When You Should Decline A Job Offer




In a perfect world, you apply for the job of your dreams, get a job offer that’s $5K more than you expected, realize your co-workers are going to be your new BFFs, and find out the company vacation package includes a time-share in St. Bart’s for employees to use.

Unfortunately, that’s not always how it works. Sometimes the job offer isn’t right for you, and if that case it’s better to say decline than accept, even in this tough economy. Taking a position that’s ultimately not a good fit can stress you out, hurt your resume and network if you don’t stay very long, and keep you from finding the job you’re really meant to have.

So how do you know when to say yes to a job offer and when to say no? Check out the job tips below.

Decline If the Money Isn’t Right

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but especially in a down economy, you’d be surprised at how many people accept job offers that don’t come close to meeting their needs. If you’re really desperate for a job, you might be tempted to say, “Sure, I’ll find a way to deal with $15K less than I’m accustomed to making.”

The problem here is that it’s easy to become resentful of your new employer if you don’t feel you’re getting what you’re worth, which can eventually affect your morale and performance. (Not to mention it’s hard to perform well at work if you’re stressed about money all the time.) If the offer is lower than you expected, try negotiating for another number that’s more doable, more vacation time, flex time, etc. If your potential employer isn’t willing to negotiate, it’s time to just say no to the job offer.

Decline If You Don’t Actually Want to Do the Job

The point of a job interview isn’t just to see if the company likes you, it’s to also see if you like the company and the job. Every now and then, you’ll apply for a position you assume will have one set of responsibilities from the job description, and then during the interview process it’s clear the company’s expectations are totally different.

If this happens to you, and you’re not comfortable with the hours, duties, or expectations the hiring manager has for the open position, say no to the job offer. Just because it originally sounded like something you might want doesn’t mean it is – and that’s what the interview process is all about.

Decline If You Don’t Fit With the Company Culture

Maybe the job sounds great and the offer is fantastic. But you’re looking for a business casual, flexible work environment, and your potential employer is more of a ties-and-jacket kind of place. Or maybe you firmly believe in work/life balance, and your new boss is expecting you to start at 60 hours per week.

If this happens, you should seriously consider saying no to the job offer. Company culture is a huge part of your satisfaction levels; at the end of the day, if you don’t fit with the culture, you’re not going to be happy. And that could mean you’re back out on the job market sooner than you planned.

The morale of the story is that if you can’t go into a job feeling good about the package, position, and company culture, you probably won’t last very long. And why waste your time, or anyone else’s, when the job that’s really perfect for you is out there?

Have you ever said no to a job offer? Let us know in the comments below!

Doostang thanks our friends at myFootpath for this post!

About the Author:  Noël Rozny is Web Editor & Content Manager at myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages.


7 Ways to Improve Your Resume During Unemployment


If you’re unemployed and worried about dust collecting on your resume, there’s no need to panic.

According to CareerBuilder, 85 percent of employers said they’re more understanding about post-recession employment gaps. Whether it’s been six weeks or six months since your last job, it’s important not to stress about the space in your resume. There are endless opportunities to help you fill in any gaps due to unemployment — you just have to know where to look.

But keep in mind that just because employers are more understanding about unemployment doesn’t mean you automatically receive a free pass. It’s up to you to be proactive during your unemployment to gain experience and improve your skills. If you want to quickly land a job, it’s essential to develop your skills and gain experience to compensate for the time you had off from work.

If you’re unemployed and want to strengthen your resume, here are some tips to help you fill in the gaps:

1. Take a class or attend a workshop.

One thing job seekers don’t realize is that their career is more than just having a job — it’s about being a lifelong learner, too. If you’re looking to brush up on your skills or learn a new skill that’s in-demand, this is a great time to take advantage of the opportunity to enroll in a class or workshop. Your skills require constant development as you advance in your career. As you search for classes and workshops, try to enroll in those which will provide you with the most up-to-date training. This will be a sure-fire way to catch the attention of employers by adding an in-demand skill to your resume. Plus, you’ll be able to keep your skills fresh so that when you return to work, it doesn’t feel like you missed a beat.

2. Consider freelance or contract work.

There’s no better way to improve your resume than gaining tangible experience. Freelance and contract work is a great opportunity; you can build your resume and earn a little income at the same time. According to a survey by Intuit, more than 40 percent of the workforce will be freelancing by 2020. Whether you choose to use freelancing or contract work to fill in the gaps, it’s a great way to utilize your time as you figure out your career path. Employers will also be impressed that you took the initiative to continue gaining experience during your unemployment.

3. Polish up your personal brand.

While you’ll be spending the majority of your unemployment searching for jobs, you also need to make sure your online presence is a reflection of your resume. Whether you spend time learning new skills, taking classes, or freelancing, find opportunities to boost your resume and personal brand. Sometimes, it can be difficult to stay motivated when labeled as “unemployed.” But if you take the time to ensure your online presence is consistent with your resume, you’ll be more likely to get yourself noticed by employers.

4. Volunteer.

Another powerful way to strengthen your resume is to do volunteer work. Never underestimate the power of volunteering — it gives you the opportunity to learn new skills, gain accomplishment stories, and give back to your community. When employers see volunteer experience on a resume, it tells them a candidate is compassionate, driven, and enthusiastic. As you gain volunteer experience, take note of your accomplishments and responsibilities. This will help you quantify the experience section on your resume and give employers a chance to see how you can make a difference.

5. Make industry connections.

Believe it or not, networking can be a great way to help you improve your resume during unemployment. Research shows that 40 percent of job seekers credited a referral for their current jobs. Not only will you make connections that could lead to jobs, but you can also connect with professionals who could serve as a mentor. It’s always a good to have a friend or colleague who can review your resume and give you some pointers. This is especially true if you can make a connection with someone in your field — they can provide accurate advice on improving your resume to make you irresistible to employers.

6. Start a business.

If you really want to strengthen your skill set, consider opening your own business. Although starting a business is a fairly large commitment and investment, it will definitely pay off during your unemployment. Starting a business demonstrates leadership and initiative, which are two soft skills employers strongly desire. Not only will you gain experience, but you’ll also learn the skills that come along with opening a business.

7. Focus on your career goals.

When facing unemployment, it can be easy to lose sight of your career goals. Whether you’ve used unemployment to pursue other goals, or you’ve become discouraged about your career path, your career goals need to be at the forefront of your job search. It will help you know where to look for jobs, and most importantly, find new opportunities to update your resume. For example, think of a goal you’ve always wanted to accomplish, but couldn’t because you were working full-time. Take this opportunity to learn a skill you’ve never had the time to learn. By doing this, you’ll be able to accomplish your goals while adding another line to your resume.

Gaining experience and keeping your skills fresh during unemployment doesn’t have to be stressful or daunting. Just remember to focus on your goals, the skills and experience you have to offer, and improving your personal brand. This way, you’ll be able to fill in the gaps on your resume and impress an employer’s socks off when you apply for a job.

What tips do you have for improving your resume during unemployment?

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.


“Have You Ever Been Fired?”


For some, the question “Have you ever been fired?” can inspire a pit in the stomach when the answer to that question is “Yes”.  You may be among an unfortunate bunch who had a horrific experience at a company (or with a certain coworker or boss), that did not end well.  And whether your termination was your fault or not, it can continue to haunt you in your search for future prospects.  So what is the best way to field this tough issue?

Be Honest

First things first:  don’t lie.  It may be tempting to dismiss the topic altogether, hoping that the company you’re interviewing with never finds out – but what happens if they do?  If they find out during the interview process, you’re certain not to get the job.  And if they find out a few years down the line, no matter how great an employee you are, they may still decide to let you go.  A second termination is not what you want on your record, so do yourself a favor and be upfront and honest from the get go.  It’s much safer, and you’ll stress about if far less in the long run.

Provide Some Context

Explain the circumstances surrounding the incident.  If it was a conflict of interest, let the interviewer know.  If it happened 15 years ago, tell them that you now have a lot of distance from the incident and that your stellar work performance since then speaks for itself.  If it occurred in the more recent past, explain that you have learned quite a bit from the incident, but don’t spend your time making excuses.  Lay down the facts, and focus on what you’ve done since and will do in the future to demonstrate that you are a valuable employee who understands what it takes to be an asset to a company.

Don’t Give Away Too Much

While it’s important to be forthcoming in your response to this question, you also don’t want to spend too much time addressing the matter.  Keep the focus of the interview on what makes you the ideal person to hire, and spend as little time as you can conveying what the interviewer needs to know about that particular incident.  People who feel the need to defend themselves tend to over-explain, and this can portray lack of confidence and lead you down the wrong road.  Certainly stray away from speaking ill of your former boss or company, remaining as objective and succinct as possible.

No one likes getting fired and everyone wants to find a new job.  Don’t let one obstacle in your past set the tone for the rest of your career.  Concentrate on what you need to do to land your next job and on the reasons you’re a perfect fit for it, and the rest will follow.

Have a wonderful day,

The Doostang Team


6 Simple Steps to Land Your Next Job


Sometimes the path to your dream career isn’t about the big moves you’re supposed to make, but rather, is riddled with the little ones.  The great thing about small steps is that you have no excuse not to take them – you can always find a moment to work on your job search.  Here are a few minor things you can be doing to land your next position:

Create an Email Account Designated for Your Job Search

If you haven’t done so already, consider creating an email address solely for your job search.  The first thing you should do is to choose an address that is professional – this will look far better on your resume and when you reach out to employers.  Doing so will also allow you to keep all your job search materials in one place, and will prevent your personal emails from posing a distraction.

Review Your Resume

Take a few minutes of down time to scan your resume and make sure that it’s polished and up-to-date.  You may not have caught all of the typos when you originally put it together, so pay particular attention to spelling and grammar.  Also check that your dates and current contact information are correct.  It’s especially helpful to have an outsider review your resume to catch all the small (or big) issues that you might have missed, so ask some friends for feedback or get a professional critique.

Revise Your Facebook Page

Because so many employers are now turning to social networking sites to see what additional information they can dig up about each potential hire, it’s important to put your best foot (or face) forward.  Make sure that you have appropriate privacy settings in place, and take down any pictures that you wouldn’t want your next boss to see.

Practice Your 30 Second Interview

It’s important to practice your 30 Second Interview, or elevator speech, when you have a moment.  This will ensure that you’re less likely to trip up the next time you’re in a situation where someone takes an interest in your career path.


Take a few moments to find some key contacts that can help you in your career search.  Consider your alumni network or find the contact information of someone at a company you wish to work for.  Send out a quick email to set up a time to ask for some advice, or simply try to establish rapport by reaching out with a question.

Enroll in a Class

If your dream job requires knowledge or skills that you don’t yet possess, enroll in a class that will bring you up to speed.  Once you make that initial commitment to go, you’ll be one step closer to the career you want.

There are a multitude of little things you can do throughout the day that will advance your job search.  So when you have some free time, be proactive and do something small that can make a big difference.



5 Things You Need in Order to Have a Better Fresh Grad Experience


Getting your groove on after graduation is easier said than done. Take it from someone who just went there and had a hard time adjusting to a new lifestyle. I had to learn everything from scratch! Fortunately, I had friends who showed me the ropes plus the ever awesome Internet by my side.

The point is that you can’t rely on your school smarts alone to net you a job right away. You need to be resourceful and think of ways on how to get out of that student mentality while marketing yourself at the same time. Here are five things you could use as personal reminders in order to have a better fresh graduate experience.

Avoid abusing social media

A lot of newbie graduates think that the cyber space is their scapegoat from reality. They rant, curse and share relationship problems on their Facebook walls and Twitter accounts. Try not to do this yourself because it will cause you more harm than good in the long run.

You’re not just a snotty twelve year-old who can say what you want, anytime you want. You’re a degree holder and chances are, employers will do their homework on you. As the famous cop line goes, anything you say can be used and will be used against you

Think twice before you say anything

In connection with the first tip, you need to be wary of the things that’s going to come out of your mouth (or keyboard). Having enemies when you’re working is never okay. Burning bridges simply means losing opportunities. Take care of your connections by speaking only when you need to.

Moreover, you don’t need to constantly update people on where you are right now and what you’re eating. Discipline is a trait that’s going to take you to places. Practice it well and you’re going to be one step closer to that elusive success.

It’s not about you anymore

A lone wolf will never survive in the modern jungle of today. Being a member of the workplace simply means that you’re going to work with another person, regardless whether you like it or not. If you wish to thrive as an employee then you need to learn how to prioritize work over personal preference.

Letting your emotions get the best out of you is pretty much self-sabotage. Instead of being immature, use your head and do your share of work.

Dress to impress people

The first thing that people will notice when they see you is your outward appearance. This simply means that you need to represent yourself in the best way possible. Shop for clothes that you can use for workdays and special gatherings. For starters, you need at least two sets of formal attires and five sets of semi-formal attires in that closet of yours.

Remember that you don’t need to wear anything flashy or expensive. As long as it works then it should be fine. Save money whenever you can because you’re going to need it.

Diligence is often rewarded

Do your job wholeheartedly if you ever get employed. Perseverance and patience will help you earn the fruits of your hard work. Don’t think of what your company could do for you. Instead, think of what you could do for the company.

In addition to that, avoid quitting just because things become complicated and difficult. No job is easy and you have to learn how to evolve as a member of the work force. Otherwise, be prepared to experience the same thing over and over again in your future employment.

Your new lifestyle is going to test how much you’ve really learned at school. Be prepared, steel yourself and never say never. The future is always yours to make!

 About the Author: Veronica Finch is a fresh graduate from New Orleans University who is currently working as a freelance writer for  SuperiorPapers.com. She also contributes to various web sites in the hopes of making a name for herself in the writing industry.


Accounting Jobs Rank High on 2013 UC San Diego HOT Careers List

Accounting Jobs Rank High on 2013 UC San Diego HOT Careers List

One of the biggest challenges for college grads is to find a job when they don’t have experience working in their field. In the February 2013 issue of the Monthly Labor Review, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 12.6 percent of recent college graduates under the age of 30 were unemployed, and lack of real world experience often holds them back.1

This factor isn’t necessarily true for all occupations, though. The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) recently released a report that would help college students identify career options that required a minimal need for supplemental experience or education. In its report, “HOT Careers for College Grads and Returning Students 2013,” the school compiled a list of “HOT Careers” that took into account the ability to secure a job after graduation with little on-the-job experience or an advanced degree.2

UCSD refers to this factor as “bridgeability,” and it is based on “whether a college graduate could bridge into a career with one or two years of study or reskilling.”

The school also considered four other factors in their evaluation, including:

Current rates of employment.

Projected growth for jobs in the field.

Median wage for jobs in the field.

Typical work environments in the field.2

These four factors could each contribute up to 25 points to the total score of 100. The “bridgeability” factor then came into play. If the occupation in question didn’t fit “bridgeability” guidelines, it didn’t make the list.2

How Did Jobs in Accounting and Finance Fare?

If you’re a recent college graduate looking for an entry-level accounting job and a role as an accountant or auditor is your goal, congratulations! Accountants and auditors fell under one umbrella and landed at No. 4 on the list, with a total of 67 points. Careers focused on software development (71.4 points) and market research analysis (69.5 points) topped the list.2

For graduates looking for entry-level finance jobs, two occupation categories also made the HOT Careers list. Financial analysts ranked No. 11 with a total of 57.7 points and Securities/Commodities/Financial Services Sales Agents came in at No. 14 with 54.6 total points. Both of these finance careers ranked high in median wage, with each scoring 20 points, but the current levels of employment weren’t nearly as high as for the accountant/auditor category.

Why Are Accountants and Auditors So “HOT?”

The accountant/auditor occupation ranked the highest in points across all occupations listed for current rates of employment with a score of 22.5. According to the UCSD report, 1,129,340 people in the U.S. were employed in these occupations at last count and growth rate for the field is strong with a rate of 16 percent projected by 2020. Finally, accountants and auditors can expect to see a nice growth in salary as well, as the mean salary (presently $71,040) has increased by close to $10,000 in the past three years.

If you are preparing to launch a career in finance or accounting, your prospects are brighter than many other fields. Across the board, the number of open positions remains high, pay rates are competitive to high, salary growth estimates are solid and opportunities for career advancement abound.

For recent college graduates in accounting and finance, the “bridgeability” factor is also working in your favor. And if you’re looking to secure one of the more coveted positions in finance or accounting, Doostang can help give you the edge. We specialize in helping recent college graduates with bachelor degrees and MBAs stand out from the competition.

Photo Source: Shutterstock


1. Spreen, LT. “Recent college graduates in the U.S. labor force: data from the Current Population Survey.” Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review. 2013 Feb. Vol. 136, No. 2. Available at http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2013/02/mlr201302.pdf. Accessed Oct. 24, 2013.

2.  DeVries, H., MBA; Baru, S, Ph.D.; Shapiro, J., Ph.D. “HOT Careers for College Grads and Returning Students 2014,” (special report). 2013. UC San Diego Extension. Available at http://extension.ucsd.edu/about/index.cfm?vAction=reports. Accessed Oct. 24, 2013.


20 Inspirational Quotes for Job Seekers


“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” -Steve Jobs


“Success seems to be connected to action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they never quit.” -J.W. Marriot


“I want to look back at my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything.” -Jon Stewart


“Desire! That’s the one secret of every man’s career. Not education. Not being born with hidden talents. Desire.” -Bobby Unser


“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” -Confucius


“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” -Jesse Owens


“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” -Thomas Jefferson


“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” -Arthur Ash


“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretzky


“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” -Robert F. Kennedy


“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” -Mark Twain


“Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.” -Jim Rohn


“Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.” -Dale Carnegie


“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” -Theodore Roosevelt


“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” -H.L. Hunt


“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve.” -Mary Kay Ash


“What we think or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do.” -John Ruskin


“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” -Steve Jobs


“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” -Vince Lombardi


“The best revenge is massive success.” -Frank Sinatra


What are you favorite motivational quotes?


What if I Have Resume Gaps Because of a Long-Term Disability?


A few weeks ago, I wrote about keeping your resume fresh during unemployment. It’s important to fill the gaps, change your resume format, and be completely honest.

But, what should you do when a long-term disability is the reason for your resume gap?

Remember that the same rules apply. Like with unemployment, you need to be honest.

You should start by changing your resume format. In this case, a functional resume is your best bet. This resume format highlights your skills and experience, instead of your chronological work history.

Employment gaps make employers worry about your commitment to the job. They want to make sure they hire someone who will be around for a long time. If your skills show you are a qualified candidate, hiring managers will be willing to look past your employment gap.

When it comes to the interview, be honest.Tell the interviewer the reason for the employment gap was a long-term disability. Keep your explanation brief and move the focus back to your skills. Make sure the interviewer knows you’re excited to get back to work.

The purpose of a resume is to get an interview. If you emphasize your skills and accomplishments in your new resume format, your long-term disability should not be a problem. Your qualifications are what count most.

What advice do you have for filling resume gaps due to a long-term disability?  

 For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

Personal Branding Without Purpose: A Job Seeker Failure Story



There’s so much emphasis personal branding as a “critical” job search skill. Yet so many of us genuinely suck at branding ourselves.

And for most of us, there’s one simple reason for our shortcomings: our endgame is unclear. We haven’t identified – and in some cases, even thought about – our goals for why we want to engage in personal branding.

We have… no clear purpose.

“Simple,” you may say… “my ‘purpose’ is to get a job!” So you create a Linkedin account, and lurk on twitter chats. You get an About.me page and join BeKnown and Google+. Depending on your chosen career field, you may even develop an online portfolio to show off your work, blogs and your smiling face in a professional headshot. You are the perfect personal brand. Right?

And yet… you don’t receive a single job offer. Fail.

Here’s what you may not realize: The purpose of personal branding is NOT to get a job. Not one recruiter ever said, “Ooh, this guys’ personal branding is really good. I’ve never heard of him, but I’m going to call and offer him a job!”

With that in mind, here are three tips to getting the most out of your personal branding efforts:

1. Determine What You Want to SELL

If you don’t know what you want to sell – no one is going to buy. And, despite what most people seem to think about personal branding, you are NOT selling YOU.

You are selling your ability to do a specific job within an existing company culture.

Try to be everything to everybody, and your personal brand is doomed for failure. Be too specific, and you’ll be seen as rigid and less than a team player. Find the right balance. Include a conservative yet professional picture. Most important, SELL how YOU would help accomplish the goals of the employer.

2. Know that Personal Branding is NOT a Standalone Task

You can have the best possible branding… and if no one notices you’re just getting sucked into yet another round of false expectations and disappointments. Just like those hundreds of resumes sent through that mega job board without a single call back… you’re wasting your job seeking time.

Personal branding is only effective when combined with networking and hard work!

No matter how introverted you may be, or how uncomfortable you may feel in public arenas meeting new people, you must take baby steps toward becoming a networking phenom – or your personal branding falls on deaf ears.

3. Set Quantitative Goals to Drive Eyes to Your Brand

It’s easy to set goals for your personal branding – and networking. Todd Herschberg, one of the most connected people on Linkedin, says it really comes down to working a plan: “Add two or three new Linkedin contacts a day. In three to four months, the absolute minimum time frame of an average job search, you’ll add 200 to 300 new contacts and influencers who may be tempted to recommend you next time they hear about an opportunity.”

Goal setting can apply to just about every other aspect of your job seeking efforts including twitter, face-to-face networking, and building mentor relationships – all critical tasks that will result in more views of the personal brand you’ve worked so hard to create.

Despite the hype by buzzword chieftains, and the strong emphasis placed on personal branding, this is not some golden ticket to getting a job. Instead, personal branding is just one more important weapon in your candidate arsenal.

Determine what you want to sell, incorporate networking and a little elbow grease and set achievable goals. Now, your personal branding will soar above your job seeking competition – and you’ll avoid yet another job seeker fail.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at YouTern.

About the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial mentor who has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO.com regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Switch and Shift, The Daily Muse and Under30CEO.

Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” and was recently featured on HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and several top blogger lists, including JobMob’s “Top Career Bloggers of 2012”. Contact Mark via email or on Twitter!



5 Worst Ways to Answer: ‘How’s Your Job Search Going?

how is the job search large

“How’s the job search going?”

This seemingly innocuous question is an inevitability for most, if not all, of the 11.7 million unemployed folks in America. The questions shows up everywhere: dinner with your parents, small talk at get-togethers and even networking events with strangers.

When faced with this question, you can answer by going down one of two paths: The easy path, where you simply mutter an evasive response (It’s going alright)and then change the topic (How about those Kings?).

Or you can go down a more difficult, but productive path, which can potentially turn dull jibber jabber into a great, new job opportunity.

We encourage the latter. “Remember every person you know, and every person you meet is a potential employer, or knows a potential employer,” says Carisa Miklusak, CEO of TMEDIA.

If you want to make a great impression, don’t say:

1. “I’m really open to anything.”

It sounds too unfocused and desperate. “Instead, take the time to explore the type of company and position that you are seeking and then ask for relevant intros!” says Michelle Proehl, Slate Advisers.

Mary Westropp, Vice President for Communications at New Directions offers a much more proactive answer: I’m giving it everything I got. I’m on the lookout to meet folks in [insert your field of interest].

 2. “When I get a job, you’ll know it.”

This one is just a bit closed off and rude. Another, nicer alternative: “Well, it’s taken longer than I expected. In the meantime, I’ve been volunteering and building my resume.” Miklusak suggests.

3. “Would you be able to help me find a job?”

Asking anyone for a job puts them in an awkward position – even your acquaintance in HR, she may not really have any influence over new hires.

A less awkward route is to be honest about your position (“I’ve been searching daily, and I haven’t found the right opportunity yet”). And then follow it up with: “How are you doing? Is there anything I can do to help you?” suggests career coach Lavie Margolin. Be remembered by your thoughtfulness rather than awkwardness.

4. “It’s not going very well”

This response may be honest, but it makes it seem like you’re hopeless.

To sprinkle a little sunshine in your tone, talk about a recent milestone you’ve achieved. For instance, if you “arrangedan informational interview at one of your target companies,” says Proehl. Or, you “advanced to a second round interview at another.” It can even be something small, like “I’ve been attending networking events once a week.”

5. “I’m not really sure what I want to do anymore”

The problem with this answer is that it’s a combination of No. 1 and No.4. If you really don’t know what you want to do, talk about signs of progress.

You can be honest and explain how you’re clarifying your goals. “For instance, when you met with a product manager at a tech startup, you realized that you really liked the startup environment, but being an engineering manager was actually more up your alley,” Proehl says.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at CareerBliss.