How Do I Gain More Experience In My Profession?

For those either new to the job market, or making a return after a prolonged absence, the focus needs to be on showing you have the experience you need to get the job done. But getting that experience can be a challenge in its own right. Here are a few tips to help you gain the experience you need to get ahead in your job search.

Understanding the Value of Experience

The skills gap between a seasoned professional and a recent graduate can easily put off employers from hiring rookies, but keep in mind that everyone has to start somewhere. The key is to gain the industry knowledge and the professional network that will help make you more attractive to employers. That doesn’t necessarily mean holding a regular job in the industry. It can include everything from volunteer work to contract work. Experience is an excellent, and perhaps the best, indicator of future performance so make sure you build the relationships and the understanding of the environment and the work that will mean less on the job training and time to settle in to a new professional environment.

Volunteering and Internships

Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door with a company. But not every business has opportunities for volunteers. Internships are another important way to gain the experience you need to be effective in a similar role. Look for opportunities where they exist. Don’t focus on only volunteering or interning at the places you want to work in the future. Every bit of experience you gain in the professional world will help you build your resume. And the diversity you bring to the hiring table with a varied background is of great value to future employers. So, focus in on the industry and the skills you will need in the future, then do what you can to practice those muscles and learn from others who are in the thick of things to better prepare yourself for future opportunities.

Networking and Informational Interviews

Another important way to get important experience and learn how to talk business with businesses is by expanding your professional network. Find a mentor within the industry that you are looking to grow into. Ask questions, shake hands. Share your interest and your desire to be an effective employee within the industry. You’d be surprised how open and invested people can be if you show them you appreciate their time and take the opportunities seriously. The hardest part about getting yourself into a good position within an industry is knowing what you don’t know. Once you understand that, you can focus your efforts on gaining the experience and the education you really need to hit the ground running.

Contract Work

Temporary work is an often overlooked opportunity for individuals looking to gain more experience. Contracting is a great way to learn a lot very fast as employers need professionals to step in quickly and make an impact on their business. Come into a contract armed with the skills and knowledge that can make a difference for that specific role or project, but plan to leave with a depth of industry knowledge and understanding that can truly make a difference in your long-term career.

Are you looking for the next step in your career?

For more advice on building your career, talk with a recruiter at US PRO today or explore these open jobs.

The Great Balancing Act: Should I Care More About Culture Fit or Pay?

A job search is challenging for many different reasons, but one you might not think about too often is the challenge of weighing different options. But to ensure that you are setting yourself up for long-term success in a new position, it’s worth weighing the various pros and cons of each offer before you make a decision. A common comparison is culture and pay. Every company you work for will offer a unique culture in which you will be expected to work. This can impact your overall effectiveness and happiness on the job, so be mindful of how that culture will influence your decision making.

On the other hand, pay is an important factor too of course. Your starting rate can make one offer distinctly more attractive than another, but also consider long terms trends of pay growth within the company you are considering. If they are offering you a nice onboarding package but the company is unlikely to promote from within, you can be setting yourself up for future frustrations. All these decisions can help you better understand what will and what won’t make you happy and content in a job for the long term, so consider all angles carefully before making a selection.

But there’s more to culture and pay that will influence your success within a new role. Here are a few additional elements of a job that can help you decide which job will be the better fit.

Commute

How long it takes you to get to/from work every day can have a very real impact in your overall happiness within a role. If you find yourself frustrated to sit in traffic for long periods of time, a long commute may be a good reason to not take a certain job. It can mean less time with family, and more money spent on transportation expenses. So, take everything into account when evaluating whether it’s the job for you. Keep in mind that if a long commute does make a job less attractive to you, it’s worth talking to the hiring manager about remote options if it makes sense for the role. Even for those with a long commute, a day or two working from home can make a big difference.

Travel

Many jobs these days do require travel. Make sure you know what you’re signing up for before accepting an offer. Whether you will be required to get yourself from point a to point b, or if the company will be footing the bill, large amounts of travel can be a challenge for some employees, particularly those with families at home. On the other hand, if you love to travel such a job might seem like more of an exciting adventure than a burden. Ask the question and weigh the value for yourself.

Professional Development

Mentorship and professional learning opportunities hold a great deal of value for employees looking to advance their career. Many companies do invest heavily in the development of their staff, so if you are interested in growing internally, a job with a mentorship program and a strong L&D department (learning and development) might speak to you more than opportunities with less focus on professional growth. Again, weigh the advantages and your preferences carefully, and pick the one which is most meaningful to you.

Are you looking for a job?

For more ideas on how to pick the best job for yourself, connect with a career advisor at US PRO today or explore these open positions.

Here Are the 3 Things You Need To Make Excellent Career Choices

Your career is likely one of the most important aspects of your life. It’s more than what you do day to day, your career is what you work toward, what you’re passionate about, what you feel accomplished in, and what is fulfilling to you. Sometimes making good career choices can be challenging though. We never know what the future may hold, but here are 3 things you need to keep in mind to help navigate your own career path to the best of your ability, and achieve that lifelong success that you are searching for.

1) Always Be Networking

Whether you consider yourself to be an expert networking professional or someone who is still working on that skill, networking is a critical part of your career success. Practice makes perfect, and taking every opportunity to practice will make you a pro before you even know it. While the skills you will need to be good at networking do come naturally to some, but they are also skills that are easy to learn. The basics include communicating well about your professional experience and your goals, being friendly and memorable to the people you speak with, and most of all listening to what your networking partner has to say as well. You never know where your next big break will come from so make sure you are always looking for opportunities to make meaningful professional connections, wherever you are.

2) Keep Learning New Skills

Professional development is something that can be very important to your long-term career growth. Industries are always changing, technology in particular seems to be making big differences across generations of workers. For those not able or willing to keep up with the latest trends or information are sure to fall behind. Seek out learning opportunities. Read books, listen to podcasts, take an online course, enroll in a certificate program. Whatever level of ongoing education you have time and space for in your life, do that. Because every year a new class graduates with the latest skills and a deep knowledge base that may disrupt your entire industry. Stay on your toes, keep your mind engaged, and keep learning new skills to remain relevant and competitive in your industry.

3) Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New

Sometimes we get too comfortable in our jobs. We come to know the work well, are confident in our ability to do the job, know the people well, and feel we are important to the success of the company we work for. But if you stay in the same job without room to grow in responsibility or impact, then you are inevitably selling yourself short. Sometimes people are afraid to take the leap, leave their job and try something new, and are inevitably disappointed by the very career they have built for themselves. Don’t avoid a challenge just because it’s going to be different. Rise to the occasion. Test your own limits. Look for the work that energizes you every day, and if you can’t find that job, create it.

Are you looking for a new job?

We’re here to support you on the long and winding road to career success. Give the US PRO recruiting team a call or explore these openings and see where life takes you.

Wait until You See What Happens to Your Career When You Master These Soft Skills

Soft skills – you may have heard how important they can be to your career. But when was the last time you focused on mastering some new ones? There are many soft skills that technical and non-technical candidates can benefit from when it comes to landing a new job. Communication is obviously high on the list, but also think about emotional intelligence, team building, organizational, and leadership skills. Here’s how they can help you take your career to the next level.

The Value of Good Communication

Communication is complicated in our new world of work. Email, instant messaging, mobile phones, and other modern communication methods have really changed the way in which work is done. But, communication is still a critically important skill for job applicants to have and promote to employers.

Work is rarely done in a vacuum or on an individual level, so those speaking and writing skills are in constant demand. A candidate’s ability to discuss issues with coworkers and other stakeholders in a way that results in positive action is invaluable. In order to describe real situations where your communication skills were an asset to an employer or on a project, focus on developing those skills. Practice makes perfect and the more opportunities you get, the better you will become. Public speaking and collaborative efforts are both good examples to showcase employers in an interview. If you don’t have some case studies in your back pocket, go out there and get them.

Working with Different Personalities

Working in a team can be tricky, especially with the diversity of experiences and personalities that come along in the tech industry. If you’re not confident in your abilities, this is an area you should work on building strength in. Employers depend on their team to collaborate and motivate each other. If you can showcase your leadership in that regard, you will make a big impression with hiring managers.

Handling Difficult Situations

Work requires some hard conversations, and if you are not skilled at navigating those types of situations, you are doing yourself a disservice in your career. Communicating (or even defending) your value to your manager and corporate leadership is critical. Understanding how to work well cross-functionally within your organization is key. If you shy away from the difficult situations that can lead to positive change, then you will only ever be as well off as you are now. And that’s unlikely to last for long considering how fast corporations and organizations are changing to keep up with a rapidly evolving market.

Are you looking for a new job?

To help you understand how some of these soft skills can really help you achieve more at work and in life, reach out to speak with a recruiter at USPRO today. We can help you bring your A-game to any interview or opportunity, and will support you along the way.

Expert Career Advice From Recruiters Who’ve Seen It All

Recruiters are an excellent source of information for candidates and mid-career professionals. That’s because they have literally seen it all. They know what career success looks like, and the path that applicants need to take in order to get from point A to point B. Here are 3 of the very best pieces of career advice from those who know the landscape better than anyone else.

1) Beat the Bot

 The shift to digital talent sourcing has been both a blessing and a burden for companies and candidates alike. If you know how to work the system, you can do so much more when it comes to finding the right job. But first, you need to know how to get past the bots. Automated resume reviewing programs are quick to discard any resumes that don’t use special keywords that identify a candidate as relevant. And as employers are quick to receive hundreds upon hundreds of resumes, all in varying states of relevance for the position they are seeking to fill, you can see why it’s important to have a process in place to weed out those candidates who are not qualified.

That said, because of this automated gate keeping, you need to be sure you are using the right keywords for the job. Use the job description as your guide, and make sure you customize every resume you send to make sure it’s as relevant and readable as possible, even if the reader is a bot.

2) Put a Number to Your Achievements

 Quantified successes are important to position yourself for success in the job search because it helps measure you against other candidates. If you say you made all your sales goals, but fail to define the actual amount, that’s not something that can be measured against. By putting a number to your achievements, be they sales goals, clients earned, budgets managed, etc., you are helping employers to really see how valuable you are to an employer. And this also makes it easier to imagine you succeeding in their new role. So, don’t be afraid to get specific with your accomplishments. It will show employers that you mean businesses and you know how to measure your own success.

 3) Don’t Give Up

 Roles and opportunities come and go. Some times of year, such as in January or at the beginning of the fiscal year, job openings are more plentiful because budgets are available. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to find a new job at other times of year. In fact, those are often the secret opportunities to network and make connections with recruiters and employers before they even know they want to hire someone. That way, once that opportunity does come up, they already have someone in mind for the job—you!

So if you didn’t find the job of your dreams this week, don’t give up. Persistence is rewarded when it comes to job hunting. Just remember to keep learning, try new things, and always market yourself so that when that opportunity does present itself, you’re ready.

Are you looking for a new job?

We’re ready to help you find that dream job. Contact the USPRO team today or search for a job near you!

 

5 Tips For Writing an Engineering Resume You Are Happy With

Resumes can be a challenge for even the most skilled engineers on the market, but to impress your next employer, it’s important to present yourself to the best of your ability, even before you meet face to face. These 5 tips will help you craft the kind of resume that gets you the attention you deserve.

1) Keep It Simple

Resumes need to be short and sweet to show readers exactly what they want to know in less than 10 seconds. If your resume is too long, you run the risk of losing the reader’s attention. Instead of simply listing all your skills and experience that you have garnered over the past decade or two, focus on the most relevant information that will help win you the job. If a chronological format isn’t cutting it for you, try a skills-based format. Bring those real-world chemist experiences front and center so employers know what you bring to the table.

2) Highlight Your Key Skills

The first line of defense for recruiters is often simple search engine optimization. Many applicants are put through a software program that searches for the key words, skills, and abilities that an employer is looking for. Pay attention to those key words. When putting together your engineering resume, remember to include computer languages you know, the types of projects you’ve been involved in and the kinds of solutions you helped to innovate throughout your career. Think about what your hiring manager is looking for from your resume, and be sure you put it front and center.

3) Customize for the Job

Rather than creating one resume and blasting employers with a document that is a poor representation of what you and only you can bring to a specific position, take the time to fine-tune your resume for the engineering job that you have your eyes on. Highlight the specific qualifications and skills that matter for that job and make sure you are highly relevant to the hiring manager who is reading the doc.

4) Try Out Different Formats

At the end of the day, your resume should be a good representation of the great engineering work you have done and what you can bring to a new job. Try out a couple different resume formats to see which one presents your career in a more compelling (and concise) light. Remember that the average employer looks at a resume for just a few seconds before deciding whether to follow up with a candidate. So, whatever you choose, make sure that it gets the point across quickly and effectively.

5) Don’t Forget Your Education

Especially for more experienced engineers, that education section can get pushed to the side. If you have the type of academic career that will impress a future employer, put it at the top of your resume. List your degrees, your specialization, and show how proud you are of that accomplishment. When it comes to the field of engineering, those accolades can really make a difference for hiring managers.

Are you looking for a new job?

Let us help you find your next big engineering opportunity today. Search for a new job here or contact USPRO for more information.

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