The basics of interview etiquette are the same as in any type of social situation — one should be courteous, polite, friendly and listen well even as you try to make the best case for your candidacy for this job. Good manners aren’t a plus when interviewing, they are a necessity — a hiring manager likely won’t be able to get past any possible rudeness or odd mannerisms to determine whether your skills could be a good fit for the position.
So here are some reminders on the fine points of interview etiquette that should help you get to the next step of the hiring process: Read more »
Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, job hunters sabotage their own efforts. By acting on outdated information (perhaps based on the last time they searched, even if it was years ago) or misguided advice, they waste precious time and energy focusing on strategies that are unlikely to land them a job — at least any time soon. And sometimes what seems to be a good idea for a while turns out not to be worth more time, but it’s tough to change direction.
Here are some common job-hunting traps and how to avoid them: Read more »
Okay, not to sound like Dr. Phil or the folks on those call-in advice shows, but one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make during a job hunt is who you’re going to talk to about all of this — the ups and downs, the frustrations, the loss of pride, and also the excitement when you snare that interview and eventually land a job.
And that person is not necessarily the same person or people with whom you share other things — sometimes a spouse or partner or a best friend is a decidedly bad choice for support while you’re job hunting. That’s because they are too close to the situation. And that means they might be worried about your loss of income or afraid that you’ll become depressed if you don’t get a job right away — so they may steer you to positions that aren’t necessarily right for you. Alternately, they may be too big of a booster and sugar-coat advice about your resume or your chances for getting a particular job, for instance.
In any case, you’ll need various types of support and advice from different corners. Here are some people to seek out in terms of support during a job hunt: Read more »
Sometimes all the talk about career ambitions, refashioning yourself for the future and doing what you love is a luxury — sometimes you just need to get back to work. Perhaps your unemployment benefit or (often way-too-stingy) severance has run out. Or you tried to jump back into the job market after taking time off to raise kids or help out an elderly parent, and you’re not having much luck rejoining your previous field. Whatever the reason, sometimes you just need a job — and soon — and in this competitive market, you’re starting to become more than a bit anxious and frustrated.
First, you’re not alone — as recent unemployment statistics showed, millions have dropped out of the job market, having become so discouraged that they’re no longer actively seeking jobs. (Indeed, the unemployment rate’s decline to 9.5% in June from 9.7% the previous month, even while the nation lost 125,000 jobs, is attributed to the fact that many people left the labor pool.)
And, the good news is that the metro D.C. market (including D.C. itself, northern Virginia and Montgomery, Prince George’s and Howard counties in suburban Maryland) remains one of the nation’s best places to find a job, with the number of job seekers per opening less than in any other metropolitan area in the country in June. The trick, hiring experts say, when you really need a job is to be extremely practical and focused, and to lower your expectations and ambitions — this is about getting something now and figuring out what you really want to do later.
Here are some tips: Read more »
These days, one’s resume should be all about skills and expertise rather than a chronology of the jobs you’ve held in the past. Especially if you are looking to transition to another area, you’ll want your resume to highlight the talents you have and the skills you’ve developed that could launch you into a new field. Also, to attract the attention of time-starved hiring managers it’s important for a resume to be concise and uncluttered — and to serve as a way to market you through your Web site, blog or digital writing samples.
How to get all this information in that recommended one to two-page space (and two pages only for those with 10 or more years of experience, hiring experts say)? By doing what editors do best — getting out the machete and hacking away! Don’t worry; in many cases, mere trims will be necessary. And by cutting items from your resume you’ll not only free up space to provide more relevant details but sometimes you’ll be clearing out extraneous information that could give recruiters pause.
Here are five things no longer necessary on a resume that by cutting, could give you more space for what is important: Read more »
We all know someone like this (and I’ve been able to congratulate some of them on this blog recently): A job hunter who finds a good position quickly, just a couple months or even weeks following a layoff or after initiating a search while still employed. Why do they land in a flash while others with similar experience who are just as talented can languish for months and months in this ultra-competitive job market?
There are some commonalities among these job hunters, say hiring experts. And it’s not that they’re smarter or better-looking or have more personality than the average bear, as Yogi would say. Instead, they are focused, flexible, upbeat and confident, and they keep their expectations in line with reality. None of this is rocket science and I’ve mentioned these qualities many times before, yet when you combine them, it tends to work.
Here are some things that quick-landing job hunters have in common, and ways to adopt these traits for your own search. They: Read more »
One of the most difficult discoveries for job hunters is that they often have trouble getting their phone calls and emails returned — not only by prospective employers but by those who they had previously considered friends. It’s tough enough to deal with the stress and anxiety of job hunting, but there is a unique sting added when it feels as though you’re being abandoned by folks you thought were your friends just when you need them most.
And it’s often the case, in one of the cruel truths about the universe, that when people (and maybe they’re your friends and maybe they’re just people you know who you thought were your friends) feel awkward and uncomfortable about a situation that they avoid it and fade away. Former colleagues of those caught up in layoffs and buyouts may not be sure how to respond and if you’re gone anyway, they may simply fail to stay in touch. Those who have moved on and are now being asked to help a former colleague may not know how to best do so. Some may be well-intentioned, but don’t want to make promises they’re not sure they can deliver upon.
So while you may feel like it shouldn’t be your role as a job hunter to find out who your friends really are and then to make it as easy as possible for them to help you, you’ll waste a lot less time and emotional energy if you do so early in your job search. Here are some tips: Read more »
A Wall Street Journal review of about 3,000 financial-disclosure forms found that about 250 congressional staffers earned a total of $13 million in 2009 from former employers, companies they run or other side jobs. The outside income ranged from the trivial — one aide made $2,700 competing in bass-fishing contests — to hundreds of thousands of dollars in deferred compensation, bonus payments or stock grants.
“In some cases, staffers collected money from companies with a direct interest in their congressional work. While that isn’t prohibited as long as it is disclosed, it poses a potential conflict of interest between their public duties and their personal financial interests.”
“Public employees are retiring at a quickening pace around the U.S., providing a mixed blessing for state and local governments seeking to save money,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The retirements mean employers can shelve some planned layoffs. And some of the departing workers, generally more senior and higher paid, are being replaced by lower-paid employees with less-generous retirement benefits, government officials say. But the loss of veterans threatens to erode the quality of public services that make communities attractive, they say.”
“A surge of lobbyists has left K Street this year to fill jobs as high-ranking staffers on Capitol Hill, focusing new attention on the dearth of rules governing what paid advocates can do after moving into the legislative world,” the Washington Post reports.
“Ethics rules sharply limit the activities of former lobbyists who join the executive branch and former lawmakers who move to lobbying firms. But experts say there are no limits on lawmakers hiring K street employees and letting them write legislation in sync with the policies they advocated for hire.”