Career Guidance & Tools

Let us give you a step up on the corporate ladder.

I’m Channing Donald. As a Resource Delivery Manager at Signature, I’ve been asked to offer you tips on landing the right job. It all starts with building relationships. In a tight job market like the one we’re in now, companies receive hundreds, even thousands, of resumes for the same position. You’ll need to get yours placed at or near the top of the pile.

One good way to do this is through personal branding. You know how your favorite products have characteristics that make them appealing to you? It’s the same with job applicants. You have certain characteristics that make you appealing to a particular employer. The trick is to discover what those characteristics are and accentuate them.

Are you a people person? A natural-born leader? Maybe you excel at organization. Are you a big thinker? Or more of a detail person? Although your personal qualities won’t qualify you for every position, they will help you find the one that’s right for you.

And while I’d never encourage you to lie about your qualities or credentials, it’s okay to highlight the ones that make you a good fit, while downplaying those that don’t. Whether you work with me or another Signature recruiter, you’ll get the help you need to position your credentials in the best possible way to a prospective employer.

Just make sure you carry your brand through to every touch point. Not just your resume, but your cover letter, your business cards, even the way you dress are opportunities to express your personal style. It’s all good as long as you don’t let the execution get in the way of the material you need to present.

Here are a few interview essentials you should find useful:

  • Show up on time for the interview. Actually, to be safe, plan to show up at least 15 minutes early. That way, if you have trouble finding the location or run into unexpected traffic problems, you’ll still arrive on time. Making the extra effort to be prompt shows that you care about the job and indicates you’ll show up on time if hired.
  • Dress to impress. How you’re dressed will be the first thing an interviewer notices about you. Plan ahead so that your clothing is properly pressed and in good repair. Make sure your shoes are polished, your jacket is stain-free, and you convey the right look for the job. When in doubt, overdress. You’re less likely to lose points for being too polished.
  • Be prepared. Study up on the company beforehand. Be ready to explain how your skills match the job description and the overall corporate objectives. Have several questions ready to ask regarding the company. This shows you’ve taken the time to give the position some forethought.
  • Also, review your resume prior to the interview. That way, you can quickly answer an interviewer’s questions regarding it. And always bring extra copies.
  • Don’t be afraid to brag about your accomplishments. While bragging is frowned upon under most circumstances, this is one place where it’s absolutely essential. Don’t leave it to the interviewer to guess at your qualifications. Be specific in pointing out how your accomplishments and specific skills make you the right candidate for the job.
  • Do you possess superior communication, organizational, people or problem-solving skills? Point them out. In a tight job market, it’s important not to underestimate the value of soft skills. You want to be seen as someone who not only fills the hard qualifications, but who will be pleasant to work with on a daily basis.
  • Give the right answers. While it’s important to point out your accomplishments, make sure you’re totally honest. Embellishing the truth may help you land the job. But it will almost always land you back on the street when your dishonesty comes to light. And eventually, it will come to light.
  •  The basics. Be polite to everyone you meet. You never know who might influence the hiring decision. Turn off your cell phone and focus on the interviewer. Don’t continually check your watch or the clock, either. Answer questions directly and succinctly without getting overly personal. If you need clarification on a question, ask for it. Don’t be critical of past employers. And never ask about salary and benefits on the first interview.

Now it’s your turn to help us.

As your recruiter, I can be your best resource for locating the industry’s most coveted positions. So whether you work with me or another Signature recruiter, treat us like a valuable, long-term career ally. We can only do our best for you when you meet us half way.

Here’s how to help us do our job finding you the right job:

  • Your relationship with your Signature recruiter typically begins with a one-on-one meeting. This is the time to express your aspirations and detail your achievements. Be specific about your goals and honest about your qualifications. This will help us make the best match for you.
  • If a job opening doesn’t interest you, or you don’t feel you have the right qualifications, say so upfront. Don’t waste your recruiter’s or your own time by pursuing a position you wouldn’t consider accepting.
  • Answer your recruiter’s requests in a timely fashion. When asked to provide your resume, references or other materials, do so as quickly as possible. This kind of follow-through protects the recruiter’s reputation and can often make the difference as to whether or not you’re considered for an opening.
  • Don’t give up. Sometimes it takes awhile to find the right position for your particular skills and background. That doesn’t mean we’re not working hard on your behalf.
  • Keep your recruiter in the loop. If your career ambitions change for any reason, let us know. This way, you’ll be considered only for the types of jobs that most interest you.

What to do after you land the job.

Sure, landing a new job feels great. But you’ll need to keep that job, too. Follow these simple rules to secure your position with your new employer.

  • Get to know your company. This may seem obvious, but the better you know your company, the more likely you’ll be to succeed. Go beyond your specific job function to develop a broader understanding of the company’s mission and objectives. Just as important, learn the job you’d most like to move up to. Not only will you make a more meaningful contribution to the company’s overall goals, you’ll be in a prime spot to move into the desired position once it becomes available.
  • Learn your company’s expectations and exceed them. Make a point of getting to know your company’s most successful players. Don’t be timid about asking these people for advice on how to move up the corporate ladder. Most will respect you for showing the initiative, and you could gain some valuable mentors.
  • Earn your boss’s respect. Just as it’s important to learn what your company expects from you, you need to understand how you’ll be judged by your immediate boss. Does he or she like to micro-manage? Or, will you be rewarded for taking the initiative? Learn to recognize your boss’s management style and respond to it. If you’re unsure where she or he stands, ask for clarification. And keep in mind, most managers prefer to hear solutions rather than problems.
  • Keep up with industry changes. Follow industry news regularly and attend key conferences to stay on top of new developments. Consider how your own skills qualify you to handle these changes. When you need to acquire additional skills to stay relevant, take the initiative. If your company doesn’t offer educational compensation, consider investing in your own future. Over the course of your career, you’ll most likely earn back whatever you spend.
  • Volunteer within the company and within your industry. Most people underestimate the value of volunteering. Often, one of the quickest ways to gain recognition within a company or industry is to help out on a nonpaid basis. Volunteer to speak at local events to establish yourself as an authority. Take on even small tasks within your company to gain recognition with those who matter. Your efforts are likely to be remembered when the opportunity for a promotion arises.
  • Always speak well of the company. Whether you’re on the clock or not, you’re an unofficial ambassador for your employer. Be careful not to make derogatory remarks about the company in public. You never know when someone with important connections to your company or the industry may be listening.
  • Don’t be afraid to state your opinions. Never go along with others simply to get along. If you feel strongly about an idea, express your opinion in a logical, non-confrontational manner. Just remember, the overriding criteria should always be what’s in the best interest of the company as a whole rather than any individual. That includes you.
  • Nice gets noticed. Just as it’s important to disagree with a bad idea, you should be quick to recognize ideas with merit. Express your praise freely. And always say thank you to those who help you out along the way. They’ll be much more likely to help you again in the future.
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