Do your research

Research Your Top Career Choices

Once you have a tentative idea of some careers worth investigating, then you will need to research them in detail to further assess their suitability. Begin by reading about each of the fields on your brainstorm list. Look for information on our online career information resources.

Try Googling each field like this: “Career Information Sales Accountant.” You will find that professional groups provide excellent sources of career information. Review the requirements for entering the field and make sure that you are prepared to complete any training, certificate programs or educational degrees which are required.

For your remaining options, the next step should be to conduct informational interviews with professionals in those fields. Reach out to college alumni, contacts in your personal and social networks, as well as local professionals to schedule in-person or telephone consultations. Here’s how to get started with career networking.

Keep notes regarding what you have learned during your research and match it up against the list of interests, skills, and values which you generated during your self-assessment phase. Make a list of options which are still worth considering.

As always consider having a conversation with the recruiter’s at CareerPaths NW, we are always available to chat with you about your career options.

Looking to hire the right candidate?


Lastly, we implore you to look beyond the resume when hiring a candidate. Especially in fast-paced, changing fields like marketing, technology, and other evolving industries. For example, if you start a technology job today, a year from now a huge portion of your role will likely be totally different.

So rather than worrying too much about whether or not a candidate checks every single box, focus instead on what they bring to the table beyond hard skills. Are they passionate, committed, and always hungry to learning? We find that hiring for attitude and aptitude is far more impactful than simply hiring to a checklist, especially when so many skills are easily learned on the job. Focus on people who mesh with your company, candidates who love to learn, and those people you believe can move your organization forward when hiring in a competitive employer market.

Final steps to setting your career goals.

Try Job Shadowing to Get an Insider Perspective

If a field still holds your interest after reading about it and speaking with professionals in that sector, try to schedule a job shadow to observe the work and sample the work environment.

Consider an Internship or Volunteering

If you are in a position to try out a field that is still of interest at this point, consider doing an internship or some related volunteer work.

Start the Decision Making Process

You should be prepared to make an informed decision at this point. List the pros and cons for each remaining option on a separate sheet of paper and weigh the choices. If you are still unsure, seek the assistance of a guidance counselor at your high school, a career counselor at your college, or a professional career counselor.

Read the other articles in the Career Goals Series

Do you know why a Recruiter is important for your job search?

The Role of a Recruiter

If you are job hunting, you need to cultivate relationships with recruiters. Recruiters are primarily tasked with filling positions for businesses, but they play an advisory role for job seekers in the process. They can work with you to make sure you are ready to face employers. For example, they might provide guidance on interview etiquette, salary negotiations, workplace culture and expectations, and proper work attire.

Types of Recruiters

Before deciding to work with recruiters, it’s important to understand these three major types:

  • Retainer-based recruiter: This recruiter serves as a third-party consultant and charges a business a retainer fee up front in order to find a candidate. Often, the candidates they seek are senior-level business people who meet specific job requirements.
  • Contingency-based recruiter: This recruiter can be a staffing or temp agency hired to conduct a specific search to fill temporary roles. Usually the roles they seek to fill pay below $100,000 per year. Contingency-based recruiters compete with other firms to present the right candidates for job openings, and are paid only if their candidate gets hired.
  • Corporate recruiter: This recruiter works internally. They are responsible for distributing the job posting, sourcing candidates, screening resumes, and shortlisting candidates to be presented to the hiring manager.

What makes a great recruiter?

Looking for a job and want to work with a recruiter? not all recruiters are alike, here are some qualities you should look for in a recruiter who will be helping you with your career.

Great recruiters all have an innate ability to ask very detailed questions,.

When assessing talent, it is vital to be able to acquire an in-depth understanding, of the individual candidate, including their experience, characteristics, and career goals. Accurate candidate assessment and selection requires a recruiter to have a highly inquisitive demeanor. Recruiters that are more interested in talking about themselves typically are not the best candidates for greatness.

A great recruiter has a memory like an elephant.

Having the ability to memorize individuals, titles, experiences, and anything else related to a candidate’s background is what makes a recruiter unique. Great recruiters spend an enormous amount of time understanding and learning about the people they meet. Recruiters who can remember the finer details of what makes people tick are able to quickly identify opportunities and positions that will fit each unique individual. Searching a database for a list of candidates is a great piace to start, but the recruiter who can immediately remember a highly targeted list will be the one who wins.

Great recruiters are highly organized individuals.

Sloppy and disheveled desks stacked high with resumes typically lead to an unorganized pursuit of candidates. Organized recruiters understand how to maximize an outcome with the least amount of effort. Recruiters who can efficiently organize their daily, weekly, and monthly operations achieve higher levels of performance, ultimately reaping the highest level of commissions and sales.

Great recruiters are able to build relationships at any level.

No matter what the industry, candidates fall along a wide spectrum of experience, skill level and backgrounds. Great recruiters have to be able to position themselves to communicate credibly with each individual, regardless of where that candidate falls on the spectrum. This not only requires outstanding communication skills; it also means that a recruiter needs to accumulate a wide understanding of every level within the industry in which they’re recruiting, if their comprehension is too narrow, it will be harder to build relationships at the high level needed for success.

Great recruiters are credible. Highly credible.

A great recruiter is someone people trust with their careers; they have to know that their recruiter is different than all the rest. Building credibility starts from the moment a recruiter interacts with a candidate, and is sustained by delivering on promises, communicating regularly, and, in general acting with integrity. As a recruiter strengthens their credible image, their network will expand exponentially, which in turn achieves an even higher level of credibility.

At a time when great recruiters are highly sought after, droves of individuals, from fresh graduates to experienced sales people, are beginning to enter the profession. Inevitably, there will be a high number of them who fail. The great ones who will achieve long-term accomplishment are highly motivated individuals. The above six characteristics are what I’ve seen most prominently when meeting and interacting with the most successful recruiters. These are the individuals who will make a difference in your business.

Use LinkedIn for finding recruiters

Using LinkedIn Filters to Find Industry-Specific Recruiters

When preparing to reach out to recruiters on LinkedIn, carefully select five to 10 of them. Don’t randomly send connection requests to those who might not have any openings in your industry or jobs that match your skills. Your smartphone might not offer all the options you need for this process, so use your laptop or tablet instead.

Here’s how to use LinkedIn’s filters to find recruiters:

  1. From the home page, click on “My Network.”
  2. Click on “Connections” at the top left-hand column.
  3. Click on “Search with filters”, then select the “All filters” box (highlighted in blue at top right).
  4. In the pop-up box, choose 1st, 2nd, and 3rd connections.
  5. Scroll down to the “Industry” section (a couple of sections below in the pop-up box) and click your industries of interest. You can also add industries. This is important because you want to choose a recruiter that works with people in your fields of choice.
  6. Scroll down to the “Keywords” section at the bottom of the box. Under “Title,” type in “Recruiter,” “Headhunter,” “Talent Acquisition,” or “Hiring Manager”
  7. Click “Show Results.”

Within your search results, click on the “Connect” button of each recruiter  you want to reach out to. Then, choose the option “Add a note” and send them a customized message. In addition to your first-level (1st) connections, these search results will offer the names of other people in your network who you may be familiar with. Don’t be afraid to ask your connections for an introduction.

You need a killer resume, make sure its ready for the job you want.

1. Find a Professional Font

As fun as it might look on the page, now is not the time to use weird fonts. Unless you are working in a creative field where you should be showing off your style, stick to something classic. Times New Roman is great go-to, or try a serif font with a little more individuality, like Book Antiqua or Lucida Bright.

2. Put the Good Stuff First

The real secret to a good resume is focusing your reader’s attention. In an ideal world, recruiters would read every word on your resume. In reality, that rarely happens. I’ve screened hundreds of resumes, and though I’m more meticulous than most, I’ve been surprised by how many I nearly tossed, only to find something truly interesting buried at the bottom of the page.

Also, the biggest mistake is to use chronological order. Why lead with “Babysitter in High School” when you could lead with “Strategic Planning Analyst?” Even reverse chronological order (which is more common) may not give you the flexibility you want to highlight your best and most relevant accomplishments.

3. Be Specific

You increased recruiting? Give us the percent increase. You raised money for charity? Tell us how much you raised! This can turn average-looking experiences into impressive head-turners and help distinguish you from other candidates. The flip-side of that is that specifics can also make some accomplishments look worse. If you only raised $150, you might want to think twice before including that—it’s unlikely to impress a billion dollar company.

Hint: This is true of your classes as well. Mentioning relevant coursework can help catch a recruiter’s eye.

4. Vary Your Verbs

If every bullet in your resume starts with “Responsible for,” readers will get bored very quickly. This handy list should give you a starting point.

5. Make Every Word Count

Unless you’re a tenured professor who needs to list every book and article you’ve ever published, your resume should be one page. While this limits the space you have to share your experience, think of it as a blessing in disguise: It forces you to focus.

You don’t need an equal number of bullets under each experience. You should be spending more words on your most impressive set of experiences. Moreover, if a job isn’t relevant anymore, take it out! You don’t need to prove that you’ve been employed since 1997.

Can’t make things fit on one page? Keep cutting it down. You can play with margins and font sizes a bit if necessary—but don’t overdo it. The point is to choose the right experiences, not squish them in. Plus, a dense resume is harder to read. And the harder your resume is to read, the more likely people will just skim it.

Hint: You can make the font size of the spacing between text smaller without losing legibility

6. Proofread

Grammar or spelling errors in a resume can be the difference between the “keep” pile and the “trash” pile. At best, you look sloppy. Enough said.


This one is simple: PDFs look the same on any computer. Word documents, on the other hand, can show up with wacky formatting or spill onto a second page if opened with a different version of Word or on a PC vs. a Mac. Make sure companies see what you wanted them to see.

Major Recruiting Challenges Business Leaders are Facing Today

Hiring today is quite different than it was a few years ago, and this isn’t just due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it may seem relatively easy on the surface, hiring the right employees can be overwhelming and taxing on many different levels, regardless of the size of an organization. Human resources departments today face significant challenges as their roles become broader and more strategic. The HR function goes beyond recruiting, training and retaining employees. It is a key element in developing a workforce that aligns with the mission and vision of a business.

With that in mind, we thought it might be useful to get some insight into how hiring in today’s job market is for the business experts in charge of these operations. To get that insight, we asked some experienced business leaders across various industries what their thoughts are about today’s biggest hiring and resourcing challenges. We analysed their opinions and the answers gravitated to five main issues. In this blog, we will discuss these five major hiring challenges business leaders are facing in the job market in today’s climate. Keep reading.

What have been the main challenges?

Adapting to Remote Work

When the pandemic struck, in compliance with government directives and regulations, most companies had to switch to the remote work model to continue business operations. Now, before the pandemic, very few companies offered remote work and those that did included it as a perk. For companies that were completely new to this new culture of work, the transition to remote work was tough, not just for the staff but employers as well. Hiring new recruits, tracking employees’ productivity and performance, and keeping employees engaged and motivated can be difficult when you’re not in a traditional work environment.

Another Insurance industry leader, told us that, luckily, the company already had a remote working infrastructure in place, so adapting to the new work norm was not as difficult for them as it had been for other organizations. “The current climate has created some challenges, but our office has been equipped to weather the storm. The majority of the sales team had already been working remotely so thankfully we were prepared as anyone could be to continue despite the inherent challenges and as a result, we have continued to move business forward.

Retaining Talented Employees

Recruiting is one thing, retaining and motivating your employees is another consideration altogether. According to research by the Society for Human Resource Management, HR professionals project that retaining the best employees will be the greatest HR challenge in 2022. But why? Well, the world of work is changing. Historically, job-hopping was considered to be a negative thing. Landing a role and staying at one company until retirement was the norm, and if you were moving around alot, it tended to lead to negative connotations. This is no longer the case. It is now acceptable to move companies more often, in pursuit of better salary, culture, learning opportunities or clearer progression paths. Rather than stagnating, or feeling (and being!) undervalued, it is seen as a positive attribute to know your worth and chase it.

Building a workplace where employees are motivated is another ongoing issue confronting HR professionals, because the work doesn’t stop at landing top talent. Retention is the next consideration. Knowing what motivates your staff, and implementing strategies and packages that cater to their motivations, is how you keep the best employees happy and productive. A leader in electrical distribution spoke to us about how finding talent that wants to build a career with your company in the long term can be tricky – especially in niche industries. “Our primary challenge is identifying talented individuals who want to build a career within the commercial lighting industry.” they said, with “getting the word out that you can build an excellent career within the trades and create long-term stability for yourself and your family” being a particular area they need to focus on. Another challenge they’re facing? “Identifying motivated candidates that actually want to work.

Finding And Recruiting High-Quality Talent

Identifying and acquiring high calibre talented individuals has always been a critical challenge for HR managers. Sure, the job market is full of job seekers especially after the devastating lay-offs of workers caused by the pandemic. But how many of those job seekers actually have the skills and qualifications that match the candidate persona of what a recruiter would consider their ideal applicant for an open role? It can be tedious and time-demanding to sift through dozens of applications to discover the right candidate in a pool full of unqualified talent.

One of our clients within the Insurance industry tells us that the difficulty in identifying high caliber talented individuals is a big issue, especially within a niche industry like insurance, that often requires candidates with a unique set of skills and competencies. He does note, however, that this was an issue before COVID-19 struck, so isn’t a challenge to be exclusively attributed to the pandemic.

Promoting a Strong Employer Brand

A strong employer brand is built by investing energy and resources into numerous channels, as well as through ensuring a company culture that resonates with clients, employees, and other stakeholders. You can nail your social media presence, and promote a brand that looks desirable, but longevity comes in living your values with your employees and your clients.

We spoke to a leader in the manufacturing services provider in the aerospace industry, who believes that investing in relationships with your clientele can help business leaders weather the storm especially in a time like this with so much uncertainty in the air. “Relationships are extremely key and spending time with your clients to let them know that you care “more than just a sale” has also proved extremely advantageous in helping navigate these unchartered waters.”

Building Solid Professional Networks

The importance of networking in the corporate world is something every business leader should not underestimate. As essential as it is to have talented people in your workforce, if you want to build a successful business, it is vital that you have a network of professionals who can help you with attracting and engaging highly skilled candidates in the job market. Without a solid professional network, as a business leader, you might find yourself struggling to find and recruit the best talents in your industry.

One Insurance industry company identifies networking as being key to maximising  opportunities. They advise that you need to “develop a network that views you as an asset [or] you are going to struggle to do well in this market. Networking is still key and maximizing opportunities as they present themselves. As well as identifying new hungry, humble, and smart individuals to be apart the team is still an issue. But we are equipped to bring on board new talent despite the current climate.

How are things going for leaders at the moment?

The pandemic has caused global unrest. It disrupted many businesses and upended several business operations. We asked the business leaders we reached out to about the impact of the pandemic on their organizations. The insurance industry (especially in the areas of employee benefits and commercial line coverages for companies) is up over last time this year.

Overall things are going well. [Our] physical office has been closed since March, but the current team has acclimated to the new process and things are continuing to improve. There has been a bit of decrease in revenue as it relates to funding within industries directly impacted by covid related projects along with some delays in the servicing of some accounts as a result of available team members but overall business is doing great and continuing to improve despite the current climate“. – Insurance industry firm

Things are going well. Company and business is up over last year at this time. There has been an uptick within the Insurance industry for obvious reasons especially in the areas of employee benefits and commercial line coverages for companies.” – Insurance industry business

In addition, the construction industry (in particular custom home building) and real estate is seeing some significant growth, benefiting from boosted disposable incomes and increased numbers of households. According to a report, “The necessity of shelter and the desire of many urban renters to move to suburban homes with greater distance from neighbors will support revenues in the residential segments,” and coupled with lower interest rates and high inventory, those with stable finances are moving away from renting and into ownership instead.

However, as expected, some industries have been affected worse than others. The aerospace industry has been hit pretty hard, as a result of the pandemic and lack of air travel. Construction is another industry that has seen disruption too.

Times are challenging. The majority of our clients are in the aerospace industry and that industry has been massively hit. Contracts have been out right cancelled or not renewed as a result of the virus and lack of airplane travel.” says a manufacturing services provider.

It’s important to understand that these challenges might play out differently depending on the size of the company, hiring needs and several other factors, but it reaffirms the fact that there’s some sort of consensus in the market and that these challenges are common.

Whether you are a business owner, HR professional or a recruiter, understanding these challenges can help you survive the pandemic, and even come out of the other side stronger and more equipped to handle future challenges.

At CareerPaths NW we pride ourselves in providing qualified candidates to leading companies all across the nation. If you are looking to make a hiring decision soon, contact us today and we can source qualified, professional candidates for you as soon as possible.

Developing an Elevator Pitch

Have you ever been in a situation where you had the opportunity to talk with a highly important person? Let’s say for example they’re employed in a company that you really want to work for, and one of the first things they say is tell me about yourself. Would you know how to respond?

You need an elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch is based on a premise where if you had only had 2-3 minutes to have a substantial conversation with someone, would you be able to? Here are some things that will help you build a great elevator pitch:

  • Create a positive first impression
  • Give a powerful and unique personal statement
  • Leave a positive lasting impression

Remember this is not an interview, you only have a few minutes, make sure you give the highlights that are of value to the person you are talking to.

How to answer what is your greatest weakness?

When an interviewer asks “What is your greatest weakness”, they want to find out:

  • Whether you have a healthy level of self-awareness
  • Whether you can be open and honest, particularly about shortcomings
  • Whether you pursue self-improvement and growth opportunities to combat these issues, as opposed to letting these weaknesses hold you back

Ultimately, you’ll want to use this question to demonstrate how you’ve used a weakness as motivation to learn a new skill or grow professionally. Everyone has weaknesses — your interviewer doesn’t expect you to be perfect.

However, it’s critical you avoid mentioning weaknesses that will prevent you from performing well in the role. For instance, if you’re applying for a accountant role, you don’t want to say, “I’m not very good at math and struggle with numbers.”

Alternatively, if you’re applying for a web content writer position with little necessity for math skills, you might admit, “I struggle with numbers. While math is not directly tied to my role as a writer, I believe it’s important I have a rudimentary understanding of Google Analytics, to ensure my work is performing well. To tackle this weakness, I’ve been taking online courses in data analytics.”

At all times express confidence in both your strengths as well as your ability to overcome your weaknesses.