Conference Tips You Can’t Skip: How to Make the Most of Your Experience

You’re attending an industry conference. What should you expect? 

If you’re a frequent conference attendee, you may already have your own list of trials, errors, and ways to make the most of your experience (if so, we’d love to hear your stories and tips in the comments). If not, don’t fret. We’ve collected a list of conference and networking tips from a variety of our CSG team members that should help you do it right. 

First impressions are lasting impressions. Practice your introduction, smile, be confident, and keep it real. Your positive energy and authenticity will be more memorable than your words.” – Ernest Jones, Talent Acquisition Specialist 

Talk to people you don’t already know. These things are all about networking, so make it a point to sit next to people you haven’t met before.” – Jason DeGroff, Vice President of Operations 

Build strong relationships. Get to know the short-term and long-term goals of the people you’re networking with, while also getting to know them on a personal level. You never know what you’ll have in common!” – Sarah Keiser, Talent Acquisition Specialist 

Use moderation in all ways. Whether it be in conversational details, drinks, your introduction pitch, etc., less can always be more in these situations.” – Cassie Hauser, Talent Acquisition Specialist 

Insert yourself into a conversation that has already started. Many people attend conferences in groups or have colleagues that they already know going in. Break out from your group and insert yourself into another cohort that isn’t your own. Although this can be awkward at first, it can maximize your networking experience because you are meeting several people in one interaction and diversifying your experience.” – Maryssa Kuchta, Talent Acquisition Specialist

Take value away from every interaction you have. There are a ton of people that attend these conferences. Go out of your way to introduce yourself to as many people as you can. Each person could be your next peer, boss, etc. Listen to what the other person is saying and be engaged. Don’t just shake a hand and walk away; learn something new about that person.” – Justin Filipowski, Business Development Manager 

Wear comfortable shoes. You’re likely to be walking throughout the day and standing around speaking with people. Not to mention if a session is full and there aren’t any seats left…looks like you’ll be standing!” – Jessica Hymes, Talent Acquisition Specialist

It’s one thing to leave with a stack of business cards and notes, but it’s another to walk away with new and meaningful connections to industry professionals and peers. Keep these tips in the back of your mind during each interaction and conference event, and you’ll be sure to have a great experience. 

If you need more coaching before heading to your next industry conference, reach out to a CSG professional today!

Evaluating Work Culture: How to Tell if a Company’s Culture is Right for You

You’ve gotten through the interview process. Everything has gone well, and you’re anticipating a job offer. Will you take it?  

After researching the company’s history, strategies, and productivity, you’re pleased with what you’ve learned. But one question remains: is the company culture right for you? You want to be sure that you’d be happy in the office day-to-day. That being said, your goal now is to determine if this is where you see yourself working years down the road. Here are some ways to do that: 

Know What’s Important to You 

Know what motivates you, what inspires you, and what environments you work best in. Being familiar with yourself and your work habits is essential in picking a job that aligns with your preferences. This is the first step to figuring out where you’ll fit in best. 

Talk to as Many People as You Can 

Get to know your potential co-workers and bosses within the office. Take the time to walk around after an interview to introduce yourself, ask questions, and assess the people you’re meeting. Are they the people that you want to sit next to for years to come? Take note of not only their attitudes and work ethic, but their goals and what they’re working on. You should be interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. 

Explore the Office 

The workspace may come as an afterthought, but it can be these small details that matter to you in the end. The physical design and layout of an office can say a lot about the culture. Take note of the way the desks are set up. Is this going to be somewhere you can roam, or will it be a fixed-desk situation? Is the office very modern, or more traditional? Noticing these physical aspects of the workspace may speak to the culture of the people working there. 

Research, Research, Research 

Use online sources to see what the company says about themselves and what others say about them. Focus on news articles, social media mentions, and company culture pages or mission statements to read more about who you may be working for. Although some of these things may be self-reported, you can still use them to get a feel for the tone of the company and its people. 

A new company position must make sense for you and your lifestyle. This is where Clinical Solutions Group can help you. We gather information about your workplace preferences, communication style, and overall career goals to match you with a company culture that suits you. We hear what you respond well to, as well as any concerns or red flags that you are uneasy about. We don’t just place you in a job and disappear; we look beyond the job description to make sure we’re setting you up for success. 

Tips for a Skype Interview

When you think about a Skype interview, you probably ask yourself, “how hard could it be”? Though one may think a Skype interview is simple, there are many aspects of the Skype interview that can hurt your chances of making it to the next round. Listed below are a few key pointers to help you nail the Skype interview:

  1. Environment: It is important to think about environment when preparing for a skype interview. Pick a quiet place to have your interview so there are no distractions. Keep your backdrop neutral so that you can be the focal point of the interview. In this case, less is more.
  2. Attire: Although this is not an in-person interview, it is the closest thing to it. The hiring manager can see you and you can see them. In this case, dress business professional. For men, it is recommended that you wear a suit with a tie and for women, it is recommended that you wear nice slacks, a dress or skirt. It is always best to be overdressed than under dressed. Dressing professionally for a Skype interview is expected and shouldn’t be overlooked.
  3. Practice makes perfect: We all know that when we use Skype, it isn’t the easiest. Often, we catch ourselves looking everywhere but at the person we are speaking to. To perfect this, we need to practice. Do a trial run with a friend so that when it comes to the professional Skype interview, you are ready to shine.
  4. Preparation and organization: It is imperative that you prepare for your Skype interview as these types of interviews are far different than in-person interviews. Have your resume as well as the job description handy so that in case you freeze up, you will have notes to reference. I would practice having your Skype interview as some candidates start to use their notes as more of a crutch than a reference. You should only be glancing at your resume when needed, you should not be using it as a scrip. Relying too heavily on your notes can hurt your chances of getting to the next round. With anything, practice makes perfect.
  5. Body Language: Body language is extremely important in a Skype interview. Because you are not in person with the hiring manager, it makes it even more important that you focus on positive body language. Make sure your body language expresses that you are engaged with the audience. Remain positive and upbeat. Smile, laugh, show the hiring manger that you are engaged and interested!

The Goal of the Resume

It’s 4:00pm. You’re sitting at your desk preparing to wrap up your day, and you get that infamous call from a recruiter… This time the timing is perfect, as you are passively starting to consider other positions. After the initial conversation, the recruiter asks you to send over your resume. You two connect the next day at an appointed time. This call is different than others that you’ve had previously, as this recruiter takes the time to ask details about your resume and learn what you were doing in each role. You are slightly confused by this because you believe that your resume is self-explanatory. The recruiter informs you that they are asking these questions to help perfect your resume for this position, and you always have to keep in mind the goal of the resume.

As a Senior Recruiter with almost 10 years of Clinical Research experience, this is a viewpoint that I often point out to candidates. Once an applicant has an understanding that the goal of the resume is to get you the interview, the perspective changes. Having screened thousands of candidates  and worked with a variety of clients, my eyes have become trained to search for and pull out the most important things that hiring managers will look for. I share with every candidate that hiring managers are looking at tons of resumes daily, which means that yours needs to stand out from the pile.  Below I’ve given 5 basic tips that will assist you in getting a step closer to landing the position of your dreams.  

6 Tips to a Winning Resume: 

  1. Dates with Months: This is important, as hiring managers want to know how long you were in each role to quantify your experience. Using years only can be too vague for the hiring manager to accurately understand the experience that you have. For example, 1999-2000 could mean 1 year, or it could mean 1-11 months… Instead, formatting dates as January 1999-January 2000 gives clear insight of how long you were in that role or with that particular company. 
  2. Detailed job descriptions: Describe what you have done in detail. I tend to lean toward the bullet format for a resume because it is easier to read; however, you can choose the format that best suites you. Make sure your job description speaks to the hiring manager. When they read your resume, they should know what you are doing day-to-day and should not be left wondering what your job description means.  
  3. Chronological Order: Put your most recent position at the top of your resume, and your oldest position at the bottom. Keep your resume up to date and within the last 10 years of your working experiences. The older positions on your resume should have less bullets than your most recent positions. 
  4. Use Metrics: Be sure to include as many numbers as you can when writing about your work history. Although it may seem like an irrelevant detail to include, this helps to further paint the picture of what your skills and experience are. Additionally, it gives some credibility to your claims and can help to direct the conversation in an interview.
  5. Correct Tense: Check to make sure your current position is in present tense, and the previous positions that you held are all in past tense. 
  6. Consistent Formatting: Your format should be the same for titles, name of companies, and dates with all positions held. If your first position is in a bullet format, keep this format for all your positions. Also, confirm that your font is the same size and style throughout the entire document. There is no need to bold parts of your resume to make things stand out. Your recruiter will typically have highlights that they put together to send over to the client that are most important to them. This process saves you from changing your resume for each position you apply for. 

Now that the resume has done its job, it is up to you to go and close the deal by having an amazing interview!!