Take It Easy: Don’t Let Your New Position Overwhelm You Right off the Bat

You’ve tackled and overcome the daunting task of performing the perfect interviews. You’ve shaken hands with the hiring manager, HR manager and a few of your new colleagues. Now it’s time to dive into your new position, and chances are you’re feeling excited and anxious at the same time. Take a deep breath: You’ve got this.

When you start a new career at a new company, the learning curve sometimes seems as though it is a figure-8, curving back on itself as you learn new policies and strategies. Not only does the position itself come with new things to learn, you now have to learn the personalities of your new coworkers, how your boss works and what makes her tick, and the grid of office politics. All of this can easily overwhelm you, creating enough excitement and stress to upset your stomach. Go in with a plan to keep your head level and you won’t regret it.

First, realize that you’re new and you won’t know everything the first day, or even in the first month. Learning curves happen in life all the time, and this is no exception. However, you need to be on you’re a-game at all times, making sure you’re doing everything to the best of your abilities.

Ask the right questions at the right time. Don’t waste time in finding out the answers, being proactive and ensuring you’re following all procedures shows your boss you’re willing to go the extra mile. Smile when you speak and always remember your pleases and thank yous, as small tokens of politeness go miles toward getting the right answers.

Study the interworking of the office and figure out the best way to accomplish your tasks in a timely manner. Connect with coworkers – particularly those working to train you — on a professional level; you’re sure to need help from someone during the first few weeks of your position.

Don’t take on too much; this will overwhelm you more. While you want to exceed the expectations of your boss and new coworkers, you will fail if you take on more than you can handle and end up not completing your assignments.

The first month in a new position shows your management team what kind of employee you will be. A go-getter who is efficient in managing her time and task list, while not being afraid to ask the right questions is often a solid investment in the eyes of the company.

Multiple Offers: Making the Choice

You got the call: the company you interviewed with has made an offer of employment. But wait – you just received the email from another company offering employment. How do you choose the correct company when you’ve received more than one offer of employment? It can be a delicate game of juggling the pros and cons of each.

M O N E Y

Money is often the first thing people look at when trying to decide on the correct position. If one company offers a significantly higher pay than the other, the answer may be right there in front of you. More money is always better, right? Well, not always. Other pros and cons come into the picture, particularly if you know each of the companies could potentially be the right fit.

P E R K S

Look at everything each company is offering, including health benefits, paid time off and offices. Then, look at the smaller things that you’ll deal with on a day-to-day basis. Is there onsite parking or parking vouchers, or do you have to pay to park? What perks come along with each company (cell phone reimbursement, paid expenses, daycare assistance)? What are each company’s values and working environment like?

Sometimes it’s the little things that can make or break your working experience. If one company offers you more money but doesn’t have great benefits or perks, they may fall second on the list to the company with the smaller salary but luxurious perks.

E X P E R I E N C E

If you still can’t decide, decipher which position will give you the best experience and help build your resume. Is one company more well-known than the other (meaning a bit more prestige with the position)? Will you have more responsibility at one than the other? Does one offer more room to grow within the company than the other? All of these factors could make your decision for you.

 

Rules for the Resume: Formatting

Making Your Resume Appealing to Potential Employers

Your resume is the first thing an employer sees of you; as such, your resume is invaluable. Making it appealing to your potential employer is pivotal in getting your foot in the door. Different formats and templates exist for resumes, but how do you choose what format to put it in?

It comes down to the type of work experiences you’ve had and the type of position/career you’re after. Follow these basic tips for your resume:

Consider a Chronological Format

Most companies prefer a chronological format, in which you list jobs and experiences from the most recent you have had, then going backward. This is a universally accepted format and works well for most career choices and employers. Not only will they see your current position, which will be most relevant to the position you are actually applying for, but they will also be able to track your career growth as they follow your job history.

Showcase Your Skills

There are a few times when another format works better than chronological. For example, if you are a recent graduate or career changer, the chronological format won’t work as well because you may not have a solid listing of experiences or employers to list. A more functional format for you is one which showcases your skills and abilities. Your professional skills are important to list in all types of resume formats, but when you don’t have a solid listing of work experience, your skills and abilities need to be displayed in an effective, eye-catching manner. You may also include your volunteer experiences in addition to detailed descriptions of each work-related ability you have to offer your future employer.

Present Your Projects

Another type of resume format is the project-based layout. This is particularly effective for people who have a specialized title. This format will serve to showcase the projects you have completed in the past while putting an emphasis on your ability to multi-task. Project managers and specialized consultants often prefer this layout as it details the most important aspects of their careers.

Design Tip

There is no shortage of resume designs and templates online and built into word-processing programs. Choose one that is professional and opt away from one that is too colorful or uses an odd font. Note: Some color can make your resume stand out, but choose wisely.

If you’re unsure of what format to go with, we recommend sticking with chronological. We also recommend speaking with a professional, such as your consultant at a staffing firm, who can point you in the right direction as well.

Knowing the Company You’re Applying To

How research and personal experience can help land you the job

Applying to a new company is an exciting and anxious time for many job seekers. A tough job market means the competition is hungry, too. It’s no secret that researching the company you’re applying at is a must these days, but what exactly are you supposed to research? What are you supposed to know about the company prior to the interview, and where do you find this information?

The first place to go is the company’s website. Check out the “About Us” page to find out more about the company’s history, what exactly they do, and what their core values are. Research it thoroughly and k now the information prior to your interview.

Next, check out consumer reviews of the company, particularly retail or service-oriented companies. Learning what customers have to say can also help you in your interview process – in more than one way. If customers love the company, chances are you’re applying at a worker-friendly venue with a smooth operation. However, you’re likely to find some negative reviews when researching any company. Knowing the negative reviews can give you leverage in an interview when you have effective and realistic ideas on how to fix the issues.

Next, visit the company (if it’s a public, walk-in environment like retail). Shop there or look around. Familiarize yourself with the product(s) and research them to know more about them. If it is not a public or walk-in company, check out the website again to familiarize with the products or services offered. Knowing this allows you to speak more confidently about how you are a good fit for the company and is always impressive to hiring managers.

When your interviewer asks you why you think you’re a good fit for the company (which is a standard question for in-person interviews), speak about the services or products offered, what you know about them, and which of your skills are going to be the most effective for the position. Researching the company always pays off for interviews; it also gives you a head-start on your position because you’re not going in completely blind.

Cover Letters: Do They Matter?

Your resume is amazing (you’ve crossed your “t”s and dotted your “i”s; no spelling errors to speak of; and it’s professional). You’re ready to send your amazing resume out to potential employers, but what about the cover letter? The cover letter is sometimes an enigma to job seekers. What is it? What’s its purpose? Why do I need one if I have an amazing resume?

What It Is and Its Purpose

The cover letter is a letter of introduction. It allows potential employers to get a feel for who you are while also getting to know you a bit. Yes, many cover letters regurgitate some of the information found on the resume, but it’s much more than putting your resume into paragraph form: it’s selling yourself.

Think of it this way: The resume is the formal outline of why you’re great; the cover letter lets your personality shine a bit so that employers can see the you behind the words. It’s a great way to let your voice be heard if even on paper.

Like the resume, your cover letter needs to be short and sweet and to the point. However, you get to expand a bit on your skills and qualifications while injecting a bit of your personality into the text.

Also like the resume, it’s important to be factual in the body of your cover letter. It’s great if you have amazing skills and qualifications, but don’t mislead the potential employer into thinking you’re something you’re not. Represent yourself truthfully and you’ll get to skip some of the problems that come with misleading an employer.

Tips and Tricks

Be specific in your cover letter. Don’t say “your company,” say the company’s name.

Expand on your skills by telling the short stories about how you got them/used them.

Explain how your skills and experience will help the position.

Ask for the interview.

Be bold and truthful.

Conclusion

The cover letter may remain slightly mysterious to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. A well-executed cover letter could very well mean the difference between getting an interview and being overlooked by a potential employer. Allow yourself to be seen through your words in the text of the letter while portraying a level of professionalism that screams to potential employers that you’ve got what it takes to take this position into the future.