We recently sat down with local employment expert Bettye Taylor. Taylor is the Managing Director of the downtown Oklahoma City Express Employment Professionals franchise. Express works with job seekers to help them find the right job for their skills and experience. Taylor personally has more than 20 years of experience in the recruiting and staffing industry and was happy to provide her professional insight on what it takes to land the job you want.
A: First, in an interview, your energy sets you apart from the competition, so go in assertive but not cocky. Do your research on the company and share some of that knowledge in the interview.
Second, communication. Speak up and speak out. Have confidence in your communication abilities.
Third, the follow up is very important. Never leave your interview without asking, “Do you have any concerns about me and my ability to do this job?” That shows a willingness to have critical conversations about if you will be the type of employee who can take constructive criticism and guidance. Don’t forget, while you may be in the interview, you are interviewing the company as well.
A: When writing a resume, a typical assumption is believing one resume is going to be acceptable for every job you apply to, which is really not the case. I always suggest, especially with more experienced job seekers, to have a functional resume and a chronological resume. Functional resumes are where you pick out your top three-to-five skill sets, such as communication, business development, leadership, and training, and under those skill sets highlight your experiences. Entry-level candidates usually do not have enough experience for a functional resume but should have a chronological resume. It always helps to have both. As you apply for a particular job, you can mirror your resume and your applicable experience to what the position requires.
I don’t think it should matter what you have done or where your experience comes from as long as you have relevant experience. Be sure to highlight transferable skills under your experience. For example, I may be a managing director, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t apply for a branch manager position. If I wanted to explore that opportunity, I might not get an interview based on my current job title alone. A director position in one company might be equivalent to a manager in another company, which is why you should highlight your skill sets.
I also don’t adhere to the philosophy that a resume should be one page. I wouldn’t want to limit my experience to one page, especially when elaborating on items that matter for the specific job I’m applying to.
And make sure your resume is easily readable. It’s harder for me to comprehend a resume where I’m reading paragraphs of information, versus easy to read bullet points. A resume is intended to show you have transferable skills. It’s not meant to get you the job. It is meant to open the door.
A: There is always a reason for job hopping. While longevity goes a long way and will always be in your favor, I also believe we are now in a culture where candidates change jobs more rapidly because the reciprocal loyalty from companies isn’t the same as it was 20 years-ago. Despite these changes, I firmly believe job hopping should only happen for a very valid reason that isn’t self-serving.
A: I highly recommend working with a staffing company when looking for a job, as having a recruiter serve as a personal advocate offers an advantage to the job seeker. With that in mind, I think search engines are all roughly the same. However, personal networking, by attending meetings of organizations in your field, business groups, and associations are the greatest “job site” of them all.
A: In my opinion, a handwritten note goes a lot further than an email. If someone gives you a birthday card, you know they handpicked it for you, which makes you feel special. With that in mind, always know your audience. If your interviewer is a traditionalist, I would write a thank you note. If your interviewer is someone who focuses more on technology, an email might be better. But when in doubt, stick with a handwritten note.
A: You should negotiate salary and benefits well into the process, not during your first interview. If it comes up in your first interview, definitely give your interviewer a range, but do your homework to know what the market dictates for that type of position.
A: As a recruiter, I regularly use LinkedIn when searching for the right talent. I also use LinkedIn as a way to communicate with people, who may be experts in their field, about potential opportunities. During your employment journey, be sure to utilize all the tools available to you, which included sites like LinkedIn. If you’re on LinkedIn, link your resume to your profile and add your telephone number so that recruiters have the ability to pick up the phone and call you to have a conversation. You should never allow technology to supersede the chance to have a conversation, so include your direct contact information to ensure you don’t miss out on potential opportunities.
A: Always be honest regarding previous employment because honesty is the best policy. Answers such as, “I didn’t have any growth opportunities there,” are your best bet. If you had a short tenured job, still put it on your resume because people do choose positions that weren’t in their best professional interest and recruiters understand that.
A: Think of a recruiter as a tool in your employment toolbox. What we can and strive to do is help job seekers by guiding them on their employment journey, advising them on their resume and interview skills, and by providing constructive criticism. Recruiters have specialized relationships with many companies that would never advertise their open jobs online. When I see a strong resume and great talent walk through my door, I pick up the phone and call my network. A lot of companies will make room for a good candidate, especially if they know they will be expanding their workforce in the future.
A: I recommend asking the recruiter or interviewer, from a very mature standpoint, for feedback. You could say, “Thank you for the opportunity to interview for this position. Do you mind providing me with any insight on how I can improve my interview skills or other ways I can improve in my job search?” Always ask for that feedback. If you make it to that point, you may even consider using an external recruiter to give you a different perspective on your resume and possibly role play an interview scenario with you.
Before wrapping up, Taylor shared some final thoughts. She stressed the importance that “email addresses need to remain professional”. A simple first and last name email address is the way to go, allowing job seekers to stay in the clear from sending the wrong message to an interviewer or company. She also shared how such simplicity is beneficial because it allows you to show a level of professionalism, which should also translate into how you represent yourself on social media based on what you post.
Taylor encourages job seekers to watch their social media activity, noting, “Employers do look at it. Do not put questionable pictures up with raw language or extreme political views. You are always going to be your best in an interview but people want to know who you are when they are not looking – because that’s who you really are, which means that’s how you’ll represent their company.”
Taylor’s last bit of advice? “Always dress professionally, even if the job doesn’t require it.”
RSC@OKC Innovation Station appreciates Express Employment Professionals willingness to partner with us on providing the tools needed to land your dream job. To contact Bettye Taylor directly, email her at Bettye.Taylor@expresspros.com.
Did you know that co-working at RSC@OKC is FREE through August? Learn more about RSC@OKC Innovation Station here.