Provisional Blog

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.

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.

First Impressions Count in Your Job Postings

June 18th, 2019

When it comes to hiring, it’s not all about your needs. You have to position the opportunity in a way that’s appealing to a candidate, as well. And the first place to do that in is in the job posting. To help ensure yours makes the best impression possible, here are some tips from Provisional, one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, to put into practice:

Grab their attention.

Candidates are busy and after a while, job postings all start to sound the same. It’s up to you to grab their attention and pique their interest so they continue reading.

Strike the right balance.

Don’t only focus on your needs as the employer. Make sure you’re also talking about why a candidate would want to work for you.

Be transparent about the opportunity.

Don’t paint the position in a rosy light if you know it’s not the truth. Instead, make sure you’re honest about the job, what it entails, and the skills and qualifications you need. This will help you to attract the best-fit people.

Discuss day-to-day.

Candidates want to know what life would be like on the job. That’s why it’s important to go beyond the tasks and duties and discuss what a typical day is like. This will give candidates more insight into the position, your company, and whether it’s all a good fit for you.

Talk about culture.

Beyond discussing the actual role, talk about your company as a whole. Give candidates a sense of what the culture is like, so they can assess whether it’s the right match for their personality and interpersonal skills.

Keep it short.

Don’t include dense paragraphs and create a long-winded job posting. Instead, it’s important to keep it concise. Remember, you don’t have to delve into every detail of the job or your company. You’re simply trying to give candidates a high level overview.

Following the tips above will not only help you to attract high quality candidates, but also those who are a better fit for you. If, however, you don’t have the time to get postings right, turn to the experts at Provisional. A one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we can help you with the entire hiring process from start to finish, making it easier and more affordable for you. Contact us today to learn more.

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.

Want to Find a Job You’ll Love? Here’s How

March 26th, 2019

For most people, they spend more time at work than with their families. It’s a sad reality. However, as a result, you want to ensure you’re going to a place each day that you really love…one that provides a rewarding experience and the balance you’re looking for. If you’re not currently in that kind of position, but are looking for it, here are some tips to help you get there:

Take a step back.

When it comes to figuring out your next step in your career, take some time to reflect. You don’t want to jump into a job search without total clarity. So think about your current position, what you like and don’t like about it, and where you want to head next. It could be on a similar path or into a whole new direction.

Be realistic.

You might be interested in pursuing the next step up in your career. But are you ready to do so? It’s important that you have the right background and experience that qualify you for the kind of job you’re looking for. If you don’t, then you’re simply setting yourself up for disappointment. Rather, take the time to acquire the skills, whether it’s through an online class, an accreditation course, or other continuing education opportunities.

Put different job search tools to use.

Don’t simply search online, on the major job boards, for your next opportunity. Instead, use a diverse mix of techniques to get the most from your approach. For instance, make sure you’re networking, both in person and online, whether it’s through a business organization or your alumni association. Also, look to industry-related and company career websites for job postings.

Connect the dots for hiring managers.

The more relevant your cover letter and resume, the more likely you’ll get called for an interview. That’s why investing the time and effort to make the case for why you’re the right fit is so important. In addition, hiring managers only spend a few seconds scanning each resume. So when you make it easy for them to see that you’re a match, then you’re going to make a better impression.

Focus on companies where you want to work.

Perhaps there are a few companies in the area that area that you’re passionate about and want to work at. Even if they don’t currently have the kinds of openings that are a fit for you, set up Google Alerts so you can stay on the lookout. Additionally, you can even send in a cold email inquiring about upcoming opportunities.

Finding a job you love isn’t always easy. However, once you do, it will be well worth the time and effort you invested in the process. If you’d like professional help in your search, contact the team 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.

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.