8 EASY Ways to Personalize Your Cover Letter

A cover letter is a great way to introduce yourself.  Many job seekers make the mistake of a one-size-fits-all introduction.  Don’t waste your first impression by sending a generic letter. I would HIGHLY suggest personalizing it.  Use these 8 tips to make an impact and get into the “YES” pile.

8 Easy Ways to Personalize Your Cover Letter - Job Search Guide @ResumeButterfly

How to Personalize a Cover Letter

Add Company Specific Details –

  1. Use the Hiring Manager’s Name (use LinkedIn, Google, call the office)
    • To Whom It May Concern is not acceptable (and not a person)
  2. Do you have a networking connection? Mention it!
    • A personal connection is a great way to get your foot in the door.  Mention it early in the cover letter.
  3. Replace generic words like “company” or “organization” with the specific company name
    • This shows that you took time to edit your letter for their company
  4. Edit or rearrange your core strengths / skills that apply to that position – use company specific wording
    • How are you the “missing puzzle piece” that they are looking to hire? The job description shows what they need.
  5. Add key phrases from the job description (or company mission) that apply to your experience – always be truthful
    • Keywords and phrases are important. Don’t make the hiring manager guess and try to match your experience. Be specific.
  6. What specific problem can you help solve?
    • Show that you can make an impact!
  7. How are you a good fit for THEM (not just a job, but THAT position)
    • How would you fit into the company culture and be the missing link?
  8. Show how your past experience directly relates to the position. “I see you are interested in hiring someone with XYZ experience. In my role with ABC, I {list transferable accomplishments}.
    • Again, don’t leave the hiring manager wondering. Address their needs and be the problem solver.
  9. Etc. – Be Creative!
    • Yes, editing your cover letter will take a few extra minutes, but it is so important and will save you time in the long run. Sending a generic cover letter out “into job search space” will not do you any favors. Take time and be strategic in your job search. It’s helpful to personalize the top profile section of your resume too by using the specific job title and keywords or phrase that show you are a good fit for THAT position.

*** REMINDER: I’m sure this wouldn’t apply to you, but SUPER important – save a generic version of your cover letter template (so you have it to edit later) and then SAVE AS and rename company specific copies so you don’t get mixed up – for example YourName-JobTitle-ABCCompany-CoverLetter.doc.  I hated (and threw away) cover letters that were accidentally addressed to other companies.  Double check!

What else would you add to the list?

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©2014.  Updated 2018. All rights reserved.

7 Reasons Why You Should Join LinkedIn

7 Reasons Why You Should Join LinkedIn

What? You’re not on LinkedIn yet? What are you waiting for?

These seven reasons outline why you should be on the social networking site.

7 Reasons You Should Join LinkedIn - Job Search Guide from ResumeButterfly

  1. Because That’s Where The People Are. LinkedIn is the number one social network for professionals — and, arguably, the most important website for jobseekers — with more than 200 million members worldwide. Not only are people you know already on the site, but so are people you should get to know — recruiters, hiring managers, and your future co-workers.
  2. To “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” In his book of the same name, author Harvey Mackay advocates building your network before you need it — and joining LinkedIn now gives you time to build your network of connections.
  3. To Strengthen Your Offline Network. LinkedIn helps you keep track of people you know “in real life” — what they are doing, where they work now, and who they know.
  4.  To Reconnect With Former Co-Workers. Sometimes it’s hard to stay in touch with the people you used to work with — making it difficult to find them when you need them (say, to use as a reference in your job search). LinkedIn allows you to search contacts by employer, so anyone who listed that company in their profile will be found in the search.
  5.  Because You Can Establish Yourself as an Expert. One of the ways to be seen as a thought leader in your industry is to increase your visibility. One way to do this is to actively participate in Groups related to your job, and also to respond to questions on LinkedIn’s “Answers” forums. Anytime you post in Groups or answer questions, these updates will be available in your profile, so people looking for you can see that you are actively engaged in this online community.
  6. To Be Found as a Passive Candidate. Having a robust LinkedIn profile — filled with your accomplishments and strong keywords — will lead prospective employers to you, even if you are not actively looking for a job. Recruiters especially are always searching LinkedIn to find candidates to match their search assignments.
  7. Because Your Presence on LinkedIn Can Help You Be Found Elsewhere Online. It’s common practice for hiring managers and recruiters to “Google” job candidates, and your LinkedIn profile will likely appear high up in their Google search results. A strong LinkedIn profile can enhance your candidacy, especially if you have a solid network of contacts, at least a few Recommendations, and you’ve supplemented the basic profile information with things like lists of your certifications, languages you speak, SlideShare presentations, honors and awards, and/or your professional portfolio.’

Let’s Connect on LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicaasmith

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Job Interview Outfit Basics

Job Interview Basics - ResumeButterfly.com

Job Interview Basics – ResumeButterfly.com by getsnazzy


What to Wear to a Job Interview! Start with basics- Black or gray slacks- Conservative blouse- Add a jacket or cardigan- Simple jewelry – Neutral makeup- Shoes you can walk in!- Portfolio with resume, cover letter and samples of your work (if applicable) * Add a bit of your personality by adding a colored belt, broach or necklace, but remember an interview is a time to show you are a professional not a fashionista!

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees: Jobseeker’s Guide to Salary Negotiation

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees: Jobseeker’s Guide to Salary Negotiation

Money is usually the most sensitive issue in the hiring process. Discussing compensation often causes anxiety for both employee and employer.

Download this 8 page guide that includes:

  • How to be confident in salary negotiations
  • Surveys show employers are willing to negotiate salary.
  • How much of a difference can negotiating your salary make in your income (five-year comparison)
  • 12 sites for conducting salary research
  • How to prepare supporting documentation
  • Cost-of-living analysis
  • What factors do prospective employers consider when determining a salary
  • Why timing is critical in salary negotiations
  • When to negotiate salary and benefits in a job interview
  • How to handle the question of salary history
  • How to handle the question of desired salary
  • How to handle the question of salary requirements
  • Timing your raise request
  • In salary negotiation, it’s important to know what you want
  • The value of non-cash benefits (and a list of negotiable items)
  • What to ask for if you don’t get a cash raise
  • Evaluating the job offer
  • How to handle salary on application forms
  • Making the case for a raise
  • Finishing the negotiation: accepting a job offer

Jobseeker's Guide to Salary Negotiation - Job Search Advice from ResumeButterflyMoney is usually the most sensitive issue in the hiring process. Discussing compensation often causes anxiety for both employee and employer.

Money may seem like the biggest factor in accepting a job, but it can often cloud your decision-making process. Don’t accept a job that you’re not enthusiastic about simply because the starting salary is a few thousand dollars higher than what you’re currently making. It’s probably more important to find a job that lets you do something you enjoy. Ask yourself whether the position presents a career path with upward movement and long-range income potential.

Confidence is important in negotiations. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Negotiate from a position of strength.” Strength comes from confidence. Confidence comes from being prepared (doing your homework), reaching the right decision-maker, having the right timing, and knowing what you want out of the negotiation. One of the best things you can do to boost your confidence is to practice (role play) your salary negotiation with someone. Ideally, practice with someone who has negotiation experience — for example, a friend or neighbor who is in sales, or who is a lawyer.

Even in a “bad” economy, it is worthwhile to negotiate your salary. In fact, in a 2012 survey conducted by Robert Half International, a global staffing firm, more than one-third of executives interviewed said they are more willing to negotiate salary with top candidates than they were a year ago. In a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, four out of five employers (80 percent!) said they are willing to negotiate compensation.

If you’re getting a job offer — and salary discussions usually don’t happen unless you’re a serious candidate — negotiation is an expected part of the process.

What’s the worst that can happen? You may not get all that you’re asking for. You may only get some — but that’s more than you started with. It’s rare (extremely rare!) that a job offer would be rescinded simply because you ask for more money (be reasonable).

Have a positive attitude about salary negotiations. Negotiation is basically a process which could benefit both parties. Understand your needs and those of the company. It is possible to reach a win/win solution. Don’t be aggressive or demanding when negotiating salary or a raise. Keep your tone friendly and civil.

Negotiating a higher starting offer initially can make a big difference in your pay over the long-term. In addition to getting more cash up front, your annual raises will also be based off a higher starting salary.

Let’s say you accept an offer of $30,000 for a job and are given annual pay increases of 3 percent. After five years, you’ll be making $33,765. On the other hand, if you negotiate a starting pay of $33,000 (a 10 percent increase), after five years, your pay will be $37,142. The individual who started at $30,000 made $159,274 during those five years; the person who negotiated a starting salary of $33,000 made $175,191 — a difference of $15,917.

This is just the first page… keep reading by downloading the 8 page guide here.

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p.s. Buying this guide for $5 could mean a raise of hundreds or thousands of dollars! Don’t wait! Download today!


Job Seeker’s Guide: Employment Law in a Nutshell

Job Seeker Guide Employment Law in a Nutshell - ResumeButterfly Job Search AdviceWhen applying for a job, what most candidates say they want is a level playing field — the opportunity to be considered for employment because of their skills, experience, and education, without consideration of how they look, what they wear for religious reasons, or how old they are. In other words, they want a hiring environment free of discrimination.

There are a number of local, state, and federal laws that employers must follow when hiring employees. Generally speaking, these laws prohibit discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, age, ethnicity/national origin, disability, or veteran status.

With so many government agencies involved in creating laws for hiring and employment, it’s no wonder companies get confused. In some instances, these may affect you, the jobseeker, as you may face potential discrimination in the application and/or hiring process.

There are laws to govern how many hours you can work (Fair Labor Standards Act), the type of work you can perform in certain industries (Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, for example), and even the types of benefits some types of companies can offer (Employee Retirement Income Security Act).

This guide, however, is designed to familiarize you specifically with laws relating to applying for jobs, interviewing, and getting hired. Note: The information in this guide is not intended to provide legal, medical, or financial advice. If legal, medical, or financial advice is needed, an appropriate professional should be consulted.

You are most likely to encounter these situations in smaller companies, where the owner or hiring managers handle applications, interviews, and job offers directly; however, discrimination occurs in companies of all sizes.

Here is an analysis of some of the most relevant laws for jobseekers.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) addresses employment eligibility, employment verification, and nondiscrimination in hiring. Under this law, employers may only hire candidates who are legally eligible to work in the U.S. (i.e., citizens and U.S. nationals) and aliens authorized to work in the U.S.

Employers must verify the identity and employment eligibility of anyone hired, including completing an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9 form) for each applicant. These forms must be kept on file for at least three years, or one year after employment ends, whichever is longer. Newly-hired employees must complete and sign the top section of the form (which collects biographical data) no later than the first day of employment. However, Section 1 should never be completed before you accept a job offer.

Employers must complete Section 2 of the I-9 form within three business days of your first day of employment. Candidates will present documents to verify their identity, choosing from a list of acceptable documents outlined on the form. The identification establishes your identity and employment authorization.

The INA protects U.S. citizens and aliens authorized to accept employment in the U.S. from discrimination in hiring or discharge on the basis of national origin and citizenship status.

Another section of the act applies to employers seeking to hire nonimmigrant aliens as workers in specialty occupations, often referred to as “H1-B workers.” This is more common in the engineering, teaching, technology, and medical professions. The number of new H1-B visas that can be issued each year is subject to a cap.

Relevance to Jobseekers:

•    You will be asked for documentation to complete an I-9 form at the time of hiring. You can review the I-9 form here: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf

•    As it relates to H1-B workers, a H1-B candidate cannot displace a current employee; however, as a job applicant, you may be competing with H1-B candidates.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects applicants from discrimination in hiring. Protection is granted on the basis of the applicant’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), and national origin.

Religious discrimination includes an employer failing to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious practices if the accommodation does not create an undue hardship for the employer.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects jobseekers who are 40 years of age — or older — from age discrimination in hiring. However, it is not illegal for an employer to favor an older job applicant over a younger one, even if both workers are age 40 or older. The law also forbids harassment because of age — for example, offensive remarks or repeated jokes about a person’s age.

The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including state and local government entities.

Relevance to Jobseekers:

•    The ADEA generally makes it unlawful to include age preferences, limitations, or specifications in job notices or ads. A job notice or ad may specify an age limit only in the rare circumstances where age is shown to be a “bona fide occupational qualification” (BFOQ) — for example, airline pilots must retire at age 65 in the U.S.

•    In general, you should not be asked your date of birth or age on an application or in an interview, although the ADEA does not specifically prohibit this. However, you may file a complaint if you feel you were discriminated against because of your age, and the request for age information will be “closely scrutinized to makes sure that the inquiry was made for a lawful purpose, rather than for a purpose prohibited by the ADEA.”

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended), is very similar to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). It requires certain employers (including those with federal contracts or subcontracts) to take affirmative action to hire, retain, and promote qualified individuals with disabilities.

Covered disabilities include a wide range of mental and/or physical impairments that “substantially limit or restrict a major life activity,” such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, learning, or working. In addition, individuals who have recovered from their disabilities may not be discriminated against because of their past medical history.

Relevance to Jobseekers:

•    The law only protects against discrimination for disabilities. You must possess the necessary education, skills, or other job-related requirements to be considered for the position. You must also be able to perform the essential functions of the job — the fundamental job duties of the position you desire — with or without reasonable accommodation (which require the employer to make adjustments or modifications in the work, job application process, work environment, job structure, equipment, employment practices, or the way that job duties are performed so that an individual can perform the essential functions of the job.)

•    You may be asked whether you are an individual with a disability, or the nature or severity of such disability. You may be asked about your ability to perform job-related functions and/or be asked to describe or demonstrate how — with or without reasonable accommodations — you will be able to perform the duties of the job.

•    You may be asked to take a medical examination, but only if all candidates seeking the same job category are required to complete a medical examination. An offer of employment may be conditional depending on the results of the examination.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act

In 1978, Congress amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to enact the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). This law forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring. If a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer or other covered organization must treat her the same way it treats any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, the employer may have to provide light duty assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave to pregnant employees, if it does so for other temporarily disabled employees.

Relevance to Jobseekers:

•    You do not have to disclose your pregnancy to a prospective employer when applying for a position. However, you may not want to change jobs during pregnancy if your health care coverage would be affected by a new position. If the new employer offers health care coverage, there may be a waiting period before coverage begins. However, insurance coverage for a pregnancy generally cannot be denied within a group insurance plan. The Health Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) ensures that group health insurance plans cover pregnancy, in most cases. However, if your new employer does not offer a health insurance benefit, you may find it difficult to obtain an individual policy that covers your pregnancy-related claims.

•    An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because of her pregnancy, as long as she is able to perform the major functions of her job.

•    Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), a new parent (including foster and adoptive parents) may be eligible for 12 weeks of leave (unpaid, or paid if the employee has earned or accrued it) that may be used for care of the new child. However, to be eligible, the employee must have worked for the employer for 12 months prior to taking the leave, and the employer must have a specified number of employees.

Immigration Reform and Control Act

Discrimination on the basis of national origin involves treating applicants unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background (even if they are not). National origin discrimination can also extend to treating candidates unfavorably because they are married to (or associated with) a person of a certain national origin, or because of their connection with an ethnic organization or group.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate with respect to recruitment and hiring based on an individual’s citizenship or immigration status. The law prohibits employers from hiring only U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents unless required to do so by law, regulation, or government contract.

Employers may not refuse to accept lawful documentation that establishes the employment eligibility of an employee, or demand additional documentation beyond what is legally required, when verifying employment eligibility, based on the employee’s national origin or citizen status.

Relevance to Jobseekers:

•    Discrimination on the basis of national origin may begin with your initial application to the company. An employer may be reluctant to call an applicant whose name he or she cannot pronounce, so providing a nickname on the résumé or job application may help.

•    If a phone interview goes well but the in-person interview does not, your national origin may or may not be the issue. It can be difficult to find out exactly why you were not hired.

For example, if you wear a hijab for religious or cultural reasons, an employer may be worried about how the company’s customers would react to it. However, customer preference is never a justification for a discriminatory practice.

The employer is not likely to articulate that as the reason why you were not selected for the position. Even though you might feel that was the reason you were not hired, a fuller explanation of the employer’s business reasons would be needed to determine whether or not discrimination was involved.

The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990

Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) protects qualified individuals from discrimination in hiring on the basis of disability. Covered employers must make reasonable accommodations for known physical and/or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual (unless it creates an “undue hardship” on the employer).

The term “qualified” means that you have the skills, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position being sought, and can perform the essential job functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation.

Not all employers are required to comply with the ADA. Covered organizations include private employers with 15 or more employees, employment agencies, and labor organizations. State and local government employers must also comply with the ADA.

Accommodations are considered “any modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that enables a qualified person with a disability to apply for or perform a job.” It also includes alterations to ensure a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities.

Relevance to Jobseekers:

•    When applying for a position, the prospective employer may not ask you to answer medical questions or take a medical exam before extending a job offer. You may not be asked if you have a disability (or about the nature of an obvious disability). You can be asked, however, whether you can perform the job and how you would perform the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation. (After you are offered the job, an employer can make the job offer contingent on passing a required medical examination, but only if all candidates for that job category have to take the examination.)

•    You may request an accommodation at any time during the application process. (You can also request an accommodation after you are hired, even if you did not ask for one when applying for a job or after receiving a job offer). You may make the request orally or in writing.

•    It is important to note that you do not need to let a prospective employer know that you have a disability. However, unless, you let the employer know that you have a disability, the employer is not obligated to consider accommodations under the ADA. (And the employer may request medical documentation to establish that the employee has an ADA disability and needs the requested accommodation.)

From a practical standpoint, you should not request an accommodation during the application process unless there is a workplace barrier that prevents you, due to a disability, from competing for a job or performing the job. Likewise, you should not reference your medical history when applying for a position (for example, to account for a gap on your résumé or explain a job change on your cover letter) unless absolutely necessary — or if it is relevant to the position you are seeking.

The only limitation on an employer’s obligation to provide reasonable accommodations is that no change or modification is required if it would cause “undue hardship” to the employer — meaning significant expense or difficulty in making the accommodation (for example, if the modification would be disruptive, or if it would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business).

•    If you have a disability, check out http://earnworks.com/refdesk/FAQ/FAQ_Jobseekers for agencies that can assist you with employment.

•    If you have a disability and feel you were discriminated against in the hiring process, you can file a complaint with the EEOC or your state enforcement agency. For information regarding the complaint process, visit http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

One of the newer candidate protection regulations is the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which protects applicants from discrimination in hiring based on genetic information. GINA restricts employers’ acquisition of genetic information and strictly limits disclosure of genetic information, including information about genetic tests the applicant may have received, the manifestation of diseases or disorders in applicant’s family members, and requests for receipt of genetic services.

GINA was enacted, in large part, because of developments in the field of genetics, the decoding of the human genome, and advances in the field of genomic medicine. Genetic tests now exist that can determine whether individuals are at risk for specific diseases or disorders. The law addresses the concerns of individuals who fear the loss of health coverage or employment because of their genetic information.

Relevance for Jobseekers:

•    Some employers are self-insured, meaning that they pay for health care costs for their employees directly, instead of using a commercial health insurance company. For these employers, hiring any employee is a risk, because one catastrophic health incident can consume the entire health care budget for the company. If a company knows about the candidate’s genetic profile, discrimination may occur.

•    Do not disclose information about your genetics in an interview or on an application. GINA is concerned primarily with protecting individuals from discrimination because an employer thinks they are at increased risk of acquiring a condition in the future. It does not protect you from discrimination because you had a condition (such as cancer), even if the condition has a genetic basis. (The ADA, however, may protect you if your health situation meets the legal definition of “disability.”)

•    You may be asked to take a medical examination or fitness-for-duty examination after being offered a job, and the offer may be conditional on “passing” the exam. However, it is a violation of GINA to request or require you to provide genetic information, including family medical history, during a medical examination related to employment.

Special Consideration for Veterans in Hiring

Certain companies with federal government contracts or subcontracts are required to provide affirmative action to employ disabled veterans, recently separated veterans (within three years of discharge or release from active duty), specific types of veterans (those who served during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge was awarded), and Armed Forces service medal veterans (veterans who, while on active duty, participated in a U.S. military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded). For more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/vets/.

Fair Labor Standards Act

While it doesn’t specifically relate to hiring, the Fair Labor Standards Act is relevant for jobseekers because it specifies the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour as of July 24, 2009. You are also entitled to 1.5 times your regular pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek, if you work for a covered entity.

The Fair Labor Standards Act also specifies child labor requirements. Specifically, an employee must be at least 16 years old to work in most non-farm jobs and at least 18 to work in non-farm jobs declared “hazardous” by the U.S. Secretary of Labor. Teenagers ages 14 and 15 may work outside school hours in various non-manufacturing, non-mining, and non-hazardous jobs, providing they work no more than 3 hours on a school day or 18 hours in a school week, or 8 hours on a non-school day or 40 hours in a non-school week. Fourteen and fifteen-year-olds may not begin work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended to 9 p.m.

Employees under age 20 may be paid $4.25 per hour during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer. Also, certain full-time students, student learners, apprentices, and workers with disabilities may be paid less than the minimum wage under special certificates issued by the Department of Labor.

Also, the act specifies that employees who work in “tip professions” must receive a cash wage of at least $2.13 per hour if the employer claims a tip credit against the minimum wage obligation. If an employee’s tips — combined with the employer’s cash wage of at least $2.13 per hour — do not equal the minimum hourly wage of $7.25 per hour, the employer must make up the difference.

Note: Certain occupations and types of businesses are exempt from the minimum wage and/or overtime pay provisions. Some state laws also provide greater employee protections, and employers must comply with both state and federal law.

Additional Resources

For more information about wage and hour laws, visit www.wagehour.dol.gov.

More information about employment discrimination in hiring can be found on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website, www.eeoc.gov.


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Disclaimer and legal notice: The information presented herein represents the view of the author as of the date of publication. This report is for informational purposes only. While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided in this report, the author does not assume any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, or omissions. Any slights of people or organizations are unintentional. If advice concerning legal or related matters is needed, the services of a fully qualified professional should be sought. This report is not intended for use as a source of legal or accounting advice.

How to ACE Phone and Video Interviews

How to ACE Phone and Video Interviews (includes bonus checklist)

How to ACE phone and video interviews - ResumeButterfly Job Search AdviceVirtual interviews usually precede in-person interviews, but if you do not make a good impression in a virtual interview, you likely will not get the chance for a face-to-face one. The purpose of the phone interview is for the interviewer to decide whether to invite you to the next interview — which is hopefully an in-person one.

The Internet makes it easy for you to apply for a job anywhere in the world, but the company is not going to incur the expense of bringing you in for an in-person interview unless you are a good fit — and often that is determined through one or more virtual interviews.

You may have two (or more!) virtual interviews before your first in-person interview.

Traditionally, virtual interviews (usually phone interviews) were used to conduct a pre-screening for an in-person interview and to answer any questions not addressed in the résumé. But, today, phone interviews are also replacing some in-person “first interviews.” You may be asked the same questions on the phone you might have expected would be asked in a face-to-face interview. So prepare like you would for an in-person interview.

Virtual interviews are generally shorter than in-person interviews — they may be as short as five minutes, or last up to an hour. The typical phone interview lasts 20-30 minutes. When the phone interview is scheduled, that is the time to ask how much time to allow — and then add 30 minutes to it, just in case.

In-depth phone interviews are also more common in management and executive positions — especially when relocation is required. For these positions, one or two phone interviews may be conducted before an invitation is made for a face-to-face interview.

Virtual interviews can save you time — but they can also save you money. You do not have to drive to an interview (or travel, if relocation is required).

As with a face-to-face interview, there are two possible outcomes from a virtual interview. Either you will advance to another interview (either by phone or face-to-face), or you will be eliminated from consideration.

The most important advice for any type of interview also applies to virtual interviews: Practice really does make perfect.

Click below to download the rest of the 11 page guide (including bonus checklist) as a PDF.

(FREE, no opt-in required).

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Join 200 Million: Easy, Step by Step Guide to Creating a Powerful LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn has changed their look and features for jobseekers. Download the guide today!

NEWLY UPDATED 2013 guide with screenshots featuring the new LinkedIn profile.

Step by Step Guide to the New LinkedIn Profile Join 200 Million - Job Search Advice from ResumeButterfly.com

Your information is 100% safe and secure.

Want more information? Carry on:

This 44-page, step-by-step guide to using LinkedIn in a job search is jam-packed with information. (The report includes more than 73 screenshots)

Topics Include:

  • Why Get LinkedIn?
  • Why LinkedIn Is Important In Your Job Search
  • How To Set Up An Account
  • Editing/Enhancing Your Profile
  • Creating Your Headline and Summary
  • Controlling Your Privacy Settings on LinkedIn
  • Making Connections: Importing Contacts
  • What To Do With Your LinkedIn Profile
  • Building Your Connections
  • Conducting Company Searches
  • Using Introductions, InMails, and Invites
  • Making Inroads with Invites
  • Making Connections Through LinkedIn Groups
  • Finding Jobs on LinkedIn
  • Building Your Credibility With Recommendations
Thank you for your interest in Join 200 Million: Easy, Step by Step Guide to Creating a Powerful LinkedIn Profile!

I’m excited to offer you this free digital download and help you transform your job search!

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How to Give — and Get — LinkedIn Recommendations

How to Give — and Get — LinkedIn Recommendations

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With LinkedIn becoming increasingly important in the recruiting and hiring process, having Recommendations on your profile is important. Great Recommendations can be the difference in getting the job offer.


LinkedIn Recommendations are a natural evolution of references and letters of recommendation. However, they often are more credible than these traditional documents, because it is harder to fake a Recommendation on LinkedIn than it is to forge a letter. Since many companies are restricting reference checks to verification of title and dates of employment, a LinkedIn Recommendation from a supervisor — and/or coworkers — carries weight.


LinkedIn has been described as a “reputation engine.” That’s an apt description, because your reputation does precede you online — not just in your work history, but also in your LinkedIn Recommendations.


Someone looking at your Recommendations wants to know two things:

  • What are you like?
  • Are you good at what you do?


Recommendations are also vital in increasing your visibility on LinkedIn. In order for your profile to be considered “complete,” LinkedIn also requires you to receive a minimum of three Recommendations. According to LinkedIn, “Users with Recommendations in their profiles are three times more likely to receive relevant offers and inquiries through searches on LinkedIn.”


In addition, you can enhance your own reputation by providing Recommendations, because people viewing your profile can see (and read) the Recommendations you make. (Go to the person’s profile on LinkedIn, and on the right-hand side of the page, you’ll see a box for “(Name) Recommends.”) You can see excerpts of their Recommendations, or click the link for “See all Recommendations.”


Recommendations can also provide Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results — meaning, they will help you get found — both on LinkedIn as well as on search engines. Use industry-specific terminology in your Recommendations. Keywords included in LinkedIn Recommendations also receive emphasis in search engine results — especially searches within LinkedIn. When conducting a keyword search, all the keywords in a profile are indexed, and profiles with a high match of relevant keywords come up higher in the results listings. Although LinkedIn’s specific algorithms are secret, some experts suggest that keywords in Recommendations receive double the rankings of keywords provided in the profile itself.


How many Recommendations you have on your profile depends on how many contacts you have. A good guideline is 1-2 Recommendations for every 50 connections. Ideally, these will be a variety of individuals — not just supervisors, but co-workers, people you supervise, and clients/customers. Choose quality over quantity.


Recommendations should be built up over time. Because Recommendations have a date attached to them, don’t try to solicit all of your Recommendations at once. Don’t write and send your Recommendations all at once either. Recommendations are date-stamped, so the reader will be able to see when they were added to your page. It’s best if they are added gradually, over time.


In this guide, we’ll start with what to write in the Recommendation, and then show you how to actually make a Recommendation on LinkedIn. Finally, you’ll learn how to request your own Recommendations on LinkedIn.


Formula for a LinkedIn Recommendation

Before you write anything, take a look at your contact’s LinkedIn profile. Align your Recommendation with the individual’s LinkedIn profile. Tie in what you write with their headline, summary, and/or experience — reinforce the qualities they want to emphasize in the Recommendation you write. Look at the existing Recommendations they’ve received too.


Some things to consider include:

  • What are they good at?
  • What did they do better than anyone else?
  • What impact did they have on me? (How did they make my life better/easier?)
  • What made them stand out?
  • Is there a specific result they delivered in this position?
  • What surprised you about the individual?


Choose the qualities you want to emphasize in the person you are recommending. You may choose to use what author and speaker Lisa B. Marshall calls “The Rule of Threes.” Simply stated, concepts or ideas presented in groups of three are more interesting, more enjoyable, and more memorable.


In general, you will want to showcase transferable skills, because these will be the most relevant for your contacts when they are using LinkedIn for a job search or business development.


The top 10 skills employers are looking for in employees are:

  • Communication Skills (verbal and written)
  • Integrity and Honesty
  • Teamwork Skills (works well with others)
  • Interpersonal Skills (relates well to others)
  • Motivation/Initiative
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Analytical Skills
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Computer Skills
  • Organizational Skills


These are the types of attributes you can focus on in your Recommendation. Use the following formula for a LinkedIn Recommendation to write a great Recommendation.


Here is a simple formula for a LinkedIn Recommendation:

  • Start with how you know the person (1 sentence). Give context for the relationship beyond just the job title and organization/company/school, although that can be a good way to start your Recommendation. (“I’ve known Amy for 10 years, ever since I joined XYZ Company. She was my lead project manager when I was an analyst.”)
  • Be specific about why you are recommending the individual (1 sentence). What qualities make him or her most valuable? Emphasize what the person did that set him or her apart. What is his work style? Does she have a defining characteristic? To be effective, Recommendations should focus on specific qualifications.
  • Tell a story (3-5 sentences). Back up your Recommendation with a specific example. Your Recommendation should demonstrate that you know the person well — so tell a story that only you could tell. And provide “social proof” in the story — give scope and scale for the accomplishments. Don’t just say the individual you’re recommending led the team — say he led a 5-person team, or a 22-person team. Supporting evidence — numbers, percentages, and dollar figures — lends detail and credibility to your story.
  • End with a “call to action” (1 sentence). Finish with the statement “I recommend (name)” and the reason why you would recommend him or her.


In the first sentence, you describe how you know the individual and give context about why you are qualified to recommend him or her.

  • (Name) and I have worked together…
  • I’ve known (name) for (how long)…


For the second bullet point, you can set up the description of his or her qualities by providing an overview sentence. Here are some examples:

  • Able to delegate…
  • Able to implement…
  • Able to plan…
  • Able to train…
  • Consistent record of …
  • Customer-centered leader…
  • Effective in _________
  • Experienced professional in the _____ industry
  • Held key role in ________________
  • Highly organized and effective…
  • High-tech achiever recognized for…
  • Proficient in managing multiple priorities and projects…
  • Recognized and appreciated by…
  • Served as a liaison between _________
  • Strong project manager with…
  • Subject-matter expert in _____
  • Team player with…
  • Technically proficient in _________
  • Thrived in an…
  • Valued by clients and colleagues for…
  • Well-versed in the…


For example:

Mike had a consistent record of delivering year-over-year sales revenue increases while also ensuring top-notch customer service, working effectively with the entire 7-member sales team to make sure the client’s needs were met.


Jill is a subject-matter expert in logistics, warehouse planning, and team leadership. Her ability to take the initiative to ensure the thousands of items in each shipment were prioritized for same-day processing made her an indispensable member of the management team.


For the storytelling section, you can choose a “Challenge-Action-Result” format to describe the project:

  • Challenge: What was the context for the work situation on the project? What was the problem that the project was designed to tackle?
  • Action: What did the person you’re recommending do? What was their specific contribution?
  • Result: What was the outcome of the project — and can you quantify it?


Choose descriptive adjectives to include in your Recommendations. Instead of describing someone as “innovative,” choose a word like “forward-thinking” or “pioneering.”


Here are some other descriptions:


































































































































































































































Team player







Top producing































Make sure the Recommendation you write is clearly about the person you’re recommending. That sounds like common sense, but many Recommendations are too vague or too general — they could be about anyone, not this specific individual. To be effective, the Recommendation you write should not be applicable to anyone else.


Recommendations that you write should be:

  • Genuine
  • Specific
  • Descriptive (with detailed characteristics)
  • Powerful (including specific achievements, when possible)
  • Memorable
  • Honest/Truthful (credibility is important; avoid puffery or exaggeration)


Length is an important consideration when writing LinkedIn Recommendations. Keep your Recommendations under 200 words whenever possible. Some of the most effective LinkedIn Recommendations are only 50-100 words.


You may find it useful to look at other Recommendations before writing yours. You can do a search on LinkedIn for others with that job title and check out the Recommendations on their profiles.


You can use LinkedIn’s “Advanced People Search” function to conduct a search. At the top right-hand side of the page, click the “Advanced” link next to the People search box.




You can enter in keywords or job titles to find profiles related to the type of Recommendation you are writing.




You can then browse the listings that come up as matches and check out the Recommendations on those profiles.


Consider drafting your Recommendation in Microsoft Word or a text editor. Because LinkedIn does not have a built-in spell check function, this will help ensure your text does not contain spelling errors. You can also check your grammar in Microsoft Word, and use the “Word Count” feature to determine the length of your Recommendation.


Now you’re ready to actually create the Recommendation in LinkedIn.


How to Make a Recommendation

Under the Profile menu, choose “Recommendations.”




This will take you to a separate screen where you can manage the Recommendations you’ve received and make a Recommendation. You will also see tabs on this page where you can view your Sent Recommendations and Request Recommendations.




You must either be connected to the individual you wish to Recommend or know his or her email address. Also, the individual must have a valid LinkedIn account. You may find it easiest to use the “select from your connections list” in the “Make a Recommendation” section. You can also make a Recommendation from the individual’s profile page directly.




The “Recommend” feature may appear under the “Suggest connections” button. Or, like on this profile, the “Recommend” might be in the dropdown menu under “Send a Message.”




You’ll be asked to recommend the person as a:

  • Colleague (someone you’ve worked with at the same company)
  • Service Provider (someone you’ve hired to provide a service for you or your company)
  • Business Partner (someone you’ve worked with, but not as a client or colleague)
  • Student (they were at the school when you were there, either as a fellow student or as a teacher).




Once you’ve selected an option, choose “Go.” You’ll be taken to a page where you can create the Recommendation.




You’ll be asked how you know you know the person and can select the job or school you were at during that time.


Paste in the Recommendation text you created in the first section of this report.


In some instances (mainly when selecting Service Provider as the way to recommend the individual), you may be asked to select “Top Attributes” of the person you’re Recommending. LinkedIn will supply some suggested qualities for you to choose from. When you are given this option on the Recommendation page, you must choose three (“no more, no less”!) — but because it autofills the attributes, they may not be as relevant as ones you would choose yourself.




When you are finished, click on the [ view / edit ] link at the bottom of the “Create your Recommendation” page — this link allows you to include a personal message with the notification email. Let the person you’re recommending know this is a rough draft and encourage suggestions for improvement.



The person you recommend will get your email notifying him or her that you’ve made a Recommendation.


If you don’t receive a reply from the individual you’ve recommended within a week, follow up and make sure they received it.


Keep in mind that you can change (or remove) Recommendations you’ve given.


Under the Profile menu, choose “Recommendations.”




Click on the “Sent Recommendations” tab.




This will take you to a page where you can see the Recommendations you’ve written. You can also edit Recommendations from this page, and choose who can see the Recommendations you’ve written. (Options for “Display on my profile to:” include “Everyone,” “Connections only,” and “No one.”)




If you want to edit or remove a Recommendation you’ve written, click on the [Edit] button next to the person’s name.



This will pull up an “Edit your Recommendation” page:




You can click on the blue “Withdraw this Recommendation” link to remove the Recommendation. You will be asked to confirm this change:



Any Recommendation you write may show up in your Activity feed on LinkedIn — even before it’s approved by the individual you’ve recommended — so keep that in mind.


How to Request Recommendations on LinkedIn

Only ask for Recommendations from people who are relevant to your goals — powerful Recommendations come from people who know you and your work. It’s better to have a strong Recommendation from a boss than a half-hearted one from someone with a well-recognized name. Don’t ask people to recommend you who don’t know you well.


Before you ask for a Recommendation, check the individual’s profile and see if he or she has written any other Recommendations. Do the other Recommendations they’ve written show unique detail? See how many they’ve given — and see if each one says basically the same thing. If they aren’t very strong, you may want to consider providing the person with a rough draft of a Recommendation you’ve written about yourself on their behalf.


To ask for a Recommendation, LinkedIn has a Recommendation request form.


Go to the Profile tab and select “Recommendations.”




Click on the “Request Recommendations” tab:




You will be taken to a page that says “Ask the people who know you best to endorse you on LinkedIn.”


Under “Create your message,” you will want to customize your request. Replace the existing text with a personalized message. Although LinkedIn gives you the option of sending “bulk” Recommendation requests, don’t do it. Each request should be personalized to the individual you are asking for a Recommendation.


When asking for a Recommendation, ask for one related to a specific project. For example:

“Could you provide me with a Recommendation based on our work together on [X Project]?”


Your sample request might look like this:




An even better idea is to ask for the Recommendation through more personal means — for example, in person, on the telephone, or via email.


In fact, one of the best ways to get a LinkedIn Recommendation is to ask after they’ve given you a compliment “in real life.” If they praise you via email, for example, you could respond with a message that thanks them and says: “Are you on LinkedIn? Would you mind if I sent you a LinkedIn request for a Recommendation? It would mean a lot to me to have you say that in a Recommendation on there.”


Reciprocation is also a powerful motivation for Recommendations. Generally, if you ask for someone to provide you with a Recommendation, they will expect you to write one for them. (So it’s a good idea to only ask for Recommendations from someone you’d be willing to recommend back!) The reverse is also true — sometimes, if you provide an unsolicited Recommendation, the person you recommend will go ahead and write one for you as well.


However, reciprocal Recommendations (I gave you one, so can you give me one?) are less powerful than Recommendations that are freely given. Remember, visitors to your LinkedIn profile can see who you have recommended as well as who has recommended you. It’s easy to spot one-to-one (reciprocal) Recommendations.


If you don’t receive a response back from someone after requesting a Recommendation — or, if you don’t feel comfortable following up, consider whether you should be asking for a Recommendation from that person in the first place.


One of the most effective ways to get a great LinkedIn Recommendation is to write it yourself. This makes it easier on the person who you want to recommend you — and ensures your Recommendation is specific and detailed.


In this case, your request for a Recommendation might follow this format:


Dear (Name):


I’m writing to request a Recommendation of our work together at (company name) that I can include on my LinkedIn profile. To make this easy for you, here’s a draft Recommendation. Feel free to edit this or create your own.


Thank you.


(Your Name)


When possible, give the person you’re asking for a Recommendation some context for your request:


“I’m writing to request a Recommendation on LinkedIn. As you know, I’m looking to make a career change, and I believe a Recommendation from you based on our work together on [X Project] would be useful in highlighting my transferable skills.”


If You’re Asked to Make a Recommendation

Don’t ignore requests for Recommendations. But don’t feel like you have to accept all requests to make a Recommendation, either. You can respond back that you don’t feel you know him or her well enough to write a Recommendation (or that you don’t know them well enough in their work life to recommend them, if you only know them socially). Or you can put them off — saying something like, “Once we’ve worked together for a while, I’d be happy to write a Recommendation for you.”


So-called “character references” (also called “personal references”) don’t have much of a place on LinkedIn, where the emphasis is on Recommendations from people you have worked with (“professional references”). You can say something like, “Although we know each other socially, because LinkedIn attaches Recommendations to specific jobs, I don’t feel I’m a good fit to write a Recommendation for you.”


You will rarely see a negative Recommendation on LinkedIn. Because the content of Recommendations is public, it’s likely to be positive. Also, because recipients can choose whether or not to display Recommendations, they are not likely to approve negative comments for public display.


And your mom was right: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”


However, if you do decide to write a Recommendation, the first question you should ask is: “What is the goal?” Does the individual want a new job? A promotion? Make a career change? Land a client? Knowing what their goal is in soliciting a Recommendation will help you tailor it to meet their needs.


Look at the individual’s LinkedIn profile — especially the job description of the position when you worked together.


If you are asked to provide a Recommendation, it’s fine to ask the person to draft their Recommendation for you to work from.


Remember, Recommendations you write show up on your profile too, so someone looking at your profile can see the Recommendations you’ve made for others.


When Someone Recommends You…

You’ll receive a notification when someone Recommends you. The notification will be emailed to the email address you have on file with LinkedIn:




When you click on the link at the bottom of the email, you will be taken to the same message in your LinkedIn account (you may need to sign into your LinkedIn account, if you are not already). It will ask you if you want to “Show this Recommendation on my profile” or “Hide this Recommendation on my profile.” Choose one option and then click “Accept Recommendation.”




After you click “Accept Recommendation,” you’ll receive a “Recommendation Confirmation.” This screen will also give you the opportunity to write a reciprocal Recommendation.




If you find an error in your Recommendation, or it’s not specific enough, you can click the “Request Replacement” link and it will automatically generate a request for a change with an email to the individual who wrote the Recommendation.


The best way to handle a Recommendation that you don’t like is simply to ask for it to be changed. But instead of asking them to change the whole thing, address specific issues in the Recommendation that you would like changed.


“I like what you’ve written, but I was wondering if you would correct the statement where you said I brought in $200,000 in revenue; my records from that time show that the figure was closer to $375,000.”


Replace the standard text in the message with your custom message.




What If You Change Your Mind About Displaying a Recommendation?

You can also choose to remove Recommendations from your profile, even after they’ve been published.


Here is how to manage the Recommendations already on your LinkedIn profile. Choose “Recommendations” from the Profile menu.




The default tab on the Recommendations page is “Received Recommendations.”




At the top of the page, it will show you any Recommendations you’ve received that have not yet been added to your profile. The second section is “Manage Recommendations You’ve Received.”



In the section below that heading, you’ll see a list of your current positions and any Recommendations you’ve received, associated with each job position you’ve listed in your profile.



If you click on the Manage link, you will see the Recommendations you’ve received for that position. You can click the checkbox above the word “Show” and it will change that Recommendation to hidden on your profile. When you click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page, it will remove that Recommendation from being visible on your profile.




You can also request a new or revised Recommendation on this page.


You can also refuse Recommendations. When you receive a message notifying you of the Recommendation, choose “Hide this Recommendation on my profile.”




Then, click “Accept Recommendation.” This will acknowledge receipt of the Recommendation, but it will not be visible on your LinkedIn profile.


These are the best ways to handle a Recommendation that you don’t like — if you’re not willing to contact the person who recommended you and ask for changes.


Final Thoughts

Recommendations matter — but who they came from is sometimes more important than what the Recommendation says. A Recommendation from a higher-level person makes more of an impact than one from colleagues. You can often judge a Recommendation by the quality of the person writing it.


Don’t write — or display — bad Recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. Bad Recommendations are those that are:

  • Generic
  • From people who don’t have a clear understanding of you and/or your work
  • Written without context (how they know you, how they worked with you)
  • Old or outdated


LinkedIn does allow you to go back and edit Recommendations after they’ve been posted, but remember: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.


View Jessica Smith (Benzing)'s profile on LinkedIn

Write a LinkedIn recommendation today!

Check out my other posts about LinkedIn here.

Interview questions YOU should ask the employer

Interview Questions YOU should ask the employer Job Search Advice from ResumeButterfly.com

Do You Have Any Questions For Me?

Interview questions YOU should ask the employer.

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 Job interviews aren’t meant to be an interrogation — they are supposed to be a dialogue. An interview is as much about making sure the company is a fit for you as it is that you are a fit for the company.

Preparing for the Interview

Before the interview, at a minimum, you should research the company — and the interviewer(s), if you know that information ahead of time.

At a minimum, conduct a Google search. Take a look at the company’s website. Look for the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile. While you’re on LinkedIn, see if the company has a profile on the site. Also check out the LinkedIn profiles of other key employees of the company. How long have they been in their current jobs? How long have they been with the company? What was their background before they joined the company? (Did they come from competitors, or from other industries?)

Your research will not only help you understand the company better, it will help you ask more informed questions in the interview.

And that’s the subject of this report. If you haven’t asked questions as the interview progresses, there will likely come a time in the interview when the person conducting the interview says to you, “So, do you have any questions for me?”

That’s where your research comes into play. Surely, as you were learning more about the job and the company, you were curious about a thing or two. Even if you weren’t, it makes a huge (negative) impression on interviewers when you don’t ask any questions. That can either signal that you’re not interested enough in the job to muster up any questions — or that you didn’t know anything about the company coming into the interview, and you weren’t paying attention enough to latch onto any information shared in the interview. Both scenarios don’t bode well for your employment prospects.

With that in mind, here are more than 80 questions you can ask in a job interview. Choose 4 or 5 of them (at a minimum) and write them down on an index card or sheet of paper you can reference at the appropriate time during the job interview.

Do you have any questions for me?

80+ question ideas to ask in a job interview (choose a few)

Questions You Should Ask

1.    How long has this position been open?

2.    Is this a new position? If so, why was it created? If not, why did the previous person leave the position?

3.    What are the company’s priorities, and what specific results would be expected from me in the first 90 days?

4.    What kind of opportunities for advancement are available?

5.    Why did you (the interviewer) join the company? How long ago was that? What is it about the company that keeps you here?

6.    Did my résumé raise any questions I can clarify?

7.    What do you look for in an employee?

8.    What type of training is required and how long is it? What type of training is available?

9.    What would my first assignment be?

10.  What are the skills and attributes most needed to get ahead here?

11.  How regularly do performance evaluations occur?

12.  Do you have a job description available for this position?

13.  Are there any expansion plans for the company?

14.  What are the opportunities for on-the-job training and further education?

15.  Do you have a tuition assistance or book reimbursement program?


Questions To Ask Headhunters and Recruiters

1.    Are you dealing with the client’s HR people, or do you have direct contact with the hiring manager?

2.    How many candidates have you placed with this client? How long have you worked with this client?

3.    May I have a written job description?

4.    Where is the position located?

5.    To whom does the position report?

6.    Is this a new position? If not, why is the position open?

7.    What happened to the person who previously held this position?

8.    How long have you been working on the assignment?

9.    What does the position pay?

10.  Are here any pay or compensation constraints that I should take into consideration?

11.  What can you tell me about the person who will be interviewing me? What is his or her position, title, management style?

12.  Who will make the final hiring decision?

13.  After you present my résumé, when can I expect to hear from you regarding the status of this position?


Questions To Ask HR

1.    Why do you enjoy working for this company?

2.    What attracted you to this organization?

3.    Can you describe the work environment here?

4.    How do you describe the philosophy of the company or organization?

5.    What do you consider to be the organization’s strengths and weaknesses?

6.    Can you tell me more about my day-to-day responsibilities?

7.    How soon are you looking to fill this position?

8.    How do my skills compare with those of the other candidates you have interviewed?

9.    I have really enjoyed meeting with you and your team, and I am very interested in the opportunity. I feel my skills and experience would be a good match for this position. What is the next step in your interview process?

10.  Before I leave, is there anything else you need to know concerning my ability to do this job?

11.  In your opinion, what is the most important contribution that this company expects from its employees?

12.  What are my prospects for advancement? If I do a good job, what is a logical next step?

13.  Assuming I was hired and performed well, what additional opportunities might this job lead to?

14.  I know that for the position for which I am interviewing, the company decided to recruit from outside the organization. How do you decide between recruiting from within and going outside?

15.  What advice would you give to someone in my position?

16.  What major problems are we facing right now in this department or position?

17.  Can you give me a formal, written description of the position? I’m interested in reviewing in detail the major activities involved and what results are expected.

18.  Can you please tell me a little bit about the people with whom I’ll be working most closely?


Questions To Ask Hiring Managers

1.    What specific skills from the person you hire would make your life easier?

2.    What are some of the problems that keep you up at night?

3.    What are some of the skills and abilities you see as necessary for someone to succeed in this job?

4.    What would be a surprising but positive thing the new person could do in first 90 days?

5.    What challenges might I encounter if I take on this position?

6.    Will we be expanding or bringing on new products or new services that I should be aware of?

7.    What are your major concerns that need to be immediately addressed in this job?

8.    What do you see as the most important opportunities for improvement in the area I hope to join?

9.    What are the attributes of the job that you’d like to see improved?

10.  What attracted you to working for this organization?

11.  What have you liked most about working here?

12.  Are there any weaknesses in the department that you are particularly looking to improve?

13.  What are the department’s goals, and how do they align with the company’s mission?

14.  What goals or objectives need to be achieved in the next six months?

15.  What areas of the job would you like to see improvement in with regard to the person who was most recently performing these duties?

16.  From all I can see, I’d really like to work here, and I believe I can add considerable value to the company. What’s the next step in the selection process?

17.  What is currently the most pressing business issue or problem for the company or department?

18.  Would you describe for me the actions of a person who previously achieved success in this position?

19.  Would you describe for me the action of a person who previously performed poorly in this position?

20.  What are the most important traits you look for in a subordinate?

21.  Could you describe your typical management style and the type of employee who works well with you?

22.  How would you describe the experience of working here?

23.  If I were to be hired, what one piece of wisdom would you want me to incorporate into my work life?

24.  What have I yet to learn about this company and opportunity that I still need to know?

25.  Can you please tell me about the people who will look to me for supervision?

26.  What happened to the person who previously held this job?

27.  Customers are expecting companies to protect their data. Does the company have a privacy policy for its Web initiatives, and how does the company balance the momentum for ever-increasing personalization with rising concerns for privacy?

28.  What are the success factors that will tell you if the decision to bring me on board was the right one?


Questions That Are Defensive (Designed to protect the employee)

1.    I understand the company has experienced layoffs within the last two years. Can you review the reasons why they were necessary?

2.    Are there formal metrics in place for measuring and rewarding performance over time?

3.    If I were a spectacular success in this position after six months, what would I have accomplished?

4.    How much freedom would I have in determining my objectives and deadlines?

5.    How long has this position existed in the organization? Has its scope changed recently?

6.    Do you foresee this job involving significant amounts of overtime or work on weekends?

7.    Are my tasks limited to my job description, or will I be performing duties outside the described job scope?


Other Probing Questions (Often for high-level assignments)

1.    What are you hoping to accomplish, and what will be my role in those plans?

2.    What initial projects would I be tackling?


Questions Designed to Get Feedback

1.    Do you have any concerns about my ability to do the job and fit in?

2.    How do I compare with the other candidates you have interviewed?

3.    Can you give me any feedback that would make me more attractive to the company in the future or that I could benefit from next time?

4.    Is there anything else you need from me to have a complete picture of my qualifications?


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Jobseeker’s Guide to Preparing for the Job Interview

Job Seeker's Guide to Preparing for the Job Interview: Job Search Advice from ResumeButterfly.com resume writing services resume writing professional resume writing resume resume cover letter professional cover letter writing a professional resume executive resume writing resume professional resume writing companies it resumes resume writing service professionally written resume writing a resume resume services professional resume writing service make over resume writing professional professional resume service professional resume writing services professional resume services resume professionals professional resume writing cv writing best resumes writing resumes job resume resumes and cover letters cv writing service professional resume examples it resume help with resume write a resume job resumes resume template résumé free job search resume help good resumes sales professional resume professional resumes professional resume builder resumes best resume writing service executive resume writing service nursing resume resume writing help write resume executive resume resume service reviews resume makeover resume preparation services best resume writing services example resume games for girls best resume services resume services writing girls games work resume it resume examples resume example resume writing examples resume for job resume services online cover letter writing examples of professional resumes resume services nyc free job posting sites virtual hairstyles sample cover letter best resume service resume templates cv template top resume writing services resume editing services professional resume format make over games try on hairstyles resume examples resume building resume services dallas it professional resume resume writing services nyc taaz.com resume for a job profesional resume resume service executive resume writing services cv samples writing a cv monster.com jobsearch experienced professional resume resume writing service reviews www.taaz.com federal resume writing services work search cover letters for resumes make overs cover letter writing service resumes services

The goal of the résumé is to get you a job interview (and then the job.) Once you secure an interview, researching and preparing for the interview is important. Like studying for a test, some of the information you can prepare ahead of time — and some of it is important to review just to be better prepared in general. Believe it or not, many job candidates don’t prepare for job interviews. Spending just 30-60 minutes (at a minimum) can improve your chances of securing a job offer.

Research on the company can be vital information that you can use to your advantage in the interview. It will also shape your ability to answer the interviewer’s questions, and can give you a strategic advantage when it comes to salary negotiation.

Think about a job interview from the employer’s perspective. They are looking for the best fit — skills, experience, education — and, most importantly, fit with the company’s culture. Focusing on the needs and preferences of the company can help you identify which aspects of your work history and background will best serve your future employer.

Like Zig Ziglar said, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

By understanding a company’s needs, you can identify how you can help them in the job you’re seeking — and demonstrate why you’re the best candidate for the position.

If it’s a sales job, you’ll want to show them how you can:

  • Increase sales, revenue, and profits
  • Secure new business while retaining existing customers

If you’re applying for an information technology position, you’ll want to demonstrate your:

  • Ability to solve problems
  • Skill in helping the company save money on their technology needs

In her book “Résumé Magic,” author Susan Britton Whitcomb suggests jobseekers target what she calls “employer buying motivators.” These include the company’s desire to:

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Save time
  • Make work easier
  • Solve a specific problem
  • Be more competitive
  • Build relationships / an image
  • Expand business
  • Attract new customers
  • Retain existing customers


Keep these in mind as you prepare for the interview.

It also helps to understand that the information an interviewer wants from you falls into a couple of broad categories:

  • Who You Are
  • What Sets You Apart From the Other Candidates
  • Can You Solve a Problem We Have? (Remember, all jobs solve a problem)
  • Why You Might Not Be The Best Fit For the Job
  • Why You’re Looking For a New Job (Unemployed? Underemployed? Seeking a better opportunity — but why?)


Understanding that most interview questions will fall into these broad categories will also help you prepare for the interview.

Before your interview, ask for a list of the people you will be meeting with for the interview. Don’t be shy about this — it’s a completely normal request. Be sure to ask for spelling of the name(s). This will help you conduct your pre-interview research.

Not only will you want to research your interviewer(s) — by Googling them and/or conducting a people search on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and/or BranchOut — but you’ll also want to find out who you know in common so you can get advance insight into the interviewer and the hiring process.

Your research before the interview can also help you ask better questions in the interview. Remember — a job interview is about “fit” — but the “fit” from your perspective is as important as “fit” from the company’s point of view. The job interview is like a first date — you want to see what you have in common and whether it’s worthwhile to continue to pursue a relationship or whether you should “see other people.”

If you are given a choice of times you would like to interview, consider your personal preferences — such as, are you a morning person, or not — and also the overall interview schedule. Generally it’s best not to be the first person interviewed for a job. As with house hunting, the natural inclination is not to believe that the first candidate is the best one — interviewers generally have a better idea of what they want — and don’t want — after conducting several interviews.

The “Pre-Interview Checklist” is very important. Fill this out for each of your interviews. Don’t skip this step! Knowing this information can give you a competitive advantage over other (unprepared) candidates.

Fill out as much information as you can. The more you know about the company, the interviewer(s), and the job, the more confident you will be.

Download the Pre-Interview Worksheet and Checklist today!

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