Adams & Garth Blog

3 Tips for Handling Resume Criticism

February 9th, 2016

Searching for a new job? Then you likely know you should ask a friend or colleague to review your resume before applying to any openings. They should be looking for any grammar or spelling mistakes, as well as inconsistencies.

But what if their feedback goes beyond that – and they offer some harsh criticism about your resume? Should you ignore them, or take it to heart?

As one of the leading employment agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows the stronger your resume, the better your chances of landing an interview. So it’s wise to put any feedback you get to good use. Here’s how:

Tip #1: Stay open minded.

It’s easy to get defensive when you’re getting critiqued. But take a step back and try to take your emotions out of the equation. Your friend or colleague isn’t trying to hurt your feelings. They’re simply doing what you asked.

That said, if they offer feedback you don’t understand or agree with, talk it through. Don’t simply dismiss it. Remember, you want your resume to stand out among the competition. Incorporating their input may just be the ticket to doing that.

Tip #2: Don’t take it personally.

Resume writing isn’t typically taught in high school, college or graduate school. That may be one reason that most people struggle with it. If you’re one of them, don’t get upset or take it personally. Even those who are strong in the writing department can have a hard time communicating about themselves and their career accomplishments on paper. So don’t look at any critique as an indication you have weak communication skills. Instead, take the advice being offered to you and use it to fine-tune your resume.

Tip #3: Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes.

Having a colleague or friend is a great way to not only catch any typos, but also ensure your resume will get the hiring manager’s attention. So be sure to share the job posting with the person reviewing your resume. If they have some comments about the relevance of the projects and accomplishments you’ve included, then listen to what they have to say.

Also, put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. There are certain areas of your background you may want to promote. But are those truly the ones that will impress a hiring manager?

Creating a great resume is a challenge. So when you get some less-than-glowing feedback about yours, don’t take it too personally. It may take a few drafts to get it just right. But when you do, it can help launch yourself into an exciting new job opportunity.

Would you like resume writing help from the experts? Call Adams & Garth. As one of the leading employment agencies in Charlottesville, we can help you craft a strong resume, prepare for interviews, and connect you with employers offering rewarding opportunities. Contact us today to learn more or search our Charlottesville jobs now.

“Why Do You Want to Work Here?” How to Answer This Common Interview Question

January 26th, 2016

If you’re searching for jobs in Central Virginia, then you know you’re eventually going to have to face the dreaded interview – and questions like “why do you want to work here?” As a candidate, it’s your job to persuade the hiring manager that you’re the person for the position – and the perfect fit for the company.

How do you go about doing that? Start with these quick tips:

Quick tip #1: Find out everything you can about the company.

You can’t tell a hiring manager why you want to work for ABC Company if you don’t know much about it. So it’s up to you to learn all you can – so you can offer a convincing answer.

Start by going to their website and reading through it, including the About / Mission, Services, Team, and News and Events pages. You want to know where the company’s been, but also where it’s going in the future. That information can give you some clues as to why the employer could be a good fit for you.

Beyond their website, use Google and sites like LinkedIn to read all you can about the company. Look for any news articles recently published about new product launches, key stakeholder moves, or other industry information that could impact the company. Be sure to check out the organization’s profile on LinkedIn, as well as any other social media profiles they may have. Research their executive team and try to get a sense of what skills and traits seem most valued there.

Once you’ve completed your research, you should have a much better sense of where you could fit in – and why you’d want to work there.

Quick tip #2: Craft your own answer.

When it comes to preparing your own answer to “why do you want to work here?,” there are plenty of resources online. But only look to them for inspiration, not to copy them verbatim.

Remember, you want to stand out during an interview, which means being unique and authentic. Beyond giving the interviewer a sense of why you do want to work for the company, your answer will also demonstrate to them that 1) you’ve done your homework and 2) you are enthusiastic about the opportunity.

Quick tip #3: Practice before your interview.

Once you have a good idea of what you want to say, write it down and practice it. Don’t just wing it. While you don’t want to come off as canned or too rehearsed, you also don’t want to forget to cover any key points.

So what should your answer sound like? Here’s an example:

“You know, Mike, I’ve done a lot of research about your company over the past few days and I have to say, I’m truly impressed. The organization has a reputation not only as a thought leader in the industry, but as an “employer of choice” among its staff members. That’s something I really want to be a part of: A company that places an emphasis on innovation, while still treating it’s people like part of a family.”

Want more help finding jobs in Central Virginia? Let Adams & Garth know. We partner with leading employers to offer you outstanding opportunities in a variety of fields. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Create a Great Cover Letter for Your 2016 Job Search

January 12th, 2016

Do you want to find a new job in 2016? If you do, then an important tool in your job search process is the cover letter. In fact, as one of Charlottesville’s leading employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows a great cover letter be make the difference between getting called in for an interview, or getting passed over.

So if you want to create a cover letter that gets results, here are 7 quick tips to follow:

#1. Don’t regurgitate your resume.

Your cover letter gives you an opportunity to stand apart from other job candidates and show just what you can do. That’s why it’s important not to just restate what’s already on your resume. Instead, your cover letter should be the place where you show some personality and write something new about yourself, like your work habits or why you want to work for a particular company.

#2. Avoid hype.

Avoid statements like “I’m the best person for the job.” First, you don’t know that’s true and second, it makes you sound arrogant. While your cover letter should demonstrate overall why you’d be a great fit for the job, avoid these kinds of exaggerated statements and other fluff. Instead, tell a story, or talk about specific facts and details.

#3. Demonstrate your interest.

Companies want to hire someone who’s enthusiastic about the position and the company…not someone looking for any old job. So show you’re excited about the opportunity by explaining what you like about the company, what piques your interest, or why the culture and your background are a great match.

#4. Describe what you bring to the table.

At the end of it all, hiring managers want to know about what you can bring to the table that’s unique. In other words, what positive impact you can make at the company. Describe how your personality, skill sets, or strengths are relevant to the particular position and how you will help make a difference. Get specific too. For instance, if you work in sales, describe what you’d do to improve sales performance, along with your past track record of success.

#5. Explain any career gaps or other issues.

Do you have any gaps in employment or other issues that could stand out on your resume? Or are you over- or under-qualified for the job, but really believe it’s the right one for you? Then your cover letter is the perfect opportunity to explain the situation. If you don’t offer clarification about such issues, your resume might get overlooked.

#6. Don’t be overly formal.

The best received cover letters are warm and conversational, not overly formal. That said, don’t be too casual or use slang, abbreviations, or pop culture acronyms (LOL!).

#7. Avoid templates.

Don’t simply take a boilerplate resume you’ve found on the web and cut and paste your information into it. Hiring managers can spot these in an instant. Instead, take the time to craft a custom resume for each position you’re applying to, so you can stand out and get noticed.

It’s not easy writing a great cover letter. If you need help with the process – or with any other aspect of your job search – call the employment 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.

7 Steps to a New Job in the New Year 

December 22nd, 2015

As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, Adams & Garth can tell you if you’d like to find a new job in 2016, then you need to start planning now. To help you in the process, here are a few steps to take:

Step #1: Get your resume ready.

Before you begin the job search process, break out your resume and get to work polishing it. Start by identifying the achievements, experiences and skills most important to highlight. Also, be sure to ask someone you trust to review and proofread it to catch any errors or inconsistencies.

Step #2: Carry business cards with you at all times.

Every time you step out your door, there’s an opportunity to network. One way to make a strong first impression on new people you meet is to have business cards with you at all times. That way, if you’re at a holiday party and make a great connection, hand them your business card and ask them to keep in touch.

Step #3: Start networking.

Networking can seem like an overwhelming task. But make it easy by committing to attending at least one networking event each week. It can be either in person or online. You can check your local chamber of commerce, or online for local meetups that would be of interest to you. Also, reach out to colleagues you’d like to stay in touch with and schedule a lunch date or go for drinks after work.

Step #4: Increase your visibility.

Make sure you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile. Reach out to your network and ask for recommendations. Also, make sure the skills and experiences you list are still relevant to the type of job you’re looking for. Don’t forget to include samples of your work, as well.

Step #5: Make sure you have a pitch.

Create an elevator pitch so you know what you’re going to say when someone asks you what kind of job you’re looking for. You should also be able to talk about your strengths and the value you can offer a potential employer. That said, don’t practice your pitch so much that you sound too rehearsed.

Step #6: Inform your network.

Let your network of friends, family, colleagues and fellow alumni know you’re looking for a new opportunity. Even if someone doesn’t work in your field, they may be able to connect you with those who do. Keep in mind, networking is the fastest way to a new job.

Step # 7: Be realistic about your expectations.

Be realistic about your career goals. If you don’t have a ton of experience in your field, then applying for a management role is likely not attainable. Instead, look for those opportunities that will help you gain the skills and experience you need to reach your ultimate dream job.

If you’d like expert help finding a new job in the New Year, call Adams & Garth. 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. Contact us today to learn more or search our Charlottesville jobs now.

How Many Questions Should I Ask an Employer in a Job Interview?

December 8th, 2015

Part of being prepared for a job interview is thinking about the questions you want to ask. But is there a rule about how many you should be asking?

First, as one of the top employment agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth knows it may vary depending on where you are in the hiring process. For example, if you’re just having a quick phone screen with the hiring manager, you don’t want to keep them on the line with 20+ questions. Ask a handful – three to five – that will help you best discern whether the job is something you’d be interested in learning more about. Keep in mind: if you’re invited in for a face-to-face interview, you can ask more questions then.

Second, once in an interview, there is no hard fast rule about the number of questions you should be asking. It’s more about quality, not quantity at this point. Remember, your goal in asking questions is to get the information you need to find out whether the job and the company are a good fit for you. Some tips:

  • Ask questions such as “what are the short-term goals and expectations to meet for the person in this role?,” and “describe the company culture to me.”
  • You can also ask questions that demonstrate your awareness of the company and initiatives, such as “I recently read an article about the company acquiring a new business. Will this impact the role I’m interviewing for in any way?”
  • At this point, avoid asking questions related to benefits or perks unless the interviewer brings them up.
  • If it seems like the interviewer is ready to wrap up the interview or has to go to another appointment, simply say something like “I do have more questions moving forward, but don’t want to take up more of your time. Can I email the rest to you?”
  • If you are offered the position without having your questions answered, don’t accept it blindly. Let the hiring manager know you need more information before you can make a decision.

When it comes to interviewing, it’s not about asking a certain number of questions. It’s about asking the right questions that help you learn about the job and the company so you can make a great career decision.

Do you need more advice on interviewing and other job search activities? Call the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of the top employment agencies in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth can help you polish your resume, prep for interviews, and give you access to rewarding jobs in your field!

Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Are You About to Lose a Key Employee?

November 24th, 2015

As one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, Adams & Garth knows turnover is normal at every company, and some of it is even healthy. However, if you have a top-performing team member – and they quit – it can seriously impact productivity and morale. But what if you find out a star employee is looking for a new job, yet hasn’t committed to making a move? Then there’s still time. It’s up to you to make the case as to why they should stay. Here’s how:

Set up a time to talk.

If you find out a top employee is searching for a new job, then it’s time to get pro-active. Set up a time to discuss the situation privately with them. Don’t do it via email. This type of situation requires face-to-face interaction; or, if you’re in different locales, then at least a phone call.

Think about what you’re going to say.

Before the meeting, prepare what points you want to cover and questions to ask during it. For instance, you may want to inquire about their relationship with their co-workers, whether they feel like they’re being challenged on the job, or if their contributions are recognized. These are each factors that could be contributing to the person’s desire to leave.

Don’t get defensive.

It’s easy to get upset when you find out a top employee could be leaving. But during your meeting, don’t berate them or get angry about their job search activities. If you do, you’re simply going to push them further out the door.

Instead, try to get to the root of the matter – why they are thinking of leaving – so you can entice them to stay. So what exactly do you say? You can kick off the conversation with the following:

“I have a sense that you’re thinking of resigning. You don’t have to confirm or deny it. But I just want you to know how much I value your contributions to the company. With that in mind, are there any areas of your job or concerns you’d like to discuss? I’d really like to keep you on board.”

When your employee responds, truly listen to what they are saying. You may be surprised by their feedback.

Look at the experience as a learning opportunity.

Whether the employee ends up leaving or not, you can still learn from the experience. Assess where you missed the mark and how you can make improvements going forward – all so you don’t lose top employees in the future.

Do you need more help attracting superstars to your company? Call the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, we can take the hassle out of hiring for you, so you can focus on other priorities. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

Thinking About Changing Careers or Industries? Here’s How to Make the Move

November 17th, 2015

As one of the leading Charlottesville employment agencies, Adams & Garth knows trying to break into a new industry or career is no easy task. Even if you have years of experience in your current field, you’re competing against candidates who likely already work in the industry or field. Why should an employer choose you?

While it might be more challenging to land a new role, the good news is: It can be done. To overcome the obstacles you’re facing and get the job done, here are some tips to follow:

Focus on transferrable skills.

Your skills might be from a different industry, but many most likely can be transferable to a new one. Make a list of your strengths and skills, then hone in on the ones you think are most relevant to the kinds of jobs you’re applying for. Don’t forget too about any experience or skills you’ve gained through volunteer work, as well.

Define what makes you unique.

In many cases, when a hiring manager sees a candidate without the traditional experience or skill set, they’ll move onto the next candidate. Why? Because they see you as a risky hiring move. To overcome this, you need to capture their attention and persuade them as to why they should give you a second look. To do so, tell a story and paint a picture as to why you’re switching industries and the unique value you can bring to the table as a result.

Look for contract opportunities.

If you don’t have enough transferable skills and experience, strive to get some by seeking out contract opportunities or work on the side. When you do, you can build up your skill set, obtain new knowledge and expand your network, all of which will be invaluable to your job search.

Don’t focus on the negative.

In many cases, career changers are looking to make a move because the industry they currently work in is stagnant or declining. If this is the case for you, don’t mention it in your cover letter or throughout the interview process. Instead, focus on the positive – why you’re excited to make a change and what you think you can offer to a new employer.

Make an effort to network.

You may have a huge network of contacts in your current field or industry. But what about the one you want to move into? If your contacts are sparse, you need to make an effort to start building a wider networking. One way to do that is to join an industry association, whether a local one or online, and reach out to those who work in positions similar to the one you want. Ask them for insight and guidance into breaking into the industry and getting hired.

Get help from a professional.

If you’re struggling with the process of positioning your background so you can make a switch, get help from career professionals at an employment agency. They can help you rework your cover letter and resume and give you the advice and assistance you need to land the job you’re after.

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.

 

How to Get a New Job at Your Old Employer

November 10th, 2015

You’re looking for a new job when you come across a posting that sounds ideal. But then you realize one potential sticking point – it’s with your past employer. Should you skip over it, or apply anyway?

As one of the leading employment agencies in Central Virginia, Adams & Garth knows if you left your past employer because you didn’t like working there – whether it was your boss, your co-workers, or the culture – then you should keep moving. Even though it can be tempting to apply if the job sounds perfect, you’ll likely wind up unhappy, frustrated and ready to move on…again.

In addition, if you burned a few bridges when you left, then you may be wasting your time re-applying. For instance, if you quit abruptly without two weeks notice or were consistently written up for poor performance, those are good reasons not to apply.

However, if you simply left for a better opportunity, but would be interested in boomeranging back in, then it’s certainly worth it to apply. And, in fact, you might be a top choice candidate for your past employer for a few reasons:

  • You already know the business and the culture, so onboarding and training time would be less than for other candidates.
  • You are a known entity. In other words, your past employer knows your personality and work ethic and doesn’t have to worry about any nasty surprises should they hire you.
  • You fit with the culture. One of the prime reasons new hires quit is due to a lack of cultural fit. But you already know the culture and are comfortable in it.

With that said, how do you go about re-applying so you make it to the top of the list? Here are a few quick tips:

  • Reach out to your old boss or former colleagues and tell them you’re interested in the job. Try to get together over coffee or lunch and inquire about what you think the chances are of you landing the position. Ask if they’d be willing to recommend you.
  • Be prepared to be persuasive. Just because you are a well-liked former employee doesn’t mean you’re a shoo-in for the job. You still need to sell yourself and persuade the hiring manager as to why you should be the top choice. For instance, if you’ve expanded your skill set since you’ve left the company, highlight the added value you can bring to the table because of it.
  • And finally, approach the process just as you would with a new employer. Be prepared for every phone screen and interview. Act professionally at all times. And follow up with thank you notes after any interviews.

Do you need more help finding your next great 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.

The #1 Topic Candidates Don’t Ask About – But Should – in a Job Interview

October 27th, 2015

If you’re searching for a job and going on interviews, then you likely are asking the hiring manager about the position and responsibilities. However, are you also asking about culture? As Harrisonburg recruiters, Adams & Garth knows if you’re not, you could wind up accepting a job that’s not a good fit for you.

What exactly is culture?

Culture is akin to a company’s personality. Some cultures are laid back and informal, while others are more structured and fast-paced. Culture also includes an organization’s vision, values and beliefs. For instance, some company cultures might place an emphasis on giving back to the community, while others encourage continuing education.

Clearly, the type of culture a company has is going to have a big impact on your happiness, satisfaction and overall success on the job. That’s why it’s so important to ask questions about it. If you accept a job at a company with a culture that’s not a good fit for you, you will grow frustrated and disengaged…even if the job itself is ideal.

So what kinds of questions can help you dig deeper and understand the true culture of a potential employer? Here’s a look at 8:

  1. Can you tell me about what the company culture is like?
  2. What are two or three things you like most about working here? What about least?
  3. In general, what do other employees like most about working at the company?
  4. Is there anything you wish you’d known about the company before you began working here?
  5. What is one of the most common complaints you here from staff members about working here?
  6. What are some personality traits that are key to being successful within the company?
  7. Name a few ways the company invests in its people.
  8. Are there any community or charitable causes the company is involved with?

Besides asking the questions above, another way to find out more about a company’s culture is to ask someone who works there. Look to websites like LinkedIn to see if you know any of the employees at the organization. If you do, reach out and ask them for the inside scoop on the company’s culture. The information you uncover could play a valuable part in your ultimate decision.

Do you need more help finding a company – and a culture – that’s a great fit for you? Call the experts at Adams & Garth. Our Harrisonburg recruiters will work with you to learn about your career goals and background, and then match you with job opportunities in which you can thrive.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.

 

Is it Time to Become a Temporary Employee?

October 13th, 2015

According to CareerBuilder’s annual job forecast, 36% of employers expect to add full-time, permanent employees in 2015. However, 46% of companies plan to hire temporary or contract workers – up from 42% in the last year. So if you’re searching for a new job, and a full-time one isn’t coming your way, temporary employment clearly provides plenty of opportunity.

Sometimes a temp job is a life saver that helps you pay the bills between jobs. In other cases, it provides an opportunity to explore other fields so you can eventually make a career switch. It can also be a work option that provides you with much needed scheduling flexibility. Whatever the case is for you, if you’ve never had a temporary job before, how do you get started?

As a leading temporary employment agency in Charlottesville, Adams & Garth can tell you that you can go in one of three directions:

#1: Reach out to your network.

Many job opportunities are uncovered by candidates and filled by employers through word of mouth. So don’t be hesitant to reach out to your network – from former co-workers, to fellow alumni, to friends and neighbors – and ask if anyone is hiring. That said, make sure you give them specific details and information about the type of opportunity you’re looking for.

#2: Look to employers’ websites.

Some organizations do post their temporary job opportunities on their websites, social media profiles, or through job boards. In fact, there are some job boards that specialize in temporary jobs. In addition, if there’s a certain employer you’re interested in working for, be sure to check their company website first. If you don’t see anything advertised, reach out to your network to find out if anyone you know works there. If they do, you can ask them if there are any temporary jobs available and get the inside scoop on getting hired.

#3: Connect with a temporary employment agency.

Another great way to find temporary jobs is to connect with a temporary employment agency. Employment agencies already have relationships with a network of organizations looking for temporary and contract help. By partnering with one, you can enjoy a steady stream of contract or temporary assignments to fill your schedule or until you find a full-time job.

Want to learn more? If you do, contact Adams & Garth. Whether you’re interested in a temporary job or want to find a full-time opportunity, we can help. As a leading temporary employment agency in Charlottesville, we work with some of the top employers in the region and can give you access to a host of job opportunities you may not otherwise know about.