Invest in Your Personal Brand: Why Career Marketing is So Crucial to Professional Advancement

January 3rd, 2019

Just 10 years ago, all you needed to apply for a new job was a cover letter and a resume. Things have changed dramatically since then. In today’s world, a personal brand is a must. But what exactly does that mean, and how can you create one to advance your career in 2019?

 

A personal brand is simply a way to differentiate yourself. It defines the unique value and experience you offer. It showcases your personality so you come across as authentic. And it positions you as a leading professional that employers want to hire. At its essence, it’s how people remember you.

 

That’s critically important in a competitive job market. For instance, when you have a polished and professional personal brand, you’ll benefit in many valuable ways, including:

 

Improving visibility in your industry.

 

This is vital, particularly when it comes to looking for a new job. The better known you are, the more recruiters and hiring managers you’ll get in front of. Not only that, but realistic or not, visibility equates to more familiarity. Companies want to hire people they know because they feel more comfortable with them.

 

Broadcasting more authority.

 

When you have a strong personal brand, it shows that you’re a trusted authority. Your opinion is, therefore, going to matter to more people. Recruiters and other professionals will seek you out and connect with you on an emotional level. This will help to build more trust among you and your network, which can play an invaluable part in your career.

 

Showcasing special skills.

 

You have a specialized combination of work and life experience that can set you apart from other candidates. When it comes to what makes you unique as a professional, a personal brand will help you show it off, whether it’s through your own website, blog posts, articles you author on LinkedIn, or speaking engagements.

 

Setting yourself apart from the competition.

 

At the end of the day, whether you’re looking for a new job, to expand your network, or the chance to take your career to a whole new level, a personal brand can play a key role. It will help to make you more memorable as you strive to achieve your career goals.

 

Ready for professional help creating a personal brand?

 

Turn to the team at ResumeSpice. We offer a variety of services, from professional bio writing to LinkedIn profile writing and more, we’ll help you develop your own compelling personal brand. To get started, call us today at 832.930.7378.

Posted in: & Advice Columns

Breaking Resume Myths: Limiting to One Page May Limit Your Potential

December 26th, 2018

Writing a resume is a delicate balance. When it comes to how long yours should actually be, you’ve probably heard the “one-page” rule. However, it’s not necessarily true and can actually wind up hurting your job search if you stick to it. Here’s why:

 

You cram too much information in.

If you’re desperately trying to stick to one-page during the resume writing process, chances are, your margins are going to be too narrow and fonts too small. As a result, hiring managers aren’t going to read your resume. They’re busy and need to be able to quickly and easily scan each one. If they require a magnifying glass to read yours, they’re likely going to skip it.

 

You leave out vital information.

In an effort to pare down your resume to a page, you could be leaving out critical information; the kinds of details that would distinguish you from other candidates. That’s why you shouldn’t be solely focused on length. Instead, concentrate on highlighting what’s important and most relevant for the hiring manager to know about you. You might still need to edit; however, you have a lot more flexibility with two pages instead of one.

 

It makes you look inexperienced.

Hiring managers expect experienced professionals to have a resume that’s more than one page. They also expect it to be polished and professional, with plenty of white space and proper formatting. So if your resume is jam-packed and messy-looking on a single page, it’s not going to reflect well on you or your background.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. For instance, if you just launched your career or only have a couple of years of experience, your resume should be one-page long. Anything more than that will make you look presumptuous, or like you’re unwilling or unable to edit. Stick to a single page and use appropriate margins and a font size that’s reasonably easy to read. That means one-inch margins and at least an 11-point font. Hiring managers will notice and thank you for it.

 

Writing a compelling resume takes a lot of work. On top of content, you need to think about other details, like length. If you’d like professional help and advice with the process, turn to the experienced resume writers at ResumeSpice. Whether you need some quick feedback or a total overhaul, we can help. To learn more, call us today at 832.930.7378.

Posted in: & Advice Columns

How to Customize Your Cover Letter for the Job – Without Forcing It!

December 18th, 2018

You’ve spent hours on your resume. When it comes to your cover letter, it’s tempting to cut corners. But as expert cover letter writers, the team at ResumeSpice knows doing so can sabotage your job search efforts. Hiring managers actually do read these and they offer you another valuable opportunity to set yourself apart as a candidate.

 

So when it comes to crafting a compelling one, how can you go about customizing it for each position in a way that seems authentic, not forced? Start with these simple tips:

 

1: Read through the job posting again.

What skills and abilities do you have that seem most important to this particular employer? Make a list then be sure you’re highlighting them in your cover letter. You don’t need to cover each one. Just one or two where your background is the strongest. This will enable hiring managers to quickly see you’re a fit for the position.

 

2: Open with a compelling statement.

Instead of just stating you’re applying for “XYZ job,” write something that grabs the attention of the hiring manager. They’re going to be seeing many boilerplate letters that all start off the same. So when you take this approach, you’re going to entice them to keep reading.

 

Some ideas about what to lead with include:

 

  • Highlighting someone who referred you to the job or a mutual connection.
  • Bringing up an industry trend to demonstrate your knowledge and experience.
  • Talking about why you entered your career field and expressing passion for what you do.

 

3: Tell a story.

Is there a particular project you worked on that’s highly relevant to the position? Did you recently win an award that speaks to your unique skills and abilities and the value you can offer in this role? Are you genuinely attracted to this company’s products or services? If so, why?

 

Whatever the case, when you tell a story, you’re going to bring your background to life in a way that’s more personal to the hiring manager. This will further enable you to distinguish yourself among other candidates.

 

4: Skip the superficial.

When it comes to your cover letter, don’t litter it with superlatives and unsubstantiated claims. Instead, clear and simple language is your best approach. Calling yourself a “guru” or a “star” candidate will undermine your credibility and make it seem like you’re more fluff and less substance.

 

5: Proofread, proofread, proofread.

Just as with your resume, it’s important to proofread your cover letter carefully to check for mistakes in grammar and spelling. It’s also critical to ensure that you’ve addressed the letter to the right person and that their name and job title are spelled correctly.

 

If you’d like professional help creating a well-written cover letter, turn to the cover letter writers at ResumeSpice. Not only do we know what hiring managers are looking for, but how to set your background apart so you get noticed and get called for an interview. To learn more, call us today at 832.930.7378.

Posted in: & Advice Columns

5 Tips for Interviewing Top Houston Accounting Professionals

March 26th, 2013

Attracting qualified Houston accounting talent has become increasingly difficult in recent years, as demand for CFO’s, controllers, accountants, AP managers, payroll managers, and bookkeepers continues to grow. If your company has open accounting positions, you may only have a short window in which to evaluate candidates and make a decision. Take too long and you risk losing top talent to other opportunities.

So how can ensure you’re not only attracting qualifying accounting candidates, but that you’re also getting them interested in your company? One commonly overlooked way is to use your interviewing time for both evaluating the candidate and selling the opportunity. You may only have one shot in front of a talented accounting candidate – be sure to make the most of it.

Below, Murray Resource offers 5 tips for interviewing Houston accounting professionals:

Understand the market & explain job details

As discussed above – with the accounting field being so competitive, talented Houston accounting professionals have options. Rock star candidates are less likely to leave positions than they were during pre-recession times, so those who are on the market are typically looking for very specific attributes in a job. Make sure you have a well-prepared job description that is clear, concise, and demonstrates that the company knows what  it’s looking for in the position. Appearing unorganized is a clear ‘turn off’ to most candidates, particularly more structured accounting professionals.

Talk up your corporate culture

As with most candidates, accountants are interested in companies where they are likely to fit in. During the interview, discuss the specifics of your company’s culture and why you think they could be easily integrated. You want to get the candidate excited about working for your company, so give examples of employees with extensive tenure and why they’ve decided to stay over the years.

Discuss a candidate’s career path

Stereotypically, accountants are very process-oriented, but don’t underestimate the aggressive growth plans of many Houston accounting professionals. It is important to explain future opportunities to grow within your firm, if granted the position. Point to employees who were able to move up quickly as a result of their hard work.

Stay away from negative commentary

While there are certainly exceptions, accountants as a group tend to more risk averse than other candidates. Be honest about your company’s situation, but don’t dwell on negative attributes of previous employees or disappointing turnover statistics. Instead, share positive information and growth trends, with an eye towards future growth plans.

Express your interest

Accountants tend to be straightforward and, like most candidates, they want to know where they stand. If you’re interested in pursuing the candidate, before the interview is over express your interest. Outline the process going forward and let them know when they should hear back – and then make sure you follow the timeline, or at least communicate when if’s there’s a deviation.

Murray Resources

Founded in 1988, Murray Resources is a leading Houston staffing agency. The company serves a base of over 800 client companies, including numerous Fortune™ 1000 companies and high-growth small and medium-sized organizations.

Murray Resources has been named a “Best Places to Work” by the Houston Business Journal and the #1 Fastest Growing Woman Owned Business in the Personnel Category by the Houston Business Journal. For more information, contact Murray Resources at 713.935.0009.

Posted in: & Advice Columns

What Happens To My Resume Once I Submit It To A Recruiter?

March 25th, 2013

Have you ever sent your resume to a recruiter and then waited – sometimes for several weeks – before hearing back? Fear not, your resume hasn’t fallen into a black hole. Here’s some insight from Houston staffing agency, Murray Resources, on what happens to your resume after you click ‘send’ or ‘submit.’

Step #1: The Six-Second Once-Over

It’s not uncommon for recruiters to receive hundreds, even thousands, of resumes for a single job posting. While ATS’s (applicant tracking systems) are commonly used by larger companies to sort through resumes, most external recruiters still view each resume manually (some recruiting firms employ junior recruiters or researchers to help screen and sort the influx of resumes).

So how do recruiters possibly review that many resumes? According to a recent study performed by TheLadders.com, recruiters spend an average of six seconds scanning resumes for fit. But don’t let that short amount of time fool you – most recruiters are highly-experienced professional resume screeners and know exactly what they’re looking for. According to the study, 80% of those six seconds are spent on the following information:

  • Name
  • Current Title / Company
  • Previous Title Company
  • Current position start and end dates
  • Previous position start and end dates
  • Education

Tip: Increase your chances of getting through this step by making sure your resume is clear, concise, and easy to follow – and that you are applying for a job that fits your qualifications. If a recruiter is unable to easily find the information they’re looking for, they’ll move on.

What if I haven’t heard back at this point?

Don’t panic if you don’t hear right away. For some jobs the process of sorting through resumes and setting up interviews can take a few weeks. It’s also not uncommon for employers to make changes to a job’s requirements, which can delay the process. If you haven’t heard from a recruiter in 2-3 weeks, feel free to call or email the firm to follow-up.

Step #2: The Short Phone Call

If the recruiter is optimistic about your chances of being a good fit for the particular job for which you applied – and/or they believe you may be a good candidate for other jobs for which they recruit – the second step is typically a phone call with the recruiter. Treat this like a formal phone interview and make sure to be prepared with questions about the job and reasons that you’d make the perfect candidate. The call is usually short, but may last as long as 15 or 20 minutes.

Tip: Stay positive when talking about past employers and experience. This call serves as your first real contact with the recruiter and is a chance for them to get to know you. Make sure to put your best foot forward. Murray Resources’ Phone Interview Preparation document can help you get ready.

Step #3: The In-Person Meeting

For many recruiting firms, including leading Houston staffing agency Murray Resources, the next step is to meet the candidate in person. This allows both the recruiter and the candidate to learn more about the candidate’s potential fit for the position. Arrive for this meeting in professional dress and with extra copies of your resume, as you would for an interview with a potential employer. Be prepared to walk the recruiter through your background, your current work situation, and discuss why you are the perfect person for the job.

Step #4: Recruiter Presents Candidate’s Resume

If after the in-person meeting, the recruiter and candidate both feel there is a strong fit with the position, the recruiter will then present the candidate’s resume to the client as someone they would recommend for the position. If, however, either party thought there wasn’t a strong match for the particular job, recruiters will keep the resume on file for when a better fit comes along.

How often to check in? Unless a recruiter has specifically asked that you call to check in about job openings or to inquire about a position, try to resist the temptation to consistently call recruiters. Murray Resources, a leading Houston staffing agency recommends that if you are looking for a temporary position, to call no more than once per week. For permanent or direct hire positions, the firm recommends calling to check in every few weeks. Another approach is, instead of calling, periodically email the recruiter to let them know you are still in the job market. Outline steps you have taken to build your resume or to otherwise improve your marketability. For more tips, view our tips for working with recruiters.

Murray Resources

Founded in 1988, Murray Resources is a leading Houston staffing agency. The company serves a base of over 800 client companies, including numerous Fortune™ 1000 companies and high-growth small and medium-sized organizations.

Murray Resources has been named a “Best Places to Work” by the Houston Business Journal and the #1 Fastest Growing Woman Owned Business in the Personnel Category by the Houston Business Journal. For more information, contact Murray Resources at 713.935.0009.

Posted in: & Advice Columns

Four Reasons Why You Should Consider a Temporary Job

December 27th, 2012

As one of the leading temp agencies Houston employers and job-seekers engage for their job search, Murray Resources has noticed a substantial shift in the temporary job market in recent years. While temp jobs were once associated with making copies, filing papers, and stuffing envelopes, today’s temporary employment opportunities can be as challenging and fulfilling as any direct hire or permanent position. In fact, there are solid reasons why professionals might want to strongly consider a temporary position – below are four such reasons:

Freedom to Explore
If you’ve been locked into the same position or at the same company for an extended amount of time, a temporary position can provide a relatively risk free opportunity to refresh your career path. Temporary or contract jobs can provide an excellent chance to explore your passions, while providing valuable experience before jumping into a new career path.

While more experienced workers may still attach a stigma to temp jobs, no such preconceptions exist for Gen Y workers – they tend to value temp work for the freedom and flexibility these kinds of positions afford. Think like a Gen Y’er.

The Numbers Don’t Lie
As one of the premier temp agencies Houston employers turn to for qualified professionals, Murray Resources’ experience supports the recent reports of strong growth in temporary and contract positions across the U.S. Some studies even predict that our post-recession job market will be primarily comprised of temporary and contract work. Some statistics worth considering:

  • The number of temporary or contract jobs was up 6% over last year’s numbers in the first quarter of 2012 according to the American Staffing Association
  • The number of temporary or contract jobs added to the economy has been increasing for nine consecutive quarters since the recession officially ended
  • Over 40% more people hold temp jobs now than in 2009

Personal Branding Opportunities
Creating and growing your own personal brand is important, but only if you have the right type of exposure. Temporary or contract work exposes you to entirely new office environments, with a new set of colleagues and supervisors to whom you can demonstrate your value. By working diligently with an enthusiastic attitude, you can set yourself apart as a must-have asset for any company, earning respect and connections that may be valuable down the line – whether it’s a future co-worker, supervisor, or recommendation for a job in the future.

Potential Permanent Position
A note of caution to not use this last reason as your sole purpose for applying to a temporary or contract position, as converting a temporary position into a full-time position is generally a rarity. Employers typically hire temporary workers because they desire the flexibility it provides – or they simply don’t have the financial resources or desire to add another employee to their payroll. However, it does happen, and just because it is not a frequent occurrence doesn’t mean you should discount the possibility. If you treat a temporary assignment as you would a full-time job, supervisors will take note of the value you bring to the organization and may be willing to help create opportunities for you either through the company or with other connections they have.

We hope you take these insights into consideration as you embark on your next job search.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?
As one of the top temp agencies Houston job-seekers turn to, let us help you explore your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

Posted in: & Advice Columns
<
Hire Now!