Waiting? 3 Post-Interview Tips to Improve your Job Search

interviews, waiting by phone

image via bestbuy.com

If you’re waiting to hear back from an interview, don’t be idle. Use this time to continue your job search and keep making a positive impression.

  1. Send a thank you note or email.

Sending this email will show your interest in the job and may set you apart from other candidates that have note sent any follow up communication.

A thank you note does not have to be long, but it should be customized for each interview. Reflect on a topic of conversation unique to your meeting and mention how you learned from the interviewer or enjoyed the discussion. Reiterate your interest in the position and state that you appreciate the time he or she took to meet with you.

If you’ve interviewed with a panel, send a customized note to each interviewer. If you didn’t get business cards after the interview, try searching on the company website or contacting the company’s front desk for correct spelling of names.

  1. Analyze how you interviewed.

Right after the interview is the best time to assess your performance.

  • Were you on time and dressed appropriately?
  • Was there a question you struggled with answering?
  • Did you answer any questions very well?
  • Did you learn something new?
  • Did the interviewer seemed interested in a particular answer?
self assessment, interview, after interview assessment, evaluation

image via shutterstock

This self-assessment will make you aware of any short falls. If you realize you failed to mention something during the interview that you feel is very important, you could incorporate that information in a follow up correspondence.

More than anything, this self-assessment will help you prepare for future interviews. Based on your review, determine if you should do more research on the company or practice answering questions in a mock interview. You can schedule a mock interview with a Career Development Specialist at one of our local American Job Centers in Connecticut.

  1. Update your job search records.

It’s critical to keep your job search organized. You should log your contacts and follow up results in a manner that is convenient for you.   Job search records can be saved in a notebook, day planner, or Excel spreadsheet. You can also categorize your emails to save employer correspondence.

Keeping information organized only takes a few minutes a day, but has great benefits. With a log, you can review your progress and see how your efforts have paid off. The log can also be an indicator if you should try a new strategy in your job search to yield more contacts. The record can assist in achieving short-term job search goals and make you feel more motivated to continue on in your search.

A sample job search log for a week is below, but you can search many templates available online or customize your own to your preferences:

GOAL OF THE WEEK: Contact 3 employers

Notes:

Complete        O Not Complete

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Applied to ABC Co. online (Customer Service Rep) and followed company on LinkedIn. Sent cold contact email to Admin Recruiter, J. Cruz. Attended networking event. Met A. Sanders, Manager of Office Co. Interviewed for Office Assistant position with XYZ Corp. during recruitment event. Emailed thank you note to XYZ Corp. recruiter.
Notes: Application receipt notification. Notes:

Sent resume by request, Cruz mentioned emailing me next week to discuss.

Notes:

Connected on LinkedIn.

Notes:

Struggled with, “Why did you leave your last job?” – Overall, interview went well. Will contact me within 2 weeks.

Notes:

These tips will keep your job search focused, active and goal-driven. Use the interview as a time to market yourself for the open position, but use the time after the interview to assess yourself and continue making progress in your search.

6 Resume Tips from Employers

As an Employment Services Specialist, I find it valuable to reference specific employer preferences/concerns when offering job search advice, presenting workshops or justifying resume edits. So, when I had the opportunity to attend a career fair recently I made a point to talk to recruiters, HR personnel and employers about resumes. I wanted to know what they liked and what common mistakes they saw. Here is what I found:

List a professional email address on the resume. I was ready to write this off as a cliché until I heard it cost someone an interview. Employers consistently mentioned this as a common mistake found on resumes! Check your resume, if there is something other than a combination of first/last name take a few minutes and create a new email address.

Customize the resume to each job. Yes, this is tough to do for career fairs since there are many employers and you might not know who is attending. Your best strategy is to try and find an attendees list, identify a few employers from that list to target then build customized resumes accordingly. If you have to use a generic resume, still provide one to the employer but get a business card and tell them you will email a customized resume later in the day (or next day). An added bonus is you’ve created a follow up opportunity.

Headline Statements are awesome. The headline statement is an occupational title geared toward the job you are seeking. On the resume it appears just below your contact information. The Employer likes this because it is easy to identify the candidate’s job target.

Self-serving Objectives are not awesome. Again, kind of a cliché, yet still mentioned as a common mistake. Remember, employers want to see how your skills benefit them not that you want a full time position with opportunities for growth and fulfillment as a…

Don’t fear the applicant tracking system. Applicant tracking systems are tools to help organize the chaos associated with hundreds or thousands of applications. Follow best practices when completing online applications and resumes such as using proper grammar, matching wording to job requirements, etc. Instead of blaming applicant tracking systems for not getting interviews, work on things you can control like having a resume critique and networking.

Print resumes on resume paper. Resume paper enhances the appearance of the document and shows you are willing to go that extra step. Most resumes employers see at job fairs are printed on regular paper which detracts from the quality. Resume paper and printing is available at no cost at American Job Centers across CT (www.ct.gov/dol).

Looking back, I am glad I took advantage of the opportunity to network with hiring personnel and employers at the career fair. I met very nice people who were willing to share their insight on resumes. If you are considering attending a career fair or are searching for work, hopefully these tips will help you land an interview.

Interviewing 101: Relax!

By George Bernocco

“What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind!” – Homer Simpson

You’ve done it. A call has come in scheduling you for an interview. You’ve been practicing with your friends, family and even your hairdresser about how to answer interview questions. The interview date is approaching, everything is lining up for this dream job you are hoping GOING to get. You’ve planned your route, outfit, childcare, meals for the day. The routine is set and the big day has finally arrived.

Now what?

Feeling nervous is the body’s natural response to perceived stress. Everyone reacts differently to stress but it can be described in various forms: butterflies in your stomach, shortness of breath, body pain, sweating, and migraines are just some of the symptoms. As you can imagine, these might distract you from your interview game. So now, let us talk about ways to minimize, if not remove, these symptoms that can affect your big day.

  1. Look before you leap

Planning ahead will minimize your stress immensely. Nothing can stress you out more than being stuck in traffic and your interview is in two minutes, or not finding the required interview paperwork before you leave to your interview. Making the interview day as easy as possible by planning ahead will give you more of a sense of control, and control is good. Scrambling around for unwrinkled interview pants on the day of the interview may leave you flustered and it can impact the interview negatively. Plan anything and everything, down to when you will leave your house to how many copies of your résumé will already be printed out.

  1. Rock-a-bye

Going along with planning your day, you will also want to plan the night before. Getting the right amount of sleep can help reduce stress. This involves being your own parent and instituting a bed time. Save the all night benders for your celebration and the Netflix marathon for another time. Ensure your alarm is set before you go to bed and start counting sheep.

  1. Nitrogen-Oxygen-Argon-Carbon Dioxide-Methane

Taking moments during your big day to slowly inhale and exhale will produce a calming feeling. As you read this post, hopefully you have tried taking a deep breath in and released it slowly. Doesn’t that feel good? Even if you are not experiencing shortness of breath, the slow breathing will give you pause and more of a sense of control.

  1. “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.”

Stay positive! Look into that mirror and compliment yourself. Use this to assure yourself that the position is right for you. Providing yourself with this positive outlook will make the interview hurdle seem that much smaller. Also, believing you are fit and right for the job will become a self-fulfilling prophecy as the interviewer will believe it too. Doubt and negativity will only impact your interview poorly, so make sure you spend some time casting doubts aside.

  1. Crochet your day away

When you’ve done the planning for the interview and you have spare time, spend it doing the things you love. Hobbies keep us entertained, relaxed and sane, so it makes sense to use this to your advantage. Go for a run, peruse through your stamp collection, finish that 3-D puzzle or turn on your X Box. Just like dessert comes after the meal, use your hobby as a treat for all your interview preparation. If you’re using your hobby in place of preparation, then it’s counterproductive and just regular old procrastination.

Now that we’ve discussed some of the things to do to stay calm, let’s discuss some of the things not to do. We are going to turn our attention to the interview itself, which may be the most stressful time out of the whole ordeal. All employers/recruiters know interviews can be stressful and the interviewee is most likely nervous. By the interviewee appearing more confident rather than nervous, the employer will have more confidence in you. When we are nervous, even just a little bit, we all have bad habits. Here is a list of habits to avoid doing as they can distract the interviewer so that you, the interviewee, can appear more confident:

  1. Fidgeting

Shuffling around in your seat, crossing and uncrossing your legs, looking all around the room, touching your face, playing with your hands. Avoid all of the above and keep your focus on the interviewer(s). Locking eye contact with the interviewer will have you less likely to shuffle around and more focused and “honed in”.

  1. Biting your nails

Avoid at all costs. If you are a nail-biter, keep your hands folded during the interview. Usually people who nail bite don’t even realize they are doing it, so at the start of the interview keep your hands folded in your lap or on the table in front of you.

  1. Playing with your hair

Not only does this nervous habit demonstrate anxiety, but it can also be tied to other negative opinions about you. The interviewer may feel you appear uncertain when you listen/talk while twirling your curls. Lock your hands by folding them in front of you, like the nail-biters, to prevent you from doing this.

  1. Biting your lip or cheek

Biting your lip or cheek subliminal indicates to the employer that you are uncertain or even deceptive. You want to avoid it at all costs. By constantly smiling, it makes it harder to bite your mouth and chew on your lip. So smile away, and that is much more of a positive action.

Tattoos and Piercings at the Interview

By Erica Tew, CPRW

Recently, the question of tattoos and piercings at the interview arose and we debated what was appropriate.  We stuck with the conservative approach as general guidance: always cover up best you can in a professional outfit, and possibly remove any facial piercings. The goal is to be remembered for what you said, not your appearance. 

However, there is another layer to this subject I would like to address.  Before I delve into it, I want to share a few ground rules. I do not think under any circumstances should you show a tattoo that is religious, political, or offensive (lewd imagery, foul language, or gory/violent) in any way. I also think facial piercings should be on the smaller side, to not take too much attention away from your words.

Personally, I am a fan of tattoos and piercings. I think the creativity and skill involved in a well-done tattoo can be really beautiful.  I have a few of my own and have even weighed the interview appearance question on whether or not an industrial piercing or a nose ring should be removed. In my conservative workplace, a small nose ring is becoming very common, but I still tend to cover the industrial with my hair down.

Depending on your company’s culture and attire, tattoos or piercings may be acceptable, or even welcomed.  For example, there is a common belief that you should never trust a tattoo artist that doesn’t have any tattoos of their own.  It happens, but it is really difficult for an artist to make it without some of their own. Places that typically do not mind tattoos could be laborious jobs such as warehouses or shipyards. In retail, many shops welcome their staff to be creativity and display their own artwork; not minding tattoos or piercings.

What you may not realize though, is many of our corporate sectors are tolerant of tattoos and piercings as well. Some universities where you may be working independently can be accepting. Small businesses, startups, and other employers can be a mix- but my advice is, when possible, to simply walk into the building before applying.  See how the employees and managers dress. Note any tattoos or piercings and reflect manager norms in your own interview attire. Even if the employees have visible tattoos or piercings, but the managers are more conservative, you are safest with dressing on the conservative side for your interview. Some companies may not mind tattoos or piercings on employees, but when promoting an employee, they may prefer someone who more closely reflects executive style choices. Dress for the job you want, at the company you want.

Overall, researching the company culture will be most important when determining your interview appearance. Although tattoos and piercings are increasingly accepted, many companies still want employees to reflect their corporate brand at all times, and a tattoo may clash with that brand. If you really love a company and aren’t sure of their policy, it’s best to err on the side of caution, and cover up. If you have further questions, please leave a comment below!

Old School vs New School #GenerationCompany: 5 Tips to get #Hired

By George Bernocco, CPRW

old fashionednew

One of the most important steps to getting your ideal career with your ideal company is research. Understanding the company will give you an advantage during the hiring process. But we must also look at a company’s hiring process on the whole. Is the company up to date with technology? Are they still trying to catch up? Do they rely on “standard” methods of communication? Does the position you are applying for require you to assist with the transition into newer technology?

Although some of these questions I’ve posed require “insider” knowledge, others can be deduced by you noticing the company’s and it’s employee’s behavior. Also being very aware of what the job posting is requiring from you, especially computer skills may help you get a better idea about where the company is in today’s technological age. Gaining insider knowledge involves listening to any current or former employee’s perspective about their work can also give you clues into the company’s culture.

We are at a stage where more and more careers require some method of computer interaction. However, some companies are still trying to advance themselves into the technological age. Recognizing where a company you wish to work for stands on the spectrum of technologically advancement will give you insight into the job laid before you.

Here are some basic tips to give you an advantage with your job search:

  1. You’ve Got Mail

mail

More and more companies are cutting down on the length of time for the application process. If a company is asking you to submit your application over regular mail, it should immediately notify you that they are not up to date with technology. Also, I would even go as far as to say that because everything is done over mail, the pace of the company is much slower. Asking for your application information over e-mail tells you they are more advanced. In this case, I would recommend sending a “thank you” e-mail after the interview. If you sent a “thank you” e-mail to a company who required everything over fax or postal mail, they might view it negatively.

  1. What’s Up, Doc?

Doc

Understand your file types! When applying for a job on the internet, the website or e-mail instructions may require you to upload a file for your resume or application package. Depending on what they ask for can give you a hint to how advanced they are. For example, asking for a .DOCX file format can tell you they expect you to know Microsoft Word 2007 or later. Asking for a .PDF may require you to have understanding of Adobe Reader and conversion of your resume into that format. Asking for a .DOC or .RTF would signify to me they are not as advanced when it comes to Microsoft Office.

  1. Socialite

social

Any mere mention of social networking sites during the application process should give you a big clue that the company is more advanced. Most likely you might see a way to use LinkedIn to apply for the job on their website (a feature becoming more and more popular). Also, if the company has social networking profiles gives you an idea about where they are on the technology spectrum. Some companies, particularly large companies, will have multiple profiles on a website like Twitter (some geared specifically towards their career openings). Knowing that a company consistently utilizes social networking should get you bonus points when you are asked during the interview: “What do you know about our company?” Getting yourself involved in social networking sites can also assist you with standing out. On the other hand, knowing about this information for a company who is behind can produce a selling point on your behalf. Let the company know you are more than willing to assist in the transition to the technology age.

  1. Have You Heard?

newspaper

How you heard the job and where you found it will provide basic clues to the company. An extreme example would be finding a job in the newspaper versus finding a job on LinkedIn. If the job was in the paper, I might stick to more traditional ways of applying. For example, mailing in my resume (or dropping it off in person) and calling for an interview.

  1. Show Off

webcam

Communicating with the company through the computer may mean interviewing through the computer as well. Teleconferencing gives you a big indication of the company’s stance on technology. Some companies may require you to travel long distances (flight and all) for an interview, as opposed to conferencing over the internet. Having the capability to teleconference and understanding how to use Skype and other teleconference services would be an advantage for you. Fumbling around with your computer during a teleconference interview because you can’t get the audio to work would work against you.

A company is an intricate and complex organization which relies on procedures to function. Companies that fall behind in technology will see themselves struggle to stay afloat. Knowing where a company is technologically will be a great advantage to you in the hiring process. Make sure you are up to date with current technology. Some companies will be hiring to help transition themselves into the technological age. Make sure that is a topic you cover during the interview to really make you stand out.

5 Tips: What to Do at the #Interview

When you make it to the interview, you want to be on point. Prepare answers ahead of time that show situations, actions you took, and results to respond to many behavioral questions. Research the company: the company culture, mission, news, and services, can help you relate your skills in a way that shows benefit to the hiring manager. The interview will go even smoother if you follow this advice:

1. Silence your cell phone

giphy2

Most people will say to shut off your cell phone or leave it in the car. However, if you use it to schedule appointments, you may want it handy if asked for a follow up appointment or date for a second interview. If your phone does go off, it’s not an immediate “fail.” It all depends on how you recover. Don’t look at who is calling; just shut it down and apologize immediately to continue.

2. Smile

giphy5

Sure, interviews make everyone nervous. It may be a combination of nerves and adrenaline, but researching and practice will help build your confidence before the interview. If you’re too worried about how you sound or are constantly wondering if you relayed everything you wanted to say, your face may not read that you’re someone who is excited about the opportunity. Take a moment, breathe, and smile right when you shake hands. If this is a phone interview, smile as you talk as well. Your voice transforms when you’re smiling and makes you sound more enthusiastic and engaged. Plus, everyone likes being around a friendly person. Would you want to work everyday alongside someone who constantly keeps a serious face on?

3. Don’t talk money or benefits

giphy3

Unless specifically asked by the interviewer, do not be the first to bring up pay or benefits. Save these questions for the job offer. The interview is a business meeting where you and the employer are trying to see if you will be a quality match for the position. Show that you can do the job and you want to work for the company. It can be a major turn off if a candidate doesn’t use this time well, but rather just asks how much they would make. If the interviewer does bring this information up first, research average salaries from Department of Labor’s Labor Market Information website. Always provide a range for salary to avoid being too expensive or underselling yourself. For more information on Salary Negotiations, see George’s post.

4. Speak clearly and avoid the “Yeahs, Ummms, and Likes”

giphy4

If you need to briefly pause and think about your answer before responding, take the time to do it. The interviewer may need you to be a representative of the company, and depending on how you present yourself, speech included, your casual way of speaking may be off-putting. “Umms” and “Like” are fillers that can be reduced by practicing your answers beforehand. I am guilty of the “Yeah” abuse, but in an interview, the answer is always “Yes”.

5. Dress Appropriately

giphy

You can never go wrong with a button-down/blouse and dress pants/conservative skirt. This rule can be modified from company to company. Some company cultures prefer very professional attire. If that’s the case, then suit jackets and ties should be worn. Everyone can benefit from having at least one great suit in their closet. If the office is more casual, perhaps replace the dress pants for some khakis. Research the company and try to match what the manager would be wearing. Ask ahead of time if you think you may be touring any facilities that may require boots, a hardhat, or similar special circumstances. In general, I don’t know of a time where shorts, flipflops, sweatpants, anything low-cut, or anything revealing could be considered acceptable interview attire. Try on your outfit ahead of time to ensure proper fit, and remember: you want to be noticed for what you said, not what you wore. For more on this topic, check out Uriela’s blog post about appropriate interview attire.

If you have questions or concerns about these suggestions or anything related to your upcoming interview, please drop us a line in the comments below!

[All gifs thanks to giphy!]

#JobSearch: You are the #Brand; Your Skills are the #Product

By George Bernocco, CPRW

Brand-Story

If you’ve ever tried to sell something to prospective buyers before, you may understand the concept of marketing. Trying to match what the buyers are looking for with the goods you have to offer. When you create a “Brand”, you are not only trying to match the buyer’s needs but you are trying to distinguish yourself and your merchandise from other vendors/products out there. Making your product stand out from the rest sells your product and thus creates a brand.

When we apply the concepts of marketing and creating a brand to job search, not much has changed. The product you are trying to sell is your skills. To create your brand essentially means that you get your brand name out into the market so that it can be found by interested parties. Word of mouth is a very popular marketing tool, which is why job search networking is crucial. The idea behind having a strong network is to have network contacts recommending your brand name product (your skills) to a prospective buyer (employer). By having more and more people discussing your product, your brand name has begun to develop a “presence”. By having a presence, you’ve become recognizable, memorable, relatable and authentic.

Let’s step back to think about some of the day to day items we purchase. There are some brands I prefer over others, and it depends upon my experiences with these brands. Commercials we see on television, or even before a YouTube video, are all about trying to make a company’s product real to you. When you are applying for work, you are on the business end of trying to make yourself real to a company. Interviews can be viewed as a live-action commercial, or “infomercial”, to the employer. Some commercials are more interesting and relatable than others, which is why we don’t buy everything that we see on TV.

So we’ve established network contacts that will also provide “word of mouth” recommendations about you. Now what is the next step to getting our brand out there? We can follow the business model of how companies get their name out there. Business cards, for example, sell a company’s product easily because they can be passed on to interested parties who have a reminder of their services. They are small little reminders about services and goods that are portable and easy to carry. Networking cards are identical to business cards and with the only difference being that you are the brand and your skills are the products being offered.

To take your brand development to the next level, technology has the potential to move your brand name through the world. Much like commercials have expanded from billboard ads to radio to television and now online videos, we must get our brand out there and up to date with current trends. The internet is an exceptional tool for you to utilize to get your name recognizable. As soon as you created any sort of profile that is visible to anyone else on the internet, you’ve started what we call a “digital presence”. Facebook, LinkedIn, a personal blog, Twitter, and much more can be all tied to your digital presence. You should select each social networking site carefully with the goal of controlling your digital presence. How you market yourself on these websites is imperative to your brand name. An employer wouldn’t hire an potential employee who has images of them doing drugs on Facebook much like you wouldn’t buy a car that catches fire in their commercial, nor would you probably trust the car-maker brand name. To sell your product, you must protect and maintain an “image” for your brand. In regards to your job search, your image should be professional, interesting and relevant.

Be aware of what may hurt your image when it comes to your digital presence. Much like a bad review at a restaurant can hurt its business; a negative search with your name can hurt your chances of getting a job. Your brand must be solid and dependable, which will reflect your product (the work you do).

Being a member of organizations and being published in relation to the work you do also assist with developing your brand. If your name is out there where employers can trace your work, you have successfully developed something that the potential employers can identify with. Just be aware that other information outside of your field could help or hurt. It is important to know what is out there regarding your product.

When you create your own brand and market your abilities as your product, you are answering the employer’s question: “Why should I hire you over the other candidates?” Identifying your strengths as brand name recognition will put you ahead of the candidates. In the end, the employer will select a brand (candidate) that is most in line with their goals and fits well with their corporate environment.

5 Tips for the #SecondInterview

By George Bernocco, CPRW

round two

Getting the call back from the employer is always a good sign. Something about your resume may have stood out, or something about your first interview made them want you. However, you might not be the only one that has caught their eye. They may need further information to determine who the qualified candidate really is. Having made it through a first interview, you may not know what the second interview will entail. Here are some expectations, information and suggestions when you get the call.

  1. The follow-up interview should not be a surprise

When the employer asked you at the end of the first interview if you had any questions, one of them should have been “when can I expect to hear back from you?” In the answer, the employer might tell you they are looking to narrow down a pool of candidates. Or they might tell you “there will be another round of interviews by this date”. Even if you didn’t get a response about a second interview, you should always expect it. Phone interviews (or teleconference interviews) can typically lead to in-person interviews. A strong candidate will know that there is always more to say about how qualified they are for the position, and should not be afraid to come back in to do it.

  1. You were seen as a viable candidate

Coming in for the second interview, you stood out to the person (or people) who interviewed you the first time. If you do encounter this person at the second interview, chances are that they will not be alone. They will be demonstrating you to their boss, colleagues or your future coworkers. Acknowledge this person, and don’t be afraid to reference anything you spoke about in the prior interview. This person is your key to the success of the second interview, and you want to make sure you elaborate. By the time the second interview has commenced, you should know why they identified you for the next round.

  1. What wasn’t asked, will be asked

If you feel like there were areas you didn’t cover in the first interview, rest assured you have your “second chance”. The second interview will be tougher, meaning more questions, more elaboration, more about you and more about the position. Some second interviews will bring up your salary requirements so be prepared for that question. Just remember that you should always let the employer bring up questions surrounding salary and you should never initiate the discussion. Situational questions, stress questions and/or tests will be provided to really distinguish you from the rest. Details you did not have time to cover in the first interview should be elaborated upon. Think of it this way: the first interview was generic, the second interview is specifics.

  1. Third interview is always a possibility

Don’t assume the interview process is complete when you walk out the door of the second interview. A third interview and beyond can occur when an extremely large amount of people applied, or the employer just wants to be extra sure about whom they hire. Usually with the third interview, they’ve narrowed down the applicant pool to less than a handful of possible candidates. By now you should be more than confident about the position, and at this phase the employer will be discussing very specific details about the job to see how your knowledge and skills can apply.

  1. Don’t forget the Thank You letter

Just as with the first interview, make sure you follow up with a thank you letter. The same rules apply: send or e-mail it out within the first 48 hours (the sooner the better). Mention specifics about the second interview and send it to any individual you met with. One page should always suffice and specifics from the interview should be mentioned.

Do not get discouraged if you are not offered the position after the second interview. You’ve stood out; they’ve seen your resume and talked with you. This company will remember you if other positions are available. They may contact you as soon as the position is posted, before any one else applies. Interviews are a way of networking, and you should have the name(s) of any one who interview you as a connection for the future.

In the years before the job market seemed to crash, second interviews were usually a great sign. They combined an interview with an orientation of the job, having the job seeker fill out necessary employment paperwork as well as negotiating salary. Now that the amount of job seekers has increased significantly, second interviews are ways of narrowing down the pool even further. Just remember that you have stood out, and elaborate on that fact. The employer will ask, in their own way, how you stand out from the other candidates. Ensure you are able to answer this as the most qualified and best person to work for their company, and your second interview will end in success.

When your #Resolution is to get back into the #Workforce: FAQ

By George Bernocco, CPRW

A new year brings about new promises, hopes, dreams and goals. Will this year be better than the last? In terms of the job market, we hope so. Over 1.3 million people are losing their unemployment extensions at the end of 2013 and now must look to the New Year with uncertainty about employment and employability. Let us look at some of the factors that will come into play for the 2014 job market:

Is the job market getting any better?

Yes. Slowly but surely the job market numbers have gotten better, especially towards the end of 2013. Every state is different, but Connecticut has improved recently in the fourth quarter. Unemployment rates across the board are shrinking, jobless claims are also going down and jobs are being created. The year to come looks promising when we observe what happened to the job market in 2013.

What will employers be hiring for?

Many different sources can point to many different directions, but I feel confident saying that technology and healthcare jobs will be at the forefront of hiring. Especially if any of the jobs cross over due to the new healthcare laws. Technology is an extremely important skill to have, whether is using a computer to creating an “app” for a tablet, the world has become more reliant on technology.

How will employers hire?

Marketing your skills successfully has always been the best way to get employment. I feel that the 2014 year will still be an “employer market” where companies can be pickier about whom they hire because of the amount of job seekers. Continuing to build a digital presence to get noticed by employers will follow through into 2014. Some of the items to obtain employment that will continue are:

  • Professional resumes and LinkedIn profiles
  • In-person interviews and videoconference/teleconference interviews
  • Cover letters and thank you letters; cover letter e-mails and thank you e-mails
  • Networking and social media
  • Online applications

Will I be paid enough?

Across the United States, at least 14 states (including Connecticut), will raise their minimum wages. Some of them are even adjusting their laws regarding how they go about raising the wage every year. The federal government is also looking at raising the federal minimum wage. Average rates of pay across the United States have increased by 3% for 2013, and are expected to continue for 2014.

Moving on towards 2014, our country is recovering from a long and difficult recession. The important part is that we are recovering and it may take a long time for the entire nation to feel parts of that recovery. Continuing to pursue your ideal opportunity, working on your digital presence and networking to break into the job market will all assist you in 2014.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind ?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and old lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,

for auld lang syne,

we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

new years

Sources:

http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/compensation/articles/pages/2014-salary-increases-flat.aspx

http://www.npr.org/2013/12/24/256879640/living-wage-effort-eclipsed-by-minimum-pay-battles

http://www.careerinfonet.org

http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/index.asp

#WorkExperience in today’s #JobMarket

By George Bernocco, CPRW

“I’m looking for the right Tea Kettle to fit in my kitchen.”

Red

Employer’s have an idea of what they are looking for. There are candidates who have done the job before which is one aspect of what makes a candidate qualified. Job seekers often think “Well, I have done this for years; I should be the top candidate for the position hands down.”  Experience is not the only thing an employer is looking for, and now more than ever it seems like having “too much” experience can hurt you. Let’s take this dynamic into visual representation, in which the employer is looking for a Tea Kettle to buy:

Job Posting

“Position: Exciting Youth Educator

We are seeking a unique individual to teach innovative ideas to a class of 8-10 year old kids through 6-week journey of creative product development. This unique course is hands-on, fast-paced, vibrant and meets once weekly.

Candidate(s) must be curious, confident, evolving, friendly, ground-breaking personality and versatile. Background in education helpful. Previous teaching experience is not a prerequisite provided candidates are able to connect with motivate and inspire students.

Other qualifications:

  • Passionate about inspiring kids of all ages through a combination of art, science, business and fun.
  • Ability to lead, supervise and engage a class of 16-20 children.
  • Strong communication and organizational skills.
  • Patient, enthusiastic and resourceful.
  • Ability to contribute positively to overall mission, marketing efforts and relationship with community.

Please send relevant information — hires will be made in the next few weeks.”

This is the kind of Tea Kettle the employer is looking for:

Modern

Cover Letters

Incorrect Response:

“I am inquiring about the position you had posted on your website. I am a Teacher with over 30 year’s experience in the school system having taught over 4,000 children. I have experience administering tests, homework assignments and curriculum. I am noted to be an excellent educator and received a Teacher of the Year award in 1979. I have been rewarded for my discipline abilities and maintaining a safe, quiet educational environment. I believe my experience qualifies me for the position, and please see the attached resume depicting my extensive work history. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to schedule an interview.”

The Tea Kettle that was marketed by this individual:

Older

The problem with the above cover letter, besides not incorporating any key words from the posting, is that the experience reflects an educator who’s personality does not reflect what the employer is looking for. The individual only utilized experience and nothing else, to suggest that he is qualified for the position. Experience cannot be the only determining factor is obtaining employment and employers are concerned with how your personality can mesh with the job duties.

Correct Response:

“I have a very strong interest in pursuing a teaching career at your exciting school. With experience working at the elementary level, as well as in activities outside of the traditional classroom, I have a diverse background with much to offer.

I am a friendly, enthusiastic individual with extensive teaching experience on the first, second and third grade level, in both suburban and urban school districts. I am passionate about working with children in dynamic and exciting environments that facilitate learning. I exhibit patience for lessons which allow me to break down sometimes complicated concepts to simple examples that my young students to grasp.

I am an active child advocate in my community as a volunteer at the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and am constantly involved with ensuring proper education is taught to our youth. I can manage dynamic learning environments of up to 25 children in a fast-paced setting. I can also ensure excellent communication between colleagues, parents and students to create a productive educational experience.

My resume is enclosed. I will forward an official copy of my transcript along with references under separate cover. I will contact you next week to discuss employment opportunities. I look forward to speaking with you.”

The Tea Kettle that was marketed by this individual:

Basic

Experience is important, but it’s really a single element of the job hiring process. One must identify the key words used in job posting to identify the personality the employer is looking for. The employer likes to be able to mold someone into their ideal candidate, and the easier you are to mold the better chance you have of becoming hired.