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Professionalism and LinkedIn Profiles: Presentation Still Matters

LinkedIn was launched in the early 2000’s as a networking site where business people could connect and make new contacts, and, while it did retain that professional edge for quite some time, it’s difficult to log in to LinkedIn now and see that same level of decorum.  As more users sign up (LinkedIn has over 400 million users around the world), people are seeking new ways to distinguish themselves from the crowd, and, as a result, some of the professionalism around the platform has deteriorated.  Headshots of people on vacation or at a party are not uncommon, taglines are often aimed at being clever or funny rather than describing an individual’s profession, and there has been a rising trend of people treating LinkedIn’s messaging service as a dating app.  If you’re using LinkedIn to look for a job, though, you need to make sure that your own LinkedIn page demonstrates...
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Job Search Tips for Veterans

One of our specialties here at Potomac Recruiting is helping people looking to transition out of the military and into the private sector, so this week we asked our experts to put together some straightforward tips aimed at candidates with a military background.  Though transitioning out of military service and into civilian life can be daunting, conducting a job hunt as a veteran is not substantially different from any other search – but it does require a different type of mentality from what you might be used to in the military. Tip 1: Research Common Job Requirements Unfortunately, many of the jobs in the private sector will require qualifications that military veterans might not possess, which can make applying more difficult.  Before you start sending out résumés, do some research online and consult with career counsellors to find out what kind of qualifications you will need for the job you...
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Six Ways to Ace a Phone Interview

Last week we wrote about six ways to bomb a phone interview , so, as promised, this week we’re going to provide some tips for acing a phone interview!  Phone interviews are becoming more and more common as companies and recruiters try to weed out poor applicants before spending the time and resources to bring in candidates for an in-person interview.  They have become an inescapable part of the modern job application process, so all candidates need to be familiar with the do’s and don’ts of a successful call. One: Use an Appropriate Greeting As we mentioned in last week’s article, answering the phone in an inappropriate manner can set the interview off on the wrong foot before it’s even officially begun.  When you answer the phone, make sure to use your own name so that the interviewer knows they have reached the right person, and, if possible, reference the...
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Six Ways to Bomb a Phone Interview

Congratulations: you applied for a position, your résumé and cover letter were well put together, and you have been asked to do a phone interview!  This phone interview is the crucial first test you will have to pass before you are taken seriously as an applicant, and, as such, requires a lot of preparation and forethought.  Unfortunately, we’ve noticed that many otherwise excellent candidates often do not take phone interviews very seriously, or don’t think they carry the same weight as an in-person interview.  In the hope of inspiring these job seekers, we asked our experts to put together a list of six common ways potential candidates can bomb a phone interview.  Next week, we’ll take a look at some ways to avoid these errors and ace a phone interview! One: Answering the Phone at an Inappropriate Place If you’re dealing with a recruiter or busy hiring manager, they may...
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Networking over the Holidays

Last time we wrote an article confirming that the holidays are not a death sentence for job hunting , and outlining a few ways to use the festive season to your advantage when searching for a new position.  This week, we decided to take a deeper look at one area in particular: networking.  As we mentioned last week, the holidays can be an excellent time for networking, as there are a seemingly endless stream of parties and events to attend along with countless old friends, family members, and former colleagues.  These events are the perfect forum for you to announce that you are in the job market.  Networking over the holidays is a delicate balance, though: people want to have fun, catch up, and chat about their holiday plans, not spend the entire evening talking about career opportunities.  So, this week we’ve put together some tips for savvy holiday networking,...
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Job Hunting during the Holidays

The holiday season is officially upon us, and for many job seekers that means their focus tends to wane as they shift to gift-buying, decorating, and attending holiday parties and events.  Plus, we’ve noticed that job seekers often think that the holidays are a bad time to be in the market, since they assume everyone is equally distracted by the festivities and is not interested in setting up interviews or filling out paperwork.  While it may be true that you are less likely to get a formal interview or be hired during this time, we’ve put together a list of things you can do to keep yourself in the market and use the holiday season to your advantage. Tip 1: Use the Holidays to Reconnect with your Network The holidays are a time for merrymaking and reconnecting with friends and family, therefore they provide the perfect excuse to contact old...
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Do’s and Don’ts of Making a Good Impression at Networking Events

Does anything strike terror into the heart of a potential job seeker more than the idea of a networking event?  If you live in (or near) a city, chances are you could attend a networking event every single night, but there seems to be a tendency to build these events up in our heads until the idea of actually going to one of them and doing something other than standing in the corner drinking free wine and eating free hors d’oeuvres seems nearly impossible.  Unfortunately, networking is probably the best way to meet your career objectives, whether those are to get a new job, to build relationships within your field, or to attract new clientele.  Fortunately, however, there are some easy things you can do to make a good impression and achieve your goals.  Our experts have put together some do’s and don’t’s for networking events that will help you...
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How to tell if a Job is Not the Right Fit

Making sure they’re hiring the perfect candidate for the job is paramount for hiring managers, but job seekers also need to make sure that they're accepting the perfect position.  When you’ve been searching for months on end and are starting to feel a bit desperate it can be tempting to take the first job offer you receive, but you should always reflect on whether or not you actually  want that job before accepting the position.  Otherwise you’ll end up right back where you started, and everyone’s time will have been wasted.  Frictional unemployment – when individuals are unemployed because they are searching for a job that is the right fit – can actually be beneficial for everyone: job seekers, employers, and the economy as a whole.  With that in mind, we’ve put together some questions to consider before accepting a job offer. Question One: Do your career goals align with...
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How to Recover from a Bad Job Interview

There are a myriad of reasons why even the most well prepared job seeker can crash and burn during an interview: maybe your personality clashed with that of the interviewer, maybe you were running late and got flustered, maybe the job description changed, or maybe you just had an off day.  No matter the cause, though, there are a few things you can do to help recover from a poor interview.  Our experts have put together a list of five key steps you can take to improve the interviewer’s perception and make sure your hat stays in the ring! Step 1: Stay calm The first thing to do following a bad job interview is to stay calm.  Panicking is a natural response, but it won’t get you anywhere.  When your adrenaline is up and your mind is racing, you will be more likely to blow things out of proportion and...
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Tips for Avoiding Job Posting Scams

Many recruiting scams are easy to spot: offers to make thousands of dollars a month working from home and blatant Ponzi schemes typically get sent to spam folders anyway, making them very easy to ignore, and fake ads on recruiting boards generally offer high salary ranges with vague descriptions of the position and responsibilities.  Some are much more subtle, though, and falling for them can have consequences that range from the mild annoyance of wasted time to devastating identity theft.  With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of tips to help you avoid some of the more sophisticated recruiting scams, which tend to attract first-time job seekers, those who have been in the market for an extended period of time and have become increasingly frustrated, and mothers or recently retired seniors looking to make some additional income by working from home. Tip 1: Always Research the Company and...
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How to Write a Cover Letter

While a résumé is an incredibly useful tool (and one which we have devoted a number of articles to), it’s only half of the package when you are applying for a position: your cover letter is equally important.  Your cover letter allows you to tell your prospective employer a story about how your past experience has prepared you for this position, as well as what interested you in the position in the first place, and its value should not be underestimated.  We’ve seen too many great candidates who focus only on their résumé and recycle the same form cover letter for every job application, so we’ve put together a list of easy-to-follow tips for writing a compelling cover letter that truly makes you stand out among the pool of applicants. Tip 1: Personalize Your Cover Letter Starting your cover letter off with “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom it may Concern”...
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How to Simplify Your Job Search

We’ve been focusing quite a bit on résumé writing over the last few weeks, but there’s a lot more to job searching than just your résumé.  Networking and researching, for example, take up a significant chunk of every job seeker’s time, as does hunting for job openings.  So, we’ve put together some tips for those looking to simplify their job search and make the most of every day spent searching.  Tip 1: Get Organized The best way to simplify your job search is to spend some time organizing everything you will need.  This initial time investment will save you a lot of time down the road!  Set up dedicated folders for various versions of your résumé and cover letter, create a calendar system to help you manage your time, and identify the companies or roles you will target during your search.  Keep notes of your top criteria for a job,...
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Quick Fixes to Boost Your Résumé

If you read last week’s article about résumé myths and were motivated to update your information but were not quite sure where to start, we at Potomac Recruiting are here to help!  This week our experts decided to take a look at some quick and easy ways to boost your professional experience and make your résumé stand out.  Naturally, a stellar résumé format will vary from industry to industry, but going through some of these simple tips is an excellent place to start re-vamping your professional image, no matter your field or experience level. Tip 1: Ditch the “Objective” Many people include an “Objective” section at the top of their résumé, without realizing that this may be hindering their search.  An “Objective” statement shows what you are looking for in a job – not how your skills may benefit the company!  Shift the focus back on the position for which...
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Top Résumé Writing Myths Debunked

A few weeks ago we asked our recruiting experts to help job seekers out by debunking some common interview myths , and this week we’ve decided to revisit that topic by debunking some of common résumé writing myths we have come across over the years.  Résumé writing is not an exact science with hard and fast rules, so breaking one or two of these guidelines will not necessarily automatically disqualify you from an interview.  In general, however, avoiding these résumé myths will make your résumé more engaging and attract more attention from recruiters and hiring managers. Myth 1: My résumé can only be 1 to 2 pages Résumé length is one of the most common résumé myths floating around, and we’ve seen it all, from senior executives trying condense decades of qualifications into one page using tiny fonts and no margins, to entry-level professionals trying to pad their résumés with...
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How to Build a “Talent Pool” for your Company

One of your primary jobs as a hiring manager is building an effective talent pool for your company, which can then be tapped to help you fill any open positions.  With that in mind, we’ve put together some simple tips and tricks to help you create, or improve, an effective pool of candidates.  A truly exceptional talent pipeline will help you simplify your hiring process by providing quick access to pre-screened internal and external candidates who are known to be good fits with your company culture and who are interested in opportunities with your business, and we are happy to assist you with your candidate pool, regardless of where you are in the process! Tip 1: Take advantage of your online presence Last week we discussed some of the key ways to optimize your mobile recruiting process , and this will be very important as you seek to build an...
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Why your Company Should Utilize Mobile Recruiting Apps

Everywhere you look there is someone engrossed in their phone: tapping a message, scrolling through an article, watching a video – everything can be done on mobile devices.  Additionally, Google has recently changed their search algorithm to ensure that mobile search results favor sites that look good on smartphone and tablet screens.  So why not bring your recruiting efforts into the mobile world and take advantage of the opportunities mobile-optimized websites provide?  To help you figure out what you need to do to optimize your mobile presence, our recruiting experts have put together a list of six key things candidates are looking for in a modern, mobile recruiting page. 1 – Mobile-Optimized Website Not surprisingly, we’ve found that one of the top things candidates would like is a recruiting website that is optimized for viewing on mobile devices.  This goes for hiring managers posting job listings on their company website,...
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Tips for Successfully Navigating a Mid-Career Change

The average age of retirement has been edging upwards over the last few decades, for a variety of reasons.  People are living longer, pensions are no longer a given, and many are looking for ways to remain mentally sharp and connected to the community as they move into their 60s and 70s.  It’s no surprise, then, that mid-career changes are also becoming more popular!  As workers move into their late 40s and 50s without plans to retire any time soon, they often start to reconsider their careers and decide they are ready for something different, whether that is finally pursuing their childhood passion or moving to a new field that has recently become of interest.  If this describes you, read on for some tips on how to successfully navigate the difficult waters of a mid-life career shift. Tip 1: Write an autobiography If you’re itching to move into a new...
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Making the Most of a Phone Interview Part 1 – As a Candidate

Phone interviews have a number of advantages over in-person interviews, particularly because phone interviews allow candidates to pull up information about the company and the position during the interview, and refer to notes on accomplishments and strengths.  There are challenges to phone interviews as well, though, as it is harder to build a rapport without the facial cues that separate a light-hearted, joking comment from a verbal barb.  To help you maximize the value of your phone interview, we’ve put together some tips and tricks for acing the call and setting yourself apart from the rest of the applicants. Tip 1: Double-Check the Time Zone Even if the person you are calling lives just down the street from you, remember to confirm the time zone prior to the interview – you don’t want to miss the interview because you are in Central time and your interviewer is in Pacific!  Plus,...
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Key Questions to Ask in an Interview

One of the myths we debunked last week was related to asking questions during an interview, and highlighted the importance of bringing up questions throughout an interview in order to keep conversation flowing, build a rapport, and demonstrate your curiosity and interest.  This week, then, we asked our recruiting experts to come up with a list of some of the best questions to ask in an interview, to help those of you who might be looking for ideas on what is appropriate to ask or what you need to keep in mind. 1.         How Do You Evaluate Performance?   Companies and managers have different ways of providing feedback, and it is important to know how you will be assessed.  If you prefer regular performance reviews, for example, you may not be the best fit at a company that does not have a formal review process. 2.        ...
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Top Five Factors to Consider When Deciding to Accept a Job Offer

Congratulations – you’ve made it through the toughest part of the job hunt and finally have some offers! But now it’s time to consider those opportunities. This can pose its own set of challenges, as every company will have unique qualities to it that are hard to compare to others. What may be apples in one business can appear to be oranges in another, and trying to weigh the pros and cons can become as overwhelming as the search itself. Through our experience in finding the best fit for a wide-variety of talented people, Potomac Recruiting has narrowed down a list of the top five most important items you need to consider before signing that contract. The Environment: Are you looking for a fast-paced environment like a corporation, the rewards of working for a non-profit, the stability and focus of a government agency, or do you want the challenge and long hours of a start-up? These...
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About Us

Potomac Recruiting consultants are specialists in talent. Our experienced consultants are passionate about finding the right people for your business—that’s the Potomac Recruiting advantage. We specialize in finding the people who will help your business exceed its goals, and our success is measurable: in today’s fast-moving world Potomac Recruiting is proud that our retention rate is 93%.  

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