1. Careers
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.
Alison Doyle

Alison\\\\\\\\\\\'s Job Searching Blog


Follow me on:

Sending a Thank You Letter After an Interview

Saturday May 31, 2014

Thank You Note It doesn't take much time to send a thank you note or thank you email message after an in-person job interview or a phone interview. Regardless of how you 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 those who 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 you should thank and the best way to thank them.

If you're not sure how to say thank you, 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

Photo Copyright Carlos Arranz

What To Do When a Job Interview Goes Wrong

Saturday May 31, 2014

Bad Job InterviewYou just interviewed for your dream job, and it went terribly wrong. It can happen. We all have days when we're off our game. Your interviewer may not have been at his or her best either. It happens on both sides of the interview desk.

Maybe there isn't a chance to salvage the job opportunity. On the other hand, you have nothing to lose by giving it a try. You may even get a second chance to interview again. Although there's no sure fire fix, it's always a smart idea to send a thank you email after your interview, and if you think you could have done better, it doesn't hurt to explain that in the note.

Here are tips for how to get back into consideration for a job, along with a sample email message you can send to your interviewer.

Ask Alison: Should I Reapply to the Same Company?

Related Articles: Most Common Interview Mistakes | How to Reapply for a Job When You Have Been Rejected

Image Copyright Getty Images Paul Viant

Interview Questions About Company Culture

Saturday May 31, 2014

Company CultureInterview questions about company culture are designed to determine whether you will be a good fit for the organization.

For example, if the company is a start-up where employees work long hours and you need to leave on time every day because of a personal commitment you may not be a fit for the job you are interested in. Or, if you are manager used to having direct authority over your employees, but the company has a team-based open management style, you may not fit in well with the company culture.

Here are examples of interview questions about company culture that are used to determine how good a match you for the company, along with sample answers.

More: Job Interview Questions and Answers | Phone Interview Questions | Types of Interview Questions

Image Copyright Lajos Repasi

Tips for Interviewing at a Restaurant

Friday May 30, 2014

Invited to interview over a meal? This type of job interview is just as important, perhaps even more so, than an interview in a business setting. That's because it's less formal and more conversational and, if you're not careful, you could let your guard down and share too much personal information.

When you're invited to interview over a meal or a cup of coffee, take the time to prepare just as carefully as you would for an interview in an office setting. Here are tips for handling job interviews in restaurants.

Also, remember what your mom told you about table manners. She was right - good table manners may give you the edge over other applicants. Take some time to brush up your interview dining etiquette, so you make a great impression and ace the interview.

After the interview, be sure take the time to send a thank you note and include your appreciation for the interview as well as the meal.

Read More: Interview Guide | Interview Questions and Answers | What to Wear to a Job Interview

Photo © Pellegrina

How to Ask for a Raise

Friday May 30, 2014

nullIf you haven't received a pay raise in a while, and it doesn't look as if it's going to happen without action on your part, it's important to take the time to prepare before you ask for a raise.

Your boss isn't going to give you one just because you asked. In fact, your boss may not be able to give you one even if he thinks you're worth more money. Some organizations have rigid salary structures in place and give raises only according to those guidelines.

Here are tips and advice on how to ask for a raise, how to request a pay raise diplomatically, and what to expect after you ask for a salary increase.

Related Articles: Salary Negotation Tips | How to Make a Counter Offer | How to Ask for More Money | A - Z List of Salaries for Jobs

Image Copyright H-Gall

Top 10 Best Volunteer Opportunities

Thursday May 29, 2014

Teaching AbroadLooking to make a difference in the world? There are many opportunities for full-time volunteers, both at home and abroad. Prior to embarking upon a serious career journey, many college graduates are looking for a chance to serve others, enhance personal growth and explore different cultures and geographic locations.

On the flip side of the career coin, many older volunteers are taking the opportunity to give back and many of these opportunities aren't limited to younger applicants. The oldest Peace Corps volunteer currently serving is 81 and Arthur Goodfriend of Honolulu, Hawaii, at 87, was the oldest volunteer in Peace Corps' history.

For the volunteers for whom this is an interlude before starting down a different career path, there is an opportunity to develop skills and a network of contacts which will serve them well in their ultimate career. Here's more on top 10 best volunteer opportunities.

Read More: Volunteer Opportunities Online | Senior Corps | Best Post-Grad Volunteer Options

Image Copyright Kallie Szczepanski

Hire Me!

Thursday May 29, 2014

Hire Me"Why should we hire you?" is one of the questions you'll probably be asked at a job interview. Your answer can be one of the keys to getting a job offer.

Coming right out and saying "hire me" isn't always easy, but selling yourself and your credentials to the interviewer is part of the interview process and you will need to be able to respond.

When you're not sure what to say, review these sample answers to questions about why you're the best person for the job:

After the interview, take the time to send a thank you note or email reiterating your interest in the job, and mentioning the key qualifications that make you an excellent candidate. Here are guidelines for writing job interview thank you letters.

Also consider calling your interviewer to relay your thanks over the phone. Over 80% of surveyed employers said a phone call was a good way to follow up. That will give you another opportunity to sell your qualifications to the company.

Readers Respond: Why Should We Hire You?

Related Articles: Interview Questions | Interview Checklist

Copyright Online Creative Media

Help Wanted Now

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Cool Jobs

When you're flexible as far as where you would travel to work and the type of work you're willing to do, CoolWork.com's Help Wanted Now listings include jobs that employers are seeking to fill right away.

CoolWorks.com also has a variety of other summer job listings ranging from entry level jobs to positions for seasonal professionals.

Another way to find immediate openings is to search the job search engines by keyword. For example, if you use "immediate" or "immediate start date" or "immediate opening" as a keyword you'll find job posts for employers seeking help now. Be sure to include your location, so the list of jobs includes the location where you want to work.

Here's more advice on finding companies that are hiring now.

Related Articles: Job Search Engines | Summer Jobs | Now Hiring!

Image Copyright CoolWorks

How to Help a Friend Job Search

Wednesday May 28, 2014

nullI was reading an article about "acts of kindness" the other day and it started me thinking about ways to help job seekers in a still difficult economy. Job searching is challenging these days, especially when you're unemployed and trying to balance a budget on unemployment instead of a paycheck. It's even worse when unemployment has run out.

In fact, job searching can still be difficult - even if you still have a job. I've heard some great ideas for helping friends, family, ex-colleagues, and others who are in the midst of a job search. I thought it would be a good idea to start a list and to ask for suggestions for more ways to help a friend who is job searching.

How to Help a Friend or Family Member Who is Job Searching

  • Offer to proof their resume and cover letters
  • Forward relevant job leads
  • Give them a break - take them out for coffee or a meal
  • If you've worked with them, write a recommendation on LinkedIn
  • Don't ask them why they haven't found a job yet
  • Provide an introduction to a connection who may be able to help
  • Offer to baby-sit or provide transportation to job interviews
  • If you can afford it, give them a gift certificate to a grocery store
  • If you can really afford it, offer financial help
  • Refer them to a job club or job search networking group
  • Buy back to school supplies for their kids

Do keep in mind that even if you offer help, the person you are helping may be too proud to accept. In that case, you can always be creative. A friend and I once chipped in to buy a grocery store gift card for another friend whose husband had been laid off. We put it in a "thinking of you" greeting card and left in her mailbox so she didn't know who it came from and didn't have a chance to turn it down.

What else can you to do help? Share your advice and tips: How to Help a Job Seeker

Copyright Getty Images SW Productions

Unemployment Extension 2014

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Update May 28, 2014: To date, there has been no new action in Congress to renew Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired in December, 2013.   Currently, the only unemployment benefits available are state unemployment insurance benefits which provide up to a maximum of 26 weeks of unemployment compensation.

The Senate passed legislation in April, however that jobless benefits included in that legislation expired at the end of May. The House has not considered legislation to renew extended benefits.

More News: For more news and to discuss or comment on unemployment, please visit the About Job Search Facebook page and join the conversation.

Update May 12, 2014: New legislation (H.R. 4550) has been introduced in the House by Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick which would extend expired Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired in December. It would also add six new jobs bills to the legislation passed by the Senate on April 7. However, the bill would need to pass both the House and Senate in order to be approved.

To date, there is no news of a vote being scheduled on legislation to renew federal jobless benefits. The House is not in session in Washington, DC this week so the earliest there would be action would be next week.

Join the Conversation: To discuss or comment on extended unemployment benefits, please visit the About Job Search Facebook Page.

Update May 3, 2014: There has been no further action, to date, on legislation to renew federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which expired on December 28, 2013. Legislation was passed in the Senate prior to recess, and it is pending in the House.  There is also is no news on when or if there will be a House vote.

Update April 14, 2014: The Senate has passed 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) introduced a House companion 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 year through May 31, 2014. Unemployed workers whose EUC benefits were cut off on December 28 and those who have lost state benefits 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

Worst Interview Outfits

Tuesday May 27, 2014

When you are dressing for a job interview, appearance really is important. The image you present to a potential employer is the first thing they are going to notice about you - before you even have a chance to say a word or shake a hand.

I worked for someone who automatically knocked candidates out of contention if he could smell their cologne or perfume from the foyer.

Overdoing it, plus wearing what some hiring managers consider a really bad or even the worst interview outfit ever can cost you a job offer.

When I asked about the worst interview outfits, I was a bit surprised at what people wear to job interviews - too short skirts and too much cleavage, ratty t-shirts and dirty jeans, and even a clown suit. By the way, a shirt and tie even made the list, from the overdressed for the job perspective.

It's important to know how not to dress for an interview and how you should dress for an interview, because that first impression really does make a big difference in whether you get considered for a second interview or a job offer.

Before your interview, take some time to brush up your interviewing skills and review the standard interview questions that you'll be asked.

Related: What's the Worst Interview Outfit You've Seen? | Job Interview Questions and Answers

Photo Copyright Bojan Tezak

How to Sign an Email

Tuesday May 27, 2014

nullWhen you are sending an employment or business related email message it's important to sign your message in a professional manner, just as you would any other correspondence. It's also important to include your contact information so the person you are writing to can easily get back in touch.

Your signature should include, at the least, your name, phone number and email address. Depending on why you are writing you may also want to include your address and LinkedIn profile URL.

Here's more information on how to sign an email, how to create an email signature in your email program, along with more advice on sending email messages and how to send your resume and cover letter when you're job searching.

Related Articles: Email Etiquette | Letter Samples | How to Send a Resume

Image Copyright Alison Doyle

Job Interview Questions

Monday May 26, 2014

InterviewJust in case you needed a reminder that it's a good idea to practice interviewing, here's what I heard from someone who had been reviewing our job interview questions - "I've been reading your pages recently and am happy to say that I had my second interview yesterday. You were of tremendous help. 75% of your probable questions were asked and answered as you suggested."

Before you head out to interview, take the time to review the "standard" job interview questions you will most likely be asked. Also review sample answers to these typical interview questions.

Note, as well, that there are some questions that are usually referred to as illegal interview questions and although it's legally risky to do so, it is not necessarily against the law for interviewers to ask them. Here's more information on illegal interview questions and here are tips on how to answer illegal interview questions.

Job Interview Tips

Image Copyright Getty Images Stuart O'Sullivan

How to Answer What Are You Passionate About

Monday May 26, 2014

What are you going to say when a hiring manager asks "Why were you fired? or "What was your boss like? or "What are you passionate about?" (hint: your answer doesn't have to be work related). Here are some suggestions for answering that question about passion, plus add your answer to the list.

Do you have an answer ready for these questions and the other questions you will be probably be asked during a job interview? If not, you should. In fact, you should be ready to answer most of the typical interview questions you'll be asked.

There's no need to memorize your answers or they will sound canned, but taking the time to prepare answers can help, and will prevent that awkward moment of silence while you try and think of a response.

Also, while I'm on the subject of interviews, don't forget to send an email thank you message or a thank you letter. Taking a little time to say follow up after your interview could help you get a second interview or even a job offer.

Related Articles: Interview Questions and Answers | Tough Interview Questions | Questions to Ask the Interviewer

Photo Copyright Mike Doyle

Work Abroad Options for College Grads

Sunday May 25, 2014

Japanese ClassroomA rising number of college students have spent time overseas as part of study or travel abroad programs and these experiences have sparked a keen interest in working abroad after graduation.

There are many reasons why grads can benefit from a stint abroad in an increasingly international marketplace. Cultural and linguistic immersion after college can ultimately make grads more attractive to international businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

Finding a job overseas can be a challenge, but there are ways to get hired for a position abroad. Here are tips and advice on finding a job abroad from college career expert and guest author, Mike Profita.

Related Articles: Work and Study Program in the US | College Job Search Guide | 15 Things To Do Instead of Getting a Real Job

Image Copyright Getty Images Andrea Chu

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.