Interview tips…for the visual learner Thursday, Apr 29 2010 

Jen, you bring up a great interview scene, I couldn’t help but post the clip for those who haven’t seen it.  As good as Michael’s interview in “The Office” is, the interview between Dwight and Bernard give it a run for its money as well. So, if you are a visual learner…this would be the “don’t do this” video…

And here’s an informational video that runs through some of the basics you should do to prepare for an interview…

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The Dreaded Interview… Thursday, Apr 29 2010 

I hate interviewing.  You have to be on your best behavior, seem really enthusiastic about the position and eager, and you know you are being judged the entire time.  Am I dressed right?  Am I giving the right answers?  Do they like me?  You can never be prepared for everything, but you can certainly stack your odds to make a good impression.  Here are my suggestions on how to do that:

(1) Do your research!  Know the company and what the position entitles;

(2) Come with questions to ask.  Questions = interest; and

(3) Be prepared to answer any questions they might have.  Look over the first two articles linked below and have answers ready to these questions. You can never be prepared for everything, but try not show surprise and keep your composure.  The more prepared you are or feel the easier this will be.

On a side note, I was once asked by an interviewer where I was seeking an associate position as a lawyer what my SAT score was….I hesitated, and he responded “you must not have done very well if you can’t remember.”  In my defense, my hesitation was more along the lines of “He can’t be serious, I’ve graduated college, law school, and passed the bar exam – why can this matter??”  I thought that was the end all of me, but I did get the position – so don’t beat yourself up if you think you haven’t answered everything well, you never know.

Below are some sites that have good additional tips and questions to ask/ you may be asked.  Take the time to read these – they are good!

Interview Tips – in addition to good tips, this site has  a good list of questions you may be asked and questions you may want to ask.

Interview Questions and Answers – also has good questions you might be asked that you should be prepared to answer.

Acting the Interview – good tips to read.

To add an objective, or not to add an objective…that is the question Tuesday, Apr 27 2010 

This seems to be an area where people in the field are split – some like an objective on a resume and some do not.  So, the question is, do you include one?  In my opinion, I’m not a huge fan in general, but do find them useful if you are trying to fill space or if you are switching career fields and want to show how your work experience can pertain to the current position.  But, there are others that feel just as strongly in the opposite direction as I do.  My advice, read the articles below and make your own decision.

If you do decide to add an objective, make it a good one.  Many people simply state the obvious “Objective: to obtain a position as a paralegal”…this tells me nothing that I don’t already know and is too generic.  The other common mistake is to add too much to the objective, “Objective: A highly motivated, ambitious, intelligent person with great analytical skills, reading comprehension skills and typing abilities seeking a position as a paralegal at XXX firm which will enable me to learn about the law and grow in the field.”  This is way too long – I feel like your throwing yourself at me trying to cram as many positive descriptors in as possible.  The trick is find the balance.  Be sure to include the place you are applying if you are going to use the objective and personalize/tailor it to the specific job you are seeking – remember, once again, think of it from the employers perspective, not your own and tell what you can contribute to this position, but keep it concise.

Sample resume objectives:

Resume Objective Examples – 15 Top Resume Objectives Examples

Sample Resume Objectives – What is a resume objective?

Articles continuing the debate further on whether or not to include an objective:

Should You Use a Career Objective on Your Resume?

Career Objective





Cover This! Cover Letters… Monday, Apr 26 2010 

So, all this time I’ve been preaching on the importance of a great resume.  Well, guess what?  Just as important, if not more important, is the cover letter.  If you don’t have a good cover letter, your resume may not get looked at or may only be glanced at.  I find writing about myself and making it sound sincere, yet at the same time selling myself to be really hard.  But, this is basically the combination you are looking to achieve  in a cover letter. Don’t fear, I have some samples and some tips for you so that you will be able to write a great cover letter and hopefully it won’t be as painful for you as it was for me.

My Top 10 Checklist for Writing a Great Resume…

1.  Proofread, proofread, proofread.  Then have someone else proofread for you.

2.  The basics: use the same paper that you use for your resume, keep the letter to one page, and use the traditional business format to the letter.

3.  Include the specific job you are seeking to be hired for and the company’s name.

4. Show that you have researched the company by including some company information in at least one of your sentences.

5.  Sell yourself (but do not use “I” at the beginning of every sentence)!

6. Focus on the employer. Think of the question “what can I do for the company?” and answer it in the cover letter.

7. Explain anything in your resume that might cause concern, such as gaps in employment history. Do not dwell on these, keep them brief – keep the focus on the positive.

8.  Request an interview.

9.  Use a large envelope so you don’t have to fold your resume and cover letter – it will look better than everyone else’s in a pile.

10.  Proofread!! (yes, I realize this is on the list twice.  I did proof read, I just wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it.)

Ok, so now you’re thinking you have all my tips down, but how do you write it?  Fear not, below are some samples/formats that will help you…

Cover Letters: Types and Samples

50 Sample Cover Letters

Cover Letter Samples/ Examples Categorized by Industry

Cover Letter Article- “Winning Cover Letters”

Resume Blogs Sunday, Apr 25 2010 

I admit I do not have a lot of experience with blogs as resumes, but it’s becoming more of a trend as blogs and technology grow and it is something to consider, and in certain fields, it is common and even expected.  While on the one hand a blog can provide more information that you can’t fit on a resume and  can be more personal, on the downside it needs to be maintained and may not get viewed by the potential employer.  As such, I don’t believe it can hurt, but if you are in a field that traditionally is not accustomed to a blog as a resume I would submit your resume ( a full, complete resume) and put a link on it to the blog.  Assume the blog won’t be seen, but have it be a nice bonus if it is.  Below, find some articles discussing the pros and cons of the blog as a resume.

Use Your Blog as a Resume? Part I: Pros and Cons

The Blog is the New Resume

Experts: More Job Seekers Using Blogs As Resumes

If you do decide to do a blog as a resume, below find some suggestions on how to do it, what to link to and what to include.

Some basic advice that is in these articles that I want to stress: (1) write well! Remember typos in your blog will be seen as a typo in your resume and will not look make you look good , and (2) keep the blog professional – remember your audience that will be reading this, i.e. don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your potential employer to read and don’t provide links to anywhere with inappropriate content (i.e. facebook).

Use Your Blog as a Resume? Part II: Tips and Examples

Blogging Yourself Into a Job: Is Your Blog Your Resume?

It could be worse…you could be this guy. Wednesday, Apr 14 2010 

Everyone makes mistakes, it’s only human.  So, I see no problem in making ourselves feel better by knowing there are other people out there who made similar mistakes or have done worse.  I for one, when I was applying to law school, sent one application out where in the cover letter it said “…and that is why I would make a great addition to [INSERT SCHOOL NAME HERE] Law School.”  !!!?!??!  Needless to say, I did not get into that school.  I’m sure you’re shocked. Lesson learned – have someone proof read your resume and cover letter!  But, if you do make a mistake, it happens, don’t beat yourself up, and read this – it will make you feel better.

“Consistently tanked as top sales producer”

“It’s best for employers that I not work with people”

“Skills: strong work ethic, attention to detail, team player, self-motivator, attention to detail.”

Still not consoled? Check these out:  150 Funniest Resume Mistakes, Bloopers and Blunders Ever

Advice for the seasoned worker’s resume Sunday, Apr 11 2010 

If this is not your first resume, and you have a decent amount of work experience under your belt, the challenge becomes making space. Think Scanability! Picture yourself in Human Resources with 100 resumes before you. What appeals to you? Crowded resumes where it is clear the candidate is trying to cram in every single thing they have ever done? No. Too much reading involved. Unorganized resumes? No, doesn’t reflect well on the candidate.

What is appealing is an organized, clean, 1 page resume.

The problem, and I was guilty of this as well, is either: (1) for the most recent job I had I would list the most bullet points under my job title as it was what I was doing then, it was relevant. But then I would get a new job, and not delete some of the bullets from the last job…after a few different jobs this adds up and my resume was too long; or (2) the other issue is that a lot of times I would not want to cut a bullet point because that bullet point was important to me, I spent a good amount of time, say, reading and summarizing depositions as a paralegal.  But, that has very little relevance now to any job I would be applying for, but I grew partial to that bullet point so wouldn’t want to cut it.  Also, if a lot of bullets say the same thing over and over again, you don’t need them all.  So, my advise is to go through your resume as if you are the one doing the hiring, and ask yourself if it is an attractive resume?  If not, how can you make it that way?  If it means you have to cut some of the bullet points, as long as they are not job requirements of the job you are applying for, start snipping!

Additionally, there are ways you can format your resume that make it more appealing and can cut down on the space used for your past work experience.  For example, a functional resume separates your related work experience (with details of same) from your work history (which is simply listed).  This is good if you have a varied employment history, have been in the work force for a while, or switched fields at some point.

Functional Resume Example

90 Sample Resumes – samples of all types of formats/ways to organize

How to convince them you have skills Wednesday, Apr 7 2010 

The below article is useful for recent grads.  It lists universal job skills and what in your college experience you may be able to highlight as demonstrating these skills.  I suggest taking a look at it as you may be able to have a quick answer ready if asked how you can show you have the skills needed for the job you are seeking.

UNIVERSAL JOB SKILLS: SKILLS TO HIGHLIGHT IN YOUR RESUME/ COVER LETTER/ JOB INTERVIEW

S p a c e f i l l e r s for your first resume Wednesday, Apr 7 2010 

My first resume was awful. I’m lucky to have ever gotten a job. Luckily, the market was in my favor so it didn’t matter all that much.   But now, with a tough market, your resume needs to look sharp.  The problem most graduates have is that they do not have a lot of work experience so are trying to fill the page.

Along those lines, the first suggestion I have would be to make a border on your resume (to do this, in word go to the “format”, then “border & shading”, then click on “page border” and select one. The example below is “shadow”).  It looks nice and it fills space without seemingly looking like it’s a space filler.  Adding an objective and/or skills may also be a good idea to fill space.  And finally, if you speak another language or have special computer skills that would be a relevant filler as well.  See the example linked below.

New Resume Sample With Borders

First things first…check yourself out Thursday, Apr 1 2010 

You’re fun. You’re hip. And you have 40 facebook pictures up that prove this…doing shots with NYPD’s finest at the bar…drinking green beer (after all everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s day ya know)…your sexiest pose for the camera…your friends having to carry you home. My point is – these might not scream “I’m professional and responsible, you should hire me!”

Assume whatever you have online your perspective employer may see. It’s not uncommon for employers to see what they can find out about you on the web.  At the very least, change your privacy settings on facebook or any other online social forum you may have so only your friends can see your page and pictures.

Also, it might not be a bad idea to google yourself and see what comes up.

And finally, use a generic email address for your resume – iheartwhiskey@hotmail.com may not send the right message, unless of course you are applying for employment at a distillery.