All Your DC Career Coaching Questions Answered

Glasses sitting on a goals journal

A career coach is designed to help you move your career forward, whether you’re just starting out, or you need a career pick-me-up. While the level of engagement offered by career coaching professionals may vary, there are some basic services that all career coaches offer, such as resume drafting assistance, interview tips, career mapping, and employment assistance. Here are answers to the most common career coaching questions, with a specific focus on career coaches in Washington DC. 

Do I actually need a career coach?

The most common question related to career coaching is “Do I actually need a career coach?” 

If you are in Washington, DC and are looking for a job, looking for a better job, or simply curious about whether you are on the right track, career coaching will likely help. According to Harvard Business Review, “Career coaches can help you figure out what you want to do, understand what’s preventing you from advancing in your professional goals, and endure the ups and downs of job hunting.”

A career coach can help you:

  • Map out your career trajectory
  • Design your resume/CV according to employer expectations
  • Market your skills
  • Apply for the right jobs at the right time

When should I hire a career coach? 

Most people in the DC area only consider career coaches if they are unemployed or wholly dissatisfied with the position they are currently in. However, limiting your use of a career coach to times of greater desperation may be unwise. When you’re under pressure to land a new job, career coaching will likely be more difficult and less effective. The adage “it’s easier to find a job when you have a job” is equally applicable to career coaching, especially in the competitive and fast paced DC market. 

So consider hiring a coach when you’re not looking in order to get the most out of their advice without the stress of having to immediately implement it. By working with a coach when it’s not an emergency, you will be better able to take advantage of programs and benefits they offer.

However, don’t let this advice stop you from using a coach when you are job hunting. There are several key times in your career that you may need advice as you are looking. For example, new graduates frequently need advice on how to choose the right career. A career counselor can be incredibly beneficial in making this decision. 

What specific benefits will a career coach provide?

Business women editing a resume

In the DC area, career coaching is almost a necessity. Jobs go quickly here, and if you aren’t standing out of the crowd, you’re likely to get lost. Here’s some key benefits that career coaches can provide: 

  • Resume buildingA stand out resume is absolutely critical in any location, but it’s especially important in the DC area, where competition is fierce. 
  • Interview PreparationInterviews are tough, no matter how experienced you are. A career coach can offer tips and tricks. A great career coach can offer tips tailored to your field and your geographic location, whether that’s Washington, DC, or another region. 
  • Career Changing AdviceYou’re never too old to learn a new field. Career coaches can advise you on every aspect of your considered career change, from outside networking to searching within your own company. 
  • Career Advancement AdviceYou may be perfectly happy in your field, but yearning to climb the corporate ladder. A career counselor can help you figure out when and how to do that. 
  • Advice on Maintaining a Positive AttitudeJob searching can be tough, especially in a field as competitive as DC. Career coaching can be incredibly valuable in teaching you to maintain a positive attitude. 

How do I find a good career coach?

Finding a good career coach can be tough and take time since you want to find a professional that will do more than just give advice. Make sure you look for coaches that understand the Washington, DC market, and look for organizations that represent both employers and potential employees. Those that do are frequently more in touch with what employers really want and can teach you the inside information on what recruiters and employers look for in cover letters, resumes, and interviews. Finally, make sure your career coach is a good personality fit for you. If you don’t get along well with them, they won’t be effective at helping you help yourself. 

How much does a career coach cost?

Person paying online with credit card

It depends. Career coaches can cost as much as $500 an hour, far more than most people can afford. However, there are less experienced coaches that cost less. Many agencies and businesses, such as Whitman Associates, provide career coaching benefits at no cost. If you are just starting out in your career, or you are not looking for a position requiring extensive experience or education, programs such as those offered by Whitman Associates are likely just what you need. 

Tell me more about Whitman Associates’ career coaching options!

Whitman Associates has an amazing team of associates committed to ensuring that our clients and our candidates get the best care. 

Beyond the essential resume writing assistance and interview tips, we focus on the importance of developing critical skills, including communication and strategic thinking based on industry requirements as well as your professional goals. Moreover, we offer helpful advice on how to adjust your job search and resume to better fit certain fields and employers. Because we know the DC job market better than anyone, we offer insight that other career coaching organizations just can’t provide. 

Whether you opt for the amazing benefits of Whitman Associates or another career coaching program in DC, you will likely find the process beneficial in advancing your career. Reach out to Whitman to see how we can help you take your career to the next level!

Make Sure Your Employees Dress For Success

Man in business suit buttoning jacket

As the world finally gets some breathing room following the pandemic, many businesses are struggling to re-establish office routines. Whether it’s redistributing workloads due to staff shortages or setting policies for remote work, there are ample new or revamped workplace expectations that must be addressed to ensure a well-running business. 

One common issue employers are struggling with is the employee dress code. Regardless of what type of business you run, your workplace needs to have a strong policy in place for employee attire. 

Why? Studies show that employees gain more respect from both their customers and their peers when they are dressed in an appropriate manner. Thus, it pays to make sure that your employees are appropriately dressed for your business needs.

Read on to find useful tips and tricks to make sure your dress code is appropriate and successful. Also, you can jump ahead to see our sample dress code reminder email to employees

Find the right fit

An appropriate employee dress code doesn’t have to mean formal business attire. Rather, it requires clothing that is appropriate for the type of business being conducted. If you are an attorney meeting with business clients or making a court appearance, a suit is appropriate (and, in some courts, it’s mandatory).

Even in a more casual environment, a dress code is a must. Take the retail store for example. Virtually all stores have some sort of dress code for employees. For some, like a retail clothing store, the attire likely matches the type of clothes being sold. It’s entirely appropriate for a men’s high-end suit shop to require its employees to also wear suits to work every day. However, a casual clothing store may require employees to simply wear jeans and a button-down shirt. 

For many businesses, the most practical option is a uniform. Whether the uniform is provided by the employer or simply dictated by guidelines depends on the specific needs of the business. An upscale restaurant may require all employees to wear black pants and a solid color shirt, but not be exacting about the style as long as they match the atmosphere of the venue; whereas a ski resort may provide shirts, hats, gloves, and ski jackets with the resort emblem on them so that employees are easily recognizable. For some businesses, aprons or t-shirts with business logos may be the most appropriate employee dress code option. Regardless of the specifics, dress codes involving uniforms mean customers will have an easy time identifying employees when needed. 

Coffee barista wearing apron while arranging cups

Other businesses may have a more strict employee dress code on most days, but allow more casual attire under certain circumstances. For example, casual Fridays are popular among many businesses as a way of allowing their employees to unwind at the end of the work week. Companies where employees seldom have client interactions may permit a business casual dress code and require more formal attire only during client interactions or special presentations. Regardless of how you structure your dress code, just make sure that it is appropriate for your business.

Ease into it

Before you send a dress code reminder email to employees, you need to have an established dress code. If you haven’t previously had a strict or well-established dress code, don’t simply announce it one day and expect it to be immediately followed. Rather, take steps to ensure employee buy-in. Conduct a survey to gauge employee feelings regarding the implementation of a dress code. Be sure to ask questions that highlight potential reasons for establishing a dress code. For example, inquire whether employees have ever been asked, “Do you work here?” and how often. Or ask if employees see the financial benefit in being provided with a uniform that they don’t have to purchase. By phrasing questions in this manner, you’re giving them the opportunity to see the benefit of a dress code, as opposed to focusing on the potential burden.

Another important step is to announce your new dress code and ease into implementing it, especially if you are going from a casual environment to one requiring more formal attire. Your employees will need time to build an appropriate work wardrobe. Consider creating a trial period when the code is in effect but there are no consequences for failing to adhere to the specifics. This allows time for employees to familiarize themselves with the code specifics and gives them time to purchase new clothes, if necessary. It also forgives potential forgetfulness for tenured employees who are used to the old dress code. Once employees have had the opportunity to get used to the code, you can make it mandatory going forward.

The devil is in the details

Make sure your dress code is clear and unambiguous. To do this, give a written policy to all employees, and require them to sign an acknowledgment that they have received and understand the policy. And make sure it is always available in the same location at your office. Once they understand the policy, it’s reasonable to occasionally send a dress code reminder email to your employees.

Ensure your policy contains sufficient detail through the use of examples. Don’t simply state that your policy is “business casual.” Give specifics of what “business casual” means. Likewise, give examples of what is not appropriate as well. Include an FAQ section that you update regularly as questions arise. It is entirely likely that if one employee has a question about the dress code, others do as well. 

Communication is key

Just a Reminder  During business hours, Whitman Associates employees are expected to be dressed and groomed in a professional and businesslike manner to reflect our Washington, D.C. location. Furthermore, studies show that employees gain more respect when they are dressed in a professional manner.  We need to keep in mind what is appropriate for Business Casual when your particular assignment permits Business Casual. Business Casual wear is NOT the same attire one would wear for the weekend or at home.

Consider having a meeting to go over expectations and allow questions. During the meeting, explain the dress code in detail, and make sure your employees fully understand the reason for its implementation. Also, clearly articulate the consequences for failing to adhere to the policy. 

A successful dress code policy will require periodic reminders of what your code entails, why it’s important, and how to address questions your employees may have. Send out a quarterly email dress code reminder to all employees, and consider some sort of reward system for employees who consistently follow the code, even if it’s nothing more than a simple email thank-you note.

Here’s an example of a clear and concise reminder email: 

Just a Reminder

During business hours, Whitman Associates employees are expected to be dressed and groomed in a professional and businesslike manner to reflect our Washington, D.C. location. Furthermore, studies show that employees gain more respect when they are dressed in a professional manner.

We need to keep in mind what is appropriate for Business Casual when your particular assignment permits Business Casual. Business Casual wear is NOT the same attire one would wear for the weekend or at home.

Examples of appropriate Business Casual attire:

Slacks, i.e. khakis, dockers and similar slacks

Button-up or polo shirts

Blouses

Dress shoes (not flip flops, athletic shoes, etc.) 

Examples of inappropriate Business Casual attire:

Jeans Shorts

Leggings

Tattered, tight, skimpy or revealing clothing

Tank tops, halter tops, midriff shirts

Athletic shoes

Loose footwear, i.e. sandals, flip flops, etc.

Any questions about attire should be discussed directly with Whitman Associates. Remember, you will be treated with more respect when you are appropriately dressed. As always, thanks for your cooperation and help in this matter.

With a little planning and strategic implementation, your dress code will be a success for your employees and your bottom line!

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. Post some motivation on your wall

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.

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

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.

Gmail Dashboard

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.