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Alison Doyle

Job Searching


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The Most Common Interview Questions

Sunday April 20, 2014

Interview AppointmentOne of the smartest things you can do before a job interview is to review answers to the most common interview questions because there is a good chance that you will be asked at least some of the questions on the list.

The better prepared you are to answer, the better chance you have of getting a call for a second interview. So take the time, in advance, to review theinterview questions you will probably be asked. Take a look, at well, at sample answers for these questions, then tailor your responses to fit your experience and skills and the job you're applying for.

Job Interview Questions

Image Copyright Getty Images / Photographer's Choice RF

How to Name a Resume

Sunday April 20, 2014

null Sometimes, it's the little things that can send your resume into the reject pile, without it even getting a close look. Naming your resume "resume" can send it to the trash faster than you can blink. So can forgetting to write in proper sentences.

At Software Advice, the company sorts through about 150 candidates for each hire they make. Only about twelve of those 150 candidates get to a first-round phone interview. Many of them are rejected for little, and sometimes silly, things like how you name or save your resume, that are still enough to knock the resume out of contention.

Don Fornes, CEO of Software Advice, shares his tips on how to name your resume, how to write your letters and resume, and how to save your resume.

Don't name your resume, "resume." About a third of applicants name their resume document, "resume.doc." "Resume" may make sense on your computer, where you know it's your resume. However, on my computer, it's one of many, many resumes with the same name. By using such a generic file name, the applicant misses a great opportunity to brand themselves (e.g. "John Doe - Quota Crusher"). If you're qualified enough to sell or market for us, you won't miss the opportunity to at least use your name in the file name.

Don't use all lowercase. i'm not sure where this trend originated. is it some text messaging thing? it's so easy to capitalize properly on a keyboard. how much time is this really saving you? to me, it screams out, "hi. i'm lazy. my pinkies are really heavy and I'd rather not move them to shift. when i start working for you, i'll look for other ways to be lazy. i'll also rebel against authority figures like you, just like i'm rebelling against the english teachers that dedicated their lives to helping me become literate."

Proofread your resume. It's unbelievable the number of spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes I see in resumes. Again, this is a blaring clue telling the hiring manager that you don't check your work and you don't pay attention to detail.

PDF your resume. Not everyone uses the same operating system and word processor that you do. I use a Mac. I don't have Word - don't want it. My ATS can't handle .docx files. A lot of the resumes I see come through horribly garbled. So much for that nice formatting you did (Did you?). PDF, or portable document format, is a simple solution.

Here's how to get your resume into the hands of the hiring manager, plus more tips on what not to do when you're applying for jobs from Don Fornes.

Resume Samples

Related Articles: How to Send a Resume and Cover Letter | How to Name Your Resume

Image Copyright Pali Rao

Thank You Letters: A - Z

Saturday April 19, 2014

Thank You Note Saying thank you for a job interview or thanking someone who has introduced you to a connection, helped boost your career or grow your business not only shows your appreciation.

Thank you notes and email messages also help build new relationships and cement existing ones. It's always a good idea to say thank you - whenever and to whomever you can.

When you're not sure what to write, here's an A - Z list of thank you letter examples for a variety of work, employment, job search, business and career situations. There are also all-purpose thank you note examples appropriate for any occasion.

Use these examples of thank you letters, thank you notes, and thank you messages to get ideas for your own personal and professional correspondence.

More: Top 10 Thank You Letter Tips | Email Thank You Letters | Thank You Letter Samples

Photo Copyright Carlos Arranz

The Best Resume Format

Saturday April 19, 2014

nullWhen it comes to choosing a resume format, one size doesn't fit all. There are several different types of resumes and there really isn't one best resume format, but resumes with a profile and/or a headline are the ones that are going to get noticed.

Depending on your personal circumstances, choose a chronological, a functional, or a combination resume, and, regardless of which type of resume you choose, be sure it is a customized resume - specific to the job you are interested in.

Generic resumes don't work anymore. Instead, your resume needs to clearly show the employer why you should be selected for an interview. How you name your file is important, too. Here's how to select a resume file name.

The format you send your resume in will depend on what the employer requests. You may be asked to send a PDF or a Word Document. Here's how to save your resume and how to send it to an employer.

Here's more advice on how to write a resume including choosing a type of resume, using resume templates, resume writing tips, and where to get help with resume writing.

Ask Alison: How Long Should My Resume Be?

Read More: Resumes | Resume Examples | Best Cover Letters2014 | Best Resumes 2014

Copyright Getty Images Jenny Acheson

Top 10 LinkedIn Tips for Job Seekers

Friday April 18, 2014

LinkedInAre you using LinkedIn to job search? Would you like to get your career on the fast track? LinkedIn is the top site for professional networking, and it's full of tools to help you make connections and find your next job.

When you're using LinkedIn, the details matter. Your profile needs to be perfect, you need to be well connected with people who can help your job search and refer you for employment. It works both ways though. The best way to use LinkedIn is to give to get. Write a recommendation, endorse a colleague or forward an introduction. The more you help your connections, the more likely they will be to help you.

If you're currently employed, it's important to be careful on LinkedIn. If you don't want your boss to know that you're seeking employment, you can hide your activity. You should also be cautious about who you let know that you're job searching.

Even if you're using LinkedIn already, it's a good idea to give your profile a makeover every now and then. It also makes sense to keep connecting, even if you're not actively job searching. The stronger your presence on LinkedIn, the better shape you'll be in for your next job search.

Here are the top 10 tips for using LinkedIn for job searching, including step by step instructions for using LinkedIn's features and tools.

Related Articles: What to Include in Your LinkedIn Profile | How to Use LinkedIn Endorsements | Should You Get a LinkedIn Premium Account? | Is LinkedIn a Waste of Time?

Thank You Note Friday

Friday April 18, 2014

Thank You NoteFriday is always "thank you note Friday" for me. I try to take a few minutes each week to say thank you to those who have been especially helpful to me, both professionally and personally.

I like to show my appreciation and people like knowing they are appreciated - especially when they receive a real, old-fashioned, thank you note in the mail. It means that the sender actually took the time to write, in ink, to address an envelope, stick on a stamp, and mail the note.

Of course, email, LinkedIn messages, Facebook messages, and tweets work, too. However you say thank you it doesn't much time to send a thank you note or thank you email message.

It's really important to say thank you after a job interview. Sending a thank you letter is a good way to reiterate your interest in the job and to remind the interviewer why you are the best candidate for the position.

It's also a good idea to thank everyone who helped with your job search, as well as to thank thosewho help you at work. Thank you notes, in addition to showing your appreciation, are great networking tools. Here's information on thank you letters including who to thank and how to say thank you.

If you're not sure what to say, review sample thank you letters to get ideas and suggestions for your own letters and email messages.

Read More: Top 10 Thank You Letter Tips | Email Thank You Letters | Employee Thank You Letters | Send Handwritten Thank You Cards The Easy Way with Postable

Image Copyright Carlos Arranz

Unemployment Extension 2014

Friday April 18, 2014

Update April 18, 2014: Congress will be back in session on April 28. Hopefully, there will be action to renew federal unemployment benefits when they return.

Update April 14, 2014: The Senate haspassed legislation (HR 3979)to renew federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired on December 28, 2013. The agreement would provide for a 5 month extension of federal jobless benefits retroactive to December 28.

In addition, Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) introduceda Housecompanion bill (H.R.4415) which is identical to the Senate legislation in the hopes of expediting a vote. there are also reports of tying the extension to a jobs bill, which would help in getting it passed. However, the House has adjourned until Monday April 28, 2014, so there will be no action on renewing EUC until after recess.

Please note that the legislation simply extends the federal EUC benefits that were in place last yearthrough May 31, 2014. Unemployed workers whose EUC benefits were cut off on December 28 and those who have lost statebenefits since then will be eligible if it's passed. It does not provide any extra tiers of benefits or provide benefits for those who had already run out of unemployment. If passed, it would end EUC on May 31.

Check back frequently for updates. I will post as soon as there is more news and details of the legislation.

Resources for Unemployed Workers

Important: Some states have advised claimants to continue filing, others say they will file for you if EUC is extended, and others won't let you file. Your state unemployment office may provide notification saying no further extension benefits can be paid. However, that doesn't mean that there isn't a chance of benefits being continued for 2014. Check your State Unemployment Office for details.

More News & Information: I will post updates as soon as there is more news on what will be happening with unemployment. Also, follow me on Twitter, add me to your Google+ Circles and like About Job Search on Facebook for more news and information.

Update March 29, 2014: The Senate voted (65 - 34) on Thursday to move legislation to restore federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired on December 28, 2013 forward. The agreement would provide for a 5 month extension retroactive to December 28 and has bipartisan support - 10 Republican Senators voted for the legislation.

Update March 12, 2014: Democrats have filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives. If a majority of the Representatives sign it, the House will be forced to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote. However, in order to get enough signatures the petition would need Republican support. An absolute majority (218 signatures) is required for a vote. Here's a current tally of the signatures.

There is pending legislation in the Senate to continue federal extended unemployment compensation benefits for the more than 2 million workers who have run out of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired on December 28, 2013.

Update March 21, 2104: The Senate will be working on legislation to renew unemployment next week. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) said this week "Since December, Senator Reed and I have been working to get these vital benefits to the millions of unemployed Americans who need them. It is extremely disappointing that, no matter what solution is reached, there is some excuse to deny these much-needed benefits. I look forward to passing this proposal out of the Senate next week, and stand ready to help the Speaker, as well as any organization or any individual necessary, in order to make this extension a reality."

Update March 17, 2014: Both the Senate and the House are recessed until Monday, March 24th. So, there will be no Congressional action on renewing unemployment benefits until they return.

Update March 13, 2014: Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) has announced a bipartisan agreement to renew federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired on December 28, 2013. The agreement would provide for a 5 month extension retroactive to December 28. The proposal is fully funded. It would eliminate unemployment benefits to individuals earning more than $1 million in the preceding year. It also includes provisions that would provided enhanced, personalized assessments and referral to unemployment services.

Update March 7, 2014: Republican Senators have introduced legislation (S. 2097) that would extend unemployment insurance benefits for the more than 2 million workers who have run out of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired in December. If passed, the legislation would extend federal unemployment insurance benefits for five months, allowing for retroactive benefits.

Update March 4, 2014: Legislation which would extend federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits which expired at the end of December, 2013 for six months was filed today. The legislation (S. 2077, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2014) is for a 6 month retroactive extension that would restore unemployment benefits for the 2 million unemployed workers who have run out. News reports indicate there may be a vote next week.

Important: Unemployment benefits vary from state to state, so check your State Unemployment Office website for details on who qualifies for extended benefits and when and how benefits will be paid or check this list of state unemployment extension websites to go directly to the information for your location.

Read More: How to File for Unemployment | How to Calculate Unemployment | Unemployment Extension | Job Search Tips for Unemployed Job Seekers

How to Resign Gracefully

Thursday April 17, 2014

QuitOnce you have decided to resign from your job, there's no point in criticizing your company, your boss, your co-workers, the job or anything else. Even if you hated your boss, hated the job, and can't wait to get out of there, don't burn your bridges. You might need a reference in the future and you don't want to give anyone any ammunition to use against you. Save your parting shots and keep your feelings to yourself.

Instead, write a formal resignation letter, so it can be placed in your employment file. Keep your resignation letter simple and short. Don't go into too much detail about why you are quitting and what you are doing next. Your letter shouldn't be negative or nasty - it honestly isn't worth venting.

When you're not sure what to write, review sample resignation letters to get some ideas. You can use them to create your own personalized resignation letter. On a related note, email isn't really the best way to resign, but if you're working remotely or you don't have the courage to resign in person, here's how to send an email resignation message.

Here's more advice on how to resign gracefully and how to resign on good terms.

Read More: Resignation Letters| Resignation Letter Examples

Image Copyright iStockphoto Photoevent

Tips for Long Distance Job Searching

Thursday April 17, 2014

Travel ExpenseWhen you're thinking about moving to a new location, job searching can be a challenge. It can be tough to know how long it will take to find a job and whether you should move first, and job search second, or line up a new job, then move. Here are tips on when to start a job search.

In addition to when, there's the question of how. What's the best way to job search long distance? The key is to clearly indicate that you are planning to relocate (or that you are already there) and that you're flexible - both for scheduling interviews and for starting work if you were to be hired. Here are tips for conducting a long distance job search.

Also keep in mind that when you travel to the new location, you may be able to deduct travel expenses to and from the area. Here's information on job search tax deductions.

Related Articles: When Employers Pay Interview Travel Expenses | Company Relocation Packages | Job Searching on the Road | Tips for Arranging an International Phone Interview

Image Copyright Robert Szajkowski

How to Follow Up On a Job Application

Thursday April 17, 2014

You have submitted a job application or sent a resume to a company you'd like to interview with and you haven't heard back right away. What do you do next?

You can either wait patiently, presuming the employer will contact you if they are interested or you can opt to follow-up with the employer - if you can find a contact person to follow up with. Here are the pros and cons of following up, and how to follow up on a job application, if you do decide to do so, after applying for a job.

After an interview though, you should always follow up with a thank you letter or thank you note reminding the interviewer about your key qualifications for the job and reiterating your interest in the position.

Related Articles: How to Follow Up On a Job | Should You (or Shouldn't You) Follow Up After Sending a Resume?

50 Interview Questions With Answers

Wednesday April 16, 2014

nullAre you ready to interview? Before you go, in addition to getting your job interview clothes ready and gathering everything you need to bring to the interview with you together, it's a good idea to review interview questions and answers.

That way, you're prepared to respond to your interviewer and you won't be fumbling around for the right reponses during the interview.

Review the top 50 interview questions asked by employers, as well as sample answers for each question on the list. Then take the time to tailor your responses so you are prepared to pitch your qualifications to the hiring manager.

Read More: Top 50 Interview Questions | Top 50 IT Interview Questions | Top 10 Interview Questions

Related: Job Interview Questions and Answers | Types of Job Interviews | Top 50 Interview Mistakes

Image Copyright Adam Gault / Getty Images

Entry Level Job Search Tips

Wednesday April 16, 2014

GraduationFor candidates seeking entry level jobs, it's a challenging and competitive job market, so don't wait to look for a job. Start your job search early, because employers are in the process of hiring now, and you don't want to miss out on good opportunities by waiting.

Take advantage of the many resources available to help college graduates (and students) with a job search. From your college career services office, to alumni who have volunteered to help, to college job sites that provide job listings and job search tips specifically for students, you'll find a variety of resources available to help with a college job search.

More: Entry Level Jobs |College Job Interview Questions | Best Jobs for College Grads

Image Copyright manley620

Should You Follow Up After Sending Your Resume?

Wednesday April 16, 2014

You have sent a resume to a company you'd like to interview with and you haven't heard back right away. What do you do next?

You can either wait patiently, presuming the employer will contact you if they are interested, or you can choose to follow-up with the employer. Is it worth taking the time to try to track down a contact person and email, send a LinkedIn message, or call to see where you stand in the application process?

What do you think? Should you follow up or is it better to wait?

Read More: How to Follow Up After Submitting a Resume | How to Follow Up On a Job Application

Related Articles: Do You Need a Cover Letter? | LinkedIn Message Guidelines

Top 15 Words to Include On Your Resume

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Resume Skills It can be a challenge to know what to include on your resume. There are some terms that will get your resume noticed and others than can knock it out of contention.

Choosing the right terms can help you make the best impression, and CareerBuilder has released a new survey that reports on what employers want to see on resumes - and what they don't.

Here are the 15 best words to include on your resume:

  1. Achieved: 52%
  2. Improved: 48%
  3. Trained/Mentored: 47%
  4. Managed: 44%
  5. Created: 43%
  6. Resolved: 40%
  7. Volunteered: 35%
  8. Influenced: 29%
  9. Increased/Decreased: 28%
  10. Ideas: 27%
  11. Negotiated: 25%
  12. Launched: 24%
  13. Revenue/Profits: 23%
  14. Under budget: 16%
  15. Won: 13%

What shouldn't you include on your resume? Here are the 15 worst terms to use when resume writing, according to employers who responded to the survey, starting with "best of breed" which sounds more like a dog show winner than a candidate for employment:

  1. Best of breed: 38%
  2. Go-getter: 27%
  3. Think outside of the box: 26%
  4. Synergy: 22%
  5. Go-to person: 22%
  6. Thought leadership: 16%
  7. Value add: 16%
  8. Results-driven: 16%
  9. Team player: 15%
  10. Bottom-line: 14%
  11. Hard worker: 13%
  12. Strategic thinker: 12%
  13. Dynamic: 12%
  14. Self-motivated: 12%
  15. Detail-oriented: 11%

You don't have much time to make that good (or bad) impression. 17% of surveyed hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less, on average, reviewing resumes. 68% spend less than two minutes. By focusing on the skills, results and accomplishments that are the most related to the job for which you're applying you'll be able to get your resume a closer look. Even an extra minute or so can help.

Read More: What to Include in a Resume Skills Section | Resume Samples | List of Skills for Resumes

Image iStockphoto.com/Ragsac

Interview Questions for Employees

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Job InterviewInterviewing work both ways. The company is, of course, interviewing you for the job and wants to be sure that you have what they need in a new employee.

On the flip side if you're going to be hired as an employee of the company, you want to do your best to make sure the job is a good fit and that means having questions of your own ready to ask.

Before you head out to a job interview, review both the most frequently asked interview questions, so you will be ready to respond.

Also have a list of questions ready to ask the employer, so you can be ready to respond when you're asked if you have any questions and so you can do you best to make sure the job is one you would want to have, if it was offered to you.

Read More: Interview Questions |Tell Me About Yourself | Interview Questions to Ask

Copyright Getty Images Peter Dazeley

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