Provisional Blog

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.

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.

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.

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.

5 Tips for Preparing for Your Performance Review

December 5th, 2017

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that the end of the year is a busy time. From wrapping up work projects to the hustle and bustle that come with the holidays, you’re stretched thin. On top of that, you have a performance review to get through. How can you prepare and actually make the most of the conversation? With these tips:

Tip #1: Take inventory.

When you walk into your next performance review, you want to be prepared. That means taking stock of your past performance over the year so you can bring up career highs and lows with your boss. For instance, plan to discuss your achievements, new skills you acquired, and responsibilities you took on, as well as any challenges you faced throughout the year.

Tip #2: Set goals.

In other words, what do you want to get out of your performance review? Are you simply looking for feedback from your boss? Do you want to get promoted? Are you having a hard time meeting expectations and need some guidance? Whatever the case is for you, it’s important to define what you want to get out of the review so you can get the most from it.

Tip #3: Know your numbers.

Another important area to focus on during your performance review involves salary and compensation. If you’re looking for a raise from your boss, then you need to prove your worth. That means knowing how much you make versus how much others in similar positions make. If there’s a big disparity, you’ll need these numbers to back you up in your case for a raise.

Tip #4: Practice your performance.

If you’re asking for a raise or a promotion, then practice what you plan to say. You don’t need to rehearse it to the point where you’re reciting a script verbatim. However, if you want to make the successful argument for yourself, then you need to be persuasive – and you don’t want nerves to get in the way. That’s why it’s important to practice ahead of time.

Tip #5: Dress to impress.

Your boss might see you every day in jeans and sneakers. But if you want to make the best impression possible – and set the tone for the review – take your wardrobe up a notch. If you don’t work in a more formal environment, a suit and tie might be overkill. However, do make sure you look polished, neat and professional when you walk into your boss’s office.

Ready to deliver a great performance – just in another job?

Call the job search 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 job leads and interviews. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

Struggling with Your Cover Letter? Here’s How to Write an Effective One

September 12th, 2017

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that many candidates struggle with cover letter writing. And for good reason. Most don’t know where to begin, let alone what to include in theirs. So they end up regurgitating their resumes, or pulling a boilerplate letter from the Internet and swapping out details for their own.

But in today’s competitive job market, that’s not the way to get hired. Instead, when you’re trying to write your cover letter, but get stuck with the process, follow this format instead:

The Beginning.

  • Your contact information should be at the top of your resume. That way, hiring managers don’t have to search through your application, resume and cover letter for it. It’s front and center.
  • In terms of the greeting, if you don’t have the name of the hiring manager, and can’t find it despite your best efforts, it’s ok to address the letter “To whom it may concern” or “Dear hiring manager.”
  • In the first paragraph, you need to grab the attention of the hiring manager, and also make it clear you’ve done your homework and understand what they do.
  • If you were referred to the job by a mutual contact, then this also a good place to drop their name.

The Middle.

In the rest of the body of the letter, keep in mind you’re trying to highlight why you’re the best fit for the job. The most effective way to do this is to talk about a past project or accomplishment that’s most relevant to the position. For instance, if you mentioned you increased sales by 10% in a past position on your resume, your cover letter is the ideal place to further explain how you went about doing that and what impact that had on the company. Whenever possible, use numbers.

The End.

The ending of the letter is the place to reaffirm your interest and enthusiasm for the role. It’s also a good place to thank the hiring manager for their time.

A few other tips:

  • Your cover letter should be short and sweet, and less than one page.
  • It should be formatted in a way that makes it easy to read, with a good size font and plenty of white space.
  • If you have an online portfolio or work samples, you can also provide a link in your cover letter.

Your cover letter is your chance to shine. It’s important that you not only highlight the skills and abilities that make you unique, but how you can contribute to the potential employer’s bottom line. You also need to come across as a real person, not a robot, with some energy and passion.

If you’re still having trouble with your cover letter, give Provisional a call.

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 job leads and interviews. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

5 Tips for Avoiding Burnout in 2017

February 7th, 2017

If you’re like most professionals, you invest a lot of time and energy in your work. But if you’re coming in early, staying late, and have an unreasonable workload – all with no end in sight – then it can lead to burnout. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows everyone experiences burnout from time to time. But if you want to make sure it doesn’t sabotage you and your career, follow these tips:

1. Take breaks during the day.

There are certainly busy times or seasons where you skip lunch or don’t take breaks so you can get all your work done. But this shouldn’t be a habit all year long. You need breaks in order to stay focused and energized. Plus, sitting for hours without getting up isn’t good for your physical health.

2. Take care of yourself.

Are you staying up late, only getting a few hours of sleep a night? Do you eat a lot of junk or processed foods? Do you drink coffee all day instead of water? All of these unhealthy habits could be contributing to your stress and ability to manage it. It’s important to take good care of yourself in order to prevent burnout. That means eating healthy foods, getting enough rest at night and drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

3, Take yourself offline after hours.

With today’s technology, it’s tempting to stay plugged in at all hours. But this too contributes to burnout. Instead, don’t check your email after a certain hour and turn your phone off. Constantly checking your phone and email will only contribute to your stress level. So unplug and relax at night. You’ll be better able to manage communications and activities during the day when you know you have down time at night.

4. Take a look at technology.

Are there certain kinds of technology – software or processes – that could make workflow more efficient for you and everyone on your team? If you’re noticing you’re spinning your wheels in areas that could be streamlined or easier through technology, then do your homework. Investigate possible solutions so you can present your ideas to your boss and the team.

5. Take time to talk with your boss.

Stress may simply be a part of the job. However, if it’s truly getting out of hand, then speak up and connect with your boss. Be ready with specific examples of challenges you’re facing and ideas for solutions. You don’t want to come off as a complainer, but as someone who is noticing a problem and is prepared to work toward a positive resolution.

Sometimes, especially if you’re being overworked and underpaid, a new job is the answer. If you need help in your search, contact Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can work directly with you to craft a great resume, prepare for interviews, and match you with Spokane jobs that are a fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

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

Don’t Let These Common Job Search Mistakes Cost You Your Dream Job

January 24th, 2017

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that even the most experienced job candidate is bound to make a mistake or two during the job search process. Some mistakes aren’t a huge deal; while others can cost you big time – in the form of your dream job. What are they? Here’s a look at 5:

Mistake #1: Not Googling yourself.

Before you submit your resume for a job, Google yourself to check and see what comes up. You might be surprised at the results. If, for instance, there are negative remarks about a past employer, a hiring manager will wonder what you’re going to say about them should they hire you. And most hiring managers will Google you, so it’s important that all the results are professional and appropriate.

Mistake #2: Not researching the company ahead of time.

Whether in your resume, or during an interview, it’s important to showcase that you’ve done your homework. Before you submit your resume, or go in for an interview, research the company – who they are, what they do, and their customers. That way, you can share insights and talk intelligently about what you’ve learned, as well as connect your background and skill set to their unique needs.

Mistake #3: Being unprofessional.

Dressing inappropriately, or showing up late can seriously impact your chances of getting the job. Employers will think if you can’t get it right during the interview, then you’re certainly not going to once on the job.

Mistake #4: Talking poorly about a past boss or employer.

You may have had a bad experience at your last company. But don’t tell that to a hiring manager. They’re only hearing your side of the story and speaking negatively in this way will only make you seem unprofessional. Plus, you never know if the hiring manager interviewing you knows your past boss. So it’s best to always focus on the positive instead.

Mistake #5: Asking about vacation time and benefits during the interview.

Sure, you want to know what the job is offering in terms of benefits. But wait until the hiring manager brings it up. Asking about it during your first interview makes it seem like you’re more interested in paid time off than actually doing the job.

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

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

How to Blast Through Morning Blues…& Get Your Work Day Off Right

April 12th, 2016

Did you ever have a morning when you woke up on the wrong side of the bed – and everything that day was downhill from there?

As you know, the start of the day sets the tone. And if you generally have bad mornings, then it could be impacting your productivity, not to mention your energy and enthusiasm.

Here are some tips to help you blast through morning blues and start each day on a positive note:

Stop hitting snooze.

You may have a love/hate relationship with your snooze button. But continuously hitting it is actually harming your productivity. In fact, according to studies, doing so slows down your decision-making abilities, impairs your memory and hurts your overall performance once you do get up.

Get up earlier.

It may sound painful, but when you wake up earlier – just an extra 20 or 30 minutes – you can actually start your day without feeling like you have to rush. It’s a more peaceful way to begin your workday, which can translate into more relaxed yet productive time in the office. It may take a while to implement this habit, so start by setting your alarm clock 10 or 15 minutes earlier than usual.

Start off slow.

Don’t jump out of bed, then immediately check your emails or the text messages you may have missed. Doing so can drain your energy and your productivity for the rest of the day. Instead, ease yourself into the day with breakfast and shower first before hopping onto your phone or laptop. Take some time to reflect on the previous day and what you want to accomplish today.

Be positive.

Starting off your day in a negative frame of mind will only set the tone for the rest of the day – and not in a good way. Even if you had a bad day before, begin each day with a clean slate. Leave yesterday behind, get organized, and prepare yourself to hit the ground running at work.

Put off meetings first thing.

Nothing saps your energy in the morning like a meeting. Instead, try to schedule meetings later in the morning. That way, you can take the time you need to get settled and focus your energy for the day ahead of you.

Mornings aren’t a favorite time for many people. But by following the tips above, you can blast through your morning blues and help set the tone for a great day ahead.

If you’re ready to get your workday off right – just with a different employer, call the team at Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can work directly with you to craft a great resume, prepare for interviews, and match you with Spokane jobs that are a fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

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

How LinkedIn Can Help You Boost Your Career

November 10th, 2015

You’re not searching for a new job. So there’s no need to create or update your LinkedIn profile, right? Actually, as one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional can tell you that LinkedIn is far more than just a job search tool for active candidates. It’s a social networking site that can not only help you find out about jobs if you’re looking, but also help you boost your career in a variety of ways. What are they? Here’s a look:

A stronger network.

Even if you’re not looking for a new opportunity, you probably will be someday. And when you do, it’s important that you have a robust network in place that you can leverage in your search. You don’t want to try and create connections when you’re searching for a new job. Instead, it’s best to do that ahead of time so the relationships are in place when you need them.

Access to industry groups.

There are an endless stream of industry groups you can join. But what’s the benefit of them? They can connect you with other like-minded professionals. Through those relationships, you can share valuable information, gain new insights, learn from diverse discussions, discover new partnership opportunities and build relationships that may boost your career in years to come.

Unexpected career opportunities.

Most headhunters are on LinkedIn and some may even be looking for professionals with your exact skill set and experience. While you might be content where you are, when you have a strong profile on LinkedIn, you’re opening yourself up to a world of unexpected opportunity.

A place to keep your resume updated.

When you create a LinkedIn profile, it’s akin to an online resume. And it also offers an easy place to make updates as you move ahead in your career and take on new responsibilities. It’s also a great place to upload a portfolio or samples of your work, as well as request testimonials and recommendations from those you know. Then, when you’re interested in initiating a job search, all you have to do is polish your resume rather than create it from scratch.

A solid online reputation.

When you participate in industry groups and contribute in the “Answers” sections of LinkedIn, you’re doing more than just providing information and insight. You’re also building an online reputation – one that can help you advance your career in the future.

Are you actively searching for a new job? If you are, and you’d like expert help, call Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can work directly with you to craft a great resume, prepare for job interviews, and match you with opportunities that are a fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

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