Why Early Job Experiences Matter

Why Early Job Experiences Matter

 

You might think those early jobs you had like slinging burgers in a fast food location or going door to door with your lawn mower don’t have any effect on your long-term professional life. Maybe you should take a look at the things you gained from those early job experiences.

 

The Benefit of Experience

The only benefit from every job isn’t simply the potential is has to become a bullet point or paragraph on your resume. Sometimes it’s about the experiences you accumulated while you were there.

 

Obviously if you want to become a programmer, standing behind the grill won’t have taught you anything about coding, but it did teach you a few things.

 

What did you learn?

Working in fast food for example requires you to work quickly and efficiently and carefully. (You wouldn’t want to burn yourself!)

 

If you’re behind he counter, you’ll learn all about dealing with difficult customers, how to take ownership of your mistakes if you mess up. You also learn what it means to be a good co-worker.

 

If you did go door-to-door with your lawnmower you learned all kinds of things about scheduling, talking to people, taking control of your own destiny.

 

Every experience impacts the person you become

Sometimes it’s important to re-frame how you look at early jobs and recognize the benefits of the experiences you had there. Learning how to deal well with customers and co-workers, learning to be accountable to yourself and your job are experiences you can apply to everything you do for the rest of your career.

 

Every experience you have contributes to the person you become. Whether you’re conscientious or lazy. Whether you work well with others and are able to ask for help when needed. Whether you become the go-to person or there never-there person.

 

Pay attention to the shape your taking. Embrace what you learn in every situation.

Tip Tuesday: Remember to Smile in Job Interviews!

“I was asked once how we taught all 1700 employees who worked at one property to smile. We didn’t teach anyone anything. Instead, we hired people who were already smiling.” – Arte Nathan

There is a lot of advice floating around the internet about how to be professional & sell yourself to showcase your skills for a job interview. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, often the deciding factor between a job offer and no job offer is your attitude and your personality – it’s if the person interviewing youwants to work with you. Sometimes it can be something as small as a warm smile that will put you ahead of competition!  As much as people will throw around the term “sell” yourself, you need to keep in mind that you’re not a product. You’re a person. Someone who your potential employer will be spending eight hours a day with, five days a week for the foreseeable future. Like anybody, they would much prefer to spend that time with someone they like.

Don’t get us wrong, skills are great – your qualifications are what got you called into an interview in the first place, and they’re important. But you’re there because they know you’re qualified – now they want to figure out what kind of person you are, and how you would fit into the position. Remember, everyone they’re interviewing is qualified. There are twenty people with resumes just as good – or better – than yours in the running. So stand out – this is about you as an individual now, not your skills. Be friendly and authentic, and show them why you in particular deserve the job more than anybody else they’re interviewing.

What do you offer no one else does?

Do your best not to freeze up from the nerves of trying to remember all that advice you’ve heard about handshakes and eye contact and tiny details. Forget all that. Just be confidant, relaxed and natural. Eye contact, smiling, posture and all sorts of other positive body language cues will fall into place naturally if you’re genuinely comfortable and confidant.

So take a deep breath, relax, and remember that your interviewer is a person just like you, and you don’t need to feel intimidated. Treat them like a person – ask them briefly about themselves, maybe joke with them (if the situation is appropriate, you don’t want to appear as if you don’t care – just that you’re confidant, and comfortable enough to show your sense of humor.) Be friendly, smile, show that that you’re both qualified for the position and a generally good person to be around.

If you strike up a good connection with them, they’ll remember you. If you make them laugh, they’ll want to see more of you. When it comes time to consider who gets the position in the end, you can bet you’ll be near the top of that list.

Resume Writing for Beginners (Pt 3): Summary of Job

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Now that you’ve properly formatted your resume and decided on the information to include, it’s time to get down to business and write what you’ve done at each job.

This part is trickier than it sounds. There are two things you have to remember when summarizing your experiences: use bullet points (three to four) for what you did without making it seem like a list of duties and make sure that the description explains why you did it and how it benefited the company – all in one to two sentences.

Here are some rules to follow when summarizing job experiences in your resume:

1) Don’t Make it Sound Like a Job Description:

Your goal is to form a resume that is interesting to read. No employer wants to read a list of job duties. For example, don’t just put: “Stocked shelves”, “Helped customers with purchases”, “Input data on Excel spreadsheet”. This is boring and doesn’t describe the type of person you are or your capabilities and work ethic. Which brings us to the next point…

2) Explain Why You Performed those Duties and How it Helped the Company:

Go beyond listing your job duties and explain how it was beneficial to your (previous) employer. For example, if the majority of your duties was customer service, say something like: “Built professional relationships with customers by recommending products based on their needs which resulted in an increase of returning customers.”

This description isn’t a run-on sentence and it hits all the important points. You performed the job because you had to help customers with the store’s products and understood different people have different needs. You also formed professional relationships, which shows you did more than just answer customer questions. Finally, all your responsibilities led to satisfied customers.

3) Use keywords:

Recruiters and hiring managers receive so many resumes a day that they spend less than 20 seconds going over, (or rather skimming) your resume. When they do this, they’re often looking for the keywords that they’ve placed in the job ad or words related to the position. Make sure you clearly read the job ad. Pick out the important words that are relevant to the position and use those words in your resume.

4) Include numbers and achievements:

Numbers speak volumes on your resume so use them when you can – the higher the better. For example, if you worked in sales, there are many numbers you can use. If there was a sales quota you had to meet, use the weekly quota instead of the daily one because it’s a higher number: “Successfully met weekly sales quota of $10,000 and increased monthly sales by 40%.” Numbers are proof of your work ethic and performance.

Resume Writing for Beginners (Part 1): Resume Formats & Fonts

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If you’re applying to your first job and you have no idea how to begin writing your resume, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve split up this series into two parts. Learn about formatting, fonts and appropriate length a resume in part one.

 

Before we begin, there’s no right or wrong way to write a resume. Some employers prefer a certain format over another. We will help you with the fundamentals and you can decide how you want to lay it out.

 
Resume Format

The format sets up the feel of your resume and is sort of like a first impression of yourself to the employer. For example, if the format is messy and hard to navigate, the employer might think that you are unorganized. However, if all the information on your resume is neatly formatted, it shows responsibility and is overall visually appealing.

 
Margins:

When formatting your resume on the computer, make sure your margins aren’t too wide. People widen their margins so they can fit more information on the page. Just because all your information looks like it fits on one page on the computer, doesn’t mean it will when it’s printed. Sometimes the words might bleed off the page when employers print your resume. To make sure this doesn’t happen, save your resume as a PDF file or do a test print to see what it looks like.

 
Make sure your resume is NEAT!

This means no clutter and lots of white space so employers can easily navigate through it.

Resumes often get tossed in the trash because it looks messy and hard to read at first glance. Everything must be consistent. For example, if your employment dates are italicized, it should be italicized throughout the whole resume. If each previous job title is bold, make sure they’re bold the whole way through.

 

Length of resume:

Nowadays, employers receive so many applications that they don’t have time to look through everything on your resume. People have short attention spans and when they see that a resume is more than two pages long or it’s just way too cluttered with information, they won’t even give it a chance. If you’re just starting out with minimal experience, keep it to one page. After a few years, you can expand it to one and a half to two pages max. Resumes that are more than two pages long are usually the ones that are written for positions such as directors, senior managers, vice presidents or CEOs.

 

Fonts

The type of font you use ties with the neatness and visual appeal of your resume. or is too small, Don’t try to be too fancy

 

Types of font to use on your resume:

Stick to readable fonts like Times New Roman or Arial. If you use a font that is too hard to read such as cursive fonts, the employer will not bother and again, toss your resume into the trash.

 

Font size on your resume:

The safest thing to do is to keep the standard “12 size font”. Eleven or 11.5 size font is acceptable too. Just don’t make it too big or too small. You don’t want to give the hiring manager a hard time looking at it.

 

Part two of Resume Writing for Beginners will be posted tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Tip Tuesday: How to prepare for an ‘in-store’ interview

For those of you who have already scheduled your in-store interview with one of the sales and marketing firms through The Job Window, here are some tips to prepare for the important day. And even if you didn’t apply to any of our job postings but have an upcoming interview, this can be helpful too!

Most of us are familiar with the typical one-on-one job interview in the office, but what about on-site interviews? Although they are very similar, there are some key differences about on-site interviews that are important to remember:

1. Dress appropriately

This goes without saying. Even though you will be interviewed in a big-box retail setting such as Sam’s Club or Costco, it is still a professional environment and you must follow dress code etiquette. Wearing something that is “business professional” is key: blazers, ties, and dress shoes for the gentlemen, pants and a conservative blouse for the ladies. If you are having trouble determining whether something is appropriate to wear to a job interview, a good rule of thumb is to lean towards a more formal, conservative style.

2. Do your research

Nothing turns a manager off more than a candidate coming in without knowing an ounce about their company.  Do your research – plain and simple.  It shows that you are interested in the firm you may be working for as well as the people you will be working alongside with. Even something as simple as reading through the company’s website to gain a better grasp of what they do will give you more confidence in your interview.  It shows the interviewer that you are a person who cares about what they do. Learning about the company and the job will give you confidence when you go in for the interview. When conducting face-to-face customer interaction during road shows, having confidence is essential.

3. Ask questions about the company’s growth

This is related to #2. Firms are ultimately looking for candidates who are able to work from the ground-up and eventually manage road show events one day.  With that said, not only should you ask questions about the company and their products, but how the position you are interviewing for can help you advance within the company.  This shows that you are thinking outside the box and towards the bigger picture.  With the success of road shows, the owners of each firm are looking to expand and promote you as one of their managers in the future.  Asking about growth opportunities, challenges and the negatives and positives of being a manager shows your independence and that you have the drive and self-motivation to rise to the top.

4. Be social

Having a good grasp of social etiquette and conversation skills will help you get the most of your interview. Demonstrating that you have people skills will greatly help you in the in-store interview. Unlike the typical office interview where you have one or two people interviewing you, the on-site interview will be interactive with the reps and customers.  This is where your social game comes into play.  Mingling and engaging in small talk is an easy way to do this. Part of the job is to be friendly and have the ability to communicate with customers and your manager effectively.  Remember to be polite to everybody you meet in the store, not just the interviewer.  Word gets around so you want to maintain as good of a reputation as possible.