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An important part of preparing for an interview is thinking through (and writing down) questions for your interviewers. While there is such a thing as asking too many questions, coming in with a short list of smart questions will go a long way to both understand the role and impress the hiring manager. It’s always best to focus on the role, the team and company – not the vacation package.
- What are the biggest professional challenges that the person in this role is likely to encounter?
- What are your long term goals for this role and department?
- How is the team structured?
- How closely will I work with a supervisor or mentor?
- What types of employee tend to succeed here? OR – What qualities are most important for success in this role?
- Are there opportunities to take on new projects and challenges that may fall out of the actual job responsibilities?
- Is there any experience you’re looking for that I haven’t yet spoken to?
- What are the next steps/best way to follow up after our meeting?
- How long will it take for a promotion? (You seem like you’re only interested in climbing the ladder, not focused on being successful in the current opportunity)
- How long until I can take vacation? (Wait until offer stage or a conversation with HR to ask about benefits, PTO, etc.)
- How soon can I apply for another job here? (Don’t jump ship so quickly! Stay focused on the one position.)
- How much PTO do I get? (You shouldn’t be planning your vacation before you even get the job.)
- Flexible Schedule or special privileges (Save these for when you actually have an offer.)
- Anything generic – So…. What do you like about working in X industry? (Really, how is this helping you evaluate the job?)
If your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions include a new job in the Creative and Digital world, the creative consultants at smartdept. inc. are here to help! We’ve ventured into the archives to pull some of our favorite tips to get your search started out right. As always, we’d love to be a part of your journey to a new career (and even included a blog for that too!), so get in touch with a real-life smartie today!
Give your resume an overhaul: Read more >
Spruce up your LinkedIn profile: Read more >
Upgrade your portfolio: Read more >
What NOT to do on an interview: Read more >
What to expect from working with smartie: Read more >
Having choices is generally a good thing. When it comes to staffing resources, we recommend that job seekers take advantage of several options (as long as smartdept. inc. is one of them). If you’re a hiring manager searching for candidates niched in creative, interactive and marketing, however, we would prefer you look no further.
Started by a couple (literally) of former creative professionals, smartdept. inc. is a staffing resource that specializes in creative, interactive, and marketing placements. We have been operating in the Chicago & Seattle markets for 16 years, and in Grand Rapids, Michigan for just under 2 years. While we compete with the largest staffing companies in these markets, our boutique approach to service sets us apart.
Our goal is to develop meaningful relationships with people, so that we can accurately and efficiently make a match. How do we do it? Well, we are accessible! We don’t have voicemail and we answer your call even if it’s after hours. And, by asking the right questions and putting on our listening ears, we efficiently get to know the people we represent. It’s no different for our clients! If we know you better, our results will be better. So, we’re always curious about how you’ve been successful in your organization, we love seeing your environment and digging deeper about how people work best with you.
Making good relationships takes time and effort and I’m proud to say that the people at smartdept. inc. take the time to do what it takes to move our relationships forward in a positive direction.
My name is Colin Wodarski and I am an Enterprise Business Development Manager here at smartdept. inc. I believe in our process because I have seen it work.
So, if you haven’t already, get smart and give us a try! Reach out to me any time at email@example.com to talk about or your next hire or your job search.
Colleen Walton is smartdept’s resident expert in all things glitter, and she works in our Seattle office. She has a sunny disposition and an unyielding passion for Disneyland, Harry Potter and Starbucks.
What got you into staffing?
I basically fell into staffing. I knew that I wanted to be a recruiter, and I interviewed for a position through an agency. Even though I didn’t get that job, the agency hired me for an internal position. So it worked out.
Do you have any pets?
No, but whenever I see a dog tied up outside I come up with a strategy for taking it home with me.
If you were stuck on a desert island, what 3 things would you take with you?
I was going to be smart and say a boat… But I could be happy anywhere with a lifetime supply of Diet Coke, McDonald’s chicken nuggets, and my Nintendo Switch.
What is the best thing about being a smartie?
The people! (I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true.) Even though I’m halfway across the country from the Chicago and Grand Rapids offices, I still feel like I’m part of the team.
What is your favorite band?
Does Britney Spears count as a band? If not, then I’d have to go with ABBA.
What is your favorite staffing story?
I got to interview my hero – a UX Designer who worked on the Starbucks mobile app.
The call was going well until I admitted that I’m a huge fan of his work. I LOVE the Starbucks app, especially mobile orders (which he designed). This caught him a little bit off-guard. And then I causally mentioned that I tell every person I meet about the app and encourage him or her to use it. I really thought I had found someone as passionate about the app as I am… but I think I ended up scaring him a little bit because of how excited I was.
I still hope that if he ever feels a little down, he remembers that one recruiter who totally fan-girled over his Starbucks work, and it makes him feel better.
What is your favorite type of pizza?
I’m sure everyone in Chicago is absolutely horrified, but nothing beats Domino’s pepperoni. #SorryNotSorry
What is your favorite movie?
It’s a tie between Legally Blonde and Clueless.
What is your dream job (not in staffing)?
A back up dancer for Britney Spears.
Top tip for any job seeker:
When you’re talking about your experience, highlight the things you’d like to do more of. If you have a portfolio, your favorite types of projects should be the first thing people see.
Reach out to Colleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the 10 years I’ve been in staffing, I’ve looked at 3 million resumes (give or take a few 100,000). I’m excited to share some expert advice on making your resume excellent.
First at foremost, tailor your resume to align with the job you want, while keeping in mind that formatting, organization, and readability are important as well. Take a long look at the job description for the role you have in mind. What key words and ideas jump out at you? What have you accomplished in your career that makes you an awesome fit for the position? Do you have the software/technical skills reflected in your resume that are required? Your resume should reflect all of these things.
The closer your resume matches up with the job description, the more compelling it will be for a Recruiter or Hiring Manager to follow up with you. It may be easy to assume that having a certain job title means you have a specific kind of experience, but you need to spell things out for someone like a recruiter who might have many candidates in front of them with the same job title. If you are applying for a role that requires certain experiences, and you have that experience – add a specific section with examples of those.
LENGTH: Stick to a one-page resume if you have less than five years of experience, and expand into two pages if you’re more seasoned.
- Stick with standard fonts like Arial, Garamond, Times New Roman or Calibri. They’re easy on the eyes
- Choose size 11 or 12 font – making the font smaller to fit everything on one page is not ideal – it needs to be legible
- Avoid script fonts. Use italics, bolding and caps sparingly
- “Creative” formatting like using heavy graphics or running text diagonally across the page is never a good idea – sometimes your resume only gets a quick glance, make it count!
- Header: Your name, email address, phone number, city, state and zip code should be clearly listed at the top of the page. No need to share your street address.
- Summary: A well-written Summary sets the stage for the rest of your resume. Five to seven sentences are ideal. Speak to your years of experience, area of specialization, and industries in which you’ve worked. Do you have an advanced degree? Do you have staff management experience? Are you a strong project manager? Have you worked for a big name company or client? What are your technical or software skills? Look at that job description again – and format each summary to each specific role you are applying for. What can you call attention to on a high-level to matches the things that the description calls for?
- Tools/Skills: After your summary, make a quick list of the programs and skills in your toolkit – leading with those called for in the job description. Whether you’re a marketing analyst well-versed in Adobe Analytics and SQL or a designer skilled at using Adobe Creative Cloud, call attention to your familiarity with the required and nice-to-have tools.
- Professional Experience:
– List your experience chronologically, with your most recent job listed first.
– If you have been working for an agency or freelancing, include the names/industries of your top clients. Unless your company is a house-hold name, include a one line description about your company. Are they national or global? This helps put your experience into context.
– Lead with your company, title, start and end dates including months, not just the year.
– When describing your role, think about the job description again. Lead with information that ties back to the job you’re applying to. More than just a list of tasks, speak to your measurable accomplishments. How have you impacted the bottom line?
– Format these points in a bulleted list, rather than a big block of text.
EDUCATION: If you are early in your career (less than three years out of school), consider floating your Education as the first item on your resume. If not, the Education section should be toward the end. Include the name of your school, the degree earned, and your graduation date.
THINGS TO LEAVE OFF:
- “References available upon request.” This is assumed.
- Personal interests can be appealing to potential hiring managers, but avoid anything that is polarizing such as religious affiliations.
For feedback on your resume and a hand with your job search, get in touch with a real-life smartie today!
from the desk of Amy Porter, Sr. Creative Consultant in Chicago