Monthly Archives: August 2016

Tips to success interview at phone

images-9Hiring a new employee is often a multi step process for most companies. Rather than investing time in an in person interview up front, hiring managers often add a phone interview in between to screen candidates they think would be an appropriate fit.

“With the [number] of job seekers applying for roles, conducting a phone interview or phone screen upfront saves both the company and candidates time and money up front,” said Chris Jemo, vice president of talent acquisition at The Connor Group, which owns and operates luxury apartment communities.

Though it’s an important step, a phone call is limiting. As the candidate, you should prepare for this step to solidify your spot for an in-person interview with the hiring manager.

“The biggest disadvantage [of a phone interview] is the lack of face-to-face interaction,” said Jane Trnka, executive director of the Career Resource Center at Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business. “Interviewers don’t get to see how you present yourself, so what you say and how you say it is so important. Your tone of voice and how you respond to and ask questions will indicate your interest and passion for the role, organization and industry.”

Before the call

Get relevant information up front

When called or emailed to schedule time to interview via phone, ask with whom you’ll be talking and how long the call will take, Trnka said. Get the name and contact information of the person who is scheduling the interview, and find out who will be making the call.

Trnka cautioned against interviewing on the spot. If you are called and told that the company’s rep wants to ask a few questions now, thank them for the opportunity, and then politely suggest a different time later in the day. This will give you time to collect your thoughts and refocus on the role, company, and your skills and talents, she said.

Confirm the appointment

The day before or the morning of the interview, Trnka advised emailing the person who scheduled the call to confirm it. Not only will this help you to prepare, but it also demonstrates that you are organized and that you are looking forward to the opportunity to talk about the role and your contributions the company’s success.

Make notes

The beauty of a phone interview is that you can have notes with you, said Kaitlyn Apfelbeck, human resources manager at Voices.com, a voiceover marketplaceReview the job description thoroughly before the interview; make notes so you can talk about the experiences you have that align with the requirements and expectations of the role. Even if it is a phone screen, you will want to sound intelligent about the opportunity and company.

“Write down major themes you know you’ll want to touch on, such as strengths, weaknesses, career goals, etc., and then have points under each,” Apfelbeck said.

Be prepared

Just before your scheduled call, make sure you have everything you’ve sent to an employer — your resume, cover letter, portfolio, etc. — on hand and organized, so you can refer to them during the interview, Trnka said.

During the call

Find a private area

Treat it as an in-person interview. Be somewhere quiet without distraction or background noise.

“Be [in your chosen quiet location] least five minutes prior to the scheduled time to be prepared,” Jemo said.

Apfelbeck added that you should also avoid doing the interview in the car, especially if you’re driving.

“[Talking in the car] is loud, and very distracting to the interviewer,” shesaid. “It’s also incredibly dangerous. Needless to say, there is a lack of overall unpreparedness that is not in a candidate’s favor.”

Tips to Loooking for a Job

People look for new jobs for a number of reasons, and oftentimes, they do so while they’re still employed. It’s easy to get excited at the prospect of a new position, but you should be smart about how you approach your job search — remember, you still have a responsibility to your current employer.

If you’re trying to land a new job while you still have one, here are six tips to help you balance your efforts and avoid trouble with your boss.

Don’t search on company time

The responsibilities of your current job come first, so it’s important for you to dedicate time outside of work hours to search for a new position.

“To put yourself in the right frame of mind, it may be beneficial to block out a time that will be used exclusively to peruse job postings, research companies and submit your resume,” said Gabe Bristol, CEO of Intelicare Direct. “This will keep you free of distractions and focused on applying for jobs. I recommend a minimum block of 2 hours; this can be done before work, after work or on your lunch hour.”

Keep it to yourself

Your job search is a personal decision. Even if you trust your colleagues, you can’t control what they share with others. It’s best to stay mum about your plans so it doesn’t get around to the wrong people.

“To look [for a new job] while currently working requires wisdom — the wisdom to know who to tell, who to lean on and who not to tell,” said Maria Sirois, a clinical psychologist at the Kripalu Center.”The best approach is often to remain private about your goals and actions at your current workplace until [it is] clear that you will be supported.”

Play it safe online

Be careful when visiting job boards or using social media to conduct your search. A single status update could be enough to alert your employer. You can further minimize the risk of being caught by ensuring your privacy settings are tight and using services that mask your identity when posting your resume online.

Schedule smartly

Most hiring managers understand that you will need to make arrangements to communicate or meet outside of office hours. Schedule interviews for before or after work, or during your lunch break if time allows.

“If you say to a potential [employer], ‘I would prefer to interview before or after my workday, or possibly during my lunch break, because I’m busy [at work] and [my team] relies on me during the day,’ you are indirectly stating that you not only have integrity but are a highly valued employee,” Bristol said.

Take stock of your talents 

Sirois suggested taking time to consider your best skills and qualities, both in your current and past roles.

“Record what strengths you use and talents you demonstrate,” she said. “Notice if you are at your best in teams or on your own, with ideas or plans or both.”

As you reflect on your optimal self, you will not only better understand the kind of environment that makes sense for you, but you also will have learned how to articulate your best qualities to potential employers, Sirois said.

Continue to work hard

Bristol suggested you put forth your best work and retain strong relationships within your current office, because you may need to use your current boss or co-workers as references for future jobs. However, loyalty to your current employer shouldn’t preclude you from looking for other opportunities if you are not satisfied with your current role or company, he noted.

“It is important to remember that you are not doing anything wrong when looking for a job,” Bristol said. “It is, in fact, your personal obligation to look for better opportunities if you are truly not emotionally, intellectually or financially fulfilled.”

 

Great Cover Letters Tips

Your resume may be the first thing hiring managers look at when you apply for a job, but many candidates tend to forget about another important part of the application process: the cover letter.

Matthew Rowles, business development manager at staffing firm Kavaliro, noted that employers don’t always read cover letters due to the massive volume of applications received for each job opening. However, some will use it as the next step in candidate screening after reading resumes.

“People [who read cover letters] do it after the fact,” added Jeff Oddo, president of building maintenance management company City Wide Maintenance. “They look at your skills first on your resume, and then read the cover letter [to decide] if they want to bring you in for an interview.”

Oddo, who is involved in the hiring process for his company, noted that cover letters tend to be ignored when they’re generic and template-style. Rowles agreed, noting that each new application should come with a new, unique cover letter outlining why you are qualified and the best fit for that specific position.

“Do not simply send the same generic cover letter for every position,” Rowles told Business News Daily. “Recruiters and HR managers will recognize those cover letters and skip right over them. If you want your cover letter to be read, make it uniquely suited for that particular role.”

In addition to using your cover letter to expand on your key qualifications, you can also address unique topics, such as employment gaps on your resume, a willingness to relocation or the desire for a career change, said Crystal Wittman, head of global recruitment center at talent acquisition and management firm Alexander Mann Solutions.

“If there’s a need to relocate, use the cover letter as an opportunity to point out that you’re open to relocation, especially if you already have a connection to the area through family or school,” Wittman said. “This will help alleviate any apprehensions that a hiring manager has about hiring someone who is new to the area. If you’re changing careers or industries, relate examples of your experience that will help you prepare [for the change] and are relevant to the new job.”

Wittman also advised including information about any internal connections or referrals from current employees at the company early on in the letter. Do this by including the person’s name and department. For example, you could write, “A former colleague of mine, (name), is a director in your marketing department. She alerted me to a new role in your sales organization for which my skills and experience would be very well-suited,” Wittman said.

Finally, before you submit your cover letter, be sure to check it over for spelling and grammatical errors and take the time to convert the document to PDF format, which makes it easier for the hiring manager to access and forward your letter.

“We like PDFs,” Oddo said. “Often, I am mobile when I’m reading these applications, and sometimes phones don’t open documents the same way a tablet or computer would.”

Cover letter examples

Based on these tips, here are two sample cover letters that you can customize to suit your particular needs and situation. Before you apply for any job, be sure to thoroughly read the job listing, as they may ask you to address specific things in your cover letter.

Traditional cover letter

Here is an example of a traditional cover letter that outlines your skills and qualifications. This type of letter does best for highly professional occupations that value straightforward, to-the-point information.

Dear [hiring manager’s name],

I spotted your LinkedIn posting about the assistant editor opening at Business News Daily, and I am thrilled to submit my application for the position. During my career in the media industry, I have gained a great deal of editorial experience that would make me a strong asset to your team.

During my time at New York University, I held several internships and freelance writing jobs that introduced me to the world of modern journalism. After graduation, I landed a managing editor position at [publication name] that helped me develop and hone the leadership, organization and strategic planning skills that will help me succeed as your assistant editor. With the assistance of the interns and freelancers I supervise, I have raised the monthly web traffic of [publication] by more than 50 percent and nearly tripled its overall social media following.

In addition to having the necessary background for this position, I also feel that working for Business News Daily would be an excellent next step in my career. I have been following your articles on social media, and I think your publication adds a unique and valuable perspective on entrepreneurship, small business issues and careers. As a millennial myself, I especially enjoy the pieces you’ve published on Generation Y in the workforce.

Job Searching Tips

Modern job seekers have their work cut out for them. Although it’s easier than ever to find opportunities online, candidates must wade through numerous job postings on multiple sites and customize their application to suit each job. How your resume is built, the way you conduct yourself online and the way you approach applying for jobs all affect the outcome.

From applying to jobs to following up after an interview, here’s everything you need to know about successfully applying for a job in the digital age.

Building your resume

The way you craft your resume for submission for an online application directly affects whether it will make it past any applicant tracking system (ATS). These systems determine whether your application is seen by a hiring manager or not.

According to Michael Krikheli, co-founder of ZipJob, the use of ATS software has risen dramatically over the last few years. More than 95 percent of large companies use an ATS, and the number of midsize companies using ATS has increased to more than 50 percent.

Krikheli suggests crafting your resume to be adjusted not just for the company, but also for the applicant tracking systems. Here are a few tips for the best chances for a follow-up:

  • Ensure you have the correct keywords related to the position or industry.
  • Make sure that there are no grammatical or spelling errors. Microsoft Word is not enough to correct all your mistakes; send it to a friend or a professional to review.
  • Send your resume in a .doc or .docx file.

“Your resume should be optimized for the ATS, but keep in mind that someone will read the resume once it gets through,” Krikheli said. “Ensure your resume is optimized for the ATS and is also easy to read and effective when a recruiter looks at it.”

Ensuring you have a solid resume should be the first step, as this is the first impression you will make to the employer, Krikheli added.

When it comes to tailoring your resume, the first step is to thoroughly understand the job description, said Leah Paul, director of marketing at Mediabistro.

“Figure out what the most important skills are for the job and reorganize your resume to highlight those accomplishments in your experience first,” Paul said. “You want to use the keywords used in the job description, but not verbatim.”

According to Paul, there’s no need to list all your accomplishments in each position if they’re not relevant. Any “soft skills” or secondary accomplishments that are useful but not priorities for the role can be listed toward the bottom in a separately labeled section, she said.

Applying to jobs

The use of online recruiting tools and technology has increased dramatically over the last few years. The near-endless options of websites and apps to use emphasize the importance of correctly doing so.

While there are multiple places to which you can apply, like LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Mediabistro, etc., candidates should first go directly to companies they’re interested in. Check those companies’ career sites and follow them on social media channels, Paul suggests. In addition to a presence on LinkedIn, most big companies have dedicated recruiting accounts on Twitter or Facebook that post job openings.

“Lots of smaller companies and startups might not have a careers page or even a dedicated recruiting team, so an alternative is to go to your favorite job board and set up a job alert,” Paul said. “If you don’t have any target companies, but know what you want to be doing, conduct your searches on keywords and phrases that speak to the responsibilities you hope to have in your next role. Or search for the qualifications you have.”

Tracking your progress

It’s easy to get lost in the mix when you’re applying. Firing off multiple emails a day without actually keeping track of your activity can mean a lost opportunity to follow up. To combat this, if you see a position that’s listed on a job board, create an account with that [job board] to keep track of the jobs that you’ve applied to.

“If you’re applying via multiple sites, a good filing system is needed. I used to use a spreadsheet that kept track of the job title, company, link to the job posting and date I applied,” Paul said. “Too often, the job posting would be taken down by the time the interview rolled around, and I didn’t have the description to reference anymore.”

So be sure to be cognizant of the description for a better follow-up, should the opportunity present itself.

Following up

Once you’ve submitted your application, you can use sites like LinkedIn or face-to-face networking events to build your professional network.

Paul suggests that you network with someone at the company to get yourself noticed and to give yourself a better chance for a follow-up.

“Don’t try to get your application in via back channels before you’ve formally applied. Apply first, then try to get a leg up via your network,” she said. “A simple note from an employee to the hiring manager or recruiter stating that they’d like to refer an acquaintance who has submitted an application is the best way to get your resume looked at. In those cases, even if you’re not selected, they will follow up with you or the referring employee, so you’ll get your chance to find out your status either way.”

Mistakes to avoid

Like any skill, applying to jobs takes time and comes with a learning curve. Mistakes will be made. However, it’s prudent to learn the best practices when you’re submitting an application. You want to always come off as professional and avoid making common mistakes, which can often make you look unprofessional.

According to Paul, job seekers most often make these mistakes while applying online:

Edit your work. To avoid typos, be sure to spellcheck you work and have a second pair of eyes on anything you plan to submit. Be careful not to use language that’s inappropriate or too casual. Those mistakes, specifically, will ruin any chances you have of making a good first impression.

Not reading the entire job posting.It is very common to just focus on the bulleted lists of responsibilities and qualifications, but the other details that are provided in the job description are important. Often, this is where specific instructions for applying will be mentioned.

Having a less-than-perfect online presence.In addition to your resume and cover letter, your online presence needs to be pruned before you apply anywhere. This is especially true on LinkedIn, but also on any other platforms where you have profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). If your resume does get noticed, the first thing a recruiter or hiring manager will do is Google you and look you up on social media.

Focusing too much on the job title.A manager at one company is a specialist at another. Job seekers should focus on the responsibilities of the role to determine if it’s the right level for their expertise and career goals, because you could be missing out on other opportunities that are perfect, but are just not labeled as you’d think.

Regardless of what you want to do, you should sit down and make a list of goals you would like to achieve, with an emphasis on what makes you happy, writes Catherine Fisher for LinkedIn. Include all of your goals, both big and small. If you need ideas for work goals, search on LinkedIn for people in the companies or industries you’re interested in to identify the skills you need to grow in your career, as well as the various career paths others have taken — that you can take, too.