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Provisional Blog

Laid Off? Get Back on Track with These 6 Steps

June 19th, 2018

Professionally speaking, getting laid off is probably one of the worst experiences. It’s bad enough when you know it’s coming. But when you’re blindsided by it, it can be traumatizing. Not only that, but there’s a sense of powerlessness about the situation that can be difficult to manage through.

Take heart though. People with all levels of experience and in all different industries have been in your shoes and recovered successfully. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that many even find themselves in positions and industries that are better-suited for them than the original job they had. But to get there, you have some work to do.

Here are some tips getting back on your feet and getting your career back on track in the weeks and months ahead.

Start the unemployment insurance process.

Don’t wait to file for unemployment. You might have a job in a few weeks, but you never know. It’s important to take every precaution in this situation and get this process rolling. It might take a while due to red tape, so you don’t want to delay.

Know your benefits and your rights.

If you’re being offered severance pay or are taking advantage of COBRA insurance, read the fine print so you understand what you’re being offered by your former employer. Also, if you believe you were let go illegally, signing a document often revokes your right to sue. So also make sure you understand the legality of the situation before signing on the dotted line.

Notify your network.

Connect with friends, family and former colleagues to let them know the situation and that you’re officially on the job market. If you know someone who works at a company you’re interested in, contact them and inquire about any job openings they know about. Not only will they be able to alert you to current opportunities, but ones that open up in the short-term future.

Get a budget going.

Once you know your severance and unemployment benefits, you can get a better sense of your financial picture and where you stand. With that information in place, you can then create a budget. What areas do you need to cut back in? What daily or monthly non-essential financial obligations can you put on hold at least until you find a job (e.g. gym membership, cable provider, etc.)? With this information and a plan in place, you’ll know what you can spend and gain more peace of mind as a result.

Jump start your job search.

Before you start looking for a new job, think about your career goals and what you want out of your next employer and position. That way, you’ll be able to focus on those opportunities that are a fit for you. Once you’re ready to get going, make sure you:

  • Polish your resume and tailor it to each opportunity you apply to
  • Create or update your LinkedIn profile so you can put your best foot forward online
  • Network both online and in person at seminars, career fairs, industry events, alumni affairs and other places that can help you get your foot in the door with your next employer
  • Practice your answers to common interview questions before an interview

Be patient.

Job searches are difficult, especially when they’re unexpected. But make an effort to keep yourself on a schedule each day and avoid the temptation to lay on the couch or wallow in self-pity. Instead, be patient with the process, be kind to yourself, seek out sources of inspiration, surround yourself with positive people, and put plenty of time and effort into your job search. It will pay off in the end.

Interested in professional employment help?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we’ve placed more than 8,000 professionals with leading local employers since 1994. And we can help you find a new job too! Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

4 Reasons You’re Not Getting the Job

June 5th, 2018

When it comes to the job search, there are many factors that are outside your control, from the strength of other candidates to the preferences of hiring managers. However, you do have a lot more influence over the process than you think. And if you’re making a few simple mistakes, they could be getting in the way of your efforts to land the position you want.

That’s where Provisional can help. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we’ve put together a few tips to help you learn about these errors and how to overcome each one:

You’re spreading your efforts too thin.

Applying for every job that sounds good isn’t a solid job search strategy. Instead, you should be applying only to those positions that are the right match for you and your background. That way, you can spend more time tailoring your resume and cover letter to the specific opportunity and raise your chances of getting called for an offer.

You’re not networking.

When it comes to finding a new job, one of the best ways is through networking. However, many candidates are hesitant to invest a lot of time in the process. But many positions on the market aren’t advertised and so you’ll never know about them unless you have an inside connection. That’s where networking can help and pay off in the form of more job leads and interviews.

You’re not following directions.

Hiring managers are particular about how they want resumes and cover letters submitted. And if you don’t follow their directions, you’re going to make a bad impression. They’ll automatically think that if you can’t follow instructions from a posting, you won’t be able to handle the challenges of the role.

You’re not preparing for interviews.

Before you go to an interview, there are a number of steps you need to take in order to prepare. If you don’t, you’ll come off as unprofessional and unqualified. These include researching the company and practicing your answers to common interview questions. It also includes preparing a list of examples of your past accomplishments and track record that you can weave into your responses.

These are all just a few examples of why you’re not getting offers for interviews or for jobs. While there are many others, there is one step you can take to increase your odds of finding the right-fit position, faster: call in the professionals at Provisional.

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can work directly with you to craft a great resume, prepare you for job interviews, and match you with opportunities that are a great match for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

How to Follow Up After Job Interview (Without Annoying the Hiring Manager)

May 15th, 2018

You interviewed for a job and thought you’d get an offer. But now it’s been weeks and you’ve heard nothing back. Are you supposed to follow up? Or should you just wait it out?

For candidates, it can always be a tough call. To help you handle the process with care, here are a few tips to keep in mind from Provisional – one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA – when it comes to interviews and following up:

Always ask next steps before leaving an interview.

While it’s too late for the current opportunity you’re waiting to hear back about, in the future, always ask about next steps before leaving an interview. Simply say:

“Can you tell me your timeline for next steps? When can I expect to hear back?”

That way, you’ll have a better sense of when the hiring manager plans to make a decision. If they said it would take a week and it’s been two, then you know it’s appropriate to follow up. You don’t need to sit around and wait.

Manage your expectations.

That said, when it comes to the hiring process, it can often take a lot longer than most candidates – and even hiring managers – expect. A manager might have every intention of making a decision in a week. But then delays happen, tripping up the process and adding days or even weeks to it.

So keep your expectations realistic. If a hiring manager says they’ll get back to you Monday and it’s now Tuesday, don’t start pestering them with emails asking about the status of the position. Instead, wait a week and then follow up. If they want to contact you before then, they will.

Be polite and professional.

If you don’t know when the hiring manager will make a decision, but it’s been well over a week since your interview and you haven’t heard anything, then go ahead and follow up. When it comes to sending your email, always be cordial and never pushy. Even if the hiring manager promised a call in two days and it’s now day eight, it’s important to be diplomatic. You can say something like:

“Hi Mike, I hope you’re doing well. I know you mentioned at our last interview you’d be finalizing a hiring decision soon. I’m eager to here if there’s been any progress made. If you need any additional information from me, don’t hesitate to let me know. Thanks so much for your time.”

Know when it’s time to move on.

If you’re being considered for the job, hopefully the hiring manager will be able to give you some information on next steps. If, however, you don’t hear back at all, then it’s time to move on. While silence isn’t the answer you want, it’s still an answer. And it’s best to invest your time and energy into finding the right opportunity rather than sitting around and waiting to hear back.

Ready for professional help finding your next job?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can assist you with every step of the job search process, from resume and cover letter writing to job leads and interviews. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

Looking for a New Job? Don’t Make These Networking Mistakes

May 1st, 2018

You know that networking is an important part of your job search. In fact, it’s how most new positions are found. However, if you’re making a few common mistakes, then you’re not getting the most from your efforts. What are they – and how do you avoid them? As one of the top employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Provisional has the answers you need. Here’s a look:

Mistake #1: Not staying in touch.

You have a network of contacts, but how often do you stay in touch? If it’s not often, or not at all, then you’re not leveraging the power of networking. Networking does take time and effort, but it’s an activity that will pay off in the form of more job leads and connections to hiring managers. So it’s well worth the work you put into it. Some ways to stay in touch include sending out emails with articles of interest, inviting contacts to breakfast, lunch or happy hour, and connecting with them on social media and conversing with them there.

Mistake #2: Not networking in person.

When it comes to networking, it shouldn’t be all online. While it might be easier and more convenient, there’s still a lot of value in face-to-face contact. So don’t avoid those industry events, conferences and other opportunities to meet up with new people in person. When you make the effort, you can typically forge a stronger tie than when you simply communicate online or via email.

Mistake #3: Only networking in person.

On the flip side, you shouldn’t just be networking in person. If you are, you’re missing out on a whole world of potential contacts and interesting opportunities online. Your first place to start should be LinkedIn. Make sure you have a polished profile and begin making connections there. Also look for trade groups, industry organizations and professional groups you can join and connect with others in your field.

Mistake #4: Asking for favors and not offering help.

The last thing you should do when you make a new connection is ask for a favor. This is a big turn off. However, one way to facilitate stronger ties and a more valuable network is to offer to help. That way, when you do ask for job search help down the line, people will be more than happy to give it. So don’t look at networking only as a way to get what you want; it’s also an opportunity to help others in their careers too.

Ready to network your way into a new job?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, we can offer you access to a variety of rewarding job opportunities in accounting, healthcare, legal, technical, and office fields. We’ll work to get to know your background, skills and experience, all so we can connect you with the best-fit job. Contact Provisional today to learn more.

5 Mistakes New Grads Make When Searching for Jobs

April 17th, 2018

You graduated. Congratulations! As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that now comes the hard part: finding your first job. While the thought of entering the workforce for the first time can be overwhelming, there are steps you can take to make the process a little easier. At the same time, there are also mistakes you could make that can sabotage your efforts. To ensure that doesn’t happen to you, here’s a look at a few of them:

#1: Taking the summer off.

You might want to take time off after graduation to relax. But if you do, you could miss out on a potentially great-fit opportunity. It might be a few weeks until you graduate. But don’t let that stop you from starting your search. It’s going to take some time to create a polished resume and find opportunities that seem like the right fit for you.

#2: Sending in a confusing or long-winded resume.

Your resume needs to be sharp and clear. It should also be tailored for every position you apply to. If, however, yours is complicated, hard-to-read, or doesn’t come across as organized and well-structured, it’s not going to be effective.

#3: Only searching online.

Online job boards are a good place to start, but they shouldn’t be your only source for job leads. After all, it’s easy for everyone to find out about jobs online, which means hiring managers and recruiters receive tons of applications from candidates. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of other avenues of finding a job, such as resources your college offers, by networking in person and online, and by working with a professional employment firm in Spokane, like Provisional.

#4: Applying for jobs you’re not qualified for.

When you come across what sounds like a dream job, you might be tempted to apply, even if it’s totally out of reach. For instance, it requires five or more years of experience and you have none. If you do apply, though, you likely won’t hear back, which can impact your confidence level. Instead, it’s always best to invest your efforts into applying for positions you are qualified for and have a chance at securing.

#5: Being unprepared or late for interviews.

Getting an interview is an important step in your job search process; make sure you treat it like one by taking it seriously, preparing thoroughly, and acting professionally. If you show up late, unprepared or dressed in inappropriate attire, you’ll only sabotage your efforts in landing the job.

To avoid this, dig deep into the company background and learn all you can through their website, social media accounts and news articles. Also, make sure you dress in professional attire and give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview location. These are seemingly small details that can impact your ability to secure the first job you want.

Clearly, there’s a lot that goes into finding your first job. If you’d like professional help with the process, call in the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every step of the job search process, from resume and cover letter writing to finding job leads and getting interviews. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

What to Do Before Your Next Big Phone Interview

March 6th, 2018

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that in today’s world, most employers conduct phone interviews before in-person ones. During them, you don’t have to worry too much about your handshake and whether you make enough eye contact. But, there is still plenty of work that needs to go into each one. So what should you do ahead of your phone interview to help you ace it? Here are some tips to help you:

Learn all you can about the company.

Read through the company website. Conduct research online. Look for news articles and information about the organization in the local media. This will help you to learn as much as possible about the company, their core offerings, and the people they serve. Not only will you be able to answer questions more intelligently as a result, but it will also enable you to make a more lasting impression on the hiring manager.

Evaluate the job description.

Once you get to know all you can about the company, it’s time to dig into the details of their needs for the position they’ve posted. So read through the job description several times. Make a note of the strengths, skills and requirements that seem most important for the job. Then align your background and skill set with them, so you can talk about what makes you the best fit for the job during the phone interview. Be ready with specific examples of accomplishments that tout your abilities.

Take notes.

The beauty of phone interviews is that the hiring manager can’t see you. So you can jot down notes about your career achievements and highlights that are most important to discuss, then keep them by your side during the interview. Don’t follow it as you would a script. Simply use it to prompt your memory so you don’t forget to mention any pertinent details.

Prepare your space.

Before your interview, make sure you have a space prepared with a notebook and pen so you can write down important information during the interview, or a question that you need to circle back to. Also, keep a glass of water handy, since you’ll be doing a lot of talking. Finally, even though the hiring manager can’t see you, be mindful of your body language. Sit up, smile and remember to breathe. When you do, you’ll make a far better impression and hopefully get a call back for another interview.

Need more help finding your next great job in Spokane, WA?

Call Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search, from interviews to finding great-fit opportunities. In fact, we’ve placed more than 8,000 direct hire employees with leading local employers since 1994. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

Why is a Cover Letter Important?

February 20th, 2018

You know that your resume is vitally important to the job search process. But did you also know that your cover letter is important too? As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that for many candidates, though, it’s an afterthought. They focus all of their efforts on their resume and give minimal attention to the cover letter that accompanies it.

However, in many cases, hiring managers put a lot of weight on a cover letter for a few different reasons:

  • It’s hard to get a sense of the person behind the resume. But a cover letter gives more insight into a candidate’s personality.
  • It gives each candidate an opportunity to set themselves apart by explaining why they want work at a particular company or why they think they’d be a good fit for a position.
  • It also enables a hiring manager to tell whether a particular candidate did their homework. They want to know, for instance, that you have a solid overview of the company and what the needs are for the position.

So now that you know why a cover letter is so important, what can you do to ensure you make the best impression possible with yours? Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Do some research. Get to know the employer and as much as you can about the position they’re hiring for. That way, you’ll be able to write more intelligently about why you’re a good fit in your cover letter.
  • Think about why you want to work there. One great way to stand out with your cover letter is to tell a story. You can do that by talking about the company and why you want to work there. Get into specific details about what in your background would make you a fit for the position and the company.
  • Talk about the value you can offer. Hiring managers want to know what’s in it for them. In other words, what can you offer to a potential employer and why should they hire you over another candidate. So connect the dots for them. Play up your skills and experience that are most relevant to the position and the employer, and how those will enable you to hit the ground running in the job.

Need more help with your cover letter or resume?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can work directly with you to craft a great resume, prepare you for job interviews, and match you with opportunities that are a great fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

What Recruiters Look for on Your Social Media Accounts

February 6th, 2018

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that when it comes to hiring, recruiters have a variety of different ways they vet candidates. In today’s world, one of those is by searching social media accounts. This helps them to gain more insight into each candidate so they can make a more confident hiring decision. And in fact, according to a Jobvite survey, 55% of recruiters reconsidered a decision based on a candidate’s social media profiles.

So what do recruiters look for? Here’s some insight:

Your images.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And that’s true even on social media. When a recruiter gets to your profile page, that’s one of the first elements they’re going to be looking at, and they can either deter or impress them. Make sure you do the latter with a professional headshot that paints you in a positive light. Also, avoid posting any inappropriate photos, even if it’s on personal profiles.

Your connections.

Recruiters are also interested in who you know. If you share a mutual connection, it can certainly make an impression on them. Likewise, if you’re connected with many highly reputable professionals in your field, it will also stand out to a hiring manager. On the flip side, if you only have a couple of connections, it will be a red flag to potential employers. So aim to expand your network.

Your personality.

During an interview and in the application process, most candidates come off as completely professional and polished. But a look at social media profiles can give recruiters some insight into what’s really behind the candidate mask. When it comes to your profile, it should certainly be infused with your own unique personality; however, it should also always be professional and respectful toward others.

Beyond the areas above, recruiters also look for any warning signs in your background that could signal a potential hiring mistake. Some of these include:

  • Inappropriate images, including those with drugs and alcohol
  • Profanity
  • Poor grammar and spelling
  • Making sexual references

When it comes to posting on social media, the best rule of thumb to follow is that if you’d be embarrassed for your family to see it, then don’t post it. Chances are, you wouldn’t want a recruiter to see it either.

If you’d like more expert tips and advice with your job search, contact Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you craft a great resume, polish your interviewing skills, and land the job you want! Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

5 Signs Your Resume Needs Work

January 16th, 2018

Looking for a new job? As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows you need a resume that’s going to position your background in the best light possible. If yours doesn’t, then you’re not going to get called in for an interview. How can you tell? Look for these signs that your resume needs work:

#1: You’re applying for jobs you’re qualified for…but aren’t hearing back.

You have the skills and experience to do all the jobs you’re applying for. But your resume seems to have entered a resume black hole. Sound familiar? If it does, then the problem isn’t your background, but how you’re representing it on your resume. So, take another look at it before sending it out again and make sure you are highlighting your strengths, following directions and job postings, and formatting the document properly.

#2: It’s more than three pages.

When it comes to your resume, stick to two pages or less. If you’re a brand new graduate or have limited work experience, it should be a page. Anything more than that is overkill, especially when you consider the fact that hiring managers only spend a few minutes reviewing resumes. So if your resume goes beyond a page or two, it’s time to revisit it and pare it down.

#3: You’re sending the same resume to every employer.

At its core, the resume you send to each employer is likely the same or similar. However, you should still be customizing it for each unique position you’re applying to. That means reviewing the job posting ahead of time and making sure your approach and the language you use best aligns with the particular position you are applying to.

#4: You only spent a few minutes creating a resume.

Your resume is your ticket into the interview process. It needs to be well thought out, as well as polished and professional. If it’s not, then that’s going to come through loud and clear to a hiring manager. So before you start sending out more resumes, take a step back and evaluate yours. Then invest the time needed to make it as strong as possible.

#5: You don’t think your resume really represents you well.

Resumes are hard to write. However, it’s vitally important to ensure the document you send to potential employers highlights your skills and abilities, and persuades them to call you for an interview. So if you don’t think your resume does a good job of representing you and the results you’re able to deliver, then it’s time to rework it.

Do you need more help creating a resume that gets better results?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search, including crafting and polishing your resume for better results. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

8 Tips for Getting Your Resume Ready for Your 2018 Job Search

January 2nd, 2018

Looking for new jobs in Spokane, WA in the New Year? Before you launch your search, you need to ensure your resume is ready for employers and recruiters alike. Here are some tips for helping you get there:

Tip #1: Use the right format.

When you send in your resume, a hiring manager expects it to be formatted in a certain way. This not only makes it easier for them to read through, but also helps you appear more professional. So be sure you include your name and contact information at the top; a summary of qualifications below; then list your work history in chronological order, using bolded type and bullet points to highlight your roles and responsibilities. After that, discuss your education, volunteer experience and any other pertinent skills.

Tip #2: Avoid unnecessary information.

For instance, unless you’re an entry level candidate, don’t include an objective statement at the top of your resume. These are no longer needed and will make you look dated. Also, skip the line that says “references are available upon request.” Hiring managers know this and it simply takes up valuable space on your resume. Finally, don’t include personal details that aren’t important for the position, such as hobbies, or whether you’re married and have kids.

Tip #3: Focus on accomplishments.

When you’re discussing your work history, don’t only talk about your tasks and responsibilities. Make sure you quantify them and point out the positive impact they’ve made at past employers. Also, get as specific as possible; vague generalities won’t land you an interview.

Tip #4: Customize your resume.

Don’t send in the same resume to every employer you apply to. Instead, tailor it for each opportunity. That will mean you’ll need to rework some of the wording, as well as the order you list your accomplishments, tasks and responsibilities in, always with the most relevant information first.

Tip #5: Be careful with your verbiage.

For instance, limit the adjectives, hyperbole and fluff, such as “motivated team player,” and “results oriented problem solver.” Hiring managers will simply skip over it, and you’re wasting valuable space on information that won’t get you noticed.

Tip #6: Be concise.

You don’t need to include every past job you’ve held from high school on. Instead, focus on the past 10 years of experience and those positions that are most relevant. In addition, limit your resume to two pages or less. Anything more than that won’t get read.

Tip #7: Incorporate keywords.

In today’s world, applicant tracking systems filter out resumes that aren’t the right fit. That’s why you need to take keywords into account when crafting your resume. Review the job posting and incorporate a few keywords from it throughout your resume. That way, your resume will have a better chance of getting through the system and getting into the hands of a hiring manager.

Tip #8: Proofread.

Before you send in a resume, make sure you proofread it multiple times. Even better, ask a friend or loved one to proofread it for you. That way, you can rest easy it’s error-free before submitting it.

Interested in professional help finding a new job in the Spokane area?

Call in the experts at Provisional. Since 1994, we’ve been matching qualified individuals with terrific new jobs in Spokane, WA – and we can help you too. Contact us today to learn more.

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