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Interview Tips

Research thoroughly about the company you are going for an interview. Find out the business of the company, what are the skills they are looking for, how you can contribute to the company's growth, company's prospects, your growth prospects etc. etc. Use your network to find out about the company, talk to career consultants to find out, look out on the internet.

If company has a web presence, visit their web site and note down all the factors, which will help you arrive at a decision. Make a list of questions you may have come up. These can be asked and get answered at the time of interview. Talk to friends/acquaintances in the company to find out the inner details. Dress formally for the interview, but don't overdress. Dress what is appropriate in your climate.

Always reach 15-30 minutes earlier than the expected time. You can use effectively utilize that time to make observations about the company and its employees. If possible, get the interview scheduled in the morning hours, the time when both you and the interviewers are still fresh. About the questions asked, always reply to the point. Do not repeat the same thing and politely decline, in case you don't know the answers. No one is supposed to know everything. Look straight in the eyes of the person while talking. This shows your confidence.

Always have your doubts cleared at the end of the interview. Ask all the questions you had made a list. This shows you are sincere and have done your homework before appearing for the interview. Never ask for the salary figures/details in the interviews. Leave these questions for later.

If an expected salary figure is asked, politely tell that it should be commensurate with your skills and experience. If still pressed for figure, give your currently drawn salary and ask for an appropriate raise over it. At the end of the interview, always thank the interviewers and shake their hands. Last but not the least, whatever may be your requirement for the job, never show your desperation for it.

Preparing Rsum
"Ah! What an interesting Ad from my dream company! Let me send my resume" Click Click and Zoom! Stop! Do not Shoot Off Your Ready-Made Resume, the One-for-all types, in response to Today's Ad in CareerAge. If you are serious about appointment, and not disappointment, then you need to work on each application of yours. The problem of "Heaping of resumes" is only aggravated in the current job scenario! The reader of responses will not have time for a proper in-depth scrutiny of all the responses he gets. He is looking for only specific stuff. If he always knows what he is looking for! If he does not get a glimpse of what he wants in first 10 to 15 seconds, he moves on to the next resume. Fair or not. Like it or not. Resume selection process for selection of a resume, out of a whole lots of them, works in the following chain: 1) A resume that attracts attention & interest -> 2) Leads to scrutiny -> 3) If seems to meet requirements, selected for further action. How do you attract attention? What can you do to catch the eye of the scrutinizer in the 15 seconds that he has for you? In such a situation how does one succeed? What if actually you were the right person, competent and fit for the advertised job; yet your resume gets rejected due to poor screening by the selector(s)? Relax. This article is supposed to tackle exactly these issues. The purpose here is to give out tips that will fetch you better results. To help you define chances of your own success! To achieve the first of the above objectives, you have to put in efforts. The resume reviewer needs to be helped and guided to select your resume out of the heap. Tone, flavor and focus add value. Credentials are any way a bottom line. Focus helps the reader to select the right resume. You need to consciously bring forth those specific aspects out of your own years of experience, or of your academic and extracurricular achievements, if you are a fresher, that the advertiser is

perhaps looking for in a "probably a suitable candidate" and paste at the top of your resume as a summary in four to six lines. He does not have time to go deeper, nor to read in between lines to find out if you may be the right person for his job. That way he might as well meet most candidates. Step 1: Get your facts together. As an applicant you must write the resume giving information about yourself only after you have prepared yourself well. First of all, therefore, it is advisable to keep your existing resume on the side and have a complete re-look at your whole career, afresh. It is useful to gather all information about yourself and jot down the various jobs you have done, the various responsibilities that you held, various achievements that you have achieved. Be it your in your jobs or in college or at school. This is not easy. But have patience. Your future depends on how well you are prepared. To do the step1, it may be a good idea to sit down with a tape recorder and go back to your first ever job and talk through your career. Talk about learnings, pitfalls, mistakes, contributions and failures. Assimilate this information and compartmentalize based on category of experience, skills, period or what ever, even if across jobs. Put it out as a draft. Refine and finalize. Having penned the information, collate those portions of your resume that are relevant to the position being applied for. Estimate the time that you would have spent on such activities and specifically mention. Put all these details in the cover letter and also in the main resume at the top frame under sub heading:Summary: It is one Para comprising of 4 to 6 lines and is the flavor of the resume. This should remove the need for the "Objective". I have seen most objectives are abstract wish statements of candidates that are generally irrelevant to the reviewer at the initial resume-screening stage barring rare critical positions. The summary is a good forum to mention awards and merits. The credibility needs to be established early on. It will help hold interest for the reader to go on. Be precise and honest. I have seen many resumes that are well bloated and also flavored. Flavoring of the resume to requirements leads to a selection for an interview call. But when it matures in to an interview, the sharp interviewer will eliminate you. If your actual work profile does not suit his requirement he is not going to hire you. Interviewing is a scientific process of information gathering. Many interviewers have mastered the skill of interviewing and a good interviewer will puncture holes in a resume-forte and will be able to see through the bloating however carefully one may have woven. While a resume may sound impressive, result of the interview may turn out to be just other wise. Time and time over again. More number of times you lose, you only add to your own frustration. One is playing a lose-lose game. By summarizing your experiences carefully, you are helping the reviewer to look at the relevant portion of your work life and if it interests him, he decides to spend more time on you. Step 2: Present your resume neatly Formatting your resume is crucial. Format it so that a neat print on A-4 sized sheet can be taken. If you are printing a hard copy yourself, use good quality white bond paper. There is no need to write "Resume" or "Curriculum Vita" as the Header to your document. Putting your name in bold with font size 16 on top left hand corner should be sufficient. Keep the font size as 12 for the rest of the document. Use Arial or Times New Roman and Auto or Black color. Give your present address contact details, phone, mobile and e-mail. If permanent address is separate, mention it at the end of your document and not on the top. While you should make all the headings bold using title case, the sub-headings should be normal-italic. Addspaces after a coma or a full stop and not before. Leave one space, max two spaces, after full stop. Avoid using exclamation marks (!) or question marks (?). Use Tab(s) after colon (:) and standardize one tab position for the whole document to present information neatly. There should not be any spelling mistakes. These speak poorly of your candidature. Poor spellings and wrong sentences puts off the readers and gives them a reason to reject. Do not waste efforts in dividing your resume by shaded heading text-boxes. While such formats look neat on your computer screens; the print outs may turn out to be horrible or garbled. After the Name and contact details, mention your qualifications. It is useful to begin with the highest one first and then go backwards. It is important to mention the course, university / institution and the period of study. Percentage CGPA or any other ranking helps. Take an opportunity to highlight merits in class / college/ university, including scholarships, certifications etc if any. In case if any course is part time or through correspondence, do mention it now rather than being discovered later. Experience details Cover the current job responsibilities first and go back wards. Best is to cover points area wise, major ones first. But cover

all aspects that you have handled. Mention in brief only. Who knows that may be that's what the prospective employer is looking for? Be proud. There is no harm in saying, "I have done it", but state facts. Skills, technologies computer savvyness needs clear mention IT professionals should maintain one pattern for all projects through out the length of the resume: Mention duration from-to (specify period in months); give project name / Module; Technologies used: OS / Languages / Tools. It is useful to keep a separate section where you self-assess your competence on various technologies, especially the ones that you have used. For mentioning the Team size it is useful to take maximum size. Also do mention the location of the project. Do not abbreviate or create your own acronyms. Mention key words in accepted standard form only, lest they get missed in electronic search. I may like to warn here that Virus can kill your candidature. So make sure your machine is well updated on anti-virus definitions. Do mention your role / reporting relationship and add the specific achievement / contribution that you have made to the project / job. Mention about reviews and quality aspects. Customer appreciations about your work are best credentials. Don't miss mentioning them. Don't do cut and paste job responsibility descriptions across the projects/jobs. Treat each one separately. Even if the job is similar, no two are exactly the same. Some things are different. Break monotony in writing and bring out the difference. Shortcuts by you will only encourage the reader also apply the same when he is reading. In the end, do mention your extra curricula achievements, hobbies, and interests, permanent address etc. A well-selected resume will increase your success rate. For, once the reviewer has understood your candidature, he is calling you with an expectation to select and not to reject. There is a vacancy that he needs to close quickly. Having seen your honest resume, he knows fairly well what kind of work you may have done in your career. You may have the right experience that he may like to leverage upon. And precisely for that he will be ready to shell out more money, some thing that will only benefit you. He now wants to meet you and evaluate you. Your credentials will be verified. He is going to judge by what you say, how you say, what body language you exhibit, your analytical ability and agility. And most of all, attitude, pleasantness, eagerness, warmth and your fitment in to the organization culture guide his assessment of your capability of handling the job that he has pending, awaiting the filling of the vacancy. He questions himself, Are you the best person to handle the assignment? Therefore, please understand that writing a good resume is essential for success. It is an art you can easily master. Seek professional help if you still do not have the skill or the patience with yourself. Once having had a good detailed resume, self assess yourself against the specified requirements and participate in the recruitment process if you are well convinced that you can handle the advertised job with ease. Keep the Chaff away. Avoid unnecessary repetition. No one is interested in knowing how many students were in your class unless you were a ranker. If you have made his job easier even before joining, he would imagine what you would do if you actually worked for him. Apply in good time. Do not wait till the last date of application submission. By that date, in a private organization, the recruitment may already be well beyond half way. Remember, the advertiser is keen to close the position the quickest. His business is suffering. I remember in one interview, I was talking about my role and responsibilities as HR head of my last organization. When I stopped, the interviewer asked me, "What about Recruitment? Have you ever handled recruitment?" I immediately realized that I missed an obvious thing. "Of course", I recovered and answered back, "I did that almost all the time! Recruitment to an HR person in IT is like food to the human body." I still wonder, how I missed mentioning an obvious thing. Author Rakesh Nayar A HR Professional.

Seven Ways to get Job Search on Track

Do you feel like you've done just about everything humanly possible to find a job, but nothing has worked out? Have you sent out so many resumes or gone on so many interviews that you really think you should've gotten an offer by now? If your patience and savings are wearing thin, don't give up hope.

Try following these seven steps to jumpstart your stalled search: 1. Think quality, not quantity I don't want to hear that you've answered 200 ads or listings or that you've mailed your resume to 500 companies. That just shows you've mastered your word processor's mail merge function. A job search is not about numbers -it's about quality contacts. There's no way you can personalize and customize your resumes and cover letters to appeal to 500 employers. So, keep the number down to a manageable amount. You're better off contacting 20 employers per week than 200, if those 20 contacts are quality ones. You can ensure that these are quality contacts by: a. Taking the time and effort to carefully research the organization before applying. Writing a cover letter that is tailored to the employer's needs and the job requirements, and shows your knowledge of that organization. Altering your resume slightly to better highlight what that employer or position calls for. Following up after you apply by calling or emailing the organization to confirm that your resume was received, to reiterate your interest in the position, to restate why you're well qualified for the job, to find out what their timeframe is for reviewing resumes and interviewing, and - most important - to make a HUMAN connection.

b. c. d.

Successful job hunters take an active approach, rather than a passive one. So, don't sit back and expect the invitations to interview and the job offers to pour in. You have to expend some energy and be strategic before you can expect the phone to start ringing or your email box to fill up. 2. Troubleshoot the tools of your search Make sure that the tools of your search are up to par. Problems with your resume, cover letters, references, interviewing technique, or phone manner can turn off prospective employers in a flash. Go back over your written materials to check for typos, misspellings, and other errors and to make sure they're strong marketing tools, not just dry documents. Get other people to look at them and pick up on any problems you've overlooked. Do the same critique of your interviewing style and phone communication techniques. Ask trusted friends or colleagues to conduct mock interviews or phone calls with you to try to identify any flaws in your approach. 3. Jumpstart your networking Sometimes job hunting can feel like exploring the dark side of the moon. You've launched hundreds of resumes into cyberspace and left Countless messages in the never-never-land of voice mail, but you've found no signs of life. What your job search needs is some old-fashioned human contact. Get up off your duff and go to a meeting, conference, seminar, party, or any event where you can talk to people who might be able to give you advice or leads to jobs. If you've already been doing that, then try to be more visible. Run for office in a professional association (even if you're new to a field, you'll be welcomed with open arms if you want to help out and take an active role. If official leadership is not for you, then write an article for the association newsletter or offer to volunteer at an upcoming meeting or conference. You'd be amazed at the boost such an effort can give to your search and your career in general). To find a professional or trade association in the career field or industry in which you work or would like to work, use the Encyclopedia of Associations or the National Trade and Professional Associations directories found in the reference section of most libraries. 4. Check your attitude If your job hunting is dragging on and you're starting to get a negative attitude, do what you can to nip the blues in the bud. You may not realize it, but your anger, bitterness, apathy, or negativism can show through in your written and oral communication with prospective employer. Try not to internalize the rejection or to dwell on failures. Instead, try to learn from each rejection and move on. If you're not even getting to the rejection stage because you haven't gotten any nibbles, don't wallow in self-pity or start blaming the world. Instead, take matters in your own hands and do some of the things recommended in tips 1-3. 5. Revive dead leads Just because a lead didn't pan out doesn't mean you can't contact that person or that organization again. If you received the name of someone to contact and it turned out that that person didn't know of any jobs for you, don't be afraid to call them back a few weeks or months later to see if anything has changed. You have to stay fresh in people's minds in order for them to be on the lookout for opportunities for you.

Do the same with places where you interviewed but didn't receive an offer. Most people are afraid to contact organizations that have rejected them, but that's a big mistake. It could turn out that the person who was hired didn't work out and left after a few weeks or months. If you happen to call again, you might be in the right place at the right time to step into the newly vacant slot. 6. Get professional help Job hunting can be a lonely and confusing process. You may not have the knowledge required to troubleshoot your resume and brainstorm new search strategies. You may need some moral support before you venture out into the sometimes intimidating world of networking. If you don't want to go it alone, or think you could benefit from some expert advice, consider meeting with a career counselor or professional job search coach. 7. Consider going to Plan B If you've exhausted all possibilities for finding the job you want and are running out of time, money, and energy, it may be time to go to Plan B. Plan B could be changing your career direction, doing temp work or an internship, relocating, or taking a somewhat alternative path such as the Peace Corp or other work or study abroad. If you put some thought and effort into these seven steps, you may see that your job search is not so hopeless after all. Some simple adjustments and corrections or a new attitude may be all it takes to get the interviews and offers coming your way. And, whatever you do, don't give up hope. Contributed By Anil Sharma

eep your Eyes Open for new Opportunities

Gone are the times when people used to choose a career and stick to it all life long, when job stability, not the career growth prospects, used to be the only reason for choosing the career and at those times government job used to be the highest priority and the only time people used to leave their job was, retire from it. With changing times, one has to constantly enhance the skill set, as the need of the hour may be to keep oneself still hot and sought after. Let's take an example, with the advent of computers in India in early eighties, some people had resistance in adopting it and accepting it as an integral part of their career. They feared the technology will eliminate their job, but did not think of mastering the technology. They were fighting against the strong wind of change, change for better, change for efficiency, change for technology which would later be visible in every part of their life and those who accepted this change, made the technology their strong arm and soon were in the fast lane. So, it becomes important to have eyes, ears and mind open to see and listen and feel the opportunities which are thrown open each day of our lives. Let our minds dream, dream into the future, dream what you want, and the passion to achieve that becomes the technology. This is what is known as entrepreneurship. One doesn't need to be a businessman to be entrepreneur. One finds hundreds of opportunity in every day's activities. What it requires is little imaginiation and creativity. Those are the people who are admired and are always on the fast track of career growth.

Tips for Interviews When you are facing a panel of interviewers, make your best moves Whether you are searching for jobs, looking for career avenues or climbing the corporate ladder, you can't escape team interviews these days. The problem is that such interviews don't have a pattern to them. They come in different forms. You could be facing your prospective team members. Or you could be up against the top brassHR vice-president, the section head, the operations chief. Or you could also be sent to a recruitment assessment centre for multi-parametric evaluation (psychological tests for pressurehandling abilities, team-player skills and so on). Just go through these tips for surviving, and scoring, in a team interview.

CREATE A MENTAL PICTURE OF YOURSELF Boost your self-confidence by seeing yourself as star performer who's a cut above. See yourself answering with elan the questions you expect. Then replay your answers and ask yourself these questions: How interesting were your observations? Did most of your responses begin the same way? Did you use 'we' often, suggesting team-player attributes? Are there traces of humour in your responses? GIVE VARIETY TO YOUR ANSWERS Remember you might be interviewed by different panels. Don't give a stock answer to all of them. They'll be comparing notes. Repackage your skills so that they sound different. If you're showcasing project X as your major achievement in your present job before one team, talk about project B before another interview panel. A technical team will tune in to techie talk; an HR team would rather hear about your interpersonal skills. INTERPERSONAL SKILLS Pull out the stops on your group management and group presentation skills. Interviewers are people after all. Look for the personality type underscoring each interviewer. Then try and connect with each one of them without getting personal. Usually the best way to make contact is to project values that you feel you can share with your interviewers. PREPARE FOR STRESS You'll be up against a time crunch in a team interview. In one-on-ones, the interviewer might be taking notes, allowing you little breathers. No such luck with four people firing questions at you. Use stress control techniques to soothe your nerves. You might even use the extra adrenaline to sharpen your responses. ASK GOOD QUESTIONS Research is integral to a good interview performance. Find out as much about you can about the company concerned. Browse the Net, check company reports, put together news clips. Armed with your background brief, ask relevant questions about the company. If you think you have a bright idea about any ongoing activity, try this: "Did the company consider this option ..." Negotiating your salary The interview is over and you've got a job offer in hand. But that's only half the battle won. The real decider is how you manage to negotiate your salary and carve out your job

profile. Let's give you a brief run through of how to wangle whatever you think you deserve. Be Prepared Preparation is critical when negotiating the terms of your employment. The more information you have about the prospective employer and your own market value, the more focused your demands can be. Understand needs, yours and your employers Negotiations involve trade-offs. You need to be very clear about your priorities. What is it that you want? This will help you reject or accept the offer. And ask for exactly what you want. Don't let the employer bully you into accepting the offer if you're not satisfied with it. Understand the dynamics Sometimes you will have skills or experience that are in great demand, and the company would like to hire someone quickly. On the other hand, you may be one of several candidates being considered. Sizing up the relative position of each of the parties to the negotiations will help you determine when to press your advantage and when to back off! Use truth to your advantage Honesty is important. If you lie during the negotiations, sooner or later, you will be caught out. Once you are caught lying, even if you dont lose the job, you lose all credibility. On the other hand, total frankness is not helpful. You are not required to answer a specific question directly unless the answer helps your position. Creativity to the rescue You may not be able to get everything you want, but be sure to get everything you can. Focus on the value of the total package. If you are creative, you can package what you want in ways that are acceptable to the company and important for you too. Stress goals While negotiating, winning often becomes more important than the actual goals that are achieved. Never let that happen. Not only is it important to focus on achieving your goals; it is also important not to make your future boss feel like a loser in the negotiations. Aim for a win-win situation. Never forget employment is an ongoing relationship This is most important and cannot be overemphasised. Employment negotiations are the starting point for your career with the company. They set the tone for your employment relationship.

Get too little and you are disadvantaged throughout your career; push too hard and you can sour the relationship even before it begins.

Guidlines To Train & Measure Preformance Every new employee needs a company orientation, but most supervisors forget that employees also need to be orientated to the company's VISION .The company's vision statement tells the employee where the company is going, what their role will be, and how success and achievement will be measured. Each new employee should be launched into the company with a set of personalized goals that will help the company obtain its goals. Your job is to LISTEN to your new employee's ideas as to how he or she can change in order to help the company meet its goals. This step should occur sometime between the sixth and ninth month of employment. GUIDE the employee's feedback. your job as a supervisor to guide the employee into understanding which of their ideas for change will be helpful in meeting the company's goals. A good supervisor will also guide each of their employees differently because similar to Pokmon, each employee will offer your company unique talents and will evolve into different forms of advanced employees. MEASURE and give FEEDBACK are the last steps before employee evolution can occur. These steps need to take place no later than 12 months after the employee's hire date. It is the supervisor's job to measure the employee's overall success and ability to change in order to help the company achieve its goals. The best way to measure employee performance is by keeping progress notes. These notes should be composed of both objective and subjective measures of the employee's yearly progress. How to Stay Happy at Work By Jenny Ungless How often do you get the Sunday evening blues? Every now and again, or every week without fail? If its the latter, maybe you should think about moving on But lots of people find themselves in the situation where theyre not ready to move jobs just yet perhaps because theyve only been in the role a short time, or because they want to gain more experience. So if you find yourself in the situation where youre in a job that is okay but not brilliant, or that you really need to see through for a period of time, what can you do to make it more interesting and - dare we say it more fun? Here are some suggestions: Positive Thinking Focus on the positives what do you really like about your job (come on, there must be something)? How could you incorporate more of that into your working day? Remind

yourself of the other positive aspects of your work your friends and colleagues, for instance. Challenge Yourself Find new challenges. One of the reasons that we can get restless in our job is, quite simply, boredom. Think about ways in which you could make your role more interesting. Perhaps you could volunteer to mentor new staff, or spend some time every week shadowing people in other departments to get a broader perspective on the business? Discuss your ideas with your manager. Flexible Working Is there scope for you to work more flexibly? Working from home one day a week, for example, could give you more variety. This is not an excuse to get up late and lie around watching daytime TV, though youll need to be able to show some output for your time away from the office! Again, discuss the options with your manager. Learn More If you feel youre not being stimulated enough mentally, consider doing some training or a course that is work-related: it will give you new insights, help to keep you fresh, and will be a useful addition to your CV when you are ready to move on. Network Network more. If meeting new people is not already part of your role, find ways to incorporate it. Meeting people and getting fresh perspectives can help you to keep yourself interested and interesting. If there dont seem to be many networking opportunities where you are, create some! Organize a team outing, or arrange for you and your colleagues to meet up with staff from another part of the company. Have Some Fun Inject a bit of fun into your workplace. That could be as simple as croissants on a Monday morning or a team drink on Friday afternoon. Or it could be a more structured social event. Your work colleagues dont have to be your bosom buddies, but youll enjoy your working day much more if theres a bit of banter and humour around. Just because your work is a serious business doesnt mean you cant have fun while you do it! Improve Your Social Life Make an effort to do more interesting things outside of work. If your working week consists of getting up in the morning, going to work, coming home, having dinner, slumping in front of the TV and then going to bed, your job is going to have a disproportionate impact on your overall mood. Try to fit a couple of social engagements into your week a dancing class or an art exhibition, perhaps, or just a catch-up with friends you havent seen for a while. Having something to look forward to during the week will help to make it more bearable. Prioritise Your Workload

If you find that your problem is youre working such long hours that you dont have time to have fun outside work, let alone in the office, you need to tackle this. Get used to prioritizing your workload negotiate extensions to deadlines if necessary and make yourself leave the office on time at least 3 nights a week. Most of us have periods when were extra-busy and end up working long hours, but if this is happening to you routinely, you need to get out of that rut. Handle Your Work Hiatus On Your Resume by Kim Isaacs Jobsahead Resume Expert Whether it's been six months or 10 years, searching for a job after a workforce absence can be daunting. The work world somehow continued without you, and you may feel like you've been left behind. The good news is that you can reenter the workforce armed with a dynamic resume and an aggressive job search plan. Whether you've been unemployed and looking for work, on sabbatical, raising a family, caring for an ill family member, attending school, on disability or in retirement, follow these tips to create your resume. Before You Write Your Resume Assess Your Skills and Experience: Research your job target to learn what hiring managers now find desirable in ideal candidates. Write a list of your matching skills, experience, training, and personal attributes. How would an employer benefit from hiring you? Refresh Your Skills: Your research might have shown that some of your skills need to be updated. Because you are competing with job seekers who have been on steady career tracks, do what is necessary to compete successfully. Enroll in courses, study independently, and practice your skills whenever possible. This will boost your confidence and get you back in the game. Maintain Ties to the Working World: Besides being a great opportunity to network, immersing yourself in professional activities will give you relevant, recent experience to add to your resume. Do volunteer work, join a professional organization, attend conferences, complete freelance and consulting projects, and accept temporary assignments. When Writing Your Resume Pick the Right Format: Many people returning to work assume they need a functional resume to hide the gap. But be careful about selecting this format, because hiring managers might suspect you're trying to hide something. You might do better with a combination resume, which is a reverse-chronological resume that leads with a Qualifications Summary. The summary emphasizes your most related credentials so

hiring managers readily see your qualifications. Consider a functional format only if you've been out of work for many years and you need to emphasize your functional skill set. Accentuate the Positive: Organize your resume so your key selling points are immediately evident. The top third of page one is the most important part of your resume, so include your most marketable skills and experience there. If you are concerned about your time gap, think about creative ways to obscure it. Maybe you traveled internationally and can mention your exposure to different cultures and languages. Perhaps you led or participated in a fund-raising event for a charity. Continuing education, volunteer work, professional development, and independent study are all valid uses of your time while out of the workforce. Try to tie in how your experience relates to your career goal. Convince employers that you still have what it takes to contribute to organizational goals despite your workforce absence. Don't Call Attention to Dates: Try not to emphasize dates when formatting your resume. Avoid surrounding dates with white space, which will draw the eye. Instead, place them in parentheses next to your job titles. Put Your Cover Letter to Work: Use your cover letter to explain why you temporarily stepped away from your career, emphasizing that you're now available and excited about pursuing employment. Let your enthusiasm for reentering the workforce shine through your letter. Remember, you will need to work harder at job searching than colleagues with recent work experience do. Keep an open mind and positive attitude. You might need to take a pay cut or accept a position at a lower level than the one you had before you left. It might be a blow to the ego, but the reality is that employers like to hire workers with a recent track record. If you accept a position at a lower level than desired, use it as an opportunity to prove yourself and you'll soon work your way back up the ladder. Top Ten Reasons Why You Need a Cover Letter by Peter Newfield Your cover letter presents your intentions, qualifications, and availability to a prospective employer in a succinct, appealing format. It's your first chance to make a great impression, a personalized letter indicates you are serious about your job search. Your resume can give the nitty-gritty of dates, places of employment, and education but your cover letter must entice the reader to take the extra few minutes to consider you when faced with hundreds and thousands of candidates for any one job opening. 1. Do you really need a cover letter? You bet! Just as you would never just show up unannounced at a prospective employer's door, your resume should Never just appear solo on a decision- maker's desk. Your cover letter is your first opportunity to introduce yourself, present your qualifications, and show the search committee you are a potential candidate for the advertised position.

2. Personalize it to the company. Anyone can reproduce a "canned" cover letter and hope for the best. Instead, take a few minutes to personalize your letter by showing that you are really serious about working for the companies you are contacting. State the reason that you are interested in working for that particular company. Mention a department, a new project the company is involved in, an acquisition the company has made. Show that you have done your homework. Address the cover letter to a specific individual whenever possible. 3. Why are you sending your resume and cover letter? Cover letters should be clear and to the point. Include the specific job title, two to three reasons why your experience makes a good fit, and a brief outline of career highlights. 4. Highlight your strengths! You may be a great person and never call in sick, but prospective employers really want to know why they should consider you for this position. Brag a little! Give a few facts, list relevant skills, and state accomplishments on your present or most recent jobs that will be impressive. Increased overseas sales by 93%? Negotiated new financial leases/loans? Implemented new training programs which reduced staff turnover by 15%? 5. State your intentions and qualifications right up front. If you expect a senior personnel manager or recruiter to wade through a mish-mash of information on your cover letter before understanding why you are sending your resume, chances are, it will never happen. 6. What makes you different? Emphasize your skills, talents, and experiences to show how you would be a valuable addition to the team. If you have relevant volunteer or professional experience include it briefly in your cover letter. Example: An accountant who serves as volunteer treasurer for a nonprofit community health organization; an international sales rep who has lived in Europe and Asia and speaks several languages. 7. No negative information! Never include personality conflicts with previous employers, pending litigation suits, or sarcastic remarks in your cover letter. If you are bad-mouthing your present place of employment, interviewers may fear a repeat performance if they hire you. 8. When should you include salary/relocation information? The rule of thumb is to always include salary requirements and/or salary history in the cover letter if a prospective employer requests it. For example: My salary requirements are $60,000-$75000 (negotiable). Or: My current salary is $53,000 at XYZ corporation. To eliminate this information from your cover letter may justify your resume getting tossed out. Never include salary and relocation information on your resume, only address this information in your cover letter. 9. Action Steps to Take

Take a proactive approach in your cover letter. State the fact that you are available for a personal interview; give your home, work, e-mail, and/or cell phone numbers where you can be reached; note that you will follow up by phone (where possible) to provide any additional information required. 10. Be direct! A professionally written cover letter and resume can open the doors to your next position on the corporate ladder, as well as a new career in a different field. A clean, error-free presentation combined with strong phrasing and solid facts will encourage the reader to review the attached resume and call you in for an interview. The Art of Superior Communication

Your number one priority when writing a CV and a covering letter is to imagine what the reader wants to know and hear. And what the recruiter wants to hear is about you. They are not looking for gimmicks and chattiness, they're looking for clarity. That means not listing everything in overwhelming detail but expressing the essence of your themes. It's fine to leave recruiters with further questions to ask at interview, so don't kill the CV stone dead by doing too much. Buzzwords, used in moderation, are useful signposts that help the reader recognise the complex picture you are painting. But avoid yesterday's buzzwords like proactive and business process re-engineering. Grammar can have a stunning effect on readers if it is done properly. But throw away the Word grammar checker. CVs don't follow proper English grammar. There are no sentences and no paragraphs, or there shouldn't be. The CV has its own conventions, based on creating impact and saving space, based on making a few words do a great deal of work. Aim to concentrate what you say and then further edit it down to the absolute minimum. Brevity is the soul of wit - it makes you look intelligent. There are no rules in writing a CV (though cover letters are grammatical and follow fairly precise rules). Start by realising that you are freed from convention. The document you are creating has a series of goals and a number of inputs. Think about your role as an author and have questions like these in the back of your mind, the kind of questions I use myself when writing a CV for someone professionally: The Applicant Side Of Things - How did you approach your role? - What scenario did you encounter and what did you do about it? - How were your methods superior to other ways of handling things?

- What legacy did you leave behind when you left that job? - What more did you go on to achieve in the next job? The Recruiter Perspective Your job applications live in a context that goes beyond what you want, what you have done and what you are good at. This is the marketing side of the task and these are the kind of questions to be asking. What is my next career goal? Am I ready for it? Do I need further training? What issues are involved in making this change? What do I need to say in order to convince recruiters that I am ready for this particular goal? How will that sound convincing to the kind of people I expect to read it? What specific qualities and themes need to be prominent in the application? How will it fit the brief in this industry and at this level of professional role? The Text Itself What information can I leave out or just use a trace of? What information will make me (my client) look stupid if I do include it? What can be implied over and above the actual facts? What innovations in CV design and content are likely to hit home in this commercial sector? (for example, in civil engineering, going beyond the traditional list of contracts and getting inside the way a project manager has actually shaped the latest contract, change the methodology, achieved commercial targets, etc.) There are many ways of embarking upon the process of becoming a superior communicator, but if you start to get a feel for these questions you will start to understand what makes an effective written job application. The other superb thing about being creative in this way is that it helps clarify your career strategy and begins your preparation for performing confidently at interview. Is Loyalty a Hindrance? Jobsahead's career experts often receive questions about how to handle job-hopping and long periods of unemployment on the resume. But occasionally we are asked how to handle long-term employment -- jobs lasting 10 years or longer with one company. Increased job opportunities have contributed to a more mobile workforce, where employees often jump at better job offers without feeling they owe their current

employers anything. Gone are the days when employees stayed with one employer for an entire career. This leaves long-term wondering, "Am I a dinosaur?" The answer, of course, is no. The key is to present your long-term work history as a positive attribute, proof you're in for the long haul. Recruiting a new employee is an expensive endeavor -- companies are always looking for ways to promote long-term tenure -- so demonstrate you are a worthwhile investment. If you would like to use your solid work history as a selling point, here are seven ways to enhance your resume: 1. Keep Learning. Some employers might view your long-term employment as an indication that your skills have stagnated. Prove them wrong by constantly refreshing your skills through formal education and self-study. Participate in professional development courses sponsored by your employer or paid out-of-pocket. Create a Professional Development section on your resume to list your ongoing education. 2. Remove Outdated Skills and Credentials. Obsolete skills are a sure sign of a dinosaur, so omit them. If you aren't sure, ask a trusted colleague or potential hiring manager whether or not a particular skill is in vogue. You can also glean this information by scouring job ads -- if the skill isn't included in job postings, it should probably be omitted. 3. List Different Positions Separately. Promotions illustrate that your company realized your worth and offered you more responsibility. Even lateral moves indicate your employer recognized your diverse talents. Instead of grouping all of your positions under one heading, give your positions individual descriptions along with distinct time periods. Reinforce your internal mobility with terms such as "promoted to" or "selected by CEO to assist with a new department start-up." If you've been in the same position for your entire tenure, show how you've grown in this position and made a difference to the organization. To jog your memory, think about how your current job duties differ from when you first started. 4. Display Accomplishments. Your employment description should go beyond merely listing job duties. To get noticed in this competitive job market, your resume should feature a track record of accomplishments. If you feel stifled in your current position, volunteer for a project that's outside your core competency to experience new challenges and develop new skills. 5. Use Your Employment History to Your Advantage. Use longevity, dedication, commitment, loyalty, and perseverance as selling points, both on your resume and in interviews. You also have the advantage of having seen your accomplishments through from beginning to end. 6. Highlight Experiences Related to Your Goal. If you've been with a company for many years, chances are that you boast a long list of achievements. However, your rsum should only present the experience, skills and

training that relate to your current goal. Since a resume is a marketing piece rather than a career history, don't feel that your resume must cover every detail of your career. Edit down your experience so that you are armed with a powerful resume that is tailored to your current job target. 7. Create a Career Summary Section. A well-written summary at the beginning of your resume will present your career in a positive light. The summary provides an initial hard sell, demonstrating you are highly qualified for your stated goal. Conducting a job search after a long period with one company can seem daunting, but realize that your experience provides you with skills that will be of value to your next employer. Sample Job Objectives by J. Michael Farr. Copywriter/Account executive in Advertising or Public Relations Agency. Program Development, Coordination, and Administration ... especially in a peopleoriented organization where there is a need to assure broad cooperative effort through the use of sound planning, strong administration, skills of persuasion to achieve goals. A responsible position in retail sales. A middle/upper-level management position with responsibilities including problem solving, planning, organizing, and managing budgets. Challenging position in programming or related areas that would best utilize expertise in the business environment. This position should have many opportunities for an aggressive, dedicated individual with the lead ership abilities needed to advance. To obtain a position as a financial manager in the health care industry, utilizing 16 years of demonstrating success and accomplishment. To obtain a position as an Elementary School Teacher in which a strong dedication to the total development of children and a high degree of enthusiasm can be fully utilized. An administrative position in the area of rehabilitation/geriatric health care utilizing my knowledge of clinical, community, and patient services. Highly skilled Executive Secretary with outstanding professional experience including: a) ability to communicate with all levels of management and employees b) international communication liaison with subsidiary companies

c) contract negotiation bargaining team member e) use of word processing, Windows, Lotus 1-2-3 Seeking a position as a Registered Nurse where I can be most effective in helping other medical personnel assist patients and provide quality health care. Obtain a challenging, entry-level position in Broadcast Journalism, with a special interest in reporting, anchoring, and producing with a commercial television station. Position as a Word Processing Secretary that will utilize my computer knowledge, strong people skills, organizational abilities, and business experience. From the book titled, "The Very Quick Job Search," by J. Michael Farr. Copyright JIST Works, Inc.. Used with permission of the publisher.

Interview Guide
Impress recruiters... for higher paying jobs!

You must prepare for an interview!

The job interview is where you can assess a company and it is where you have to sell yourself and your skills. This requires the use of an effective job interview technique. Our interview guide, The Master Interviewer, takes you from job interview preparation to the follow-up. The guide has been written by human resource professionals. Below are some quick job interview tips that show you how to interview in an astute and effective manner.

Your goal in an Interview

The interview is your chance to communicate your ability and skills directly to the potential employer. An interview is an opportunity for both parties to get to know each other and to determine if there is potential for a match. Because interviewing is a skill, anyone can learn to interview effectively. Most people find interviewing to be a terrifying prospect. Remember that the key to a successful interview is preparation and careful listening.

Before the Interview

The Master Interviewer gives details about polish and preparation. These are the basics. Make sure your hair is neat - get a haircut if possible. Dress in conservative business attire, composed of a dark suit, polished shoes, white shirt or blouse, and, for men, a conservative tie. All clothes should be neat clean and pressed. Avoid excessive jewelry, makeup, cologne or perfume.

Learn pertinent facts about the company such as annual sales revenue, principal lines of business and locations. Know yourself and know your resume and be able to easily provide examples of your selling points, skills, values, and strengths.

During the Interview

During the interview, sit up straight in the chair or lean forward slightly and DO NOT slouch! Establish yourself as a self confident and assertive person without being confrontational, cocky or aggressive. Remember to be yourself but to also present a professional, polished version of yourself. Answer job interview questions directly. Be confident without being arrogant. At the same time, admit to your weaknesses if they are brought up, but do not bring them up. Instead, concentrate on your strengths. Demonstrate energy, determination, enthusiasm, motivation and passion for your work. Prove that you are genuinely interested in the company by showing that you have researched the organization. You should always ask the interviewer a few good questions.

Answering Interview Questions

Answer tough interview questions honestly and completely - but be wary. Do not dwell on negatives and you should avoid mentioning them. Sell yourself on your true capabilities and qualifications without exaggerating your abilities. If you are asked a technical question and you do not know the answer, do not bluff. If your bluff fails, your candidacy will be seriously threatened. Instead, say "I do not know the answer, but if I were to venture an educated guess I would say...". Never speak negatively about another person or company. The Master Interviewer contains a complete list of questions to prepare for including some of the most difficult questions you can be asked and the appropriate responses.

Asking questions
The questions that you ask are just as critical as the responses that you give. Asking thoughtful questions demonstrates your intelligence, common sense and your interest in the position to the employer. By posing good questions to an interviewer, you will gain additional useful information about the opportunity. Concentrate on the broad view of the company and on specific details about the position at hand. Focus on four areas during your job interview: the company, the job opportunity, the interviewer and the closing. The Master Interviewer gives specific and insightful questions you can ask in each of these four areas.

After the Interview

Keep them interested. After the interview, you should send a short thank you letter to refresh the employer's memory of your candidacy and to reaffirm your interest in the position. Allow the employer five to ten days to contact you after receiving your letter. If you still have not heard from an employer, you should follow up with a phone call.

The Employer's Point of View

Practice interviewing. Have a friend ask you questions that you may encounter during an interview. If you have a VCR, videotape your mock interview and try and identify any of your negative factors, traits, habits, and actions. The Master Interviewer, contains a full list of these negative factors evaluated by an interviewer that you should look to avoid.

Important Do's and Don'ts

The Master Interviewer contains a more complete list, but these are some of the most important ones.



Arrive 10 minutes early. Greet the interviewer with a warm, confident "Hello" and a firm handshake. Be well rested. Dress and groom yourself with perfection (Appropriate business attire, make-up, deodorant). Maintain good posture. Emphasize positive things about yourself.

Bring a friend or relative with you. Arrive late. Ask about the salary unless the interviewer brings it up. Speak negatively about a former employer or past co-workers. Smoke, even if the interviewer does and offers you a cigarette. Do not chew gum.

Answer with a simple "yes" or "no." Explain whenever possible. Describe those things about yourself that relate to the situation.

The Master Interviewer will ask you, How much stress can you manage? And then will put it all in perspective. The high point of any job search campaign is landing the job interview. However, the job interview can also be a very stressful situation. Will you say the right thing? Will you look appropriate? Will the interviewer like you and be impressed with your qualifications? Will you trip over your own two feet walking in the door? Effective interviewing is a skill, not an art. YOU can gain that skill. It takes research, alertness and practice to be effective in an interview. The job interview is too important to do a mediocre job. Be prepared! If you would like a complete guide to interviewing, The Master Interviewer is available for only $9.95 and is 15 pages in length. This guide will provide all of the tools to prepare you including a complete list of common interview questions, difficult questions and proper responses, and an all important look at the employer's point of view. The final section also give a look at the big picture and has some hints to handle the stress. The rest is up to you!