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Dressing for Success

No matter how cliche it may sound, you never do get a second chance to make a first impression. What you wear to an interview tells the person you are speaking with a lot about you. It demonstrates your decision making, and it helps them see how you will fit in amongst the rest of their team. The hiring manager knows that during an interview you are presenting your best version of yourself – so while there is some understanding for small faux pas, there are some generally accepted style expectations.

Here are some things to consider when deciding what to wear to your interview.

Casual & General Labor

Whether you are interviewing for a dishwashing job, general labor position, or a job in a warehouse, you still need to put your best foot forward. You want an employer to be focused entirely on what you say and your skills, not the wrinkly shirt, torn up pants, or unkempt hair and hygiene.

Business Casual

The most predominant style across the workforce would be described as business casual. This classification of attire creates a professional yet approachable image which is why it is commonly used in businesses. As long as you avoid jeans, tee-shirts, sneakers, and overdressing, you are likely hitting the mark.

Professional

There are still many industries that expect their team members to step-up their appearance by wearing the more traditional suit. This style conveys confidence, professionalism, and power. This is most popular in sales, finance, and executive positions.

Creative

There are times when the best approach is to show more of your creative side. Think of positions like marketing, high-tech firms, or innovative start-ups. These companies are looking for ingenuity, flair, excitement, creativity, and style. Forward-looking organizations want their teams to present a trendy vibe that matches the overall organizational image.

Don’t Overthink It

While we may have outlined some common acceptable style choices, it is important to not overthink it. Obsessing over how to dress may only cause you more anxiety about the process, and what matters most of all are the skills and qualifications you will bring to the job. If trying to paint yourself into a box is overwhelming, perhaps your best course of action is to focus on what things you should always avoid.

No matter how casual a position is, or how many amazing skills you bring to the table, there are some style choices that should always be avoided. Heavy make-up and cologne are two things we see regularly. You want to make sure all the attention is on what you say, not your appearance or smell. You also want to avoid coming across as if you don’t take the process seriously by being underdressed or not practicing proper hygiene.

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Acing the Virtual Interview


Landing an interview for the job you want feels amazing… until you start overthinking the interview process, and the panic sets in: what if I mess up and say the wrong thing? What if it doesn’t work out?  The thought of interviewing for a job can feel intimidating, but with a little preparation and a healthy dose of effective communication, you can set the scene for a great experience. While virtual interviews can present some unique challenges, following these tips will help you overcome them and allow you to make a great first impression:

Clarify the Plan

When scheduling the interview, make sure you’re clear on the procedure. Will the interview take place via Skype, Zoom, or some other platform? Will you need any information, such as a password, to gain access to the meeting? Knowing what to expect will give you peace of mind and help you prepare appropriately.

Test Your Tech

If you need to download a platform such as Skype for your interview, be sure to do it well in advance so that you are ready to go on the day of your interview. If you already have the software you need, or the interview will take place via an online platform, check to see if any updates are needed for the software or your browser to make sure you’re not surprised by any glitches at an inconvenient time. If possible, do a trial run to make sure everything is operating as it should. That way, you won’t have to stress about tech issues on top of normal interview jitters!

Assess Your Surroundings

Once you’ve decided what space you’re going to do your interview in, assess your surroundings. What will be within your webcam’s field of view? Tidy up any spaces that your interviewer will be able to see. No one is judging you for that pile of laundry you haven’t quite gotten around to folding yet, or that stack of mail piling up on the coffee table – we’ve all been there. However, you want your interviewer’s attention entirely focused on you and all the things that make you a great fit for the job, so for the sake of minimizing distractions, simply move any such things out of view. Also ensure that there is adequate lighting so that your interviewer can see you – fuzzy visuals can make it very challenging to focus.

Hone Your Personal Presentation

As casual as things may feel when you’re sitting on the computer at your dining room table, don’t forget that a virtual interview is still a professional meeting and should be treated as such. Dress as professionally as you would for a normal in-person interview – it will not only help you make a great first impression, but it will also help give you confidence as you interact with your potential employer. Maintain positive body language by sitting up straight and making sure that your facial expression conveys that you are engaged in and interested in the conversation. Sometimes the audio quality of virtual meetings isn’t great, so it is important to speak clearly and concisely and minimize background noise to ensure that you are heard correctly. If for any reason during your interview there is a bad connection on either end, work with the interviewer to reschedule.

Know Your Stuff

Just like you would with any other interview, prepare yourself to talk about your strengths and experience in relation to the job requirements and have a list of good questions. One of the best ways to do this is to review the job description and conduct a bit of research on the company before your interview. You may even want to practice answering some common interview questions to give you an even stronger sense of preparedness for your interview. Ultimately, your interviewer just wants to get to know you and learn more about the amazing things you bring to the world of work – so be yourself, be positive, make it clear that you’re excited about the opportunity – and go ace that virtual interview!

Let Manpower Help You Make a Great Impression!

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Tips to Thrive – Mastering the Interview

Interviewing is an important part of the job search process, and there are some very simple things you can do to improve your success. Follow these practical tips and you will be well on your way to mastering the interview!

Practice Active Listening

Many people get nervous about interviewing, and when you’re nervous, you may spend more time thinking about how you’ll respond to someone than truly listening to what they’re saying. To avoid missing out on important details that your interviewer is providing, make a conscious effort to focus on what is being said. This will help you both feel more connected and engaged in the interview process.

Be Honest

Everyone wants to impress in the interview – but be careful not to cross the line between putting your best foot forward and misrepresenting yourself. If you feel it is necessary to exaggerate or lie to land a job, it is likely that the role you’re trying to take on won’t be the right fit. Set yourself up for success by being authentic, and the right doors will open to you.

Ask Questions

Don’t forget that you’re also a decision maker in the interviewing process! Ask questions that will help you get the information you need to decide if this is a company you want to work for. Questions about the job itself and the workplace culture are excellent places to start, but you will want to tailor your questions depending on what is most important to you in a job.

 

Stay Positive

Over the course of a job interview, you may decide that the position isn’t the right fit for you – and that is totally okay. Make sure that you still end things on a positive note by letting the company know that you appreciated their time and the opportunity to learn about their job opening. You may not be interested in this job, but the company may have future openings that you’re better suited for.

Want more tips to help you thrive in the world of work? Click below.

     

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Ask Manpower: Following Up After The Interview

Ask Manpower:

I had an interview at a company I really want to work for, and I left feeling good about how it went – but it has been a couple of weeks and I haven’t heard back. Would it be appropriate to reach out to them?

Congratulations on securing an interview – that in and of itself is an accomplishment to be proud of. Chances are if you left feeling positive about how it went, then more than likely you made a genuine connection with the job, the company, and the person interviewing and that is no small fete. Waiting to hear back about a job that you are interested in can be nerve-wracking – but there are a few things you can do throughout the interview process to help.

Inquire upfront about their timeline.

Make sure you are entering into an interview with the understanding that it is a dialogue. All too often job seekers go into an interview thinking that the employer is the only one making a decision. Not only is the employer trying to decide if you have the skills, experience, and will work well with their team – you should be trying to make decisions of your own. Is this where you want to be, what you want to do, and who you want to work with? The answers can be uncovered by asking the right questions in your interview, one of which should be inquiring about their hiring timeline. By asking about their timeline, you will get insight into their process and potentially on their overall culture. Do they drag their feet making decisions? Are they impulsive in their choices? These are some insights into organizational thought processes and employment stability.

Make the most of your thank you email.

If you aren’t doing so already, be sure to send a thank you email after each interview you have – even if you have decided that position isn’t right for you. Letting a hiring manager know you are appreciative of their time and formally notifying them of your interest moving forward is always appreciated. You can also use this thank you email to ask if they have any other questions that you may be able to answer for them to help them in their decision-making process and get clarity on next steps. A thank you email should be brief, to the point, and preferably sent after 1 or 2 business days – which is a reasonable timeframe to demonstrate that you are not just going through the motions, but really took the time to reflect on your meeting with them.

Send an appropriate and well-timed follow up.

Hopefully you have followed the recommendations above and that has allowed you a window into the employer’s projected timeline. If so, you will easily know when a good time to follow up is. Let’s say the employer noted that they had a couple more interviews this week and plan to follow up with candidates early next week; your best course of action is to follow up by phone or email in the middle of that next week, and gently ask if they have made any decisions. If the timeline was more fluid or nebulous it is generally safe to follow up after two weeks. Hiring processes can take time and sometimes a job opening could even be placed on hold. For example, with all that is going on in the world around us, employers may be preparing for anticipated needs or have experienced an unexpected business interruption. Following up with an employer for a status update is perfectly acceptable, but you want to be careful of coming across as pushy or desperate, as it can leave a negative impression.

Continue your job search.

You have heard the expression that you shouldn’t ‘put all your eggs in one basket’ and your career is a terrific example of that. No matter how intriguing a particular opportunity is, or how well you think an interview went, it is in your best interest to continue to search with as much tenacity as if you had no viable job prospects. You do not want to leave anything to chance, and with so many other people out there looking for work right now, it is quite possible that no matter how stellar of a candidate you are, you may be the second choice for the job. The best way to control the overall outcome of your job search is to keep putting your eggs in different baskets until one fully hatches.

Let Manpower Help You Make A Great Impression!

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Tips to Thrive – Career Development

Growing your career is an exciting but sometimes confusing process. If you’re just starting out or are trying to break into a new field, navigating next steps can be especially tricky. Follow the tips below to get yourself on the path to career growth, no matter where you’re starting out!

Never Stop Learning

One of the best ways to avoid stagnancy and keep your skills growing is to make a habit of seeking out new learning opportunities. Does your employer, area career center, or local adult education offer any training programs that may be of interest? Do you have a friend that is well-versed in a software program that could help you advance in your job? You’ll see learning opportunities everywhere if you are looking for them.

Say Yes to New Opportunities

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and take on new projects, experiences, or responsibilities when are they presented to you. Conquering new challenges not only builds confidence, it can also help you discover new strengths and uncover exciting opportunities you may not even have considered yet!

Tap into Your Network

Do you know someone who is working in a field you’d love to get into? Reach out! Getting more information about how they got started and what kind of experience was needed can help you figure out what steps you need to take to reach your goals. If they know you well enough to vouch for your work ethic and dependability, they may even be willing to give you a referral!

 

Ask For (and Accept) Feedback

Constructive criticism is a powerful professional development tool, because it provides you with insight on yourself that you may not have been able to obtain otherwise. Ask your supervisor for feedback periodically, and don’t get defensive if it is difficult to hear – remember, they want you to succeed! Pause, reflect on the feedback, and ask clarifying questions if needed.

Want more tips to help you thrive in the world of work? Click below.

 

     

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Soft Skills Learned Through Customer Service

There is much to be learned at any job you hold in your life. Skills that can be incredibly useful in a number of future professions. Whether working in retail, hospitality, food service, or in a call center – when you are serving customers, you are learning skills that are highly desired by any company.

Here are some of the most sought-after skills you will gain from a job in customer service.

Listening

Active listening is a skill that will help you in any position you ever hold. When we say active listening, we mean that you are truly using both ears to hear the message that another is conveying. All too often, people listen merely to respond instead of listening to understand, process, and move forward. When dealing with customers you are listening for a number of things – their needs, their concerns, their frustrations, and their expectations.

Communication

Effective communication is key to long-term success. It is not just about being able to speak, it is about being able to clearly, appropriately, and confidently get a message to the intended recipients. Communication is not limited to just speaking, it is conveyed through writing, your tone of voice, your choice of words, and your body language.

Problem-Solving

Issues that people have can range from simple to extraordinarily complex. Being able to ask the right questions, identify the problem, and then troubleshoot the challenges to identify a solution is a skill that every employer is looking for. Companies want to know that their team members can think both inside and outside of the box to meet their customers’ needs. That ability stems from people’s ability to use their critical thinking skills.

Adaptability

Change is the only constant. If you are planning on things always staying the same, or are stuck in the habit of thinking the way you have always done things will always be the best way, you are setting yourself up for failure. All things evolve, which means that you need to demonstrate adaptability. Staying flexible, opening your mind to new ideas, and keeping your skills fresh will serve you well in any job you ever hold.

Time Management

Competing priorities, hard deadlines, and time-wasters impact us all. Being able to effectively manage your minutes will help keep you on track and demonstrate your value. Once you are able to quickly identify the objective, provide exceptional service while remaining efficient, and plan your work out accordingly, you will notice an increase in both productivity and satisfaction.

Increase Your Service Skills

It is never too late to increase your customer service skills. Whether you take on a new job, pick up a volunteer opportunity, or simply recognize who your current customer is (even within your organization) – you can reflect on and refine your skills. Start today!

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Health Benefits Work Brings to Your Life

While most people primarily view work as an income generator, have you considered the overall health benefits that the act of working brings to your life? So much of who we are and how we spend our time is wrapped into our profession that it stands to reason that it has an impact on overall well-being.

Here are some of the great benefits working brings to your life.

Physical Wellbeing

Just being able to get out of the house and participate in the act of working provides tremendous health benefits. Even if you have a job that puts you behind a desk or standing in the same place for long periods, you are still getting physical benefits you may not get otherwise. If you want to increase those benefits, consider parking further away from the entrance, getting some additional steps throughout the day by taking a walk, or finding other creative ways to stay active.

Emotional Wellness

A key to emotional wellness is feeling secure both financially and socially. When you work, you are not only contributing to your financial security; often times you are also socially interacting with co-workers, clients, or patrons. This interaction helps you emotionally by fulfilling the natural and instinctive need to be connected to others.

Increased Self Esteem

Everyone wants to feel successful – success and confidence help to build an individual’s self-esteem. An honest day’s work is undoubtedly an esteemable activity that will help you recognize that you have unique and valuable skills, are capable of delivering positive results, and are working to meet your own personal needs.

Social Acceptance

How many times have you been asked what you do for work? It is a natural icebreaker when meeting someone new. Work is such a big part of people’s lives and often a good portion of their identity is wrapped into their work. In addition to that, in developed countries having employment is considered a social norm which leads to acceptance. When you build positive and healthy relationships at work and are a contributing member of a team, you are gaining social acceptance which provides psychosocial benefits.

Financial Security

At the end of the day we all need to be able to put food on the table, pay our bills, and hopefully have enough left over to enjoy other luxuries in life, such as going to a movie or buying that new car you have had your eyes on. By having a steady paycheck, you are working towards financial stability. Knowing where your next paycheck is coming from will alleviate a good deal of stress from your life. Reducing stress is shown to have a great impact on your overall health.

But What If Your Current Job Isn’t Working Out

The truth is not every job is right for every person. This means you could find yourself unhappy, disengaged, burned out, and potentially even finding yourself physically ill more often. If that is the case you should consider making a change. Change can be scary, but you must weigh the benefits of making a career shift. If your work is suffering because you are unhappy, is it helping you build a strong professional reputation? If all your vacation time is going to sick days, is that allowing you to get the mental break you need? Is your homelife suffering because you aren’t able to check your stress at the door? If so, the benefits of making a change will likely outweigh sticking it out.

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Tips to Thrive – Build Your Resume

Your resume should be an ongoing work in progress. What that means is that to thrive in the world of work, you always want to be thinking about how you are growing your professional skills and how they factor into your resume. Every job provides learning and growth opportunities, and it is up to you to recognize those opportunities and take advantage of them.

Say Yes to Opportunities

Whether you are asked to take on new responsibilities, participate in a training, or shift departments, you should consider each opportunity that is put in front of you. While not every opportunity will be right for you, don’t allow yourself to be so risk averse that you fail to seize an opportunity for growth.

Acknowledge All Growth

Redwood trees didn’t grow overnight, and neither will your professional skillset. All growth is incremental, and you need to acknowledge the seemingly inconsequential improvements you make. Success is built one step at a time and every step forward you take is something to be recognized.

Embrace Change

The only constant is change, and learning how to quickly embrace it will set you apart from all the rest. When a change presents itself, don’t wallow in what once was – instead, be the one leaning in and moving forward. Change can be scary because there are so many unknowns, but if you embrace it and commit to being successful no matter what, you will thrive.

 

Keep a Success Journal

Chances are you experience several professional wins and successes throughout the year. It is also likely that you celebrate those successes very briefly, move on quickly, and tend to forget about them. Keeping a journal where you record professional successes will not only provide you with a motivator when times get tough, it will also be helpful should you need to recall them for someone else.

 

Keep Your Resume Up to Date

Sometimes people forget that their resume is a living and breathing document, and they tend to only dust it off when they find themselves looking for a new job. Unless you are actively looking for work, it is a good idea to review and update your resume every six to twelve months. Keeping your resume up to date allows you to really reflect on your professional accomplishments and highlight the most notable ones.

Want more tips to help you thrive in the world of work? Click below.

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Make Your Resume Work For You

Resumes are to job seeking as tires are to cars. They are a core component to helping move you forward. They need regular updating and maintenance, and there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. Knowing this, what can you do to ensure that your resume is working for you?

Less is More

One of the most common misconceptions about resumes is that they should be an exhaustive list of all your accomplishments and professional history. In actuality, a resume should be a brief advertisement that creates just enough intrigue for the reader to call you in for an interview. When preparing a resume you want to be clear, succinct, and focus on the past 10 years of work experience. Naturally, you want to highlight all of your accomplishments to help you showcase all that you bring to the table, but the reality is that less is more, and paring your resume down to no more than two pages is going to help ensure that your resume is more likely to be well-received.

Formatting Matters

You may wonder how you can stand out in a stack of 8.5 x 11in sheets of paper that all look the same – well, it is important to note that gimmicks are unlikely to help. When developing your resume, it is best to stick with traditional formatting. While you want to be noticed, stand out, and be remembered – you want that to happen for all the right reasons. Avoid using flashy fonts, colors, and images, and have trust that the content is what makes a difference.

Keep it Relevant

When preparing your resume, you should always design it for the reader. While you want to showcase your talents and skills, you must consider which of your many talents is most relevant to the job you are applying to, and the person reviewing your resume. Due to the sheer volume of resumes that an employer receives for any given position, chances are they are quickly scanning through them, seeking out certain keywords to narrow the stack down to just a couple that they are interested in speaking with. By focusing only on your relevant skills, you are greatly increasing the likelihood of being moved into the ‘yes’ pile.

Qualification Summary

It used to be that all resumes contained a section at the top called the objective. This was a simple section where an applicant would describe their career interests and goals. While a feel-good section, ultimately it never really spoke to the employer. It is said that you need to capture the reader’s attention in the first 3rd of your resume – and the best way to do that is by including a brief qualifications summary. This is where you can immediately call attention to why they should read on and consider you for the job.

Proofread

It seems that something so simple shouldn’t need to be said, but proofreading is a critical step in the resume process. Not only should you be reviewing your resume for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and relevancy – you should also rely on a trusted friend to proofread for you as well. Having that second set of eyes can make a world of difference. When someone proofreads their own writing it is easy to miss something important because you are prone to focus more on what your thoughts are versus the actual mechanics of what was written. In addition to proofreading for traditional errors, you also want to double-check that you have provided accurate and appropriate contact information.

Would You Call Yourself To Interview?

In closing, before you hit send, ask yourself – “would I call myself in for an interview?” If for any reason you are hesitant to say yes, that may signal that you need to make some adjustments to the content of your resume or possibly consider if this job is even a good fit. Remember, not every job is right for every person. Your goal is to seek out and apply to jobs that you can be successful in.