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Interviewing tips, resumes, cover letters and sample job descriptions

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Setting Up The Interview: If you are calling a potential employer, be sure it is quiet in the background. NEVER have a loud television, radio or conversation in the room you are in when making the call. Go to a quiet place. If the potential employer is contacting you and it is loud where you are, politely ask the potential employer to hold a moment while you go to that quiet place. Loud sounds in the background turn potential employers off, and can be considered a sign of disrespect.

  • Email Address: If you are responding to a job opening by email, take a look at your email address. An inappropriate email address can turn your potential employer off. Examples we have seen in the past are: sexykitten@sample.com, bigmomma@sample.com, bruserboy@sample.com. If you have an inappropriate email address, you may wish to create a more appropriate "business friendly" address. There are a lot of free email centers out there. Check out Yahoo, Google or MSN Hotmail.

 

Show Up On Time! If you have time the day before your interview, test your bus or car route, and time it so you know the location and how long it will take to get there. Be sure to consider the possibility of rush hour or other delays. Few things are more irritating to the employer that when an applicant shows up late for an interview. Even 5 minutes. Showing up early can be OK as long as it is not too early, say 5 minutes.

Resume: Make it look professional. Check misspellings and grammar. Have someone read it over carefully and make suggestions. For many years, it has been the style to provide a one-page resume, giving only job related information. Including information such as hobbies and volunteer commitments can provide a great conversation during an interview. Good conversation typically translates to a great interview. Here are some sample resumes.

Be Likable: If the decision is between you and another candidate, the one with the better disposition will typically get the job. When no other viable candidate is available, an under qualified candidate with a good attitude still might get the offer, but a qualified, crabby and disorganized candidate usually will not.

Completing Application:

  • Salary/Pay Wanted: You may want to wait to reveal what salary or hourly pay you want when you complete an application. Indicating, "negotiable" may be a better approach. Some employers use these types of questions to eliminate candidates. If you are too high, you price yourself out of the competition, if you are too low, it may raise questions about whether you are truly qualified for the position or may make it more difficult for you to increase your salary in the future.
  • Neatness: Take your time completing the application, whether you're completing it by hand or online. A legible and well-written application goes much further than a sloppy one.
  • Information Coordination Have a folder that contains your up-to-date documents including copies of your resume, references, certificates, etc. Make certain your references contain current names, phone numbers and addresses. Check your folder before leaving your house so you are sure you are prepared. This will allow you to answer all or most of the application or interview questions efficiently. (See documentation below).

Your Requirements: For salary or wage desired, be reasonable! Too often we see people put unrealistic salary demands on their applications. Before you put down a salary or wage number on that application, see what others are getting for the same or similar position with the same or similar qualifications. If you aren't realistic with your salary or wage demands, you will very likely price yourself out of the competition.

Your Questions: Thoroughly research the company before you get to the interview. It is a good idea to bring a list of questions you have written down ahead of time.

 

Sample Position Questions

  • What are the day to day responsibilities in this job?
  • Is the position independent or team oriented?
  • Who would I report to?
  • How much travel is involved?
  • Do I need to drive clients?
  • Did you have a previous person in this position, or is this a new position?
  • How will my responsibilities and performance be measured and by whom?
  • What are some of the skills and abilities you think are necessary for someone to succeed in this job?
  • What are qualities of successful people at the company?
  • What are the opportunities for advancement?
  • Could you describe your management style and the type of employee that works well with you?
  • How has this company changed you since you have been employed here?
  • How does the company promote?

Sample Company Questions

  • What do you think are the critical challenges or opportunities for this department/organization?
  • How important does upper management consider the functions of this department/position?
  • What is the organization's plan for the next five years, and how does the department fit in?
  • Will the company be expanding or bringing on any new services that I should be aware of?

     

Policy and Procedures: If not offered to you, ask for a copy before the interview is concluded. Take it home and review it before you accept the position. If you have questions about it, ask.

Job Description: Ask for a written copy to take home with you.

Documentation! Most employers will require the basics: Drivers' license, social security card, resume, etc. You may also wish to have letters of recommendation, e-mail or other ways to contact your references. How about certificates such as C.P.R. or First Aide training?

E-mailing Your Resume: If you send your resume or any other documentation via e-mail to a perspective employer, make sure you name that resume and documentation with your first name last and your last name first. (Jane Samantha  Doe would be Doe, Jane S.). If you have more than one resume on your computer, don't name them "resume1, Jane's second, etc. You want to personalize everything as if you are preparing your resume just for that particular employer. If the employer sees (or thinks) that you have more than one developed resume he/she might believe you are applying with several potential employers at once and therefore may pass you over for an applicant who gives the impression that he/she is only applying with him/her... the employer 

Cell Phones, Pagers: Turn the darn things off before you walk into the perspective employer's office.

Dress Appropriately: Don't wear torn clothing or clothing with words on them! Other dont's: dew rags, open toed shoes or sandals and long chains hanging from your pants. Baseball hats...NOT!

Don't Chew Gum, Candy, bring a pop or soda to the interview: Need we say more?

Thank You Letter: A few days after the interview. A lot of "bang for the buck." Lets the employer know you are serious.

 

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Got a job description, resume or other suggestion? We welcome suggestions!

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