Provisional Blog

Why You Need a Custom Cover Letter for Job Openings

October 2nd, 2018

The Internet makes it incredibly easy for all kinds of candidates to apply for job openings. As a result, employers often post positions and can receive hundreds of applications in a single day. In a sea of other applicants, how can you stand out?

As one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows that one way is through a custom cover letter. When you craft a clear and persuasive one, you’re going to set yourself apart from other candidates for a few reasons.

First of all, a well-written cover letter will to get the attention of the hiring manager and compel them to not only read through your cover letter, but also your resume. In addition, it will help give you an edge over candidates who send in a boilerplate cover letter, as well as those who don’t send one in at all.

But when it comes to crafting a letter that gets the kinds of results you want, where do you begin? Here are some tips to help you get started:

Read through the posting.

Review the job posting again and make a list of the company’s hiring needs. Then think about how your background fits in. What qualifications do you have that are a good match? What’s one accomplishment that’s especially relevant to this employer? Or what special skills do you have that could make a difference for their bottom line? Write down a few examples and then weave them into your cover letter.

Keep it unique.

When it comes to your cover letter, it shouldn’t be a regurgitation of your resume. Make sure it offers different information about you and your background. Use it as an opportunity to tell a story, explain what attracts you most to the company, or talk about what you can bring to the table and the difference you can make if hired.

Use the hiring manager’s name.

If the name of the manager isn’t in the job posting, try to find it out. Call the company or do some online research so you can pinpoint their name and address the letter directly to them. Avoid using generic salutations, like “Dear hiring manager.”

Follow a standard format.

Typically, for cover letters, you’re going to want to introduce yourself and explain why you’re interested in the position in the first paragraph. Then in the second and third ones, talk about your knowledge of the company and the industry, why you’re a fit, and give examples of your relevant skills and experience. Finally, in the closing paragraph, thank the hiring manager for their time and let them know that you’d welcome an opportunity to talk more about the job.

Need more help with your cover letter, resume or job search?

Provisional is here for you. As one of the leading employment agencies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we’ll work with you to get to know your skills, background, and personality. We’ll then connect you with some of the top employers in and around the area. Search our Coeur d’Alene jobs now or contact us today.

Want to Work from Home? Here’s What You Need to Know First

September 18th, 2018

Most employees dream about working from home. It sounds like the ideal scenario: you don’t have to get dressed up, you can take a break whenever you want and you can avoid the lengthy commute. But as a leading employment firm serving Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Provisional knows there are also cons that come with all those pros. So if you want to work from home, or going to be asking your boss about it, make sure you consider the following first:

You might have a hard time staying focused.

That annoying co-worker won’t be distracting you any longer. However, you could be pulled away from work by other diversions, from laundry and cleaning to TV and nap-time. As a result, it’s important to make sure you’re the kind of person who can stay focused and on track just as you do in the office.

It could hurt your chances of advancing.

The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” definitely holds true when it comes to working from home. While it offers you more flexibility and balance in your life, your career advancement could take a hit. A co-worker who’s in the office more than you and regularly interacts with your boss could be the one who wins the promotion simply because they’re at the forefront of your boss’ mind.

You’ll have to work a lot harder to stay connected.

When you’re in the office, you’re always in the loop just because you’re physically present and a part of more office communications, as a result. However, when you telecommute, you’re going to have to work a lot harder at communicating with your boss and co-workers. If you don’t, deadlines and tasks can easily fall through the cracks. You’ll also get left out on important company news and information if you don’t proactively strive to stay connected.

Keep in mind, working from home is not for everybody. Just because you want to do it doesn’t mean you should. You need to truly evaluate your personality and the kind of work you do to assess whether telecommuting is in your best interest overall.

Interested in finding a better place to work, whether in the office or from home?

Call the experts at Provisional. As a leading employment firm serving Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, our recruiters have placed over 18,000 professionals with growing Northwest companies since 1994. Contact us today and experience the difference for yourself.

5 Common Job Seeker Mistakes that Will Sabotage Your Search

September 4th, 2018

When you’re looking for a new job in Spokane, you know you need to network, customize your resume, and prepare for interviews. But did you know there are mistakes you might be making right now that could be hurting your chances of finding a new opportunity, sabotaging all that hard work in the process? Here’s what they are and how to avoid them:

You’re sending in a resume that’s too long.
Hiring managers only spend a few seconds on each resume. So if yours is three or four pages long, it’s not going to get read. Keep in mind that your resume should simply offer the highlights of your career, it shouldn’t go into detail about every aspect of it. If you have a ton experience, a two-page resume is acceptable. If you’re entry level, though, keep it to one page.

You’re using a generic cover letter.
When you’re looking for jobs in Spokane and sending in the same cover letter to every company, hiring managers will notice. You’re not going to make a favorable impression when it’s obvious you’re submitting a cover letter that 20 other employers have received. Instead, take the time to tailor yours. Research the company, identify their hiring needs and challenges, and think about what specific skills and accomplishments you have that are most relevant. Then talk about them in your cover letter.

You’re casting too wide of a net.
When you apply to too many jobs, you’re stretching yourself thin and therefore won’t be able to focus your efforts on those Spokane jobs you’re truly qualified for. Instead, pick and choose. If you’re not sure about a position, don’t apply. Only send your application in for those opportunities you’re truly interested in.

You’re not preparing for interviews.
There are plenty of job candidates in and around Spokane who want the same jobs as you. That’s why you need to set yourself apart. One way to do that is through preparation. Make sure you learn about the company, what they do, whom they serve, and where you can fit in and make a contribution. This will help you to answer questions more intelligently, so you stand out in the process.

You’re going it alone.
Sometimes, you need expert help when it comes to a job search. This is especially true if you’re changing careers or aren’t having any luck on your own. That’s when it’s time to get help from an employment firm. They’ll be able to offer objective advice and guidance on your resume, cover letter, interview skills and more. As a result, you can often find a better-fit job faster.

Ready to learn more about the difference a professional can make in your job search?
Contact 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.

3 Reasons Why You Need a Custom Cover Letter

August 21st, 2018

When it comes to your job search, you’ve probably spent a lot of time writing the perfect resume. But what about the cover letter? It’s a lot more important than you think. And if you don’t customize it for each position you apply to, it can impact whether or not you get a call for an interview. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, Provisional explains why:

It tells a story.

Your resume offers an overview of your background, skills and experience. But your cover letter is where you can truly let your personality and accomplishments shine through. Not only that, but beyond simply focusing on your career history, it gives you an opportunity to discuss where you see your career headed and why you think you’re a great fit for the job. You can do all this in a way that helps you to come off as warm, friendly, capable and confident, rather than just another job candidate.

It demonstrates enthusiasm.

If you send in a boilerplate cover letter, then a hiring manager isn’t going to be impressed, nor will they take much time reading it. However, when it’s personalized and specific to the job opening, it shows them that you’re excited about the company and the opportunity. It tells them that you’re willing to go the extra mile to learn about their organization, so you can best speak to the value you can offer. As a result, you’ll stand out and be more likely to get noticed.

It digs into more detail.

Your resume lists your skills and accomplishments. But if there’s one in particular that’s especially relevant to the job, you can dig in and explain the details of it in your cover letter. For instance, if you won an award at work, you can talk about how you achieved it and what it meant to you. Again, this simply provides another opportunity for you to set yourself apart in the eyes of the hiring manager.

Clearly, a customized cover letter is important for every job you apply to. And creating one is easier than you might think. Simply write a standard letter and then tweak some details in each one you send out so they’re as pertinent as possible to every company and opening.

Need more help with any aspect of your job search?

Call Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we’re highly experienced in helping our candidates craft top-notch cover letters and resumes, all so they secure more interviews in the process. Connect with our team today to get started.

Common Grammar and Spelling Errors to Avoid on Your Resume

August 7th, 2018

When it comes to your resume, nothing sets off red flags for a hiring manager quite like spelling and grammar mistakes. One or two aren’t a big deal; however, multiple ones will typically take you out of the running for the job.

But if you’re not a grammar guru or spelling specialist, what can you do to ensure your resume is error-free? As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional has the answers you need:

Don’t assume spell check will catch everything.

When it comes to your spell checker, it’s a great first place to start when you want to check for spelling and grammar mistakes. However, it shouldn’t be the last technique you use to assess your resume. Oftentimes, it can miss mistakes and won’t flag issues like “from” instead of “form.” That’s why you can’t totally rely on it.

Print out your resume and proofread it.

Once you’ve run spell check on your resume, make sure you print out the document and proofread it. When you have a hard copy of it, it’s much easier to check for problems than it is on the screen. It’s always best too to step away from the document for a few days before you proofread it on paper.

That way, you’ll have some distance from it and it will be easier to find errors and mistakes than if you review it right after you write it.

Read it out loud.

To check for any grammar errors or awkward sentences, read your resume out loud too. Reading it out loud forces you to slow down, so you catch more errors with spelling and style in the process.

Ask a friend to review it.

Once you’re sure your resume is as perfect as possible, give it to a trusted family member or friend and ask them to take a look at it. They will likely catch issues you overlooked. They’ll also be able to give you feedback in terms of how effective it is at positioning yourself as the strongest candidate.

Your resume is the first impression a hiring manager will have of you. Make sure yours is as professional as possible by following the tips above.

Need more help with the job search process?

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.

Stay or Go? Signs It’s Time to Leave a Job

July 17th, 2018

Your job has a huge impact on your quality of life. Even when you’re not at work, it’s still on your mind. If you’ve been in your position for a long time, it’s tough to make a change. You’re inside your comfort zone, which is a safe place to be. However, if you’re noticing any of the following signs, then it’s time to consider making a move:

You’re unhappy.

As an experienced employment agency in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that everyone hits rough spots in their careers. However, if yours has been lasting weeks or months, then it’s a sign you’re not in the right job. If you dread Monday mornings and are consistently unhappy throughout the work week, don’t deny your feelings. Instead, start taking a look at what’s available on the job market to see if anything sounds intriguing.

You’re working in a toxic environment.

No matter what industry you’re in, you deserve a healthy workplace where you’re respected. But if gossip runs rampant, if you’re constantly at odds with your boss or co-workers, or you don’t feel like you’re fairly recognized for your contributions, then it’s time to move on.

You don’t like what you do anymore.

This can happen especially if you’ve been in the same job for a long time. You can do the work, you’re just bored or disengaged. If you like your employer overall, then this is a good time to talk to your boss about opportunities for a promotion. If, however, you’re simply not happy at the organization, then it’s time for a step up in responsibility at another company.

Your work feels meaningless.

Everyone wants to feel like their work matters. But if it seems like you’re just another cog in the wheel and that you’re replaceable, then it’s going to be hard to stay engaged and committed to your company. You deserve a job where you feel like you’re contributing something of value and that you’re delivering a positive good to customers.

Do these signs strike a chord with you? It may be a matter of talking with your current employer and asking about other available opportunities within your company. Or it could be time to start up a job search. If it’s the latter, let the team at Provisional help. As a leading employment agency in Spokane, WA, we work with companies all over the city and beyond, connecting rewarding opportunities with talented job seekers. Contact us today to learn more.

The Best Questions to Ask an Interviewer

July 3rd, 2018

Want to impress a hiring manager? As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional recommends being prepared with your own insightful and meaningful questions to ask. When you are, it will go a long way in demonstrating your interest in the job and your willingness to do the work to determine whether a position is right for you.

That said, you have limited time and a lot of questions to ask. So how do you identify which ones are the most effective?

First, start by making a list of questions you’re interested in asking. When you get everything down on paper, you might see some redundancies or areas where you can consolidate. You’ll also be better able reflect on each one to determine whether or not it’s a good question to ask.

To help you along the way, here are a few to include on your list:

  • What are the biggest challenges or obstacles that come with this role?
  • What’s a typical day like in it?
  • If this is not a new position, why did the previous employee leave?
  • How many people work in the department?
  • What’s the manager’s leadership style like?
  • Will I be expected to travel or relocate?
  • Are there any opportunities for training, growth or advancement?
  • What’s the culture like?
  • What do you like most about working here? Least?
  • What type of personality works best in this position?
  • How will success and performance be measured?
  • Is there anything you need clarified about my qualifications?

Once you know the questions you’re going to ask, bring a copy of them with you. The hiring manager doesn’t expect you to have them memorized, nor do you want to forget to ask an important one. Beyond your questions, also bring along a small notebook and a pen so you can jot down any details or information that’s important to remember.

Whatever you do, don’t ask questions that could be misconstrued by the hiring manager. For instance, don’t inquire about vacation days and how many hours you have to work each week. These are red flags for the interviewer.

Need more helping getting interviews – and getting your next job?

Call the experts at 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.

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.