Negotiating Wars

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You have a job offer in your hands. Congrats! Now comes the hard part. For many, the idea of negotiating to get what they want seems like an impossible task. However, you can negotiate a job offer and you should! You don’t want to miss out on a higher salary or better benefits because you were too intimidated to ask.

According to The New Yorker, Linda Babcock, of Carnegie Mellon University, did a survey of graduating professional students and found that only seven percent of women attempted to negotiate their initial offers, while fifty-seven percent of the men did so. In this modern age where women are taking on more power in the workplace, this has to change! Negotiating can be easy if you are asking for something reasonable and fair. Check out our tips on how to be a master negotiator:

Justify Your Requests: A company isn’t just going to raise your salary because you say you are worth it…you need to prove it. Always tell the story that goes along with it and prove that it is a justified request. (For example you deserve a 15% increase in your pay because you have more experience than they initially were looking for). If you can’t back it up, then you probably shouldn’t be asking!

Reinforce Your Interest: At this stage in the process, it is very important to show that you appreciate the offer and actually want to work with the company. If it looks like you’re negotiating to get better offers elsewhere or playing different companies against each other, a company is more likely to give up on you since they think they won’t get you in the end anyway. Be genuine about the fact that you really want this particular role.

– Seek Ways to “Increase the Size of the Pie” – Write something here about looking for win/wins – instead of a negotiation always being give and take, find things you can give that are “easy” but provide a high value to the company – e.g. starting a few weeks earlier or leveraging an existing relationship to help them fill another open position they have or something (I don’t know, think of ideas!)  I’m happy to re-read if you’d like!

Don’t Request the Impossible: Even if a company loves you, that doesn’t mean they can give you everything. Try to learn in the beginning where they might have flexibility. If they have a salary cap they can’t budge on, then don’t ask for a higher salary. Maybe ask to work from home certain days or for more vacation time instead.

Consider the Whole Offer: In this day and age, companies are offering much more than just money. Companies offer perks that are on a whole new level than a few years ago – gym memberships, free food, unlimited vacation, flexible hours, etc… For some people, this can make up for a lower base salary. Don’t just look at the salary when you’re negotiating! See if the company is offering anything else of value to you in the offer first.  Assign real value to those perks and fully consider them as part of the overall “package.”

Never Give an Ultimatum: At this point you haven’t proven anything to the company yet…they are hiring you on the belief that you will do well, but with relatively few data points.  Therefore, an ultimatum at this point will not work. You need to be open to what they will offer so give them a chance to come back with something better before demanding anything.

Ask What You Can Do for Them! Remember, negotiating is a “give and take proposition.” If you want something, then you should ask what you can do for them in return. This can go a long way toward a successful negotiation.

Here at the Treehouse, we negotiate for our candidates and clients daily! We know it is a precarious process and we always think full-disclosure is best on both sides. Honesty can go a long way toward everything working out for both parties in the end. Have you ever had to negotiate for a job? We would love to hear what techniques you used to successfully close the deal!


Workplace Cheer! (the appropriate way)

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Hard to believe it, but the holidays are here yet again! We know you’re in a whirlwind of shopping and decorating so why not take a breather and enjoy the holidays in the workplace? We spend so much of our time there that a little holiday cheer can go a long way! This can also be a great way to bring co-workers together and give people a break from the daily grind.

However, it is important to always keep it appropriate and professional. We have some tips on how to be festive at work without taking it too far!

– Holiday Cookie Tasting: Ask all employees to bring a batch of their favorite cookies to share with the office. The cookies can be either homemade or store bought (no judgment!). Make it even more fun by giving people a break from work to enjoy and playing some holiday tunes.

– Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest: This has become a well-known holiday party theme that is always fun! Why not give it a try at work? Choose a slower day and have all the employees come in wearing their ugliest holiday sweater. It will give employees the chance to express themselves and bring some laughter into the office.

– Trim the Office:  Even something as small as a few twinkling lights in the restroom or at the reception desk can lift employees’ spirits! Employers should encourage employees to decorate their doors and windows too. This gives everybody a chance to celebrate the holidays in their own way. You can even promote some friendly competition and give out awards to whoever decorates the best!

– Exchange Gifts (the easy way): Avoid the stress of buying co-workers individual gifts and hold a White Elephant Gift Exchange. Employees don’t have to worry about buying a gift for somebody they don’t know well and can bring something more general. Also, set a price limit so employees don’t have to worry about spending too much or too little. Employees can have fun with this and of course, everyone gets something!

With very little planning, the holiday season can be successfully celebrated in at work. Here at the Treehouse. we love to play (and, admittedly, sing) holiday music, decorate and have a fun holiday party with a surprise destination! It is important to take “work” out of the equation sometimes in order to have a more productive office the rest of the time!

How does your office celebrate this great time of year? We would love to hear some great new ideas!

Corporate Wellness is a No-Brainer

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Spending eight hours a day at a desk isn’t the most effective route to wellness. Plus, who really wants to hit the gym after a stressful day at work? In our busy “chained to our desk” lives, sometimes wellness just isn’t our priority…even though it might be the most important thing we can do.

Luckily, some smart minds have come together and created the institution of “corporate wellness.” These are programs implemented in the workplace designed to nurture wellness in employees during the workday. According to the Harvard Business Review, employees who participate in corporate wellness programs have a higher rate of productivity, sharper focus and are more likely to stay with the company.

The benefits for employers are huge: healthy employees cost the company less. It has been proven that typically every dollar invested in a wellness program yields about $6 in healthcare savings. Add this to the increased productivity and lower turnover rates – corporate wellness initiatives are a no-brainer.

Even small companies without the budget to invest in a widespread corporate wellness program have the option to implement small things to promote wellness at work. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

– Promote Preventative Care: Think about flu season. Why risk employees being out for a week after coming down with the flu? Instead, encourage and maybe even fund vaccinations for employees. You could even bring an onsite vaccination clinic to the workplace!

– Walking Meetings: Encourage managers to schedule meetings with a little movement. Employees can take a stroll around the block while discussing important business topics. This is still productive but will also get employees outside for at least some of their day.

– Participate in Community Events: You can encourage employees to team up and participate in charity walks or runs in the community together. You can even give them time during the workday to meet and plan their efforts as an incentive.

– Healthy Luncheon: Have a nutritionist come in and provide a healthy lunch for employees. The employees get a free lunch and can learn great trips on how to stick to healthy lunches going forward.

Be MindfulCorporate wellness includes mental wellness. Give employees breaks during the workday to recharge. You could even bring in a yoga instructor to teach a lunchtime session and give tips on how to “breathe through stress” in the workplace.

– Doctor Visits: Have a doctor come in one day and give employees the chance to schedule a routine check-up without having to take off of work. This is a growing trend that has typically been very successful and could reduce medical costs in the long run.

Here at Treehouse Partners, we always try to make wellness a priority. We often ride bikes or walk to lunch and we always let employees take an hour here or there to attend a fitness class or run to the gym. We also try to keep the windows opened and the sun streaming into the Treehouse – because we all know sunshine always makes you feel better!

We would love to hear how you are promoting wellness in the workplace! Let us know programs your company has implemented or if you have an idea for a great program.



Resilience: An Essential Element of Success

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What makes an individual successful? Intelligence? Networking skills? Since the 2000’s, multiple articles have published studies based upon this timeless question.  Many articles, such as this one by Forbes and this one from Harvard Business Review, identify one leading factor: resilience.

What is resilience?

Unfortunate surprises and the resulting hardships are inevitable in both your personal and professional lives. One aspect of resilience is the ability to remain calm in the face of trouble and being able to overcome difficulties and keep going. Resilience is the virtue that enables you to move past hardship and become better for it.

Resilient people are able to incorporate the lessons learned during these difficult experiences into their livesin a way that enables them to grow and become more successful.

What are the components of resilience?

According to multiple studies, linked here, there are three parts of resilience.

–        Hardiness:  This trait is described as being able to work under duress.  This involves staying calm and having the ability to remain focused and think clearly.

–        Resourcefulness:  There are endless ways to get help and advice; this is the ability to utilize these sources to get help when needed.

–        Optimism:  Psychologically, an individual who is optimistic is able to remain positive and deal with negative feelings.

How do you develop resilience when facing adversity?

Handling calamity in the moment is also a method of growth, and there are 8 steps this TIME article suggests you can take to better handle these events:

  1. Perceive and Believe: Recognizing and acknowledging the situation right away is important in order to deal with it more swiftly.
  2. Manage Your Emotions: This aligns with the hardiness component; try to remain level-headed.
  3. Recognize the Time to Quit: For example, if a company announces a round of lay-offs and you were not in an area of your expertise or passion, you should start searching for another job aligned with your strengths.
  4. Believe in Yourself: This is related to optimism and the belief that you can overcome any challenge.
  5. Prepare: This is related to the resourcefulness aspect of resilience where you are constantly making sure that you think creatively when facing challenges and problems, leveraging all of the resources you have at your disposal.
  6. Stay Busy: Constantly preparing and moving towards your goals is also another way to stay calm.
  7. Make it Fun: Making the situation a game with smaller challenges/milestones can improve chances of staying optimistic.
  8. Get Help and Give Help:  Resilient individuals never shy away from asking for assistance when facing adversity and do not hesitate from helping others, giving them a sense of purpose.

Do you consider yourself resilient?  Have you observed others in your life who are?  What do they have in common?

To read more on these topics, there are additional articles listed below:


Intern Search Success

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Here at Treehouse Partners we have always had a great internship program. If leveraged correctly, such a program can be highly beneficial for both an organization and the students. Our philosophy has been to take on college students looking for experience, teach them real-world skills, and then let them go on to pursue their future aspirations with a little more knowledge under their belt… in the process, we get some great administrative support and a unique perspective for the semester.

Hiring an intern can be a challenging process. Since many applicants have never worked in an office before, they have no idea what type of environment they will thrive the best in. However, there are factors you can consider when interviewing to increase your chances of finding the perfect match.

Focus on skills, not experience: Let’s face it, your pool of candidates may not have much experience relevant to your company. Luckily, that does not mean a great intern is out of reach. Often it is easier to mold a hard-working, self-starter into the perfect intern than to just hire someone who seems to have relevant experience.

For our Treehouse Partners internship, we take a little more time to evaluate the skills the candidate has acquired from their leadership positions or club involvements instead of fixating on recruiting experience. If they have recruiting experience, great! If not, we don’t see it as a deal breaker.

Consider the timing: We cycle through interns 3 times a year –Fall, Spring, and Summer – to be in line with the colleges’ academic calendar. If you are hiring for the Spring semester – typically a January start – start your hiring process at least three months beforehand. If you wait too late to start your search, all the best candidates will already have found an internship.

Don’t be set on one candidate: As with any other position, intern candidates are always actively recruiting, so don’t be surprised if top tier students drop out of your intern search. If you think you have found your perfect candidate, make sure to ask if they are talking to other companies. If they are uncomfortable answering, they can say so. If they answer, you’ll be able to gauge how likely a candidate is to accepting a position with your company.

Other best practices:

–       We have had much better luck with paid interns vs. those who are receiving academic credit

–       Develop a list of tasks and projects your interns can work on well in advance of their first day (this will minimize the amount of time you need to spend micromanaging once they are on board)

–       Assign a talented employee who would like to gain management experience to manage each intern… this allows for them to gain some additional skills while freeing up more senior-level employees from the day-to-day management.

–       Give the interns exposure to as many aspects of the company/job as possible (have them sit in on meetings and take notes, allow them to participate in brainstorming and collaboration sessions, give them access to as many other employees as possible) – remember, an internship program is as much about you giving back as it is you getting a great part-time employee

–       Stay in touch with former interns… who knows?  Maybe they will be your next great permanent hire!

These are our tried-and-true methods of looking for an intern. We hope they work as well for you as they do for us. If you have done something different, we’d love to hear about it.

We also found a Forbes article that offers three great questions you should consider before starting your intern search. Good luck finding the perfect candidate for your company!

Read the article here:

– Written by guest blogger, Brittney Lo

8 Danger Signs When Interviewing New Employees

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As recruiters, we have seen all of the faux pas a candidate could possibly make when interviewing for a new role. It is always disappointing when a perfect candidate makes just a few small mistakes that ultimately lead to them being passed over for the role. We have put together a list of the biggest red flags a hiring manager should look for before hiring a new employee. Remember these aren’t always cut and dry but we’ve found all of these mistakes to be a warning sign for bigger issues:

Typos: Even the smallest typo can take a candidate out of consideration for a role. Be sure to look out for errors on their resume – but also at their LinkedIn profile and any other professional documents they share with you. Typos and grammatical errors show a lack of attention to detail. A resume is where somebody is representing themselves in the very best light – and if it isn’t perfect, it might represent how they approach all of their work.

– Short Work Tenures: If a candidate’s last few roles have all been less than a year without a very clear story, that can be a big red flag. It is important for the candidate to show a commitment to their career and “job-hopping” can show a tendency to jump ship when the going gets tough. You don’t want to put all of the work that goes into hiring somebody just to have them leave before they can really make an impact.

Interview Etiquette: Here at Treehouse Partners, we use Skype in order to meet candidates and conduct interviews in a more time-efficient manner. No matter what type of interview format your company uses, make sure the candidate always conducts it at the highest level of professionalism. A video interview might seem less formal than in-person but it shouldn’t be treated that way. If it is a phone interview, check to see if they are in a quiet place and that they took the time to give you the highest level of attention. If it is a video interview, check for professional dress and an appropriate background.

Flexibility on Interview Method: A request for a video conversation will take more effort than a simple phone call. We consistently have candidates ask right away if we can “just have a phone call instead.” For us, this represents a low level of commitment to the role. Push the candidate in the beginning to see how dedicated they are to the interview process. If they aren’t willing to bend to your requests than they probably aren’t too serious about the opportunity.

Not Having a Real Weakness: The dreaded “what is your biggest weakness” question is a standard in most interviews. Candidates might think they are cheating the system by claiming they are a perfectionist or they just work too hard – but that isn’t what you should want to hear. Everybody has a weakness of some sort and you should never turn down somebody for a role because they are honest about what they need to work on. Instead, this is a great sign that the candidate cares about their performance and wants to be better!

Being “too” persistent: If a candidate is persistent about a role that isn’t always bad. However, there is a fine line! The appropriate follow-up is a thank you e-mail after your interview and perhaps a follow-up message 3-5 days later to check on the status of the role. If a candidate is calling the company right from the beginning and checking on the status of their resume, this is typically a sign that the candidate doesn’t have patience or enough respect for your time (or they are desperate for a job, which can be a flag unto itself!)

Asking about Salary: Salary is, of course, an important consideration for any candidate when discussing a new role…but there is a time and a place to ask. When salary is one of the first questions a candidate asks, that is an instant red flag that the candidate isn’t so much interested in the opportunity as they are the salary that comes with it. Look for a candidate that doesn’t mention salary until you ask about it; that is a great sign that they are more excited about your company and the role than the potential “package”.

– Form Cover Letters: A cover letter is a great way to demonstrate interest in your specific role. If a candidate sends a “form cover letter” that they have obviously sent to multiple hiring managers and just changed the title, this is a sign they are just applying to whatever role comes across their computer screen without much thought for what they are applying for. A well-written and job-specific cover letter is a promising sign that the candidate has done their research and is actually interested in your opportunity.

Anybody who has interviewed candidates for a role has had to pass on certain candidates for one reason or another. We would love to hear which signs are a no-go for you when hiring employees! In the meantime, we hope these danger signs can give some insight and help you to find your perfect candidate!

The Likeability Factor

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The Likeability Factor

Being a likeable person isn’t just beneficial in your personal life; it will also help you to succeed in business. In Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich,” he explains how to have a “million dollar personality” by telling the story of steel magnate Charles Schwab and how his great personality took him for a day laborer to an executive with a $75,000 salary and frequent million-dollar bonuses (unheard of at that time)!

Many people think that being likeable is something that just comes naturally to some. However, being likeable is under your control and is a matter of emotional intelligence (EQ). In a study conducted at UCLA the top-rated adjectives leading to likeability were sincerity, transparency, and a capacity for understanding. These describe people who are skilled in the social side of emotional intelligence.

Likeability in the recruiting industry is key on both sides. As a recruiter we must be likeable in order to establish trust with a candidate. It is very important to come off as a genuine person since you are essentially guiding somebody in their career! Of course, on the candidate side likeability is a must as well. The candidate must be friendly and easy to talk to in order to move on in the interview process.

Luckily, we can all learn how to embrace our emotional intelligence and be more likeable. A new article from Forbes identifies and explores 13 key behaviors that likeable people engage in that makes them so likeable. You’d be surprised how easy it is!

Read the article here:

We would love to hear your thoughts! How do you think you can apply these behaviors into your own life – either personally or professionally?


Communication for the Modern Business

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It has been proven time and again that communication is key to a successful business and culture.  According to Six Sigma Online, “good communication skills enhance the business process as a whole.” When a company has various departments that need to come together with a common goal, communication is the only way to bring the process together… especially when your team may be working virtually or from different offices! Luckily, technology is making this easier than ever. With the new year comes more communication tools than ever to allow everybody to stay on the same page! We’ve listed some of the best here… let us know if you know of others that should be on our radar!:

–          Yammer: Used by over 200,000 companies worldwide Yammer is a private social network that helps companies to share information across teams and organize projects. It has a variety of features including allowing employees to upload their pictures and areas of expertise. Employees can share documents, create notes and make social content.

Find out more:

–          HipChat: This is a great team chatting tool that allows employees to chat with groups or privately while also sharing documents and photos. It even has video calling and screen sharing. It can be used on any device as well. It allows employees to essentially work next to each other, no matter where they are located.

Find out more:

–          Asana: Asana is a project management tool that allows communication and collaboration without email. It puts conversations and tasks in one place and it is all actionable and tied to the next task. It has roadmap planning to categorize goals, sprint planning to keep everybody on the same page and then detailed project planning.

Find out more:

–          Trello: Similar to Asana, this is a great project management tool allowing employees to see every aspect of a project all in one place at one time. Best part – it’s free! It uses virtual cards that you can drag and drop to show progress. You can also drag the cards to employee’s profiles to assign them the task. Trello will adapt to your project, team, and workflow.

Find out more:

–          Spark: A simple tool that allows employees to communicate each other via instant message. It is faster and more secure than big IM programs like Yahoo! Messenger. It has a great interface which emoticons and color coding to distinguish between statuses. Plus, it encourages comradery among employees allowing them to be connected and converse no matter where they are in the office.

Find out more:

What program does your company use and do you think it contributes to your success? Here at Treehouse, we keep it old school with good old Google Chat. However, as we grow we look forward to incorporating one of these great programs into our daily routine!

How to Rejoin the Workforce

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There are an unlimited number of reasons why you might decide to step off the career track. It could be for maternity leave, family issues, or just a well-needed break from the daily grind. Often a short break might turn into multiple years and suddenly you are faced with the daunting task of stepping back into the workforce even though much has changed.

After stepping back from the day-to-day of your job you might realize your goals have changed or your prior experience is less relevant now. All of this adds up to a stressful situation where you need to reevaluate your career goals and desires and then actually take that huge leap of starting again (from closer to scratch than you may like).

Whether the break has been 6 months or 15 years, it will lead to many of the same feelings. Here are our 5 Treehouse Tips for an easy transition back to work:

Analyze your Decision: iRelaunch, a company that runs virtual coaching sessions for people ready to re-enter the workforce after a break, says the first step is to analyze your decision. This is your chance to make your official decision to return to work and evaluate why you want to, what your goals are, and what kind of support you have around you.  During this process, you’ve got to speak with friends and family members who know you well to get a sense for what types of opportunities you should consider.  Ask those you trust to tell you honestly what they view as your strengths and look for positions that align with those strengths.

Find your Rockstar Confidence: After not working for awhile, you might lose your faith in your skills as a professional. When you are doing other things it is hard to remember how great you were at your job. It is important to find that professional strength again before you start interviewing.  Believe it or not, freshening up your wardrobe may help as well.  We recently placed a candidate who hadn’t interviewed for a job in nearly 8 year… part of the preparation advise we gave her was to buy a new “power suit” for the interview – it worked!  Think back to how you felt when you were doing a great job at work and plug back into those feelings!

– Be realistic: While confidence is key, it’s also important to be realistic about your expectations for this next stage.  It is unlikely that you will find your next job overnight and making a drastic career shift with limited recent work experience to justify the shift will be difficult.  For example, we had a candidate apply to a graphic design job once who indicated that her love for and proficiency at scrapbooking was her primary motivator for applying… however, all of her professional experience had been as an accountant!  Focus on the professional skills you already have and can leverage to help a company’s bottom line vs. exclusively focusing on roles you think you would like.

Freshen up your skillset: Whether you’re looking to re-enter into the same functional area, or making a shift, it will be important for you to have some recent and relevant professional experiences.  These can be obtained in a variety of ways – e.g. through volunteering, helping out a friend’s small business, or taking a class.  It’s important to demonstrate your ability to pick up new skills and, who know, the network you build in the process could lead you to your next big role!

Update your Resume: Although this is an obvious one, it can be a little more complicated after an extended break. Although in an interview you will have a chance to explain why you have had a long break and employers will understand, the resume will actually be the first thing the employer sees. Focus on your skills and successes rather than your dates of employment. This way your break from the workplace won’t be the first impression.

Be bold! In order to get that first interview, you might have to put yourself out there again. Sending your resume out may not be enough. Make phone calls, network with extreme enthusiasm, attend conferences and make sure you are taking every opportunity that may lead to your next dream job.

Take your interview to the next level: Since a hiring manager will be considering you over applicants who haven’t been out of the workforce, you need to make sure you stand out. Do as much research as possible on the company and know the background of everybody you are interviewing with. Make sure to not focus on why you took a break – instead talk about your achievements and how you could add to the organization.

Remember, take your time to take this next step of your career down a path you really want! Don’t just accept the first job you receive out of eagerness to start again. This is a great time to evaluate what you really want out of your career and make decisions accordingly.

Good luck!


Is Your Resume Missing Something?

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A hiring manager will sometimes receive hundreds of resumes for one job posting. Your resume might very well be missed just because of the sheer volume of information a hiring manager has to go through in order to identify candidates. How do you stand out from the crowd? One great option is to include an impactful executive summary on your resume.

An executive summary gives you the chance to describe yourself, your skills and experience, and what you can bring to that specific opportunity – right on the top of the page. While the hiring manager will have to scroll through whole resumes just to find out where people have worked and what they can offer, an executive summary allows you to grab their attention right away.

Of course, since this will be a first impression, it is important to grab their attention in the right way. Essentially, an executive summary is almost like a “written elevator speech.” It might not seem like a sales pitch, but you actually are selling yourself to the company. Here are some Treehouse Tips for the best way to approach your executive summary.

–          A typical question in an interview is “Tell me about yourself.”  This paragraph gives you a chance to answer that question from the very beginning.  Put information into your summary that you would say in an interview in response to that question.

–          Do not write more than 3-4 lines of text! You might want to include everything but only put in what is necessary. If it is longer than that a hiring manager won’t take the time to read everything and might miss the most important parts.

–          Grab their attention! Make sure your first statement is a clear and concise overall statement on where you are in your career. Also, make sure it pertains to the job you are applying for. For example, if the job requires an MBA make sure to state that you have an MBA in the first sentence.  Example:  “Senior Business Manager with an MBA, offering…”

–          Avoid referring to yourself in the third person or using “I” – Instead, structure your summary with an implied subject. Example:  “Account Executive with a strong track record of performance…” instead of “I am an Account Executive with a strong track record of performance…”

–          Think of 3-4 things that have defined your professional career and then think of what you truly enjoy in your career. Combine this information in your summary. If you are great at something, but don’t enjoy it, then don’t put it in there. You are giving the hiring manager an idea of what you want to do every day and what you are capable of doing. Lastly, make sure to align your summary with the job requirements. Include a sentence on how your skills transfer to this specific job and change this sentence for each job you are applying for.

–          Be as specific and measurable as possible in your achievements. If you increased sales, then list by what percentage you did so. This shows that you actually did what you are saying and can prove it with numbers.

Remember, this should be easy! You are just being honest about where you are in your career and what you would like to offer and do in your next role. The hard part is summarizing it into just a few sentences and making sure your message comes across. Here at Treehouse Partners, we love when candidates have a great executive summary because it allows us to instantly know who the candidate is. Plus, it gives us a simple way to present them to our clients.

Do you use an executive summary now? If so, has it helped you in job searches? Be sure to check out the links below for some great examples of executive summaries. This should help get you started!