changed over time. One of the best ways to pin down what you really want from your job is to ask yourself the following questions:

“What Do I Love About My Current/Past Jobs and What Would I Change?”

There is no doubt that while you love certain parts of your job, there are other aspects that you would change. When thinking about your dream job, break down both the positives and negatives of your job to get at what you actually like and dislike about it. This is especially important when it comes to things you would like to change, as it can show you hidden aspects of the job you may actually like. For example, you may dread working with other departments on a certain project because of an overall lack of communication between management. This means that you may actually love the idea of collaboration as long as there is full communication.

“What Would You Do If You Weren’t Being Paid?”

If money wasn’t a factor, what would you do with your life? Would you travel, read, volunteer, or spend most of your time building things in your garage? Of course, money is going to be a factor in any career decisions, but thinking about what you would like to do without salary concerns is a window into what you actually want to do. Consider jobs that involve these items that you love doing. If you love helping people, look for a job where you can make an impact.

“What Am I Good At?”

Leave your humbleness at the door for a second and consider the tasks that allow you to shine. Consider the types of duties that people specifically earmark for you at work, and the types of skills that your friends and family members turn to you for. Things you do exceptionally well tend to be the areas where you get the most satisfaction, meaning that they are a window into what will drive you in a new job.

AppleOne’s Internship Program Focuses on Experience for the Real World

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AppleOne is excited to announce the launch of its official Internship program which will give students the opportunity to learn skills that are relevant to not only staffing, but to any future career. Opportunities are now open for the Southern California region, with plans to roll out nationwide for future classes. Apply today at www.appleone.com/Students/Internships/Default.aspx.

In the spirit of putting your best foot forward for your internship, here are three ways to make a great first impression at internship interviews:

Dress to Impress

Don’t let your clothing do the talking for you during an interview; make sure your interviewer remembers what you said, not what you wore. Dressing professionally and conservatively, always works for an interview. While a company may have a “casual” dress code for employees and interns alike, this should not apply to interviews. You can find additional guidance on what to wear to your interview at http://appleone.com/Career_Seekers/nhp/.

Know What You Want Out of the Internship

Companies with internships want to know that the time they invest in you will be truly meaningful and helpful to you. During your interview, convey what you are looking to get out of the position. Highlight specific points from the internship description, and talk about what you hope to learn by the end of your time there. In addition, mention coursework or other campus activities you took part in to highlight qualifications that will allow you to immediately make an impact in the position.

Leave a Thank-You Note with the Receptionist Before You Leave

Thank-you notes may seem old-fashioned, but they really work. While there may be circumstances such as phone interviews or off-site interviews where you may have to send the card via mail, you can make a big impact by leaving a card with the receptionist as you’re leaving the interview. Have the card written before you go to the meeting so the hiring manager can see it ASAP, but be sure to leave a little room to reference something from your interview to better personalize it.

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Battle the Bot: How to get Your Resume Read by a Real Human Being

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Did you know that nearly 75% of resumes are never seen by human eyes? An increasing number of companies are adding an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) each year, as it can sort through hundreds (if not thousands) of resumes in the time it takes a hiring manager to get through a handful. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to get through the system and have your resume seen by an actual human being, as long as you follow these four tips:

Include Relevant Keywords Throughout Your Resume

An ATS will scan the entirety of your resume and check to make sure you included specific keywords from the Job Ad. These keywords can include everything from required skills and experience, to specific job titles and certifications. It’s worth noting that modern ATS also pay attention to how each keyword is used in the flow of the resume (and cover letter), so if a keyword seems out of place it may be rejected. Each keyword should belong where it is written, so sprinkling them randomly throughout your resume will send out a red flag.

Stick to Traditional Font and Layout Choices

While new fonts and layouts are being added all the times, the classics work the best when it comes to your resume getting through the system. Fonts like Arial, Georgia, Tahoma, Times New Roman, Trebuchet, and Verdana in 10 to 12-point size are all ATS-friendly, as are traditional resume layouts that come standard on most word processing programs. A quick note on bullet points: avoid using special characters or accents on bullets. Most tracking systems have a problem reading them, and they may introduce line breaks or coding that will confuse it.

Avoid Graphs and Tables

While adding charts, graphs, or tables to your resume may seem like a way to add clarity to your resume, Applicant Tracking Systems are not good at reading them. In fact, they tend to read them as stray words or symbols, which can cause the system to automatically reject it. Stick with “standard” resume designs with simple formatting to ensure it is machine readable.

Avoid Slang and Overly Uncommon Abbreviation

Applicant Tracking Systems aren’t very good at recognizing slang, so resist the urge to use acronyms you used around the office for a task and instead try and use a description that can be easily understood. This is especially true if you are referring to a keyword used in the Job Ad itself. If you are highlighting a skill, use the words that were used in the ad, and if in doubt, go with the actual name of the item you are highlighting, such as using “Microsoft Word” instead of just putting “Word.” In addition, avoid uncommon abbreviations, and if something is commonly abbreviated list both the full word and the abbreviation. For instance: Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

The One Tool Every Job Seeker Needs in their Arsenal

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Looking for a tool that will add a new dimension to your job search? Partnering with a (free) employment service, like AppleOne, will enhance your job search and provide you with the personalized assistance that every job seeker needs. Here are the three most important ways that an employment service will help you:

Develop a Better Understanding of What Local Employers Are Seeking

The “X-factor” that can you get a job at one employer may be a turnoff to another one. Knowing what specific companies are looking for in your area will help you get you the job you are targeting. AppleOne Hiring Advisors track local and national employment trends. Because they work with specific employers, they can give you valuable insights into how best to present yourself for a particular job.

Stronger Resumes and Cover Letters

The average hiring manager takes only eight seconds to look over your resume to decide whether to call you in for an interview. That is if you can get past the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that they use to cut down the initial job pool. An employment service knows what employers are looking for in cover letters and resumes, and they can help you craft something that will get past the computers and catch the manager’s eye.

Access to Jobs That Aren’t Posted on Job Boards

Did you know that up to 85% of all available jobs are never posted on online job boards? Because of the costs associated with hiring and advertising, many of these jobs are actually never even available to the public, as companies look to sources like AppleOne to handle the hiring for them. This means an employment service can help you apply for jobs you would have not found otherwise. These are jobs that aren’t looking for a pool of applicants, but only the ones they want to either interview or hire on the spot.

The Four Things You Need To Know About Thank You Cards For Your Job Interview

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A thank you card is a critical component in not only showing a Hiring Manager that you appreciate the time they took interviewing you, but also that you are excited about the prospects of working for their company. In fact, a recent study showed that 75 percent of interviewers said that receiving a thank-you letter from a candidate does play a factor in their hiring decisions. When it comes to getting the maximum impact out of your post-interview thank you cards, here are four things you need to know.

Address a Thank You Card to Each Person Who Interviewed You

The point of leaving a thank you card after an interview is to thank the people who interviewed you for taking time out of their busy day to meet with you. With this in mind, stay away from the highly-impersonal “Hiring Manager” and address the card to  those you met. Ask who you will be interviewing with when you are setting up the interview. Most companies will gladly share the name of the interviewers.

In The Card, Reference Your Excitement at the Prospect of Working with the Company

Your thank you card is a perfect opportunity to remind a hiring manager that you are excited about the prospect of working with their company. In one or two sentences, highlight how well you will fit into the company culture, and what you can add to the team. Let them see that this isn’t just another job opportunity to you, but something that you really want.

Make It Known That You Are Looking Forward to the Next Step

Hiring managers wants to see candidates who are passionate about getting a job. With this in mind, sharing that you are already looking forward to the next step in the process is a great reminder that you are confident you are right for the position. Simply end your note by saying that you are looking forward to the next time you will speak. While you don’t want to seem pushy, a little bit of confidence in yourself is always a good thing to show.

If Possible, Leave the Note with the Receptionist Before You Leave

You want to be fresh in the memory of the Hiring Manager when they read your thank you card, so leaving it with the receptionist as you leave the building is always a good idea. While there may be circumstances such as phone interviews or off-site interviews where you may have to send the card via mail, if you are able to immediately drop off the card with the receptionist, have the card written before you go to the meeting so the hiring manager can see it ASAP, but be sure to leave a little room to reference something from your interview to better personalize it.

Want to Get Your Resume Seen? Know How to Beat the ATS

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Because companies can get hundreds of applications for one job, roughly 75% of them have introduced an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to their screening process. An ATS searches resumes for keywords and information, meaning that it can quickly scan a resume for specifics, which can save hiring managers countless hours during the hiring process. If you have a resume full of highly attractive skills and experience, yet find that you aren’t hearing back from employers, it may be that your resume is not ATS-friendly. To ensure that hiring managers are actually seeing your resume, here are four tips for getting past an ATS’s electronic eyes:

Include Relevant Keywords throughout Your Resume

An ATS system will check to see if you have included keywords from the job ad throughout your resume. These keywords can include everything from required skills and experience, to the specific job title, and they should be included within the natural flow of the resume (and cover letter) in full and complete sentences. If you used a skill in multiple positions list the skill in all of those positions so the scanner can get an accurate years of experience with each skill. It’s also worth noting that modern ATS systems can tell when a keyword seems out of place, meaning that you should never just add keywords randomly to your resume. Even if you somehow slip through the ATS process, a hiring manager will eventually read your resume, and they will notice that your keywords are not in context.

Stick to Fonts the System Will Recognize

While there are new fonts being introduced all the time, you want to play it safe and stick to the classics when it comes to your resume. ATS systems best recognize fonts like Arial, Georgia, Tahoma, Times New Roman, Trebuchet, and Verdana, all of which are traditionally used for resumes. Be aware that larger fonts can also confuse the system, meaning that you should stick to 10 or 12 point throughout.

Avoid Graphs, Tables, and Overly Fancy Designs

While you may think that adding a chart, graph, or table to your resume will add some clarity, most Applicant Tracking Systems are not good at reading them. In fact, they tend to read them as stray words or symbols, which can cause the system to automatically reject it. Stick with “standard” resume designs with simple formatting to ensure it is machine readable.

Don’t Get Fancy with Bullet Points or Abbreviations

Bullet points are common in resumes, as they help break up the text to highlight specific key skills and experiences. While you want to use them, you want to avoid using special characters or accents for bullets. The Applicant Training System may have problems reading a special character or accent, so stick to common bullet points that are offered to you on your word processing program. Avoid uncommon abbreviations, and if something is commonly abbreviated list both the full word and the abbreviation. For instance: Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

 

3 Things You Can Do In A Job Interview to Get a Second Interview

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A job interview is your time to shine. While your resume enticed the hiring manager enough to want to meet you in person, the interview is your chance to show them why you would be a great fit for the company and the position. Most companies will go through several rounds of interviews before extending a job offer, so one of your key goals of your first interview should be to demonstrate your strengths and secure a second interview where you will have a chance to make even more of an impression on a hiring manager. There are certain things that can help you stand out during a first interview that can help translate into a more in-depth second interview, including the following three items:

Demonstrating Your Exceptional Preparation/Research Abilities

Hiring managers like to see candidates who are excited about the opportunity and have obviously done their research about the both the position and the company. Your goal shouldn’t be just to show that you know what the specific job entails, but also that you would be a great fit for both the position and the company culture.  Don’t just talk about how you would be a great fit; give examples of how your skills and experience make you a candidate that they can’t pass up. Have this come through in questions that you ask at the end of the interview. If you can end your brief meeting demonstrating that you have done your research and know specifics about the company, they will take notice!

Practice the Art of Job Matching

The biggest question in an interview, the one you have to answer correctly, is one that the Hiring Manager isn’t even asking you. It’s a question they are asking themselves and it is: Would this person be the best person to do what we need done?

Job matching allows you to answer that question for the hiring manager, and that will help you stand out from other candidates.

Job Matching Steps

  1. Research to determine what the job entails. Sources of information include the job ad, the job description, coaching from your AppleOne Hiring Advisor, discussions with friends who work in the company, the company web site, LinkedIn profiles for people who had the job previously, etc.
  2. Outline key requirements, skills and tasks needed for the job. Focus on the 3 to 5 most important factors you are able to identify.
  3. Map your skills and experience to each job requirement and provide a specific example that demonstrates your competence in that area. For instance: It sounds like time management will be a critical skill for this role. In my previous job, I supported 3 executives, which as you may imagine requires exceptional time management skills. Each executive always got exactly what they needed when they needed it. In fact our CEO, Jane Smith told me she thought there must be 3 of me because she didn’t see how I always managed to get everything done.

Determine Their Schedule so You Know When to Follow-up

It’s a no-brainer that you need to leave a thank you note at the front desk before you leave your interview, but how about making sure that you know the time-frame for any decision making that will occur with the job? While they may give you just a general idea of when they hope to make a decision, that ball-park time frame will help you know when to further enquire about the job. If they say that they will make a decision in a couple of days, plan to call by the end of the week to inquire. On the other hand, if they say that it may take a month, plan to check in regularly during that time period. Showing a hiring manager that you are interested during the decision making process is important. In fact, many expect you to inquire, and could hold it against you if they notice you haven’t called if have to wait a little longer to make their decision.