How to Set Up a Successful Informational Interview

November 13th, 2012

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, TX, Murray Resources has seen informational interviews work well for job seekers looking to enter a new industry or job function. A well-executed informational interview can provide job leads, opportunities for industry-related introductions, and a more focused search for candidates looking to break into a particular sector.

Below we’ve compiled a list of five crucial steps for conducting a successful informational interview:

1)      Target Your Search — Prepare a detailed list of intriguing industries and types of companies in which you would potentially want to work. Be sure to narrow your list to a few industries that are not only interesting to you, but also are practical for your abilities and an environment in which you could achieve success. From this list of industries and companies, compile a list of any personal contacts you might know in this sphere.

2)      Make Contact and Be Specific – After you’ve highlighted the people you know in your target industries and related companies, reach out to your contacts to set up an official appointment. It is extremely important that from the onset you convey to your potential interviewee that you are not looking for a job. Be specific in explaining the true purpose of your proposed informational interview- that you are looking for career advice and insights about that particular industry from someone who knows it well. Also, while it may be tempting to try and set up an informal meet-up to learn about an industry via casual conversation, this is a business interview and should be conducted as such. A professional atmosphere helps to ensure that both parties stay on topic, and you glean the specific information you’re looking for.

3)      Be Flexible – Remember, this contact is taking time out of their day to meet with you. Be flexible and understanding when it comes to working around their busy schedule. Someone who has agreed to participate in an informational interview has done so because they are passionate about their career and want to share their insights with an interested audience; the advice they have to offer is well worth the hoops you may have to jump through to accommodate them.

4)      Create An Agenda – Of all the steps, this is the one in which you get to showcase your professionalism as well as your creativity. When coming up with a list of questions for the interview, do some research on the industry/company of your informational interviewee. Thorough research gives you a foundation of knowledge from which you can create insightful and specific questions, and also shows your interviewee that you’re dedicated and committed to put in the time and effort to learn about their industry.

5)      Show Your Appreciation – After the meeting, make sure your interviewee knows just how appreciative you are of their time and insights that they shared with you. Send them a thank you email or handwritten note as soon as you get home expressing your gratitude for their willingness to take time out of their schedule to help you. It’s also a nice gesture to send them an update later on down the road if you end up acting upon a piece of advice they’ve given you, or landing a job in their industry. If they cared enough to meet with you, they likely want to hear about your progress and success!

Sticking to these five simple steps will ensure that you conduct a productive and successful informational interview. Armed with valuable knowledge about your career interests, staffing agencies in Houston, TX like Murray Resources can better help you take the next step of landing that dream job!

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the staffing agencies in Houston, TX – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

Five Ways to Prepare for Your First Day on the Job

November 12th, 2012

It’s a great feeling when Houston staffing agencies like Murray Resources set you up with an employment opportunity that turns into an actual job. But how can you ensure that your first day will be the lasting, positive impression that you want it to be?

Below we’ve compiled a list of important details to keep in mind when preparing for a successful first day:

1)      Look up the office address and parking situation – There are few worse feelings in the world than showing up late to an important event, especially in an unfamiliar environment. Running late to work on a normal day is stressful enough, but spending an unplanned extra 15 minutes of your commute driving around lost on unfamiliar roads or turned around in the parking garage on your first day at a new job puts you in a frenzied, negative mindset that can ruin what was supposed to be an exciting and fresh start. Many times, interviews are conducted by Houston staffing agencies or at a company’s corporate office and not the actual location where you will be working, so be sure to double check the address and directions to where your actual office is.

2)      Dress to impress – In any unfamiliar professional setting, especially on your first day at a new job, it’s always better to err on the side of overdressed rather than under. The first impression you make often happens before you even open your mouth, so wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident within the boundaries of professionalism. Something you would wear to church or a nice dinner with your grandparents is always a safe bet for an office environment.

3)      Did you bring your papers? – Most of the time, your first day will be spent filling out paperwork, signing forms, and watching training videos. This new employee paperwork usually requires certain kinds of official documents to prove your identity, citizenship, proof of residence, etc. Get in contact with an HR representative or the new hire advisor at the company who can tell you what documents to bring on your first day so you can get all of the necessary paperwork out of the way. Commonly requested official documents include driver’s license or State issued Identification Card, Social Security Card, Passport, Birth Certificate, or Right to Work permits.

4)      Get to know your company – As we’ve already touched on, an unfamiliar environment can easily feel intimidating and overwhelming. A great way to curb these anxieties is to conduct some research about the company you’re starting with so that you’re more familiar with what to expect upon your arrival. Learning about your new employer’s industry, recent news, and corporate policies and values is usually just a matter of browsing through the company website. Showing up well-informed on your first day leaves a great first impression on colleagues and supervisors when they see how much you care about your new position and are willing and eager to learn.

5)      Connect with fellow co-workers – Utilizing social networking sites such as LinkedIn is a great way to connect with people you’ll be working with before you even step foot in the office. Engaging your soon-to-be-colleagues in conversations about shared interests or even just questions about the company can greatly help lessen the stress of feeling alone when you first arrive, and you can learn a lot more about a person through their social media profiles than in that 15-second introductory break room conversation.

Your first day on the job plays a major role in determining your attitude towards your new company and setting the tone for your time with them. These five helpful hints will help you to start off on the right foot for what’s sure to be a new and exciting journey!

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top Houston staffing agencies – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

The Importance of Personal Branding for Your Career

October 29th, 2012

As a leading Houston recruiting firm, Murray Resources has placed thousands of job candidates with over 800 clients throughout our 25 year tenure. One developing trend that we don’t see waning is the growth of personal branding.

When we or other Houston recruiting firms are looking through hundreds of applicants to fill a job order, only those qualified candidates who have a strong, unique personal brand are going  jump out. In order to stand out from the pack, the value you can add to an employer needs to be clear.

Author Rebecca Rapple discusses the importance of having a unique personal brand, and outlines a number of ways to differentiate yourself and increase your competitiveness in the job market.  As she says in the opening of her piece, “In order to get to a place you want to go, you need to act the way that you would when you get there.”

http://www.personalbrandingblog.com/your-personal-brand-normal-is-not-enough/

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to a leading Houston recruiting firm – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

5 Underused Tactics to Make an Immediate, Genuine Connection with Anyone

October 26th, 2012

Happy almost-weekend, everyone!

Or as we at Murray Resources, one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, TX like to call it, happy Network to Get Work Friday!

What better time to network than when everyone is ready to unwind and de-stress from a long week? If that statement sounded contradictory to you, it looks like we need to help you revamp your definition of networking. Many people still are under the dated impression that forging new professional connections must take place in a business setting, wearing business attire, discussing business-related topics, etc…   What you’re hopefully beginning to pick up on from our weekly Friday rant, however, is that networking can happen anytime, anywhere, with anyone!

Our article today comes from Scott Dinsmore over at Brazen Careerist and provides what we think is an awesome list of five underused tactics to make an immediate, genuine connection with anyone. While Murray Resources and other staffing agencies in Houston, TX are valuable resources with an extensive network, creating lasting, meaningful connections is a responsibility that ultimately falls upon you.

With these five creative tips in mind (we especially love #4), we encourage you to treat every new interaction this weekend as a potential networking opportunity – have fun, be friendly, and see what happens!

http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2012/10/17/5-underused-tactics-to-make-an-immediate-genuine-connection-with-anyone/

Can’t wait until next Friday for more networking tips? Check out last week’s Network to Get Work post about online networking.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top staffing agencies in Houston, TX – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

 

 

 

6 Common Resume Typos to Avoid

October 24th, 2012

Our team at Murray Resources, one of the premier staffing agencies in Houston, is committed to helping job seekers reach their maximum potential when it comes to being a competitive candidate for a position. A major aspect of this process is helping applicants craft effective resumes that can improve their chances of landing an interview. Many hopeul hires fail to realize that a resume’s presentation is just as important as its content, and misspellings or grammatical errors can eliminate even the most qualified of applicants from contention.

In order to ensure your resume is in top form, here are 6 common typos to avoid when preparing your resume:

1)      Spelling errors – A major pitfall in any piece of writing, especially a resume, spelling errors convey to potential employers that an applicant lacks attention to detail, a quality that’s never looked upon favorably. If you can’t be bothered to correctly spell something when representing yourself on an application, how can you be trusted to do so when you’re representing your company? Along the same vein, proper syntax is also paramount when writing a resume or cover letter. You won’t get a medal for knowing the proper usage of “their,” “they’re,” and “there,” but it can mean the difference between landing their interview or having them decide that they’re throwing your resume over there in the recycling bin.

2)      Poor Grammar – While this next point may seem obvious to some, you’d be surprised at how many resumes we review throughout the year that are chock full of grammar mistakes. Any job is going to require basic communication skills and your resume is the first demonstration to a potential employer that you possess those. A simple spell check on Microsoft Word can perform most basic grammar corrections, and if you are still struggling, staffing agencies in Houston like Murray Resources have great resources to help you overcome your grammar woes– just ask!

3)      Using incorrect verb tense – Another major typo that often occurs in resumes is using the wrong tense when describing one’s work history or skill set. If you’ve accomplished something that had an end date, be sure to describe it in the past tense (“I developed software”). If you’re still currently involved in an activity listed on your resume, explain it in the present tense (“I develop software”). It’s easy to fall into the pattern of uniformly formatting resume descriptions to a single tense, but employers want to have a sense of time and progression in your work history and accomplishments when reviewing your resume. Proper tense usage provides this kind of framing.

4)      Bullet usage inconsistency – If you use bullet points when providing descriptions on your resume, make sure to either always include a period at the end of each bullet point, or to never include a period at the end of each bullet point. It is grammatically acceptable for you to do either, but once you decide your formatting, be sure to keep it consistent throughout the duration of your resume.

5)      Employment history date blunders – Needless to say, including the dates of your past employment is a mildly important aspect of a resume! You absolutely must must MUST include the timeframe of when you were employed at past positions next to the description of your responsibilities while there. Failure to do so almost guarantees you won’t make it past the application round. Beyond just including these dates, though, is the important and recurring theme of formatting consistency. Whatever date format you choose (month written out or written as a number, etc.), be vigilant about keeping it uniform for all of your work history entries.

6)      Missing or incorrect contact information– Finally, perhaps our most important tip: ensure that the contact information on your resume is correct! Imagine having avoided all of the other resume pitfalls and intriguing an employer with your polished resume, only to include the wrong email address or mistype your phone number. You may be the most qualified applicant for the position, but a prospective employer isn’t likely to hunt down your updated contact information to offer you an interview, especially if they have a number of other qualified candidates who included their correct information. Double check to be sure that your email address, phone numbers, etc. are on your resume and  up-to-date.

Securing interviews all begins with submitting an effective cover letter and resume, and adhering to these six steps will help you to accomplish that. We hope that you incorporate this advice throughout your own job search process, and wish you all the best on your road to success!

Can’t wait until next Thursday for more resume rallying advice? Check out last week’s Rally That Resume post about the 15 most important resume tips for young professionals.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top staffing agencies in Houston – Murray Resources – for help  in exploring your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

Online Networking Tips

October 19th, 2012

Alright everybody, this Houston recruiting firm has a real treat for you today!

Throughout our research, we’ve encountered a growing number of articles that combine the principles of Network to Get Work Friday with those of Social Media Saturday, addressing the growing importance of “online networking.” While this phenomenon made possible through the rapid advent of social media on the Web won’t be replacing face-to-face interactions any time soon, it does provide you with a number of new and innovative ways to expand your personal brand and professional connections.

Today’s piece comes from Monster.com, one of the most widely used placement sites worldwide and a premier authority on Web-based job searching. We’re really excited about sharing it with you because it addresses almost all of the job-seeking techniques we’ve been talking about for the past few weeks. While the “Monster Guide to Online Networking” is admittedly a bit longer than most of the other articles we’ve posted throughout our “Best of: Career Tips, Tricks & Advice Columns” installment, we think it’s the most accessible and comprehensive source on the important topic of  online networking.

Regardless of what stage you’re at in your career, using the tools outlined in today’s PDF will help keep you competitive and connected in a dynamic, increasingly digital job market.

http://media.newjobs.com/cms/static-content/info/PDF/online-marketing-guide.pdf

 

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top staffing agencies in Houston – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

Also, if you’re in the Houston area, be sure to attend the  Murray Resources “Resume and Cover Letter Tips and Techniques” workshop November 8! Receive individualized feedback and advice on how to craft an effective cover letter and resume that will successfully convey your interest to prospective employers. Purchase your tickets online with a friend and receive a 20% discount for the both of you!

Early bird tickets are being sold for a discounted price of $20 through October 24. Advance tickets sold after Oct. 24 will be $25, and tickets purchased on the day of the event will be $35.

 

Can’t wait until next Friday for more networking tips? Check out last week’s Network to Get Work post from Murray Resources, award-winning Houston recruiting firm and staffing agency.

Resume Workshop Announcement & The 15 Most Important Resume Tips for Young Professionals

October 18th, 2012

For young professionals newly embarking upon a job hunt, we at Houston staffing agency Murray Resources know that you’re going to be facing a number uncertainties- which career path to pursue, where to begin looking for job openings, what kind of company culture do you prefer, etc.

Writing a compelling and comprehensive resume shouldn’t be one of these uncertainties.

Today’s article  from Lindsey Pollak, critically acclaimed author and next generation career expert, offers the 15 most important resume tips for young professionals entering the work world. We’re particularly big fans of her bonus tip at the end, so make sure to read all the way through!

http://www.lindseypollak.com/archives/back-to-basics-the-15-most-important-resume-tips-for-young-professionals

Also, if you’re in the Houston area, be sure to attend the  Murray Resources “Resume and Cover Letter Tips and Techniques” workshop November 8! Receive individualized feedback and advice on how to craft an effective cover letter and resume that will successfully convey your interest to prospective employers. Purchase your tickets online with a friend and receive a 20% discount for the both of you!

Early bird tickets are being sold for a discounted price of $20 through October 24. Advance tickets sold after Oct. 24 will be $25, and tickets purchased on the day of the event will be $35.

 

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to Murray Resources, award-winning Houston staffing agency, to help you explore your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

 

Your Facebook Timeline is Your Digital Resume

October 13th, 2012

It’s Saturday morning, and perhaps we went a little overboard in celebrating the arrival of the weekend last night. But hey, nothing a little sleep and some coffee can’t cure, right? Time to curl up on the couch and treat ourselves to a bit of mind numbing social media surfing and OH MY GOSH THOSE PICTURES GOT POSTED?!?

Whether you’re comfortable in your career or are presently pursuing one, Houston recruiting firm Murray Resources can attest to the fact that more and more employers are turning to social media to vet current and potential employees for behaviors that might not align with a company’s image or values. In this digital day and age when information is more readily available and accessible than ever before, anyone using social media must be cognizant of the fact that making your private life public can come with some very real consequences. As the author of today’s article sums up in the comments section below his post,

“In both the online and offline world, I’m amazed at how the work/home life boundary blurs. Whether you’re flexing your friend network to find a job, or you meet your mate at the office party, the work/life boundary is vital, yet inevitably porous. Social media success demands the ability to confidently understand this overlap.”

Gerrit Hall, CEO and Co-Founder of online resume reviewing company Rezscore, wrote today’s piece whose content is likely even more relevant today than it was when originally published almost a year ago. In it, Hall describes how Facebook’s “Timeline” profile format is increasingly reminiscent of a digital resumé, and explains how to appropriately manage your social media without losing the integrity of your own personal style and usage. You can understand why leading Houston recruiting firm Murray Resources thought this a valuable article to share.

http://mashable.com/2011/12/31/facebook-timeline-resume/

Although brief, we felt that this piece contained some very useful tips and interesting insights about social media management in today’s competitive job market. If you’re feeling confident in your online social media presence, we’d love to hear your thoughts about it on our Facebook or Twitter pages!

 

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to leading Houston recruiting firm Murray Resources to help you explore your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

5 Networking Tips You Haven’t Heard

October 12th, 2012

Congratulations, you made it through the week! Friday is here, and the Houston recruiters at Murray Resources think it’s high time for some celebration. Hit the town with friends, take that special someone out to dinner, heck, go to the dog park for all we care! As long as you’re out and about interacting with those who matter to you, we consider it a successful weekend.

Coincidentally, they happen to have a name for this sort of thing in the work world, and it’s just as easy and beneficial as the above examples we just mentioned. Networking, or maintaining ties with old contacts while also making new ones, is a crucial part of creating professional opportunities for yourself now and in the future.

In today’s column, respected career blogger Alexandra Levit summarizes 5 networking tips you’ve probably never considered that will help you to expand both your contact list and your career horizons. While you have some free time this weekend, the Houston recruiters at Murray Resources encourage you to capitalize on chances to reconnect with an old colleague or go out and meet someone new; you never know what opportunities might arise!

http://quickbase.intuit.com/blog/2012/08/06/5-networking-tips-you-havent-heard/

Can’t wait until next Friday for more networking tips? Be sure to follow @MurrayResources on Twitter , where we post networking opportunities around Houston throughout the week! And check out our post about why you still need to network even if you just landed a new job.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Let the experienced Houston recruiters at Murray Resources help you explore your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

Creative Ways to Improve Your Resume

October 11th, 2012

Okay, so Murray Resources, one of the top staffing agencies in Houston, TX, has worked with you on marketing yourself and acing the interview, but you’re still missing that crucial ingredient that gets you from point A to point B. No matter how good you are at interviewing or personal branding, you’re not going to get to sit down with a potential employer until you’ve piqued their interest with a unique, well-written, professional grade resumé.

In today’s article, Charles Purdy, Senior Editor at Monster.com, gives you 8 creative ways to rally and revamp your resumé for a top-notch application that will get you one step closer to that dream job.

http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/resume-writing-tips/creative-ways-to-improve-your-resume-hot-jobs/article.aspx

Can’t wait until next Thursday for more resumé rallying tips? Check out on of our previous posts about why numbers matter on your resume for more helpful advice!

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, TX – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

Office Workouts

October 10th, 2012

Wednesday always seems to be the day when the weight of the workweek really seems to settle in, doesn’t it? You feel that fresh start, beginning-of-the-week vigor start to slip away, but you’ve yet to gain that Thursday/Friday, make-it-to-the-weekend motivation; you’re a little more tired, a little more stressed than you were three days ago, but you still have half the week ahead of you. In short, Wednesdays can be deflating for both mind and body.

But Murray Resources, one of the leading Houston staffing agencies,  is here to help you break up the mid-week monotony! What better way to alleviate stress than to get the blood pumping with a little office exercise? Today’s installment contains thirteen workout moves you can do while at your desk- all it takes is a chair, a water bottle, and a little creativity!

http://exercise.about.com/cs/exerciseworkouts/l/blofficeworkout.htm

P.S. Even though we’re only posting these kinds of tips on Wednesdays, they can (and should!) be used throughout the week to keep you physically energized and mentally focused everyday!

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top Houston staffing agencies – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

How to Prepare For and Close Your Next Interview

October 9th, 2012

Day two of our “Murray Resources Best of: Career Tips, Tricks & Advice Columns” segment brings us to a part of the job search process that is often cited as the number one source of anxiety for potential candidates: the interview. We at Murray Resources, one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, understand that anxiety, and we want to help.

Introvert, extrovert or anything in between, the prospect of a first impression potentially making or breaking a career path is nerve-wracking for just about any job applicant. But with practice and the right tools, you can learn to channel that nervous energy into a successful interview.

Our first article about interview tips focuses on arguably the two most important parts of an interview: the opening and closing impressions you imprint upon your potential employer. These tips on how to prepare for and close your next interview will help you to seal the deal!

http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2012/10/01/how-to-prepare-for-and-close-your-next-interview/

Can’t wait until next Tuesday for more interviewing tips? Check out some of our previous posts on how to make the most of an interview!


Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top staffing agencies in Houston – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

Personal Branding Accelerates Professional Advancement

October 8th, 2012

Hello and happy Columbus Day, everyone!

We at Murray Resources, top Houston recruitment firm, are pleased to welcome you to our first installment of “Murray Resources’ Best of: Career Tips, Tricks, & Advice Columns.” We begin our week with a focus on the most important resource any candidate can bring into a job application – YOU!

As branding strategist Deborah Shane writes, “Smart, strategic personal branding can accelerate professional advancement. There is no getting around it, ignoring its importance, or doing it half heartedly.” Differentiating yourself from the applicant pool puts you on the fast track for success in any career, but if you don’t know where to begin, marketing yourself can often seem like a daunting task.

Straight from personal branding expert Dan Schwabel’s blog, we at leading Houston recruitment firm Murray Resources hope you enjoy Ms. Shane’s tips to help you stand out and get noticed in your quest for success:

http://www.personalbrandingblog.com/personal-branding-accelerates-professional-advancement/

Can’t wait until next Monday for more personal branding tips? Check out our previous post about what hiring managers look for when they Google you for more useful advice!

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to Murray Resources, leading Houston recruitment firm, for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

 

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