Your questions, answered

March 27, 2012

It's not all about what employers think. You have questions, too. We took them to Jason Hogan, managing director of Experis, the Baltimore affiliate of Manpower, a global staffing and HR group.

1. Should I temp/freelance or keep hitting the classifieds looking for my perfect job?

As demand for goods and services slowly increases, employers are seeking temporary staff until they are confident they can sustain a full-time hire. When the time comes to make a permanent hire, temporary employees are among the first considered for these jobs. Taking a temporary job should be viewed as a way to get a foot in the door for a permanent position.

2. What's the most common resume/cover letter mistake you've noticed?

Typos, grammar errors and misspellings are the most common mistakes on resumes and cover letters, and they can really diminish an applicant's chances of advancing in the hiring process. The resume/cover letter is the first impression. Careless mistakes tell a hiring manager that you are not detail-oriented. It's critically important to get the basics right to avoid being overlooked for a potential position. A flawless resume/cover letter is a way to ensure that you're evaluated on your skills and experience rather than preventable errors.

3. What's the biggest asset I could have on my side when asking for a raise?

Your own work product. It's important to show how you've exceeded your goals, gone above and beyond your responsibilities, and brought value to the company. If possible, bring tangible examples of your success — evidence of sales increases, improved efficiency, etc. If you have numbers to back-up your examples, all the better.

4. What should I ask myself when choosing between two attractive job offers?

Cultural fit: Do you feel like you fit in with the people and the environment, and in particular, your future manager?

Skills match: Do you believe that you can succeed in the role and also feel challenged?

Stability of the company: Are you confident that the company is financially stable and positioned to thrive?

Opportunities for advancement: Are there opportunities for you to sharpen your skills, take on new roles and advance in your career path?

Confidence/respect for company leaders: Do you believe the company is well-managed? Are its leaders "steering the ship" in the right direction?

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