Monthly Archives: March 2013

What questions should YOU ask at the job interview?

We all know to prepare for the questions prospective employers are going to ask us during the interview, but what questions should you prepare to ask them?  Remember a good fit has to work both ways, so you want to ensure the company will provide you with the values, culture and future opportunities you’re looking for.


Any suggestions as to what else you could ask?

How to exude confidence

There is a saying “fake it until you make it” and while you may think this has a negative connotation, the theory is, even if you don’t feel comfortable, if you act like you are, it will eventually become natural.  Here are some key points on exuding confidence at work.  These items are also very applicable when interacting with prospective employers or recruiters.


Keep practicing!

The Inside Scoop: What Recruiters look for on your job application

Image converted using ifftoany

In most fields, it’s an employers’ market.  With hundreds of resumes pouring in for a single opening, recruiters often begin their review in weed-out mode.  In this competitive market, it’s more important than ever for job seekers to understand what recruiters are looking for and adapt.   When preparing your resume and communicating with a recruiter, keep these five issues in mind—because the recruiter will be.

·         Tailor your resume to a specific job:  With the high volume of resumes passing through a recruiter’s inbox, generic isn’t going to get you noticed.  Read the job description carefully and create a resume that focuses on your most relevant skills and experience.  And, because many recruiters use software to scan for specific skills and experience, tailor your language to the posting as well.

·         Narrow your focus: On a related note, recruiters are often wary of an applicant whose experience is too broad-based.  While this means a wide range of skills, it may also send the message that you don’t know what you want to do and may not be committed to the position you’re seeking.  When preparing a job-specific resume, stay focused—recruiters generally aren’t looking for renaissance men.

·         Write a specific cover letter for each job:  Just like tailoring your resume, a personalized cover letter will help protect you from the initial weed-out.  Aside from demonstrating that you haven’t just mass-emailed your resume as many job seekers do, a good cover letter may save you from the first-round weed-out by closing an apparent gap in skills or experience, explaining a period of unemployment or describing why you’re interested in a particular position.

·         Make sure your resume and reference information are up to date: Whether out of laziness or an attempt to blur unemployment dates, many applicants fail to update resumes—especially with termination dates.  Don’t let a recruiter learn that you’re no longer employed from someone else, or surprise her by revealing information in an interview that conflicts with your resume.

·         Don’t make work for the recruiter: It may sound harsh or even unreasonable to suggest that if the recruiter has to revisit an attachment to get your contact information or convert a file to a different format in order to read it, you’re likely to get passed over.  However, with the volume of resumes recruiters receive, it’s a practical reality.  They’re busy and moving fast, and if you haven’t made it easy for them chances are that they’ll just keep moving…on to the next applicant.

It’s a tough market out there, but people are getting hired every day.  There are several key factors which determine whether or not you get an interview, and some differ depending on the position or the recruiter.  However, the tips above will give you a strong leg up as you let recruiters know that you’re invested in a particular job and willing to work to set yourself apart from the large pool of job seekers in competition with you.

A day in the life of the jobseeker: How to make finding work your day job

Roll up Sleeves

Most job seekers have heard this saying at least once: When looking for a job, you need to make your job search your full-time occupation. This is the truth. Those who focus their full-time efforts on finding a job have a higher chance of actually landing one. How do you do that?

How they approach the day makes all the difference in the life of active job seekers.

Most business offices are open between 8am and 5pm, no matter what industry you work in. While you may be looking for a job that can have different hours, the HR department and most managers keep regular weekday hours. They are the ones you need to mimic during your job search. So, your job seeking workday is from 8 to 5 now. That means you get up, get dressed, and have breakfast before arriving at your desk at 8 to start job hunting.

For days when you do not have an interview, use these tasks to organize your day:

  • Complete any unfinished business from the day before. Write thank you notes for interviews or information meetings you had. Follow-up on any phone calls you were unable to return.
  • Search for new job openings.  You should already have accounts on common posting websites like, or First thing in the morning, look through the new job openings and make note of any that fit your skills and career goals.
  • Besides looking for new job openings on the sites you already look through, look for new job posting sites. Most urban and suburban areas have their own local job web sites.  Also, local newspapers and other publications offer job listings. Add these to your daily list as well.  Check the direct websites of any companies you are targetting and look for postings directly on their sites.
  • If you received any leads or referrals from friends and former co-workers, you need to follow-up on them as soon as possible. Be sure to send a thank you note to the person who gave you the lead.
  • Do basic homework on any job opening or lead you get. Get to know a bit about the company and assess how you meet their requirements and embody their values.
  • Prepare resumes and cover letters for all openings that show promise. Follow the guidelines for submission carefully. Get those submissions done as soon as possible.
  • Make contact with one or two professionals in your industry and ask for an information interview.
  • Follow-up on any hits you get on your Linked-In profile and eResumeTM.
  • If you have an interview coming up, do your homework. That means researching the company, preparing strategic answers to questions, and preparing your interview clothing.
  • Study news in your industry to keep up to date. Job seekers need to stay relevant. You can get alerts through Google or other news feeds. This news can give you hints of potential job openings at noted companies as well. If your industry has magazines or trade journals, try to keep a subscription if the budget allows or check any free content online.
  • Look for classes online or at your local college / post secondary school that will help keep your skills up to date.  Industry workshops and certification courses can help. These classes can be in any relevant topic: software, soft skills, safety standards, or industry-specific.
  • Before the end your day, check the job posting boards again. If there are new listings, those are your first priority the next morning.
  • The last thing for job seekers to do is plan the next day.

At the end of your day, straighten out your work area and walk away. Organizing your day and going at it full-time is very important in your job search. But, taking time during the evening to relax will give you the energy to start over tomorrow.