8 Interview Clichés to Avoid

The point of an interview is to show off to the hiring manager how wonderful and unique of a candidate you are.  So why would you waste precious time and words answering questions with clichés?  Unfortunately, when put in a nerve-racking situation, people often freeze up or stumble over their words, and these standard lines are the first things that come to mind.  Here are a few clichés to look out for, and some alternate ways to respond:

1. I’m a Team Player

The ultimate cliché, this one pops up in resumes, cover letters, and interviews.  But what does it really mean?  If you’re a “team player” and really want to get this point across, don’t say this line.  Explain what it is that makes you so great to work with.  Focus on your excellent ability to communicate or your willingness to both lead and follow directions.  Talk about a few instances where you have picked up the slack for someone else without having to be asked.

2. I’m the Perfect Fit

Ultimately this is up to the hiring manager.  Instead of wasting your breath telling them this and expecting them to believe you when they know nothing about you, barrage them with examples of why you’re a great fit.  Then they’ll come closer to making this conclusion on their own.

3. I’m a Hard Worker

Aren’t we all?  Again, saying this really means nothing to the interviewer until you provide concrete examples.  Tell them about all those times when you stayed late, turned work in before its due date, anticipated what needed to get done next, etc.  Make the interviewer really believe that you are a hard worker, because just saying so is not enough.

4. I’m Willing to Do Anything

Often this is the road many people have to take, especially when starting out in entry-level positions.  And while it’s great to have that sort of mentality, you don’t want to sound too desperate in a job interview.  And worse than sounding desperate, you don’t want to imply that the job itself is something you’re “willing to put up with” until you advance on to something better.  Mention specific parts of the job that excite you, and instead of focusing on your willingness to do anything, focus on your desire to do these specific things.

5. I’m a Fast Learner

When you say this, Hiring Managers hear, “I don’t know how to do this“. Saying this makes you sound like you are inexperienced, and that you may be underestimating the level of understanding it takes to do the job.

6. I’m Good with People

That’s exactly what the interviewer is trying to determine in the interview. It’s not just about determining if you have the skills and qualifications to do the job. The interviewer is trying to determine your general demeanor and personal skills, so let them see you in action, don’t simply state it.

7. I’m a very Loyal Person

People who say this are usually overcompensating for holding many jobs in the past, but not staying at any particular job for very long. Candidates who say this are typically concerned that the interviewer will think they’ll get bored and leave soon after taking the position. Instead of saying this, stress how you see this potential employer as a long term career path.

8. I really need this job

Some people think it’s a good idea to talk about their personal life in an interview, and how important it is for their family that they get this job. Even if this is true, do not say it. It only makes you look desperate. The less it seems you need the job, the more valuable you seem to the employer, because other employers want you too.

Clichés hurt you not just because they make you sound less credible, but also because they take away the chance to go into depth and provide specific examples of why you’d be a great hire.  Don’t do yourself an injustice by speaking vaguely with a hiring manager – the specifics will get you much farther.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Tech-Savvy Resume Strategies

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Healthcare Equity Research Analyst, New York, NY
Chief Technical Officer, Cambridge, MA
Investment Banking Associate, Conshohocken, PA
Brand Strategist, New York, NY
Fixed Income Analytics Associate, Los Angeles, CA

More recent jobs you might like…

Increase the effectiveness of your resume through the productive use of technology. While being tech-savvy with your resume definitely includes posting to job websites, successful job candidates go far beyond the basics. Knowledge of leading edge uses of technology, in addition to basic Internet posting procedures, will help set your resume apart from the competition!

Resume Submission

Most job applicants submit resumes electronically by sending an email or posting to corporate or job search websites. In doing so, you still want to be certain that your resume is appropriately formatted, has a professional appearance, and is appealing to the reader.

When attaching your resume to an email, you typically want to save it as a Word document, which will preserve the formatting and professional appearance. If posting to a job search site, it may be necessary to save the resume in a plain text format. Though this file type will eliminate most of the formatting, it will enable your document to retain its basic professional appearance online.

Scannable Resumes

Many companies use computers or scanners to input large numbers of resumes and selectively screen for industry specific keywords. It is critical in these cases to be certain that your resume is current in terms of how your job skills and work experiences are described. If you are uncertain about the keywords in your resume, compare your resume with the latest job descriptions to be certain your resume contains the right language to catch the attention of both human eyes and computer scanners.

Electronic resumes or e-versions are typically formatted for computer scanners instead of human eyes. This electronic resume format is specially designed to be successfully scanned by computers. The typical formatting that makes a resume appealing to the human eye may create obstacles that cause a computer scanner to reject your documents. It is often best to submit both Word and scannable versions to increase your likelihood of a successful submission.

Personal Websites

Regardless of how sophisticated or plain your website may be, it can still be a positive resource for you to use during your job search. The key is to remember that a personal website needs to be professional when included in your job search. Be sure to edit any unprofessional photos or offhand postings before directing a potential employer to your site. When using your website as part of your job search, be cautious about including your entire resume. You don’t want to make yourself vulnerable to identity theft by posting your entire work history and personal address online. This can also be risky if you are currently employed and trying to keep your job search quiet around the office.

A personal website can become an asset in your job search if you post relevant articles you have written or outline special projects, such as software you developed or community projects in which you have been involved. Highlighting any experience as a Board member or a key organizer demonstrates your leadership abilities.

Online/Electronic Portfolios

Whether you have your own website or not, you can use the power of technology to showcase work samples using video, PowerPoint presentations, or white papers. Although you don’t want to include excessive links in your resume, you can organize a portfolio of key work products to add important details that your resume alone cannot convey.

For an online portfolio to add critical value to your application, include a slide show of specific accomplishments, such as photos of job sites, video snippets of presentations, or even statistics of outstanding achievements that go beyond the basics in your resume and you can add critical value to your application. Another alternative is to copy all your materials onto a CD and carry it along to present during the interview or leave for the hiring manager to review.

Online Networking

Professional associations often include discussion boards and may have job posting sites as well. Explore the sites of all professional organizations with which you are associated or may be interested in joining to determine what kind of networking opportunities may be available. In addition to message boards and online forums at professional organization websites, you may also investigate sites that include professional networking as part of their mission.

Even though thinking outside the box has become a trite phrase, the concept still carries value. If you shift your thinking away from the traditional resume format, you are likely to set yourself apart from the competition and create opportunities for yourself. Brainstorm a few tech-savvy strategies to gain results from your resume!

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!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Doostang Success — Business Consulting Job within 1 Month of Beginning My Search

Alison

Wofford College, 2007
Senior Business Consultant – Perficient

“Initially, I was weary of looking for a new job. I had a stable job that was unfulfilling, but due to all the rumors about how hard it was to find a job, I was afraid to even look. I checked out listing on other job sites and became more disheartened after wading through hundreds of jobs that sounded like scams to find one possibly interesting position.

Then I tried Doostang! After spending a little time on Doostang, I found a number of opportunities that I found interesting and decided to submit my resume.

Within 1 month of beginning my job search with Doostang, I found a position as a Senior Business Consultant with Perficient (formerly Exervio) in Charlotte, NC.”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Private Equity Intern – Progressive Investment Company, New York, NY

Consultant – Top-Notch Consulting Company, Washington, DC

Pre-MBA Associate – Top Private Equity Firm, Los Angeles, CA

Simulation Analyst – Rapidly Growing Boston Area Robotics Company, Boston, MA

Investment Banking Associate – National Securities Company, New York, NY

Search jobs on Doostang

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Get Paid for Your Work – Negotiating a Freelance Contract

Associate, Dallas, TX
Analyst, Cambridge, MA
Financial Journalist, New York, NY
Marketing Research Analyst, Boston, MA
M&A Analyst, Los Angeles, CA

More recent jobs you might like…

During a time of unemployment, some individuals make finding a full-time job into their main pursuit. After putting in long hours and hard work, something ultimately comes through and the task is done. Then there are those people who work for themselves. While freelancing allows great latitude and more control over what you do and the time you spend doing it, it also confines you within the realm of constantly seeking out work and renegotiating your terms of employment. There is more job security, as you control your own destiny, so to speak, being your own boss and in charge of seeking out new projects. And yet, there is less security, for there is no way of telling how long that lag between the end of a project and the beginning of a new one will be. Read on for a list of negotiating tips, so that you can ensure you get the most out of your freelancing experience.

Write it Down

First and foremost, whenever you negotiate a contract with an employer, be absolutely sure to put all terms down in writing. If you instead opt to commit to something verbally, you run the risk of having an employer change the terms on you, or conveniently remembering them in a different way. Write it down, and should troubles arise, you can take your documents to a third party and settle the problem accordingly.

Agree to a Price Upfront

When you discuss project details with an employer, it’s important to discuss compensation at the outset. Don’t wait until you’re halfway through the job to bring it up – by that point you might already be too embroiled in the work to easily get out of it if an employer refuses to compensate you properly. And never, under any circumstances, hand over work without first agreeing on the value of your efforts. If you turn over your work without first setting a price, you turn over all power.

Set a Date

Negotiate a date on which you will be paid in full – and write this down in the original contract. That way, you hold an employer accountable, and if they fail to hold up their end of the bargain, you can pursue the next necessary course of action. If you don’t set a date, you give the employer the opportunity to continue pushing off payment later and later, which keeps you in a state of limbo and prolongs an already unhealthy business relationship.

Procure a Retainer Fee

After you have set a price and a pay date, require that your employer pay you a retainer fee. This is an amount of money that an employer pays you upfront in order to secure your services. Even once you draw up a contract with an employer, you can still run into a tricky situation at the end of your business relationship: your employer may claim that you did not live up to the terms of your end of the bargain, or may lack the finances to pay out to you in the end. A retainer fee ensures that you do see at least some of the money for your work, regardless of your employer’s funds or their opinion on the quality of your work.

Understand the Time Commitment

It’s important to have as thorough understanding of the project as possible, at least to a point where you know how much time you will be spending on it. Why? Several reasons. Some people may wish to negotiate pay based on an hourly rate. If you originally underestimate how much time a project will take you, it may be difficult to go back and convince your employer of the time that the work actually took, and of how much you truly deserve to be paid. It’s also imperative to know how much time you need to devote to the project so that you manage your time well. Getting the work in on time is built into your part of the contract, and failure to do so may delay or nullify payment. Finally, understanding time constraints can be helpful so that you can convey this information to the employer. If you establish exactly how long you will be spending on a project with an employer beforehand, you can avoid having them demand superfluous work or hours from you throughout the process.

Understand the Project

A nice segue from the discussion on time commitment, you must understand the project you are undertaking, and so should your employer. If you are asked to complete one thing, make sure that this is the thing that you deliver in the end. This will help keep you on track, as well as lessen the likelihood that an employer will claim that you did not provide the work you were supposed to, thus ensuring that you don’t run into unnecessary issues when it comes to getting your paycheck.

Freelancing can be tricky – more often than not, you don’t have someone else advocating on your behalf, and there are many uncertainties that you run into working for a new employer every few days, weeks, or months. But freelancing can also be a lot of fun. Who doesn’t like being their own boss and changing the scenery every now and then? Just follow these simple guidelines and enjoy the ride!

Until next time,
The Doostang Team

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

6 Resume Details that Help You Land More Interviews

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Analyst, New York, NY
Data Specialist, Waltham, MA
Investment Banking Associate, San Francisco, CA
Litigation Secretary, Denver, CO
Director of Finance, Los Angeles, CA

More recent jobs you might like…

“It’s all in the details.” This old adage also applies to your resume. Getting the details right will land you that interview! The resume is your first impression. Make sure you send the right message by getting the details across in a powerful presentation.

1. Remember the Purpose of the Resume

A resume is designed to land an interview. You have to do the rest of the work in the interview to get the job. Remembering this primary purpose of the resume can help you remain focused on only those details of your work history that will compel the hiring manager to call you for the interview. Think of the resume as a pitch to the hiring manager. Each section has to speak to the needs of the company and serves a definite purpose in selling that message.

2. Omit Irrelevant Information

Be certain to include all necessary details about your work experience, but don’t fall into the trap of including accomplishments from early in your career because you have a sentimental attachment to those achievements. Another old-school approach is including an objective on the resume. An objective is considered irrelevant because it addresses your needs rather than those of the potential employer.

3. Stand Out From the Crowd – In the Right Way

If creating your own resume, avoid using any of the templates available in your word processing program. Templates create the same kind of document that the hiring manager is used to seeing from many other candidates. To counteract this effect, many are tempted to use fancy fonts, colors, and pictures. Resist that temptation! These superficial approaches will not represent the substance you bring to the position (which is what actually sets you apart from the crowd). Emphasizing your accomplishments is the way you want to stand out from other applicants.

4. Toot Your Own Horn

Though you may have a hard time playing up your accomplishments, the resume is not the place to be humble. Be specific about every achievement you bring to the table. These achievements are what will set you apart from the crowd. Details speak to your strengths and also prevent you from embellishing beyond your actual accomplishments. Unique achievements tell the hiring manager why they need to call you for an interview!

5. Go Beyond the Job Description

The job descriptions for most positions share many of the same responsibilities. Every banker, financial analyst, and sales professional has a similar base of duties. Including “other duties as assigned” to highlight your willingness to go the extra mile is not going to set you apart from other candidates. Detail exactly what those other duties are as long as they strengthen your position in the resume. If the additional duties are mundane, you achieve a greater effect by describing yourself as a “motivated team player” in the professional summary of your resume. If the duties are innovative and achieved strong results, then include those details in your accomplishments.

6. Be Specific

Specific details create a picture of your past successes for the hiring manager. Clarity in your resume helps the reader see you in the role of the new position. For example:

Too General:

Seeking a position as a project manager where I could lead effective teams for great results.

Specific & Powerful:

Experienced project manager with diverse leadership skills ranging from green initiatives with LEED compliance to streamlining operations, growing profits, and increasing productivity.

Remember that the details of your resume need to answer the hiring manager’s question of “Why you?” Don’t leave any questions in the reader’s mind that you are uniquely qualified to solve the company’s problems and create success. Get that interview with the right details in your resume!

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!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Doostang Success — Internship at a Venture Capital Group in New York

Jiajia

University of Rochester, 2011
Financial Analyst Summer Intern – Pulse Advisory

“I recently received and accepted an internship offer to work for a venture capital group in New York.

I got the interview offer just one week after I sent my application materials through Doostang.

It is a really great opportunity for a fresh finance graduate to land a position in venture capital. I am a graduate student in finance from University of Rochester, and as an international student, it is really hard for me to get an opportunity to work in the U.S. Recruiting for summer internships fades away quickly by the end of winter, and on-campus recruiters are relatively limited because of geographic disadvantages.

Doostang provides a great chance to reach out to all kinds of job opportunities and it updates information quickly.

I started my summer internship search late, but I still found a lot of interesting openings all across the country. Besides, Doostang’s job searching tools are so considerate that you can easily find positions in your targeted areas, so it saved me a lot of time in job searching.

Every time a potential employer downloads your resume, you’ll get an email notice, meaning you are no longer ‘blindly’ waiting for an interview offer.

I’m so glad that my friend recommended Doostang to me and I’m totally satisfied with the service. I think I’ll stick to Doostang for all my future job searching.”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Credit Analyst – Leading Private Banking & Investment Management Company, Boston, MA

VP of Strategy – Rapidly Growing Restaurant Group, Denver, CO

Corporate Finance Summer Internship – Established Boutique Investment Bank, Chicago, IL

Consultant/ Manager – Top Tier Global Management Consulting Firm, New York, NY

Sr. Financial Analyst – Venture-Backed Spanish Language Media Company, Los Angeles, CA

Search jobs on Doostang

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Doostang Success — An Opportunity to Break into the Finance Industry

Ruchi

New York University, 2011
Compliance Analyst – ACA Compliance

Doostang attracts the right candidates and employers, making it easier for any college student or graduate to find a job in an industry of their choice. The vast selection of employers, industries, and job opportunities makes Doostang far superior to Monster, Careerbuilder, or even university career centers.

Within days of submitting my resumes, I was invited to interview with numerous firms, and within 2 months I was able to secure a job!

Also, Doostang gives those individuals who are liberal arts majors an opportunity to break into financial services. I studied political philosophy and law and society in college, but managed to interview with many financial firms and secure a job in the financial services/compliance industry.

And here’s where Doostang nails it: for every search or job, you’re able to see the connections you have at a potential firm, inviting you to network and speak with individuals before you apply.

I was able to meet and re-connect with many individuals in different firms just by using this feature, and I highly encourage others to do this as well.

I strongly believe that investing in Doostang was an investment done right.”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Financial Associate Intern – LA-Based Private Investment Firm, Los Angeles, CA

Energy Consultant – Highly Specialized Consulting Firm, Washington, DC

Assistant Analyst – Investment Advisory & Research Brokerage Firm, Shanghai, China

Associate Campaign Manager – Award-Winning New Media Agency, San Francisco, CA

Investment Banking Intern – Prestigious Boutique Banking Group, New York, NY

Search jobs on Doostang

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Thinking of Relocating? Location, Location, Location

 

When searching for the perfect job, it’s important not to forget one key component: geography.  Where you are and where you’re looking can have a huge impact on the work you eventually find.  It’s important to consider the upsides to where you’re currently located, as well as the upside to packing your bags and relocating!

Look Elsewhere

If you find that you’re just not landing the position you want, figure out if you’re searching in the right place.  Perhaps you’re having a difficult time finding a job in academia – consider moving your search into a college town or a suburban area with lots of public schools.  If you want to go into entertainment, perhaps you should be scouring opportunities in Southern California instead of Southern Iowa.  When looking for jobs, it’s easy to forget to look outside the boundaries of our own neighborhood.  Contemplating relocation might be difficult, but it might just be the solution.

It’s Not Forever

It’s important, too, to realize that relocating is not something that’s “forever” if you don’t want it to be.  For example, if you want to pursue a career in broadcast journalism, it’s often the case that you have to relocate to a smaller market, which may require moving to the middle of nowhere.  But as you gain experience and recognition, you can transition to a bigger market in a bigger city.  Sometimes you need to get your start in a place where you don’t see yourself staying long term – remember that it’s just the first step.

Quality of Life

One thing to consider when you are looking at relocating is the quality of life that you’ll find when you do.  Is having a family important to you, and will a certain city lend itself well to raising one?  Can you see yourself living in a big city or a rural countryside?  Your job is important, but so is your quality of life.  Don’t forget to factor that in when searching for the perfect position.

Available Networks

A factor that may affect your decision to move to another city is the networks that will be available to you when you get there.  Perhaps it’s wise to stick around the area where you went to college, as you’ll have an extensive alumni network there.  It might also be helpful to move back to the town you grew up in.  There are many different networks that you can use to your advantage, and it’s up to you to figure out where you can take advantage of them.

When looking for a job, the sole focus for many people is often the job itself.  But don’t forget that location is just as important, and could be the key to why you’re not currently finding the job that you want!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail