Provisional Blog

6 Tips for a More Successful Year at Work

January 2nd, 2019

Whether you want to perform better in your current role or win that big promotion, there are steps to take to position yourself for more success in 2019. In fact, just by making a few small tweaks consistently over time, you can improve your productivity, add more value and achieve your career goals in the year ahead.

To do that, here are 6 tips from Provisional – one of Spokane’s top employment agencies – to incorporate into your schedule in the New Year:

1. Set small goals.

In what areas do you want to develop, improve upon or change in 2019? You likely have some in mind. However, when you’re thinking through and setting goals, start small. That way, it’s easier to stay motivated, monitor progress and celebrate the victories.

2. Get organized and prioritized.

Want to get more done in your day? Then place an emphasis on getting your daily schedule organized. Outline your projects, break down the tasks, then create a priority order and timeline for achieving them. When you’re doing this, make sure you’re realistic too in terms of deadlines and also prepared to set boundaries and say “no” when you need to.

3. Arrive at work 15 minutes early.

You might be notorious for hitting the snooze button. However, an earlier start – even just a small one – can have a big impact. You’ll get to the office before the bustle really begins, offering a quiet, calm environment in which to begin your day. This gives you a few private moments to plan out your schedule, so you feel more in control and less frazzled.

4. Stop multi-tasking.

You might think you’re getting more done. But study after study shows that multi-tasking actually hinders performance and productivity. In fact, your brain can only effectively focus on one thing at a time, which means multi-tasking cuts down on your efficiency and performance.

5. Reflect at the end of each day.

When your workday is done, rather than running to punch out, spend a few minutes reflecting on it. What went right and what areas do you which you’d handled differently? Is there something you accomplished that you’re especially proud of? What didn’t you get done that requires immediate attention tomorrow? When you take the time for reflection, you’ll walk away feeling less stressed and more accomplished, helping you end your day on a more positive note.

6. Give yourself downtime.

If you’re constantly connected, even during the evenings and on weekends, it’s going to lead to burnout in the year ahead. Instead, aim for a better work life balance. Not only will you improve your mental and physical health, but you’ll actually be more productive at work in the long run.

Looking for a new job in the New Year?

Let the team at Provisional help you find it. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we know who’s hiring in 2019 and can connect you with leading opportunities at local companies. Contact us today to learn more or get started.

Should You Send an Interview Thank You Letter?

December 4th, 2018

You just wrapped up an interview and it couldn’t have gone better. All you have to do is sit and wait for your phone to ring with an offer, right? Actually, there is one final step you should take before you kick back and relax: write a thank you note. While you don’t have to send it right after your interview, you should submit it within a day or two at most.

When you do, you’ll reap the benefits by:

  • Standing out among other job candidates who don’t send one.
  • Re-iterating your interest and enthusiasm in the position.
  • Bringing up any key points you might have forgotten about regarding your background.
  • Showing the hiring manager your respect and appreciation.

So, now that you know why interview thank you notes are so important, how should you go about preparing yours? What should it say and how long should it be? Here are a few easy tips to help you:

Tip #1: Thank the hiring manager for their time.

Let them know that you appreciate the opportunity to interview and are looking forward to a decision.

Tip #2: Reinforce aspects of your background that showcase why you’re the best fit for the position.

Pick a couple of key strengths and expand on them more.

Tip #3: Talk about what you liked most about the company and the position.

This will help to underscore the point that you’re a good fit not just for the job, but for the entire organization, as well.

Tip #4: Personalize your message with any details you learned about the hiring manager.

Remember, you don’t want to sound like a robot, but an authentic candidate with real rapport with the hiring manager.

Tip #5: Proofread it before you send it to ensure it’s error-free.

Otherwise, you could sabotage all your time and hard work with a simple mistake.

Tip #6: When it comes to length, just keep it to a few paragraphs.

This should be a quick note, not a total regurgitation of your background and resume. Also, while a hand-written note is a nice touch, an email is faster. This can be important if the hiring manager plans to make a quick decision.

Need more help navigating the interview or job search process?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we can learn about your skills, background and career goals, all to help you find a rewarding new job, faster. Simply contact our team today to learn more or search our Spokane jobs now.

How to Succeed on Your Job Hunt in the New Year

November 6th, 2018

Thinking about launching a new job in the New Year? You’ve certainly got your work cut out for you. But the good news is that there are some steps to take now so that you can hit the ground running come January 2019. Provisional, one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, has the answers you need. Here’s a look at 4 ways to get started:

Identify the kinds of jobs you want.
Before you begin your hunt, think through the kinds of opportunities you’re most interested in. Do you want to work in a similar position, or take a step up? Is a large corporation or a small to mid-size company a better fit for you? Also, figure out the areas in which you’re willing to compromise (i.e. hours and benefits) and those where you aren’t (such as salary, commute length and working from home). When you’re honest about the kinds of jobs that are right for you, your search will be easier since you can focus on those.

Polish your resume.
Once you know what you’re looking for, then dust off your resume and get to work updating it. Make sure your positions and current and past employers are fully updated. Also, focus on highlighting your accomplishments in addition to the tasks and responsibilities you’ve tackled. Wherever you can, include facts, figures, statistics, dollars and percentages, so you can bring your background to life for a hiring manager.

Update your LinkedIn profile.
Invest some time on your LinkedIn profile, as well. Make sure it aligns with what you communicate on your resume. Also, now’s the time to reach out and ask for recommendations, so that once you do start your job search, this section will be completed. Some other areas to focus on include ensuring you have professional headshot and that your summary and qualifications highlight your background and skills, painting them in the best possible light.

Map out a plan.
Any job search takes a lot of time. If you’re currently employed, it’s not going to be realistic to spend eight or 10 hours each day on it. Instead, get organized ahead of time and map out a plan. Perhaps you can get up an hour or two earlier in the morning and work on your search. Or maybe you’ll focus on it in the evenings. Just make sure you have a plan in place, so the process goes smoothly and you have enough time for key tasks, including applying, following up and networking.

Want professional help with your job search?
Call Provisional, one of Spokane’s top employment agencies. Not only can we make the process easier for you, but more effective, too, so you can find your next great opportunity faster. Learn more today by contacting our team.

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.

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.

The Scoop on What Happens to Your Resume After You Apply

March 20th, 2018

Submitting a resume is stressful, not simply because you want it to make a great impression, but you’re not really sure if it will make any impression at all. Once you hit the send button, it’s hard to know what happens next. Does anyone even see it? And if they do, how much time do they spend reviewing it? As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional has the answers you need. Here are some insights into the process, so you know what to expect and when:

Filters through the scanning system.

Most companies nowadays use some kind of scanning system to filter out resumes from poor-fit candidates before a hiring manager even sees them. These systems often rely on keywords in order to perform the job. That’s why, before you send in a resume, it’s important to use keywords and phrases from the job posting when describing your background and work experience.

Goes to HR for review.

If your resume does make it through the scanning system, it will likely go to the HR department next. Personnel in HR will dig a little more into your resume, scanning it for the qualifications and requirements of the position. At this point, if you’re a good fit, they could even call you to conduct a quick phone screen.

Gets sent to the hiring manager.

After these initial screening steps, your resume will then be submitted to the hiring manager for review. These managers are often the ones responsible for making the final hiring decision, but they’re also busy running their departments. They therefore need the resumes that come across their desks to be pre-screened and qualified. If the hiring manager likes what they see on your particular resume, you’ll then get a call for an interview.

Didn’t get a call?

If you don’t get a call for an interview, then it’s likely your resume was eliminated at one of these points during the process. Competition in the job market is fierce, which is why it’s so important to invest the time to submit a well-written, powerful resume that stands out to a potential employer. It’s also important to ensure your resume contains the right keywords so you’re not cut by scanning software right out of the gate.

Need more help with your resume, or any other aspect of your job search?

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, from resumes and interviews to connecting you with top 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 about how we can help you.

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.

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.

How Important Is Having a Really Good Resume?

December 19th, 2017

In today’s technologically advanced world, do you still really need a resume? The short answer is: yes. Despite online portfolios and LinkedIn profiles, the old tried-and-true resume is still used by hiring managers across the country and your best bet for getting your foot in the door for an interview. Here’s why:

It gives hiring managers a quick glimpse into your background.

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that hiring managers need to know that those they’re bringing in for an interview are qualified for the job. A resume is the best way to do that. It gives them a good indication of whether you have the skills and abilities to properly perform the work. That’s why, when you’re creating a resume, it’s so important to customize it to each position you’re applying to. That way, managers will get a better sense of why you’re a good fit for their job.

It shows how well you are at communicating via the written word.

You can have all the experience in the world. But if your resume is a complicated mess, then it’s not going to make a good impression on hiring managers. Even if you’re not applying for a position that requires strong writing skills, it’s important to make sure your resume is professional and clearly communicates your strengths and attributes.

It demonstrates whether you’re detail oriented or not.

When it comes to your resume, proper spelling and a document free from errors is vitally important if you want to get a call for an interview. That’s why, before you submit your resume, you should ask a family member or friend to proofread it and ensure it doesn’t contain any mistakes.

It helps you stand out.

How are you going to stand out among the 200 other applicants who are looking to secure the same job you are? The answer: with your resume. Your resume is like a marketing document you need to be using to explain why a hiring manager should hire you. It’s your chance to put your best foot forward, get noticed and get a call for any interview.

At the end of the day, your resume reflects who you are as a job candidate. If you put together a polished and powerful one, your chances of a successful job search are far greater.

Do you need professional help with your resume or your job search?

Call in the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search, from resumes and interviews to connecting you with top 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.

Upcoming Phone Interview? Here’s How to Nail It

May 2nd, 2017

As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows getting a phone interview is great news. It means your resume and cover letter made the cut. So congratulate yourself – and then get down to work preparing for your phone screen. Here are 6 easy tips you can put to good news to nail your call:

Dig into the company’s background.

Some candidates make the mistake of treating a phone screen too casually. But it’s really just an interview, albeit a shorter one. So you need to prepare if you want to perform well. That means researching the company, reading through their website, digging up any news articles about them, and learning about industry trends.

Practice your answers.

Before your screen, come up with a list of commonly asked interview questions and practice your answers. Some of these include:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why do you think you’d be good in this position?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What can you do for our company?

The great thing about phone screens is you can also keep notes by your side during it. Just make sure you don’t sound like you’re reading off of a script.

Set the stage.

It’s not a good idea to schedule a phone interview when the kids are home from school, or during a time when you’re going to be distracted with other tasks. Make sure you set it up for a time when you can totally focus. Also, find a quiet space that’s free from distractions. And be sure to have your resume, a notebook and pen, and a glass of water handy.

Keep it short.

Phone interviews can be stressful because you can’t see the person you’re interviewing with or read their body language. That’s why, when pauses happen in the conversation, it’s easy to ramble. But don’t do it. Keep your answers clear, simple and concise.

Speak slowly.

When you’re nervous or excited, it’s easy to speak too fast. So make a conscious effort to slow down and take your time when answering questions. Also, take time to gather your thoughts so you can properly answer each question. Remember, this isn’t a race.

Be enthusiastic.

It’s important to convey your enthusiasm about the job during your phone screen. Though it sounds corny, smiling during your answers is a great way to infuse your voice with enthusiasm. Also, let the interviewer know you’re interested in learning about next steps in the process.

Need more help with your job search?

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. 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.