8 Ways Your Contact Details May Be Turning Off Employers

Writing a resume is no small task, but one part that seems like a no-brainer is the contact information section. Unless you are suffering from amnesia, you know your name, where you live, and what your own phone number is.However, it’s not quite that simple. Your contact information is arguably the most important part of your resume, as this is the only means employers have to reach you for an interview!Many job seekers commit major blunders in their contact information, however, that can turn off employers before the first paragraph is read. Be sure to avoid the following eight pitfalls to maximize this simple — yet vital — section of your resume:

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1. Listing current work phone or email address

Though rarely enforced, most companies implement policies barring use of office equipment and internet services for personal use. Your job search certainly qualifies as personal, so keep it out of the office. Keeping your job search a secret from your current boss is only one of the pitfalls. Listing a work-related email address or phone number on your resume sends a negative message about your professionalism. A prospective employer could infer that you are abusing company time and resources, and that’s certainly not a good first impression.

2. Including your name and email only on the first page.

Envision how many pieces of paper must cover the desk of a hiring manager shortly after he or she publicly posts an open position. Now picture him or her sifting through dozens (if not hundreds) of resumes and misplacing a page. If no name is on that page, it may as well be in the garbage.

Don’t risk being discounted from consideration because a portion of your resume was lost. Be sure to put your name and contact information on each and every page of your resume to avoid this preventable scenario.

3. Providing a phone number that’s not caller-friendly.

Giving only phone numbers that make it easy to contact you may sound like common-sense advice, but unfortunately it isn’t always obvious. Without realizing it, job seekers who block lines from private calls or forget to clean out a full voicemail box for three weeks sabotage themselves. Making it easy for a busy employer to contact you is crucial, because rather than track you down, he or she is more likely to just move on to the next candidate.

Additionally, be cautious if you share the telephone line with your family or roommates. For example, if your teenage daughter uses the phone constantly but never answers call waiting or you live with your sister who is terrible at taking messages, perhaps your home phone line is not the best number to provide. A cell phone is usually the phone number of choice, but with newer technology offerings such as free Internet-based voicemail boxes, the modern-day job seeker has plenty of options.

4. Not verifying that the outgoing voicemail message sounds professional.

Using funny recordings or having small children as the voice a caller hears telling them to leave a message may be amusing or adorable to your family and friends, but it’s not going to make a professional impression on a prospective employer. Even though it’s your home and your right to do whatever you like with your own voicemail, the best message is brief and generic. Start making your first impression in person during the interview rather than through an insignificant message that could make you seem silly.

5. Listing an email address that’s a bit too personal.

If you chose an email address that refers to personal information, it’s typically not advisable to use it when applying for a job. Furthermore, using your birth year as part of an email moniker could lead an employer to figure out your age, which subjects you to age discrimination. (Though it’s obviously illegal, age discrimination is still alive and well in today’s job market, not to mention difficult to prove.) Be sure to let your qualifications speak for themselves.

Even if your hobbies are wholesome, they won’t put you in a professional light. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with “DogLover23” or “SailingAceJohn,” but such names don’t support a professional image. A simple solution is choosing an email address that contains your first and last name. This not only presents a polished image, but makes a sender’s identity clear. Seeing an email from “SailingAceJohn” in my inbox won’t tell me immediately which candidate it is, especially if I received 12 resumes from people named John! With such an abundance of free and reliable email providers, it’s easy to set up an account you can use exclusively for your job search.

6. Omitting a city / state.

Posting a resume online can be a scary thought for many, since contact information is out there in cyberspace. Nevertheless, an address is ideal to show the reader where you are located. Most job boards offer a job seeker the option of keeping contact information private. A good compromise, however, is to at least include your city and state so employers know whether you are a local candidate.

7. Opting for a nickname over a formal name.

Your birth certificate says your full name is Michael, but your friends call you Mickey. That’s fine, but remember, a prospective job lead is not your friend. Your resume is a formal marketing document, and as such should contain your full legal name. Once you interview for the position, feel free to tell the person or persons interviewing you to call you whatever you prefer, but until that time, it’s best to maintain a formal and professional tone.

8. Not hyperlinking an email address.

Hyperlinking your email address gives hiring managers the option of contacting you with one simple click! Why would anyone pass up this type of opportunity?

There may be more to the contact section of a resume than meets the eye, but optimizing this information for a successful job search is easy if you know the impression each detail makes on employers. (Now if only creating the rest of the resume was this simple!)

Milestones for a Successful Job Search

Manage your job search just as you would a well-organized project and you will be able to place yourself in a new position! By meeting milestones you will feel more in control of your job search.

1.  Identify Target Companies

Use traditional and Internet strategies to identify companies of interest. Network with professional and community organizations to gather information about potential openings, new projects, and names of key personnel. The hiring manager may be the gatekeeper, but isn’t the only contact who may be helpful in the organization. Use Internet sites to expand beyond your geographic area and get a sense of the current market for positions of interest to you.

2.  Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter

Apply the research gathered about companies, key personnel, and positions to revise your resume and cover letter for each position if possible.  Although this may sound daunting, a complete overhaul is not required for each position. Emphasize skills and accomplishments in your resume that align with corporate needs. A slight adjustment may be all that is necessary to present yourself as the perfect candidate. Don’t rely on references to float your resume to the top of the pile. The cover letter and resume must stand on the merits of your experience, skills, and potential for contributions to the company’s bottom-line.

3.  Follow-up

When you follow up, remember to use a number of different strategies. Traditional thank-you letters and e-mails can both be appropriate. When managing group interview situations, you may prefer to use email and a brief phone message to keep your name and credentials fresh in the mind of each interviewer. You will also want to follow up with the initial contact person for your cover letter. That individual may become an important point-person in keeping you apprised of the interview process and keeping your name at the top of the list!

4.  Keep Going

Even after the interview, keep in contact with your network and maintain your job search efforts. Part of the challenge in current job searches is how protracted the process has become in a tight job market. Think of the process as a marathon and pace yourself. Rejuvenate yourself to keep up a positive energy.

5.  Maintain Good Records

Set up an organizational system to record your progress and include all the details! Keeping a comprehensive record of all names, dates of contacts, and outcome will prevent following up with the same person twice when you did not plan to do so. The record can also give you a sense of accomplishment and control as you monitor milestones in your job search project. Good organization leads to good results and helps you present a positive image in all your contacts.

Monitor job search milestones just as you would for a complex project. Exercising those skills keeps you on your game and moves you toward a new position. Use the milestones to maintain your focus and a positive energy to stay on track to a timely delivery in your job search project!

The 6 Lessons of Job Interviewing

Whether you have been in the job market for some time or you’re just starting out, job interviews are always an essential part of the recruiting process. An interview is effectively a screening process that companies use to differentiate between individuals who look promising on paper. Making it to an interview already demonstrates that you have the background skills your employer is looking for. Now it’s up to you to make that first impression last.

#1: It’s not just about how smart you are

Many times you will be competing against candidates with very similar accomplishments, and there is only one way to stand out from the crowd. Show your employer why you want to be there. Do your research on the company and its particular culture and know ahead of time what you can bring to the table to help them grow. Anyone they interview will be qualified, intelligent, and driven – but employers want someone who will bring something more exciting to the table. What can you do for them? Be concrete, be creative, and show that you are more than just smart.

#2: NEVER open a sentence with an excuse or apology

Interviewers hear things like this constantly: “I know I don’t have a finance degree, I know I didn’t have an internship with your company”, etc. These are the kind of things you want to say at home around family and friends when you are secretly freaking out about your interview the next day – NOT to your employer! Work with what you have and highlight your redeeming qualities. Relate non job-specific experiences to your new employer in creative ways. So you worked for a summer as an ambulance driver and now you’re applying for a position in finance? Great! That experience shows that you can handle stress.

#3: Be succinct and do not ramble

Interviewers are people too, and like all people, they can get bored.

  • Don’t take 5 minutes to answer a question
  • Don’t give one word answers
  • Don’t drone; keep the interviewer interested

Remember, you are selling yourself to this individual. Think of other examples of sales. It’s often the personality – the excitement – the way the product is presented, that keeps us coming back for more.  Sell yourself effectively, and your interviewer won’t be able to let you go.

#4: Explain Yourself

Interviewers love to give brainteasers.

  • How many passengers leave JFK airport on a given day?
  • If this table was full of pennies, do you think they could stack up to measure this building?

If you get stuck, explain how you would approach the problem if you don’t know the answer. Interviewing is less about getting answers right and more about showing the interviewer that you are an effective problem solver. Companies want to know that you are capable of taking complex problems and breaking them down to find an answer. They are more concerned with how you think than with what you know.

#5: Count. If you are asked for 3 examples, don’t give 2

This blunder is made more often than should be allowed. It’s a no-brainer kind of mistake that you can easily watch out for and avoid – (please do!) It will make your interviewer’s job a lot easier if you mess something like this up, and by that I mean that you will probably be overlooked on the spot. You’re smarter than that – don’t let happen to you!

#6: Be able to explain everything in your resume

Your resume has been your stand-in until this point, and your employer is very likely to refer to it for clarification and explanation, especially if something you have done stands out. Be prepared with answers to any question about your past internship or work experience. Have examples ready to show your impact and what you personally accomplished during your time there.

 

How to Dress for an Interview – 5 Job Search Dress Code Must-Haves

Investment Banking: Analyst, Foster City, CA

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Proprietary Trader , New York, NY

Mobile Start-up: Finance/Strategy Manager, San Francisco, CA

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Asset Management: Investor Relations Manager, Boston, MA

Fixed Income Analyst- Summer Intern , Santa Fe, NM

Director of Market Research, New York, NY

For many of us students and recent graduates who gladly roamed campus in yesterday’s sweats, fashion is a foreign world tread only when absolutely necessary.  So, in order to make things easier: here are a few staple items that every job seeker should have in the closet.  The great thing about staple items is that they never really go out of style.  Invest in quality pieces now, and you will be able to wear them for years to come.

1. Conservative suit

A nice, conservative suit is an absolute must-have.  If you have the money, get it tailored to fit. The fabric should be a neutral or solid color – black and navy are the most common, but there’s no reason why you can’t have a little fun and go with a nice taupe or pinstripe.  When considering different types of ties, appliqués, or lapels, remember that the simpler the better.  Once you’re hired, you will have all the time in the world to impress your coworkers with your amazing sense of style.  Stick to the basics during your interview to convey a professional, polished look.  Women can wear a pant or skirt suit and should always wear sheer, neutral hosiery underneath – keep an extra pair in your purse in case you run the hosiery in transit.  It never hurts to be prepared!

2. Neatly pressed blouse or shirt

If you’re a man, a white, long-sleeved 100% cotton shirt with button cuffs is always acceptable.  For women, blouses or shirts should be white or ivory and conservative.  The neckline should coordinate with the lines of your jacket lapel.  Stay away from shirts that are too tight or revealing – while it might land you a date, it won’t land you a job!

3. A simple, professional watch

A watch is a great piece of flair that you can wear without worrying about committing a fashion faux pas.  Be sure to disable any functions that would cause the watch to beep during an interview.  While watches are by no means necessary as a means of telling time (now that everyone and their grandmother has a cell phone), watches are still an important part of an interview wardrobe.  Foregoing a watch can effectively say “I am never on time, ever.”  This writer recommends eco-drive watches: they’re solar powered and can run for years without having to change the battery!

4. Dress shoes

You should invest in a nice pair of interview shoes in a dark solid color that coordinates with your suit.  For women, shoes should always be closed toed with a heel of 2.5” or less.  Avoid anything shiny or textured – try for leather or synthetic fabrics that will not draw attention.   For men, just stay away from loafers!  Classic, tie-up dress shoes are always in style.  Your belt should match your shoes.

5. A simple bag or briefcase

One thing about briefcases: if you don’t have a reason to carry one, don’t.  But you should have some kind of bag with you to hold your resume, your phone, extra hosiery and everything else necessary or superfluous that you will want to carry with you on interview day.  Stick with neutral colors – a dark leather is always best.  Stay away from anything ridiculously large or small, and from messenger bags that sling across your body.  Over or undersized bags can make your entire outfit look unprofessional, and a slung-over bag will wrinkle your nicely pressed suit.  For women, if you’re not looking to invest in a bag specifically for interviewing and professional purposes, try getting something that will work for both work and play – like a neutral color Longchamp bag.

Beyond these basic items, there are a wide range of things you can do to to spruce up your look for an interview and make you look and feel your very best.  Be sure that your hair is neatly cut and styled and your nails are clean and cut short.  Always err on the side of caution when it comes to accessories, but the great thing about many of these staple items is that they can also be paired with fun, colorful pieces during the work week to add some professional excitement to your wardrobe.  These are working items that you can continue to wear and enjoy for years.

If there’s one thing I learned from years of watching What Not to Wear, it’s that fashion does make a difference in the way we look, feel, and present ourselves.  Dress for Success, and your confidence will reflect that effort!

Farewell, fashionistas -

Your interview style gurus,

The Doostang Team

The Best Way to Answer “YES” to “Have You Ever Been Fired?”

Investment Banking Analyst, New York, NY
Marketing Internship, San Francisco, CA
Investment Analyst, Boston, MA
Marketing Strategy Analyst, Shanghai, China
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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), ending in a not so ideal ending.  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

Perfect the Punch in Your Cover Letter

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Hedge Fund Associate, New York, NY
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Your resume and cover letter should combine to deliver an effective “one-two punch” that grabs the positive attention needed to land an interview. Though many think the cover letter has become obsolete because of online resume posting, in reality the cover letter is equally important in electronic and paper applications. Typical business standards of communication apply in any type of career search contact. Being too informal and using emoticons or e-mail acronyms (such as BTW or LOL) will likely sabotage your well-planned efforts.

Personalize the Letter

Research the company and the HR department to determine the person to whom you should address the letter. You may even call the company to inquire as to the name of the appropriate person who is screening for the position of interest. If unable to find the name of a specific person in any of your research, you can always default to the title of the individual in charge of the position search, such as “Office Manager” or “Director of Human Resources.”

Although personalizing the salutation is a good start, don’t stop there if you want to stand out from the crowd. Use the results of your research to determine the values, mission, and new initiatives for the company. Aligning your strengths and personal work history with these key areas will help the hiring manager see you as a viable team member. Recruiting key talent makes the hiring manager look good, so help them by making it easy to recognize what a great fit you are for the opening.

Highlight Your Accomplishments

Every hiring manager differs in his or her approach to screening resumes and cover letters. Some don’t even bother with the cover letter, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on your attention to detail. Many other hiring managers use the cover letter to screen out unlikely candidates.

Make your cover letter doubly effective by including several accomplishments that align with key aspects of the open position as well as the overall corporate mission. Many people don’t include specific accomplishments in the cover letter to avoid being repetitive. But key concepts often bear repeating! By emphasizing the same accomplishments in the cover letter and the resume, you help the hiring manager remember your strong points. Beyond that, if the hiring manager only reads the resume or the cover letter, you have made certain that your key skills are highlighted and will be noticed at least once, if not twice!

Electronic Postings

Spend time perfecting your subject line if submitting your resume via email. Including your name in the subject line facilitates name recognition. To present a business-like impression, stick to the basics in your subject line, such as listing the position and a descriptor (e.g., “Robert Smith Application” or “Jane Doe Resume”). The same cover letter that you submit with a paper application becomes the text of your email accompanying the electronic resume.

The Basics

Of course, you need to pay attention to the basics of business grammar, spelling, and format when writing the cover letter. You don’t want to set yourself apart by making the cover letter too “flashy.” Colored paper, personal photos, and overly distinctive fonts have no place in a strong cover letter. Review the letter to make sure it aligns as closely as possible with the details included in the job announcement. Give the entire package a final close inspection before sending it out to ensure it is not only accurate, but also complete in terms of what the employer has requested (e.g., transcript, references, etc.). Finally, don’t forget your original signature on the paper version of your cover letter. Even such a small oversight may close the door on your chances for an interview.

The cover letter can be a critical component in your job search. It allows you the opportunity to “connect the dots” for the hiring manager between your skills and their needs. Customizing the cover letter demonstrates your due diligence, initiative, and interest in the company. Create an effective “one-two punch” and get the most out of your cover letter to highlight your skills and present yourself as a top-notch candidate.

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

5 Tips to Energize Your Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Research Assistant, New York, NY
MBA Marketing Summer Intern, Cambridge, MA
Equity Research Analyst, White Plains, NY
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Although the news has been reporting an upswing in hiring, there are still many workers waiting to land a job. Making that happen requires preparation and creating opportunity, in addition to effectively displaying your skills and value to potential employers. Follow these tips to be prepared and to create opportunity for yourself!

1.  Plan Your Strategy.

Review all the positions to which you have applied and analyze them for similarities and differences. Compare these trends with your skills, experiences, and goals. How closely does your skill set match with your job search?

For many job seekers, the longer one is out of work, the broader the net becomes. This strategy may have been effective in the past, but current hiring managers simply aren’t interested in being a part of your broad-based search. In order to make an impact, understand that the hiring manager views your search as a mini-performance evaluation. If your search appears disjointed or lacks coherence, most employers will consider this as indicative of your future performance on the job! Match your skills as closely as possible to available jobs to maximize your efforts.

2.  Create a List.

Targeting your job search with specific goals is just as critical well into the process as it was during week one. Writing down your goals can focus your efforts more effectively and help you present a more powerful image to potential employers. Creating a list will also allow you to follow up in person with potential employers, an action that will set you apart from the majority of candidates being considered for the position. You can also use your list to track contacts with employers, increasing the level of organization on display to potential employers.

3.  Invest in the List.

Your earlier analysis of skills and experiences will help you identify any potential areas of training that may help you stand out from the competition. Go beyond the initial job description for the position of interest to learn more about the company’s presence in the local community. Although employers are primarily interested in your on-the-job value, if you are able to engage them in conversations about corporate philanthropy, you are demonstrating a deeper understanding of the company’s values, prompting them to invest in you as well!

4.  Showcase Accomplishments that Align with Corporate Projects.

A resume is an effective tool to help you open doors, but in order to do so it must be closely aligned with the company’s mission, values, and top-notch projects. Edit your resume so that only the most meaningful accomplishments are included. Many job candidates become emotionally attached to certain achievements, often from early in their careers. But the fact that you earned “Rookie of the Year in Sales” when you were just out of college will do little to land the job. Focus your resume on more recent accomplishments, usually within the last 10 to 15 years, and select those that mirror the needs of the company’s most important, visible, and profitable departments.

5.  Go Beyond the Resume.

Finally, no matter how outstanding your resume is, these days it often takes more than a great resume to land the job. Brainstorm how you can make yourself stand out beyond the resume. In addition to including the personal contact noted above, this step may also include creating white papers that outline potential areas of improvement for the company. Or you may consider branding opportunities for yourself – from business cards to promotional items to lunch or treats for the helpful staffers you have met along the way.

Getting a good position is definitely a job within itself. A key in minimizing the amount of time you spend in that space is directly linked to your efforts and initiative. Posting your resume is not enough in this economy to get the response you want. Use your understanding of people and organizations to help move your efforts forward. Think of your job search as a personal marketing campaign and implement a bit of self-promotion strategy to make yourself known and to land an interview!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

How to Handle Resume Gaps


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Job seekers often assume that in order to score the perfect job, one has to be the perfect candidate.  That the right mix of education, titles, and skills is needed in order to land the career of their dreams.  So when faced with resume gaps, an individual may rightly feel disheartened.  But continuous employment is not the be-all, end-all to nabbing a great job, especially in these times.  It is important, however, to know how to treat employment gaps on your resume, in your cover letter, and in your interview.

The Functional Format

One way to gloss over gaps on your CV is to create a functional resume.  This focuses on your skills and achievements, rather than on specific dates.  There are certainly other advantages to formatting your resume this way as well, as it allows you to pinpoint exactly what it is that you bring to the table.  The trick here is to tailor it to the specific job that you are applying for.

List Your Achievements

Another way to downplay a gap in employment is to highlight your accomplishments on your resume.  While you may not have continuous experience, various honors will convey that you have quality experience, and that you have been recognized as having done an outstanding job.

Include Extracurricular Experience

Hiring mangers understand that qualified candidates may have gaps in employment.  What they want to avoid, however, is a candidate who is qualified but who lacks work ethic.  What did you do while you were out of a job?  Did you volunteer or become an active member of an organization?  Even though you weren’t necessarily paid for your extracurricular activities, it’s perfectly okay to list them.  Highlight your transferable skills here, and focus on how you can apply them to the position you are currently seeking.

Explain Your Reasons

It also works well to just come out and explain why you have a resume gap and what you did to fill your time.  Don’t be afraid to address the matter in a cover letter or an interview.  Hiring managers will respect your willingness to be forthright about periods of unemployment, and will be interested to learn about the creative, productive ways in which you were able to spend your time instead.

In a time where everyone’s looking for an edge, an employment  gap can seem like a major setback.  But if you know how to strategically position yourself and your experience, a hiring manager will be much more interested in what you have done, rather than what you haven’t.

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Outrageous Interview Questions

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Analyst, New York, NY
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Once you land a job interview, you may feel the hard work is done. You might even allow your enthusiasm to melt your inhibitions during the meeting. Don’t let your excitement rob you of a chance for the job you’ve been waiting for. Arm yourself with these key interview strategies that include practicing restraint as well as excellent preparation.

Outrageous

Don’t ask about salary.

  • This question shifts the focus to what you want for yourself as opposed to the value you will provide to the company.

Don’t ask about the timeframe for hiring decisions.

  • Every candidate wants to know the answer to this question but asking it can make you seem desperate or anxious for results. Most companies look for candidates able to separate personal from professional demands.

Don’t ask what the company does.

  • Conducting research on corporate initiatives is easily accomplished online. Do your homework to impress hiring managers.

Don’t ask about typical promotion policies.

  • Rushing ahead to promotions may make the interviewer question your judgment and understanding of appropriate business interactions.

Don’t ask about on-the-job training for basic skills.

  • Emphasize the skills you bring, not the deficits about which you are concerned.

Don’t speak ill of former employers.

  • Talking about how much you hated your former workplace or employer is a top interview “don’t!”

Don’t forget basic manners.

  • Offer a handshake to “seal the deal” when you leave. Thank the interviewer for their time and express your pleasure in meeting him or her.

Acceptable

Do debrief after the interview.

  • Take a few minutes to review on your own what went well and what could be improved. If appropriate, include additional clarification about your skills in a follow-up thank-you note.

Do express interest in the company’s initiatives.

  • Show off what you’ve researched about this company prior to the interview by linking your skills and work history to corporate projects.

Do speak positively about prior workplaces.

  • It can be tempting to bring up negative attributes about employers or co-workers, but this is not the time to identify that as your reason for leaving. Focus on more positive reasons for leaving, which might include a need to reach your full potential or to seek out new opportunities for growth.

Do use every phone or email contact as if it were part of the interview.

  • Essentially every contact is part of the screening process. Practice what you want to say so you are prepared for the unexpected call. For some people, it helps to stand while talking to convey a greater presence or sense of personal power.

Do prepare for the interview.

  • Compile a number of job history anecdotes that exemplify your strengths and help you respond readily to interview questions.

Do end the interview on a positive note.

  • Say something like, “Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today. My talents and experience represent an asset to your organization and I would be a committed member of your team.”

Solid preparation for the interview will help you avoid asking ridiculous questions. Feeling too comfortable in an interview almost never produces good results. Practice how you want to perform in the job interview just as you would for an important sports event and you will find yourself in the winner’s circle!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!