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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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Adjusting to a New Job

The end goal of any job hunt is, naturally, to accept a position at a new company – which means adjusting to a new company culture.  This can lead to a difficult transition period, during which time you might feel frustrated or like you’ve made a mistake.  Don’t get discouraged, though!  We’ve put together some tips for dealing with an unfamiliar environment and company culture. One: Don’t Panic It’s very easy to get overwhelmed when starting a new job, especially on your first day.  Everything is different: the people, the location, the work, the coffee, and you’re struggling to take it all in and remember everyone’s name and role.  Step one is not to panic.  Yes, it is a lot, but over time you will get everything down – and no one expects you to remember everything right off the bat.  Getting confused or overwhelmed at the beginning is normal,...
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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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Using Social Media to Source Candidates

Social media has become a recruiting buzzword; these days, it seems everyone is sourcing candidates through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  There’s just one problem: there are millions of people on these social networks, and finding the right candidate among the crowd can be difficult – if not impossible – leaving many recruiters and hiring managers wondering how, exactly, they are supposed to leverage this technology to improve their candidate searches.  We’ve put together some tips designed to help you get started and effectively utilize social media sites to identify and reach out to qualified candidates. Tip 1: Take Advantage of Niche Groups So you’re on Facebook and LinkedIn and you want to find a specific kind of person to fill an open position – say a Java developer.  Where do you start?  By searching for relevant groups!  LinkedIn, for example, has hundreds of thousands of Groups professionals can join to...
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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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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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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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Six Interview Myths Debunked

We’ve been in the recruiting industry for a while, but every now and then even we still get thrown for a loop by some of the interview myths our clients believe.  So, we’ve built a list of common (and not-so-common) interview myths that seem to be lingering, with the hopes of dispelling them once and for all!  If you’re worried that you may have any additional misapprehensions about job interviews that we have not covered, feel free to shoot us an e-mail or give us a call , and we’ll be happy to speak with you! Myth 1: Withhold your Questions until the End of the Interview While you certainly don’t want to be left mute when your interviewer wraps up the discussion by asking if you have any questions, don’t save all of your points until the end!  Interviews are meant to be a dialogue, not an interrogation, and...
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Tips for your First Day on the Job

If you’ve been hunting for jobs and recently decided to accept a new offer , you undoubtedly are enjoying the relief that comes with no longer competing in the difficult employment market or weighing the pros and cons of different opportunities.  You may, however, find yourself dealing with a different kind of stress: the stress that comes before your first day in a new office, with the pressure to impress your new boss and colleagues and hit the ground running.  With that in mind, we’ve pulled together some tips to make your first day a bit more manageable!  Tip 1: Pre-Plan your First Day       Take advantage of the time you have before you start at your new position – whether that is a day or several weeks – to prepare and plan for your first day.  Figure out what outfit you are going to wear, make sure...
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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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Recruiting Cyber Personnel as a Small Business

Recruiting cyber and IT security personnel is becoming more important for businesses of all sizes, particularly as companies become increasingly reliant on the internet for daily tasks.  Unfortunately, the talent pool of cyber professionals has not yet caught up with the demand, leading to competition between government agencies like DHS and the CIA, who are also working on ramping up their cyber capabilities, and private industry.  To help you attract—and retain—talented cyber professionals, Potomac Recruiting has put together a list of a couple items to keep in mind as you plan for your future hiring needs. 1.        Target your Recruiting Efforts Cyber programs are becoming more common in universities as demand for young professionals with these skills grows, and small businesses can take advantage of this by hiring cheaper college-level personnel, rather than trying to attract experienced cyber professionals.  To get the biggest benefit, do some market research to...
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Recruiting Through E-Mail

Finding talent to fill an open position in your organization is easier than ever thanks to tools like LinkedIn and online job boards, but attracting that talent to your business, particularly if it is a small business without a well-known “brand name,” can still be difficult. With that in mind, our experts have put together some tips for writing an effective recruiting e-mail that will catch your target’s eye and make them want to learn more about your company. Highly qualified candidates are likely to be receiving lots of e-mails from recruiters and hiring managers, after all, so if you want to bring them in for an interview your e-mail is going to have to stand out! Tip 1: Be Specific When drafting your recruiting e-mail, be as specific as possible about the job, the company, and the responsibilities your future employee will have. You may not be at liberty...
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The Market for Middle Skills

Unless you run in the recruiting or HR circles, it’s unlikely you’ve heard of “middle skills” jobs before.  This term refers to  jobs that fall outside the realm of traditional “blue collar” jobs like factory work or manufacturing, but which do not typically require a four-year degree.  Dental technicians, radiation therapists, electrical engineering technicians, and computer network support specialists all fall under the umbrella of “middle skills” workers, and the salaries they receive can be surprisingly high.  Dental technicians and radiation therapists, for example, receive upwards of $30 an hour, on average, with electrical engineering technicians and computer network support specialists following close behind.  This job market is expected to continue to grow, so we've put together some general information about the middle skills sector for those of you who are interested in either hiring middle skills workers or finding a job in one of these industries!

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Common Job Regrets and How to Avoid Them

Last week we covered the topic of improving job satisfaction , and avoiding job regrets is an important element of overall satisfaction.  No one wants to look back on a career full of regrets!  To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some common career complaints, and provided some steps you can take to address these issues before it’s too late. 1.  Taking a Job for the Money                 It may sound counterintuitive—especially if you’re currently struggling to pay the bills or feeling very overworked—but taking a job purely because of the salary can leave you with later regrets.  Money is important, certainly, but it’s also important to consider the work environment and the daily tasks you will face.  You’re going to be spending a good portion of your life in the office, after all, so make sure to consider other factors, including hours, corporate culture, opportunities for growth, and...
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Thoughts on Career Satisfaction

         Over the last few weeks we’ve been focusing our articles on non-monetary incentives employers can provide to attract and retain talented workers during a budget crunch , so it’s time to turn the tables and focus on employees and the things they can do to increase career satisfaction.  The difficult job market might make you feel like you need to pounce on the first opportunity that comes along, regardless of whether or not you have any interest in the field or the job itself.  While this may be the case, at least temporarily, there are definitely some steps you can take to increase your career satisfaction in the long run! Tip 1: Figure out Your Career “Non-Negotiables”          Most people have some idea of what their dream career would be, if they had the opportunity to pursue it, but all too often these...
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What About Your Career Keeps You Up at Night? Part 2

Part 2 of our two-part series “What About Your Career Keeps You Up at Night” discusses two additional worries, not covered in Part 1 ( available here ), that could be causing you to toss and turn all night.            It may seem like finding a job will solve all of your problems when you’re unemployed, but at Potomac Recruiting we understand that there are a myriad of things that come up over the course of your career that can cause just as much stress as job hunting or looming bill payments.  If you’re facing one of the issues below, one of the issues we covered last week, or something entirely different, don’t hesitate to reach out! 1. My Company Might be/is about to be Sold—what do I do?           Whether you’ve heard rumors that your company is about to be bought...
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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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