Provisional Blog

5 Easy Prep Tips for Standing Out During Your Job Interview

October 8th, 2019

Unemployment is low. However, competition is still high for the top jobs in and around the Northwest. It’s why, when it comes to your interview, you need to make the best impression possible, so you get called back or offered the position. But how can you do that? It all comes down to how you prepare. Here are five easy tips to help you:

Tip #1: Research the company.

Do everything you can to get to know the ins and outs of the company you’re interviewing with. Start with their website, but also look to their social media profiles, as well as news articles about them. The more you know, the better questions you can ask and the more prepared you’ll come across. You’ll also feel more confident walking into the interview.

Tip #2: Know where you’re going.

You might think you know where the interview is located. But will there be construction along the way? What if there’s an accident? When do you need to leave to give yourself some extra time just in case? These are the kinds of questions you’ll want answers to with a clear route to the company mapped out ahead of the interview. This will help calm your jitters and ensure you get there with time to spare. 

Tip #3: Prep your attire well before the big day.

Make sure whatever you’re wearing – which should be a business suit in most cases – is cleaned and pressed. If you need to take it to the dry cleaners, then give yourself plenty of time to do that. Also make sure you choose something that’s more neutral and won’t distract the hiring manager as you’re answering questions. 

Tip #4: Pack the night before.

Bring with you a few different items and put them in your briefcase or bag the night before. This includes copies of your resume, as well as a notebook and pen. Also bring along a list of references in case the hiring manager asks for them. Finally, throw in some breathe mints to ensure you make the best impression possible.

Tip #5: Avoid common mistakes.

While you won’t know what questions you’ll get, there are some answers you should always avoid giving. These include “I don’t know.” If that’s the case and you’re not sure about something, then say simply instead “I’m not 100% sure about that. Let me get back to you.” Also, never talk in a negative way about your past employer or co-workers, or ask off the bat about time off or vacation days. These seemingly minor errors can knock you out of the running for the job.

Need more help finding out about job opportunities in the Northwest and preparing for interviews?

As one of the Northwest’s top employment agencies, Provisional knows what hiring managers are looking for in candidates and can help connect you with opportunities, as well as prepare for your interviews. Call us today to get started!

How to Advocate for Yourself – and Advance Your Career – in 4 Easy Steps

September 24th, 2019

When it comes to your career, you’re the only advocate you’ve got. If you don’t know how to properly promote your accomplishments and strengths to your boss or a future employer, it’s going to be much harder to get ahead. However, for most professionals, self-promotion can be awkward and uncomfortable. How can you make it easier, all while taking advantage of its power? Here are four simple steps to take:

#1: Know where you want to go.

If you’re not sure where you’re trying to go with your career, it’s tough to know where to begin when it comes to promoting yourself. Instead, take a step back and think about what you’re aiming for. Do you want to get promoted at work? Do you want to ask your boss to cover the cost of a continuing education class, so you can acquire new skills? Or do you think you’re ready for a different job entirely?

#2: Know your value.

When it comes to advocating for yourself and promoting your strengths, you need to get specific. Vague or generic statements won’t cut it when it comes to talking up your abilities to your boss or a hiring manager. So know the unique value you bring to the table and why it’s important for the company. For example, if you want a promotion, be ready to highlight specific accomplishments and the impact they’ve had.

#3: Know the decision makers.

When it comes to getting ahead at your own company, visibility it key. You’re not going to climb the ranks and acquire a higher position of company leadership doesn’t know who you are. That’s why it’s important to get on their radar. Seek them out and strive to make a connection with them, so they can learn about what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing.

#4: Know when it’s time to look outside your company.

If you want to get ahead, sometimes you have to search for an opportunity outside your company. If there’s no room for advancement and you’re ready for a move, then now’s the time to take the plunge. But before you do, engage your network and reach out about any potential jobs they might know about. Also, stay on their radar by regularly posting on LinkedIn, sharing any work accomplishments, or offering your take on industry trends and news. You’ll stay top-of-mind, which could lead to a new opportunity.

Ready to advance your career by making a move?

Turn to Provisional, one of Spokane’s leading employment agencies. We can learn about your background, skills and accomplishments, then connect you with rewarding opportunities with top local employers. Contact us today to learn more.

Why You Need a Professional Photo on LinkedIn

September 10th, 2019

When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, your photo makes a big difference. In fact, if you don’t have one, you’re going to come off as spammy and phony to recruiters and hiring managers. Not only that, but according to LinkedIn statistics, those with a photo get 21 times more profile views and nine times more connection requests.

Even if you do have one, if it’s not professional-looking, then they’ll also think twice about considering you for a new opportunity. You won’t come off as a credible, quality candidate they want to hire.

So short of spending an arm and a leg on a professional photographer, what can you do to improve your online profile? Here are some quick tips to help you:

Avoid the selfie.

It’s an all-too-common type of image across social media. And it’s fine for your personal Facebook page or the family photo album. But avoid a selfie shot for your LinkedIn profile if you want to come across as a mature professional. 

Use a headshot.

Don’t post a family photo of you at the beach. Or crop one that has you featured in a way where you look blurry or off-center. Instead, get a simple headshot taken from a friend or family member, where you’re posed in a place with plenty of light.

Dress professionally.

You don’t need to be in a business suit or dressed overly formal. However, you want to present a professional image and if you’re wearing a bathing suit sitting poolside, for instance, that’s not going to happen. So make sure you look polished in whatever picture you post. 

Keep the background simple.

Wherever your picture is taken, just make sure it’s in a place without a busy background. If it is, then it will distract from the overall professional image you’re trying to project. Instead, choose something simple and neutral to serve as the backdrop. 

Want professional assistance with your LinkedIn profile or your job search?

At Provisional, we can help with every aspect of it. We’ll give you guidance on your resume, LinkedIn profile, interview answers and all other aspects of your job search. This will help you find a new job in Spokane, one you’ll love, faster. Search our jobs now

5 Benefits of Working with a Recruiter

August 27th, 2019

Is your job search taking longer than expected? Are you tired of getting rejected or hearing nothing at all from hiring managers? It might be time to bring in the professionals in the form of a recruiter from one of Spokane, Washington’s employment agencies. When you do, you can take advantage of a few key benefits:

#1: Help with resume writing, interview preparation and more.

When you work with a recruiter, they’ll be able to learn about your skills, background and strengths, all so they can help you improve your resume. They’ll also work with you to better prepare for interviews, so you’re more confident walking into a hiring manager’s office. 

#2: Access to hidden jobs. 

Many times, employers work with recruiters to fill job openings that aren’t advertised to the public. When you also partner with a recruiter, you’ll be able to gain access to these opportunities, giving you a leg up over the competition.

#3: Learn more about potential employers.

When recruiters are hired to fill job openings for a particular company on a regular basis, they’ll have a better sense of the culture, leadership, mission and vision. They’ll be able to impart this knowledge to you, so you have more insight into the employer and what it would be like to work there. 

#4: Find a new job faster.

The job hunt takes a lot of time and energy. In fact, sometimes it can feel like a full-time position. However, when you work with a recruiter, it will not only be an easier process, but a faster one too. It’s their job to know which employers are hiring and how to match you with the right opportunities. 

#5: Get connected with the right-fit position.

Just because you have the skills to perform a certain job doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you. But when you work with a recruiter, you can rest easy that you’ll be connected to opportunities that best align with your background and abilities, as well as a culture you’ll blend well with. 

Ready to work with professional recruiters to find your next job?

Call Provisional. As one of Spokane Washington’s top employment agencies, we can connect you with great jobs at leading employers. Search our jobs now.

The Best Step to Take to Get Your Resume Noticed

August 13th, 2019

Despite low unemployment, there are many candidates out there looking for the same kinds of jobs in the Spokane area as you. How are you going to stand out among them, so you get a call for an interview? The best way to do that is by customizing your resume.

When you do, that simply means you’re not sending in the exact same resume for every position you’re applying to. Instead, you’re editing it for each opportunity, so it best speaks to that particular hiring manager. Not only will this make you look like a better prepared candidate, but a better fit one to. 

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some steps to take to tailor your resume:

Focus on your summary of qualifications.

In today’s world, you should be including a summary of qualifications at the top of your resume instead of an objective. This is simply a bullet list of your biggest strengths and best accomplishments. However, what you choose to include, as well as the order you list them in, should certainly change depending on the employer. 

Connect your tasks to specific outcomes.

Hiring managers don’t simply want to know what you were responsible for. They also want to understand the outcomes you achieved. So wherever possible, illustrate your background through specific examples and stories, quantifying them wherever possible. Also make sure you’re focusing on the accomplishments that make the most sense for the employer. 

Highlight the most relevant strengths and abilities. 

Each position comes with a unique set of requirements. Make sure that the skills and abilities you focus on in your resume are aligned with each opportunity. For instance, for one position, collaboration might be key, while for another, knowing a certain software program is critical. It’s up to you to read through the posting to identify the company’s specific hiring needs and then discuss how you can meet them thanks to your unique background. 

Include keywords.

While you’re editing your resume, make sure you’re also including keywords from the job posting. When you do, it will have a better chance of making it through the applicant tracking system, so you get a call for an interview.

Searching for a new job can be tricky. If you’d like help with the process, turn to Provisional. As one of the leading employment agencies in Spokane, we can help with every aspect of it, from tips and advice on your resume to access to hidden jobs with leading local employers. Contact us today to get started

Strained Relationship with Your Boss? Here’s How to Improve It

July 23rd, 2019

Maybe you two lack chemistry or got off on the wrong foot to start. Or perhaps you feel under-appreciated and overworked. Whatever the case, you don’t have a great relationship with your boss and it’s straining your life, both at work and at home. What can you do short of getting a new job? Here are some tips to help you deal with this delicate situation:

Put yourself in their shoes.

It’s easy to get annoyed with your boss if they don’t follow through or seem to take you for granted. But take a step back and put yourself in their shoes. For instance, what would it be like to manage a team of so many different personalities? When you understand their priorities and the pressures they’re under, it’s easier to empathize. 

Get clarification.

If part of the issue is lack of clarification about your work or your goals, then schedule a time to sit down with your boss. Ask them questions about what they expect from you and make sure you understand what they’re asking. This will not only ensure you’re on the same page, but any issues or obstacles to success are brought out into the open and discussed. 

Focus on the positive. 

Remember that your boss is human. They’re going to make mistakes and you’re not always going to agree with the decisions they make. But if that’s all you’re focused on, then it will cause a strain in your relationship. Instead, keep in mind their positive attributes and what you do like and respect about them. 

Get to know them more personally.

For instance, ask them what they did over the weekend or how their kids are doing. The goal here isn’t to become best friends with them, but to forge a stronger and closer relationship that benefits you both. 

Know when it’s time to move on.

If you have a relationship with your boss that’s toxic in nature, then it’s likely not salvageable and time to move on. If that’s the case, connect with the team at Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we know who’s hiring and can help you make your next career move. Find out how by contacting us today.

How to Polish Your Resume to Improve Your Odds of Getting Hired

July 9th, 2019

When it comes to finding your next great job, you need a resume that’s polished and professional. But if you’re not an expert resume writer, this can be a tough task to tackle. Where do you begin and how do you stand out in a sea of other resumes? Here are some simple tips to put to use today:

Write it like a marketing document.

Too many candidates approach resume writing like they’re authoring a career autobiography. But keep in mind you only have a few seconds to grab the hiring manager’s attention. To do that, you need to keep your resume clear, concise and compelling, focusing on your track record of success and not on every job you’ve held since high school.

Get rid of the objective statement.

This will simply make your resume look dated. Instead, include a Summary of Qualifications at the top that lists out your key strengths and accomplishments that are most relevant to the job.

Use keywords.

Another important aspect for today’s resumes is using keywords throughout it. Many companies employ Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which filter resumes based on keywords from job postings. So review the language in the posting again and make a list of keywords that make sense to include in your resume.

Create it in a clear format.

Beyond writing a clear resume, you also need to format it in a way that makes it easy to scan. When you do this, you should include the most relevant information front and center, as well as use bullet points and bold face in order to call out important aspects of your career background. Also, make sure to include enough white space so your resume doesn’t look cramped.

Include the right contact information.

On your resume, you don’t necessarily need to include your mailing address any longer since most communications happen via email. Therefore, simply include your phone and email address, as well as a relevant LinkedIn URL where hiring managers can learn more about you.

When you follow the tips above, not only will you make the task of reading your resume easier for hiring managers, but you’ll also increase your odds of getting a call for an interview.

Need more help finding your next job?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we can connect you with rewarding opportunities with the area’s leading companies. Contact us today or search our jobs in Spokane now.

4 Simple Tips for Writing a Cover Letter That Will Help You Get Hired

June 11th, 2019

When it comes to the job search process, one of the most challenging aspects for many candidates is writing a cover letter. What do you say and what should you avoid? How long should it be? And what are the best ways to get noticed and stand out? As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional has the answers you need. To help you craft a stronger cover letter, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Write one letter, then edit it for each opportunity.

You should first write a standard letter that offers you a template to follow as you’re applying to each job. However, it needs to be customized for every opportunity you apply to. Otherwise, it will sound generic to hiring managers.

To do so, make sure you focus on your key strengths that are most relevant to the position. Also, share a story about why you want to work for the company or highlight an important achievement. Whatever the case, make your letter uniquely your own.

Explain why you’re the right fit for the job.

Hiring managers are busy and don’t have a lot of time to devote to each cover letter. It’s therefore important that you connect the dots as to why you’re a great fit for the job. So don’t simply discuss your background in the cover letter. Instead, take it a step further and explain where you can contribute the most and the impact you can have on the company. Also, discuss the company’s needs and the ways you can meet them through your skills and abilities.

Include numbers and figures wherever you can.

It’s always best to back up your claims with concrete figures. This not only underscores your proven track record, but it also makes you more memorable in the process. That’s especially important when you consider that hiring managers get hundreds of applications for each job posted.

Don’t forget the basics.

If you’re copying and pasting from a previous letter, it can be easy to forget to change the name of the company or the hiring manager. That’s why it’s critically important to check the accuracy of these and other areas before you submit your application. It’s also important to proofread it several times prior to applying to ensure there aren’t any spelling mistakes or errors with grammar.

Need more help writing your cover letter?

Reach out to the team at Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can give you more tips and advice on writing a great cover letter, help you prepare 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.

Do You Know How to Ask Your Boss For a Promotion?

May 28th, 2019

You know you deserve a promotion. But asking for one is stressful, plain and simple. What’s the best way to approach the conversation – and cut down on your anxiety in the process – all for the best possible outcome? Here are some tips to help you:

Prep thoroughly.

You can’t just walk into your boss’ office, ask for a promotion, and expect a positive response. Instead, you need to make your case for why you deserve it. This requires you to do some prep work first.

For instance, make a list of all your recent contributions and the impact they’ve had on the company or the team, quantifying them wherever possible. You have to show that you’re doing more than just your job; you’re an invaluable member of the team. Also, discuss the position you want, why you’re ready for the role, and how your skills and experience are a good match for it.

Time your conversation.

For a conversation of this caliber, don’t just pop into your boss’ office unannounced. Instead, schedule a formal meeting, letting them know ahead of time you want to talk about performance.

Also, be strategic about your approach. For instance, if you know your boss is bogged down and stressed by the end of the day, schedule a meeting for the morning. In addition, if you have a performance review coming up, then that offers an ideal opportunity to discuss your career ambitions.

Know your worth.

Part of the preparation process should also include doing some digging on the salary for positions similar to the one you want. This might not come up during your initial conversation, but if it does, you want to be prepared with facts and firm numbers.

Don’t get defensive.

If your boss turns you down, don’t get emotional or defensive. Instead, ask why and what you need to do to earn a promotion in the near future. There could be certain skills that are vital to the job that you simply haven’t developed. But when you find out these details, you can create a plan of action for acquiring the knowledge and abilities you need to get promoted soon.

Ready to get promoted to a new job with a new employer?

If you know you’re ready for the next step, but there’s no room for advancement at your current company, then let Spokane, WA’s employment agency experts at Provisional help you make your next move. Contact us today to learn more or get started.

Are You Making These Career Mistakes?

May 14th, 2019

Want to get ahead in your career? You know you need to show up on time, perform well, and avoid being the office gossip. These are a given. But did you know there are some less obvious things you could be doing that could actually be hurting your career? Here’s a look at a few common career mistakes, so you can avoid them:

Not asking your boss for feedback.

Most employees simply wait until their annual review to get feedback from their bosses. However, if you take a more proactive approach, and ask for it throughout the year, you’ll find out what you’re doing right and areas that need improvement sooner. While asking for feedback might be difficult, it can have a big impact in a positive way on your future career growth.

Staying in your comfort zone.

When you’ve been in your job for a long time, and know it inside and out, it’s easy to coast. However, when you do, you won’t be learning and growing. Even if you plan to stay in your current position for the foreseeable future, it’s still important to acquire different skills, learn new information and stay on top of industry news.

Being afraid to take a risk.

You might be afraid to fail, however, what’s worse is when you don’t take a risk and your career remains stagnant as a result. Don’t let fear of change or of making a mistake hold you back. Even if those things do happen, you’ll learn from them.

Avoiding networking.

You might think that just because you’re not looking for a new job that you don’t need to network. But networking can play an important part in career growth too. You can turn to your contacts when you need advice, support, resources and help. Likewise, you can position yourself as an industry expert when you’re able to offer guidance to others, as well. It’s therefore important to invest time and effort into regular networking.

Looking for a new job to advance your career in?

Connect with the experts at Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we can assist you with all aspects of your job search from preparing for interviews to landing your next great opportunity. Contact us today to learn more or get started.