Tips for Staying Organized

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For many, the constant fight to stay organized can cause stress and cut productivity.  Worse still, it can lead individuals to make mistakes that can have grave consequences for their jobs.  If this sounds like a problem you struggle with, read on for some tips on how to cut the clutter out of your life.

Track, List, and Sort

One of the best ways to stay on top of your projects and deadlines is by developing a system that allows you to track what you have to do and where you stand in terms of getting it done.  Consider creating a list outlining all your projects and their respective due dates.  Alternatively, designate a file or bin for all of the paperwork that you need to go through, and place the most important stuff on top.  Once you’ve done this, make sure to check things off your list as you get them done, or move projects from one bin to another once they have been addressed.

Regroup

While in the midst of your work, it’s helpful to take a few breathers where you pause to consider what you’ve completed and what still needs to be done.  Doing so ensures that you don’t get distracted or miss anything important.  This is where your list or designated project bin will be helpful.

Take Advantage of Every Minute

There are many tasks that can be completed in a short period of time, such as filing documents, shooting off a few quick emails, or making copies.  So instead of putting off these small activities for a later date, do them while you’re thinking about them and likely have a few moments to spare.  Putting them aside for later will only create a backlog of tedious work.

Create Space

There’s nothing worse than losing yourself under a pile of papers.  Try to free up space on your desk by creating files or bins into which you can sort random piles of papers.  This will also help you to track down important documents more easily when you need them.

Throw it Away!

When things start to pile up, take some time to go through everything and throw stuff away.  A good rule is that if you haven’t looked at something in several months, or if you’re unsure about a particular document but it’s something you can easily replace, toss it.  People get attached to their paperwork or worry that they might need it at a later date, and ultimately just end up creating more of a mess than anything else.  Don’t be afraid to utilize your trash bin!

The problem with staying organized is that it’s not a one-time overhaul.  Rather, it’s an ongoing process where you constantly have to make lists, shuffle papers around, and throw things away.  But if you get into good habits now, staying organized won’t seem so trying later on!

Keep it clean,

The Doostang Team

Use Targeted Strategies to Land a New Job

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Investment Analyst, Boston, MA
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One of the single most important pieces of advice that hiring managers offer is to be single-minded in your job search. Although it can be tempting to take a “shot-gun” approach targeting any available opening, such a broad strategy is likely to work against you and can in fact communicate desperation. Following a targeted strategy projects confidence that appeals to hiring managers.

Narrow Your Job Search

To create confidence in your approach, identify a single position or “family” of similar types of positions for which you will apply. However counter-intuitive this may seem, you need to focus on the most highly desired positions for which you qualify. Targeting your efforts gives you a clearer focus, increasing your confidence and strengthening the core message in your pitch.

Align Your Resume with Your Target Position

Review your resume and highlight accomplishments that support your proven track record in this targeted area. Your resume must communicate the ways in which you can contribute to the employer’s bottom line. Compare the job description for the open position to your resume to be certain your accomplishments correspond to as many of those qualifications and needs as possible.

Create a List of Potential Employers

Potential employers may be compiled from online job postings, information from your network, or savvy analysis of the local business market. Conduct research on employers for potential openings, projects, and areas of professional interest. Prioritize the list based on factors of greatest importance to you. Then start to work on highlighting your expertise by creating solutions to the company’s challenges that you discovered in your research.

Develop a Plan

Your plan should include the basics of finding a contact to whom you can send your resume, as well as potential problems you can address based on your accomplishments and skills. Outline a link between a potential problem the employer faces, your plan, and your history of specific accomplishments in which you addressed similar challenges. Use your plan to show the employer exactly how you will provide immediate value by actually beginning to work for them before you are even interviewed!

Make a Cold Call

Call the hiring manager to follow up regarding your resume and discuss the ways in which your previous accomplishments, such as saving $100K annually by streamlining production processes, could translate into immediate results for their company as well. With your research on the company, you have an edge by providing specific examples about the value you can bring. Be specific in your examples, whether you are talking about sales figures, cost reduction, or winning Fortune 500 accounts.

Write Your Own Script

Writing down your accomplishments increases your confidence. Following a script can also help you express yourself more clearly on the phone. Review the script a few times to sound natural when talking with the hiring manager. While you may not follow the script verbatim, it can help you remember key points in making a case about your strengths. If you are unable to get the hiring manager on the phone, write up your script as a formal plan to include as an enclosure with your resume and mail it to the appropriate person within the company of interest.

Showing the employer your strengths and drive by addressing company problems before you even interview will distinguish you from the competition. Each contact with the company is an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and expertise. Be certain to take advantage of every interaction to show off your accomplishments and you will land a new job!

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!

What to Consider When Making a Career Switch

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We’re no longer of a generation that chooses one career and sticks with it.  While our grandparents may have stayed with a single company their entire working lives, nowadays people bounce around companies, continents, and career paths all the time.  Unfortunately, this means that our forefathers may not be able to give us the best advice when we decide we want to make the transition.  So here are some important things to consider while making that uncertain, foreboding, and always exciting career switch!

Assess Where You’re At

A crucial part of changing direction is determining exactly where you currently stand.  It’s important to understand why you want to make a change, and what specifically you have at the moment that you want to modify.  Is your work unfulfilling, not paying you well enough, or leading to a dead end?  And are there ways you can remedy these current problems without jumping ship?  Making a career switch is a huge task, so instead of falling into the “grass is always greener” mentality right away, it may be wise to evaluate whether or not you can find ways to be happier where you currently are.

Do Your Research

Before you make any hasty decisions, it’s important to understand what you’ll be getting yourself into.  You don’t want to transition out of a career just to find the same problems in the new industry you’re entering.  For the new field that you’re considering, make sure you have a solid understanding of salary range, career path, corporate culture, and so on.  You don’t want to glorify a new career solely because it presents a change, and then come to find out that you were happier beforehand.

Get Qualified!

Just because you feel passionate about a new position doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to come easily to you.  Even if you’re an expert in your current field, you may find yourself having to start from scratch when you transition to a new one.  Figure out what prerequisites are essential for the new career you’re pursuing, and accept the fact that you may have to spend considerable time becoming qualified for the new position.  This might mean taking classes, learning new skills, or hitting the books and catching up on industry literature.

Make Connections

Another step to start thinking about is how you’re going to work your way into the “in crowd” of your chosen industry.  It’s important to know the right people when you’re making a career switch, as they’ll be able to impart advice, make introductions, and present you with new paths to consider.  To that end, think about finding a mentor you can chat back and forth with as you grow and become more established in your new vocation.

Making a career switch takes courage, so pat yourself on the back if you’ve decided to embark on this transition.  Remember that it won’t always be easy, but that the best things in life take hard work and tenacity.

Best of luck,

The Doostang Team

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Win More Interviews: Show Your Value to Employers!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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Creating value for employers even before you land the job is a way to set yourself apart from the competition. The value for you is that such a distinctive approach is likely to accelerate your successful hire! An effective strategy for showing your value is to develop a plan that identifies and solves problems for the company, using tact in case the person who created the gaffe is also the hiring manager!

Research the Company

To accelerate your job search using this approach, you must target a specific company of interest. If you attempt to concentrate on a number of companies simultaneously, your efforts will be diluted and less likely to produce the results you desire. Focus your research on challenges the company is currently facing or on the analysis of products and publications. Match the area of analysis with your strengths and skill set so that you can highlight your value for the company.

Identify Gaps or Gaffes for the Company

Your research will create the framework for your plan by identifying gaps or gaffes in the company’s current operations. Gaffes are more likely to be found in branding or publications. If you are a proofreader or marketing specialist, you can distinguish yourself by identifying confusing marketing messages or typos in corporate publications. Gaps can be identified across a number of areas, including inefficient operations, slow sales, or ways that money is being left on the table.

Create an Effective Plan

Here is where your talents shine!  Create a stellar step-by-step plan for improvement using your strong skill set and unique perspective. Explain your rationale and implementation so the employer gets a clear sense of how you created the plan from start to finish. Your initiative is only one of the strengths on display in your plan.

Examples of plans you might offer include:

  • a marketing plan to expand into an entirely new market with an existing product line
  • strategies to increase productivity
  • creating an employee communication curriculum
  • cost-cutting manufacturing processes

Present Your Plan

Gaining access to the right people can be the challenge in this part of your job search. Return to your earlier research and pull out the names of specific department managers or project leaders. Ideally, you will be able to present your plan to the person with authority to implement the changes. Once you have the right names, package your resume and your plan with a brief cover letter and send it off. If using e-mail to present your plan, be certain to create an intriguing subject line to increase the likelihood that your email will be opened. Take the key aspects of your plan and incorporate these into a concise and eye-catching subject line.

Examples of effective subject lines might include:

  • Penetrate New Markets with Existing Product Lines
  • New Strategies to Accelerate Staff Productivity
  • Better Customer Service with Improved Staff Communication
  • Smart Strategies to Reduce Manufacturing Costs

Another important consideration in e-mail communication is whether attachments will be opened. Some recipients may be concerned about attachments containing viruses or company spam filters may block your email. Include previews of salient points in the body of the email to generate interest and spur the manager to open your attachments.

Follow Up

Your contact information will be included in your resume and e-mail signature, but continue your proactive approach by following up. Try following up with a phone call so you can have a real-time conversation with the decision maker. In attempting to get through, be certain to mention the plan you provided and state your intent to clarify any questions and to tailor the plan to the executive’s needs. If unable to get through, request a time to return the call or schedule a call. Your organizational skills will be noticed.

Creating a plan to address employer’s needs before you are even employed sets you miles apart from the competition! Your emphasis on providing value to the employer and making an investment of your time speaks volumes about the value you can provide on the job. Show employers your value to win more interviews and you will soon be getting paid for your skills and expertise!

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!

Doostang Success — Sales Analyst Job with Morgan Stanley

Brandon

Villanova University, 2009
Sales Analyst – Morgan Stanley

“I signed up for Doostang a few months ago out of curiosity to see what opportunities were out there. Even though I wasn’t actively looking at the time, Doostang helped spark my interest in other career paths. The website is very useful in that I was able to locate an opening for a job as soon as it became available, thus giving me an advantage over individuals who may see the position after it has already been posted for some time.

I received a job at Morgan Stanley shortly after applying to it on Doostang and have been very pleased with my experience.”


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Tricky Interview Questions

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We’ve covered a lot of tough interview questions in past posts, and here we come at you with yet another round.  Sometimes interviewers ask us questions that are more on the tricky side.  It’s hard to know what to say – it often seems the best approach is to tell them what they want to hear, rather than the truth – and sometimes it’s just confusing why these questions are being asked in the first place.  Here are a few examples:

What Are Your Hobbies?

Why is this question relevant to the job you’re applying for, and why would the interviewer care enough to ask this in a formal interview?  Try to look at this question as a means for the interviewer to understand who you are a little better.  If you’re hired, you’ll be absorbed into the company culture, so the company wants to get a more complete picture of you as an individual.  Understanding what you do for fun can help the interviewer determine what your working style might be like.  It can also help them determine how a job will fit into your life, given what you do outside of your work.

How Would Your Coworkers Describe You?

Do you even know the answer to this question?  Could you really provide an accurate assessment of what others think?  This question is more of a way for the interviewer to find out what qualities you most value about yourself, as you likely assume that these are the same traits that others appreciate.  It also showcases how modest or overconfident you might be.  Here you might take the chance to describe some positive interactions you’ve had with coworkers, citing instances where you have collaborated with them on projects.  This will give you a way to back up your answer, as well as to imply that you are able to work well in a team.

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

This question is tricky because it’s hard to tell if you should speak about yourself in five years at that company – after all, you don’t want to appear presumptuous, but you also don’t want to seem disloyal.  And what if where you want to be is in the seat of the person who is interviewing you?  Instead of focusing on what specific position you see yourself in, try to think of things you want to have achieved.  In what areas will you grow the most?  What goals do you have for your career?  After you’ve considered these questions, you can then turn your answer around and talk about ways in which you will be able to accomplish all of this at the company you are interviewing for, speaking about how your growth will be mutually beneficial for you and the corporation.

Some questions during the interview can seem like time wasters – and some are.  But interviewers often have underlying points they’re trying to get at, even if it’s just to see how you’ll react to a specific question.  Try to prepare for an interview as thoroughly as you can and keep an open mind when tackling tricky questions like these.

All the best,

The Doostang Team

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Update Your Job Search Strategies

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Research Associate, New York, NY
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Making a change in jobs can be challenging at any time in your career, but may feel even more daunting for those who have been with a particular company for a relatively long time. Putting together an effective job search and resume can be difficult for workers who may not have been out in the job market recently. A few strategic tips can help you position yourself as a viable candidate while reducing potential vulnerability to ageism.

Use dates and years of experience judiciously.

It is not necessary to include dates of graduation, professional training, or membership in professional associations. Simply listing these credentials is acceptable. It is not in your best interest to describe your vast experience in terms of 25 or 30 years of experience.  Consider describing experience with adjectives such as “broad”, “deep”, or “expansive” instead. Simply put, try not to call attention to your age, but rather your skills and expertise.

Limit the length of your work history.

Most hiring managers are only interested in the last 10 to 15 years of your experience. You may feel great pride in accomplishments early in your career, but highlighting your status as “rookie of the year” from 1987 is more likely to hurt than help your job search. Including points such as these could brand you as outdated, which may quickly end your consideration for employment.

Tailor the cover letter.

Individualize the cover letter by using the name of the hiring manager or contact person.  This may require time online to identify the person to whom you address the letter. An effective cover letter serves dual purposes: enticing the reader to learn more about you and listing your qualifications. By leading with a specific name you personalize the cover letter and show that you have done your homework.

Update the cover letter.

Review current business letter formats, for both written and electronic communication. Following the styles from your first typing or computer class will identify you as outdated. Email should also be formal and include traditional greetings and a signature with all your contact information. For example:

Name
Email Address
Phone
Cell Phone
LinkedIn Profile
(can be an asset if you have set one up)

Also be certain to include an appropriate Subject Line, such as:

Sales Management Position
Human Resource Manager Application
Financial Analyst Position – Your Name

If you are uncertain about the appearance of your email, send a test version to a friend, family member, or separate account of your own. If you choose to send a test email to another email account of yours, be certain not to send to an existing work-related account. Most company email is considered open to viewing by upper management. Using company resources for a job search is not good form.

Emphasize diverse experience.

A practical outcome of experience is the accumulation of many transferable skills. Related skills and experiences that distinguish you from other candidates can be included in the cover letter and in the summary section of your resume. Connect the dots for the reader by showing exactly which skills will benefit the potential employer, rather than just stating you have “transferable skills”. You can also highlight your ability to be flexible and adaptable – a team player – as you describe these additional skill areas.

Avoid early salary discussions.

Experienced workers have a reputation for being more “expensive”, so it is important to be cautious in any requests for salary expectations. If required, you may respond by stating your flexibility or describing salary expectations as within normal market range.

Mobilize your network.

With broad experience, you have probably built a solid network of contacts. Now is the time to reach out to those contacts to explore knowledge about openings and let people know you are looking. Think about professional organizations, alumnae groups, or local civic groups.

A job search takes time and career transitions rarely happen as quickly as you would like. Hanging in there while opportunities develop may be the hardest part of the search. Using strategies that make you less vulnerable to negative perceptions from hiring managers helps position you to move more quickly through the search process to a new job.

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!

Doostang Success — Responses within 3 Days of Applying for Jobs

Dheeraj

Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009
Supply Chain and Operations Analyst – DTDC

“I was just coming out of college and found job search to be a challenge.  I was applying to jobs on some other sites, but after spending my precious time I was still just waiting for responses and I was beginning to lose my confidence. I did get very few responses eventually, but they still weren’t from the company HRs.

After learning about Doostang, I started applying through the site. I saw some positive responses, so I got a premium membership. All of a sudden, plenty of opportunities opened up all around me.

I started getting responses directly from the hiring managers within 3 days of applying for jobs, which was very quick for me given the time constraint I was in. I ended up getting 2 offers and was in a position to negotiate my pay package.

The filters and saved-searches were very useful. The newsletters sent by Doostang were also consistently guiding me in my job search, and as a result, I was performing better in the interviews.

Overall, Doostang has been a mentor and helped me get many opportunities.

I strongly recommend Doostang Premium to anyone seeking a new job or a career change – I know they will eventually end up with a great opportunity like I did.”


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:

Summer Intern – Leading Client & Proprietary Assets Firm, Greenwich, CT

Project Director – Prominent Consultancy, Chicago, IL

Quantitative Equity Analyst – Innovative Quantitative Investment Management Firm, Boston, MA

Marketing and Operations Associate – Cutting Edge Tech Startup, SF Bay Area, CA

Investment Banking Analyst – Premier Full Service Investment Bank, New York, NY

Search jobs on Doostang