Adams & Garth Blog

What If You Don’t Want That Big Promotion?

July 12th, 2016

You’re dependable, smart, hard working – and a big promotion is right around the corner thanks to your efforts. But what if you don’t want one? You’re happy where you are in your career and have no desire for the stress and responsibility that inevitably comes with moving up.

As one of the leading employment agencies in Harrisonburg, Adams & Garth knows if you’re offered a job promotion – and you’re not thrilled about it – handling this tricky situation can be tough. But it’s up to you to talk with your boss and explain where you’re coming from.

When doing so, keep in mind the old adage – “It’s not you, it’s me.” Even if it really is about the job being offered, spin it in a way that’s going to least offend your boss.

How do you do that?

First and foremost, it’s important to show gratitude about the opportunity being offered. It can help lessen the blow for your boss and those around you. For instance, “I’m so flattered that you’re offering me this position. The truth is that I would love to take it, but…

So how do you fill in the blank?

Be honest without highlighting any of your own shortcomings, or pointing fingers. For instance, explain:

  • How much you love your current role and the fact that you have big plans for it going forward. Talk about your goals for the next three, six, nine and 12 months and how you want to see them come to fruition. Discuss the value you want can provide in your existing position and how it will make a difference for your boss, the team and the company.
  • Why you don’t believe you’re the best person for the job – for instance, because you have small kids at home, or elderly parents you’re caring for and it’s not a good time for you to be taking on an expanded role at work.
  • Your overall career path, where you see yourself in five years, and why the promotion doesn’t fit in with that vision.

Also, if you work alongside someone whom you do think would be a great fit for the job, let your boss know. It shows that you care about the success of your co-workers and the organization – and can hopefully help get you off the hook for a job you don’t want.

Interested in learning about other jobs in Harrisonburg? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Harrisonburg – and Central Virginia, we can help you with your search from start to finish, from crafting a strong resume to matching you with an opportunity that’s a great fit for you.

Contact Adams & Garth today to get started.

What’s a Pain Letter – & Should I Be Using One in My Job Search?

June 28th, 2016

Writing a cover letter is a tough job. How do you convince the hiring manager you’re right for the position in just a few paragraphs?

One recent trend is to send in a “pain letter” rather than just a cover letter. A pain letter is simply where you talk about a hiring manager’s biggest problem – i.e. “the pain” – and then explain how you can solve it. Some experts so that in doing so, you showcase your skills and experience, your knowledge of the company, and your desire to make a contribution.

But are pain letters really a good idea? After all, how do you really know what a hiring manager’s biggest pains are?

Sometimes, the answer is right in the job description. For instance, the job description might say something like:

“We’re looking for a social media manager who can develop an effective strategy and improve our presence on various social media channels.”

Once you know the specific pain point (lack of strategy and visibility on social media in the example above), you can get to work crafting a letter that shows how you can relieve the issue for the employer.

That said, if you can’t figure out a specific pain point, don’t try to guess at it. If you do – and you’re off the mark, you’ll appear presumptive and out of touch to the hiring manager. Instead, aim to frame your cover letter in terms of what the hiring manager needs (a finance whiz, an administrative guru, or whatever the case may be) and how you will excel in the position.

Keep in mind, the best way to stand out to a hiring manager isn’t to follow the latest trends. It’s to have a solid resume with a proven record of success and write a compelling cover letter that explains why you’re a great fit for the job.

A few other cover letter writing tips include:

  • Tell a story – in other words, why you want to work at the company, or why you first entered your career field.
  • Don’t regurgitate your resume. Include new information on your cover letter.
  • Use numbers where you can to quantify accomplishments.
  • Don’t be overly formal; be professional yet friendly.
  • Customize each letter for the different positions you apply to.
  • Keep it short – no more than one page.

Need more help writing cover letters – or finding your next dream job in Central Virginia? Call the employment experts at Adams & Garth. We can connect you with leading employers and top jobs throughout Central Virginia. Call us today to find out more.

How to Deal With Unrealistic Deadlines at Work

June 14th, 2016

As one of the top employment agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows that deadlines are a fact of life in the world of work. Sometimes they’re generous, and other times tight. But when you’re consistently having a hard time meeting your deadlines, it’s time to take a step back and start asking some questions. Here’s a look at 4:

#1: Are my colleagues having a hard time meeting deadlines?

When you’re consistently battling difficult deadlines, take a look around you. Are those you work with in the same boat? Or do they seem comfortable with timelines for their projects? If it’s the latter, then talk to them about what they’re doing to meet deadlines. Do they start earlier, plan differently, or delegate to others?

#2: How did the person who held this job before me meet deadlines?

If you’re relatively new in a position, ask about what your predecessor did to complete the job within the deadline. They may have come up with various shortcuts that could be helpful for you.

#3: Am I prioritizing work properly?

Take a look at all your projects and how you’re prioritizing them. Also look at how you’re spending your time during the day. Are you too focused on projects or work that has a longer deadline or isn’t priority? If so, you need to rework your schedule.

#4: What can I accomplish within the timeframe?

If you can finish 90% of the project by the due date, tell your manager as soon as your realize that fact. Then talk about how long it will take you to finish the remaining 10% and why it’s not feasible to complete it by the deadline. There may be issues or obstacles your boss isn’t aware of, so it’s up to you to bring them up.

If, after answering these questions, you come to the realization that the problem is systemic – and that all your colleagues are facing unreasonable deadlines, it’s time to have a conversation with your boss. Don’t go on the offensive. Simply have an honest discussion with your manager about deadlines and how you can collaborate to better prioritize and schedule work.

If you’re overworked in your current job and looking for something new, call the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of the top employment agencies in Charlottesville, we have the knowledge and expert team in place to help you find a great new job in Central Virginia.

Contact us today to learn more, or search our jobs now.

6 Things You Need to Know Before Re-entering the Job Market

May 24th, 2016

As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows if you haven’t held a job (at least one you’ve been paid for) in the last decade, the thought of re-entering the employment market can be intimidating. After all, job searches have certainly changed a lot in recent years thanks to technology.

To help you get your hunt off to the best start possible, here are 6 things you need to know beforehand:

#1: Gone are the paper resumes.

Today, most companies will have you apply online or submit your resume and cover letter via email. This can certainly save you on the cost of postage; however, keep in mind, not all employers have user-friendly online application systems.

#2: Resume rules have changed.

Don’t plan to pull out your old resume, insert your most recent contact information, send it out to employers and expect a call for interviews. You’ll need to do some serious editing and polishing first – including:

  • Replacing your objective with a summary of qualifications;
  • Focusing on accomplishments rather than tasks in your job history; and
  • Getting rid of the “references available upon request” statement.

Also, don’t worry about cramming all your information into one page. A two-page resume is completely acceptable.

#3: Expect phone screens.

It used to be that a hiring manager would review your resume and if they were interested, call you in for an interview. Not today. Instead, phone screens are the standard first step in the interview process. This gives employers a chance to screen candidates and determine who the strongest contenders are – then invite the short list in for an interview.

#4: You’ll likely have multiple rounds of interviews.

In addition to the phone screen, many employers today also conduct at least two rounds of in person interviews. If you’re interviewing for a senior level position, expect even more. As a result, the hiring process can take several months – not the one or two months you may have expected.

#5: You’re asked to share a lot of information.

Many employers today will ask you to disclose a plethora of information – before they’ll even interview you. This includes everything from a salary history to references.

#6: You don’t always hear back.

The hiring process has become less personal over the years. That means even if you do get an interview for the job – and you don’t get the offer – you won’t always hear back from the employer.

The job search process can be a stressful one, especially if you’ve been off the market for an extended period of time. Let the employment experts at Adams & Garth help you get back up and running. 

As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, we partner with top employers throughout Central Virginia to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. We can also help you craft a solid resume and polish your interview skills.  Contact us today to learn more or search our Charlottesville jobs now.

How Long Does It Usually Take a Hiring Manager to Get Back to a Candidate?

May 10th, 2016

You’ve applied for a position you’re a great fit for. You expected to get a call for an interview within a day or two. But now it’s been over a week and you haven’t heard a thing.

Nada. Zilch. Zip.

Is this typical? And, on average, how long does it take a hiring manager to get back to a job candidate?

As one of the leading Harrisonburg employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows that rarely will a hiring manager reach out to you within a day of you submitting your application. This can happen, but it’s not likely to.

Keep in mind, hiring managers aren’t just filling the position you’re applying to. They may have a dozen other jobs they’re working on, along with a slew of duties they have to take care of each day. As a result, if it’s only been a few days, they might not have even looked at your resume yet.

Most candidates will have to wait at least a week or two to hear back. But some have reported getting a call for an interview six months after they applied for a job. While that’s not the norm, it can happen.

The lesson here?

There is no average amount of time it takes for a hiring manager to reach out to a candidate for an interview. The hiring process varies widely from company to company – and every hiring manager has a different workload and operates at different speeds.

However, one thing that’s true across the board is that you can drive yourself crazy while you’re waiting. When you’re job searching, time seems to move incredibly slow. But refreshing your email one more time won’t get a hiring manager to reach out to you any faster. Instead, focus on submitting the best possible resume and cover letter you can to each position you’re interested in.

Then move on.

That means don’t check your email every 15 minutes wondering if the hiring manager got back to you. That means stop agonizing, wondering and waiting with bated breath about the opportunity.

Instead, move onto the next job opening that interests you and focus on submitting a terrific cover letter and resume. Then rinse and repeat.

All that said, if you haven’t heard from a prospective employer within about a month, then you can probably assume you’re not in the running for the job (although that’s not written in stone either).

Would you like expert help finding your next great job? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading Harrisonburg employment agencies, we can help you with your job search from start to finish, from crafting a strong resume to matching you with a job opportunity that’s a great fit for you.

Contact Adams & Garth today to get started.

Writing a Great Cover Letter…When You Don’t Have Experience

April 26th, 2016

The purpose of a cover letter is to explain why you’re interested in the job – and why you’d be a good fit for it. But what if you don’t have a ton of (or any) experience to tout in your cover letter? How do you show you’d excel in the position?

Rather than saying something generic, like “I’m a great communicator,” it’s important to dig deep and think about why a hiring manager would want to hire you. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a ton of experience. What it does mean is that you have to show a hiring manager why they should get excited about you.

For instance:

  • Maybe you’re an incredibly detail oriented person with an eagle eye for mistakes who creates spreadsheets to organize every aspect of your life.
  • Or perhaps you’re a people person who loves to help others. In every summer job you’ve had in the past, you’ve been complimented on your interpersonal skills and ability to handle tough customers.

Even though you don’t have direct job experience, these are the kinds of soft skills it’s important to promote in your cover letter. Keep in mind too, assuming you’re applying for entry level jobs at this point, most candidates won’t have a ton of experience to promote either. So if you can stand out with a highly desirable skill or personality trait, then you’re going to be a step ahead of the competition.

Some other cover letter writing tips:

  • Be direct with your opening. Don’t open your cover letter with subjective phrases like “I’m the self starter you’ve been looking for,” or “I’m the strongest candidate for the position because…” These phrases are annoying to hiring managers and won’t get their attention in a positive way. Instead, say something simple like “I was excited to see your opening for XYZ position.”
  • Don’t regurgitate what’s on your resume. Most job candidates make the mistake of repeating what’s on their resume in their cover letter. Don’t be one of them. You should be explaining why you’re excited about the position and why you’d excel in it. Your resume, on the other hand, should communicate your past track record of success.
  • Don’t address every qualification in the job ad. You do want to be sure that the qualifications described in the job posting are discussed at some point between your cover letter and resume. But that doesn’t mean your cover letter should include a bullet list of the qualifications with explanations about how you meet each one.

Do you need more help with your cover letter, resume…or finding jobs in Central Virginia? Call Adams & Garth. As one of Central Virginia’s top employment agencies, we can help you find job opportunities that are a great fit for your skills, background, and goals. Search jobs in Central Virginia or contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

4 Ways to Take Charge of Your Career…So You Can Get Ahead

April 12th, 2016

As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows that in today’s world, you can’t rely on your boss or company to plan out your career path. It’s up to you to set goals and seek out new opportunities. Here are 4 tips to help you take charge of your career – so you can get ahead:

Tip #1: Be proactive.

It’s easy to get comfortable in a position and feel safe. That’s ok for a while. But if you stay put for too long, your career will stagnate. It’s up to you to make things happen.

If you think you deserve a raise, don’t wait around for your boss to notice all the great work you’ve been doing. Likewise, if you’re ready for a more challenging role, it’s up to you to speak up. Your boss is probably too busy to focus on your career path.

So if getting promoted in your field requires an MBA, then now’s the time to start. Don’t just hope a bigger salary or a better position will come your way. It’s up to you to go after it.

Tip #2: Be accountable.

If you make a mistake at work, own up to it. Everyone makes mistakes at one point or another. When it happens to you, don’t point the finger of blame or brush off any responsibility. Just apologize for it and ask what you can do to fix it. When you’re accountable you can deal with and shore up your weaknesses, putting yourself – and your career – on a path toward improvement.

Tip #3: Be aware of your faults.

Are you always late? Do you lack attention to detail? Do you have poor communication skills? Everyone has flaws. What are yours?

When you know what areas could use some improvement, then you’re halfway to improving them. If you’re late every morning, commit to leaving the house 20 minutes earlier. Set five alarms if that’s what it takes to get you up and running earlier. If you need to improve your people skills, take a class or work with a mentor. Whatever the case for you, have a specific area you want to fix and put a plan into place for improving it.

Tip #4: Be positive.

Sometimes, bad things happen that are outside your control. Your company might cut your hours and put you in a different position you don’t like. But rather than having a pity party, take action. Pull out your resume and start the process of polishing it. Let go of anger and resentment and look at the situation as an opportunity to move ahead.

Would you like more help moving ahead in your career? Call the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, we’ve matched hundreds of job candidates with great jobs throughout Central Virginia and we can help you too. Contact us today to learn more or search our Charlottesville jobs now.


When to Ask About Salary in a Job Search

March 22nd, 2016

The job ad doesn’t list it. The hiring manager doesn’t bring it up during the interview. So when exactly are you supposed to ask about salary? You don’t want to sound like all you care about is money. But let’s face it – you need to make sure the salary is competitive for your industry and experience.

In an ideal world, all employers would post a salary range in their job ads. This would give you a ballpark idea of what the Central Virginia job pays. If it was too low, you’d know immediately and could walk away. A range would also give employers some wiggle room depending on your experience level and the strength of your skill set.

In reality, though, you’re often left wondering about this incredibly important aspect of the job search. So how do you deal with this delicate subject?

Your first step should be to do some research on salaries in your location and for professionals in your industry with similar experience and expertise. Check professional associations and ask those you know in the field their thoughts. Once you know a range, then you can feel confident if an employer asks you about the salary you’re seeking.

Also, don’t bring up salary in the first moments of your interview. It’s understandable you don’t want to waste time if the salary is low. However, many employers will bristle if you start talking about money right away.

If, toward the end of the interview, there’s a natural point in time to bring it up, then ask about it. You can say something like:

“I hope you don’t mind me inquiring about salary at this stage. But can you give me an idea of the range so we can make sure we’re on the same page moving forward?”

Keep in mind, though, some employers may be turned off when you ask about salary. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense – since salary will play a critical part in whether or not you accept the Central Virginia job. But that’s simply conventional wisdom. So if you’re not comfortable bringing up the subject, then wait until the second interview.

That said, if you’re being asked to travel across the country for an interview, or a recruiter is reaching out to you, then it’s perfectly acceptable to ask upfront – over the phone – about the salary range. When you do, though, be prepared for them to ask you about the salary range you’re looking to secure.

Do you need more help finding a great job with a competitive salary? If you do, let Adams & Garth know. We partner with leading employers to offer you outstanding jobs in Central Virginia in a variety of fields. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Getting Ready for Round 2: How to Ace Your Second Interview

March 8th, 2016

Getting a call back for a second interview means you are a serious contender for the job. Congratulations! But that might leave you wondering what to expect during the subsequent interview, including what kinds of questions you’ll be asked, what topics will be covered, and whom you’ll be meeting with.

With that in mind: How can you prepare, so you ace it the second time around and land the job? Here are a few tips to help you:

Find out the format.

Will this be a one-on-one with the company president, or a panel interview? Will it be a single meeting, or interviews throughout the day? Once you know what to expect, you can better prepare.

Check out your interviewers.

If you are given the names of those you’ll be interviewing with, research them ahead of time. That doesn’t mean you need to full out cyber stalk them. Just find out their role and how long they’ve worked at the company.

Get ready to get in depth.

The first interview was likely a screening of sorts, during which the basics were covered. The second interview, however, will be much more in depth. So be ready to answer more demanding questions and talk in detail about your accomplishments and track record.

Practice your answers.

You may have already practiced your answers to interview questions. But do it again so your responses are fresh in your head during the second interview. Don’t let a lack of preparation sabotage your efforts.

Mind the gaps.

If there’s a certain area where you know you fell short during the first interview, the second interview will certainly be an opportunity to assuage any fears about your candidacy to the hiring manager. So think about any weaknesses in your previous interview performance and be ready to vanquish them the second time around.

Ask your own questions.

Now that you know a lot more about the position and the company, don’t forget to bring up your own questions about the job, the team you’d be working on, and the company culture.

Dress your best.

In your first interview, everyone else was in jeans. So should you emulate their dress code in your second interview? No. No matter their company culture and dress policy, wear professional attire to every job interview. Once you get the offer, you can modify your clothing choices.

It can be hard to know what to expect for a second interview. But by following the tips above and doing your best to prepare extensively, there’s a good chance you can land the job. Good luck!

Do you need help finding your next job? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Central Virginia, we partner with top employers throughout the region to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Search our Central Virginia jobs now or contact us today.

How to Recover from a Bad Job Interview

February 23rd, 2016

Have you ever left a job interview knowing it didn’t go well? You seemed like a great fit, until halfway through the interview. That’s when everything fell apart.

As one of Charlottesville’s leading employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows this can certainly be a discouraging situation – one that’s hard to recover from. But don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s very normal to feel negative after a bad job interview.

You’d probably like to press the rewind button and go back to the beginning. While you can’t do that, the good news is that there are some steps you can take to salvage the situation – and your reputation. Here’s a look at 5 of them:

Step #1: Reflect on the experience.

It’s easy to only focus on the negative. But try to be more objective about the experience and think about what went right. Also, identify exactly where you went wrong and what you should have said or done so you don’t make the same mistake twice.

Step #2: Forgive yourself.

You know what went right and what went wrong. Now it’s time to let it go and forgive yourself. Nothing positive will come from beating yourself up over the situation. Accept that you made a mistake – and then move forward.

Step #3: Say thank you.

Contacting the hiring manager might be the last thing you want to do, given the situation. However, it’s important that you acknowledge your error and thank the hiring manager for their time. Don’t bring to light any blunders you’re not entirely sure they caught. But do send a well-written note or email admitting to a misunderstanding or miscommunication.

Step #4: Apologize for specific errors, not the whole interview.

If you called the hiring manager “Mike” throughout the interview, but realized afterward his name was “Mark,” then apologize for the error. But don’t say you’re sorry for a bad interview. You never know what the hiring manager is thinking and the interview might not have been as awful as you think.

Step #5: Inform the hiring manager of any external distractions.

If you just had a death in the family, or your spouse is recovering from a life threatening illness, it’s no wonder you’re distracted. And the follow up thank you letter is the perfect opportunity to explain the situation. The hiring manager may take this into consideration when making their final decision, or even ask you back in for another interview.

Need more help landing your next job interview? Call the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of Charlottesville’s leading employment agencies, we partner with top employers throughout the region to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Search our Charlottesville jobs now or contact us today.