Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cover Letters Resumes And The Job Hunter What's It All About

Any good job hunter needs a resume package. The cover letter and resume always go together and do the same basic thing in slightly different ways. A job hunter without both of them will probably not get very far in the search for a good career position. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what these crucial documents should do for you. The first part, the cover letter, is a short one page letter consisting of three or four paragraphs. It serves as an introduction to the resume. It is the part that will always be seen by the gatekeeper.

The second part is the resume itself. Many job hunters make the mistake of thinking they can just leave a resume without a cover letter. That is like putting on a suit and tie, but forgetting the shirt or the pants. They are a package and they go together.

The resume itself may be in either functional or chronological format. The functional format concentrates on skills. The chronological format concentrates on employment listings. The most effective resumes use elements of both formats to create a combination resume that gets results. It should be laid out in a graphically appealing style, with adequate use of white space, bullet points to draw attention to important parts, and conservative fonts used. While you will occasionally bold face or italicize a font to draw attention to a point or break up a large section of type, changing fonts often makes it hard to read, so stick with one basic font. Also never go smaller than ten point type, and if possible stick with twelve or eleven point. Those sizes are easier to read. If your cover letter and resume are in a small type and hard to read, they simply will not be read, and will not help you.

Many job seekers wonder how they should present the resume package to the decision maker. There are several acceptable methods. If mailing it, use a large nine by twelve white envelope to avoid folding your materials. The white envelopes look nicer than the tan manila commonly used in business. Also large envelopes are generally the first thing people open when they get their mail. If not the first then they may save the large envelope for last. Since people tend to remember the first and the last – the alpha and the omega – while forgetting much of what is in the middle, either first or last is a good thing.

If you are hand delivering your documents stop by an office supply shop and pick up a clear plastic folder with a pressure binder spine and place your cover letter and resume in it. It makes a great presentation and will complement it perfectly. Use these tools well and you are on your way.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Common Job Interview Questions And Answers

In preparing for a job interview it is important to list and plan your answers ahead of time so that you don’t panic when the time comes. Jotting down some of the possible questions and then figuring out the best answer for each will help to boost your confidence. 

There are ten interview questions that often times are the downfall of job seekers, especially if they are caught off guard. These top ten questions are ideal to be used when practicing for a job interview. The top ten questions are:

What are your weaknesses?

The best way to answer this question is to minimize your weakness and emphasize on your strengths. Mention professional traits that you deem as your weakness rather than concentrating on negative personal qualities. Likewise, it would be best to mention that you are doing something to improve yourself professionally in order to correct your weakness.

Why should we hire you?

This is another overwhelming question which can make any interviewee panic. An ideal way to handle this question is to start with summarizing your working experiences which may be important to the company. Remember be confident and show that you really are looking forward to becoming a part of the company.

Why do you want to work in our company?

The purpose of the interviewer for asking such a question is to make certain that you as the applicant are really interested in the job and not just simply applying because there is a job opening. As an applicant you have to convince the interviewer that you are serious and very much interested in the job you are applying for.

What are your goals? Or where do you see yourself five years from now?

It is better to answer this question with reference to short-term and intermediate goals rather than talking about some distant future. It is also advised to involve the company in discussing your professional goals. For instance, say that you see yourself as becoming a part of the company and helping it in achieving it goals and missions. Most interviewers asked this type of question to gain insight on the real motive of an applicant since there are some applicants who will just make a company their training ground and then after they have gained some experience leave to search for another job.

Why did you leave or why are you leaving your current job?

This is another question used to weigh the professionalism as well as the ability of an applicant to stay on a job. As an applicant it is not nice to say anything negative about your current or previous employer since it may reflect a badly on you. This will also create a “big question” in the mind of the interviewer why you are making such discriminatory remarks regarding your previous job. To prevent falling into this trap just say that you are looking for additional opportunities to enhance further your professional knowledge.

When were you most satisfied in your job?

Again, be very careful in answering this type of question since this will reflect a lot about you as a potential employee. A not so convincing answer may cause you to lose the chance of getting that job you want. Try to answer this question without any prejudice to your previous job, and concentrate more on discussing things that motivate you professionally. This will create the impression that you are a good employee since you refrain from creating any bad remarks regarding you previous job plus this will provide your future employer with ideas on how to motivate their employees.

What can you do for us that other candidates cannot offer?

Some applicants usually go blank when asked this question for fear that they may answer inadequately. Be confident and concentrate on discussing your positive traits and work qualifications that you deem as important and relevant to the job you are applying for.

What three positive things would your last boss say about you?

Simply tell them of your positive traits both as a person and as an employee which are noticed not only by your previous employer but likewise by your co-employees. Think of positive remarks that your previous boss may have told you and read through any performance related assessments you may have had for inspiration.

How much salary are you seeking? Or how much salary are you expecting?

When an interviewer asks you your salary requirements, it usually means they like you and considering hiring you to become a part of their company.

Some employers would even ask your salary history from your previous jobs. This will provide them with an idea of how much you would consider asking from them. A safe way of answering such a question is to ask for a salary that is similar or close to what you is previously receiving. Or simply tell them that you are willing to receive any amount that is rightfully commensurate to the position or the job you’re applying for.

If you were an animal, what can of animal would you be?

This question is geared more on knowing the personality that you have. Try to think of animals that are not harmful but rather exhibits good qualities that match with the type of position you are applying for.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Career Planning In Today’s Turbulent Times

What you were taught in school no longer applies to the job searching skills needed in today’s market. The rules have changed…from the resume through the interview. Don’t be caught with an “objective statement” on your resume, or asking the interviewer questions you should have researched on the web on your own. Here are some hot tips for being a savvy career planner:

1) Identify your top competencies, strengths, demonstration situations and high point stories – Different behaviors for different jobs are needed. Today there are sophisticated career planning assessments on the market to help you identify your ideal work environment. It is important for you to become very familiar with your strongest skills. Then, whether it is a resume, a job application, or a job interview, you’ll be able to articulate them succinctly and professionally.
2) Identify your competitive advantage – the single most important job search skill is your ability to communicate what you can do for a company! When the hiring manager believes that you can help solve the type of problems they face, you dramatically increase your chances of being offered the job. The fact is, companies will hire someone when they believe that the person will bring more value than they cost.

3) Selling yourself using high point stories and demonstrating your skills through examples – Your accomplishments or achievements can be identified in your demonstration situations. Using accomplishments in your letters, resumes and interviews gives a convincing picture of you in action. Employers today want do-ers. Your high point story should illustrate a contribution that you made to something that had a positive outcome.

Effective Resume Writing

Creating an effective resume is a crucial step in the career planning process. Most job seekers rush into creating a resume before they fully understand their product (themselves). A resume advertises you – it sells ability, experience, potential benefits and value. It stimulates the interest of prospective employers to find out more about you and invite you to an interview. A common myth is that a good resume will get you a job. The reality is, however, that a resume will at best interest the reader enough to want to meet you. Here are some helpful tips on writing an effective resume: