All posts by Julia Lima

How to Nail Your First Phone Interview

Going into your first phone interview can definitely be a nerve-wracking experience. You might be asking yourself, is this really as important as an in-person interview would be? The answer is yes! Employers use phone interviews as a quick way to filter out their candidates and get a feel for who they are. That being said, phone interviews essentially act as a first impression to help decide who they want to bring in for an in-person interview. To make sure your first impression is a strong one, start by utilizing these six easy tips in your upcoming phone interview: 

 

Do your research beforehand. You never want to go into an interview completely unaware of what they do or what position you applied for. The best way to show the employer that you’re genuinely interested is by doing your research and showing throughout the phone call that you’ve educated yourself on their company. You can even craft your questions to them around thoughts that came up while you were researching the company!

 

Prepare notes. As far as the basic questions that you expect to be asked, don’t be afraid to brainstorm beforehand how you can answer them and jot down some notes. It can help you during the phone call to reference something you wanted to say, and organize your thoughts. Don’t make too long of a list with notes that are too specific, because you’ll just end up confusing yourself and trying to read off your paper throughout the interview. Stick to the essential topics you want to include!

 

Dress the part. As silly as it sounds, you should be dressed for success while preparing for and during your phone interview. It helps your performance and improves your attitude by making you feel more confident and prepared, as you would in an in-person interview. Dressing your best will also make you feel your best!

 

Stay standing. Standing up during your phone call helps to exert your energy and put more of your voice into the phone call. It will help you speak more clearly and confidently, and that energy will be transferred to the employer on the other line. Stand up, walk around, and get your energy flowing!

 

Keep a smile on your face. It may not seem like it, but keeping a smile on your face is crucial to maintaining a positive and clear voice throughout the phone call. Since they can’t see you, your voice is one of the only ways the employer can get a feel for your personality and confidence. Forcing yourself to smile throughout will ensure that you keep a bubbly attitude that the employer will sense on their end!

 

Send a thank you email. You always want to leave a meaningful impression on who you spoke with, and a simple thank-you can make a huge difference. Try to include a small tidbit of something interesting or funny you may have talked about with them. It will help them to remember you and the conversation, and show thoughtfulness on your part. Regardless of how you think the interview went, always follow up with a brief note!

 

We hope these tips help you ace your next interview! Remember: you got this!

What Our Team Learned From Our SWOT Analysis

When you hear the term SWOT Analysis, you probably reflect back to a business course you took in college or to the general acceptance of a SWOT Analysis as a tool for analyzing and planning for a business. It is a widely used tool that helps identify an organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses, followed by external opportunities and threats. This week, we took a slightly different spin on the SWOT Analysis and we had each of our team members complete her own personal SWOT Analysis. Then, we came together as a team to debrief and discuss each others’ responses. Here are some of the things we learned!

 

A major takeaway was that our team members realized that they had more strengths than they had initially written down. When hearing what others were saying about themselves, it reminded them that they, too, had that strength or a similar one. We each underestimated the different types of strengths we really did have; we needed to push ourselves to think more critically about ourselves, and realize that we had more strong qualities than we thought!

 

On top of that, we saw a surprising correlation between our strengths and our weaknesses. We noticed how most of them fit together and were very much the same basic attribute, just at different ends of the spectrum. For example, having high urgency but also being impatient, being personable but also distractible, or being empathetic but lacking assertiveness.

 

In terms of our weaknesses, as a member of the team would discuss their awareness of their individual weaknesses, it would help us all to be able to point out that specific blind spot. With that, we found the areas where we could most support that teammate and encourage growth beyond those weaknesses. It created a positive twist on our supposed weaknesses; being able to identify and share them allowed for the whole team to be aware, and help us tackle them in the future!

 

We also were able to identify that, very often, one person’s strength may be another’s weakness. For example, while one team member may view their attention to detail as a strength, another may come at it from an opposite viewpoint, feeling like they pay too much attention to detail. It highlighted how unique our perspectives were, and how our views on our skills can vary depending on how we look at them.

 

While these exercises are stimulating and insightful in the moment, the most important part of them is how you take action on what you learn. So what’s next? For us, each team member has picked one weakness she would most like help with and our team has committed to helping her develop beyond it. Our goal is to build a culture where people never feel the need to hide a weakness but instead, put it on the table as something to work on. The second action item for us is to create a “Wall of Strengths” showcasing each team member’s strengths. Our aim is to consistently consider “What is needed for the task at hand?” and “Who has the best strength for this?” By doing this, we hope to inspire collaboration, learn from one another and maximize the impact of our team as a whole.

 

Last but not least, we want to know, what’s your Personal SWOT Analysis story? Are there additional take-aways you can suggest?

Building Your Resume: Top 3 Do’s and Don’ts… From A Recruiter!

When starting a job search, perfecting your resume should be your first priority. It is one of the first things the hiring manager will see, and it is your chance to give them a snapshot of yourself in terms of your past successes. Your resume should work to show your past experience, the skills you have learned, and what type of candidate you are. Follow these essential do’s and don’ts to make sure that your resume is ready to go!

Image result for stock photo resume writing free

DO include your contact information.

There’s nothing worse for a recruiter than when they’re thoroughly impressed or intrigued by your resume and wanting to move things forward, then realizing they have no way of contacting you. Your resume should include your email, phone number, your address/location, and your LinkedIn. A lot of people tend to forget to add these simple yet crucial pieces of information. As much as you do need to focus on the bulk of your resume and the experience you’re choosing to highlight, don’t let it stop you from remembering to give the recruiter/hiring manager a quick and easy point of contact! 

DON’T make it too long/list out every task and responsibility you have had at every single job.

Your resume should be no more than a page long. Remember, while your resume is your way to brag about yourself as a candidate, you only want to pull out the most important and relevant aspects of your past. More likely than not, the hiring manager looking over your resume is looking over multiple resumes a day, and may even toss your resume to the side if it’s over a page! Make the recruiter’s job easier and craft a resume that is short and sweet, highlighting all of your main strengths and accomplishments.

DO use descriptive and relevant action words to highlight the skills you’ve learned.

Use your resume bullet points to paint a picture of the role you played in your past jobs and what skills the position taught you. Be sure to choose descriptive words that are geared towards the skill you’re trying to highlight, whether it be management, communication, technical, creative, teaching skills, etc. For example, in a leadership or management role, instead of using nondescript words like “did,” try using verbs like “conducted,” or “administered.” Make that extra effort to paint a clear image in the recruiter’s head of your workplace successes! 

DON’T lie.

It’s not worth it, for a number of reasons. It can be really detrimental to your future employment opportunities if you get caught lying on a resume, especially if it results in you being terminated from the job. On top of that, you could be setting yourself up for failure by giving hiring managers a false impression of your capabilities, and not being able to execute those skills like your resume suggests. Be honest, highlight your true strengths and let the employer see those qualities for themselves!

DO read over and double check for typos/formatting errors before sending it anywhere.

No matter where you are sending your resume, take an extra minute or two to check for any spelling mistakes and, most importantly, formatting mistakes. A lot of the time when you convert your resume to a PDF, the layout changes and it may need to be readjusted. A spelling or formatting error could show a lack of care on your part. On top of that, make sure the contents of your resume stay consistent throughout, keeping your experiences in order and looking as neat as possible!

DON’T send in the same resume to every job you can

Take the time to tailor your resume to the job you are applying to, in terms of your skills and experiences. Especially if you are a candidate with varied types of experience, pick and choose what experience is the most important to highlight for the specific job. Look over the job description and pull out key skills that the company is looking for. Tweak your background and specific bullet points so that your duties and work successes emphasize the same skills that the job is looking for. Putting that extra thought into each resume you submit will be much more beneficial than aimlessly sending in the same resume to every job you apply for.

5 Questions You Need to Ask Your Prospective Employer in an Interview

When preparing for an interview, it’s important to put time and energy into crafting well thought-out answers that show that you are capable of the role. Of course, you want to make sure you stand out as a candidate within your answers. While your responses to the interviewer’s questions do matter, many people tend to overlook the importance of that very last question that every employer will ask you:

 

“So, do you have any questions for me?”

 

The worst mistake you can make in an interview is to not ask the employer any question at all. There is always something that can be asked, whether it is a question that shows the employer your interest, or one that gives yourself more insight on the environment itself within the company. This is your chance as a candidate to ask some thought-provoking questions to your interviewer. If you’re having trouble figuring out what to ask your employer, check out these five questions for ideas on what you can ask before wrapping up an interview.

 

 

  • What are the opportunities to grow from this position? In what areas will the company need people to grow?

 

Not only does this show the interviewer that you have personal goals and the drive to work your way up within a company, but it can also provide you with some insight on what it is like to be an employee for the company. Is it a company where employees and their specific roles remain stagnant, or is it a company where employees are encouraged to work harder and given incentives to succeed? On top of that, by asking about areas in which the company needs growth, you also demonstrate that you are thinking about the best interests of the company as well as your own ability to fulfill those needs.

 

 

  • How would you describe the culture of the company from your experience as an employee here?

 

Asking a current employee in the company about their experiences can give you a more thorough idea of what you really will experience working there. A lot of the times, the answer to this can show you the extent to which the company prioritizes building relationships between teammates, such as going out to lunch together or celebrating achievements as a group. While it may not be crucial for a company to prioritize a more “fun” environment among the employees, it is always more reassuring to know that you would be welcomed with open arms and have the opportunity to build long-lasting friendships while there.

 

 

  • What does a typical day look like in this position? Does it stay consistent or will my tasks vary day-to-day?

 

This question is crucial in order to paint a picture of what your role will consist of and if it is truly something that you are fit for. Whether you are looking for a more structured role or a role with more flexibility/spontaneity, the employer’s answer to this question can confirm whether the role is a position you would thrive in. On top of that, it will show on the employer’s side how prepared they are for your potential addition to the company and the role you would play.

 

 

  • What are the company’s goals and expectations over the next five years?/What are the company’s long-term and short-term goals as of right now?

 

To strengthen your potential as a candidate and show a more genuine interest on your end, this question will show the employer how you prioritize having a true understanding of the company. On top of impressing the employer, it will also give you information regarding the company’s work ethic. They might be a company that is constantly setting ambitious goals, and pushing their employees to work their hardest, or they might be more laid-back and let employees work at their own pace. Either way, it will give you a deeper look into how they organize themselves and what they expect of their company.

 

 

  • How does the company measure success overall and specifically in my role?

 

This thought-provoking question will allow you to further understand the role and its expectations. It is important for you to feel confident that you will succeed in a role before taking it, and the answer to this question can give you some insight on company expectations.Taking all of these questions into account while preparing for an interview will help set you up for a successful interview, both for you and the interviewer.

Developing a Five-Star LinkedIn Profile

In today’s world, many people overlook the extent to which recruiters and employers are using LinkedIn as a tool to find potential candidates. It can be easy to think that you are only being looked at as a candidate when you are applying to jobs and finding potential employers, when in reality networking profiles like LinkedIn allow for employers to find you. Having a well-developed profile that is consistently updated is a crucial first step in opening up the doors to all kinds of potential opportunities. That being said, take the time now to pull up your LinkedIn profile, follow this checklist, make any necessary tweaks, and last but not least, be ready for success!

 

Your Profile Picture

Having a profile picture on LinkedIn is necessary; it makes your profile much more likely to be clicked on because of the personal touch it adds to those coming across your profile who may not know you. Ideally, you want the photo to be as high-quality and professional as it can be, a clear image with good lighting. You should be dressed in work attire, either business casual or business professional. If you have not had the chance yet to get professional pictures done, throw on a nice outfit and grab a buddy to take pictures of you somewhere with a clean and simple background!

                                       Cailin Flannery

Your Header

Like your picture, your header would be one of the first aspects someone would see on your profile (and even before they click on your profile). One of the most common mistakes people make is using headlines that are extremely generic and do absolutely nothing to differentiate you. Make sure to revamp a boring heading, like “Student at UMass Amherst,” into something descriptive and exciting, like “Driven Marketing Student at UMass Amherst seeking a Summer 2019 Internship Opportunity.” Just from tweaking your heading, recruiters and employers now know a little bit more about your unique qualities and what you are looking for!

 

Your Summary

There is a little more freedom when it comes to your LinkedIn summary and what you would want to include. On a basic level, you should at least include who you are, what your past work and school experience has been, followed by what kind of opportunities you are searching for or career goals you have. You want to use this space to give potential recruiters or employers more insight on who you are, deeper than just your 5-10 word header. Here, you can include your strongest qualities and where you have had the opportunity to utilize/strengthen them, and even where you are today in regards to your career and how you have gotten to this point. Be honest, and don’t be afraid to brag a little and show off how unique you are, because this is your chance to show everyone what you’ve got to offer!

 

Experience

When filling in your past experience, make sure to add more detail other than just where your past jobs have been and how long you worked there. It is important to know where you have worked in the past, but it is even more important to get a sense of what your days really consisted of during your time there. A lot of the time, recruiters are seeing your profile before seeing anything else, such as your resume, so you want to include detailed bullet points under each job describing what kind of tasks you performed on a day-to-day basis. For example, describing experience in a customer service position can go from this…

  • Helped customers find items         

…To this.

  • Greeted and assisted customers while responding to inquiries in person and through telephone calls           

 

Use strong action verbs and be specific, each bullet point should be able to highlight a skill you learned and improved upon while at that specific job.

PROTIP: Currently looking for a job? Let recruiters know you’re seeking opportunities by going to ‘Settings and Privacy’ under your account, then making the switch under ‘Job Seeking Preferences.’

                                             

Last but not least, BUILD YOUR NETWORK!

Don’t be shy! Whether it be a work event, a school event, or even a small interaction you might have had with someone, make the effort to reach out and connect with them on LinkedIn. You never know where your next opportunity could come from, and just one connection could lead you to hundreds of potential ones!

Franklin Professional Associates, Inc. and MindsetGo Partnership Announcement

Franklin Professional Associates, Inc. and MindsetGo Partner to Launch New Approach to Onboarding and Training

Leominster, MA – May 14, 2019 – In a move to create more comprehensive solutions for their client’s onboarding and training programs, Franklin Professional Associates announces a collaborative enterprise with MindsetGo.  Franklin Professional Associates, specializing in staffing and recruiting, is on a mission is to empower companies to greatness by helping them to find and attract top talent while also connecting them with resources to help them fully capitalize on the investments in their workforces.

The MindsetGo and Franklin Professional Associates partnership will focus on delivering content centered on engagement, retention and recruiting strategies for employers.

The MindsetGo mission (mindsetgo.com), according to Founder and President Mark Altman, “is to address more than just behavior; it is a holistic approach to shift mindsets, inspire the learning process, build confidence, and apply new-found knowledge to both personal and professional lives.”

Franklin Professional Associates, Inc and MindsetGo. will offer customized employee and leadership assessments that synergize with MindsetGo’s training and coaching development programs.  In response to the various challenges for clients and their employees, Franklin Professional Associates and MindsetGo intend to solve ongoing corporate problems like employee engagement and retention.

The 80/20 rule applies here,” says owner, Melissa Glenny. Meaning, 80% of long-term success with a new hire will be determined by the first 20% of the process. Many companies lose some of their best employees because they fail to grasp this. Companies do best when their program involves assessing their internal leadership in addition to each new hire so they can ensure a cultural fit and build a development plan.

 

MindsetGo (Mindsetgo.com), located in Westborough, MA, specializes in strengthening relationships, incorporating influence and mastering the art of presentation; through training, coaching and motivational speaking.

 

If you would like more information about Franklin Professional Associates, please contact Melissa Glenny at 508-654-6243 or email mglenny@franklinprofessionals.com.