Job Seeker Tips & Hiring Advice from the Pros

Whether you’re an employer looking to hire or a job seeker searching for the perfect fit, Whitman Associates, Inc. can help meet your needs. We’re experts at connecting quality candidates to employers in a variety of industries, and we have tons of advice and guidance to help you during the job search or staffing process. Explore by category to find job seeker tips, management direction, hiring advice, staffing recommendations and more.

For Employers

  • Recruitment Tips
  • Hiring Advice
  • Staffing Guidance
  • Management Tips

For Candidates

  • Job Seeker Tips
  • Resume Writing Guidance
  • Interview Guides
  • Office Etiquette Overviews
  • Advice for New Hires
  • Advice for Recent College Grads
  • Temp of the Month

Latest on the Blog

Creating Your Ideal Work Environment

Most professionals who work full-time office jobs spend the majority of their week sitting at a desk or in a cubicle. For this reason, it’s important to have an organized work space that encourages good habits and helps you maintain a positive attitude.

This can be even more important with the rise of remote and hybrid work. The ideal work environment can be difficult to achieve if your “home office” is a corner of your dining table. Regardless of where you work, creating a clean, organized work space benefits both your productivity and your mood. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for creating your ideal work environment.

woman working home office

1. Stay Organized

A disorganized mess on your desk can lead your thoughts to also be disorganized. Having an organized workspace can help you keep your mind organized.

2. Keep a pen and paper handy

You never know when you might have to jot down a few notes, so make sure you always have a pen and piece of paper readily available.

3. Leave a stack of your business cards out

Remind yourself why you are working so hard. Posting a picture of your dream vacation location or some other goal that you are working towards.

4. Leave a stack of your business cards out

This won’t apply to everyone, but if you work on-site this is always a good rule of thumb. You never know when the new boss might swing by your desk or when a client might come visit, so always have your business cards the ready.

5. Stay Inspired

There are lots of different ways to stay inspired at work. For some folks, achieving work goals can be inspiring. For others, it could be pictures of a favorite place, an inspirational quote or message that you keep in your work space to help you maintain your positive attitude. If you don’t always work in the same place, be sure to personalize your desktop background so you can stay inspired wherever you’re working that day.

6. Avoid distractions

While a stress ball is okay to have in your desk drawer, try to avoid having too many little toys or other distractions around. Even the smallest of distractions can end up sucking up too much of your time. Another distraction to be wary of is your cell phone, it’s all too easy to check a notification, and end up scrolling. To keep yourself organized within your work space, consider putting notifications on do not disturb so you won’t be tempted during your workday.

7. Surround yourself with familiar faces

Put up a few pictures of your friends, family, or pets. Smiling faces will be guaranteed to boost your mood during a long day in the office.

Organized desk with notepad and plant

8. Include some nature

Keeping flowers or a small plant on your desk can help to connect you with nature while you are cooped up in your office all day. Also there are studies showing that plants can help boost your mood by releasing oxygen and can absorb toxins in the air. What better way to achieve an ideal work environment than to actually feel happier at work!

We hope these tips help you set up your ideal work environment whether you’re in an office cubicle, a coworking space or your home office!

Tips for Balancing Job Searching While Employed

Not all job seekers are unemployed. In fact, a large number of the people are searching for a job while employed. These professionals are looking to make a change from their current positions. These job seekers have a whole separate list of tips for balancing their job searching while employed they should be aware of, so we’ve included a few below:

Job searching on computer

1. Don’t search for jobs while on the clock

This may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure you keep your current job separate from your job hunt. Your current employer is paying you to work for them, not to job hunt. Do all of your applying and job searching on your own time.

This doesn’t just apply to browsing job boards, but also be sure not to use your work phone, email or computer when corresponding with potential employers. Only use your personal contact information when applying for jobs or updating your resume. Within most companies, you are not the only person with access to your work email and call records.

If your employer discovers you’ve been searching for a job while employed and on the clock, it’s likely to be labeled as time theft which can result in a write up or even termination.

2. Be considerate of your current employer when scheduling interviews

If you get the opportunity to interview with a new company, whether in person or on the phone, try to schedule it so that you don’t need to take a whole day off from work.

Ideally, you should schedule interviews over your lunch break so that you don’t have to take any time off. If that is not a possibility, try to schedule them first thing in the morning or at the end of the day, so that you can either come in a little late or leave a little early without missing much work.

3. Give plenty of notice before quitting

If you do end up accepting a job offer, make sure to give your current employer plenty of notice. Two weeks notice is the generally acceptable amount of time, but every situation is different. Oftentimes you will help to train the person moving into your job. The more time you have to do this, the more seamless the transition will be. Your current employer will value your dedication, and your new employer will see that you are a loyal employee.

Find job keyboard

4. Utilize a staffing agency like Whitman Associates!

Lastly, using a staffing agency like Whitman Associates can take some pressure off your job searching. While employed full time, job searching can feel like another full time job. Work smarter, and have a staffing agency like us help you with your search. With a large client pool, staffing agencies see new jobs all the time. To get started with Whitman Associates, check our current job listings and email your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com.

HOW TO BECOME A RECRUITER WITH NO EXPERIENCE

Thinking about becoming a recruiter but not sure if you’ve got what it takes? Recruiting can be a great field to enter. It has tons of transferable skills and lots of upside. Plus, many recruiters are paid bonuses for filling positions. All in all, it’s an excellent field to enter. But many people think it requires a specific educational background or work experience. Not true! Read on to learn three tips for becoming a recruiter with little to no career experience.

1. Make Sure You Have The Personality

Two business people shaking hands

One of the biggest factors in determining if you would be a good recruiter is your personality. While you don’t necessarily have to be an extrovert, some key personality traits are must-haves if you want to become a recruiter with no experience:

  • An eye for matchmaking – Are you the type who always finds a match for your single friends? Do you just have the instinct for seeing when two people will be a good fit? Then you’ve got what it takes. Recruiters have to be able to assess personalities and skill sets and match them to positions they will be successful in. 
  • Social media chops – Any good recruiter must have a love for social media. In today’s world, social media networking is one of the biggest ways that recruiters find matches. So being tech-savvy, having a large following, and knowing how to use your contacts to bring in others is a must. 
  • Positivity – If you don’t have a positive attitude, even during the worst of times, it’s hard to convince anyone of anything. Since so much of a recruiter’s job is hyping up people and positions under any circumstance, a positive attitude is a must.

2. Make Sure You Have The Education

Education is a tricky one, because there is no degree in recruitment. So what field should you study? Essentially, you need any education. Recruiters frequently have bachelor’s degrees in HR or management, but this is absolutely not necessary. Do you have a degree in an engineering or science field? Recruit for a tech company. What about education? Look for a position at a university. Even a lawyer is qualified to be a recruiter. They could work for a law firm or governmental agency. If a field exists in which people need to be hired, then that field’s educational background would work well for recruiting. In short, if you want to become a recruiter with no experience, you probably need an education – but the sky’s the limit on what that education looks like. 

3. Make Sure You Have The Skills

Group of people networking while drinking coffee

If you want to become a recruiter with no experience, here are three big skills that every prospective recruiter must have:

  • Sales Skills – Sales is the number one skill you must have to recruit. Recruiting is selling a job to a candidate and a candidate to an employer. If you want to prepare yourself for recruiting, go get a sales job… any sales job. Work at a clothes store and practice making people feel good about what they try on. Work at an electronics store and learn how to match people to the products they need. Try selling cars or other big-ticket items. Whatever sales skills you can develop will go a long way to helping you excel at recruiting.
  • Networking Skills – Networking is not only how to become a recruiter with no experience, it is essential to the success of a recruiter. You have to meet people to connect people, and that means doing a LOT of social things, and doing them well. The good thing is that networking skills can be learned. So start practicing. Go to networking events both online and in person. Create and practice your elevator pitch. Volunteer for organizations that you’re passionate about. Whatever networking you do will make you a better fit for any type of job in recruiting. 
  • Project Management Skills – The recruitment process is essentially a big project. A need is found. A job description is created. The job is posted. The candidates are recruited. Interviews occur. A match is made. Each of these moving parts requires a keen eye for detail and project management to keep the process on track and on time. If you’re organized and good at managing lots of moving parts, recruiting may be the role for you.
  • Resume Writing Skills – Finally, building your own perfect resume is a great way to showcase your talents. Your resume should highlight your initiative, your ability to prioritize and multitask, and your communication skills. And as a recruiter, you can put those resume writing skills to use helping others with their resumes!

If recruiting sounds like the career of your dreams, don’t let a lack of experience stop you from going for it. Just get out there, pound the pavement, and apply, apply, apply. Temp agencies like Whitman Associates in the Washington DC area frequently post recruiting jobs. Temp jobs are typically easier to get and are great for resume and experience building. Check the job listings regularly and take a chance. With a little front-end effort, you can become a recruiter, even if you have no experience at all!

6 Remote Interview Tips To Nail Your Next Video Interview

You’ve got the interview of your dreams, but they are only conducting online interviews. In today’s job market, it makes perfect sense.  You could be interviewing for a remote position on the other side of the country, or your interview panel may be in various locations. Whatever the reason, video interviews are a common part of the interview process, so you need to be prepared. Thankfully, a video interview is really not that much different from an in-person interview. Here are six remote interview tips to make sure you show your best self online:

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

You can never (and we do mean never) be over-prepared for an interview. You need to make sure your equipment is ready. Check your internet connection, lighting, video, and sound. Make sure you have a full battery on your phone or laptop. Be punctual when logging into a Zoom meeting. Practice talking via Zoom or another online meeting platform to make yourself more comfortable with the technology. Be prepared to email your interviewers a copy of your resume, cover letter, references, and sample of your work. Don’t assume they will all have these things sitting in front of them. Often overlooked in remote interview tips, is to keep other application and browser windows closed so that if you have to share your screen, you’re not sharing anything you don’t want your potential employer to know about. 

Staged area for an online interview with mic and computer

2. Be purposeful about what you show your interviewer.

You want to make a good impression. One remote interview tip to remember is that your video background and environment should reflect your professional qualities. Make sure it’s neutral and without distraction. Don’t use a picture of a tropical island or your dog fluffy (no matter how cute he is!). Whatever you do, don’t use a video background. That’s one of our best job video interview tips. Select a neutral, clean, and clutter-free space. Don’t have that at home? Consider a study room at your local library. Just make sure the lighting is good and that the area is free from distractions (this includes windows that may have bad lighting or distracting actions like cars driving by). Ensure your mobile’s notifications are silenced! Nothing is more annoying than the constant beeps signaling your latest  Tik Tok post is blowing up. 

3. Wear professional attire.

Sure, things are more casual now than they were pre-2020; but the fact of the matter is that your prospective employer has to see you as professional and trustworthy. These attributes are directly reflected in your attire. One of the most important remote interview tips is to always dress as you would for an in-person interview. While that doesn’t always mean wearing a full suit, it should mean that you’re dressed professionally and appropriately based on the job you are seeking. Our job interview tips wouldn’t be complete without saying that you shouldn’t assume you are only going to be seen from the chest up. It can be tempting to dress more casually from the waist down, but always assume that your entire outfit will be visible to your potential employer.

4. Engage the interviewer.

Interviewing via video can be tough, but this one is essential in our remote interview tips. It’s hard to come across as excited and interested when you’re sitting on your living room sofa, but it’s critical that you engage your interviewer and show real excitement for the position you’re interviewing for. To do this, don’t sit back with your arms crossed. Instead, sit forward on your chair with good posture. Smile, and demonstrate positive body language and behavior. Don’t cross your arms, and don’t be afraid to use your hand to gesture as you speak (just don’t overdo it!).

Woman smiling during an online interview with staged lights and neutral background

5. Make eye contact.

This one is tough but important in our remote interview tips: Look directly into the camera. When you’re not looking at the camera, you’re not making eye contact. That’s a big no-no in the interview world. Always remember to look directly into the camera when answering a question. This can take some practice, especially if you’re on a computer. So grab a close friend and set up a Zoom to get the feel of it. You can also try using a cell phone instead of a full computer. The phone’s small screen size will make it easier to come across as having good eye contact. 

6. Don’t forget that you’re an asset.

Finally, our remote interview tips would be incomplete without reminding you that you are an asset and that your potential employer would be lucky to have you. While you don’t want to come across as arrogant, you do want to remember that the interview process goes both ways. You should be interviewing your potential employer as much as they are interviewing you. Don’t sell yourself short. Come up with a list of your assets that make you the perfect fit for the job, and work them into the conversation as naturally as you can. And don’t forget to prepare questions to ask your interviewer as well. Potential employers appreciate someone who is taking the time to fully consider the position. 

By following these six easy tips, you can make your video interview a spectacular way to show off the positive qualities you will bring to the job!

For more tips and tricks from writing the perfect resume to nailing your interview, check out our blog.

What a Marketing Coordinator Does (and How Can I Become One)?

Confused by all of the different marketing positions out there? You’re not alone! There are Marketing Managers, Marketing Specialists, Marketing Assistants, Marketing Analysts… the list goes on and on. So let’s take a closer look at one of the many marketing positions: The Marketing Coordinator. 

What are the job duties of a Marketing Coordinator?

Desk showing work on developing a marketing strategy

Typical tasks of a marketing coordinator include entry-level analytics and research related to sales, marketing, and development. The specifics of each position will vary depending on the specific needs of the employer, but the duties of a marketing coordinator typically include:

  • Conducting market research related to a business’s target market; 
  • Analyzing sales data;
  • Creating marketing materials;
  • Assisting with website SEO;
  • Creating marketing timelines;
  • Organizing marketing projects;
  • Managing digital and social media campaigns;
  • Investigating market trends;
  • Representing a business at trade shows;
  • Working with Social Media Influencers to promote a product.

What are the different types of Marketing Coordinators?

Marketing Coordinator roles will vary depending on the type of work that may be needed by a company. Here are a few of the more common positions:

Digital Marketing Coordinator

In addition to the duties of a generic Marketing Coordinator, a Digital Marketing Coordinator’s job description may include managing digital campaigns designed to drive web traffic to a business, handling social media accounts, or managing the content of blogs and websites for a business. Depending on the size of the organization, these tasks may be handled by one Marketing Coordinator, or by multiple specialized Marketing Coordinators. Businesses that have a strong online presence, especially with web stores would be likely to hire this type of Marketing Coordinator. Those who have excellent computer, social media, and internet skills, as well as strong writers, make excellent Digital Marketing Coordinators. 

Marketing and Promotions Coordinator

The duties of a Marketing Coordinator may also include being responsible for handling trade shows and events, building relationships with industry partners, and/or seeking out corporate sponsorships for an organization. Having an outgoing personality is a must for this role, as you will be dealing directly with the public and potential customers on a regular basis. Typically, larger companies or non-profit organizations are more likely to need this type of Marketing Coordinator. 

Products and Accounts Marketing Coordinator

The responsibilities of a Products and Accounts Marketing Coordinator may also fall within the  duties of a Marketing Coordinator. This means working with a salesforce on building and maintaining a strong client base. They may develop sales programs and informational packages for their sales teams, and they will work with other types of marketing coordinators to develop sales plans for specific products. Like Marketing and Promotions Coordinators, these roles require exceptional people skills, so more outgoing social types are frequently drawn to them. Businesses with large sales forces often benefit from having Products and Accounts Marketing Coordinators. 

What are the salary range and career prospects for a Marketing Coordinator?

A Marketing Coordinator entry level salary often varies with a person’s background. While Marketing Coordinator is often an entry-level position, employers typically require at least an associate’s degree, and often a bachelor’s degree. Sometimes, employers will accept industry experience in lieu of a formal education. Marketing Coordinators most often report to Marketing Managers, and with the right experience, these positions frequently lead to promotions to Marketing Managers. Driven Marketing Coordinators who are willing to stick with the same company can aspire to reach director-level and even executive roles with the right education and experience. However, the skills learned in any one position easily transition to other companies as well, so career mobility is excellent. 

Depending on the specific duties required, a Marketing Coordinator entry-level salaries typically start anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000 per year, depending on education level and special skills. More experienced Marketing Coordinators earn around $85,000 per year. Those with outstanding skill sets can earn over $100,000 per year. 

How do I become a Marketing Coordinator?

The best route to a successful career as a Marketing Coordinator is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. Programs that offer concentrations in social media marketing, business analytics, or consumer behavior may have particular value to a Marketing Coordinator career. Some larger businesses may require a master’s degree in Marketing, while smaller organizations may be willing to accept an associate’s degree and work experience in lieu of a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Man working on marketing data on laptop

To really learn the various duties of a Marketing Coordinator, you should also try interning or working part-time in marketing, advertising, or graphic design while obtaining your degree. A temp position in marketing is a great option for students that will provide you with valuable experience and connections in the marketing world. Look for internships or temp jobs that will help you develop a wide skill set or train you in an area that you may be lacking such as graphic design, web development, or social media marketing. These positions can often be obtained through staffing agencies such as Whitman Associates, Inc, in the D.C. metropolitan area. 

Maintaining a professional and active social profile will demonstrate your social media prowess as you start to hunt for jobs. Just make sure that your social accounts are positive and present a professional image of you. In the current job market, many employers will view your resume online, which provides you with an opportunity to link your social profiles to your resume. 

Finally, make sure your resume is modern, clean, error-free, and highlights the in-demand skill sets you may have. Your resume should tell the story of you, and be interesting without using nondescript buzzwords. Tailoring your resume to fit a specific job is a quick way to stand out among applicants. Make sure you highlight areas where the job description and your expertise overlap. 

The varied duties of a Marketing Coordinator result in interesting jobs and exciting career paths. By following these guidelines, you can get in on the ground floor and begin a marketing career that will provide for you and satisfy you for years to come!

RESUME WRITING TIPS AND TRICKS

Your resume should evolve as frequently as your career does, so you should constantly be improving and editing it while on the job hunt. To help, here are some of our top resume writing tips to keep in mind when you next update your resume.

Resume writing tips and tricks

Contact Information

Our top resume writing tip may seem like a no-brainer, but ALWAYS include your contact information on your resume. An email address and phone number at minimum are a must on your resume. Feel free to include the address to your LinkedIn profile if you use LinkedIn regularly. You don’t need to include your full address on your resume, but it can be helpful to list your city so that hiring managers know you are in the area. By omitting contact information when building your resume, you are inadvertently making yourself inaccessible to employers and recruiters that you want to hear back from.

In the same vein, your phone number should be on your resume, so be sure that your voicemail is set up and that you can receive messages. While you may not leave voicemails yourself, hiring managers will. When employers receive the “mailbox not set up” or “mailbox is full” this signals to them that you don’t really care if you find work or not. Also, be sure to check any message that’s left before returning the call, they may have given you information or instructions in the voicemail, by not listening to it you’re making them repeat themselves, and indicating that perhaps you don’t follow instructions.

Formatting Tips

Another tip is to send a Word document or PDF version of your resume if possible. Employers will most likely not be able to open a resume if it’s sent as a Google Doc, and Google Docs makes it super easy to download your resume in multiple different file formats. Also, don’t send a jpeg or photo of your resume, you should have an electronic copy that you can email.

email box

Additional tips are to keep your font consistent. Don’t use more than two fonts maximum, and keep their usage consistent throughout, ie. one font for headings and another for the body. More fonts than that can be distracting and perhaps unprofessional. Additionally, it is best to write out your resume, and not to send out an Indeed or LinkedIn style prefilled resume. These inevitably have formatting issues when they are transmitting or emailed outside of those platforms. Also, this tells your potential employer that you did not spend much time on your resume.

Our last resume formatting tip is not to worry if your resume is longer than one page. The “one-page resume” rule is antiquated, if you’ve held a number of jobs, a two page resume is perfectly fine. If your resume exceeds three pages, you likely have information on there that is not relevant to the role that you are applying for, and can actually end up hiding the skills and experiences you are trying to highlight.

Employment History and Education

When building your resume, organize the responsibilities within your job descriptions in order of importance and significance. If managing your company’s social media pages was your biggest responsibility, list that first. If you only spent about 5% of your time answering phones, list that last. You want to make sure that the employer can quickly understand the functions of your previous roles and the work you did there.

Along with each job title, be sure to list your months of employment along with the years. Employers want to be able to easily comprehend your work history and spot any employment gaps on your resume. If you don’t list the months, they might think you are trying to hide something, or assume a gap in your resume where there wasn’t one.

Another tip is to remember to include the company name, and location of that company, along with your job title on your resume. You might have worked for a chain, such as CVS or Starbucks, or alternatively, you could have worked for a small company in your hometown. The location provides important contextual information about your job.

With that said, it’s also critical to list the location of where you received your degree(s). Whenever you list a degree on your resume, be sure to include the name and location of the institution where you received that degree.

Send out your resume!

Of course, the whole point of sharing these resume tips and tricks is to ensure you are building a quality resume that will help you secure a job. At Whitman Associates, we see hundreds of resumes a week, and want to share our tips with you. We work with many job seekers, some looking for temp opportunities to get their foot in the door, and others that are looking for their next permanent role. To get started on the search for your next role, send your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com.

4 Ways to Learn QuickBooks Online

Looking for a job in accounting? Then you’re probably going to need QuickBooks. Whether you’re already well-versed in accounting or you’re just starting out, it makes sense to know how to use the most popular bookkeeping software. The good news is that you can learn QuickBooks bookkeeping online—without needing a specialized degree.

Tax withholding form and a coffee cup

Why is QuickBooks Important?

Before jumping into the details of how to learn QuickBooks online, it’s important to recognize why it’s advantageous to do so. The numbers tell the story: QuickBooks has 30 years of experience at the top of the industry with millions of businesses relying on the software. When you learn QuickBooks bookkeeping, you’re plugging into a massive network of accountants, small businesses, and individuals. 

Demonstrating a good understanding of QuickBooks is likely both the easiest and the best way to establish yourself as a knowledgeable prospective or current accountant. On the other hand, if you’re trying to get work as an accountant, but don’t know how to use QuickBooks, your job-seeking experience may be a long road. Now that you understand why QuickBooks is important, let’s go over four principles for how to learn QuickBooks online.

#1: Do Your Own Accounting with QuickBooks

The fastest way to learn QuickBooks is to use it! Explore the different functionalities of this important online tool with your own accounting needs. You can use QuickBooks to organize, prepare, and file your own personal tax returns. Especially if you do some odd jobs or freelance work on the side, you can discover many of the intuitive and useful features of QuickBooks on your own.

QuickBooks offers a free trial online, so even if you don’t plan to use it long-term for your personal accounting, you can give yourself a quick crash course. Practice makes perfect, and it’s best to jump in as soon as possible.

#2: Use the Provided Help Resources

Another great way to learn QuickBooks is to use the resources available directly from the source. Intuit, the parent company for QuickBooks, provides a variety of help resources that are accessible for you as a prospective or active user of the software. Inuit recognizes that many people look for how to learn QuickBooks online, so they provide that service as information that is easy to find. 

All QuickBooks online plans include a network of dedicated support, with expert agents that can help. QuickBooks Online for accountants includes advisory training with self-paced lessons. You’ll find plenty of help in a huge library of resources and webinars.

#3: Follow Online Tutorials

Intuit’s bookkeeping resources are great, but you may also find it helpful to get outside support. There are a variety of free or low-cost online tutorials available covering everything from basic onboarding to advanced nuances of QuickBooks. You can find the right fit for you with some quick Internet searches. Check out options like Udemy, Simon Sez IT, Fit Small Business, and more. You may prefer a service that walks you through step by step or one that provides you with learning you can complete on an as-needed basis at your own pace.

There are plenty of online tutorials and guides covering how to learn QuickBooks that do have a higher cost attached, which you are welcome to pursue if you find that level of support necessary. However, with so many resources available that have no or only a small cost, make sure you really need the extra layer before committing to the higher price tag.

#4: Watch Example Videos 

Not everyone learns best by reading. Especially if you’re having trouble understanding a help article, you can search on YouTube to likely find an explainer. Hector Garcia and BookkeepingMaster are two of the most popular and well-recognized YouTube channel sources for this type of service.

Seeing people use QuickBooks in action is a valuable exercise for you to engage in as you learn QuickBooks bookkeeping. Watching the specific tactics used to get through a challenge will help you apply not just those strategies but also that type of thinking to your own bookkeeping practices. Soon, someone will ask you how to learn QuickBooks!

Man using a calculator

Get Started with Whitman Associates

Of course, the whole reason you learn QuickBooks is to land a job. You don’t have to have Quickbooks mastered to jumpstart your work in accounting or an accounting-related field. Find temp opportunities that will get your foot in the door. Send your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com for the next step in your career journey.

Professional Networking on Social Media

Is Your Personal Account Really Separate from Your Professional Life?

It’s no secret that we live in the digital age. Well over half of the global population has a presence on social media, but many people believe that using social media professionally is totally separate from scrolling through your personal feed at home. For serious job seekers, though, social media for professional networking intersects with personal usage all the time.

A phone screen showing a few social media apps

Searchable Social Media Presence(s)

Even when you have your personal account set to private, certain pieces of data are still viewable. This includes your profile picture, how many posts you have, and how many accounts you follow. You—and potential employers—can tell a lot from a simple search.

In an article well before the pandemic, Forbes explained that “social media is a key player in the job search process today,” and “more than a third of all employers utilize these sites in their hiring process.” We can expect percentages to be much higher now, as employers and job seekers alike have grown more used to conducting business online and using social media professionally. The application of social media for professional networking is a common, even expected, facet of the workforce.

Employers commonly browse the social media of prospective employees, evaluating character and personality. This includes aspects such as whether the job seeker:

  • Maintains a standard of professionalism, including politeness and respect. For instance, a hiring manager may rule out a candidate if they see them make derogatory comments on Twitter. It’s best to always keep in mind that your social media is for professional networking, even when you think it’s a personal rant.
  • Seems like a good fit for the company culture. Companies often use social media as a tool for evaluating candidates’ behavior and preferences.
  • Has the qualifications appropriate for the position. Resume truth distortion is usually easy to spot through a quick social media search. Your presence on social media typically represents your actual employment and education history.
  • Demonstrates a genuine interest in and passion for their field. For example, a publishing company looking to hire a new marketing specialist will probably love seeing a candidate who has a clearly cultivated presence on Instagram where they review books.
A smiling woman seated at a table holding a notebook

Be The Best Version of Yourself

When considering your personal and professional social media, it’s most important to still be yourself online. When you try too hard to use social media professionally, perhaps liking every post from your dream employer, you may end up coming across as inauthentic.
Posting personal updates and pictures shows off your personality, but it’s best to consider a broad audience. The “Grandma Rule” is a good principle. If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, don’t post it. Even if you have separate accounts, you probably have friends and family members following your professional account, or colleagues and classmates following your personal account. It’s best to assume that your coworkers will see your posts to err on the side of safety and professionalism.

The Connectivity of Social Media

It’s called social media for a reason. It’s fun to browse on TikTok or scroll through an Instagram feed, but even these platforms aren’t just or primarily for entertainment: social media is for professional networking. While LinkedIn is traditionally associated with networking, there are so many other ways to connect with peers, past employment sources, prospective colleagues and employers, and more. Connections across various social media presences often bridge the gap between personal and professional. Now, more than ever, we discover networking opportunities through our personal social media. 

Smart job seekers will maintain an active presence on social media, cultivating their participation to be both authentic and impressive. You can be the one to link others to prospective opportunities, like connecting a colleague with your own personal contacts, and see the same energy and benefit come back around to you. Through social media, you can make connections with people you would never otherwise know. There’s a potential opportunity for you to find your dream job through social media connections.

Use Social Media to Your Career Advantage

In conclusion, seeing your personal and professional social media presences as totally separate will not serve you well. Professional behavior matters everywhere. When you understand the intersection of personal and professional social media, you can use your presence on these platforms to your career advantage. Professional networking on social media is generally expected now, so don’t be afraid to try it.

If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, let Whitman Associates help you. We have contacts we would love to share with you. Simply email your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com to get started.

ADVICE FOR REMOTE INTERVIEWS

If you are actively interviewing for jobs, part of the process is being prepared for remote interviews as well as in-person interviews. With online interviews being commonplace since 2020, there is no longer an excuse for not knowing how various web conferencing platforms work. It is your responsibility to be able to utilize the client’s chosen app for an online interview and have it functional ahead of time. The company you’re applying to most likely has a specific one they use for all their internal and external collaboration.

There are lots of different applications for online interviews; some major ones include Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx, and Skype. You do not need to create an account for each of these apps as you will receive an invite provided by the company holding the interview.

Online interview app icons

Whitman Associates will assist any of our candidates with a trial run of the client’s application platform so that you may prepare the collaboration tools in advance. We want our candidates to focus on the interview when the time comes and not be frustrated by the tools. There are a myriad of video chat interview tips that exist online on preparing for phone and remote interviews, but here are some key points:

Choose the right environment for your remote interview

Your background on an online interview is important. Bright lights from windows behind you can cause video of your face to be dark. You certainly don’t want the background to showcase clutter, or personal spaces such as your bed or bathroom. It is best to sit in front of a blank wall or wall with minimal graphic distractions. You don’t need a fancy ring light, but you may need to turn on a light somewhere else in the room to insure your face is well lit.

The audio is critically important. Many people will tolerate bad video to a certain extent, but clipping audio and background noises make it impossible for you to convey important responses. You need to make sure the environment is free from background noises (mowers, air conditioners, bathroom showers, construction, etc.). Find a quiet room where the background noise is minimal. Having background noises will distract from your responses does not make a good impression.

Pick the best device for an online interview

Man and woman on video interview

The device you use for your online interview is very important. It is best to use a device with all the tools integrated such as a laptop, tablet, or phone. If you are using a desktop, you need to make sure all the external components work well together and within the application you are going to be using. A critical video chat interview tip to keep in mind is that your device may need to download a plugin or grant permissions to the application in order to interact with the microphone, video, and speakers.

The integrated microphone of a laptop, tablet, or phone may be sufficient; however, it is best to use a Bluetooth or wired headset. This will allow your voice to be clear, enable your hands to be free, and allow the camera to be placed at a distance from your face.

It is important to set the phone, tablet, or laptop down on a fixed surface such that it is not moving. It is incredibly distracting during remote interviews for the camera to be wobbling and not stationary while you’re trying to explain how you can contribute to the success of the organization.

If you need reference material (your resume, notes, or the company’s website), make sure this material is positioned directly above or below the camera. The client is interested in making eye contact and trying to get to know you as much as they can via video interview.

When taking notes, place your notepad directly below the camera so that the client can see that you are writing information down. It’s best to avoid typing your notes during your interview as the keyboard noise can be distracting and may lead the interviewer to think you’re doing something other than listening to their pitch – they are trying to convey how great their company is.

Be prepared!

There are many guides available describing how to prepare for an interview. A phone call, video chat, or remote interview is just as important as an in-person interview. In fact, it is more difficult to convey body language and capture voice inflections that might indicate your excitement for working with the company. Your goal is to make the next step or interview happen and to get that job offer.

4 Tips to Get an Entry-Level Legal Assistant Job

Thought about entering the legal field but don’t know how to begin? Whether you’ve studied for law school your whole life or your professional experience amounts to watching Legally Blonde a few times, you might be surprised at the opportunities available to you as a legal assistant. Washington, D.C. and other major metropolitan areas are ideal markets for entry-level legal assistant jobs. Being a legal assistant is different from being a paralegal, but you will still provide invaluable support to attorneys while gaining experience in the field. Here are our tips on how to land this great position.

A man dressed in a suit with a watch

What is an entry-level legal assistant?

Before explaining how to get an entry-level legal assistant job, let’s start with clarity on what it is—and what it isn’t. Although every law office or agency has its own regulations and expectations, there are some general guidelines when it comes to this type of position.

Legal assistants should be able to:

  • Organize files for the office
  • Compile facts for cases
  • Follow up on details relating to specific clients or interactions
  • Handle client or witness communication
  • Conduct research
  • File legal documents in court
  • Draft documents for litigation
  • Process, prepare, sort or proof legal documents
  • Maintain client files and information

Essentially, this position assists the lawyer. An entry-level legal assistant job will involve all varieties of legal work in a supporting capacity. They act primarily as case managers, although some legal assistants also function as legal secretaries. Although they work alongside lawyers, they do not have the same authority over the legal documents and presentations.

How is a legal assistant different from a paralegal?

Legal secretaries serve on the administrative side, performing duties such as greeting clients, answering phones, scheduling appointments, and maintaining the calendar. Legal assistants can also fill these secretarial roles while supporting the lawyer in other ways from investigating to writing. Paralegals perform more in-depth preparatory work and function more similarly to an attorney. For example, a legal secretary might type minutes, while a legal assistant might prepare the case brief and the paralegal could work to develop the ruling with the lawyer directly.

Before applying, you can explore more details about these different job categories so you can determine where specifically you feel best suited.

Tip #1: Demonstrate effective communication skills

If you want to get an entry-level legal assistant job, you need to show that you know how to communicate effectively. Whether you’re managing the lawyers’ schedules, compiling facts for cases or drafting documents for litigation, you must get your point across clearly and effectively. 

Many individual lawyers or larger legal institutions are more than happy to train entry-level workers on the minutiae of their processes and applicable laws, but they need the employees to come in already knowing how to express themselves in appropriate and precise language. 

You can demonstrate your effective communication skills in your resume and interview. Legal assistants are often the ones to handle communication with clients and witnesses, as well as to facilitate communication across the office, so it’s imperative that you show you could fill that role.

Tip #2: Highlight the experience you do have

Yes, we’re talking about an entry-level legal assistant job, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going in with nothing. Don’t worry if you don’t specifically have a legal background. You will have other experiences or traits that can make you a good fit for the position, so make those aspects of your application clear. Maybe demonstrate how you’ve already managed large schedules in the past or that in your schooling you served in an administrative capacity or leadership position for an extracurricular group. 

An office organizer with bright papers and highlighters

Tip #3: Express a willingness to learn

When it comes to entry-level legal assistant jobs, it’s important to recognize having the right attitude matters more than knowing the ins and outs of the law. Legal expertise is appreciated but unnecessary when you’re just starting out. Teachability, however, is required. 

In our experience in Washington, D.C., most entry-level legal assistant jobs require an eagerness to benefit from the law firm’s expertise. Present yourself as a competent communicator ready to learn how the lawyer wants things done rather than showing up as a legal expert already entrenched in a specific structure and process. 

Tip #4: Go through the experts

Once you’ve polished your resume and prepared for your interview by demonstrating effective communication skills, highlighting the experience you do have, and expressing a willingness to learn, it’s time to land that entry-level legal assistant job. You can go through the job search yourself and play the waiting game, but it’s easier, less stressful, and more effective to go through the experts. 
At Whitman Associates, Inc., we are celebrating 50 years of providing expert staffing in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. Start by emailing your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com to see what doors can open for you.

Your Trusted Source

The expert staff at WAI is dedicated to serving the professional community in metro D.C. and the greater DMV area. We’re proud to offer support in the form of education, guidance and full-service staffing solutions for both employers and job seekers. Explore job seeker tips, staffing guidance and the other categories above, or simply browse the recent links. You’ll find curated information written by our in-house staff, as well as article roundups from trusted external sources. For more information about our services, review our FAQs or contact our team.

Team up with Whitman Associates

If you’re an employer or job seeker ready to take the next step, partner with WAI. We work closely with our clients and candidates to understand each company or individual’s unique needs and circumstances. Thanks to this attention to detail and our extensive vetting process, we are able to connect highly qualified candidates with positions that match their expertise and experience. If you need to fill a permanent or temporary position, fill out our staffing request form, and a member of our team will contact you shortly. If you are a job seeker, browse our job listings and email us your resume, and we’ll do our best to match you with the perfect position.