Temp of the Month for February 2024: Sofia Timina

Sofia is a highly motivated and enthusiastic young professional passionate about social justice, community bridge building, and Russian literature. She graduated from Gordon College with a BA in Political Science and International Relations in May 2022.

Sofia moved to the Washington DC area after graduation to participate in a 9-month Fellows program. Shortly after, she started working with Whitman Associates and has greatly enjoyed the multitude of experiences and diversity of new skills temping for Whitman brings. Sofia is beyond thankful for the support, commitment, and professionalism of Whitman’s team.

Aside from work, Sofia enjoys reading, traveling, riding horses, and spending time with friends.

Upcoming Hiring Trends of 2024

Take your career to the next level with these recruitment trends we’re expecting in 2024. Competition these days isn’t easy, with growing numbers of qualified candidates seeking the same job openings every day. Recruiters are looking to hire someone who fits the job criteria and goes above and beyond. Moreover, modern day recruiters must review so many candidates and resumes that they are constantly finding new ways to discover the best candidate for the job. Keeping up with the latest recruiting trends means you’re putting yourself on these recruiters’ radar and highlighting the traits their organizations want to attract. Let’s explore the most important recruitment trends for 2024.

Business professional sitting at a desk with a laptop

Candidate Flexibility

First and foremost, candidates need to remain flexible. In recent years, employers have become more flexible with hybrid work environments. Even with fully onsite roles on the rise, hybrid work will remain a noteworthy hiring trend of 2024. In 2024, it is now the candidates’ turn to show increased flexibility, particularly for onsite roles.

The workforce is changing, and forthcoming recruitment trends for 2024 indicate that carefully defined job roles may be on their way out. Organizations are seeking candidates who are willing to take on additional duties that may not necessarily be in the job description. For example, someone hired to the internal communications team may be asked to assist on projects alongside the marketing team if needed.

The latest recruiting trends expect employees to have a more diverse range of skills. Following 2024 recruitment trends, you should be cross-training to ensure you know how to fill more than one role. Becoming a well-rounded professional is key to getting hired in 2024. If you’re currently employed but preparing for a career change, consider talking to a coworker from another team if they’d be interested in collaborating with you on an upcoming project. This will allow you to put more diverse responsibilities on your resume, which will help you stand out in 2024.

Additionally, if you’re unemployed or struggling to build a 5-star resume that presents you as a well-rounded professional, keep up with 2024 recruitment trends by considering temporary work. By taking on short-term roles at various organizations, you’ll learn a variety of skills and how to be flexible – which is exactly what recruiters will be looking for. Partner with an experienced staffing agency to get personalized guidance and support navigating temporary or temp-to-hire work.

LinkedIn Networking

The latest recruiting trends indicate that LinkedIn networking is key. While LinkedIn has always been a great resource, with an overwhelming pile of qualified candidates, employers only notice the profiles that really stand out. As one of the first places a recruiter will evaluate a candidate, your LinkedIn profile must be up-to-date. Judging by the recent recruitment trends for 2024, if you don’t have a current and accurate LinkedIn presence, you risk being passed over.

Even if you’re not actively seeking a new role just yet, following hiring trends for 2024 will set you up for success if you do decide to make a career change in the future. For example, many professionals go above and beyond merely keeping their LinkedIn profile up-to-date. Some professionals are also building their own personal brand by reposting articles, commenting and showing their unique qualities and personality.

Additionally, LinkedIn recruitment trends for 2024 indicate the importance of doing your research. Many recruiters can only be putting a select few words into LinkedIn’s search function to find candidates, and you want your profile to top the list. Figure out which keywords are most important to the job descriptions of positions you’ve been applying to, and include those keywords throughout your profile. You can update your headline, bio and posts to reflect the most common recruitment searches.

To keep up with the recruitment trends of 2024, professional staffing experts can assist with coaching and development to candidates based on their expressed desires and career hopes. Whitman Associates follows the latest recruiting trends and provides employment services across various industries in both nonprofit and for-profit the sectors, allowing us unique insight into what employers are looking for in 2024.

Skill Set Certifications

It’s expected that hiring individuals with professional certifications will be a trend  for 2024. These certifications are credentials earned after meeting certain criteria and passing an exam. Although you may already possess these skills from responsibilities in previous roles, with so many qualified candidates out there, employers want to hire someone with proven expertise. These certifications are treated as industry standards, and recruitment trends for 2024 show they’re becoming necessary to be hired for specific roles.

For example, earning a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification before working as a project manager is becoming an industry standard. This certification assesses the candidate’s ability to fulfill the role, such as establishing business priorities and managing other people. The best part? Often, employees with these certifications will get paid more in their roles.

Working with a staffing agency like Whitman Associates can boost you above your competition. It can be a challenge to keep ahead of the various recruitment trends for 2024 on your own. Our staffing experts can recommend improvements and give you informed job-search advice, including how you can take advantage of the latest recruiting trends like gaining relevant certifications. Email your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com.

Are cover letters necessary? Why or why not?

An overhead view of a woman typing a cover letter on a laptop.

People often ask us “are cover letters necessary?” In the intricate process of job applications, this  depends on whether the employer deems that cover letters are necessary. When working with a staffing agency like Whitman Associates, where professionalism and precision define our approach, our goal is to help coach you through when you should submit a cover letter with your job application and how to go about writing an effective cover letter. We understand the significance and timing of the submission of cover letters. One way to ensure that your cover letter and job application stand out in the competitive landscape of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan job market is by understanding what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for when accepting applications.

The Power of Being Proactive

Cover letters are necessary when applying for almost any position. While crafting your cover letter, you should tailor it to the particular role you are applying to and highlight your experience and transferable skills that match the job description. You want to ensure that your cover letter’s format aligns with your resume and work history to make your application feel cohesive and well-thought-out.

Tailoring your cover letter to align with the employer’s expectations can enhance your application. Cover letters are necessary in most applications, therefore it is important to pay attention to any instructions in the job posting so your cover letter is meticulous, timely and well-received.

When Should You Include a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a marketing tool to sell yourself to a potential employer. Don’t hold back when asking yourself, “Should I include a cover letter,” when considering if and when cover letters are necessary. Your cover letter is integral to your job application as it highlights your accomplishments, special skills and overall experience. 

A well-written cover letter will also provide the prospective employer insight into your written communication skills, so typos and grammatical errors will hurt your chances of landing an interview.

If you apply to a company where cover letters are not considered necessary, it’s a good practice to include an email with a brief introduction along with your resume. This does not need to be comprehensive; a concise paragraph in an email  introducing yourself and why you are interested in applying will convey professionalism and appear to be more polished in your submission process. The bottom line is that it’s always helpful to ask yourself, “Should I include a cover letter,” with every job application. Make sure to know how and when you should submit a cover letter based on the employer’s expectations before you submit your final application.

A job applicant handing a cover letter to a hiring manager

Cover Letters as Screening Tools

When cover letters are necessary, they are often used as a part of the screening process to see how closely you pay attention to detail. With that said, proofread your cover letter repeatedly and have someone else look it over before sending it out. You could be the best candidate for the position, but if your cover letter has errors, does not flow well or fails to showcase your valuable and transferable skills, you may not be selected to move to the next round of interviews

In some instances, employers may specify a response timeframe, and aligning your cover letter with their timeline showcases your attentiveness and respect for the employer’s process. 

Different industries may have different norms regarding if and when to contact the recruiter or hiring manager or how and when to follow up. Whitman Associates provides candidates with insights into industry norms, ensuring that your communication aligns with the company’s expectations, especially when cover letters are necessary in order for your application to be considered.

What to Include in Your Cover Letter

A cover letter is your first opportunity to make a powerful impression on potential employers. A well-crafted cover letter can be the key to landing an interview and standing out among other applicants when cover letters are deemed necessary. 

A typical format for a cover letter includes:

  1. Date
  2. Salutation or Greeting
  3. Opening Paragraph
  4. Middle Paragraph
  5. Ending Paragraph
  6. Closing
  7. Signature
  8. Your Contact Information

As noted above, date your document whether you submit it on paper, through email or via an online portal. Use the contact information for the hiring manager when you can find it, and address your letter directly to them with a salutation or greeting such as “Dear Mr./Ms. [Hiring Manager’s Name]” when writing your cover letter. 

In the opening paragraph, use this space to introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in applying for the opportunity at this company and how it aligns with your career goals. 

In the middle paragraph, discuss your transferable skills and give concrete examples of how your experience aligns with the job description. This paragraph will help showcase how and why you fit the role well. 

Use the final paragraph to thank the company for taking the time to read your application and to express your interest in the next steps of the application process. You may also use this space to clarify anything not included in the sections noted above, such as an employment gap or skills that you want to highlight on your resume.

When closing your letter, use a polite salutation such as “warm regards,” “sincerely,” or “thank you for your time,” and then sign or type your name.

 A desk with a laptop and coffee mug beside a notepad with a drafted cover letter
A blank notebook surrounded by a pencil, glasses, a cell phone, and a laptop.

Cover Letter Checklist

As you submit job applications, the timing of your submission can be a factor that sets you apart from other candidates. We recognize that strategic timing aligned with industry norms and employer expectations can contribute significantly to your application’s lasting impression on the hiring team.

When telling yourself, “I know I should include a cover letter,” it’s best to understand the purpose of the information you’ve included and why you are including it. 

A quick checklist to help you get through your cover letter’s format is:

  • Did you personalize your opening?
  • Do you have a strong opening statement?
  • Is it tailored to the job description?
  • Does it showcase your achievements?
  • Does it demonstrate a cultural fit?
  • Did you keep it concise and professional?
  • Is it connected to your resume?
  • Does it end with a strong call to action?

Utilizing a Follow-Up Letter

After submitting your resume and cover letter, consider working with Whitman Associates to write and submit a follow-up letter reinforcing your interest in and availability for the position you applied to. This additional touch point can reiterate your value as a candidate

Whether you choose a proactive approach, a tailored timeline, or a strategic follow-up, remember that the timing of when you should submit a cover letter is crucial in your journey toward professional success. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss our open roles so that Whitman Associates can help you land your dream career.

Top Rated Staffing Agency from Three Best Rated 2024

We are thrilled and honored to announce that Whitman Associates, Inc. was named one of the Top 3 Staffing Agencies in Washington, D.C. by Three Best Rated® for the 6th year in a row! Three Best Rated® uses an extensive 50-Point Inspection to evaluate and select Top 3 Staffing Agencies, which includes customer reviews, history, satisfaction, trust, cost and general excellence.

We are grateful to our incredible clients, stellar candidates and dedicated employees who have made this possible. Whitman Associates has served the DMV since 1972, and we continue to uphold that tradition of excellence in staffing services.

Temp of the Month for January 2023: Bradley Wanstall

Bradley recently transitioned from managing Starbucks stores in California to immersing themselves in the diverse realm of temporary work at Whitman Associate’s in DC. Their experience with Whitman Associate’s has played a pivotal role in broadening their horizons and providing exposure to various industries.

Armed with a Bachelor’s in Business Management Economics from the University of California and currently pursuing an MBA at Texas A&M, Bradley is committed to continuous learning. They have earned certification from the Society of Human Resource Management as a Certified Professional. Their unwavering dedication lies in contributing to workplaces by propelling their missions forward and enriching the lives of their employees.

Beyond the professional sphere, Bradley finds joy in exploring a range of hobbies. Painting has evolved into a profound passion, and they’ve recently delved into cultivating bonsai trees—an inspiration drawn from the exquisite National Bonsai tree at DC’s Arboretum. The transition from mountains to monuments marked a significant change. However, navigating the rich history of the United States while adapting to city life has proven to be an exhilarating journey for them.

Temp of the Month for December 2023: Bernadine Francis

Bernadine was born and raised by her grandmother on St. Kitts, a small beautiful British island in the Caribbean. Upon graduation from high school, she moved to St. Croix, United States Virgin Island to live with her parents. It was in 1979 when that young girl of nineteen decided to leave home to pursue her college degree in Washington, DC.

Bernadine received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Systems and Technology with a minor in Economics. She made a career working for the District of Columbia Public Schools for over thirty years as Business Manager, Administrative Officer and other duties as assigned before retiring this year.

Bernadine soon realized that she needed something to do, and she applied to Whitman which has exceeded her expectations. She is sent on different assignments that she has enjoyed tremendously. Learning new things and meeting new people is so exciting.

Bernadine loves reading, crossword puzzles, traveling and dancing, but it is her five grandsons that keep her busy in her spare time.

Temp of the Month for November 2023: Jordan Yankee

Jordan is a recent graduate of Colgate University, with a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Media Studies.  She moved to DC to pursue a career in marketing and communications and is excited to see where it takes her. 

Jordan enjoys all things artistic, especially videography and photography. She also enjoys exploring DC and all the fun restaurants and activities it has to offer.

How to Answer the Inevitable Interview Question: ‘Tell Me About Yourself’

Candidate Giving Interview

It’s that pivotal moment in a job interview. It seems that every job candidate waits on pins and needles for a single and inevitable question to be asked in the interview … that moment when the interviewer says, “So, tell me about yourself.”

This question strikes fear in the hearts of job seekers everywhere. In reality, the question is an excellent opportunity for job candidates to showcase their accomplishments and utilize their rehearsed elevator pitches. It’s a matter of choosing, adopting, and owning a strategy that highlights the candidate’s finest qualities, experiences, and goals with confidence — without coming across as arrogant. If you want to learn how to answer the “Tell me about yourself” question, explore our interview strategies from the experts at Whitman Associates today!

The Winning Answer Strategy

Are you facing a series of interviews with hiring managers who are eager to learn more about you via the disarmingly pointed “Tell me about yourself” question?

If you are, there is no reason to worry — you can handle this question and learn to market yourself with confidence and ease. 

With the right strategy, this question becomes a breeze, alleviating stress, uncertainty, and self-doubt while giving you handy tools to help you communicate your important background information and desired professional traits. Use your “tell me about yourself” answer to share with the interviewer how you market yourself as essential to the position and illustrate what you bring to the table, further leveraging you as the perfect candidate for the role. 

The Present-Past-Future Formula

Some time ago, recruiting professionals recognized the struggle that job seekers consistently face when they need to answer the “Tell me about yourself” question. Over the years, the present-past-future formula has become a leading strategy for marketing yourself in interviews and is recommended to earnest job candidates by hiring professionals.

The formula is perfect because it provides you with a simple, three-part “script.” It is concise, comprehensive, easy to remember and sure to fill you with confidence — which is often more than half the battle.

Most importantly, this strategy gives recruiting managers a panoramic image of who you are, how you work and what your goals are — especially related to their organizational needs — in a succinct three-point snapshot.

Crafting Responses: Strong vs Weak Answers

Strong Responses

Take a look at these strong present-past-future sample answers to the “Tell me about yourself” question to get an idea of how you might think of marketing yourself in interviews:

  • Strong Example 1 – “I currently work as the office manager for a small business with a staff of 30. The whole team is fantastic, but I feel like I’m ready — and incredibly eager — to take on a bustling office environment. Considering you house 150 employees at this location alone, I think this is the perfect place for me to up my game and move into the next step in my career.”
  • Strong Example 2 – “After obtaining my communications degree, I set my sights on a career in public relations. While searching for the perfect job, I worked as a server for a catering company where I made many great connections, including my last employer that owned an advertising agency. Although I have learned the finer points of marketing and advertising at my current position, I crave the experience of shaping public personas and managing talent’s image. I believe I could become a solid and reliable asset for your local media and sports clients.”

While the second example was not written in the official order, it still hit all the same points of present, past and future. Mix it up, but make sure that your “Tell me about yourself” answer is something you can easily respond with because it has been so well-rehearsed as you practice marketing yourself for your interview.

Weak Responses

A weaker answer to “Tell me about yourself” might look like the following:

  • Weak Example 1 – “I have worked at my current job as a receptionist for three years and have built some good relationships. I learned a lot, too. In my spare time, I paint in watercolors and am a long distance runner. I think I can easily learn the ropes here and help as an executive assistant.”
  • Weak Example 2 – “I work well without supervision and I do a lot for others. I’m interested in a promotion to an Executive Assistant role because of my experience.”

These answers do not work well for a number of reasons — one of them is that the answers come across disjointed, unorganized and lacking enthusiasm. The speaker fails to effectively market themselves and the interviewer might question whether they know how to prepare well or if they simply did not want the job if answering a question this way.

Do You Need Help Marketing Yourself for Important Job Interviews?

Do you feel like your ‘Tell me about yourself’ answer in job interviews sounds a little robotic, uncertain or insincere? If you’re having problems with any phase of the interviewing process, our recruiting team at Whitman Associates is here to help hone your skills. We’re happy to sit down with you to focus on marketing yourself as a candidate and interviewing techniques to ensure you have custom responses and strategies tailored to your personal strengths and weaknesses while helping you avoid any pitfalls.

Contact us via phone or email today to set up an appointment to talk about interviewing issues, any of our listed jobs that interest you or whatever else we can do to help you land your dream role.

Finding the Best Fit for a Project Coordinator Position

Are you organized, detail-oriented, and passionate about managing individuals, teams, and projects? If so, a career as a project coordinator might be perfect for you. Project coordinators work alongside project managers and administrative assistants to play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth execution of projects at their company, from planning and organizing to communicating and problem-solving. Let’s explore the best practices for finding and securing a temp, temp to perm, or permanent staffing job as a project coordinator with Whitman Associates. 

Woman performing office work at a desk

The Role of a Project Coordinator

The role of project coordinator is integral to the successful execution of projects within any organization. No matter your sector, project coordinators are the communication hub that keeps information flowing between project managers, cross-collaborative departments, other contractors, and the end client. Project coordinators typically keep records, track progress, and provide regular updates to inform all stakeholders of the project status.

Research Job Opportunities

Don’t rely solely on local or generic job boards when researching job listings. There may also be a niche job search platform in your industry that specializes in the role of project coordinator or project manager. Tailor your job search to find coordinator positions supporting managers that match your skills and interests. You can also set up job alerts and receive notifications when relevant project coordinator positions become available.

Update Your Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn

Resume 

Your resume and cover letter are your first opportunity to make a positive impression on potential employers. Tailor your project coordinator resume to highlight relevant skills, experience, and accomplishments. Be sure to emphasize your organizational skills, attention to detail, communication abilities, and any pertinent project management software proficiencies. Some of the top skills listed on resumes for project coordinators are:

  • Organizational Skills
  • Communication
  • Time Management
  • Problem-Solving
  • Attention to Detail
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Leadership
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Software Proficiency

Cover Letter

In your cover letter, showcase your enthusiasm for the role and the industry, address specific requirements from the job posting, and provide examples of how your project coordination skills align with the company’s needs. A personalized and well-written cover letter can significantly increase your chances of standing out. 

LinkedIn

Your online presence matters if you plan to update your resume and submit job applications. Update your LinkedIn profile when you apply to new roles so it has the most up-to-date professional accomplishments, skills, and aspirations. Follow companies and groups related to project coordination and project management to stay updated with industry trends and  job opportunities. 

Two Men Shaking Hands

Network and Connect

Networking can open doors to hidden job opportunities. Attend industry events, workshops, and seminars to connect with professionals in the field. Join online project management forums and groups to share insights and learn from others’ experiences. Don’t underestimate the power of a genuine connection in the professional world. Finding a mentor is a surefire way to get ahead in your career, as you can learn from discussions you have about their career experiences. 

Prepare for Interviews

Once you begin applying to new project coordinator roles, it will be time to prepare thoroughly for upcoming interviews. Research the companies you are applying to and understand their projects, values, and culture. Practice answering common interview questions and be ready to provide examples of how you’ve handled challenging situations and demonstrated your project coordination versus project management skills in your previous roles. 

Woman writing on paper

During the interview, focus on how your previous administrative assistant and project coordination skills, and experiences align with the company’s and management’s needs. Highlight your ability to streamline processes, manage timelines, and ensure project deliverables are met for the project managers you support. Showcase your problem-solving skills by describing how you’ve overcome obstacles in previous roles and how you are the best fit for the position based on those experiences.

Embrace Continuous Improvement 

Project management methodologies and tools are constantly evolving. Stay current with the latest trends and best practices by attending industry workshops, taking free or paid training courses online, obtaining necessary certifications and reading industry publications. Demonstrating your commitment to professional growth can make you a more attractive candidate to potential employers and will help you round out your skillset. Consider taking on temp or temp-to-perm positions with companies before joining as permanent staff

Be Patient and Persistent 

Finding the proper role as a project coordinator can take time. Keep refining your approach, learn from each interview or mentor conversation, and persist in pursuing the perfect position. After your interview, send a thank you note or email to express your appreciation for their time and reiterate your enthusiasm for the position and company. This small gesture can leave a positive impression on the hiring team and help you stand out from other applicants.

Becoming a successful project coordinator involves career planning, effective communication, networking, and continuous improvement. Implementing these best practices can enhance your chances of securing your dream job in project coordination or management support roles. Your dedication and commitment will pay off in the long run as you embark on an exciting and fulfilling career journey with Whitman Associates. Contact us today to discuss your next career move!

Temp of the Month for October 2023: Lauren Rubenstein

Lauren, a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelors in Journalism, has spent the majority of her career in the entertainment marketing space in Los Angeles. With her passion for global good, she moved cross country this year to DC to bring her creative skills to the world of non profit communications and has not looked back!

Lauren is also a professional photographer and an avid lover of nature, animals and art. She enjoys the abundance of beautiful parks around DC as well as taking advantage of the free museums.