Provisional Blog

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.

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.

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.

How to Toot Your Own Horn in a Performance Review

December 9th, 2014

You’ve spent the past year working hard for your employer. You’ve landed new clients, successfully managed projects, and now it’s your turn to get some recognition for your efforts. But did you also know it’s up to you to toot your own horn during your performance review? Otherwise, all those great results could go unnoticed by your boss. Here’s how to get the recognition your deserve:

Create a brag book.

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional can tell you if you try to recall in December what you accomplished in February, it can be hard to remember details. Instead, create a document that helps you keep track of your achievements. Every time you accomplish a goal, go above and beyond, or get positive feedback, log it in your book. Think too how each accomplishment helped the company. Before your performance evaluation, review your brag book so your accomplishments are fresh in your mind for your sit-down with your boss.

Get specific.

Don’t just tell your boss you’ve “done a great job this year.” Get specific about the value you’re offering each day. Think of two or three major accomplishments you’d like your boss to be aware of and focus on those. Be sure to not only describe the accomplishments, but also how they impacted the company in a positive way.

For instance, if you successfully managed a major project, was it because it came in under budget, you completed it before the deadline, or you delivered terrific results? Whatever the case, be sure to focus on the facts and not vague statements.

Ask peers to provide input to your boss.

In a perfect world, your boss should be soliciting feedback from co-workers for performance reviews. However, most are too busy to take this step. So, take it for them by asking your colleagues to put in a good word for you with the boss.

How do you ask? Keep it simple: “I have a performance review next week and since we’re working on XYZ project together, I was hoping you could share some feedback of my work with our manager.”

If you’re ready to make a change to a new job in the new year, 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.

When Your Boss Sets Impossible Deadlines

August 26th, 2014

It’s your boss’s job to set deadlines for your projects. But what about when those deadlines are not only totally arbitrary, but also completely impossible to meet? How can you deal? Here are several ideas to help you:

Talk to your boss immediately. Don’t sit on the problem for days trying to figure out how to approach your boss. Speak up and let him or her know why you can’t meet the deadline. When you bring up your concerns with your boss, ask about factors that you’re not aware of that could be driving the project deadline. Although a deadline may seem arbitrary or foolish to you, there may be a valid reason for it.

If there’s not, though, don’t complain. But do give specific reasons as to why the deadline is problematic and offer a new deadline that’s reasonably close to the original one. Explain why your deadline is attainable and how it offers the time to do a quality job.

Offer several scenarios. If your boss sticks to his or her guns on the original deadline, then negotiate what you can do within that time period. For instance, explain that you can complete A and B of the project, but not C because that will take too much time. If that’s not doable, ask whether additional people can be brought in to help complete the project and meet the proposed deadline.

Get your boss to focus on the big picture. Explain how the deadline will hurt the company in the long run – i.e. it will force you to cut corners that will impact quality. That in turn could harm customer relationships and profits, as well as reduce employee morale.

If you feel your boss chronically sets unreasonable deadlines, think about whether you’re just used to a slower pace. For instance, if you’re new to the company, you might be used to longer or more flexible deadlines. However, fast-paced deadlines might be par for the course at your new employer.

One way to tell?

Talk to your colleagues. Ask them about how they go about meeting deadlines. If there’s general grumbling all around you, then you know that deadlines are a problem. However, if your co-workers seem to meet their deadlines without issue, ask them for pointers on how they do it.

If you think crazy deadlines are undermining the quality of your work – and you’re ready to make a move – call Provisional. We work with employers throughout the area and can give you access to top jobs in Spokane, Washington that aren’t always advertised. Contact us today to learn more or search our Spokane jobs now.

4 Steps for De-Stressing Your Job Search

June 10th, 2014

Job searches are hard work. Not only are there a ton of tasks to undertake, but emotionally speaking, it’s a bit of a roller coaster. There are periods of intense stress – like the interview – and then a lot of agony when you’re waiting around to hear back.

To help you take at least some of the pressure out of your hunt, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Keep the Emotions Out of It

Easier said than done. But when you’re looking for new jobs in Spokane, Washington, you’re going to get rejected in some form or another. Not every employer you apply to is going to call you for an interview and not every job interview you go to will work out.

That’s why it’s important to not take things too personally and prepare yourself for some rejection. Sure, it’s disappointing when you don’t get an offer for a job you want. But don’t let it impact how you feel about yourself professionally.

Put Up a Mental Wall

One of the most agonizing parts of the search is waiting to hear back after you’ve submitted your resume. You probably check your email many times throughout the day, wondering when you’ll hear, and driving yourself crazy as a result.

Next time you apply for a job in Spokane, Washington, hit submit and then mentally put up a wall. You’ll hear when you hear and there’s no use sitting around, waiting and wondering.

Don’t Talk About It All the Time

When you’re searching for a new Spokane job, everyone is probably constantly asking how things are going…which can get annoying if they aren’t going well. So change the subject. Tell them you’re thankful for their concern, but that you don’t want to spend more time talking about it. Be polite, but be direct.

Take Back Control

One of the reasons job searches are so stressful is that you’re not the one in control. You can decide to accept an offer, however, that’s after all the hard work of resumes, interviews, and negotiating.

So take regular breaks from your job search and work on projects you do have control over – getting your home office organized, cleaning out your attic, etc. Completing these small projects can boost your mood and make you feel more in charge.

Need more job search help? Call Provisional. We work with employers throughout the area and can give you access to top jobs in Spokane, Washington that aren’t always advertised. Contact us today to learn more or search our Spokane jobs now.

Should I Include Volunteering Under “Work History” or in a Separate Category on My Resume?

June 28th, 2011

The answer is: It depends.

Where you list volunteer work depends on how relevant it is to your career. For instance, if you work in marketing and volunteered as a marketing consultant at a local non-profit, then include that work in your “Work History” section. In addition, don’t use the title “Volunteer,” which can minimize your role; instead use “Marketing Consultant.”

If, however, your volunteer work is unrelated to your career, then include it in a separate category, such as under “Community Involvement,” toward the end of your resume.

Another factor to keep in mind is who the employer is. If you’re applying for a job in Spokane at a non-profit, you may want to include your volunteer work front and center, whether it relates to your profession or not. For a community-minded employer, the fact that you do volunteer work can put you a step ahead of your competition.

How should I describe the volunteer work?

Treat it as you would any position that you were paid for. Explain the skills you put to use, the results you were able to deliver, and any important lessons you learned in the process. Also include the name of the organization you volunteered with and the dates you were there.

Why should I include volunteer work?

For an employee, volunteer work demonstrates a certain kind of character. It shows that you are an involved citizen, someone who works to make the community a better place. That said, including volunteer work can be especially valuable for three groups of people:

  • For entry-level workers, volunteer work demonstrates interests and experience beyond the classroom.
  • For those returning to the workforce, volunteer work illustrates a desire to stay sharp and remain involved.
  • For laid off workers, volunteer work can help you fill an employment gap, as well as network during your job search.

If have any other questions about resume do’s and don’ts, or need help with any other aspect of your Spokane job search, please contact Provisional. Since 1994, we’ve helped thousands of area candidates find rewarding jobs in and around Spokane. And we can help you too.

A Checklist for Dealing With Being “Downsized”

February 22nd, 2011

Being laid off can be a devastating experience. And unfortunately, it’s something that can happen to even the best of us. So if you’ve been laid off, here are some steps to help you survive and get back on track toward finding a new job in Spokane:

1. Check.

Your first step should be to check with your company’s HR department about benefits you’re entitled to, such as COBRA, which will help you continue your health insurance coverage and is mandated by law as long as your employer has 20 or more employees. In some cases, the employee pays the full amount of the coverage; or, in other cases, the employer pays for some or all of the coverage for a period of time as part of a severance package. Also be sure to ask about any severance pay, retirement benefits, accrued vacation time, and overtime and sick time.

2. Ask.

Having glowing references can be the deciding factor in whether you’re hired for a new job in Spokane. So before you leave your old job, ask your boss and colleagues for reference letters, or ask if you can list them as a reference when applying for a job.

3. File.

Before you even start your job search, file for unemployment. Why? Because the sooner you file, the sooner you will start receiving money. Go to Washington State’s Employment Security Department for more information on eligibility requirements and how to apply.

4. Reflect.

Don’t jump into your job search right away. Take some time to rethink your career path. List your accomplishments and the tasks that you’ve enjoyed doing most. You may realize that you will be happier – and more productive – in a role that is slightly different from the one you were just laid off from.

5. Rework.

Rework your resume to reflect the kind of job you’re looking for. Be sure to include any accomplishments you achieved in your last position.

6. Start.

Searching the Internet 16 hours a day will only get you so far in your job search. Instead, approach your search like it’s a job. Get up in the morning, just as you would if you were going to work, get dressed and spend a few hours online searching for openings or making connections. In the afternoon, consider going to a networking event or job fair. Have lunch with former colleagues or friends. Or send out emails to your current network of contacts in case they have any job leads.

If you’ve been laid off, and would like some help finding a new job in Spokane, please contact Provisional. Since 1994, we have been the Northwest’s leader in specialized recruiting and staffing services, placing over 6,000 direct-hire professionals with area companies.

Is Your Spokane Job in Jeopardy?

September 7th, 2010

With unemployment officially inching upward, you may be concerned that you’re going to get the ax at your company. So what are some of the warning signs that your Spokane job could be in jeopardy? Here are a few:

Your company hires a consultant to come in to help redefine the strategic direction or mission. Recommendations typically include restructuring or downsizing.

Closed door meetings.
These can be another sign that layoffs are on the horizon, especially if your boss typically has an open door policy.

Mergers & acquisitions.
Your company is in negotiations with another company that will probably result in an acquisition or a merger.

Your boss has announced drastic cost-cutting measures such as hiring freezes, and cuts in salaries and travel budgets.

Competitor lay offs.
Your company’s competitors are laying off people. If your company is publicly traded, and the market responds well to layoffs from another company in the industry, your company may follow suit.

Your company is looking into or has decided to outsource some of its major functions.

Communication changes.
Your boss or co-workers are treating you differently. For instance, avoiding eye contact or choosing to communicate with you through email instead of in person.

Responsibilities are assigned to someone else.
Your workload has suddenly lightened – and you don’t get new assignments, even when you ask your boss for them.

In this economy, getting laid off isn’t something you should hang your head over. If you think your Spokane job might be in jeopardy, you need to take action. Start polishing your resume and connect with your network to see if there are any job opportunities that would be a fit for you.

And if you need help finding a job in Spokane, or in the Northwest, please contact Provisional. We are a leading employment agency and can offer you access to jobs in a variety of fields, including accounting, law, healthcare, administration, and IT.

5 Quick Tips for Improving Job Satisfaction

June 22nd, 2010

When you started your Spokane job, it seemed ideal – you were happy, motivated, and inspired. But now the honeymoon is over and you’re just not satisfied. Workdays seem longer and weekends seem to go by faster. So what can you do to reignite your career passion and improve your job satisfaction? Here are five quick tips:

Tip #1: Pinpoint the problem.

Why exactly are you unhappy at work? Are you having problems with a co-worker or your boss? Are you unhappy about working conditions or your salary? Once you pinpoint the problem, you’ll have a better idea how to deal with it.

Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to ask.

Is there an easy fix to whatever is bothering you at work? If yes, then ask for it! What are you waiting for?! Nobody at work is a mind reader and so taking that first step is up to you.

Tip #3: Stay positive.

Ever hear about the power of positive thinking? Changing your attitude about your Spokane job won’t make things better overnight. However, developing a more optimistic point of view (i.e. the glass is half full) and reversing negative self talk patterns can go a long way in making you feel more productive and less stressed at work.

Tip #4: Maintain balance in your life.

When all you do is work, work, work, it’s only natural that your stress level is going to increase and you’re going to be unhappier as a result. It’s time to assess your situation and determine which areas you don’t have enough time for, such as family/relationships, hobbies, and exercise. Now create a priorities list and take action so that your lifestyle better reflects your interests and becomes more balanced.

Tip #5: Re-evaluate your goals.

If you’re feeling unfulfilled at work, perhaps your goals and your job requirements are out of alignment. It’s time to figure out what your career goals are and how you see yourself getting there. For instance:

  • Are you in field you want to stay in for the next 5, 10, or 20 years?
  • If not, what would you rather be doing?
  • Where do you want to be, career wise, in the next 5, 10, 20 years?

The answers to these questions should give you a general idea of what you want out of your work life. And if you want to make a major change, now is the time to do it.

Job satisfaction isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. And the bottom line is that it’s up to you to make that journey. If you’re not happy at work, there are actions you can take now to help you become more satisfied. However, if you’re completely in the wrong job at the wrong company, it may be time for a change. If so, we can help. As a leading employment agency in Spokane, WA, Provisional can give you access to a variety of exciting job opportunities in Spokane. If you’d like to learn more about us, simply visit our website or contact Provisional online.