3 Ways Not to Scare Qualified Candidates Away

It’s almost Halloween, but just because everyone is decorating their homes with skeletons and preparing for the inevitable sugar crash on November 1, doesn’t mean you need to carry the ethos of the holiday into your recruitment practices.

To help you make your recruiting process more of a treat, here are a few ways to keep from scaring your qualified candidates away this Halloween:

Ease Up on the “Frankensteined” Job Descriptions

Has it been so long since you’ve taken a good look at your job descriptions that your company careers page is covered in cobwebs? It might be time to dust them off and bring them back to the lab for a new infusion of life.

But don’t just think that adding some new paragraphs to an old job post will do the trick: turning your old job posts into monster-mash of new and old parts from different people writing at different times can make them confusing and unreadable. (This may look like: bullet points thrown in willy-nilly, quick additions made as departmental needs change, reqs written by multiple people without a nod toward voice and tone, etc.)

Make sure your postings are cohesive, concise, and clear, so when you take them live, they don’t send your candidates screaming from your page.

Don’t Be a Zombie

You have a lot of candidates to screen — and the process of hunting through virtual stacks of resumes for the right brains for the job can make you feel a little undead.  

But your candidates don’t see the number of applications on your plate, and your communication may be the first one they get from the company. How you respond to their interest in the position matters: whether it’s an impersonal form letter or a rushed phone screen, they may get the impression that the end is nigh for their chance for employment with your company.

This is an employee-friendly job market, and your team can’t afford to lose top talent just because you’re crunched for time. If screening and hiring candidates keeps you from attending to more pressing matters in the land of the living (and the already-hired), it might be time to seek out help from a staffing firm.

Stop Ghosting Your Candidates

One of the biggest complaints that job seekers have is that information is kept in a proverbial “black box.” And while playing crypt keeper may be unintentional on your part, the lack of communication during the hiring process may scare your candidates right into the arms of another employer.

While the economy remains strong and unemployment low, top talent has their choice of employer. When you go dark — whether it’s because you’re waiting for a hiring manager to get approvals or because you’re interviewing someone else — the candidate may assume they’ve been ghosted.

Don’t get haunted by the memories of good candidates lost too soon — develop a plan for staying in contact with your candidates throughout the process. Already feeling haunted by the ghosts of other HR responsibilities? Working with a staffing company to streamline the recruiting process can take away some of the fear of losing out on qualified candidates.

This Halloween season, choose to make your recruitment process a treat by working with Nelson on your open job requisitions! Let’s put some time on the calendar and make that day a staffing holiday.

Today’s guest post was written by Geoff Coon, Founder of RP Career, a high-touch resume writing and career services firm.

We’ve all seen it. You’re venturing out into the digital world of LinkedIn, hoping to expand your network or look for a connection at a target company. Or perhaps you’re just browsing, getting pulled down the rabbit hole of going from profile to profile. Then you see it: someone has something in their LinkedIn profile that makes you pause, tilt your head like a confused puppy, and ask yourself… “What were they thinking?”

With LinkedIn, there are a lot of grey areas relating to “best practices” for building out your profile. At the same time, there are some universal do’s and don’ts that should be followed all times. Below are some of the top things that you should never do on LinkedIn:

Don’t Use an Inappropriate Profile Picture

Don’t get me wrong – you looked fabulous in your wedding dress and/or the tuxedo you wore as a groomsman that one time. Happy hour was a blast for all involved, and that group photo you took would be great for Facebook. And that flattering photo of you plus the random arm (with the rest of the body cut out) resting on your shoulder is also a winner….You get the idea. The point is: none of those should be in your LinkedIn profile.

One of the most immediately noticeable parts of a LinkedIn profile is your picture, so you want it to be as professional as possible. Now, I am in no way saying you need to head down to Sears (if you can still find one) and have a stiff-looking photo taken in front of a clichéd grey backdrop. But we do need to find a happy medium between those two sides of the spectrum.

Photos that look great are ones that seem natural, not forced, and that “pop” on a screen. If you can find a location that has a nice background, such as a tree or something outdoors (see my profile picture), you can take a photo that not only looks professional, but is also engaging and warm.

Depending on how invested you are in LinkedIn –whether you’re utilizing it for B2B sales or committed to making it the cornerstone of your networking strategy — it may be worth it to hire a professional photographer to take the lead on this aspect of your profile.

Don’t Copy and Paste Your Resume

This is probably the most common mistake that I see on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile should never be a point blank copy and paste of your resume — for a few reasons.

First, you may have already noticed that certain items, such as pre-formatted bullets in Word, don’t copy over to LinkedIn. So instead of having a nice presentation of your work history, you will have a list of Wingdings and odd symbols that leave the reader with the impression that you either didn’t care enough to edit these after the fact or, worse, didn’t notice.

The second reason to avoid a copy/paste of your resume into your LinkedIn profile is because it is a major missed opportunity. Whereas your resume is very much straightforward: responsibility, achievement, result, result, etc., on LinkedIn, you have the chance to elaborate on your experience in a more relatable way. You could present that information as… “Over my career, I have….” and “In 2013, I was recruited to XYZ company to…”

Yes, your numbers are your numbers and your results are your results, so there will be some carryover. But, your LinkedIn profile is a place where you can be more personable and show a bit of who you are as a candidate. Take advantage of this opportunity.

Don’t Exaggerate Your Experience

This closely aligns with one of my own cardinal rules of both resumes and LinkedIn, as well as just business in general: never lie. You never want to lie or exaggerate on a resume, and it is even worse on LinkedIn, because your LinkedIn profile is broadcast to the entire world, where it can be fact checked.

On your resume, you might be able to get away with saying “led a team that delivered a $3.5M savings…” because that won’t be circulated internally. But what if a fellow team member sees this and knows it isn’t true? Maybe the appropriate way to relay that information is “key member of a team that delivered a $3.5M savings…”. I always tell clients they need to take ownership of their accomplishments, even if they just had a contributing role; however, and at the same time, you should never take credit for something that you didn’t do.

As a point of comic relief, a few years ago someone added me as a connection, and in their profile it said: “Time Magazine Person of the Year, 2006”. Intrigued, I Googled, and the 2006 Person of the Year was “You”, with a mirror on the cover. That would be great copy from a creative or marketing standpoint, but the individual was 100% serious. Don’t be that guy.

Don’t Leave Your Profile Unfinished or Skip Making Connections

I talk with my clients a lot about personal branding, and you have to think of your brand the same way you think of Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, or any other company. If you go to a company’s website and it looks incomplete, then that will immediately alter how you think of that brand. The same thinking applies to your LinkedIn profile – if you add someone as a connection and have an incomplete profile or virtually no connections, they might think your profile is spam. Or, they might feel that you aren’t committed to your professional visibility. Neither option is good.

Focus on building your connections. If you are just getting started on LinkedIn, or if you are just committing to growing your network, begin by adding some close personal connections, i.e. friends and family. Next, add former colleagues. Once they accept your connection, look through their connections to see if there are any additional former colleagues that you may be able to add. If you do this at a minimum, you will be headed in the right direction. 

I am a huge fan of the phrase “It isn’t who you know, it is who they know.” One of the core purposes of LinkedIn is to connect with others and expand your network. If you only have a handful of connections, it deflates the potential value you bring to the relationship.

Don’t Blur Personal and Professional Lines

The cardinal sin. There is no quicker way to be unfollowed, blocked, or deleted from someone else’s network than to share personal information on LinkedIn.

Personal photos? Political opinions? 1,000 Likes = Daddy buys us a puppy? None of those should come within a hundred miles of LinkedIn. There are countless other social networks where those would thrive, and if it is what you are into, hey, you may even end up getting that kid a puppy. But the fact of the matter is, no one wants to see that on LinkedIn – ever. People use this site for their livelihood. They are here to seek employment. Better their career. Nurture a lead. Close a sale.

Seeing anything along the lines of what is listed above will cause nothing but frustration, aggravation, and annoyance.

So, after reading each of the above scenarios, are you guilty of any of them? Chances are, you or someone you know is, so take this as the opportunity to get your LinkedIn profile headed in the right direction. Don’t know where to start? I provide coaching on LinkedIn optimization, networking, and a host of other career topics, in addition to resume writing and personal branding. Feel free to follow me on LinkedIn or send me a message. I’m happy to connect.

Geoff Coon, a resume writer and linkedin profile expertGeoff Coon is the founder of RP Career, a high-touch resume writing and career services firm focused on quality. An expert in the career services industry, Geoff is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), has been quoted on Forbes multiple times, and has worked with thousands of clients to better position them in their careers. 
To learn more about Geoff, visit rpcareer.com or connect with him on LinkedIn
Looking for more tips on LinkedIn? Check out more blog posts from Nelson! 

Using Your Strategic Company Vision to Align Employee Efforts*

Your company may have a strategic mission statement or established values. But have you communicated a clear and concise company vision that resonates with your workforce? Is this collective company vision a guiding star that serves as a compass for the decisions and actions of your employees, shaping the way your company does business?

By engaging your workforce in the creation, refinement, and implementation of your company vision, you can align efforts, increase engagement, and improve recruitment and retention.

In this NELSONtalks webinar, Lisa Johnson, Vice President of HR at Nelson, shared:

  • Real-life case studies of how companies have capitalized on a compelling company vision to motivate and inspire their employees.
  • Concrete methods to facilitate company vision creation, buy-in and adoption.
  • Actionable tips for translating your company’s vision into meaningful day-to-day actions, uniting your workforce both in strategic purpose and daily efforts.

Watch the webinar recording below or access our companion resources for this event:

Connect with our host and speaker on LinkedIn:

  • Connect with host Jim Geist, Regional Vice President for Nelson & Associates
  • Connect with speaker Lisa Johnson, Vice President of Human Resources for Nelson

We hope you were able to join us and found the information shared in today’s webinar valuable. Stay tuned for more resources, webinars, and events designed to help company leaders overcome common business challenges.

*Please note that while 1 HRCI and 1 SHRM credits were available to those who attended our live webinar broadcast, we are not able to offer credits to those viewing the recording. Please check our events page often to learn more about upcoming continuing education events and other webinars.

Combining New-School Marketing Tactics with Classic Selling Techniques for Sales Success

If you work in sales, do you “sell smart” by using planned persistence?

To be an effective seller, you don’t have to choose between new-school marketing tactics or classic selling techniques. Using a combination of both and following the principles of planned persistence allows you to supplement your sales efforts with automated touchpoints with resources and messaging that increase the value you provide to your prospects.

Nelson Executive Vice President Chandra Pappas recently explained this concept of planned persistence in an article for Staffing Industry Review, the magazine from Staffing Industry Analysts.

In this article, Pappas shares how utilizing a balanced approach between outreach and automation can help optimize the effectiveness of both strategies.

From the article:

“Planned persistence takes brute-force cold calling and adds a layer of finesse. It involves thinking like a marketer — and even collaborating with your marketing team — to build and improve your relationships. Planning your messaging and outreach prevents the follow-up from being annoying and keeps the focus on the needs of the buyers.”

Read more about planned persistence on the Staffing Industry Review website.

Read the Full Article

Variety of Trends Driving Scarcity of and Demand for Finance and Accounting Talent

CFOs, HR professionals, and others who hire finance and accounting talent have been reporting a dwindling supply in the talent pool. At the same time, business needs are driving increased hiring needs. Almost nowhere is this talent crunch more dire than in California.

Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) is a global advisor on staffing and workforce solutions, conducts proprietary research covering all categories of work. The group recently released a staffing growth assessment report on finance and accounting talent and staffing trends. This report details the conditions driving the growth in finance and accounting staffing and conditions exacerbating the lack of available talent. With an estimated growth of 4% in the United States, growth in this market isn’t predicted to slow any time soon.

SIA 2018 Finance and Accounting Staffing Report Key Findings

  1. Scarcity of finance and accounting talent is being driven by low unemployment levels, particularly for mid- to senior-level roles.
  2. The aging of the workforce is also contributing to talent shortages. The share of finance and accounting talent that is age 55 or older has increased from 2011 to 2017. As these workers retire or choose more part-time, flexible work arrangements, the talent pool if experienced, highly qualified candidates shrinks.
  3. Increases in business spending are driving demand for back-office support and financial planning and analysis.
  4. This demand increase and talent shortage is also increasing demand for finance & accounting staffing services as it drives up recruiting difficulties.
  5. SIA anticipates that new technology will have a mixed impact on finance and accounting staffing and employment. While newly automated processes make reduce the demand for clerical and some operational roles, this simultaneously increases demand for new skills. Roles such as financial data scientist are increasingly in demand. Some of these specialized roles also command higher pay rates.
  6. Cloud-based staffing services have been growing and serving more finance and accounting sector staffing needs. However, they’ve also been responding to client demands by integrating customer service options into their platforms to offer a more high-touch service model than cloud-based services in many other industries.

Finance and Accounting Staffing Experts: Nelson & Associates

As experts in recruiting and staffing, the Nelson & Associates team understands the market conditions driving these trends in finance and accounting staffing. Our team keeps up with the latest industry and employment news, using this information to foresee the talent needs of our partners and build a database of highly qualified finance and accounting talent.

Read more about the SIA’s report on the SIA website, or contact your local Nelson & Associates representative to learn more about the report. We’d love to discuss how our specialized accounting and finance staffing services can help you find the best highly qualified professionals.

Nelson Welcomes East Bay Professionals to NELSONtalks Business for Engaging Sessions and Networking Opportunities

Held on Wednesday, April 25 at the Lafayette Park Hotel, Nelson’s first-ever East Bay NELSONtalks Business event was a tremendous success! More than a typical East Bay HR conference, NELSONtalks Business provided attendees with concrete tips and strategies to solve a variety of business and HR challenges.

The morning opened with Nelson’s Vice President of HR, Lisa Johnson, welcoming attendees. An engaging host, she introduced the session speakers and topics and broke the ice with interactive polls designed to help everyone get to know who all was in attendance.

The Economy of Labor in the East Bay: Trends and Predictions for a Shared Future

Dr. Robert Eyler, Professor of Economics at Sonoma State University and President of Economic Forensics and Analytics, Inc.

Dr. Eyler’s uncanny ability to break down complicated economic concepts and data and share how that data is relevant to everyone on a day-to-day basis makes him a favorite speaker among NELSONtalks attendees. His session for this NELSONtalks Business event did not disappoint.

Many attendees expressed concerns about talent availability, and the impact of economic conditions on labor markets. Dr. Eyler drew parallels between national, state, and local economic trends. He used these trends to explain in detail how tight housing market conditions, wage pressures, record-low unemployment rates, record-high housing prices, and changing commute patterns are impacting the availability of talent. He shared economic growth forecasts that that predict continued steady job growth throughout California and the East Bay through 2026. And with increasing job opportunities in nearly every sector except agriculture–especially in healthcare, energy technology, and services–the California economy is expected to continue its steady upward climb for the near future.

Victims, Villains, and Heroes Workshop: Managing the Emotions of Work

Don Phin, Esq., Founder and President of HR That Works (acquired by ThinkHR in January 2014)

Don covered how to avoid emotional gamesmanship in the workplace and create a culture of shared productivity. He discussed how, in interpersonal communications, people default to playing the role of “the victim,” “the villain,” or “the hero.” He described the characteristics of each of these roles, as well as what happens when they interact. He also provided many examples from his personal and professional life of how these roles take shape.

Don’s takeaway for attendees focused on communication not being split 80/20 (as many relationships of varying power dynamics are split), or even 50/50 (as many would assume is ideal). He shared that communication is an ideal balance when it is 40/40. This allows both parties room to step forward and lead when appropriate or necessary and avoids confrontation, aggression, and victimization. He also provided several examples and strategies for achieving this balance in the workplace.

Hire Power: Legal Trends in California Hiring

Jennifer Shaw, Esq., Founder, Shaw Law Group

A dynamic speaker, Jennifer provided crucial updates on legal requirements for hiring in California for employers in attendance. She covered recent “Ban the Box” rules focused on consideration of criminal history when offering employment. Perhaps most importantly, she shared what steps employers need to take (and in what order they need to take them) to comply with the new requirements. She also reviewed new gender identity laws, and the background behind and requirements of Equal Pay Act developments.

Many employers falsely believe they are safe from litigation because they use a vendor to provide background checks. However, Jennifer pointed out that many vendors do not comply with various state and local requirements. And, if they don’t, employers may still be liable for the mistakes of the vendor. She recommended everyone check with their vendors to ensure their processes are compliant. She also stressed the importance of updating employment applications to remove gender/sex inquiries, criminal history inquiries (unless the employer in question is exempt from the “ban the box” requirements), and salary history inquiries.

The entire Nelson team would like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who joined us for this inaugural event in the East Bay. If you missed this event, please join us on May 2nd in the North Bay, or on May 17th in Sacramento for our other 2018 Northern California NELSONtalks events. Or feel free to reach out to your Nelson representative to receive a copy of the East Bay NELSONtalks presentation materials.

See All Upcoming Nelson Events

Many leading California publications regularly reach out to Nelson’s team for expert perspectives on the job market, economy, state of employment, and other business-related topics. Comstock’s magazine, the premier monthly business publication in California’s Capital Region, recently interviewed Nelson EVP Chandra Pappas about her vision of the staffing industry’s future.

Pappas discussed how staffing companies are adapting to low-unemployment labor conditions, her predictions for the world of contingent and flexible work, and the importance of balancing technological efficiencies with relationship-building strength.

From the article:

“McKinsey estimates that up to 30 percent of workers in the U.S. and Europe engage in independent work; this barely scratches the surface of flexible opportunity. These numbers will continue to rise, even among workforce segments – such as the C-suite – formerly immune to gig-economy-related changes. However, companies will need to be cognizant of who shoulders the employment risk burden when engaging contingent workers.”

Read more on Comstock’s website.

Though you’re bound to hear plenty of misguided job search tips when you’re actively seeking new employment, outdated career advice doesn’t stop coming once you’re happily employed. Following modern career advice is just as essential as understanding modern job search tips in order to remain competitive and engaged in today’s ever changing employment landscape. In the second installment of our Outdated Career Advice column, Nelson’s recruiting experts cover some modern “on-the-job” career advice.

Outdated Career Advice: Separate Work and Home

In the past, business professionals working in corporate offices rarely discussed their personal lives for fear of burdening co-workers with family affairs. This rule was particularly vital for professional women, who routinely had to go above and beyond to show their commitment to work and the job. Talking too much about home or family matters was interpreted as a lack of dedication.

Modern Career Advice: Blend Work and Home

According to recruiting company experts, most modern work environments are much more relaxed when it comes to discussing work and family matters. People spend a lot of time at work, and it is only natural to build rapport and form friendships there.

Not understanding this changing landscape may cause colleagues to view you as cold and unfriendly, which could negatively impact your career. By forming professional relationships with co-workers, you have the potential to come across opportunities to take on new projects and will be viewed as a team member.

Though work and personal lines can sometimes blur, be sure to maintain clear boundaries. When in doubt about revealing personal information, err on the side of being cautious, particularly if you are a new employee or working for a temporary agency and have yet to establish yourself.

It is common to connect with friends and even managers on social media accounts, but be mindful of what you share if you choose to “friend” your boss. Calling in sick and then posting photos of you and your BFF at the beach might not be a wise choice.

Outdated Career Advice: Get Ahead by Multitasking

In the early days of the Internet, “multitasking” was a big buzzword. Many believed that the better you were at multitasking, the more you could get done in a day. As such, employers wanted to hire workers gifted at multitasking.

Today, the workplace view on multitasking and productivity has changed. Though most people are guilty of checking email on their phones while waiting in line at the grocery store, multitasking in the workplace has gone the way of the fax machine. If you’re working for a temporary agency and trying to prove yourself, talking about your talent for multitasking is unlikely to impress.

Modern Career Advice: Prioritize and Plan Your Work to Get Ahead

From temporary agencies to full time employers, most companies today would rather see that you can prioritize and manage time well instead of multitasking. Evidence has shown that in most situations, multitasking is not more efficient than focusing on one task at a time. In many cases, it can even decrease your productivity and increase your rate of error because you aren’t focusing effectively.

According to recruiting company experts, the new buzzword related to workplace productivity might be “prioritize.” Modern career advice now suggests that by prioritizing your work assignments and focusing on the quality of the few rather than the production of the many, you can accomplish more with fewer mistakes.

Multitasking can make a person look rushed and harried; in the old days, this was viewed in a positive light because it made you “look busy.” Today, being overwhelmed by work and not focusing on a single responsibility may have a negative effect. Modern career advice suggests that success in the workplace is less about appearing busy and more about producing actual results.

Modern Career Advice Requires You to Roll with the Changes

While advice about topics such as separating work from home life and multitasking may have applied to the business world in the past, it is important to be able to adapt to modern environments. Experts from Nelson advise that today’s workers can be a bit more lenient when it comes to compartmentalizing business and personal life. Additionally, those following modern career advice know that prioritizing and accomplishing important work tasks is more important than looking busy from multitasking.

Stay tuned for part three of our Outdated Career Advice blog series: Managing Your Career Path.

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Every spring, a new class of college grads is unleashed on the world. And while some grads take some time to relax or travel and reflect on their academic accomplishments, many hit the ground running with their first post-college job search during graduation season.

If you’re a new graduate, there’s a lot to do to prepare for your first entry-level job after completing your degree. From deciding whether you want to live and work in San Francisco or another location to researching first interview tips, good preparation for your first post-college job search is a must in today’s competitive job market. You worked hard throughout college, and you don’t want a lack of preparation to stand in the way of starting your career.

While there are a lot of aspects of the post-college job search that differ from a search for part-time or summer work, many college grads have specific trouble with the interview process. However, there are some tips you can use to help you prepare and succeed in interviews during your first post-college job search. Here are a few favorites from the expert Nelson recruiting team:

1. Do Your Research

Getting your first post-college interview is a thrilling occasion. It signifies that someone liked your resume and that you have an opening to an opportunity to kick off your career. Though there’s reason to celebrate, remember that your work has just begun now that you’re at the interview stage of your entry-level job search.

To begin, conduct research on the company where you’re interviewing. What industry is it in? How many people work there? Is it publicly traded or privately held? In addition to the company’s website, see what sites such as Glassdoor and Vault say about the company. If you show up for an interview and don’t know basic information about the company that’s readily available online, you risk coming across as unprepared; and if you’re unprepared for an interview, hiring managers will assume you won’t be prepared for the job. This research can also help you evaluate whether the company will be a good fit for you.

In addition to preparing to answer interview questions, prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer. Avoid questions that should have been answered in your research process; instead, ask open-ended questions such as “What would success in this role look like?” or “What are the biggest challenges the person in this position will face in the first month?”. These questions are good because they show your interest in learning about the day-to-day realities of the position.

Avoid asking “What’s in it for me?” type of questions. Also, avoid bringing up the topic of salary. If you are working with a recruiter, you can handle those discussions directly with them.

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2. Prepare to Talk about Your Achievements during Your Entry-level Interview

First, jot down about three to five recent notable accomplishments from your academic projects, work, or even volunteer experience, and practice talking about them. Since you’re interviewing for your first job out of college, no one expects that your achievements will rival those of a professional with a 20-year career. They do, however, want to see that you’ve gone above and beyond in school or work, and that you can intelligently talk about these accomplishments.

For example, you can discuss a problem you faced during a class project and what you did to resolve it. You can talk about inefficiencies in the restaurant or retail store where you worked and how you implemented an improvement. Even if these instances seem small, the hiring manager wants to see that you have leadership, problem solving, and communication skills and that you can work well in a team environment.

3. Practice Answering Common Interview Questions

After becoming familiar with the company and preparing your outline of accomplishments, you should be prepared to answer some common interview questions in an engaging yet succinct manner. Common questions include “Tell me about yourself,” “How did you handle a challenging situation?” or “Why should I hire you?”

Knowing what to say and ask is a good starting point but it’s not enough. To truly succeed in your entry level job search, you must practice. This will help you sound natural and relaxed. Have a friend or family member stand in as the hiring manager, and ask this person to throw some expected and unexpected interview questions your way.

4. Understand the Level of Formality an Interview Requires

Even if the company environment seems more informal, it’s better to err on the side of formality during the interview. Remember to put your phone on silent, and put it away. If you’re looking at your phone, the interviewer could take it as a sign you’re not engaged in the interview.  Make sure you do everything possible to avoid these awkward interview situations.

It’s also likely that an interviewer may be from a different generation. Just like in the workplace, generational differences in communication during interviews can create miscommunications and wrong impressions. Err on the side of not using slang terms, sarcastic humor, or informal body language.

5. Be Prepared for a Possible Video Interview

When you’re looking for your first job out of college, any first interview with a company is likely to be a phone screen. But more companies are setting up video interviews (via systems like Skype or Google Hangout) instead, or conducting a second-round video interview. Companies that do this want to make sure you’re a good fit and meet basic requirements before conducting a complete, time-intensive interview.

If you’re asked to do a video conference, treat it as you would an in-person interview. Wear appropriate clothing, silence your phone, make sure your internet connection is strong, your background is appropriate and orderly, and your lighting is good.

6. Follow Post-Interview Best Practices

Immediately after the interview, send a brief email to thank the interviewer for their time, and reiterate any important points from your conversation. It can take several weeks or longer to hear back from a company after an interview, so don’t despair if you don’t hear back right away. Remember, it’s important to be patient during this process.

If you’re offered the position, congratulations! Don’t be afraid to respectfully negotiate the salary you’re offered; some back-and-forth discussion on the matter is always expected. Again, if you are working with a job recruiter, they may offer this as part of their services. In that case speak with them about that before bringing up salary with the hiring company. More than likely, you’ll be asked to fill out and sign some papers to formally accept the job offer.

By partnering with a Nelson recruiter who works with college graduates, you can get the help you need to make the most of your entry-level job search and start your professional career out on the right foot.


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Outdated Job Search Career Advice You Should Ignore

When you are actively seeking work, it seems like everyone has advice to share. Though friends and family members usually have the best of intentions, they may offer outdated career advice based on what was in vogue during their active job search days.

Finding a new job now is quite different than it was 15 or even five years ago. If listening to well-intentioned counsel has you scratching your head, here are some current job search techniques from the recruitment experts at Nelson.

Outdated Career Advice: It’s a Number’s Game

Years ago when searching for a job, applicants would cast a wide net by applying for every job they could find that was related to their line of work, using the same resume for every application, and/or applying for as many jobs as possible with one target company. Since applications were reviewed individually, any one hiring manager usually wasn’t aware if someone applied for many other positions.

Modern Job Search Technique: Customize

This quantity over quality resume distribution approach isn’t effective in a data-rich hiring environment. Today, recruiters want to see that your experience matches the very detailed requirements of the job opening – and that the job relates to your overall career aspirations. If you apply for multiple positions within one company, hiring managers can see that and may think you’re less serious about any one specific position.

Whether you’re working with a staffing agency or applying directly to posted positions with hiring companies, it’s also important to tailor your resume for each application. Today, resumes are often first reviewed by applicant tracking systems (ATSs) that scan for certain keywords. Instead of using a generic, one-size-fits-all resume, increase your chances of getting past the ATS by using the job ad’s exact keywords or phrases on your resume.  For information on modern resume advice, read about modern resume template resources, and words that you shouldn’t include in your resume.

Another important job search tip you should heed is to invest time in researching the company and position. On your resume, frame your experiences and accomplishments in a way that highlights the similarities between what you’ve done and what they need their new hire to do. By showing you understand the requirements or daily realities of the role, and the structure or goals of the company, you will stand out from other applicants and have a better chance of success once your materials make it past the gatekeeping round and into the hands of a decision maker.

Outdated Career Advice: Go the Extra Step When Applying

Even a few years ago, managers were more likely to favorably view candidates who “went above and beyond” to prove interest by sending printed resumes or dropping by the office to follow up on their application. But that’s no longer the case.

Modern Job Search Techniques: Follow Application Instructions

Now, the best way to impress a hiring manager is with your skills, achievements, and experience – and your ability to follow all application instructions provided in each job ad or description. Getting your resume through the door by circumventing standard protocol is more likely to be viewed as an annoying gimmick instead of a sign of dedication. Depending on the circumstances, hiring managers may also question your comfort level with technology if you don’t follow online instructions.

Printed resumes do still have a place in the job search process. for example, you should still bring printed copies of your resume to an interview or job fair, even if you bring a business card with a printed link to your online resume or portfolio.

Outdated Career Advice: Follow up With a Call

It used to be considered polite to call to thank an interviewer for their time. These days people from all walks of life, including hiring managers, talk on the phone less. Phone calls can be considered somewhat intrusive.

Modern Job Search Techniques: Follow up Via Email

Avoid calling the interviewer to follow up unless the interviewer specifically requests that you do so. Instead, send a polite and brief thank-you email. Another job search tip: if you’ve interviewed with several people, it can be a nice gesture to send individual emails to each interviewer. Personalize each message to leave a lasting impression. And yes, if you use the services of a temporary agency or recruiting company, they too appreciate a brief email thanking them for arranging the interview.

Outdated Career Advice: Dress to Impress

Years ago, dressing for the much-anticipated job interview meant putting on your best suit. It used to be common to hear job search tips about dressing as conservatively as possible and avoiding clothing or accessories that draw too much attention. While this adage might still prove true for a few more formal companies, such as some in banking and finance, it is no longer the norm.

Each industry, company, and even department might have its own formal or informal dress code. To help prove you are a good match for the position, dress the part. Wearing a suit while the hiring manager is wearing jeans could signal to an interviewer that you don’t understand or wouldn’t fit well in the company’s culture.

Modern Job Search Techniques: Dress to Belong

While more-casual-than-expected environments used to be unique to tech companies and startups, more and more companies are embracing the comfort and productivity of a more relaxed dress code. Before your in-person or video interview, it’s important to get an idea of the company’s current dress standards by looking for photos of employees on the company’s recruiting site or employees’ public social media accounts, or by asking employees for advice.

Then, for the interview, dress the next level up. For example, if the environment is business casual, go suite and tie. If it’s casual, wear something business casual (khakis and button-up shirt or a dress that’s not too stuffy). If it’s extremely casual, with employees wearing torn jeans with hoodies, wear something that’s casual but slightly elevated, such as nicer jeans with a polo or button-down shirt. In any case, it’s best to avoid wearing clothes that don’t fit well or have stains or tears, tank tops, flip-flops, and too-short skirts and dresses.

Being Prepared Is a Job Search Tip That Never Goes Out of Style

Though modern job search techniques have replaced outdated career advice, it’s always important to be prepared. Staying current with job search trends will help make you a viable contender when looking for work. After all, hiring managers will gravitate toward those in the know. By following Nelson’s job search tips, you can stay current on modern job search techniques.

Employment and hiring trends are in a constant state of flux. One trend that has taken shape in recent years is the rise of temporary work. As a result of economic uncertainty, businesses need to be more flexible and nimble. Offering temporary positions for an array of jobs is now more the norm than the exception for many employers.

Some workers used to shy away from temp opportunities because they preferred the stability of permanent, full-time employment. But as more people understand that no job is truly permanent and the best way to grow your career and salary prospects may be to switch jobs more often, temping can be a great way to explore new interests or gain new skills.

Temp jobs also offer the opportunity for new college graduates to get some valuable real-world experience before applying for those “entry-level” positions that require two years of experience. Temp jobs can also help seasoned pros maintain their skills, transition to a new line of work, or re-enter the workforce after having children or taking a leave of absence.

There are generally two ways job seekers find temporary jobs. Job seekers can partner with a temp agency to find temp work, or a temporary opportunity might pop up during a standard job search. Sometimes, employers work with a temp agency to offer temporary positions; other times, employers offer temporary positions directly to employees.

Temp Roles Have Become Commonplace in Today’s Job Market

This sort of try-before-you-buy thinking lets both the employer and the job seeker determine whether a person is a good fit for a role, and whether a role and company is a good fit for a person’s career. It is costly for a company to spend a lot of time hiring and training someone only to discover six months into an employment contract that the employee isn’t a good long-term match. The same is true for the employee; temp jobs allow a job seeker to quickly learn if a certain job or company isn’t right and then move on, perhaps even with a new skill to add to his or her resume.

How Do Temp Agencies Work?

Staffing companies, also known as temp agencies, often specialize by industry or nature of work. One temp agency might specialize in administrative or office positions while another specializes in tech or IT jobs. Most legitimate temp agencies charge employers, so job seekers don’t pay a fee.

Before talking with a temp recruiter, it’s a good idea for job seekers to know what they’re looking for in terms of payment rate, benefits, and long-term employment opportunity. This helps recruiters identify opportunities that will be a good fit for each job seeker.

College Grads Can Benefit from Temp Services

Working with a temp agency can allow recent college grads to get a foot in the door for their first real job. Temporary jobs can be more accessible to entry-level professionals or those without sufficient experience to qualify for full-time, regular openings.

Let’s say, for example, that you graduated with your degree in software engineering but lack real-world experience. Most full-time openings require at least two years of experience, and you’re unable to get around this requirement. A temp recruiter can work with you to secure an entry-level role that is accommodating to your level of experience. A good temp recruiter can offer expertise and advice about how to reach both your short and long-term career goals. College grads unsure of direction or next career steps can take advantage of this expertise to help them define and start off on a productive career path.

Temp Agencies Offer Networking Opportunities

In both a formal and informal capacity, temporary jobs can help put job seekers in contact with the right people to help find jobs. Networking is an invaluable tool, and contacts can sometimes lead to job opportunities that job seekers wouldn’t have found elsewhere. If a person can excel in their temporary job, then it’s likely that he or she could excel in a full-time regular role. If you’ve made a good impression in a temp role, spread the word that you’re looking for a more permanent role. Add supervisors, coworkers, and temp recruiters on LinkedIn. If you’re interested in a particular role, ask someone in that role to go out for coffee and pick that person’s brain about how they got started – then ask if they have any tips for you or connections who may be hiring. You never know which conversation could result in an interview!

Working with temp agencies can often lead to full-time employment. Instead of hiring full-time employees directly, employers are now hiring temporary staff then transitioning the top performers into more permanent roles. A temporary position can truly be a time to shine. Also, as short-term staffing and freelance positions become more common across the board, the stigma of being a “temp” has decreased dramatically.

Don’t Dismiss Temp Agencies for Valuable Job Opportunities

Even if you’d prefer a more permanent full-time job, don’t reject temp work outright. Not only will your wallet thank you for working with a temp recruiter, but chances are, your resume and professional confidence will benefit, too. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, temporary positions can offer a way to get back into the swing of a regular schedule while providing a sense of job satisfaction. In addition to gaining some valuable contacts and learning new skills, accepting a temporary position can pay off exponentially down the road and can help you navigate your career path.
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At Nelson, it’s our goal to make sure people are prepared, connected, and successful when taking the next step in their careers. To help do that, we provide interview tips, resume resources, and job search strategies to help people like you find dream jobs.

In this post, we explore one of the more sensitive topics that will be addressed during the job search process; salary negotiation. Many job seekers have questions about how to negotiate salary or when to even bring up the topic of compensation.

Why Negotiate Your Salary

Understanding the future impact of current salary negotiations is important. While a difference of a few thousand dollars may not seem like much, it can be significant because your future raises and pay rates may be based on your starting salary.

For example, let’s imagine you’re a 22-year-old entry-level accountant. Let’s also imagine you accept an associate accountant position making $50,000 and work consistently until you retire at age 65, receiving average yearly raises of 4%. If you had negotiated your starting annual accounting salary to $55,000 – just $5,000 higher – you would’ve made about $577,000 more over the course of your career than if you had accepted your original starting salary offer of $50,000.

Many people don’t understand this significance of negotiating a job offer. According to recent research, only 37% of candidates consistently negotiate salary offers, and as many as 18% never do. If you break down those numbers by gender, it’s even more revealing. A university study concluded that only 7% of female MBA grads negotiated their salary offer while 57% of male grads did. That’s a whopping disparity! Though this gender gap has been reportedly closing in more recent years, a recent study found that men are three times as likely as women to succeed at getting salary increases when negotiating salary. However, the payoff of negotiating your salary can be huge; 75% of those who asked for a higher wage received some sort of increase.

Even for the most outgoing and confident people, negotiating a salary offer for a potential new job can feel overwhelming. Discussing earnings is uncomfortable and requires careful preparation; you want to secure a competitive offer, but you don’t want to offend the hiring manager or appear too aggressive. Read on to learn more tips for negotiating salary and the best ways to go about it.

Tips for Salary Negotiating 

  1. Job Offer Negotiation Tips – Avoid Discussing Salary Specifics (Including Salary History) Until an Offer is Made

In most situations, you should avoid debating salary or compensation during the job interview process. But even if you don’t bring it up, the interviewer sometimes broaches the subject.

If you are asked a question about your salary expectations or requirements in a job interview, try to politely deflect it by saying that your specific salary requirements would depend on the total compensation salary and benefits package offered and the specific role details, like supervisory responsibilities, that you may not yet have discussed in the interview process, if appropriate). It’s always ok to share that you expect a salary that is competitive with what others are paying for your level of experience and education.

If you are asked how much you currently make, let the interviewer know that you’d prefer to discuss salary and benefits compensation in relation to the potential new role and company. Feel free to point out differences between your current role and the one you’re interviewing for, especially if the new role would be a step up in responsibilities or position title. Don’t feel pressured to disclose your current salary if you don’t believe it will support your salary negotiation process.

  1. Negotiation Strategy – Do Your Salary Research

Before you negotiate, do your research. It will help you feel more comfortable and confident in what salary range you’re asking for having this negotiation skill will help prevent fear and anxiety from standing in the way of negotiating what you deserve.

For most careers, salary information used to be a black hole. Having a negotiation strategy was hard to know who was paid what. Thanks to websites like salary.com, payscale.com, and glassdoor.com, you can determine what someone with your education and experience can expect to make in a similar position, company, and location. These sites have brought transparency to compensation, so there’s really no excuse for not having at least a general idea of expected compensation for a position.

  1. Have a Backup Plan When Negotiating Your Salary Offer

If you’ve done your research, you should have a specific base salary in mind and evidence to back that number up. Before you make a counter offer with that number and evidence, have a plan B in case the counter offer is not accepted. Deciding ahead of time whether you want to make another counter offer or walk away will give you an edge in negotiations.

  1. Be Realistic in Your Expectations

Although most potential employers expect you to negotiate your salary, you may not make the best impression if you’re asking for an increase that seems unreasonable. Asking for 5 to 10% more might be a good starting point. However, if you’re going to ask for 35% more, then you’d better have good reasons to support your request.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Brag a Little

Though we’re all taught that it’s impolite to brag, negotiating salary offers is a time when it’s okay to chat about your recent accomplishments. What exactly do you bring to the table? How have you helped other companies generate revenue or reduce operating costs, and how will you translate that experience to this new role? Summarize the achievements you covered in your interview or bring up new ones you didn’t yet have the chance to address.

By filing away your achievements for times like these, you can be ready to answer the question, “Why should we give you more than our offer?” Don’t assume that the person you’re talking to implicitly knows why you should be paid more.

  1. Consider the Whole Compensation Package and Ask for Other Types of Increases

In addition to salary numbers, think of the total compensation salary and benefits package. Make sure you understand the benefits plan options, including out-of-pocket expenses for things like health insurance. If the hiring manager doesn’t point them out, ask about expected bonuses or retirement savings matches.

Not only will this help you understand how much of your salary will go to benefits, it will also help you understand what additional compensation package items may be negotiable. If you don’t know if something is negotiable, ask if it is! Negotiations don’t have to stop at salary; you may be able to negotiate time off, working remotely, bringing a pet to work, or performance-based bonuses (especially if you’re in a sales position).

  1. How to Negotiate Your Salary? Practice, Practice, Practice.

From books to blogs, there’s a lot of advice and tips on how to negotiate your salary. Provided that your request is reasonable ­­– and that you’re asking politely – asking for more money in a job offer is just part of the whole hiring process. However, striking a balance between asking to be paid what you’re worth and not sounding greedy can be difficult and must be done tactfully.

After you’ve done your research, practice with a friend to sound polished, composed, and confident. Remember that negotiating your salary is less about using the right phrasing or tactics and more about being brave enough to ask for what you need. So instead of seeing the negotiations as some elaborate shell game with stare downs and face offs, look at them as just another part of the job search.

  1. Work With a Recruiter to Help with the Negotiation Process

If you’re working with a hiring agency or recruiter, you can be more candid and direct when negotiating your salary. Always be open with your recruiter about your salary requirements. It’s possible they may be able to negotiate a better deal for you, but they don’t want to waste your or their clients’ time sending you out on job interviews for positions that don’t match your salary expectations.

If you are working with a recruiter, that recruiter is usually responsible for negotiating on your behalf and will handle the discussion of salary and compensation with the hiring company. Reach out to a recruiter to take some pressure off your job search and ensure salary negotiations for your next position result in an increase.

Nelson is here to help. You can start by searching our current job listings and applying today. Love what you do!


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Find More Resume, Job Search and Interview Tips:

Bad Resume Examples

Best Resume Template Resources

Working With a Recruiter

Attack of the Killer Resume Buzzwords

San Francisco Job Search Tips

LinkedIn Profile Tips


See Nelson Specialties:

Staffing Services

Accounting and Finance Recruiting

IT Recruiting

Engineering Recruiting

Legal Recruiting

HR and Admin Recruiting

Should you Include Short-Term Jobs on Your Resume?

It happens to just about everyone at some point in their careers. It’s likely happened to you, as well. You conduct research, actively search for jobs, go to multiple interviews, and finally land a job that seems to match your key requirements. Yet several months or even weeks into the gig, you find yourself at odds with your new employment situation.

Maybe you and your new boss don’t see eye to eye on your role at the company. Perhaps the job description and your actual duties are worlds apart. Or maybe the role requires a higher level of skill or experience that you don’t quite have yet. As you decide what to do next, you must consider how to represent this mismatched short-term job on your resume and how to discuss it in future interviews.

What is a Short-Term Job?

What an employer considers to be a short-term job may depend on many factors. There is no standard length of time that qualifies a job as short-term. Companies whose employees are very tenured may seek new hires with a track record of 5+ years at each job and consider a two-year stay short term, while other companies may look for new hires with more variety in their backgrounds and be more forgiving of multiple six-month roles. However, if you’re with a company for less than a year, it is important to address why to maintain a good impression throughout the hiring process with other companies.

There are generally three types of short-term jobs:

  1. Contract or temporary positions. Contract positions or roles found through a temporary staffing agency are not expected to be permanent. Hiring managers and recruiters understand if you’ve had these types of positions and say these types of jobs will not reflect negatively on you as a candidate, so don’t worry about explaining these jobs other than pointing out they were contract roles.
  2. Positions that were short term because you left. It can be a gamble to decide to leave a role after a very short time. On one hand, this action can show decisiveness and an unwillingness to settle for mediocrity. On the other, it can signal an inability to follow through on commitments. This type of position doesn’t have to be detrimental to your hiring potential if you address the situation correctly.
  3. Positions that were short term because the company let you go. More challenging situations occur if the short-term nature of the position wasn’t your decision. Mergers and buyouts can lead to job changes. Businesses may also let good employees go for economic and performance reasons.

Whether or not leaving was your choice, you still need to consider how to best approach short-term jobs on your resume and effectively discuss them with hiring managers. You need to be able to explain what happened, what you learned from it, and why the same thing won’t happen in your next role. Here are a few resume tips and interview tricks to help you navigate this topic with ease.

Leaving a Job off Your Resume

Many career experts and recruiters will advise a job seeker to leave a short-term job off their resume, particularly if that person has a solid work history and the job offers minimal value. If you have 10 to 15+ years of progressive work experience with one not-so-hot, four-month gig that tarnishes your otherwise impeccable career history, then it’s advisable to leave the job off your resume.

Recruiters and hiring managers are human, too. They understand that few people have a perfect career history. Wowing a recruiter with your experience and accomplishments makes it more likely for them to overlook or forgive a three- to six-month gap in employment.

If you do include the short-term gig on your resume, consider offering a brief description of why the position was so transitory – especially if there was an external factor that led to your tenure being brief. Simply list “company restructuring” or “company was sold” in parentheses. Brevity can work in your favor to prevent recruiters from assuming the worst-case scenario.

Including a Short-Term Job on Your Resume

On the other hand, if the short-term gig proved worthwhile, you might consider including it on your resume, after all. Consider what you’ve gained from the larger experience. What new skills did you learn in this short period of time? What did you accomplish or take away from job? Will these add to your viability as a candidate for another position? It’s all about perspective, so try to gather as much useful information as you can to list in your resume. There’s no rule that a short-term job can’t offer value.

Recent college graduates or entry level professionals might also find it better to include positions that lasted less than a year, as gaps in employment history can be more noticeable.

The Interviewing Conundrum for Short-Term Gigs

The above resume tips for addressing short-term jobs on your resume will help you get started with your job search. But when you land a job interview, what’s the best way to address a short-term role? Here are a few interview tips to help.

Be Brief and Move It Along

If an in interviewer brings up a gap in employment or asks why you were in a position for such a short time, then focus on what you learned from the short-term experience to present it in the best light. Though you want to be positive, you still want to be truthful.

For instance, politely and professionally reveal that you and your boss had a different vision of the position and its responsibilities. The two of you were at an impasse, and you left the company with a much better sense of what’s important for you to look for in your next role . If you had another role after the short-term one, share what you learned from your mistake and how you applied that to finding another position – and why the next position was a better fit. This can help you transition away from the negative and back into positive conversation about your work history. Resist the temptation to lambast your former jefe; calling him or her an inept, micromanaging you-know-what will only make you look bad.

Don’t Focus on The Short-Term Role

Though you want to have a concise answer at the ready to explain that short-term gig, it is not necessary or advisable to offer it up unless directly asked. There’s a chance your recruiter might not care enough to bring it up, particularly if the rest of the interview is going swimmingly.

Practice Makes Perfect

Hopefully, you know you should always be prepared when you walk into a job interview. Practicing ahead of time what you’ll say about that short-term job can help you feel prepared to address it in a real interview. Try role playing with a friend to get the feel for explaining it live so you’re not caught off guard if it does come up in an interview.

There’s no need to get overly concerned about short-term jobs on your resume. By using these interview and resume tips, your dream job could still be within reach!

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Find Resume, Job Search and Interview Tips:
Bad Resume Examples
Best Resume Template Resources
Working With a Recruiter
Attack of the Killer Resume Buzzwords
San Francisco Job Search Tips
LinkedIn Profile Tips

See Nelson Jobs Specialties:
Staffing Services
Accounting and Finance Recruiting
IT Recruiting
Engineering Recruiters
Legal Recruiting
HR and Admin Recruiting

Whether you’re actively seeking a new job or just keeping your career options open, it’s essential to have a stand-out LinkedIn profile. From searching for accounting and finance positions to finding roles in sales, engineering, or IT, polishing up your LinkedIn presence and personal brand is a pre-requisite to embarking on a job search in today’s digital hiring landscape.

Nearly 90 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn as a tool for candidate sourcing. If you’re not on LinkedIn or haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in several years, you’re missing out on professional networking and career opportunities.  Get the most out of LinkedIn by optimizing your job search with these 8 LinkedIn profile tips.


1. Get Your Profile to All-Star Status

To optimize your LinkedIn profile, make sure all sections, including your recommendations and endorsements, are as complete as possible. LinkedIn makes this easy; on your profile, below your summary, you will see if you have what LinkedIn calls an “All-Star Profile.” If you don’t, LinkedIn will guide you through the process of adding to your profile until you do.

LinkedIn shares that people with All-Star Profiles are 40 times more likely to get contacted by recruiters than people without, so be sure to follow the recommendations.


2. Leverage Your Headline and Career Summary and Profile Picture

Though your resume and LinkedIn profile overlap in several areas – experience, education, work history, and job skills – a key differentiator is your headline and profile summary. These sections are the most searched for and reviewed by potential clients, recruiters and hiring managers.
One of the easiest ways to leverage your LinkedIn profile and introduce yourself to the world is to make sure you have a professional profile picture. By following these profile photo tips, you can put your best foot forward in your LinkedIn photo! Make sure your picture takes up at least 60% of the photo, dress professionally, and try to use natural lighting to take your photo. Remember, LinkedIn is a professional platform, and you are setting the first impression. Choose your professional headshot wisely .
On a traditional resume, page space often limits what you can say; however, on your LinkedIn summary, your story-telling space is ample – 2000 characters. Tell your career story by including explanations of your career history, changes, and aspirations. Do not just list your current job description but instead outline your story. Why did you choose your previous roles or companies? What are you looking for next? For instance, did you move into sales after working as a software engineer? Are you an experienced financial accountant looking to transition into management? To increase how often your profile appears in recruiters’ searches, incorporate relevant keywords common in your line of work.

Unless you change it, your professional headline defaults to your current job title. This is, however, fully editable. Your headline will appear in recruiters’ search results, so you want to make sure it stands out. You have precisely 120 characters for your headline; make each one count. Unless you are an engineer at Google or Facebook, you don’t need to list your current employer. A better use of this space is to use relevant, descriptive keywords.

For example:
Poor HeadlineAccountant for Nelson Jobs

Strong Headline: Senior-level accountant specializing in finance accounting, cost accounting, auditing, and financial controls


3. Loosen Up

Differentiate your resume from your LinkedIn profile by adopting a conversational rather than formal writing tone on LinkedIn. Though you want to avoid being too casual – LinkedIn still isn’t Snapchat, after all – you can lose the stuffiness associated with resumes by writing closer to the way you talk and avoiding overused clichés or buzzwords.

Striking the balance between promoting your skills and presenting yourself in a relaxed, engaging manner can be tricky. Have a professional friend proofread your profile to see if your tone is right. If not, consider hiring a professional resume writer or career coach to assist with this task.


4. Build up Your Skills, Endorsements, and Recommendations

For the best chance of being found by recruiters, beef up your LinkedIn skills section and request endorsements. A complete skills section can boost your search ranking, so add suggested keywords even if they are similar to skills you already have to appear in as many searches as possible. For example, if you are in sales, add account management, relationship building, lead generation, sales management, outside sales, inside sales, team leadership, management, etc. You are permitted to have up to 50 separate skills in this section, and LinkedIn assists you by suggesting related keywords.

The best way to get others to endorse your skills or to write a recommendation is to ask. Reach out to your colleagues and ask them to help! Be sure to offer endorsements and/or recommendations in return. If you’re uncomfortable asking, start by endorsing their skills. Be selective; only endorse a person for 2-3 skills you know are strengths of the person being endorsed. Endorsements can go an extra-long way if a hiring manager or recruiter has a mutual connection that has endorsed your skills.


5. Actively Expand Your Network with Connections

Your LinkedIn profile is more than just a “LinkedIn resume.” It shows how well-connected you are. An important LinkedIn tip is to reach out and connect with others, including recruiters. LinkedIn prioritizes search results by displaying how people are connected to the person searching. By connecting to more people, you will have more 1st or 2nd connections and appear in more searches, increasing your odds of building a trusted relationship with a prospective hiring manager or job recruiter.

Another good way to build rapport and expand your network is to join industry-specific Groups. Whether you’re looking for engineering and tech jobs, accounting and finance jobs, or sales and marketing positions, there are specific LinkedIn Groups you can join to network with others in your field. To get the most out of Groups:

  • Make sure Groups you join are still active. LinkedIn Groups aren’t as popular as they once were, so don’t spend time on groups that don’t have active discussions and members.
  • Focus on the value you can give rather than what you can get. By giving advice or serving as a resource to others looking to make connections, you increase the chances someone else will help you when you need a favor, too!
  • Message Group members directly. If you’re in the same Group as someone, you can message them directly even if they’re not a connection. Use this feature to build your network further.


6. Verify Your Settings

If you want your profile to be public and searchable by anyone, adjust your privacy settings accordingly. By using this LinkedIn tip, you allow recruiters, hiring managers and others who aren’t in your network to contact you via a public profile. You may, however, receive unsolicited offers, so be prepared to handle those graciously. LinkedIn walks you through your settings, privacy, and visibility in their “help” section.


7. Claim Your Custom URL

Once you’ve created this custom URL, be sure to link to it wherever possible. Add it to your email signature or portfolio page or provide it in your bio for events you attend or speak at. This will help your profile become more searchable both within LinkedIn and through Google. When a hiring manager searches for you by name and finds that your LinkedIn profile shows up near the top of Google, it will add to the positive perception of your personal brand.


8. Stay Active

The more active and engaged you are on the “professionals’ social media platform,” the better your personal brand presence becomes. Like and comment on others’ articles and posts. Share posts that are relevant to your industry or profession. Publish an article to share your knowledge and gain contacts organically while developing your own professional thought leadership brand. Another good way to get more engagement is to ask a thought-provoking, timely question about an article, resource, or trend.

Not only does staying active put your name in front of more people, it also helps LinkedIn and search engines understand that your profile is authoritative. This will help increase how often your profile appears in searches.

Follow these LinkedIn profile tips to make the most of your LinkedIn profile and best position yourself for your job search. While it should not be the only tool you use in your job search, LinkedIn can certainly play a valuable role in increasing your opportunities and helping you make a great impression.

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Since the early days of the gold rush in the 1850s, the city of San Francisco, California, has long been a beacon for individuals seeking opportunity and new beginnings. Today’s aspirational job seekers can find an active hiring market in the City by the Bay – everything from IT and engineering positions to accounting and finance jobs.

Yet today’s job seekers who want to relocate to this West Coast urban center must prepare for their journeys just like last century’s gold seekers. An in-demand city, San Francisco offers a high number of employment opportunities, but also a competitive job market. Job seekers from all over the U.S. flock to the city every year.

If you’re starting a job search in San Francisco, you’ll be facing heavy competition. There are some specific tips you should keep in mind to understand the unique San Francisco job market and help you succeed in finding your next role in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Cost of Living
Accounting and Finance Jobs in San Francisco
IT or Engineering Jobs in San Francisco
IT Soft Skills Tips
San Francisco Resume Tips
Working With a San Francisco Recruiter

What Does It Cost to Hang Your Hat in San Francisco?

In addition to practicing your interview skills and getting your resume ready, be prepared to open your wallet. San Francisco continually ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. to reside. Though you can reduce some of your living expenses by getting a roommate, renting outside of city limits, and forgoing vehicle ownership for car-sharing services or public transportation, you should be ready for some serious sticker shock.

On the flip side, the city offers some of the most competitive salaries. It has one of the highest minimum wages in the country, and employers in many industries – including nursing, engineering, tech, and finance – do pay more when compared to other areas. With an average one-bedroom apartment costing $3,400 per month (2015), competitive wages for finance jobs, accounting jobs, and engineering jobs in San Francisco are a must.

So now that you know what to expect from Bay Area living, what can you expect from a San Francisco job search for your particular career path?

Searching for Accounting and Finance Jobs in San Francisco?

New York City may be the financial capital of the nation but San Francisco holds that title for West Coast. Though engineering and tech jobs in San Francisco have been in the spotlight lately, the city remains a financial epicenter.

Firms such as Charles Schwab Corp., Visa, and Wells Fargo have deep roots in the area. The city is also home to hundreds of smaller and mid-sized investment and wealth management firms. A quick search for finance jobs in San Francisco on major job boards reveals 6000+ positions available.

Yet blasting out your resume to an array of employers might not be your best job search strategy. A more savvy approach might be to partner with finance and accounting recruiters in San Francisco. These recruiters are familiar with the hiring landscape and can help you find the right position based on your level of experience, area of expertise, and skillset.

Partnering with recruitment or temp agencies is an option that is too often overlooked by job seekers. Yet by working with finance and accounting recruiters, you can best position yourself in the market and target jobs that match your capabilities. The recruiters job is to find the right fit for you, increase your chances of landing that job and negotiate salary and benefits on your behalf. If you haven’t considered this option, you can learn more about what recruiters do here.

Technology and Engineering Jobs in San Francisco

Engineers and tech industry professionals can also find a wide range of job opportunities in the Bay Area. If you’re in technology or IT and considering searching for a new job, there’s a good chance your skillset is in big demand in San Francisco. Whether you are a software developer, programmer, tester, or database administrator, San Francisco companies are always in need of technical talent. Yet with the high cost of living, you want to find the best position and salary while avoiding a case of finding “just another job.”

Likewise, Nelson’s engineering recruiters are finding that positions in civil, electrical, mechanical, or software engineering are consistently available in San Francisco and that there is a strong need for quality candidates.

Salaries and compensation packages can vary widely, so it is best to have a plan and to find an opportunity that meets your salary needs. Again, reaching out to a recruiting agency in San Francisco can be a viable option, particularly in a job market where you might be overwhelmed by choices.

IT and Engineering Job Search Tips

There’s little doubt that technical and engineering skills can take you far in today’s fast-moving world of technology. But one skill that can really set you apart from other job candidates might not be what you expect: the ability to communicate.

Company leaders report lack of communication skills to be a major problem among candidates seeking engineering and tech jobs in San Francisco. Being able to effectively interact with team members, managers, and clients is a skill that can set you apart in a big way.

Managers want to hire high tech professionals and engineers with soft skills, and job seekers who offer both of these competencies have a considerable advantage with a job search in San Francisco. So put down your phone and brush up on your communications basics, such as minding your manners, maintaining eye contact, and building conversational rapport.

When considering your options, also consider how your approach to finding an IT job may need to differ depending on the firm. The hiring process at some companies may depend on networking and reaching out to connections you have made, as they might prefer to hire from the inside. It could also require working through a recruiting agency, like Nelson, that was hired by your potential employer to find the right candidate. Meanwhile, other companies may follow a more traditional hiring process that requires you to fill out an online application and provide your resume. Make sure you understand the process that the potential employer is taking and tailor your approach accordingly.

Show More and Tell Less

The landscape for accounting, finance, engineering, and tech jobs in San Francisco may be ripe with opportunity, but it also draws top talent from around the world; the city has one of the highest populations of college-educated residents in the country. So despite low unemployment and a high number of positions, the job market is still competitive; so it’s important to make sure you stand out as a candidate. One way to do this is to make sure your resume highlights your accomplishments rather than just your abilities.

Avoid overusing buzzwords or falling into the pitfalls of these bad resume examples. Be specific with your accomplishments and their impacts. For instance, instead of writing, “Five years of experience in developing software for clients,” include what software you worked on, what specific role you played (were you a programmer, a project manager, or both?), and how your contributions led to increased efficiencies or other quantifiable results for the project or your client.

A better example might be, “Led programming team to develop client order tracking system with improved functionality, which increased speed of order processing by 20%.”

It isn’t enough to say you know how to code or are a balance sheet guru. You want to show hiring managers what you bring to the table in a meaningful, measurable way. Both on your resume and during job interviews, you need to prove that you have a track record of producing work that is impactful.

Recruiters Accelerate Your Job Search in SF

Whether you’re seeking a position in finance, accounting, or IT or engineering, the City by the Bay offers vast opportunities. In addition to refining your resume and job interview skills, you can get some job search help by partnering with an accounting and finance recruiter or an IT recruiter at Nelson Jobs. We are specialists in helping great candidates land great jobs in San Francisco. Being strategic in your job search can pay off both in terms of overall compensation and greater job satisfaction. If you are looking to accelerate your career or make a move to San Francisco, reach out to Nelson and see how we can help!

10 Resume Buzzwords to Avoid at All Costs

Did you know your resume could outline your exceptional experience and significant skills, and still turn off top hiring managers?

That’s right. Your resume can meet all the requirements and still end up in the “no” pile if it includes certain over-used clichés and buzzwords that drive hiring managers nuts.

In a competitive job market, hiring managers often spend only about 30 seconds deciding if an individual’s resume meets their needs for a specific position. Therefore, the words you choose must capture their interest right away.

According to a national survey of 2,200 hiring managers, widely used terms such as “team player” and “go-getter” can be big turn-offs. Why? They lack originality and, as a result, they come off sounding trite and insincere.

To help your resume stay in the “yes” pile, here is a list of the jargon that makes managers yawn – and suggestions for how to focus on the quantifiable results you’ve achieved to convey why you’re the best fit for a role.

  1. Best of breed – This over-used dog show reference should stay with the dogs. If you are great at what you do, demonstrate that with your proven track record. Include promotions or awards, and point these out in your cover letter if they’re
  2. Go-getter – Being highly motivated is fantastic. However, achievements speak louder than empty terms like “go-getter.” Instead, show managers what you are capable of by outlining your achievements using action verbs, such as “achieved,” “improved,” “launched,” or “negotiated.”
  3. Think outside of the box Unfortunately, there is no phrase more “in the box” today than this one. Banish it from your resume and explain the creative solutions you’ve developed in previous roles, and their outcomes. A creative solution means nothing unless it leads to positive results!
  4. Synergy – Loosely summing up the phrase, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” the word “synergy” has been over-used in the business world to the point that it lacks meaning. Leave it off your resume; instead, demonstrate your collaborative accomplishments in clear language.
  5. Go-to person – This term doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything specific. You need to share what happened when others depended on you. For example, someone working with an administrative assistant recruiter might describe how they streamlined a former company’s customer complaint response procedures, saving 15 minutes per complaint. Try “resolved,” “spearheaded,” or “mentored” as strong verbs to state your case.
  6. Thought leadership – By using this term, you run the risk of coming across as pretentious. Instead, explain the leadership positions you’ve had, revealing how you influenced others or why others counted on your advice. If you’re an experienced professional who frequently speaks at industry events or contributes to industry publications, consider adding a “publications and speaking engagements” section to your resume to demonstrate your reputation.
  7. Value add – Instead of this not-too-golden oldie, share specifics about the value you’ve brought to your previous roles and companies. Use statistics and figures whenever possible. For example, if you work in finance and are updating your resume to share with a finance recruiter, provide the ROI of portfolio investments you’ve managed. If you’re in marketing, share the growth in revenue or profits that directly resulted from your marketing campaigns.
  8. Results-driven – Lose the ambiguity. Your resume should be clear and concise. Describe the results you have achieved and how you outperform the average. If you are applying for a sales position, share how often you met sales quotas – or if you exceeded them, by how much.
  9. Team player – Replace this empty phrase with relevant stories of your collaborations on the job. Be specific about the teams you have been a member of, how you contributed to those teams, and the results of those teams’ efforts. Using the term “team player” can draw focus away from your impact and team achievements.
  10. Bottom-line – Are you the best person for this position? That’s the only bottom line hiring managers care about. Use stronger terms such as “won,” “increased,” or “decreased,” supplying all necessary details to state your case clearly. If you are displaying your ability to improve a company’s financial status, use the correct terms. There is no line item on a profit & loss statement called “bottom line.” However “profitability” and “revenue” are hard facts that get your resume the attention you want.

In summary, replace clichés with specific active verbs and phrases that demonstrate your strengths – and always focus on results and outcomes instead of responsibilities and tasks. In addition to the examples above, here are a few more “power” words to add to your resume arsenal:

  • Accomplished
  • Designed
  • Initiated
  • Completed
  • Won
  • Supervised
  • Analyzed
  • Advocated
  • Built
  • Changed
  • Coordinated
  • Developed
  • Established

Replacing tired words and phrases with punchier substitutes is important, but it’s also important to make the most of the limited real estate on your resume. Here are two additional space-waster phrases to delete from your resume altogether.

  • Salary negotiable – Of course it is. This phrase, or any other salary information, has no place on your resume. Wait to discuss salary until the topic is brought up by your recruiter or the employer. If you are working with a recruitment agency, they can help you to negotiate with the employer.
  • References available by request – If potential employers want references, they’ll ask. You should always be ready to provide them.

You’ve worked hard to get where you are. Now it is time to show it. Don’t derail your career by using weak phrases and stale buzzwords on your resume. Replace them with substantive information that will make you stand out from the rest and land the job you’ve been waiting for!

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In the past few years, the way resumes are used changed significantly. Gone are the days of printing and mailing basic resumes to prospective employers. Now, most resumes are shared electronically – through email, online job boards, and company websites.

Because of these changes, resume formatting best practices have also shifted. Your resume needs to not only contain up-to-date information about your experience and skills; it also needs to be formatted in a way that shows you understand how to communicate.

If you have a resume that is poorly formatted or more than a few years old, it is time to update it with help from one of these resume template resources.

What Makes a Resume Template Good?

The key to finding a great resume template is to consider which factors go into a good resume, and then finding a template that has those same characteristics. Here are some elements of a good resume template to consider:

  • Simple formatting. Quality templates have neat, clean lines and are well organized. They use the same attractive style elements throughout and don’t let fancy formatting or graphics overwhelm the content.
  • A clearly defined information structure. Sought-after resume templates use consistent and uniform formatting for all elements, including headers and sub-headers, body copy, bullet points, dates of employment, and more. The header of each section should be visually set apart from the body of the text for easy scanning, and each element should be consistent in capitalization, punctuation, font size, etc.
  • Job type or level-specific formatting. While you can find many one-size-fits-all resume templates, be cautious about using these verbatim without adjusting them to fit your needs. A mid-level finance professional may want to focus on the skills they have gained across multiple positions, whereas a recent college grad with little experience may want to focus more on their education and volunteer experience; these require different templates – or at least template tweaks.
  • Bulleted information. Within each section of your resume, content should be written in short, pithy bulleted lines. Long, essay-style paragraphs have no place in today’s modern resumes. For hiring managers, time is precious; highlights of your experience should be digestible at a glance. Good templates also feature reasonable, readable font sizes, so avoid reducing the font size to cram in more information. Hiring managers should not have to squint to read your resume.

Pro recruiter tip: If you are working with a recruiter who specializes in your field or location (for example, a Nelson accounting and finance recruiter or a recruiter who fills positions in the San Francisco Bay Area), they can advise you of particular formats or structures that helped other similar job seekers succeed finding roles similar to yours.

Now thNow that you know what to look for, here are some of the top resume template resources to help you find a design that will move your resume to the top of the hiring manager’s stack

Top 6 Resume Template Resources

Whether you’re looking for samples or professional resume templates for accounting, manufacturing or IT, there are a number of free resume templates and example resources for you to choose from. The Nelson recruiting experts have searched the web for you to find the best resources out there.

1. ResumeGenius.com

This site offers reliable resume writing advice as well as free resume templates to download, These templates are categorized by experience level, design style, and situation. That means you’re sure to find what you are looking for.

Browse these template libraries to search and download proven and effective templates in basic, classic, advanced, and creative styles. These original resume designs are created by professional resume writers who have a record of success in today’s competitive job market.

If you are looking for something new, just-released templates are listed under “Professional Profile Layouts” and have been reviewed and approved by human resources professionals.

If you prefer to search for resume templates by career phase, navigate to “Template Library 5: Career & Life Situations.” Here you can find templates for specific types of job seekers and situations, such as resumes for entry-level, mid-level, and executive-level job seekers, and even resumes for career changers or job hoppers. Best of all, the site gives strategic advice on how to modify each template to match your own individual situation.

To download any of these resume templates, click on the “Download the Template Pack” green button and follow the instructions.

One caveat to consider with ResumeGenius relates to its resume builder. Though it’s promoted as “free,” this is not quite the whole story. Technically speaking, using the Builder is free but accessing the final resume product isn’t. So if you opt to go the Resume Builder route, be aware that you’ll have to pay for the final product.

2. Monster.com

This popular job search site is also a trusted resource for resume samples and writing advice. For some people, having a resume sample is just as good as a template since it can be used as guide for both design and content. Under Resume Samples, you can sift through examples of resumes for just about every profession imaginable, including accounting, finance, sales/business development, the trades, IT, customer service, and much more.

For example, the administrative assistant resume here is a excellent example of a resume that is clearly structured. It includes easily identifiable headings, consistent formatting, and a qualifications profile that highlights administrative and office support skills.

On Monster, you can either view the resume samples on screen or download a Microsoft Word template that includes the sample information. To download the template, find the opening paragraph near the top of the page, and look for the word “download.” The link to the template file will follow. The download link is only located in the body of the text (there is no download button or image), so it can be easy to miss.

In addition to offering these samples, this site provides expert advice on how to customize a resume template to make it your own. This way, your administrative assistant resume won’t look and read just like every other administrative assistant resume out there. By using one of these resume samples as a base and following the expert advice, you can save time and make your resume unique.

3. Hloom.com

This resume template resource offers hundreds of quality, no-cost templates. They’re organized by both type of position and design style, including basic, clean/modern, tabular, creative, and more. From these resume templates, you can choose one appropriately suited for your industry and experience level.

The site provides some guidance with regards to selecting a template. For example, as you sift through the more than 50 basic design templates, you will see descriptions to the right of the template image. The description might say “ideal for finance / banking positions” or “suitable for most any industry.” These little tips can be very helpful in narrowing down your search.

To download one of these templates, click on “Download” to visit that template’s download page. On this page, you may see ads that have large buttons that say, “Start Download,” “Download Now,” or similar phrases. Avoid these buttons and look for the the free download link below them. The link to download the template just says “free.” and is located near where file size and file name are listed. Once you download the template, be sure to delete the legal disclaimer notice on the last page.

Use care when using creative resume templates. Templates that use graphics to communicate information may not be compliant with applicant tracking systems (An ATSs), the system recruiters use to collect and search through resumes and track candidates through the recruiting process.

Also, be sure to note that Hloom provides a wide variety of resumes and curriculum vitae (CV) templates for job seekers from all over the world. This means the site does provide resumes in styles that may be popular or common in other countries, but not acceptable in the U.S. For example, many of their resume templates contain a placeholder for your photo. While it is common in some countries to put your photo on a CV, it is almost never recommended in the U.S. Recruiters and prospective employers should first judge you on your experience and skills listed on your resume, not your appearance or other traits apparent in your photo that could lead to (many times unintentional) discrimination.

Lastly, ensure the template you select is standard letter size (8×11”) for the U.S. market. European or international resumes use a larger (A4) paper size. After you download your selected template, you can check this in Word by clicking “Layout,” then “Size.” If you do see that a template is designed for A4 format, just click “US Letter” to switch the size and review the template to make sure the change hasn’t significantly modified the design structure.

4. Behance.net

Behance provides portfolio hosting and sharing for creative professionals like graphic designers, photographers, etc. However did you know that the site also features free resume and cover letter templates?

Designers offer templates through the Behance community to gain exposure to their work. If you are looking for a creative resume template, this site can be a great resource.

You will need to create an account to download templates. Be sure to check the file format before you download; while some templates are available in Microsoft Word format, many were created in design software like Adobe Acrobat/Illustrator/Photoshop and require file-type specific software to edit. Search by file type to make sure you can use the templates you find.

If you’re in a creative field, working with a Nelson creative recruiter can help you understand the best resume advice for your particular role. If you’re in a different position, a recruiter who specializes in your line of work can help you understand whether a more creative resume format would be appropriate for your circumstances.

5. MicrosoftOffice Resume

Another quality resource for resume templates that many job seekers don’t consider is Microsoft Office’s online template gallery. Here you can filter through basic, elegant, and advanced designs as well as chronological, functional, or curriculum vitae formats.

Years ago, Microsoft Office’s templates gained a reputation for being very basic, and sometimes not very user-friendly; but they have come a long way since Microsoft Word hit the market. Here, you’ll find some good basic resume and cover letter templates, but also more graphic templates designed by some of Microsoft’s partners. These templates offer you a good option for putting together a resume quickly and without any advanced design knowledge or software required. You will, however, need access to Microsoft Word to use these templates. If you don’t have access to Word and you are working with a recruiter, be sure to let your recruiter know. It’s possible they can offer you access on a computer at their location or that they know other areas where you may be able to use Word, such as a local public library.

Because of the popularity of Microsoft Office templates, many job seekers turn to these templates when creating their resumes. Feel free to modify font styling (stick to clearly readable font styles and sizes) and design elements to customize your selected template to your specific needs and information and make your resume stand out from others.

6. Google Docs Resume Template Library

Lastly, to address the needs of the growing number of non-Microsoft Office users, Google has created resume template gallery designed specifically for Google Docs. Though its offerings are limited when compared to other libraries, Google Docs users can find a handful of cleanly formatted resume templates to select easily. You will need a free Google account to be able to use these templates and Google Docs.

The benefits of using a Google Docs resume are numerous. First, you have access to it from anywhere on any device, anywhere because your Google Docs files are saved to the cloud and not to your local desktop. You can also download your final file in multiple formats, including pdf, Microsoft Word Doc, txt, or rtf.

Although the process of creating a resume has changed over the years, one thing remains the same: a quality, concise, and well-organized resume will get you noticed by hiring managers. The key is to create a resume that communicates the skills, experience, and education that make you the best candidate for the position. Take advantage of one or more of these resume template resources to set your resume apart from the others.

Additionally, consider working with a professional recruiter to ensure that you have the best shot at landing the right job. They are available to help you every step of the way, from creating the right resume and finding the right job opening to negotiating salaries and securing the position.

Despite a low unemployment rate across California and a high demand for quality candidates, it can still be difficult to get the best results from your job search and maximize your opportunities if you’re trying to find a job on your own. One way to find the best jobs with top companies, land highly coveted interviews, and negotiate a lucrative salary is to take advantage of services provided by staffing companies and work with a recruiter.

Some people overlook working with a recruiter in favor of searching online or focusing on their own networking efforts. While these strategies can lead to valuable opportunities, adding a recruiter to your job search can provide many advantages.

Many job seekers don’t take advantage of the benefits of working with a recruiter because of a few common misconceptions. To clear up some of the myths and allow you to better understand how a recruiter can help you launch or elevate your career, here are ten tips to keep in mind when working with professional recruiting companies to find a new job.

Understand who recruiters work for – and how they define success.

Professional recruiters work for the hiring company. When employers use staffing services, they pay recruiters to find the perfect person for their open job. Staffing companies charge hiring companies a flat fee or a percentage of the new hire’s hourly rate or first-year base salary. While some recruiters may have fees for additional job seeker services such as resume review or coaching, many do not require any payment from you, the candidate. For instance, when you work with a Nelson recruiter as a job seeker, there is never a fee.

Many people think that recruiters only care about getting job seekers placed in roles and receiving their placement commissions instead of caring about whether each role is a good long-term fit. The best recruiters, like those at Nelson, understand that good long-term relationships with their client companies are only possible if they make good matches. This requires each role and company to be a good fit for each job seeker as much as it requires each job seeker to be the right fit for the role. When these skilled recruiters make a placement, that placement lasts – and both you as the job seeker and the recruiter’s client company end up satisfied with their service.

Make sure the recruiter you select is a good fit for your career needs.

It’s easy to find names of recruiters who work in your location or field with a quick online search. However, not all recruiters are the same. It’s important to find a recruiter that specializes in the type of role you’re seeking.

If you are a mechanical engineer, for example, look for an industry-specific engineering recruiter who has placed candidates in your industry. If you work in accounting and finance, look for recruiters with expertise in that field.

In fact, if you’re in either of those fields and are reading this, you’ve already found a great recruiting company for your industry – Nelson! Many of Nelson’s professional recruiters have hands-on experience in their respective fields, allowing them to thoroughly understand your skills and role as well as the talent needs of their client companies.

Recruiting specialists may also focus on filling positions in your local area. Although we at Nelson work with clients across the country to offer opportunities to job seekers nationwide, we specialize in helping job seekers in California. We are consistently one of the top recruiting companies helping job seekers find jobs in San Francisco, San Jose, and the Bay Area. Our local offices and teams also work with job seekers across the state – in Sacramento, Modesto, the Central Coast, Southern California (including Los Angeles), and beyond.

In addition, ask your friends and colleagues for referrals and contact several recruiters before you decide who is right for you. A good recruiter should not only try to understand your skills and background; they should listen to what you’re looking for in your next role, and what type of company you’d like to work for. You should always go through your own interview process before selecting the right recruiter for your job search.

Be prepared to answer interview questions for the recruiter.

Recruitment agencies are hired to save employers time and money by finding the best candidates for available positions. To accomplish this task, recruiters examine resumes and schedule interviews just as hiring managers do.

Think of an interview with a recruiter in the same way as you would a regular job interview. Be ready to share your resume and your experience and demonstrate why you are a good fit in the meeting with your recruiter.

Recruiters may ask you tough questions because it’s their job to qualify candidates for employers. Do your research beforehand and take all the steps to prepare for an interview and show that you are knowledgeable about the hiring firm and your industry. A good preparation step is to write down responses to common interview questions and practice delivering your answers with confidence before your meeting. Also, dress professionally and go easy on the cologne or perfume.

Stay personable and get to know your recruiter.

In order to perform their jobs well, many recruiters maintain important connections with top hiring managers. It is definitely in your best interest to establish a friendly working relationship with recruiters in your field.

By creating and maintaining this relationship, you can learn important information such as an employer’s company culture or work environment.

Recruiters may even know about available jobs before they are advertised. If you’ve made a good impression with a recruiter, you could rise to the top of their candidate list and be one of the first they call when a new job opens. In all cases, developing this strong relationship starts with congeniality and respect.

Treat recruiters with respect.

Now that you know a little more about the value of what a recruiter does, you can see how getting on their good side can accelerate your job search.

Treat your recruiter the same as you would treat any hiring manager at a company you’d like to work for. Thank the recruiter for their time and send a follow-up thank-you note in the form of an email or a written letter following your meeting. Demonstrate the level of professionalism that you would show in the boardroom or on the job.

Avoid badgering the recruiter with phone calls and emails for status updates. Instead ask for an expected timeline and respond accordingly. Respect your recruiter and their time and it can pay off in your job search.

Accept constructive criticism.

In an effort to find the best candidates, recruiters will often provide job seekers with advice on how to make themselves or their resumes more attractive to the hiring company. They may help you avoid some of the mistakes made in these bad resume examples and help you to refine your pitch. However, it is important to take their criticism positively and use the advice that they provide. After all, they see firsthand what is effective in getting candidates hired.

Remember, a professional recruiter knows what the employer wants, so it is a good idea to listen to these suggestions carefully and use this information to your best advantage.

Offer referrals.

If a recruiter reaches out to you with a job that isn’t a good fit for you, you can build your relationship with that person or company by passing along names of qualified colleagues.

Time is money for recruiters, just as it is for all busy professionals. By providing names of qualified candidates, you save the recruiter time. This gesture may put you at the top of the list when an opportunity comes along that is a better fit for your skills.

Be straightforward and honest.

We all know that honesty is the best policy. This is no different when working with a recruiter. Tell your recruiter as much as you can about the types of job you’re most interested in, as well as what types of jobs and companies you’re not interested in. Describe the location, workplace environment, industry, and travel requirements. Make sure your recruiter understands your salary and benefits expectations. Tell your recruiter which details are negotiable and non-negotiable (for example, are you willing to consider another location or industry if the salary rises to compensate for the switch?). Misleading answers will waste your recruiter’s time and can work against you in the future.

Is there anything in your work history – such as a termination, unrelated work on your resume, or gaps in employment – that may reflect poorly on you as a candidate? Share these details with the recruiter now and they may help to prepare any needed explanations to the employer ahead of time.

Update your LinkedIn profile.

Recruiters use LinkedIn all the time. Be sure that your profile is up to date and showcases your skills in the best way possible. Use your profile to highlight any special abilities or skills you have; be sure to include assets such as language skills, software training, and industry certifications. Feel free to brag about successes, ask your colleagues for skills votes, and connect with as many people in your immediate field as possible. There is a perceived difference in the candidate that has 25 connections and one with a network of 500+ connections.

In addition, many recruiters will want to contact you via LinkedIn. Make sure that your privacy settings allow recruiters to access your profile and message you. Brush up on modern job search strategies if you haven’t conducted a job search in the past few years.

Be open to possibilities.

Keep in mind that recruiters often look for people to fill short-term staffing projects. You may find that contract or project-based work is a good way for you to get experience as you continue to search for a permanent position. If you land a part-time role, freelance position, or contract job, your recruiter may suggest that you use your extra time to obtain additional training or certification. This new training and experience will make you more attractive to hiring managers. A Temporary staffing role can also result in a permanent job opportunity, allowing you to get your foot in the door at a specific company and showcase your skills directly to people who make hiring decisions.

If you are currently looking for a career change, working with a recruiter can help put you in a more select pool of job candidates. Recruiters want to find the best person for the job; their reputations depend on it. Why not use a recruiter’s knowledge and experience to propel your professional career to the next level?

You can keep searching for positions or sign up for job search alerts on Nelson’s job board or reach out to us directly to see how we can turbo charge your career with additional recruitment services from our job recruiters in California and beyond.

Whether you are actively seeking a new position or are merely open to hearing about new opportunities, you are not alone. In a global survey by LinkedIn last year, a whopping 90 percent of professionals reported being open to new career options.

A smart way to jump start your career is with the services of a professional recruiter. However, many job seekers unknowingly sabotage their relationship with a recruiter – and therefore their chances of landing a great new job – by making some common blunders.

Here are the top mistakes job seekers make with recruiters and steps you can take to avoid them:

Applying for the same position multiple ways.

Working with a recruiter involves building a business relationship. If you have applied for a position through a recruiter, don’t apply for the same position online, through the mail, or in person.

Since the hiring company trusts the recruiter’s judgment, you will be undermining your credibility by duplicating your application through these other channels. Let the recruiter do his or her job. Don’t let that dissuade you from checking available jobs listings; but remember, having two resumes in the same pile can be more detrimental than beneficial to your chances as an applicant.

Going around the recruiter.

Another way to lose the services of a top recruiter is by circumventing them and contacting the hiring employer directly.

One of the reasons a company hires a recruiter is to avoid a barrage of emails and phone calls about an open position. Hiring managers rely on the staffing company they’ve selected and that company’s recruiters to select the top candidates for the job. Be patient with the process and trust that your recruiter is working for you.

Negotiating the terms of your job offer on your own.

Let’s say your recruiter gives you the good news about a job offer. Now, it’s time to take control of the situation, right? Wrong. Allow your recruiter to negotiate your salary and benefits package for you.

Recruiters know the salaries and benefits that are standard for that employer and industry, and they are well prepared to negotiate the best deal for you. Since hiring companies usually pay professional recruiters a commission based on your pay rate or salary, you can be sure that your recruiter has your best interests in mind. Have a discussion about salary with your recruiter and negotiate with them first so that they can go to bat for you.

Acting as if you don’t care.

It is a competitive job market out there, and one sure way to turn off a recruiter is by not taking the job search seriously. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your social media presence sends an appropriate message about you.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile.
  • Clean up your resume and include keywords that pertain to your industry and your desired position.
  • Return your recruiter’s phone calls and emails promptly.
  • Be respectful of your recruiter’s time. Calling to “check in” several times a day will not win you any favors.
  • Avoid resume gimmicks. Sending your resume in the form of an infographic, using your own brand icon, or including personal stories or informal language may be big resume mistakes. These gimmicks may not elicit the response you are hoping for.
  • Be polite and send thank-you notes after interviews.


Being dishonest.

It may be tempting to add some extra work history or another degree to your resume, but your recruiter can find out the truth with just a little research.

If a recruiter discovers you have lied about your experience, you will have ended that relationship. Similarly, if a potential employer learns about your choice, you will have lost the opportunity to work at that company. Don’t burn your bridges before they’re built. Honesty is always the best policy when working with a recruiter.

Arriving unprepared for the interview.

You should treat your interview with a recruiter the same as you would any important job interview. Be ready with your updated resume and be prepared to answer some challenging questions about yourself, your experience, and your career goals. Brush up on recent industry news. For example, if you are preparing to meet with an accounting and finance recruiter, make sure you’ve taken a look at the latest stories on Accounting Today. If you’re working with a creative recruiter and are looking for a job in marketing or tech that involves website work, be prepared to talk about responsive website design and the CMS or platform of the prospect employer’s website. Using tools like builtwith.com or ghostery can help to uncover information about the employer’s website and help you prepare.

Research your industry and its current trends then share what you know about the companies for which you would like to work for. Being prepared will help you to avoid awkward interview moments and ace your first impression.

Losing confidence in the process.

Finding the right job takes time. Using a job recruiter is a great step, but it is not a magic formula.

Don’t lose hope if a certain job opportunity does not work out. If you’ve made a good impression, your recruiter will keep you in mind for the next opening. If you have the right skills and the right attitude, a recruiter will want to place you in the perfect job.

As part of this process, be willing to accept your recruiter’s advice on how you present yourself, both online and in person. Remember, a recruiter knows your industry and knows a potential employer’s requirements. Respect your recruiter’s opinion and make any necessary adjustments. When they see that you’re taking their advice to heart, it will win you points as they look for the right fit for your next career move.

Utilizing the services of a top recruiter offers you many professional advantages, including access to “hidden” jobs that have not been advertised. Working with a recruiter, however, is not a one-way street and takes honest effort from all sides. By avoiding these common mistakes, you could be on your way to a new and better position much sooner than you thought.

To maximize your job search opportunities, reach out to Nelson and work with a professional recruiting company. To learn how to best answer the question, “what does a recruiter do?”, keep reading our blog.  For top job prospects in the Bay Area, see our California jobs board.